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Showing posts from January, 2008

The Tree - a short story

I tried my hand at some amateur literature - attached is a short story I thought up on my way to home on last Thursday. Do leave your feedback in comments below. You can also download a PDF of the story from here . Thanks to my friends Abhishek , Payal, Shubham , Arijit, Somnath, Milind, Sabyasachi and Ashita for doing the proof reading and providing valuable inputs. The Tree A Short Story by Nikhil Kulkarni Murtaza watched with emptiness inside him as they chopped the massive trunk of the huge banyan into smaller prices to be loaded into the lorry. His thoughts went back to the day 45 years ago when he had moved into Mumbai. 20 years old, newly married he came to Mumbai from his native town Meermirzapur in search of a living. When he had told people in his neighbourhood that he was planning to shift to Mumbai after marriage – everyone laughed him off –“ Wahan kya Hero Banega? Arey bahot bada shehar hai – kaise rahega wahan par ?” [Will you become a movie star there? It’s

Working From Home

So true for India as well - I hope corporates in India also realize it Excerpt from : The "Work From Home" Generation from Read/WriteWeb by Alex Iskold The Good Things No commute: If you live in the suburbs and work in the city ... Flexibility: Working from home likely implies flexible hours - having flexible hours is a huge benefit for example you can exercise during the time of the day which suits them best. Saving money and the environment: having no commute has another big benefit - financial savings. With the cost of gasoline going through the roof, not having to drive is important for everyone. Working from home also has a global environmental benefit. By commuting less we save energy and reduce pollution. Increased productivity: A typical office environment is noisy, people are talking, phones are ringing, co-workers are coming by to chat, and there are always crowds near the coffee and soda machines. At home, these distractions are not going to be present. But,

India Rising - Part II

In response to my previous post my friend Payal (who had forwarded me the video) - sent me an email. Her email is almost a blog post in itself - so I thought it would be a good idea to post it here. Here you go ... [ previous post ... there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.] I understand all those pitfalls... all I am saying by that link is that the image of India is getting better in the outside world. I am happy about it ... but I wish there was more substance to it ... Its not just what meets the eyes (infra) that needs to be developed, there are softer concerns too like security and resilience of justice system not to mention corruption and the lack of trust in offices and general life. ऐसा नही है कि US में 2 hours 'stuck in traffic' नही होता, but India में it is more often than not... you know when NRIs come back to India, they always see the "progress" in India.. big malls erected, flyovers etc and think "Hey! India is really shining&q

India Rising!

A friends of mine who is in the US, sent me this YouTube link: While this India rising story is fast becoming a cliche, the video nevertheless makes things look quite amazing. And so many Indians abroad seem to be getting more and more sold on the India story. I however believe there's more to it than meets the eye!! :-) The troubles of working (or operating business) in India are quite irking - for example I was stuck for 2 hours today in Ghatkopar - fortunately the habit of having a book in my bag helped me - but imagine the amount of morning productive time I wasted! The stock market which went up and was hailed to stay put even as the US melted under sub-prime, has finally crashed today [ last reported it fell 1300 odd points]. The real estate prices which have been rising in speculation are already falling in smaller cities and while they have stayed put in metros - the whole urban dream seems to be crumbling because of the inability of the governments to be able to sup

Is it Mumbai or Bangalore?

Its become quite chilly in Mumbai - for the first time in Mumbai I am enjoying 'winters' the way I have known them to be (when I was in Bhopal). Recorded Temperatures in the island city are about 11-13ºC- and especially in Powai they seem to have dropped below 10 ... its a wonderful feeling. And it seems as if Jayant Narlikar's Science fiction which I read in my school days - which predicted snowfall in Mumbai in 2010 - is heading towards materializing. As the McDonald's advert goes - I am lovving it!!

Alone in a crowd!

Have you ever been surrounded by a flurry of activities - too busy to even notice that you are out of toothpaste - yet felt lonely and deserted? I keep bumping into this emotion time and again - don't know why! It starts mostly when you are asleep - and suddenly wake up with that feeling of being alone wanting that someone was around to whom you could talk to about the "certain" thing that was bugging you or to simply face another human being. And its not that you don't see faces after waking up - but you simply don't want to share things then. Nothing wrong with these faces, but you think they would never understand - and so your sharing will only aggravate this feeling of being lonely - and you keep mum. One realizes in such times that, after all, each one us has come alone and will go alone from this world - so lets make most of our times while we are here ...

Wiki, Blogs, Online Office ... arrgh what crap!!

Today as Wikipedia celebrates its 7th Birthday , it can definitely claim to have come of age. Indeed, from corporate to students, Wikipedia is the gateway to knowledge. Wikipedia's value is considered to be of leading students to citable sources, and though it is not considered an appropriate source for citation itself [ 1 ] - its definitely one of the places millions go to in order to start their research . However, apart from contributing to actual knowledge base - Wikipedia's more important contribution has been in changing (corporate) mindsets towards the new tools information technology offers. Thanks to the success of Wikipedia - so many corporate have started their own Wikis , blogs etc for knowledge management within their firms. Ironically, adoption of new technologies has created new dilemmas for the CIO. Earlier, while knowledge was never recorded, it is now being recorded; but, it is spread between uploaded documents, wikis and blogs. And I am wondering what w

On Corporate blogs and wikis

Hemant tells me that Satyam has a whole blogosphere inside the corporate intranet - which Satyam intends to use as a Knowledge management tool - I think it does the same things as what Prof. McAfee describes as "above the flow wikis" - knowledge management outside the day to day flow of work. Hemant also tells me hat some blogs are immensely popular and act as incentives for others also to blog about their work - indeed Satyam has found some way to overcome " the challenge of getting people to use above-the-flow wikis". Read on - the quote below is interesting ... Source: Why Not Widen the Flow? by Andrew McAfee One of Michael's first posts was about the distinction between using wikis and other social software 'in the flow' of work versus 'above the flow.' As he explains : In-the-Flow wikis enable people do their day-to-day work in the wiki itself. These wikis are typically replacing email, virtual team rooms, and project management
NYTimes reports about protests in Italy's Siena Progress cannot be measured only in terms of raising gross domestic product, said Luciano Fiordoni, an economist who spoke at a recent anti-airport rally in Siena. “You have to factor in quality of life,” he said. “We don’t object to growth, but our main intent is to remain human.” Exactly what I was trying to say when I blogged about the political party of the future . Its high time we too in India stopped measuring our progress by GDP and per capita figures (which are simply effects and not causes) and looked at how much the quality of human life has improved. What's good about a rising GDP if our roads are heading towards permanent traffic jams and our lives becoming more and more stressful?

Who holds most data about us?

Marshal Kirkpack Says ... Google and Facebook, two companies that hold more user data and do more with it than almost any other consumer service on the market Source : Google and Facebook Join from Read/WriteWeb Isn't he being too tech-world-centric and ignoring the "old economy" completely? I think companies who "hold more user data" and "do more with it" than others surely would be Banks and other financial institutions (I am counting out governments as they are not "consumer services") than Google or Facebook for 2 reasons: How many people have accounts with these two companies as compared to how many have accounts with Banks? How much important is data like say "my search history" or "my friend list" as compared to "my credit history" ?? Need I say more .... ? While data portability is an important technology issue (new microformats, APML etc) which needs to be discussed - governments

Croocket ...

Since the 1999 world cup - when I finished my class XII exams and most eagerly awaited the tournament and India's performance - I have lost interest in the game. Match Fixing scandals, continuously erratic performance of the team ... reasons are too many why I no more follow the game with the same fervour as I used to. Yet - being an Indian - cricket comes in one's blood - and the blood shows when the team looses - more so because of no fault of theirs. The crooked cricket that the Australians play - full of frets, abuses and arrogance - takes away all the dignity that the game ever claims to have had. And to top that, when things refuse to go their way - they run like kids to their Momiee - the ICC and its officials. The way the umpires have not just favoured but been ' subservient ' to the Australian Team - the game has gone to new lows. Check out the last part of the 3rd minute. But the most unfortunate part has been the Australian Media's role of bringi

How safe are we?

"Benazir Bhutto Shot Dead" - as I looked at this headline on 27th December, I was shocked - though not as much as I was when I read "Rajiv Gandhi assassinated" way back in 1991 (I was just 10 years old then). The reduction is shock was not just because I had grown up and that Benazir was not a politician from my own country - but also because after Lal mazjid , terrorism has become more and more mainstream in Pakistan. However, there are some aspects of the assassination which are different from Rajiv Gandhi's assassination which make it much more worrisome than the former. 1. Ubiquity of Terror Agents - and failure of Administration The Pakistani Administration (namely the Army) claims that "[Benazir] herself contributed to the incident by standing [and] that none of the other occupants in the bullet/bomb proof car died." Which effectively means that the assassin was just waiting for Benazir to step out of her bullet proof vehicle. It seems quite

Traffic Update!

I was musing over how popular are India-specific blogging services on Alexa - and here is what I found. The graph below plots RediffBlogs against BlogStreet and BlogPulse. Click on the images to see enlarged versions I have added BlogSteet [in Blue ]and BlogPulse [in Red ] only for comparison because they are pretty unknown services at least in India [BlogStreet is a coranking site cum blog directory (of Indian blogs) while BlogPulse is a blog metrics tracker (not focussed to Indian blogosphere though)] Observe that the traffic of RediffBlogs[in Green ] - is quite comparable to these 'unknown' services. Now I added RediffBlogs competitor O3 [in Cyan ] from to the comparison ... Just observe how the scale of the graph changes - BlogStreet, BlogPulse and RediffBlogs , almost vanish when traffic metrics from Indiatimes are plotted. Clearly O3 is way ahead of rediffBlogs - so much so that - if I were to decide the fate of RediffBlogs, I would shut it down!

The Perfect Kill

I haven't read a more classic piece since days .... Wah Manish - this is a classic post from you .... a sensational serial killer .... Six young girls had been murdered ... with their throats brutally slit open ... the girl had begun to doze in her seat ..... just how naïve and unsuspecting young girls can be..... ... marriage had been transformed into a dead corpse buried deep beneath a pile of painful memories ....  He should have thought of a better reason than that to get rid of me.... GO Read  it  ...

Kaisa hota agar ....

A Very Happy New year to all those who are reading .... 2008 comes along as the stock market soars, the rupee strengthens and people talk all positive about India. It indeed feels good to be in India at times like these, some 3 years after the slogan was raised - India is indeed shining. So in this mood, I allowed myself to fantasize further. We went to the Gateway of India yesterday and I found the place quite clean as compared to my last visit, no pieces of paper thrown away, little dust on the footpath and no horseshit on the streets (due to the Bagghis ). I was surprised - what had happened? I saw a few dustbins around, but people had hardly taken up the habit of using them - they were still throwing stuff on the street. Then what miracle had happened? This was when my eyes fell on the army of cleaners with broomsticks in their hands fervently sweeping the footpath and the roads, and dumping the garbage in dustbins. I immediately recollected that I had found the railway stati