Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Apoorva Version 26.0

Phew! And WOOT! Its officially here. Last night, mid-night to be precise, Apoorva Version 26.0 finally went live! The latest release from the Apoorva Series.

Compared to Version 25.0 this version has:

  • More smooth (my bald head) and rounded (my stomach) features.
  • More availability (weight+mass).
  • Much more silent version, does not make as much noise as the 25.
  • Upgraded culinary skills (comes with tandoor grill + kabab maker).
  • Much better AI. This version will not beat you up as much as the previous version (even if it was just for the heck of it).
  • Better negotiation skills. Upgraded from "Retreiving cricket balls from hostile apartment complex residents" to "getting bugs fixed from hostile developers".

Some issues which could not be resolved in this version and exist since version 0.0

  • Unexpectedly goes into sleep mode.
  • Too much use of "energy-saver" mode (read: lazy).
  • Falls into an infinite loop when consuming fat-rich food. Violent actions need to be taken for termination.

Compatible users not found till date. Please apply to check if you qualify for a free trial.

Everyone, thank you for your wishes!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Gujju Capers

Well, a few months back I had accepted the fact that I look Gujju (read Donate some Soogar on Me). Today, I accept it again. At work, we have 4 Indians besides myself. My roomie, another lady who is from the south, third who is a Gujju gentleman (call him Vipul) in his 40's and a girl from Baroda!!

Today, another Indian looking person walked in with Vipul. As expected, they were talking in Gujarati. A new hire it seems. Must be touching 50. So I got introduced to Mr. Patel. Ah... genuine Gujju last name! Pure breed Gujju I said to myself!

So Mr.Patel started off in Gujarati with me from the word GO!! Fortunately I can understand Gujarati (anyone staying in Mumbai has to!!) and can speak enough Gujju to put my point across. I am also helped by the fact that some of my close family friends with whom I share a brother-sister type relationship happen to be Gujarati. Also my family history traces back to Gujarat (no wonder I look Gujju).

Anyhoo, Patel bhai was blowing all guns in Gujarati standing right in front of my office while I refused to give in and answered back in English. By this time everyone passing by was wondering what he is talking? Within 5 minutes of being introduced to him, I already had all inquisitive questions coming my way.

"Where are you from?" (Tamhe kyathee chho?)


I could see the disappointment on his face. He was expecting Ahmedabad I am sure!

"Your base in USA?" (USA maa base kya chey tamharo?)

I wondered if I looked like some military establishment or something... consultants are supposed to be nomads. But they have a base which is where their family lives, I suppose...

"I am kinda all over, yesterday it was California, today its here, in between that it was New Jersey, Delaware etc."

His reaction to the word New Jersey was as if I was his long lost brother. So Patel bhais eyes light up :

"New Jersey! I am from New Jersey. Where you in New Jersey?" (verbatim)

"Jersey City & Edison & Fort..."

"Ooooooh. I am from Union. I have car. Every weekend I go, you can come along. He he he!"

"Oh Union very nice, thats where Navratri happens in full flow"

Mr. Patel seemed all fired up by now.... the rest of the conversation is bizzare. I am trying to forget it. I need that flash light thingy from MIB (Men in Black) which can erase your memory over a given span of time. Agent J, hit me with that right NOW!!!

Heres to Khamand, Jalebi & Daal Dhoklii!!! (actually I love all 3 of them!)

While I am at it, check out Cheap Guju. And please, no offense!


To get any stationary at work we have to place orders through the person incharge (for those who might wonder as you read on: you dont pay for it, the company pays). Last week a mail went out on the listserv saying we better be stocked up for a while, no last minute running around. So I picked up the booklet which lists the items (and this is like a 1000 page booklet which covered everything from pencils to underwear) and picked what I needed, mostly limited to writing pads, binders & folders. Throw in a couple of sticky-note pads here n there (I am doing ok with underwear right now). Jotted down the item code and gave them to the person in charge.

The next day she gets back to me saying I need to fill up a standardized form and anything starting with item code 7510 needed government clearance (or something like that) and I couldn't order them. Oh ok... I redo the list (painfully).

Today i was told I could come and pick the stuff up. So I walk down to the supplies room and find this whole cart with boxes awaiting me. The stuff in it looks enough to last my entire department for a few years!

So here is the blunder. When you put the number one (1) in front of "Sticky Notes" 4"X6", you are ordering one box. One box has 10 sticky note pads. Every pad contains some 100 sticky notes. Brilliant!!! Right now my office is overflowing with card-board boxes packed with some 40 writing pads, 20 binders.... you name it!

When you place orders, I think one should have someone review them. Its common sense one person does not need 20 packets of sticky notes or 40 writing pads.

Anyways, I am having a yard sale this weekend if the weather holds. Sticky notes, writing pads, paper holder clips etc. going really cheap. Drop by if you are around!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Aishwarya Rai. Perfect?

Today I was at Bally's, waiting in line for the treadmill. With me was this American person who might be in his 40's. This is how the conversation between him and me went:

He: Where are you from?
I : Originally from India.
He: Hmm... so do you get to go back often?
I : Yeah, well, I have been around for 4 years and been there twice.

Both nod, and silence for a while. Background sounds of people running on the treadmill.

He: This Indian actress, she was on this show few weeks ago... you know who I am talking about?
I : Aishwarya Rai...
He: Man, she is like so beautiful. I mean, of anyone I have seen, she is the closest to PERFECT!!
I : Well, if you are calling her close to perfect then I should say you havent seen half of the women in India!!
He: Really? I thought she was awesome!
I : I am not saying she is not awesome. She is awesome. But I can point you to many Indian women who are much, much more perfect than her!

Someone got done with the treadmill then and the new Aishwarya fan had to get onto it for his run. But I just gave one person the false impression that half of Indian women population are Aishwarya Rai look-alikes.

Wont I make an amazing ambassador for our country?

Oh, by the way, Aishwarya, if you are reading this, I am just kidding. Definitely you are awesome and I have probably not seen someone as awesome as you on screen! Could I take you for dinner sometime?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Doctors Doctor.

Jim is a doctor by profession and works with our company in clinical trials. A very senior person but always comes out joking about something or the other. He is the kind of person who is always smiling, and standing right next to you when you are in a tight spot with a witty comment on the tip of his tongue which will have you in splits. I had the opportunity of having lunch with him once - well, it was lunch for me. Jim was dieting. He just sat there listening to me complain that the data is not clean and giving some funny advice - "You are the programmer - Manipulate It!!"

Jim was all about how he is highly over-weight and the efforts he is putting into reducing. Skip a meal and the only meal you have should be a salad. He claimed one would see the difference in 2 weeks.

Today we had an employee meeting to discuss some results of our ongoing trials. Before such an event starts the lobby is always filled with Donuts and coffee. So I walked into the lobby and somehow resisted the fresh smell of coffee and donuts while everyone around me made a dash for it! Suddenly I saw our Director and in conversation with him was Jim. Jim with a huge double chocolate donut!

The following has been defined by my co-workers as a suicidal act, or more realistically - "An act which says - FIRE ME." I butted into the conversation between Jim and my Director, patted Jim on his back and said (a little louder than I normally am), "No Jim, you shouldn't." Jim had half the donut in his mouth. At the back of my mind I was wondering "What am I doing?" Jim looked at me a little puzzled. My Director wondered what the hell am I talking? And then Jim said, "Heck, you are right." and threw the donut into the trash. My director was in splits and asked who was the doctor here? By this time half the people had seen my bold act. Most of them kept the donuts back. Those who managed to finish the one they had taken did so with a lot of guilt.

Jim believes that his wife has hired me to spy on him! Ha! I need to hire someone to spy on me when I treat myself to fat rich food!

Oh, anyone want any donuts? There are many now in our office cafeteria!

Bumpy Ride

Abbs has a very hilarious description of how the Mumbai roads and the roadwork make a car ride so very enjoyable. Also the sign which says:

Go Slow, work in progress

now takes a completely different meaning -


Check out
"Go Slow Work In Progress"

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Duh commercials, NCAA defeat & run struggle

Sorry, but couldnt think of a better title.

"Try our detergent and if you dont like it, the next one is free"

Thats what one of the commercials said. Dont remember which detergent it was, but heck.... if I dont like your product, why would I even want a second one? Even if its free? Duh!!

The playoffs for NCAA Basketball started yesterday. The whole of yesterday goes without any major upsets. Today.... the first major upset - Syracuse! Sniff! The Orangemen lost to Vermont in overtime. 70-67 I believe. I think I was one of the lucky few to be part of Syracuse the year we won the NCAA championships. One of the few to witness semi-nude people running on the streets when it was pouring snow. One of the few people to witness Marshall Mall packed to capacity after the victory.

Also struggling is the Indian cricket team (at least as I write this). Is Pak gonna kick our rear? I wonder...

Next year I wanna be at the
Software Development West.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

911... finally!

It finally happened! Finally I dialled 911! I had always wondered what happens when you dial 911 and had heard different stories from different people. But firstly, why did I dial 911? No, I was not assualted and NO, I did not get drunk and forget where I live. As I walked up to my car Monday night I realised the dumpster was on fire. Not a small fire this... huge one. Enough to roast a few humans. Fortunately the dumpster is in one lone corner of the parking lot so the fire would not spread but if the flames got any higher.... there were trees!

Anyways, calling 911 is really simple. All you do is dial 911! Heh!

Someone at the other end notes down your problem, your name, address and telephone number you are calling from. In less than 2 minutes the fire brigade (I still love calling them fire brigade) turns up.

I also hear you are charged a little extra for calling 911? I'll let you know when I get my phone bill!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mental Inside

Just got this mail from Dad. Its just 4 lines which say:

Lot of Indians are now employed at Intel. So the latest joke is:

Quoting Chidanand Rajghatta:

" Intel outside
Patel inside "

Just for those who aint that acquainted with the Indian tradition of last names, Patel is the most common last name you would find for Indians in USA. Actually if you see a huge group of Indians heading your way and you say - "Hey Patel", at least a couple of them will look your way and say Hello!

When I was in India last year I picked up this cool shirt which has the Intel logo (you know that customary circle with "Intel Inside"). The only change in the logo on my shirt is it says "Mental Inside". waiting for an appropriate day to wear it to work!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Data v/s Information

Being a statistical programmer, its imperative to be working with data analysts. Here is a beautiful example on how data transforms into information (after a little manipulation)

The difference between data and information:

"362436" --> Data.

"36-24-36" --> Information.

The Concept is Simple

The simplest things done in the simplest manner end up having the wildest impact. All you need is a video recorder (your web cam will do), a mike and a sound system. Then you do what this chap did and end up being scobelized. A simple home made video. I say this could turn out into a brilliant form of marketting....

Can you believe it, this chap in the video (Gary) feels ashamed of the video and is hiding somewhere. Hey, if it was me, I would enjoy my 2 minutes of fame!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Can drive, cant license!

My good friend Bakshi found himself in a confusing situation. I dont blame him, since I am confused too (altho' I serve as no benchmark). Since I am not the victim, I can afford to laugh it off.

Bakshi (I might sometime call him Adit) goes to get a drivers license (the test is in Syracuse). Now, the NY state law allows you to drive in the state on an Indian license. Not an International Drivers Permit (IDP) but the regular license you might get in Mumbai/Delhi etc. if you ever care to take a test. Just for the record, Adit has driven a hell lot in USA. As a matter of fact I have had the opportunity to experience his driving skills during our 4th July road-trip!

So where was I? Yeah... the funny/confusing/frustrating part. Adit rents a car from Enterprise ($50) for the day and drives to his test arena. How did he rent without a license you ask? He has an Indian license and he is in NY State(you need to read the above carefully). So Adit is face to face with the chap who is supposed to conduct his test. Lets call him Mr. Testy. So, Mr. Testy asks Adit where the accompanying driver of his car is to which Adit replies he is the only driver. Apparently Mr. Testy is alarmed that Adit drove all the way for his exam, without a drivers license. When explained that Adit has an Indian license the chap says he still needs a licensed driver with Adit to take the test.

So you see the funny part. Adit can rent a car. Adit can drive in NY State. Adit can speed beyond 65 mph and get a ticket. Adit can do all this alone. Adit can drive to the test arena alone. But the test wont be taken till Adit has a licensed driver next to him.

Not funny?


Check this
video. Its funny!