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Archive for December, 2006


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Konark, Orissa

The Konark Wheel, The Sun Temple, Konark

The Sun Temple, Konark

The Sun Temple, Konark

Buddha, Shanti Stupa, Dhauli

Buddha, Shanti Stupa, Dhauli

The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Below the Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

Below the Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

City of Blinding Lights -- Park Street, Kolkata

City of Blinding Lights — Park Street, Kolkata at 1750 Hours

All pictures taken this month while I travelled to Orissa and Kolkata. Your comments, as always, welcome.

Written by aditya kumar

December 28th, 2006 at 1:22 am

Posted in Personal


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Though I have always believed that Indians have been, on the whole, more open to changes related to technology, I have also found out how various (Indian) organizations, which would have otherwise benefited from people using more technology, have failed to realise this and have lost a lot of money and goodwill, on the way.

I regularly use the Netbanking service of the bank that I bank with. Today when I accessed their website, instead of the usual login page, it showed me a message that promised a “host of new features” and gave me a brief account of each one of them. Everything alright except for the fact that since they were “busy”, “incorporating” those features in their website, I would not be able to access my account till the 22nd of December. That is tomorrow and I am not sure for how long this message has been online.

I can’t imagine this is real because these guys don’t appear a wee bit apologetic about it. Whats worse is that when you sign up, these banks portray Netbanking facility as a “substitute” for visiting the bank. So in effect this is equivalent to “closing” the bank for those number of days. And there is no apology whatsoever. To me, this is an indication of how strongly they feel about this mode of banking and how seriously they take it, nevermind those “new features”.

And the talk about “being busy” while “incorporating the features”. Maintenance of a website is not like the maintenance of a bike or a car, where you can’t use the vehicle until the job is done. It’s more like filling the air in your vehicle’s tyres while the engine is running. In effect, during the upgrade, certain features might be unavailable, but that is all. In websites (web applications) that handle data of a much larger magnitude than of a typical bank, the maintenance job never takes more than a few hours. And in here in this case, the same thing has gone on for more than a day.

Update:In a bid to give a quality Banking experience, things may have to be double checked and it could take a while. The Service Quality team took the initiative of talking at length about the whole issue with me. I must mention that they promptly addressed this issue by explaining me why it took so long, the causes that were responsible for it and it gave me a picture of their commitment to their customers for a better quality of service.

Written by aditya kumar

December 22nd, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Personal,Technology


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Now that I have travelled to all the four metros of the country (and lived for 10 years in two of them), I hereby proclaim that Kolkata is the most metropolitan city of all.

You could be surprised but that is what I feel. Of course, like always, you may or may not agree with me.

Let’s go at the beginning. Let’s just ask ourselves, and this is a tricky one, what exactly is a metropolitan city? Is it high rise buildings? Is it the big roads and the transportation that makes a city a metro? Is it the food? Is it the dressing style of the people? Is it People?

I think in the acceptability of various cultures lies the real essence of any metropolitan city. High rise buildings are only a few decades old.

When I went to Kolkata, I had to look at it as a metro. I had expectations but looking at this city, I wanted to go back and check out the meaning of the word “Metropolitan”. I needed to evaluate the city but I was forced to re-evaluate the benchmarks first. Because I feel, over the years, the definition of a Metropolitan city has been messed up with.

In Kolkata, there is a certain openness to everything. Because when a guy from Bangalore walks on chowringhee road, they don’t call him a madrasi like they do in Delhi. Because there they start off their first sentence in Bengali and by noticing your bewildered look, they smile and say it again in Hindi. Because there the UP wallahs and the Biharis are considered partners at work, rather than being treated as outsiders as they put up with the cheap rhetoric of Shiv Sena in Mumbai. In Kolkata, you can have tea for Re.1.50 and then you can have it for Rs.10 as well.

At the same time, I know, Mumbai has a big heart. But Kolkata isn’t that bad too.


The lair of The Maharaja

Coming to another aspect, and an important one, you can almost feel the pain of Ganguly’s 10 month exile in every man’s heart. I was made to feel a sinner when I confessed that I had almost forgotten Chappell’s obscene gesture to the crowd at the Eden Gardens. It’s fresh in the minds here as if it was yesterday. They have not forgiven the coach over that. They never will, I can tell you that.

The cook who prepared the fine meals for me in the mess I stayed in, never looked much of a talkative guy. Until, while he served me a bowl of rosogollas, I asked if he had ever been to the Eden Gardens. He gave me a look, as if I had asked him one of the stupidiest questions. Well, maybe I just had. Kolkata resident not been to Eden! And then a sudden smile, a glitter in the eyes and the tone of his voice revealed that I had set him off. Eden Gardens, many times! How can you come up with that? Right, stupid me. A gentle loosener to start up with, so to say. Hit for a six alright.

Then on to Saurav Ganguly. Has he ever seen him play? Oh yes sir, sure, he has played near our guest house. A day before the news was confirmed, about Ganguly’s inclusion in the test team. So what did he had to say about the Maharaja being out of the team for such a long time?

“No, the cry is not because a Bengali player was axed from the team. The problem is with the way it happened. Bengali or not, he deserved better”.

No doubt, he did deserve better and maybe he will get to that. I often heard Pradeep Vijaykar on radio. He always said that the people of Kolkata have an immense knowledge of the game. That is just so true — You can almost feel it here. They live for it. They think about it when they walk. They have cups of tea, discussing what went wrong the other day as if they could have changed the way it all went. An average Kolkata resident will be able to match his wits against the best of commentators on ESPN, that is the level of their matured opinions. To call Cricket “just a game” will be dishonoring their respect, knowledge and above all the love for the game.

I have heard they are more passionate about Football. I didn’t get to that. And trust me, I can’t imagine that.

Written by aditya kumar

December 18th, 2006 at 12:13 am

God Inc.

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Orissa may be the land of temples and The Holy city of Puri may as well be its “Temple capital”, but my stay there was a terrible story in itself.

According to the Hindu mythology, we are living in the Kalyuga — The material age and the one in which mankind will be the farthest away from God. Ironically, the house of God has not been spared and that is what you get to see in this land of temples.

A kind of place where any conversation with a stranger often leads to some kind of “payment” from your side. Priests eye your wallets and object if you do not “donate” enough in the temples. I had a row with a couple of them, for a few moments I wanted to leave the place there and then. But I asked God, what had gone wrong there, why was this holy land transformed into a “wholesale market” of Gods. Religion, a big and probably, the only, enterprise here.

The only saving grace being the wonderful architecture of the temples. The remenants of a wonderful age, a truly holy past — now in ruins.

Written by aditya kumar

December 17th, 2006 at 8:18 pm

Posted in Personal,Society,Travel


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…after a long and exhaustive trip from Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

More on it, soon.

Written by aditya kumar

December 10th, 2006 at 11:04 pm

Posted in Personal,Travel


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As I write this, India has just won their first ever Twenty game.

It finishes within 4 hours, a timespan little over than a Bollywood flick, provides a carnival like atmosphere for the players and spectators, a high degree of excitement. They say that this game could be the future of Cricket. All said and done, I think that would be jumping to conclusions. But who knows — better would be to wait and watch.

I just hope that don’t overdo it and make it like present one-day cricket. Too much of this would kill the excitement. The game I just witnessed was taken lightly, by the spectators and it appeared to me, by the cricketing teams as well.

Cricket, I think they’ve (We’ve?) made it too serious. Too much analysis, too much news, things blown out of proportion back home in India. There are problems, and serious problems of course, but it goes a little overboard at times. This new format brings out a message, clear and simple: Keep the seriousness for the One-Dayers and the Tests. Let things loose for Twenty20 and when this is played between a high-pressure one day series, it brings just the respite to the players. Point is, this will taste best when used as a catalyst.

Now coming to ESPN’s splendid coverage of the game. The most interesting part of the whole setup was the captain conversing with the commentator, while fielding and managing things. Imagine Sehwag, talking on your television while he is fielding at the slips. He was practically shouting and meanwhile revealing how they address each other — “Zaaki”, “Mongi” and “Irfaan”. Then said, “Would be great to get one more wicket here, Ravi” and just then was Kemp out and there was that exulting shout.

I just hope that this is the win that gets the team together. It’s incredible how much difference a win can make, especially after a string of losses. Just after the win, they spoke to Sreesanth, Irfan and Karthik on the field. Small conversations, at different times, with each of these players. What interesting was that they all conveyed one point — that may this be the win that gets things going. I just got a feeling, somewhere these guys really want to get things going, (as they put it) and they are feeling the heat, the past few months have been pinching them hard.

A good game of cricket, after a long time. Not just because they won, but more because they fought for it.

Meanwhile, travelling time. I am off to Kolkata and then to Orissa for a week.

Just out and roaming.

Written by aditya kumar

December 2nd, 2006 at 1:31 am

Posted in Cricket,Personal