Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Life's Most Expensive Mistake [Fiction]

Snow DustingImage by Captain Kirt via Flickr
The cold wind was blowing hard and fierce. My face was getting dry. This was the first time I experienced sub zero temperatures. The snow flakes would occassionally get into my mouth. I and my uncle were returning after purchasing clothes from the so called 'after christmas clearance sale'. When we got down from the car, we took all those bags and we hurried our way to home. We had to just go some 100 odd feet, but buffetted by the chill wind and not wearing enough winter clothes it felt like a mile to go and we were literally running. After reaching home, I ran hot water through my hands - I had thought that I got frostbite.

We settled down, drank hot coffee and were started watching 'Headline News'. After about an hour, we started opening the bags to show the clothes to aunt. I was very happy because it was the first time I was buying something for myself after coming to USA with my own hard earned money. I was particulary proud that I could buy original branded items of Nike etc, which I could never dream of while in India. My smiles were broken by my uncle, "Did we not buy that green colored T Shirt of Calvin Klein?". "Of course, we did." I said in a normal tone with no clue of what more was about to come. "I can't find it in here, why don't you search it and show it to your aunt?". "Haha, how could you become this tired, you haven't checked all those bags that are out of reach. Your software job has made you sedentary. Anyways here it is" I said, with smiles again coming up because that was a 50$ T shirt, the most expensive of them all and the best I liked. I reached out inside the bag but it turned out to be a pair of socks and some other stuff. With a minor sigh, I reached out to other bags and checked out. It wasn't there. A second round, much more carefully - it wasn't there. I checked out the bill - it had been billed. I felt as if I was standing out there in the chill. "Damn, how could this happen?" I asked myself. "Hey don't worry, may be its in the car itself. Anyways we will check out tomorrow morning when we will go to the temple". "Oh come on, we will check out now". "I am too tired. Will have to wear all those winter stuff again. May be you could go and check out". "That sounds great" and in no time I put on my jacket and now I put my gloves. "Or leave it as such". I could sense that he was afraid to give me the keys. "Huh, of course I know how to open and close a car with your remote controlled key. Now give it to me". I grabbed it and went out. Again the winds. Lost in thoughts, I was walking slowly in the ice "Damn damn damn, how did that happen? Ok keep your mind calm, where would I have left it? Did I take it from the counter? Yes. Did I.. Oh here is the car." I used the remote key to unlock the car and then checked out thoroughly. No, it wasn't there. The truth is I had lost it. I sat in the driver's seat and wanted to drive back to Macys. "I wish I had a driver's licence". I switched on the heater inside the car and was lost in thoughts. My uncle called me on phone asking me why I was taking so long. "I am on my way.." I said and hurriedly got down, locked the car, made sure it was locked again and started walking back. Suddenly I felt that I hadn't switched off the heater. Then I told to myself that "If I remove the key it would be off". But I ran back to the car and unlocked it and saw that everything was off. I also checked whether the headlights were off. My alter ego was screaming at me now. I talked sense to it in a melodramatic tone "All my life I have been very careful. Thats how I have been able to succeed and thats the reason I am here. I haven't lost anything in my life. Now when unfortunate things like this happen, you got to be a little more careful. So what I did now was sensible.. ". My alter ego was screaming loudly. Realizing that I was lost in thoughts, I forced myself to carefully look around while walking back home to see whether we had dropped the bag. I reached home and I scolded Murphy for his stupid law. "Well, this might be the most expensive mistake I had ever made. But this is the last. I swear in the name of.. " again lost in thoughts, I was interrupted by my uncle "So you didn't find it? Hmm.. Don't worry. It happens (he meant 'Shit happens'). Forget it now, lets have lunch..". It took me longer to digest the bitter truth than the food.

The next day morning, we were ready to go to the temple. As we reached the car parking area, my uncle said to me. "I thought I had parked my car here." There was some other car. Horrified, realized that I hadn't locked the car the second time and I knew what my most expensive mistake was.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lost In Hong Kong

The iconic Star Ferry on one of its nine-minute voyages across the Victoria HarbourImage via WikipediaMarch 1st to March 6th of 2008 might very well be some of the most exciting days in my life, or rather in 'our' life. To put it straight, I, Sai Prashanth and Robin Anil went to Hong Kong for our Business Plan presentation. And Hong Kong was simply awesome.
It all started last year around March when I had an idea (great one, of course :P). But as such, I couldn't do anything about it. Then came Google Product Prodigy contest, in which I and Sai Prashanth submitted the idea. We got into the finals, but couldn't submit the product due to some inherent technical problems. Then came Trilogy - Pirates of the Corporate, which was a business plan contest. What was cool about it was that the winner will be funded $100,000 for a startup, and as seed money, that amount it too great for anybody to start off. For a comparison, many other venture capitals fund about say $10k as seed amount. But, $100k would mean a stake of 25% in the company. Even though it is a different fact that we were not selected as the winners on grounds of security concerns of the product, it was a nice experience overall. :)
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

FeedBurner Initiative

As you can see at the right hand side (if you are in my blog), I have switched over to the overly popular FeedBurner to burn my feeds and present it to you. FeedBurner gives lots of advantages like being able to find out how many subscribers you have etc. I am not going to into the details.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One hour please?

Photo taken by me as an example of a stay at home dad and kids.Image from WikipediaI got this in a mail. It was simply amazing:

man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: "Daddy, may I ask you a question?"
DAD: "Yeah sure, what is it?" replied the man.
SON: "Daddy, how much do you
make an hour?"
DAD: "That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?" the man said angrily.
SON: "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?"
DAD: "If you must know, I make Rs.100 an hour."
SON: "Oh," the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: "Daddy, may I please borrow Rs.50?"

The father was furious, "If the only
reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior."

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that Rs.50 and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door. "Are you asleep, son?" He asked.

"No daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy.
"I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier" said the man.
"It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you.. Here's the Rs.50 you asked for."
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. "Oh, thank you daddy!" He yelled.

Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

"Why do you want more money if you already have some?" the father grumbled.

"Because I didn't have enough, but now I do," the little boy replied.

"Daddy, I have Rs.100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?

Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.

Do remember to share that Rs.100 worth of your time with someone you love.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Travelling Soldier

Statue dedicated to the traveller.  Oviedo, Spain.Image from WikipediaDecisions

Each decision counts. Each one.

Either you wake up now and start your day or press the snooze button. Either you choose to go to college or bunk it.

As you walk forward in the journey called your life, you have to make decisions regarding which road to take. Sometimes, there are clear directions to your destination, but sometimes there aren't any at all. All you can do is to decide which road next to follow based on your gut feeling, and with each decision you make, your course of journey changes, irreversibly.

There I stand on the crossroads, unable to decide on which of one to take. I recall Robert Frost's "Road Less Traveled":


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

-Robert Frost

I am sorry that I can't travel both. Neither can I stand there indefinitely. I need to decide and move on. Life is made up of a series of decisions, each one changing the course of it. You eventually decide wake up and go to your classes.

Keep your destination clear in mind and believe that whatever you do is for the good, and you shall never repent. Hope is what keeps us running. It is with the hope that tomorrow's morning will be bright that we go to sleep today.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The meaning of Life

What is it?

Its on a Sunday evening that I started introspecting and wondering about the meaning of life. This animation called life, this river that alters the course of life of others as it passes by, this gift given by someone up there beyond our understanding, this one beautiful recipe that tastes both joyish and sorrowish, this drama where some play big and some ever get noticed, what is it, what is its meaning?

As I stand in my room with my eyes closed, listening to the plain music that flows and fills the surroundings, I try to think about what I want out of my life? All I feel is a sense of deep silence and whenever I do this again, the question eludes me to the deepest of its mysteries. Why is it that on this road, we can only see backwards and not see what is at the front? Steve Jobs beautifully summarizes life:

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life"

And so what is my next dot going to be? Is it something that I know? I am never sure of what is going to happen tomorrow, may be that is something that keeps life interesting. If God ever came to me and asked what I would want, what would be my wish? I don't know and I never would know. I many times come up with an answer and it amuses me that each time its different. That is why, I tell God to deal with the problem of others, but I just ask him this one thing - that each and every decision I take, I would never like to repent in the future and I ask him for the strength to be able to face the results. After all, its these decisions that mark the dots on the canvas called life.

Further Reading : Steve Jobs' Commencement Address at Stanford

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Some Photoshop Effects

Glass Text

Text removed from a shiny curved surface (and thats what I tried)

Reflection Effect. The text is kept on a table. I attempted to portray looking from the left hand side so that one side is bigger and the other is smaller, though it doesn't exactly look like what I anticipated.

Wondering why all these texts are 'Yeah'? More about it later..

Friday, February 15, 2008

And I am Proud..

I made a donation to Wikipedia!

It was a trivial amount of $3.00, but that was the first amount that I earned online!
PayPal turned out to be incredibly useful, since I don't have a credit card. I had earned the money by answering two questions in
I was really excited to earn real money online through While I was walking alone yesterday, it occurred to me that I don't have to depend on this small earnings (neither am I going to get it in hand without having a credit card) that I get through these stuff, then why not put it in an useful way. Why not help other people who really need it. Drops of water make an ocean, so if you too join me with even say $3, it will be useful a lot to these people!
I initially tried to donate to Orphanages etc, but they either had a minimum balance of $5.00 or they required credit card. I had neither. My balance in PayPal was $3.00
So I donated to Wikipedia, which didn't have any these constraints.
Join me to help Wiki!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Flock Browser

I love Flock Browser. And I mean it.

Flock is a browser based on Mozilla Firefox. It is supposed to be a social networking browser and yeah it is! There is a nice side bar that opens up showing your various friends on social networks, your RSS feeds, a photo uploader, a media bar!

Its great for Bloggers as it is possible to keep various blog accounts signed into and at the click of a button a window appears where you can type blog and publish it instantly. No need to go to the websites, choose your blog, wait for its editor to open up! This is one-click publishing!

One good thing is that many firefox extensions still work in Flock. I have my favourite xyzproxy installed in this one, which helps in switch proxies instantly. Although I haven't tried, I heard that Google Toolbar works with Flock.

There are lots of other beautiful features that ship along with this free browser. For example, there is a built in uploader to upload pictures to Flickr and Photobucket.

Flock is simply a must try!

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bitwise 2008

Bitwise, is the annual online Algorithm Intensive Time Constrained Programming Contest organized by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of IIT Kharagpur. Bitwise 2008 will be held on 10th February. Team Bitwise invites you to participate in the event.

Prizes worth Rs. 220,000 are at stake this year. Registration for Bitwise 2008 has started. For more information, please visit the Bitwise website:

It would be great if you could circulate this in your organization through email groups and other modes of communication.

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