Having some wonderful time out here in India. Weather sucks, but then its a known fact. In the mean while, I inched further towards old age. Lotsa things to blog and those things have to wait till I get back to UK. Have fun folks. Cheerios!

Want to see some unbelievable numbers?

Check out the usage statistics of my site. The one that matters most is the Visits – the figures under the column with yellow header. Though it gives a heady feeling, honestly I don’t believe that around 380 people visit my site EVERY DAY, including all search engine & spam bots. 50-60 would have sounded reasonable. I am gonna use some other traffic analysis tool and compare the numbers.

I am sure you would also notice the fact that lot many people end up here searching for “MMS Porn Video“. 🙂

“Free Cash” Machine

Thats what the notice put above the new cash machine at our local high street said. You know very well.. what they actually mean is, the transaction charges are free. 🙂

An interesting comment from Dandanakka on my post on Hotel Saravana Bhavan:

I visited the first weekend (after its opening) and had to wait outside for almost 30 minutes. An Afro-English boy bemused to see so many people waiting outside a restaurant stopped and asked “Free food or what?”

Flying to India..

I am flying to India in less than 48 hours from now to see lil’ Anirudh. I had waited enough coz of some unavoidable work here and this would be one of the shortest long distance trips for me, only next to my 5-day trip to Chennai in 2000 to wind up my MCA. The very thought of meeting someone of my own for the first time thrills me no end… err.. thrill or excitement is not the right word.. in fact, I couldn’t translate my current emotion into words. Though Ramya & Anirudh aren’t fit enough to travel back to UK with me this time, I hope this trip would do a world of good to us, especially when I foresee a very busy few months ahead of me.

Request for Information on Madras Historians

A British colleague of my friend, whose Great Grand Father was in charge of many water projects in Madras (building Canals & Bridges) during 1860s, is visiting Chennai in early June to see & photograph the places his great grand father worked. He wishes to get in touch with some historians (esp. Mr Muthiah, Mr Randor Guy etc)/organisations at Chennai, to discuss more on the topic. So far, his efforts to reach the concerned people over e-mail has been in vain. If you know or could point to the right person, please ping guruprasad [at] gmail [dot] com. Your help would be much appreciated.

I happened to see the CV of the person who worked at Madras and it is interesting to find the kind of works that were done those days. Lot of work seems to have happened w.r.t Madras Water Project, especially in places like Adyar river, Coovum basin, Red Hills Tank to name a few.

Hotel Saravana Bhavan

As I had couple of hours to kill at London before meeting Jag on Monday, I decided to check out the newly opened HSB at Wembley. It is several years since I visited an authentic Indian restaurant (I couldn’t think of the Tandoori restaurants in UK as Indian..) and Saravana Bhavan is something very special, for a person surviving on self-cooked food for several months now. It was pretty much like entering a restaurant in India – with some people gossipping around the counters, some chudidhar clad girls, some trouser clad buffaloes, waiters with sandal/holy ash-kumkum on their foreheads, “enna saapadreenga sir?” (what would you like to eat sir?) hospitality et al. Contrary to the European style, it was pleasing to see waiters offer water in the stainless steel tumbler before offering the menu card. The best thing about HSB is their consistency – whether you taste the Sambhar Vadai in Vadapalani or T.Nagar or London, the taste wouldn’t differ a bit. Given HSB’s quality & reputation, the prices were not too high either. The taste of the strong filter coffee I had in a shiny, new davara-tumbler would remain in me for a long time. I regretted that I had only one stomach to fill in. 🙂

Think they have started of very well in Wembley as I found the restaurant filled to 70% of the capacity at around 4 pm on a weekday, which is very rare in this part of the world. If the presence of HSB spurs the competitive spirits among the other Indian restaurants in the area, Wembley would be a place to visit – for food. Jeevajothi or otherwise, long live Annachi. 😉

When imagination comes to face with the reality..

As bloggers, we interact with so many people on a daily basis by commenting on each other’s post and after a period of time, this extends to a sort of friendship over e-mail and chats. On many occasions, we don’t get to see the face of the blogger or hear his voice, but we only have a pre-conceived notion of how he/she would be, based on what the blogger puts up in his posts. What if you suddenly come to face with the reality and get to meet the person whom you have heard about so much, but have never seen or hear him speak? How would it be when your imagined image of him/her change when he presents himself in a way you never expected?

I came to face such a situation yesterday, when I got to meet the Route 79 fame Jag Minhas at London. We have been in touch with each other for about two years now and when I had plans to visit London on Monday, Jag & I agreed to meet if time permitted. He was kind enough to squeeze his schedule to meet me at Paddington. He had revealed a part of his face before – so, that was not a total surprise, but when I heard him speak for the first time, I realised that the reality & imagination were poles apart. Perhaps, it must have been so for him though my photographs are littered all through this site. Now that I have met him, it feels good that I would be able to put a voice & face for his words. I had similar feeling when Ramya & I met Praveen & Radhika – an UK based Indian blogging couple, few months back. It was good talking to Jag for an hour or so and we did discover lot of common interests. It was pleasing to realise how much as bloggers we influence each other. For instance, I decided on my current mobile model based on his post about a year back and I have tried out some of the vegetarian food items, the recipes of which he regularly posts in his blog with wonderful pictures. We identified future opportunities (this phrase is boringly diplomatic..) to meet along with our respective families and am really looking forward to that. Oh yeah… Jag got a wonderful gift for me as well. I could only thank the day I started blogging.

On a totally different note, this newsitem ‘India to accredit dotcom scribes, bloggers‘ might be of some interest to you.

M*ile S*ur M *era Tum* hara

Well… This is not a Hindi post as my knowledge of Hindi is confined to the levels of “Ek gaanv mein ek kisaan raghu thaathaa” and some other phrases, courtesy – few Bollywood movies & those Hindi classes I so “willingly” attended for the exams conducted by Dakshin Bharath Hindi Prachar Sabha. If you tend to think very low of my Hindi vocabulary, I am compelled to state here that I also know few hard phrases like “Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge‿, “Hum Aapke Hain Koun‿, “Hum Saath Saath Hain‿ etc.

Coming to the topic, if you remember the good, old Doordarshan days in India, you might remember the famous National Integration song “M*ile S*ur M *era Tum* hara..”, released in 1987 commemorating the 40th anniversary of Indian Independence and aired for several years afterwards. That used to be one of my favourites. The link below gives you the new version of the song, produced by the folks at MIT. The song remains the same, but the visuals are new. Download it & enjoy it.


Eighteen years later, still the song remains fresh & inspiring. If anyone could point me to the original version of this sequence that was aired in DD, it would be much appreciated. Thanks Prabhu for the link.

Career Decisions – Part 2 of 3

Read Career Decisions – Part 1 here

While I was in Class IX, my cousin (who is a lawyer), tried to lure me to become an advocate by claiming that practicing law is the next best thing to have happened to mankind after the invention of wheel. Perhaps, he was trying to recruit a smart junior when he tried to convince me that Electrical Engineer is nothing but an electrician. People would only call me when they need to fix the fan in the ceiling or when something gets repaired. Though this was tad different from what my uncle told about his profession – involving work at Power plants etc, I had no way of getting this confirmed since my uncle was working at a place far far away from good, old Madras. I think my cousin wasn’t good at marketing as he was in Law. I remained unconvinced about law, but he managed to shake me off a bit – only a bit – from the Electrical Engineering dream.

A friend of mine in class X, who is now a Chartered Accountant and works for one of the leading banks, used to tell me horror stories about college life, ragging etc – courtesy his friends, seniors and who ever. As he used to narrate the daily experiences of his neighbour, who was asked to pee on the electrocuted metal fence during ragging (I was scared to know what happened to you-know-what!), he was very clear about one thing – that college, esp. engineering colleges are meant only for rowdies and those who deliberately want to get beaten up. He said that he would never join a college, but do a course in distance education. That idea appealed to me (maintaining a distance between myself & education always used to appeal me), but I was ‘knowledgeable’ enough to understand that it is not possible to become an Electrical Engineer by doing a correspondence course. I even considered becoming a cricket umpire so that I would get to watch matches for free, but that didn’t hold my fancy for long.