Travelogues and Almost Everything Else!

My Thoughts, experiences and .....

Monday, April 07, 2008

Letters on a Bridge

Read this poignant story, and thought I should share it..

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oh Those Eyes

I have no doubt in my mind that these are the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. There is something so very special about them. Whats awesome is that they belong to my sis! And boy oh boy do I miss her :-)
The Barsati's arch and a silhouette of myself and my camera lens are seen in her eyes.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Major events in MBA Term 1

I moved in with my new room-mate in a University Apartment, and spent the first four months there. I think I had a pretty tough time, with studies being tough, few friends to spend time with, hostile weather, no extra-curricular activities and a completely new place.
But by April, somebody decided that I had been punished enough. Good things began happening. A guest was coming over in April and I was moving to a new apartment. I was joining the elite York Consulting Group, and at the same time, I was making a few friends. There was some kind of a semblance of balance after I found a terrific tennis partner in Gaurav Malse.This guy was a national level under 16 tennis champ - I had struck gold.
Mahesh visited me after I spent a couple of months in Toronto. American Airlines has been kind enough to give free rides to all its employees. Lucky Bastards! I spent some time with Mahesh and Nimesh - went out skiing once. The interesting thing about this skiing place (Earl Bales Ski Resort), which is right in Toronto is that the ski slope is not on a mountain.. its in a ditch, a trough. The area around Toronto is as flat as a flushing meadows tennis court, and a ditch is the only place that could afford a ski slope!

Back Live!

Its Been a fun year, and I have not made any journal entries right through. I am going to try and put up a few things that I remember from my first year in Toronto - 2007. And then, I am going to try and maintain my blog and my website. Best of Luck Vaarun!
I left for Toronto on the 29th of December, 2006 by an Air India flight. Somehow, this time round there was'nt the kind of excitement that I felt when I had left for Pittsburgh (Sept 2005). There was the overwhelming feeling that I was going to be away from family for an indefinite period of time, and what was different with Pittsburgh was that I was on a short deputation through my company. I WAS coming back in 8 months, you see.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What did you say? Success?

So what finally am I looking for from life? Is it excitement? Is it comfortable living? Is it relationships? Power? Money? Societal honour?
Its probably about sustained happiness. Life brings you a great deal of repetitions.. you do your work, you get back to the same home, you meet the same people and then take a break with some folk you know in the weekend. For sustained happiness then, you will need to enjoy those repetitive things that you do day in and day out.

For me, and for most folks that I know, its the small things that happen in the day. Maybe its the nice breakfast that you had, maybe its that hug that you got from your mom, it could be the chat you had with some old relative you connected with recently. It surely is about the people around you that make you smile, its about the mountains about you that make you feel that you are at home, the music that keeps you humming all day. I really dont know who would feel hugely happy on the first of every month to see $20,000 in his account.. maybe for the first time, maybe for the second, but its not possible every time. There are some who want that splendid sofa... I put the same question here.. would you feel happy when u sit on that sofa for the millionth time?
What then is the place of money in this whole system? I think its a means to an end. Without money, there is no question of coming home after work and smiling at anybody if you dont have money to educate your kid, or a reliable decent home to protect yourself. And that, basically, is all it can give us. Once these necessities have been taken care of, it does not make any further sense to make sacrifices in order to earn more.
I have divided my life into a few zones that are important to me.. relationships, work and my personality . I have heard many people point to an acquaintance whose driver takes him around town in a Camry, and say "Look, Thats Success". Sorry, but I beg to differ. I think what they are referring to is Success at Work. Do you even know if that man is happy? Do you have any idea if he has succeeded in Life?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Is IT Reliable?

Every engineering discipline has gone through a process of evolution. There have been important changes to the way cars, buildings and dams have been engineered over time, and all these changes have made things better. Through the course of this evolution, some massive blunders have been committed. The cases of poor ship navigation systems that brought down the titanic, poor reactor design that caused Chernobyl or improper spaceship design that caused the Columbia space shuttle problem show that no engineering discipline is perfect, and there are some conditions under which failure will occur. What this meant for the world of engineering was that there needed to be a renewed and vigorous attempt at reducing the chances of failure. And this was done, by pouring billions of dollars into finding solutions to these problems.
As a Computer Engineer, I have seen numerous folk segregate the field of Computer Engineering from the rest of the Engineering disciplines. I will vouch say that Engineering of IT and Computer Systems is very similar to any of the other Engineering fields. We did not decrease the investments in ship building because of titanic. Instead, we invested more, to try and build a safe and secure shipping industry. ( I love the ice breakers of today, they are such mean and strong machines, and they look so awesome when they crush the ice J
We have to realize the importance of the different pieces of technology that we have been blessed with. It’s a cost benefit analysis, and although it may sound crude, an engineering problem that is discovered is very likely a problem will be solved. I think the rapidity with which strides have been made in the area of Computer Technology is a tribute to the genius of humans. Once we are able to appreciate the usefulness of IT in modern life, and our ability to solve complex problems, I think we will be able to see that with enough focus in terms of human and non-human resources, we will be able to overcome the challenges that face the Industry.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Im an MBA Candidate!

Its Unbelievable but true. Im really doing my MBA, and its an old dream of mine coming true.

Toronto's Schulich School of Business has a very impressive feel to it. The facilities are very nice and the professors on the whole are good. You can visit the website at The students here are from a very varied background, with 70% being non-canadians, and believe me these guys are from all corners of the world.
We had a "Launch Week" here, and that was about some ice-breakers, speeches by some top people and some fun and dinners. Overall, it had the desired effect on us new-comers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


My friend Venky had over time educated me about the greatness of the man, about his strength, his courage, his empathy and love for the poor and above everything else, his complete control over his senses and faculties.
In "Baasha", Venky told me, Rajni decided to leave the violent life of a Mumbai underworld don behind, and become a simple autorickshaw driver in Chennai. There, a customer decides to pay Rs 0 after the commute, telling Rajni to "get lost". Rajni pleads with the customer, but to no avail. Its then that Rajni simply smiles at the arrogant upper class/caste fellow, moving away without so much as raising his finger. "There is only one man", said Venky, "just one man in the whole world who can do this". A little later, Rajni erroneously drives his rick into a thug infested chawl. A petty gunda calls Rajni over, and would you believe it, actually hits Rajni, even kicks him! "How dare you enter my area" he yells. Rajni, the ex-don, the all powerful super-hero simply looks on, smiles back and retreats. And Venky articulates with exagerrated emotion, " There is just one man in the whole world who can do that". It is during this period when Rajni is retreating that he notices the same gunda slapping a child. Now, that was something that he could not bear. He turns his rickshaw around, and gives a nasty pasting to the chap. "It was only after this that I started enjoying that movie", Venky says. "I tell you, I felt so very bad when people were ill treating our man".
After soaking up sustained pressure from Venky for more than two months, I finally succumbed. Today is not just another Sunday.. its my lucky sunday. Today, i get to watch the man that is popularly believed by most of the south to be the greatest man alive. Im going to watch a Rajnikanth movie! Its titled "Chandramukhi", and Rajni here is the infallible mind reader. I saw the movie through and through, and thought that it had the same basic theme, extolling all the great virtues of Rajni.
I have been thinking for quite some time now about the reasons for the love that people have for Rajni. And I decided that this was the weekend I would try and figure that out - by watching his movies. The South, by far, is the more prosperous portion of India. Be it the literacy levels, nutrition levels, or scores of other stastical measurements, the South is doing much better than the other parts of India. Its surely not true then, that there is some "brain-numbing virus" thats doing the rounds there.. we have brilliant people out there, and that is the reason most of the FDI comes directly into the lap of Karnataka or Tamil Nadu. No, theres got to be some other reason.
Anyway, after seeing the movie, my question still remained unanswered. There certainly was nothing in the movie to spark off such a craze. My conclusion - there was something in the people watching it! Tamil Nadu has most of the time had a film star as its CM, and the trend of worshipping their heroes started long back. Either it was Anna, or MGR, or some film star or the other. In each of their cases, you would find that their roles and films have been carefully crafted, each man trying to look more like a Robin Hood. In times of desperation, the masses in the South took solace from the kind heartedness that was shown to them by the super-heroes. Movies became more of a feel-good event, than entertainment. It is quite understandable then, that in Chennai, the density of pawn shops is higher close to movie theatres than elsewhere! This continued from the 50s, with the populace going through dire poverty, and very tough times. This generation might be seeing a more prosperous life, but some of the characteristics of the previous generation still lingers. In any case, my theory thus far is that all those hordes of people go to the cinema to feel good, and see one of their own beat up the bad guys, and have a man as great as Rajni look on at them with kind eyes.