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LinkedIn is new Facebook, while Facebook is really becoming Orkut!

WARNING: a long and probably pointless post :) so read only if you have nothing better to do :)

I signed up on Orkut and Facebok at almost same time (in 2006) … but still in my initial first three years – like most of my friends – I was mostly active on Orkut and I had no activity on Facebook.
You will think the migration from Orkut to Facebook was because of the user interface of Facebook … the world famous “facebook wall” :) that pulled me and most people to FB … which is partly correct. I definitely liked the way I can share links, videos, pictures and even thoughts and comments … and my friends and family can “like” and “comment” on all those things.
That was really a great innovation from Facebook.
But that was not what converted me.
What converted me was that all my friends started signing up on Facebook and started “using” it too … so while it was the user interface that pulled me up, it was my friends presence that made me stick to FB.
I remember at that time I posted a status on FB saying “Facebook is new Orkut” – I meant the experience of social networking.
I also put a permanent Orkut Status pointing to my Facebook page – much like “Out for Lunch” comment you see on a shop.
Orkut did realize much later that it is loosing and started fixing things up, but that was too late by then.
Soon I found myself growing farm, helping my wife, mom, dad, brother, cousins and friends on virtual Farming – until it became too much an obsession – and I really had to block Farmville :-)
Apart from that “farmville phase” I really liked the way I could share information with people close to me … and the world seemed beautiful!
Or so I thought … unless one fine day I logged in and saw certain changes.
I saw changes on Facebook wall page – the layout was changed – if I may say so “forcefully”.
The privacy settings where changed – If I may say so “forcefully”.
It was like you had a home sweet home, which you absolutely adored … and some outsider came and changed everything!
What was worse that “The outsider” didnt stop there … he went ahead and opened all doors and windows and then left – for the whole world to see what you are doing which you intended to share with your close family and friends.
I remember that phase where everyone who understood the changes – was panicked and had to go and review each and every door (privacy settings) and make sure they are locked up.
On the other hand – there must be millions oblivion to the privacy changes – who are not aware how and what of their private information is out there public now because of those changes.
What makes it worse it “The Outsider” did not stop there and kept “innovating” and changing the look and feel of FB every month or so … when you convince yourself to the new look, they will “innovate” and another look and force on you.
They will promote worthless and mindless applications and let people post them on my wall.
It is ironic that while two years back I made the comment “Facebook is becoming new Orkut” in a positive way – now I will have to say the same comment in a negative way.
Because Lately I have felt that Facebook is slowly becoming as cluttered as Orkut once became – and the FB experience is diminishing.
I thought that I am too small to “fight against the system” and hence will need to accept whatever form it may come in …. but what I did not know was there is another world that was being built out there, which I was totally Unaware of.
That was linkedin.
Linkedin was earlier supposed to be a “professional networking” site – everything about linkedin had an “official” feeling about it – the look, the people on there, the “profile” – everything.
But sometimes in last 6 months, they have ripped off the “facebook wall” experience – by just copying pasting it – and to be frank first I laughed about it!
I laughed earlier because I saw LinkedIn as a “loser” who I saw copying a well known “wall” concept from facebook – but later I appreciated them and see them as a winner because I see there are people who are actually using those tools to network – to brand themselves – to brand their companies – to share ideas.
What Linkedin has done correct here I think is so far they have a limited number of applications – twitter, books and so on – which are relevant to professional networking.
Plus since it is a “professional networking” site – so all those stupid kind of facebook applications and status (I am sleeping, I am shitting and so on) are not there.
Facebook wall on other hand has become a mockery of comical applications like “how beautiful you are”, “how will be your day today” and countless worthless applications – almost all of them I have blocked, but even then my wall seems like a garbage dump.
On the other hand – I think one feels a sense of responsibility before posting anything on Linkedin – so I believe it will be “clean” at least for some time to come.
This all made me think that “nothing is final” and we have not reached end of “social networking” world – it is still in innovation phase.
So, as you can see, there is no real point being made in this post – the only thing that I wanted to point out that “nothing is final” – when Orkut came I thought that is it in terms of innovation (why didnt I think of it) – then facebook came I thought that is it in terms of innovation (why didnt I think of it) – and now linkedin is innovating and may include certain features – which may not make them as popular as facebook, but will earn them a respectable place in the crowd of social networking sites.
Only time will tell. But so far I am loving the social networking experience – be it on facebook or twitter or linkedin.
To end this post I would share one dilemma I had initially – that was to choose between these three social networking sites – Facebook, Linkedin and twitter – but then I found there are many tools available to help you … and you dont really need to choose, but to integrate all those … the one tool I have liked most is “TweetDeck” – but that probably deserves a separate post.

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The Saraswati Puja of Bhandaridah (from late 1980s)

I noticed on my “Google Calendar” that today is Vasant Panchmi.

And I am getting so out of touch that I only remembered the name of this festival but I didnt remember what it is celebrated for. (yeah I hate to admit, but that is the truth)
So I googled again and opened up wikipedia:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasant_Panchami

Vasant Panchami (Devnagari:वसन्त पञ्चमी), sometimes referred to as Basant Panchami or Shree Panchami (Devnagari:श्रीपञ्चमी), is aHindu festival celebrating Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art. It is celebrated every year on the fifth day (Panchami) of the Indian month Magh (January-February), the first day of spring.

And when I saw “Saraswati Puja” – I was like wow!! That was one of the most celebrated festivals we used to have in Bhandaridah in late 1980s. How can I forget that?
I pinged my wife and here is the exact conversation that followed-
[ me ] : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasant_Panchami
[wifey]: i know
[wifey]: i used to wear yellow maxi on this day
[wifey]: when i was kid
[wifey]: it was v pretty dress
[wifey]: :-)
[wifey]: when is it?
[ me ] : today
[wifey]: oh
[wifey]: how do u know
[wifey]: do u celebrate ?
[ me ] : in bhandaridah saraswati puja was a big thing
[wifey]: hmmm
[ me ] : bachcha log used to take chanda from mohalla mohalla
[wifey]: :)
[ me ] : in our home – papa will easily give 10-20 rs
[wifey]: for me it was eating yellow things like tehri and wearing yellow clothes
[ me ] : mom will give 2 rs
[wifey]: :)
[ me ] : and so much bargaining mom will do
[ me ] : aunty 2 rupaye mein kya hoga
[ me ] : 2 rupaye bohot hai
[wifey]: :)
[ me ] : some regular bachcha log knew – (they were actually our old neighbours bhaiya log – babli bhaiya, etc)
[ me ] : they will ask me – vishu, papa hain kya?
[ me ] : achcha nahin hai – humlog baad mein aayenge
[wifey]: hmmm
[ me ] : then there will be small pandals in each mohalla of bhandariday
[ me ] : it will be holiday in school
[ me ] : so me & Amit will go each & every pandal and eat prasad
[ me ] : joined by other school friends
You can see just a simple mention of this festival caused both of us to start telling our own stories!! :)
I was thinking to myself it is amazing how important were these days in our life – but now we are not even aware that today is vasant panchmi / saraswati puja.
I wondered if 20 years from now same thing will happen – things which are absolutely dear to us now will become totally irrelevant 20 years from now?
It made me more nostalgic and I took the last arrow from my “tarkash” wikimapia/google maps – and zoomed in on Bhandaridah.
I zoomed in / zoomed out with awe – wondering if it’s still the same!?
I promised myself (yet once again, for the thousandth time) – that I will go back to visit this place, which is absolutely close to my heart.
I made a new promise to myself that not only will I go, but I will go there regularly – like every year or so!!!!!
To top it all – I made final promise to myself that when I retire, I will settle down at this place – on the bank of Damodar river – in a nice little cottage and spend last days of my life there. (which I think is not even possible, all the areas I know in Bhandaridah is government owned or politicians affected!) .. btw that reminded of the dialogue from Swades “apne hi pani mein pighal jaana baraf ka muqaddar hota hai, samjha dena us chokre ko!” – roughly translates to it’s ice destiny to melt and mix on its own water 😀 (sorry for the poor translation)
:coughs: … finally I just snapped out of the dream and remembered I have to finish things and I pinged my wife again-
[ me ] : will talk to you later on this
[ me ] : need to get back to work
[wifey]: :-)
…. and thus I came back to reality!!!

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twitter

How to effectively use twitter!!? (FIVE suggestions)

Note – this post is supposed to be both a joke and source of information at same time. :)
It is a joke because twitter gyan is coming from someone like me who hardly knows anything about twitter or microblogging.
Although I got a twitter account more than 2 years back.. but it was only recently that I started getting more and more active on twitter and actually even I am in middle of learning to effectively use this amazing tool – I am still not a twitaholic :) if I may say so, although not necessarily a bad thing I would say.
But still this post is supposed to be informative for people who have not yet adopted twitter, they constantly see it mentioned in traditional media – they are wondering from the sidelines, what is this ho-halla all about and is this for real?

Let me start by mentioning that this week I got few twitter replies from few Indian celebrities – and I will hate to admit that it really felt good :) … that is probably an understatement – I was actually grinning like a three year old girl :) … even my wife asked me what happened after seeing that unusual grin on my face :)

The first twitter reply came from a popular Indian blogger iPatrix who blogs here and twits here. The complete twit conversation can be followed here.
Second reply was by Academy Award nominee director Shekhar Kapur himself :) The complete conversation can be followed here.
Ok, enough of self promotion and congratulation. :) … I will get onto the subject now.
As for any journey, it is best to ask yourself following questions as you start your twitter journey-
1. Who is your target audience?
If I take my example – I have roughly 300 friends at facebook/orkut/linkedin (same friends everywhere :)) – and I do have constant interaction with them on all these social networking sites – and I feel totally connected.
But same is not true for twitter? why? many reasons-
a) There is very less number of my friends who have signed up on twitter.
b) Even lesser number from those signed up are those who actually tweet. (because most of them signed up and then got inactive after 1-2 tweets)
c) Lastly, it is almost negligible is those who tweet something I can relate to and want to reply or retweet.
So that makes twitter totally unfit to interact with my real world friends.
And that leaves twitter as a platform to interact with “strangers” – or more specifically with real world celebrities!!
And probably that is the reason why it is so popular among the celebrities. Because they have such an easy medium to reach out to masses, get direct feedback from the people that matters most – “the public”.
And for us also it is a great medium to get unbiased views from those larger than life celebrities – unfiltered and frank – some of them have god like stature and fan following.
And that brings answer to the first question we asked – one should use twitter mainly for celebrity following. (and that is my own personal opinion, you may agree or disagree – but I see twitter mainly for celebrity following)
Let’s move on to the next question-
2. Do I really have time and energy to use twitter? Why another social networking tool after so many that I already use?
That is a very relevant question.
Since we already spend too much time online – facebook, google, RSS, news – all those things combined take almost all of our time – some of which we should spend in “real world” with “real people networking” that matters most :)
Twitter is really a “timepass” tool – it should be done at the time say when you have time to play solitaire or minesweeper, that is you dont have anything else useful to do.
That is the reason I really got active on twitter only after I bought iphone recently- I bring it out when I am really not doing anything and start reading tweets, replying and retweeting.
And probably that is the reason I will say is that twitter is a mobile application (although they do have rigorous desktop support) – but mobile is what brings best in twitter experience.
3. Ok, I am signed up on twitter and ready to follow celebrities – but how?
The key to remember here is whomever you “follow” on twitter will start showing up on your twitter homepage.
This is good and bad.
Good if you are really a big-die-hard fan of someone, then you will definitely want his twit to appear on your twitter homepage.
This is exactly what I tried in beginning … since I dont have anyone particular I wanted to follow – so I tried following all of them!!
But then it made my twitter homepage cluttered with nonsense coming from all celebrities – most of which I didnt care about. That also made the more relevant tweets coming from my friends to get buried at back. (and there are very few of them as I mentioned already).
Twitter gods must have realized my dilemma as just then they introduced concept of “twitter lists” – where you can create a list of people, but you dont necessary follow them.
Hence I invested one of my weekends in trying that and burned a list of all Indian celebrities I wanted to follow through lists. (and I unfollowed all those celebrities too)
A note before I move on further – you dont need to invest your weekend burning a list like this. All you need to do is find a list created by anybody (I believe all lists are “public” by nature) and then use some of below tricks to “follow” it. It may again sound self-promotion, but you can follow my lists also if it saves you time.
Anyways, once I had those lists created – it opens up a new pandora box of opportunities how I want to follow those lists – which I am still experimenting with.
As a simple example – I created a mash up webpage – where all of the tweets show up real time – and that is one of my favourite timepass pages now. (rather than running here and there, just sit on this page and read them all).
When I got iphone, I tried few apps to find which one supports lists in a good way – and finally hit TweetDeck which has a good interface, just like I was looking for.
4. Setting the expectations correct!!
The last thing is that don’t expect to start having real conversations with Shahrukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar :) – or any other celebrities. You can start by following (or as mentioned just “list”ing) and just reading there tweets. Then you can retweet some of their tweets to share with your own friends (followers).
If you reply to their tweets – then expect no reply from them – as they get thousand tweets like yours – so the only way all can be replied if they have hired someone to pose as them, which will then defeat the whole purpose.
5. Updating multiple social networking sites status
Again taking my example – I have facebook, orkut, twitter, gtalk, linkedin accounts – and so many more. Everywhere I want to update my status and obviously doing it one by one will be foolish thing. Again, I am still experimenting on this one…. one site I did find useful till now is ping.fm – a simple and FREE service that makes updating your social networks a snap!
Having said all that, what are you waiting for … get on the tweet bandwagon and start chirping … i mean tweeting! :)

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Future of Iphone – Small(S), Medium (M), Large (L), Extra Large (XL) … or XXL!!

I saw Steve Job’s iphone keynote presentation three years back in 2007. (before it was launched and before it become a household name) … at that time hardly anyone knew about iphone (that is among my friends), but I was impressed at this first presentation itself and totally sold out.

Last week I finally bought one for myself (yeah I know .. am probably the last one on earth to buy it) … main reason for delay was I didnt think up until now that I will need a smartphone – I am connected to internet 24X7, my commute is 5 minute drive – hardly any travel – all that combined doesnt leave any room for smartphone use.
So there wasn’t really a need.
But alas my last phone crashed, and I had to “upgrade” … so I thought better get an iphone now! Why wait longer?
Then my greed grew :) and I was also thinking to get an ipad too – but again I dismissed it as I dont “need” it… but it led me to thinking.
I started downloading and experimenting with iphone apps – youtube, netflix, bbc and many games – while I was getting amazed it again caused my grey cells ringing and I started thinking more-
I thought it is amazing how unsatisfied we human beings are – 100 years back there was no medium for long distance communication. Then we invented Television, Phone, radio etc … but we were not satisfied!!
We invented cellphone, internet … but we were still not satisfied!!
Then we started merging all those technologies – so a cellphone is not only a phone, but it’s a camera, laptop, radio (ipod), tv (youtube and netflix on iphone) – all combined on an IPHONE.
By the fast pace we are going – probably in next 5-10 years we will be done with this merging – then how will it all look like?
How will the electronic devices around us look like – say in 2020?
Then this ipad sarcastic image came to my mind-
This image, although so hilarious – but probably it is true.
I dont own an IPAD, but going by the presentations on apple website – it looks like ipad is nothing but a bigger IPHONE. (with almost the same features)
And maybe that is they key to our answer.
I asked myself if in future IPAD will replace IPHONE or whether IPHONE will replace IPAD.
But then I felt that the very obvious answer is – neither.
Both of them have got its own use. You can not carry an ipad in your pocket .. neither can you browse internet continuously on an iphone. (eye strain)
So if all those electronic devices will coexist then they will all have same functionality – because of the merging – the only difference will be the size.
So your Television will also be a phone and a camera. Your tablet will also be a television and a phone. And the phone which is already a mini-computer and a television.
And this is not a forecast for future … this is already happening and we are probably in middle of it.
Based on this, the communication devices of future will be divided in categories based on Size alone-
1) Size Small communication devices (eg-iphone) – basically derivatives of cellphones
-basically a swiss army knife in your pocket … will have all features with size constraints
– face to face video chat will be a norm
– probably GPS will also be just another app
2) Size Medium communication devices (eg-ipad) – basically derivatives of laptop/tablets
– you can make any phone call also through this
– watch tv on this if you dont want to disturb whole family
3) Size Large communication device (eg- internet enabled TVs) – basically derivatives of TVs
4) XXL – is obviously the large flatscreens of today :) , but having all other features that say an iphone has.
I vaguely thought of below situation, so thought to put this too to end this post-
Imagine you are returning home from office. You are walking towards your car and you get a call from your dad – you pickup the call and while talking get into the car and then fix it as a GPS device, while you switch the call also to a face to face chat. Now you are driving while having face to face chat with dad (which sounds a bit dangerous too … like texting while driving, but that is a discussion for another day)
You reached home in 20 minutes and your dad wished to talk to your younger son who is playing scrabble on his ipad – now rather than handing him the phone, you just divert the call to the ipad and then your dad talks with his grandson while also playing a few moves on the scrabble game he was playing.
After 5 minutes chat, your dad wishes to talk to rest of the family who are in living room and watching “XX got talent” (where XX is the country you live in :) )
Again – rather than passing phone one by one, just divert the call to your TV and use TV remote to accept – and voila your grandpa is on life size video chat on TV. Talking with whole family like he is just on the other side of balcony window. :) … since your daughter is big fan of the TV show – so you may want to keep the TV show on mute on half of the screen too.
I can keep on thinking and adding more, but I guess I will stop here :)
Thanks for reading.

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twitter_india

List of Top Twitter Indian Celebrities

Lately there has been a flurry of Indian Celebrities on twitter!
First it was Shashi Tharoor who caught everybody’s attention by being “different” net-savvy kind of Indian politician, who garnered too much attention initially, but then probably fell in controversy trap by his holy cow comments and then finally some more controversy for being open and candid – as they say “going against party lines” – which finally did cost him his cabinet seat too.
Then there was a flurry of Bollywood and Media personalities – Konkona Sen, Gul Panag, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai – so on and so on. I myself used to follow most of the Indian celebrities earlier, but then I felt that they were creating too much “noise” on my twitter page! … lately I created twitter lists for them and then burnt those list on RSS and I read it on my feed reader (probably deserve a separate post to explain). However I got luxury to “unfollow” those celebrities on twitter because of above trick. (actually felt good to unfollow a celebrity lol 😉 )
Now, lately we are seeing the gods themselves joining the twitter – likes of Shahrukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik, Salman etc … “celebrity” is actually a very small word for these people, they enjoy nothing less than God stature in India. I think this will cause chain reaction for Indian twitter scene, causing more and more celebrities to join twitter – and hence more and more (usual) people (the aam aadmi) to join twitter too!
Anyways, I wanted to find out which Indian celebrities have most number of followers … where they stand compared to their global counterparts etc etc. I searched a little on internet but didn’t found any satisfactory result – so I knew will need to make my own list :(
So, here is a compilation – an excel sheet – of top twitter accounts from India. It took me a while to create this excel, but I guess it was totally worth it. (I guess I will keep updating it from time to time too.)
Note – Currently it has mostly bollywood entries only – I plan to add popular bloggers, media personalities, Indian journalists etc to make this list more complete, so do watch out this space. (if you find anyone missing, please mention on comments and I’ll add). Also, the 2nd last column in this sheet gives you the twitter link – in case you want to follow them individually. And the last columns gives you my twitter LIST link – in case you want to follow them thru LIST.
Again, this was manually created -so it doesn’t update automatically as #followers will increase/decrease in future. Here is a direct link to the sheet.
Postscripts-
I used twitaholic to find out “Global Twit rank”, although I guess there are few more sites which provide similar service of ranking twitter users based on number of followers. The first thing I notice – American celebrities have most number of followers, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga … you have them all with more than 1 million followers. This mainly reflects the internet penetration of America. India, as we know, has the worst internet penetration of the worlds, so it is not surprising that all the celebrities of India has less than 1 million followers.
I looked up twitaholic to find what is needed to be on Top and I found –
To reach Global Top 100 – more than 1,548,258 followers are needed
To reach Global Top 200 – more than 1,126,051 followers are needed
To reach Global Top 300 – more than 570,537 followers are needed
Shashi Tharoor is the only Indian personality who is in to Top 300, I guess soon he will be joined by the gods (Sachin, Shahrukh etc) and together they will rise to Top 200, and then probably to Top 100.
However, it may take some time for this to happen – a county of billion people, growing at 8% GDP – we are moving inch by inch, slow and steady as they say! It needs more than one thing to happen – good level of Internet penetration, then a good number of people should be on social networking sites, and hence on twitter. Probably a good number of mobile based internet users helps twitter too, as I have read and heard that most twitter users like to use twitter via mobile.
Finally, a good number of celebrities should also be on twitter and they should be active too (which is already happening)… so let’s see how it all goes!!
Final Postscript – there may be other PIOs (person of indian origin) and NRIs types, whom I have not included in this list. Eg – Padmasree , an IIT Delhi Alumnus has more than 1 million followers!
x
Updated Later-
I created a mashup page too – http://top-india-tweets.blogspot.com/

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Sapnon Se Bhare Naina (eyes full of dreams!)

So I watched “Luck by Chance” today … and it was definitely a good movie.

If you have not seen it yet, I will highly recommend to watch it first before reading this post any further… I have few spoilers ahead (but not too many).
Since you are still reading, I will assume that you have either seen the movie already or want to take the “risk” of consuming whatever spoiler I have, so here you go-
This movie revolves around two struggling actors in Bombay – Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan Akhtar) and Sona Mishra (Konkona Sen Sharma) – who are from “humble background” but trying to make it big in Bollywood.
As any other good movie, this movie has multitude of other interesting characters very well played by some of the best actors in Bollywood.
Incidentally, one thing which I really like about this movie is how all the actors are perfectly chosen for the role they are playing – they have either gone through similar experience in real life, or being close to film industry they know it very well “how it feels”.
For example – the two main leads Farhan and Konkona are perfect fit for the role they are playing. Konkona, I believe, has struggled a lot in real life to reach a position in film industry she is in today. I mean I don’t know her biography but we all have seen the zeal for her acting in each character she has played. Farhan too, although success as Director/Producer in real life, is struggling to make his place an actor. I am always a fan of Konkona. And though I liked many movies Farhan has been involved with … but now I have started to like Farhan too after seeing him in Karthik calling Karthik and Luck by Chance.
Then, apart from the main cast, we have Rishi Kapoor brilliantly playing a longtime successful bollywood producer “Romy Rolly” and Juhi Chawla as his wife “Minty Rolly” – both doing complete justice to their roles. Lastly, Dimple Kapadia as “Neena Walia” – a superhit star of 70s, Hrithik Roshan as a superhit star “Zaffar Khan” – are just few other samples from the movie!
Second thing which makes a movie special is “moments” which leave you deeply touched – like the way Farhan and Konkona keep encouraging each other, even if ridiculed by everyone else. or the one specific scene, which is title of this post too!
The “sapnon se bhare naina” scene ….!!!
So, it happens that Farhan distributes his photographs (portfolio as they call it) and then gets a call from a very big bollywood production house to meet next day. His happiness has no bounds, he tells everyone that he got the break he was waiting for … and then next day he goes to the place with great anticipation and confidence – he opens the door and then finds that there are like 100 more people called for the audition! … This is a shock both to him and audience (like me) as we assumed that he had got the break. But, as they say, truth is never simple! … the reality hits Vikram Jaisingh that nothing comes easy. A very aptly song is placed to capture the emotions “sapnon se bhare naina” – (brilliant song placement is the one thing that I like about bollywood movies, seriously :) ) – with that song playing – and in those 5 minutes – we see all emotions on Farhan’s face – him entering the scene with full of confidence, getting heartbroken to see the competition, look on his face trying to restore his confidence, looking around to weigh the competition he is about to face, helping out few people who are probably not as deserving as him? (somebody who cannot write in english?) … noticing new entrants to the scene who can pose significant challenge to him?
In short … it is not just about him alone, it is about the competition. You can watch that scene here embedded –
The movie then unfolds in a way that we see why it is called “Luck By Chance” – we get to see that it is not just about the talent, but right things happening at right place at right time which makes “success”. There are at least 5-6 events that happen which gets Vikram Jaisingh a lead role in the movie by a big production house. (I will let you watch the movie to find out what those events are) However, I can probably mention a chit-chat in the movie between Karan Johar (as Karan Johar) and Hrithik Roshan (as Zaffar Khan) – KJ says that most of the top bollywood actors are made because of sheer luck – Amitabh got Zanjeer only because 6-7 top actors rejected that movie. Shahrukh got Darr and Baazigar only because noone else at that time wanted to play such negative roles.
Still, the movie tells us that it is not luck alone which makes “success”. Farhan tells Konkona (before he becomes star) that it is upto us to choose success and failures – at every point in life! It is like we have both the options open to us – and what we choose is what we get! And he is right, we all know it, it sounds too good to be true, but it is… we need to take the first step towards success, it will not come to us on its own … right?
It reminds me of a doha by Kabirdas too –
“Jin Dhoondha Tin Paiyan, Gahire Pani Paith,
Main Bapura Boodan Dara, Raha Kinare Baith….”
Those who fear drowning cannot jump into the ocean and can’t get pearls and gems. But only those who are courageous enough to dive in the depth of ocean gets pearls and gems. One who is fearful of drowning simply sits near the bank, can not get anything and remains empty handed.
Anyways, LBC has interesting tidbits too … like loads of other stars playing themself – Abhishek, Akshaye, Diya Mirza etc. – and their interesting reactions as events unfold. There is Shahrukh’s special appearance too at almost the end of the movie – when Farhan has already become a big hit in Bollywood and then he meets SRK at a restaurant. SRK congratulates him and they sit together for light chit-chat. The conversation is interesting, As we know, SRK himself has come from very humble background – he is not any star son, but still the biggest bollywood actor currently – if I may say so. He gives simple tip to Vikram Jaisingh – “When success hits you, it’s hard to have balance and control over it – but still – one thing is make sure that you dont forget your old friends and family, who in someway are part of your success, and still they are the only ones who will give you fair criticism without any bias”
Vikram Jaisingh realizes his mistake – because he too alienated love of his life “Sona”, while trying to become a star. He then tries to fix it, but a very realistic and warm conversation happens between the two. The result is that they don’t reconcile (final spoiler, but I think gone are the days when we wanted hero-heroine to have “happy ending”, it feels good to have more realistic ending! And in final scene we see Konkona Sen happy and satisfied … she is in a taxi going to do “what she likes most” to work in Filmcity, Bombay…. and closing titles start, leaving me thinking about what all that happened.
So, as you can see, I really liked the movie. I mean there are very few movies that leaves me thinking while credits are rolling :-D. And there are very few movies from Bollywood which may not be be big hits, but I genuinely like and remember for long time. like “Tum Bin” and “Swades” – LBC (Luck by chance) probably is not in that top league, but it leaves similar experience.
PS – It will leave this post incomplete if I don’t mention the brilliant music by Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy. I feel ashamed to admit that it took me so much time to find this gem. You can listen here.

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Indian-idol-5

Indian Idol Season 5

In a world of reality shows, there are few TV shows which have been my favorite all these years. One of them is the “Indian Idol”.

I still remember the first few seasons when it was a new concept in India – reality show! – it was a fresh experience seeing “real” reactions of “real” contestants – watching them cry, watching them jump with joy – watching their journey from being an “aam aadmi” to become “celebrity”!
Actually at that time I didn’t even know that it’s a copy of “phoren shows” like the “American Idol” :) – and now once I know and even have seen few seasons of the American counterpart – I have felt that although there are uncanny resemblances but still the Indian version differs a lot from its American counterpart – I guess mainly because of the difference in Music. (American Music vs Indian Music)
Now, I am not an expert in Music, so I will not go dissecting the similarities and differences here … rather, I will jump straightaway to the reason that triggered this post.
So – Sunday evening – they were showing Indian Idol on my american TV :) , and its been a while since I have seen it – so I said why not?
Looks like it was the round just after the “audition round” where there were around 21-25 contestants and judges had to select 12-15 out of them. It must not be a hard task for the judges as most of the contestants seemed mediocre to me – some of them sounded better than the others, but we’ll see how it goes … there was one thing I’ll like to mention which irritated me was … many contestants when asked “why do you want to become Indian Idol” – were saying it will make “mummy papa” happy :) … literally, that was the answer! (lol :), nothing wrong with it, I mean it is good thing to be thankful to your parents, but still it felt like if they were lacking the confidence needed or probably just not have a good reason to mutter … anyways, whatever!)
And there was nervousness! (which is understandable, but still) … like there was one girl who tried to leave the show just because she didn’t get time to prepare songs overnight … like it happens the usual drama in a reality show, judges called Abhijeet Sawant (winner of first Indian Idol, and who is also hosting the current season) who gave an emotional speech of how much difficult was it at his time to win a show like that… so any contestant who really wants to win has go through all the challenges… there is no shortcut!
Anyways, next came a fat girl on stage with someone (his dad?) holding her hand and who looked more nervous than anyone on the show so far! … wtf! … just watch this video first before reading any further
First see video#1 roughly starting from 4 minutes 15 seconds … and then go on to video#2 )
So, you have seen the video? right? if not, I will recommend first see the video then read the rest of the post.
Anyways … so I really thought she is too nervous, that is why someone is holding her hand. But then Smita told me probably she is blind, so probably someone from Indian Idol team just helped her to reach till stage.
Then before I could think any further, judges asked her to sing a song “Namak Ishq Ka” which I have never heard of…. and she started singing ….
Now … I really had a “Susan Boyle Moment” when she started singing … her voice has such an amazing folk touch … plus Indian folk music is something which I am personally very fond of, probably everyone is … I think she did an amazing performance … all the judges were visibly impressed … Anu Malik commented that sounded like she had the most “pakad” on the “surs” among all the contestants they had that day. Another thing he mentioned, which I felt too, was that she emphasized very correctly on correct words in a correct manner – woh kehte hain na ki dil ki awaaz dil se aa rahi thi – I was really impressed.
So, like any “front pankti darshak” I immediately told Smita – she is going to be the winner of this season.
The only thing which both me and Smita didn’t like about her (just a little) is the way she dissed at small towns … lol :) … “chote shahar ke log … ek doosre ko kaatne mein lage rahte hain” … but that is all right I guess, the frustration comes in if you have talent and you don’t get chance.
Anyways, I see lot of potential in Meghna, so wish her best of luck … All the best to other contestants too which I have probably not heard too much, and who will give good challenge to Meghna.
That’s all I wanted to say in this post too :) … all “Indian Idol” fans out there – fasten your seat belts and get ready for another exciting season of Indian Idol.
May the best contestant win!:)
Added later-
I’ll just like to mention another contestant – a boy called Sattar Khan – whom I first heard on facebook/youtube.
That boy looked like he just came out of the street … or rather (as he told) his village having no electricity or any other connection to “outside world”. I mean he even looked like he had no formal training for singing, no guidance .. probably even never been to so called “civilized world” – but he did sounded like he had lots of potential!
So, it was painful to see him going out today .. without any mention (there was no drama … yeah, first I complain about drama and when there is none I ask why?).
There are much more boys like him on streets of India who have so much potential on so many things – they all just need proper grooming and opportunity – I blogged about it once before too.
So I just hope Sattar Khan gets a good teacher who grooms his talent – and Sattar makes a comeback someday.

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Din Hai Suhana Aaj Pehli Taarikh hai ..!! (It’s a beautiful/lovely day as it’s first day of the month!)

Kishore Kumar, as we know, has many gems to his credit, his movies and songs are funny as hell, like this one “pehli taarikh hai” … :)
For those who dont know him, he is one of the most famous bollywood actors from 50s – one thing about him which fascinated me as a child was that he was master of many trades, he used to do many things in bollywood – eg Direct/Act/Sing etc etc. His singing abilities actually deserve many separate posts. One of the most melodious singers from Bollywood – his songs are like wine which are getting better by age … I guess those songs are more popular in my generation than our parents generation, even if Kishore da belongs to our parents generation.
Btw, today is 1st May, and I saw this song (Din hai suhana) on facebook as somebody’s status – it brought back smiles and memories! :)
I could not find any translation for this, so thought to translate it myself – so that other (non hindi) people can enjoy it. Plus it is one of the songs where I thought I can do justice in the translation … without loosing the meaning in translation. (eg- once I tried translating “aaj mousam bada beimaan hai” on facebook, it was quite a disaster!). Still, if anyone has any suggestions/improvements, feel free to leave it in comments.
So, anyways, Here it goes …. first the song, then the translation done by me. (I found a youtube karaoke video as well, karaoke is not done by me)
Song
Din hai suhaana, aaj pehli tarikh hai :)
din hai suhaana, aaj pehli tarikh hai
khush hai zamaana, aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
biwi boli ghar zara jaldi se aana jaldi se aana
shaam ko piya ji hamein cinema dikhana hamein cinema dikhana
karo na bahaana haan bahaana bahaana
karo na bahaana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
kis ne pukara ruk gaya baabu
lala ji ki jaan aaj aaya hai kaabu aaya hai kaabu
o paisa zara laana o paisa zara laana .. laana laana
o paisa zara laana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
banda bekaar hai kismat ki maar hai
sab din ek hain roz e aitbaar hai
mujhe na sunana haan sunana sunana
mujhe na sunana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
dar ke saamne aaye mehmaan hain bade hi sharif hain
puraane meharbaan hain bade hi sharif hain puraane meharbaan hain
are jeb ko bachaana bachaana bachaana
jeb ko bachaana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
dil beqaraar hai soye nahi raat se
seth ji ko gham hai ki paiso chalo haath se
are lootega khazaana khazaana khazaana
lootega khazaana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
aye cinema waalon aao aao khel mazedaar hai
ho khel mazedaar hai ji khel mazedaar hai
agha hai bhagwan hai kishore kumar hai
nimmi geeta bali hai ashok kumar hai
nargis raj kapoor hai dilip kumar hai
geeton ka toofan hai naach ki bahaar hai naach ki bahaar hai
paanch aane ka das aana
paanch aane ka das aana
paanch aane ka das aana
are waapas nahi jaana jaana jaana
waapas nahi jaana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
mil jul ke bachchon ne baapu ko gherabaapu ko ghera
kehte hain saare ki baapu hai mera baapu hai mera
khilone zara laana khilone zara laana aaj pheli tareekh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
din hai suhaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
khush hai zamaana aaj pehli tarikh hai
pehli tarikh aji pehli tarikh hai
Translation (I tried my best not to loose the style, even if had to compromise a little on meaning)
It’s a beautiful/lovely day as it’s first day of the month :)
It’s a beautiful/lovely day as it’s first day of the month :)
The world is happy as it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
Wife said – today come back home early – hey – come back home early
In evening – my darling – take me to the cinema – take me to the cinema
Don’t make excuses – Don’t make excuses
Don’t make excuses – it’s first day of the month !
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
“who called me” – the gentleman stopped
lalajee (community famous for lending) has finally caught him today at right time
Oh! .. give me my money …. give me my money … give me give me ..
Give me my money – it’s first day of the month!
The world is happy – it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
This dude is unemployed – it’s bad luck for him!
Everyday is same for him – everyday is Sunday for him!
Don’t tell me – Don’t tell me – Don’t tell me …
The world is happy – it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
There are guests in front of my door … they are very gentleman
They have done favours for me long time back – they are very gentleman
Hey … save your pocket (money) – save save save
Save your pocket (money) – it’s first day of the month
The world is happy – it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
The heart is restless, have not slept since the night!
Seth ji (famous as misers) is saddened by the fact that money is going out of hand!
Oh! … the treasure will be looted … the treasure – treasure – treasure
The treasure will be looted – it’s first day of the month
The world is happy – it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
Hey Cinema goers – come – come, the game is fun!
The game is fun, hey, the game is fun
There is Aagha, Bhagwaan, Kishore Kumar
Nimmi, Geeta Bali and Ashok Kumar are there (Ashok Kumar is another very famous bollywood actor, and incidentally Kishore’s brother)
Nargis, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar are there
There is storm of Songs … the dance is like springtime … the dance is like springtime
Five Aana for TEN aana
Five Aana for TEN aana
Five Aana for TEN aana (referring to black ticketing, I hear was very popular in India earlier :) )
Oh! don’t go back, don’t go back
Don’t go back – it’s first day of the month
The world is happy – it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
The kids got together and encircled their father! .. encircled their father
Everyone is saying – it’s his father, it’s his father
Please bring me some toys, bring me some toys – it’s first day of the month
The world is happy – it’s first day of the month
It’s first day of the month … hey … it’s first day of the month
Once again, my apologies for any errors.
PS – in 2nd last para there is reference to famous bollywood actors from 50s era – interestingly Kishore Kumar referred himself too as third person …. I thought to end this post by a slide of those people being referred to, who once ruled the silver screen-

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HCL India Walk-ins on 24th & 25th April

Email me for my “employee number” if you are interested-

HCL India Walk-ins on 24th & 25th April
· Please find below the Walk-in events for April 24 & 25, 2010 (between 10 am and 4 pm). Share the Walk-in details with your referral and ask them to participate in any of these events by quoting your employee number.
Date, SPOC & Walk-in Venue Skill-set Details Yrs of Exp. Role Work Location
April 24, 2010 Kingsly Stephen Baldwin Boys’ High School, No. 14, Hosur Road, Richmond Town, Bangalore BIS / Data warehousing Cognos, Informatica, MSBI, Datastage, Microstrategy 4-12 SSE / Lead / PM / Architect Bangalore / Chennai / Noida
Middleware TIBCO, Oracle Fusion, Architect / PM any Integration 4-12 SSE / Lead / PM / Architect Bangalore / Chennai / Noida
Legacy Systems Mainframe, AS400, Assembler 4-6 SSE / Lead Chennai
Testing Performance / Automation Testing, Siebel Testing, SAP Testing 4-12 SSE / Lead / Test Manager / Architect Bangalore / Chennai / Noida
Content Management Filenet, Documentum, Sharepoint, Interwoven 4-12 SSE / Lead / PM / Architect Chennai / Noida
April 24 & 25, 2010 Vandana Nayar, Bangalore Priya D, Chennai HCL Technologies Ltd. The Senate, #33A Ulsoor, Bangalore

HCL Technologies Ltd. No. 34 & 35 Haddows Road, Chennai

Java Framework : Spring / Hibernate, Design Concepts, Preferred Domain: Banking 6-12 Lead / PM Bangalore / Chennai
C++ Knowledge of corresponding language features, STL, Pointers 4-12 SSE / Lead / PM Bangalore / Chennai
Oracle Database Oracle Database Concepts PL/ SQL, Performance tuning preferably in UNIX environment 6-12 Lead / PM Bangalore / Chennai
SQL Server SQL Database concepts, SQL queries, DTS 6-12 Lead / PM Bangalore / Chennai
Scripting UNIX Scripting, Shell Scripting, Perl 4-12 SSE / Lead / PM Bangalore / Chennai
Sybase Sybase Database Concepts, Queries, Performance Tuning 4-12 SSE / Lead / PM Bangalore / Chennai
Business Analyst Risk & Compliance, Portfolio Management, Performance & Attribution, Clearing & Settlement, Corporate Action, Data Management, Custody, Asset & Wealth Management, commodities, Equities, Fixed Income, FOREX, Derivatives, Core Banking, Payment & Cards, Life Insurance & Pensions 6+ Associate BA / BA / Lead BA Bangalore / Chennai
Project Managers / Program Managers PMP/ ITIL certification, with working experience on development and support project environment in the BFSI space 10+ PM Bangalore / Chennai
April 24, 2010 Srinivasa Rao HCL Technologies Ltd. No. 184-188, Arcot Road, Vadapalani, Chennai C++ C++ on Linux / Unix 3-12 LE / TL / TM Chennai
Embedded Embedded C, CAN, RS232, Matlab, UML, Rhapsody, Embedded XP 4-10 LE / TL / TM Chennai
L2/L3 L2 / L3 Protocol Testing and Development 4-12 LE / TL / TM Chennai
April 24, 2010 Kallol Chakraborty HCL Technologies Ltd. A-8&9, Sec-60, Noida C / C++ GSM / GPRS / 2G / 3G / PBX / SIP –DECT / IP Phone Development 5-9 LE / TL / TM Noida
Device Drivers Linux Drivers 5-9 LE / TL / TM Noida
Value Added Services(VAS) MMSC / SMSC / VMS 5-9 LE / TL / TM Noida
ATG ATG E-commerce 5-12 LE / TL / TM Noida
BI SQL BI (SSRS / SSIS / SSAS) 5-9 LE / TL / TM Noida
Mobile Technologies J2ME / Andriod / iPhone / Symbian / Blackberry 5-8 LE / TL / TM Noida
Automation Testing Perl / Shell Scripting 5-8 LE / TL / TM Noida
April 24, 2010 Girish Chandra VM HCL Technologies Ltd. Surya Sapphire, Plot no 3, 1st phase, Electronics City, Bangalore Device Drivers C programming with UNIX / Linux internals 5-10 LE / TL / TM Bangalore / Chennai
Device Drivers, Storage / network drivers, TCP / IP
iSCSI, IPC mechanisms and multi-threading
SAN SAN Testing and SAN Development 5-10 LE / TL / TM Bangalore


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The Train Sequence from “Chronicles of Narnia”

It was February 2007, I was on my flight from US to India – on a journey to start another journey (to get married :) )
Anyways, I was browsing through in flight movies, just killing time, and thought to watch one of the movies about “lions” and “witches” – which sounded quit boring as a concept!! :)
The movie started with what looked like a world war scene – “another world war movie” I thought.
So I was contemplating changing the movie, but then suddenly the tone of the movie changed.
In place of fighter aircrafts bombing European towns, now the scene was of a train going through green fields and hills – with four brothers and sisters on that train, leaving their home behind and going to a place unfamiliar to them!
The music being played on background was one of the most beautiful music I have ever heard (later I came to know it’s “Evacuating London”) – I think that scene/song combination had that dreamy effect when “everything else disappears and you feel all alone” – although I was surrounded by hundreds of tired, cranky flight passengers!
In short, I dont know why but that train sequence immediately touched me, even now when few years have passed by, and I have seen that scene multiple times – but still when I see that scene I feel something which is hard to explain. Even that song is always on “Top Played” song list in my itunes! :)
That movie itself is one of my favorites, there are other scenes in movie which I like too – eg. the one where Lucy takes away the big drape of clothe from the “wardrobe” or the one where she goes again followed by her brother Edmund – so dreamy… still my fav part of the movie is undoubtedly that train sequence.
Hmm!
Come to think of it … this fascination with trains could be because of the train journeys I have gone through with my family (papa, mom & bhaiya) in my earlier years – like every summer vacation going to meet relatives, cousins when I was very young … I think I used to wait whole year for those train journeys … I think I loved to watch the landscape from the train (still do)
I can even recommend two of my most frequented and favorite train routes –
Chandrapura to Patna on “Superfast” train :) [Map] –
This journey starts from an Industrial / coal mine belt of Bihar – the chota nagpur area – then it goes to more green places in Bihar, I think it passes some of the greenest parts and probably deepest “ghati’s” of Bihar. The Ghatis (valley) are so deep that one would have goose bumps just looking down the window. Lastly, I think my favourite part was those three tunnels it used to cross on that route, I think it was of favorite of almost everyone on that train (when train used to come out of tunnel – I think 80% of passengers used to have smiles on their faces . rest 20% looked indifferent, like it was just a short blip to whatever they were doing – like reading, chatting etc)
Delhi to Gaya on Neelanchal/Puri express [Map]-
These trips were taken later part of my years (age 10-16 I guess) … most of these trips were accompanied by Mom. Chatting with Mom and watching landscape was the usual pass time, but not enough to cover whole journey, so I started adding more ideas on those journeys – like carrying a diary and noting down things. Like, one wierd idea was to note down each and every station that comes en route. (there are 10-15 “big stations” on that route, they come on interval of 1-2 hours each. However every 3-4 minute the train passes “small stations”, which are small enough for the “express” train to not stop there.)
Now, this was a good passtime, as I was able to enjoy landscape and do something “productive” :) …. the problem was I was not able to jot down the complete list in one journey – because a) I used to be asleep half of the time and b) the train runs at high speed, so it is easy to miss if you are not attentive enough.
You can imagine that I had to get prepared/attentive before the station is coming (usual signs were field will start disappearing, the train tracks will start increasing – like one track is giving birth to two tracks etc 😀 … and you can guess how “big” the station is by observing the number of track increase)
Finally I had the complete list after 3-4 tours of the same route (means 3-4 years, since we used to go each summer vacation) – that list later became one of my proud possession :). In later journeys I will still carry that diary with me … just to predict exactly how many minutes it will take to reach next “big station”, and amuse my mom & brother and fellow passengers. Note – the usual “train time tables” only used to have “big station names” but my database had both big & small train stations! … see! :)
Looks like I am getting carried away on this topic :) … but that will explain my passion for this topic :)
So, anyways, there are still many more journeys which I have not taken yet, which I plan to do some point of my life – India is such a big country, the most of which I have not seen. Places where I feel I am suppose to go, but have not been yet. People I feel I am suppose to meet, but have not met.
for now, I can just dream on … thinking that someday I will! … probably someday I will have complete database of all small stations all across India!! 😀
Found the image here – with a caption of – “A rare photo of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and bullock carts” — ca. 1930, Darjeeling, India — A steam driven passenger train negotiates a bend on a narrow track which descends towards Darjeeling. Two “brake men” ride at the rear of the end carriage. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

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