The visionary turned arm-twister – Airtel.

Arguably, airtel provides one of the best cellular networks in India. In fact I have stuck on to airtel across the states, and the theory has been ascertained every single time, and generally speaking, I’ve not had much to complain about.

Now, I am contemplating switching to other providers, even though I can see that some of them offer services and interfaces which pale in comparison to Airtel.

With the emergence of all the Internet based communication offerings, the temperature in voice calls space has heated up somewhat, but airtel seems to have gotten it’s dance steps wrong and looks like a it’s reacting more than anything.

First they come up with the concept of differential pricing for types of data, which lead to all the debate on net neutrality.

Now again, they’re back. After having introduced the 4G network in various cities across the country, they are in a way “trying” to influence people into upgrading to that.

Earlier, it was about some lures like : Upgrade to 4G for the price of 3G, and stuff, but now I feel, the 3G network that I currently use, seems to be more flaky than before.

Also, complain to them about any of the broadband (fixed line) problems, and their sales team gets to you with a pitch about 4G hotspot.

The other “nail in the coffin” as far as I am concerned turned out to be when I traveled to a few places in Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. I’m not so sure to absolutely conclude it yet, but I have a hunch that the airtel network in south is not as big a deal. At least in 3 points I have experienced other phones (than airtel) to be working whereas airtel connection had stutters and drops.

Also the fact that airtel is the arm twister is not that big a secret. Following observation should suffice to say that.

The broadband plans they offered when I was in Delhi looked like over priced, and their services were nothing much to rave about either. So when I compared their offerings in NCR with that in Bangalore, I was in for a surprise. Simply being cut to size.

For putting it in numbers, compare the following:

  • Gurgaon plan : Rs. 1200 for 15GB @ 2Mbps.
  • Bangalore plan : Rs. 1100 for 60GB @ 8Mbps.

Looks like because of a monopoly in NCR they’re extorting what they can. I wonder how will I manage if I need to shift to NCR. 🙂

As for Airtel the saying holds : Make hay while the sun shines.

Since when?

It seems we have become so hooked up to worldly charms, that at times when I look at my and my peers life I feel a little taken aback.

We have become such big time consumers, that the joy of been producing(creating) something has been lost. No body cares much about it these days anyways.

Where is the creativity…..

We all strive for those big moments and special occasions,

we forget the simple pleasures like playing crazy in the mud, and flying kites and playing marbles.

Where is the leisure……

We judge people right from the onset, how one talks and how one walks,

Where has the hanging out with someone, irrespective of the differences.

Is innocence dead……


We are so defined been selling liners that we have tuned our lives to follow them like the rats followed a certain Mr. Pied Piper.

  • Since when did friday become a reason to thank God?
  • Since when did retail become equal to therapy?
  • Since when did the phone become a fashion statement?
  • Since when did the car become man who’s made a comeback?
  • Since when did having fun become equivalent to being frivolous in spending?
  • Are diamonds really a girl’s best friends?
  • Must the kids have a PSx, and a xbox in order to be in the game?
  • Since when did the moment on Karaoke culture become so cool?
  • A gift for someone you love, is chocolate/jewellery/electronics  now, not time ….


I admit to being guilty on many of these accounts, and more such as,

Having more movies than I can watch, and more music than I can possibly listen to.

Being spoilt for choices on what I can eat, and end up eating trash.

Being entertained all the time, with computer, internet, and mobile phones. There’s lesser of moments when I am with myself.



I don’t like where this is going, but it felt real good to blow this off.

writing can be fun too! 🙂


Mumbai … why?

This is becoming a real nuisance now. These blasts. I always fail to understand why such a cosmopolitan area, where people are mostly educated, and of a real hetrogonous mix gets it again and again. Last weekend was the first time I ever went to the city, and I had all the expectations from it.

So many people who have been there have expressed their fondness for the place, it was as though I had a mental image of the place even before I had set foot in there.

Despite the high expectations, which usually lead to disappointment more often than not, I had a fabulous experience at the place. It seems to be a place out of India (in a very good way).

The architecture is great, the weather fabulous, the people totally cool, and the Sea … breathtaking.

I pray.

God grant the families who have lost, the strength and the will to carry on.

The ones who are responsible to be caught, tried and punished.

Mumbai, you were beautiful, you’re beautiful, you will remain to me

Don’t lose the hope ..  just before the dawn, the darkest it will be.



So who has got it right?

Well, off late, there has been much hue and cry about apple iphone 4 and it’s shortcomings. If apple is trying it’s hand at alternate marketing strategy, the plan clearly seems to be working.

Amongst the many flaws cited, the battery indicator not being accurate is something I could not raise my eyebrows upon. Despite having had 5 phones (of different brands, must I add), I have come to conclusion that battery indication has never been what user (or I) expect it to be.

I want my charge indicator to be a bar with linear dependency, with the slope indicating my phone’s battery consumption rate.

In not so technical terms :

If I know I can talk for 4 hours, on a full charge, I should be able to assume, that I can talk safely for 2 hours, if I see my battery bar to be 50 %. Well, I’m claiming it has never been so. The time I get before I draw first blood from my phone’s battery meter, is so not an sign of how the phone’s going to behave for the rest of the battery charge. The speed of bars diminishing picks up like a freight train and by the time it reaches its last few, I am pretty sure it’ll not even withstand a 5 minute call.

I have had the chance of observing this phenomena on Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson phone.

Looks like battery charge calculation does not burn down linearly. Imagine the marketing people’s glee when this problem gets addressed.

“Presenting (finally) , the phone which shows your exact battery charge left!”

Wishful thinking! Maybe iphone’s tenth iteration would have that.

Shmearth hour.

It is amazing, really how media does transform something which is a simple concept to something probably larger than life. Such as the concept “earth hour”,  in India. It is funny, jarring, disappointing how people are having says and intents about the earth hour. I mean seriously, how relevant is it. And why should politicians/actors be so interested?

Again I’m not the one who has done the research on figures and facts, but I’ve seen the kind of emissions one has on roads these days. Why doesn’t government put a serious check on the number of vehicles running on the road? Not only does it clog up the flow of traffic, causing inconvenience to many a people, and also, with each extra minute a vehicle spends running, amounting to addition to harmful chemicals in the “pure” atmosphere.

I mean I haven’t seen Shiela Dixit come up and say … “Delhiites …. carpool benefits by government agenda”. Why not tax the  people who have in excess of a certain number of cars.

Then I’ve seen people crib a lot about lack of public transport here as opposed to other cities. I think whatever the government does, where Delhi would fall flat on its face is scalability issues. I guess the sheer number of takers is so huge, that whatever they decide to pitch in, would be insufficient, and inefficient. Like the ordering of fleet of buses. I still see them loaded, and crammed with people. And more the number, bigger the original traffic problem. sigh….

I think the new revolutionary idea would be something on the lines of pooling the resources, and utilizing from the pool. Like people pitch in to have a fleet of cars, and they can raise requests, to use a car from that fleet. When a bunch of them need it to travel in the same route, we have a cheap run. When someone wishes for an exotic run, that’s an expensive run. One necessary requirement to accomplish this would be the real-time communication of a persons whereabouts and their plan of travels.

Anyways,  ideas galore, but Shiela Dixit can only think of raising the numbers. More busses = solving immediate problems. And when she appears on-screen with SRK or someone suggesting you to switch lights for the earth hour, remember, it’s just a gimmick. And if your friends call up how they are doing their bit by turning off their own lights …. they’ve just been roped in.

Did I turn off lights during the earth hour? I didn’t have to. there was no electricity.

Why do people play?

The Game

Means to a freedom

Curiously, people around me give me the puzzled look, when I say I like playing a game. Folks around (especially in India) still assume that playing something is an activity that can only be associated with kids. “Even looked down upon!”.

How often, I have seen people raise their brows when I tell them I like to play badminton. Frankly, I’ve even lost count. Or gotten so used to this sequence that I reply mechanically, along these lines.

Them: So, what do you do on weekends.

Me: Well, there are many things, but one thing is certain … I play badminton in the morning.

Them: ugh… (pausing to digest what I said)… So, do you like play professionally, like state level or something.

Me: No, I’m not so good (or dedicated) at it. I just shoot some with friends. Like passing of time. No professional training 🙂

Them: Ah…. (and the topic shifts to more elderly stuff). So have you tried this new Beer.

Anyways, the beer seems like a great conversation starter. For me, however, all beer are the same so I go like “naah … I do not like beer”. And it pretty much slaughters the conversation (and stomps on its carcass). I guess I get branded as an immature imbecile.

So, anyways, back the point. What makes me get up, grab that racquet and knock a few. Well, I could think of a few.

  • It is great physical activity. As it is, my daily activities don’t leave much room for me to exercise the muscles, so I give my entire body, a chance to loosen up, and feel alive. I mean, I agree to “I think, therefore I am”, but I also believe in “I move, therefore I am happy.”
  • It requires me to be spontaneous. Ever finished something just in the nick of time? That is a very relaxing feeling. Now, playing (successfully) a return to a killer smash, or a far fetched shot.Very relaxing indeed.
  • It teaches me to be patient. (Wow, ain’t that like opposite of what I just said). There are some skills, that just don’t develop overnight. Like developing a nice serve. It’s through the process of trial and error, and a lot of reflective thinking. Nothing short of a well calculated scientific experiment.Well, inching closer to a player look up to is a very satisfying feeling. But it doesn’t happen in a day. May take months, or years (yeah, there’s a chance it might not happen at all 🙂 ).
  • It’s  therapeutic, like meditation. Allow me to explain. All the time during the day, I use my head to decide, contemplate and plan, for most of the things which are tangible or even hypothetical. Even when I’m not working. I mean, who doesn’t think, worry at times, and get stressed out. But, for those 15 minutes or so, Every thing ceases to be. As clichéd as this may sound, but for that span of time, I stop being an ideal worker, great son, nice brother, good friend. All I become is this machine, and out to decimate my opponents (or yea, save my ass from being blown away 🙂 )

Music 2.0

How do you listen to Music ?

I mean, gone are the days where you’d proudly buy a shiny new CD, and listen it over and again, till you would have it playing in your imagination, and consequently get bored, and repeat the process for another shiny new CD.

Some people say, that they prefer listening to the Radio, because of it’s unpredictable nature. With the collection you compile, and play, you’d know what to expect, often when to expect it too, so yes, that also does get boring after a while.

But the fact is, that these people are not too hung up about the unpredictable nature of the radio. They like certain shows, that play similar kind of music, though not the same. This keeps the “element of surprise” intact. If I’d give them a really random sample, chances are, they will detest it.

So, what I’d like to know is how to discover new music, with gradually drifting across genres and artists, so that the progression seems natural, yet, the collection is vast enough to not give an impression of being repetitive.

I used to listen to, even made a mythtv plugin to tune into genres, and similar artists type stations, but has made the service restricted to non-paying users, and we cannot use any player to stream their content. It would be good, if I(and a group of friends), decide to catalog my entire music collection, and then use some hi-fi algorithm to dish out the proper songs.

I’m pretty sure there’s already such a service up and running, or some solution to set up the kind of service on my local machine.  Just need to find out what it is. Amarok already has a fancy logic in moodbar. I think it garners it’s statistics from sites like, and others.

I used to believe that if I write some CD’s/mp3 in my music player, I would never get bored if I could play them in shuffle mode. But I think I need a mechanism to add new finds in there, update listening orders to something that is not as naïve as shuffle, and remove songs from the list which I don’t listen to as often. And it should also sync to all my music playing devices. And it should not overwhelm me with the number of tracks it has to offer. What I need for starters is this:

A total of 50 tracks:

  • with 10 new songs
  • and 10 recommended songs,
  • and 10 favorites,
  • and 10 similar artists,
  • and 10 similar genre

Phew. This should be enough for me to last an average day. Any idea, on how can it be done?

Social music is the need of hour.

Nightmare in the morning.

Morning is a time, I really feel great. However there’s a stress factor, that has crept up in a way which could be best described as stealthy. Well, to tell the entire truth it’s mix of factors, but it’s shaken me enough to take notice and possibly try to solve the problem.

The reason is this : I hate going to office.

Now, before any conclusions are drawn, and I get a label, let me clarify. The place I have to head to, after getting up from a peaceful night’s sleep, is so detached from peace as fish are from air. To be more precise, it’s a painting of chaos, with a myriad of colors, that are predominantly dull gray, and dirty brown. The drive up till there, is often filled with incidents, accidents, and spats amongst drivers due to road rage and bad mood of people in general.

Although, a distance of only 7 kms separates my workplace from my house, the drive on an average 30 minutes long. And not the best 30 mins of my life, in fact something I dread.

I work in a company whose office is in Udyog Vihar, Electronic City. At times I do wonder what is the reason for such a mismatched name. There is nothing electronic about the city. There are no roads(if you don’t consider old, tattered mud and stone lined pathways) , no sense of driving among people, traffic policemen, who seem more apt at managing a herd of cattle, rather than automotive traffic.

Also, there is this string of huge factories, with Maruti Udyog as a central crown jewel, that contribute in there special ways, to have another dimension to the chaos. The fleet of trucks that emerge from the premises of these factories are humongous, and for a unseasoned driver, the encounter can be pretty daunting.

I have to pass a round about near my house, which is full of people, at that point of time, so I get bogged there. Soon, I reach an intersection, where it takes me a minimum of 25% of my travel time to get across. many people, spontaneously decide to switch lanes there, cutting the flow of following traffic, and at times leading to a deadlock. According to me, a U-turn at that intersection is probably the cause of much of the evil. Anyways, 100 meters up ahead, another intersection. Here the mood of majority of the people is to take U-turn, and that cuts off the following traffic.

After I get past that, and drive for a couple of kilometers, into the vicinity of Maruti Udyog, it’s the huge trailers, and trucks that decide to play boogie.  If any one of those trucks decide to take a U-turn, they cut off the swarm of other smaller vehicles following them. At times, they are deadlocked by the swarm of smaller vehicles on the opposite side of the road. So the swarm of cars behind these trucks grow into a honking mob of drivers yelling out profanities and trying to hustle their way past each other.

If I am lucky (many a times I have to re route my approach to come from an equally jammed street, but in circumstances,  seems an easier deal), I reach to the final turning to my office. I get into a narrow street with cars parked at both sides me doing a slow and cautious driving as if I’m asked to strictly follow my nose. Very disturbing.

Finally, my office parking lot. It’s a mess. The stupid managers cannot seem to come up with a solution. I have thought over it myself, and I have something, which could be handy. But not the management at my office. They do not anything of that. Anyways, after squeezing my car into a tiniest of slots, I go ahead to walk to my office building. That is the time I start breathing easy.

And I have just described the best of weather/seasons here. Add to it a rainy day, and consider the place to be nightmarish, as in the skill levels of quake 3.

Sorry. Is that really what you mean?

Amongst other categorizations of people,  here’s a rather interesting one. The people in the particular segment are losers, but hey .. what the heck? They continue to be.

Of course people make blunders. There might be few who never seem to, but I call them lucky.

Anyways, people make mistakes. In the process,  some people hurt others, maybe unintentionally. Others have no plans of resurrecting the wrongful deed, which they deem righteous, or admit that their act is dastardly. And , yet, there are types, who’d say … “Oh I’m really sorry”, without even reflecting to what they’re saying.

They are schmucks!

Choice is good, but with a reason

Well, this post is going to be rant.

I am a gadget freak… I have realized it off late. As much as I try to convince myself otherwise . That being said, let me also re emphasize . If a brand comes out with a new product (say apple, and their iphone 3g fiasco, for the sake of example), I’m not interested, till I find a use for it. I do not swear by brands.

Well, nonetheless, I also have realized, that I am an audiophile. Good sound delights me in a way that snazzy interface would probably affect mac users. We all have our poison. If you are beginning to think this one’s against apple here, lemme clear it out, no I am not in a position to crib against them. Not a single apple product till date. They just make a good example of “obsessed people”, and crazy marketing.

Now, well, back to business….

So, I like good audio. I have lots of products from sony. (Naturally, you might say). O sony .. why must you do this to your users. The headphones are great. I’m loving it, even as I type out this post. But there’s a string (or shall we call it the sony proprietary connector …. eyuuch ) attached to my phone. What a totally useless piece of engineering. I mean look at the number of exposed pins( and the size). Looks like a recipe for disaster, as compared to plain old USB B mini.

So, I used to think, sony must’ve got it wrong, you know back in the ol’ days, of lesser standards, and days of experimentation. Look at the picture now. There have been more and enough people who crib about the same problem. Connectors of Sony Walkman phones go bust (aren’t they bound to). My second set of headphones are giving problems, and never have the plain ol’ 3.5 mm stereo connectors suggested anything to those lines. Not even the usb mini ones. Some of the design should be based on experiences, you know, they aren’t kidding when they say that time is the best teacher. The standards are based on the usability, and not due to a desire to capture the market. So who seems goofy now ? Go take a look at the newer lines of Sony phones. They have only one probable line of reasoning … backward compatibility (yeah, with crap).

Sony, when, most of the products are talking nicely of convergence, and well they also put their dollars where there mouth is. Yea I’m talking of memory cards. Nokia, motorola , and a lot of cameras, couple of other gadgets use a SD card. Seems good. Why must Sony products use a MS pro … I have a PSP, plays well with my other sony stuff, but very recently I bought a Nokia product(I am not a brand driven person) . Quite naturally, it won’t be allowed to exist in my Sony device ecosystem. So then, I have slowly come to a realization … Sony is not as sweet as it once seemed. Well, if only they could give me a reasoning for:

  • SD card has open specs as opposed to Sony MS crap.
  • SD card is generally cheaper around the market. go check yourself.
  • So, does MS pro offer any technological advantages? Not that I can think of.. or know .
  • Well, so all of you people, snared in Sony world, I urge you to reconsider your next Sony purchase?Is it worth it.Audio stuff from Sony is good, no doubt, but clearly, the company has decided that it does not intend to play around nicely to others, which I feel is a very bad policy, in today’s market.

    So, what are the alternatives for common sony products, like walkman phones , PSP, and PS3, good headphones?Baah… must go out  and buy a new memory stick.