Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some nice running quotes

I have started recording my runs on another blog http://42km3hrs.blogspot.com/

I am searching for a good sub-title to plaster on top of the blog.

Some options...

Serious :

Ask yourself: 'Can I give more?'. The answer is usually: 'Yes'.
-Paul Terga

You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
- Steve Prefontaine

A runner runs against himself, against the best that's in him.  Not against a dead thing of wheels and pulleys.  That's the way to be great, running against yourself.  Against all the rotten mess in the world.  Against God, if you’re good enough. 
-Bill Persons

I always loved running... it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power.  You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.
-Jesse Owens

Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about.
-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Sarcastic :

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.  ~P.Z. Pearce

I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a street.  ~Neil Armstrong

I don't think jogging is healthy, especially morning jogging.  If morning joggers knew how tempting they looked to morning motorists, they would stay home and do sit-ups.  ~Rita Rudner

It's unnatural for people to run around the city streets unless they are thieves or victims.  It makes people nervous to see someone running.  I know that when I see someone running on my street, my instincts tell me to let the dog go after him.  ~Mike Royko

The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.  ~Martin Mull

Finland has produced so many brilliant distance runners because back home it costs $2.50 a gallon for gas.  ~Esa Tikkannen, 1979

Monday, June 14, 2010

No longer the Apple of my eye

http://business.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265709


I have so far never purchased an Apple product. And it will be a long time before I will. Not unless they stop their bullying tactics. I hate bullies you see, and I like my freedom.

Yes, I do own 3 iPods. The first one, a 30 Gb video ipod, was given to my father by his company as part of some Sales conference gift. The second, 4 Gb, iPod Nano, slim and slender, was a gift from some friend or relative, I don't remember which or who. The third iPod, another Nano, but part of the rounded square series, was won by me at an inter-Bschool quiz held by Infosys. And I cannot describe the sheer joy owning these 3 has given me. The sheer beauty and design of the these products, at that time, was unmatched.

Apple products are usually the best looking and best designed. Using them is sheer joy. Simple, elegant, classy. Genius.

So why am I saying that I won't buy Apple products for some time to come ? And why am I blasting Apple ?

For a long long time I used to really admire all Apple products. And I still do for their design. And I love their software as well. But some where down the line, I started disagreeing with their philosophy. 'Think Different' is their motto - how can I when they control all the apps and service providers and software on all their products ?

Lets start with the Macs. I used to always admire their design, those pure white pristine beauties. But, they were always too costly. Now I don't mind paying more for the cost... but then I don't see the point in buying a Mac and running Windows OS on it. And Mac OS, despite being good, is not compatible with so many softwares. But until this point, I had no problems with Apple. In fact, I used to admire them 100%.

I took serious exception to their behaviour with the launch of the iPods. I would have preferred a simple folder system, where I plug the iPod in, copy my songs onto the iPod HD, and voila ! If I want some classification, let it be folder based. Now I understand iTunes offers multiple viewpoints, so you can classify and view songs, by different meta-data labels associated with each song. And maybe it was difficult to implement this system with the PnP, Copy & Paste system. (Though I don't even think they tried.)

But they could have at least allowed me the option of having a Folder system as opposed to the iTunes system. Like Sony. Like Cowon. Like everybody else. But no.. they want to maintain their 'control' and yes, they wanted to make money via iTunes. Fine.

Things got out of hand with the launch of the iPhone. I was gushing over Apple's design technology then. But then, when it was launched, they pulled off a cheap trick. Your phone was 'locked' to one carrier - in the US, AT&T. What the hell ? Why the f*** should have to stick to AT&T ? This is monopolostic behaviour, this is bullying. And whatever reasons they might give, I can't palate them.

So now, for the iPod, I have to buy music, movies and ebooks only from the iTunes store. For the iPhone, and now for the iPad, I can transact and navigate myself only through Apple approved Apps. Go to hell - I ain't buying your products.

Right now also, I am looking to buy a Phone. A smartphone. Either way I wasn't going to buy the iPhone. Firstly, it is way too highly priced in India. Secondly, the idea of being locked to Airtel or Vodafone, makes my blood boil. Thirdly, I am very excited with the Android mOS - and the implications of an open source OS where millions of people can easily contribute awesome apps.

And to my great great delight, I realised I didn't enjoy using the iPhone so much. One app at a time ? No multi-tasking in the iPhone ? Ha ha. Try again. I enjoyed the Sony Ericsson Experia X10 and the Motorola Milestone much much more. I am yet to try the HTC Legend (out of stock) and the HTC Desire (not yet launched in India), but I have seen enough videos and read enough reviews to know how good they are. I haven't yet bought the phone - but it isn't the going to be the Apple iPhone for sure.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I was about to sleep. I reminded myself that I have to enable currency trading for account tomorrow. Why ? Just like that. Not that I intend to start immediately, but I prefer to keep things 'enabled'. The day I want to do it, I shouldn't have to waste time and energy getting basic things started.


My thoughts drifted to a course I had attended in the Bombay Stock Exchange. One of the courses, introduction to derivatives, was to be taken by a certain Mr. Sanjay Ved. He had a vague resemblance to Mr. Bean, I remember. He was a smart guy and handled the module well. Somewhere in between he started reminiscing about his earlier days, and how he had once been wiped out by in one afternoon during the Harshad Mehta crash. 3-4 years of wealth had been wiped out, he said. He then went on to say how hard it was to acquire knowledge then. In a bid to get back on track and make some income somehow, he got into currency trading. He contacted experts worldwide, via snail mail ofcourse, asking for tips and advice. Slowly but surely he built his expertise in currency trading. Today, he said, he taught out of passion. His main income was from currency trading - 3-4 hours everyday.

That led me to think - in every transaction, when somebody loses, somebody also gains. When I was small, I used to always wonder, if so many people lost so much money, there must surely have been somebody who gained. Why then does the world cry so much ?

Today I realise what happens. In the Harshad Mehta case, for example, he wasn't playing with his money in the first place. In the second place, he was only pocketing most of the money, since he was controlling the markets to a great extent. As the stock markets rose, people kept entering and exiting, making profits for a good 3-4 sweet years. When the markets crashed, the investors, traders, speculators lost money. Now, who gained ? Well no one really. Rather, Harshad Mehta, his brothers and similar such people had already gained - as in, spent away the money. They were making false profits, and having enjoyed the returns, they disappeared from the scene, many behind bars.

All the other market participants, including many brokers, lost. Who else ? The innocent depositors whose money he had been playing with in the first place.

Or take the sub-prime crisis.

As I have said before, by the very principle of exchange, whenever somebody makes a huge loss, somebody else has made a windfall profit. in most scams or Ponzi schemes, it is outright apparent as to who has gained or who has lost. However,In many crises and crashes, when it appears that everybody has made a loss, it is just that the windfall profit has been chronologically displaced.

In the sub-prime crisis, first the initial set of losers came to the fore. Then there was a second wave in which many other victims slowly but surely washed to the surface. Many other bobbed up much later on. Initial not many winners were apparent. All the bank and ibanks were apparently in dire straits.

Then it was discovered that almost all the traders and i-bankers had made a lot of income and encashed obscene bonuses in the run-up to the crisis. But that itself wouldn't be able to balance out all the losses. The majority of 'winners' were all the real estate agents, subprime house owners and the American consumers - who had enjoyed for a long time - living beyond their means in a credit driven consumer economy. Ofcourse they enjoyed first and paid for it later.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Did you know ?

Most people underestimate beer.

Not in the area of providing enjoyment of course,

Beer has always been accepted as the 'coolest' drink... and beer is a great way to bond with the dudes, and to become 'cool' quickly. I would like to quote a great expert on the various forms and brands, desi and otherwise, of alcohol..... the esteemed GG. If he gets to know that a particular guy does not like beer, he has only one thing to say... "Pussy." While in France, if at all I used to feel insecure while partying with the crazy all-night-long-drinking-drinking-and-more-drinking Germans, I would automatically say, "Yo ! I wanna attend Oktoberfest man ! J'aime la biere !".

but in the area of providing the high.

You see.. most people think that only the hard drinks.. whisky, vodka, the rest.. can get you really drunk. I thought so too myself. Until of course GG, when we recently met up in France, started exhibitting strange behaviour. The Arab and me were all for a bottle of Red Label. GG went for 3 500 ml cans of strong beer. We were like... "Pussy."

Yet, since that day, many a nice beer party later, I can say with confidence, that beer provides you a nice sustained party high like no other.

Mathematical Proof :

Strong Beer = 8% of alcohol
Whisky = 40% of alcohol

3 cans of 500 ml each = 1500 ml
8% * 1500 = 120 ml of pure alcohol

5 large (60 ml) pegs of whisky
40% * 300 = 120 ml of pure alcohol

Which means 3 cans of strong beer is equivalent to drinking 5 large pegs of whisky or any other hard drink of comparable alcohol content. QED.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some more vishesh tippaniya and khas mentions

Paris is a really beautiful and romantic city.
The toilets in McDonalds are cleaner than the ones in Quick.
If you don't wear gloves, your hands will freeze. You won't be able to move ur hands or feel anything, and unfreezing them is a painful process.
Wear an iPod all the time - it makes you look like a decent tourist. Usually when I request people to take my photo, they always oblige. Today, for some time, I had removed my earphones. I requested this lady to take my photo. She shooed me away, thinking I was a con artist or a beggar ! I put my earphones on in a jiffy. Voila ! I had people queuing to take a photo for me.
Paris is a really beautiful and romantic city.
And, I forgot to mention this yesterday, you have to take a look at the UCB window on Champs-Elysees.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some arbit comments

I came to France on the 5th of Jan. Some observations and tippanis.

Whenever I go to any place in France, it snows !
If you desperately need to sit on Champs-Elysees, munch on some bananas, give rest to your shoulders and legs, (free of charge), when it is raining, then there is a wonderful place very close to the Place de la Concorde end.
If you desperately need to pee while on Champs-Elysees, there are Quick restaurants near the Arc the Triumphe end, where you can unobtrusively enter, pee, not buy anything, keep your dignity, and walk out.
People are very understanding in Paris about your need to take photos, will graciously take as many photos as you ask them too. This lady obliged me by squatting in a most undignified position and taking a wonderful photo of me and Gustav's baby.
There are a lot of con artists hovering around Arc the Triumphe. I successfully saw through 2 con attacks within the space of 5 mins while I was strolling around Champs-Elysees. Remind me to tell you about the golden ring and 3000 euro suit.
There are infi varieties of wine and cheese, and I'm loving it !
Don't drink pastis, it tastes like 'badishep' or aftermint.
And yes, the girls in France are gorgeous.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

'Fulldozing'

This was my submission for the course mentioned in the previous post.


 3 Ways to get away with Fulldozing !

 (From the author of ‘The Great IIFTian Dream’ and ‘Count your Sheep in every Batch’)

 Every class of students has its fair share of fulldozers. Fulldozers are those students who manage to doze off in class under the full glare of the teacher. In this article, I would like to elaborate on the various types of fulldozers that I have observed over a month and a half in IIFT. The aim, of course, is to observe and learn. The art of sleeping is not a very esoteric art – with a little guidance and a lot of self-motivation, it is but a blink of an eyelid away. So, without further ado, here goes.

 The Frontline Psuedo-readers

These people have been unfortunate enough to get a seat in the front rows where there’s apparently no escape. Apparently. First invented by Pannie and later successfully copied by many others, this style makes extensive use of a rigid contortion of your forearm. You tilt your neck inwards as if you were reading your textbook, and you rest your head on the palm. Once your head is comfortably ensconced in the soft comfort of your palm, and you are sure that it will not slip, you can rest those droopy eyelids and let yourself be seduced by one of nature’s greatest pleasures.  Be warned though, this is not for the light-handed, coz once slip and you will end up headbanging to a totally different tune.

 The Spectaculars

These people are the ones blessed with glasses. The teacher’s penetrating glare is rendered ineffective due to one of nature’s most common phenomenons – reflection. Whether the student chooses to keep his eyes open or shut is his decision. Behind the safe shield of the glasses, even the most diligent of students are transported into a world of their own. There is only one catch – your body language, posture and facial muscles should radiate rapt attentiveness. IIFTians’s are quick learners, they think on their feet and also off their feet. My observations indicated that within a week’s time, this art had been mastered to dizzying depths of somnolence.

 The Improbables

These people have no special talents. They are jacks of no trade and masters of none. However, by virtue of having cornered a corner seat, they have the odds in their favour. A quick statistical analysis of the angles of rotation of the teacher’s neck enlightens one to the fact that the teacher seldom looks constantly at the extreme sides of the class. The mean, median and mode are all 0 degrees. The students also take into consideration another useful piece of info – their degree of sleepiness also varies between the states ‘awake’ and ‘asleep’. Hence, the weighted probability of the teacher catching these students asleep is really low. Thus, these students take their chance and doze off in a trance.

 With this, I conclude my short discourse. Many thanks to my classmates for their continuing support and relentless perseverance. Without their courage and innovativeness, this research article would not have been possible.

Guest : Gaurav Gujral

We had to submit an article as part of course work for Business Communication in our first trimester. This was what Gaurav came up with. I think it is a masterpiece.


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ROOM NO. 46

 The alarm goes off at 7.30 am. The gentle giant is supposed to wake up first and take a 30- minute- shower. But guess whose early morning dreams are shattered by the alarm? Mine! I shout out – “Turn off the alarm, o gentle giant!!” and go back to sleep.

Cut to 6 hours later… 1.30 pm…

Students file out of the class. I hear a voice calling out my name- “Gaurav.. Gaurav… I don’t think we’ll like the food in the mess. Let’s go out and eat.” Seconding his opinion is my 2nd roommate who, for obvious reasons, will be referred to as the ‘mimic’ in this piece of writing. I, the non-controversial person that I am, agree. After a wholesome and fulfilling lunch of 10 scrambled eggs (only for the giant), dal, paneer and paranthas, we rush off to class at 2.15 pm.

Cut to 5 hrs later… 7.15 pm…

The inhabitants of room no. 46 are trying to study in peace and serenity. Suddenly, the mimic recalls an incident, gets up from his bed and mimics the hell out of each and every person he has met during the day. Hilarious!! After a brief roll on the floor and with a hurting stomach, we get up to get back to studying. The calm lasts for only 2 minutes, broken this time by the sheer ‘lack of noise’ of Mozart’s symphonies, courtesy the giant. “God, what has the world come to?” I ask in terror. Rock fans reading this will sympathize with me. To go from the deafening drum beats of Megadeth to the sinfully noiseless violins of Mozart is an experience I pray none of my rock-loving friends ever go through.

Soon its dinner time and I hear a familiar suggestion - “Gaurav.. Gaurav… I don’t think we’ll like the food in the mess. Let’s go out and eat.” After a wholesome and fulfilling dinner of 10 scrambled eggs (only for the giant), dal, paneer and paranthas (the queer similarity of the last few lines to the lines in 2nd paragraph is purely deliberate, just to emphasize the frequency with which this incident occurs), we head off to have ice-cream. Everything is fine until the giant asks for a Walls Kulfi from the Cream-Bell vendor. Another round of rolling in the ‘hay’ follows (for the uninitiated, ‘hay’ is the single most frequently uttered word by the giant and can be substituted for any word in the English language, eg. I don’t like the ‘hay’ we get in the mess. We should go to a really expensive place and have ‘hay’ there).

Back in room no. 46, the satisfied giant sets an alarm for 10 minutes and dozes off. His uncanny ability to go into deep slumber as soon as he closes his eyes manifests itself soon enough. The alarm is ringing at full volume, the mimic and I are shouting at the top of our voices but alas, no response from the giant. After a minute of shouting, he finally turns in his bed, sets another alarm for 10 minutes and dozes off. No points for guessing the situation after another 10 minutes – we need to bring in inhabitants of other rooms as well.

Cut to 4 hours later.. 2 am..

I am planning to go off to sleep when I see the giant getting up. Yes, his 10 minutes had extended to 4 hours. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wake him up this time. I hope to catch up on my sleep now, wishing to wake up to the sound of my alarm rather than the one which sounds at 7.30 am. Another day in the life of room no. 46 beckons.

Gaurav Gujral

----

No points for guessing who the gentle giant is.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fauja Singh : 89 :: Dhruv Chandras : ?

Too many vows made... only a few of them kept.

I will run a half marathon in two years and a marathon three years from now. I state so publicly so that I may be held accountable.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

BT Acumen 2008

The north-zone round of BT Acumen 08 got over today. IIFT put up a decent show. We won the debate and came third in the quiz.

Praveen and I were representing IIFT in the quiz. We fell short of the first place by a margin of 10 points (at 55, we were just one correct question away). We got off to a slow start and tho' we caught up later on, the initial gap made a difference in the end. I thought all teams were good, and as such, it was a well fought quiz. IIML and FMS were tied at 65, and finally IIML went thru because FMS hit the buzzer and missed.

Sad, considering that we had done quite well for ourselves in the prelims. Sadder still, coz had we won we would have made a clean sweep, and also had the chance to accompany Anchal and Rahul to Bombay for the National Finals. (Anchal had already reached the national finals last year with Arka, who was the winner the year before that. Let's hope he keeps the tradition alive.)

After we lost, my same-name loomie scrapped me this today...

ecclesiastes 9:11
"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Incidentally



Popular School Legends

I suppose every school has some teacher who makes absent minded mistakes leading to funny sentences. These funny sentences are quoted around and soon other funny sentences are also attributed to the concerned teacher. This is how school legends are made, and we get a huge list of extremely funny sentences apparently originating from this famous leader, when in fact, only one or two might actually be his/hers.

We had a teacher in school who used to teach us drawing, and sometimes Hindi as well. This is how the legend went.

Once while she was taking attendence, she ordered, "Absent boys raise your hands !". Another time, while teaching geometric shapes, she shouted, "Now draw a straight circle !" On a particularly stuffy day, when we students had forgotten to open the windows, she announced, "Boys, you should not be sitting in such conditions. Open the air and let the windows come in !". Then while telling us about her family, "I have two daughters, and both are girls !". I know for fact that she had only one child, and that too a son. (I had once met them at the railway station, a couple of years after I passed out from school, and we had chatted for some time.)

A little while ago I mentioned a few of these witticisms to my room-mate, and he claimed that his school too had a teacher to whom some of the very same quotes were attributed. He had one priceless gem to the above list. "Children, the scooter is under standing the tree !".

I will end this post with the only quote of this teacher which I have heard first hand. She was a pretty lenient teacher, but she used to loath squabbling children, and used to make such students go and stand outside the class. At least once in every class she used utter her trademark utterance, namely, "If any complaint and both will get punishment !".

Friday, May 16, 2008

I now have a face . . . . .

I forgot to mention this.. a few days back I added my profile pic. On some arbitrary evening, while all of us corridor mates at E hostel, NITC, were standing and gappa-maroafying (chatting), my neighbour and ex-roomie Harsha snapped an impromptu pic of me and another mate Shreyas discussing something. I don't remember what we were discussing, but through some involuntary contortion of my facial muscles, and just for that split-second, my face managed that expression which I believe seems to show that I am thinking, that there is some intelligence in my eyes.. god, it even makes me look vaguely philosophical. Naturally, I chose that pic.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I passed my B.Tech

Yeah, that's right. The S8 results have come out, and I am officially an engineer. I am now Dhruv Chandras, B.Tech, CSE. Ha !

CSE stands for Computer Science and Engineering. B.Tech for Bachelor of Technology - a more fundoo sounding version of your regular BE. Instead of being plain engineers, we are now technocrats. A few years later, we will have B.Inno and B.Entre degrees.. (For innovators and entrepreneurs..)

I don't know why so many people today do engineering.

Actually, I do.

You see, it is a very respectable degree to have. From the earliest times, engineers were respected for their logical brains and innovative capabilities. They were the people who actually made things that you and me used. Houses, cars, appliances, etc. In my grand-dad's era, an engineering degree was sufficient to make one's way to the top of the organisation. (Well, it was sufficient for him !)

Also, for someone from a middle class background, it fills some solid bricks in the wall of your resume.

In 4 years, you learn stuff that you would probably never ever use again in your life. I want to do an MBA. Most engineers want to do an MBA. And even those who pursue MS degrees rarely end up applying what they learnt for 6 years. But then, the BE/BTech is the stepping stone to that coveted MS / MBA degree, which in turn is a gateway to lucrative career options, mainly in the upper echelons of management. If you look at all the management schools today, they are clogged with engineers. (Mind you, the directors of all these b-schools have tried to remedy this to diversify the intake, and they have tried hard. Short of setting quotas, they have done everything else. The percentage of engineers in the batch has remained unchanged ! Shows how many desperate engineers are out there trying make their BE/BTech worthwhile by capping it off with an MBA !)

I remember my school days. If you were among the top 10, then medicine or engineering was THE way for you. At least that's what you were told. If you were even decently good at studies, you were pushed into engineering. Most 10th standard board merit rankers used to take PCMB (i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Maths And Biology). Why - I asked a friend who had come in the SSC Top 50. To keep my options open, he said. Meaning, medicine ya engineering. He ended up an engineer, or to be more precise, a technocrat. I remember how shocked everyone was when one of our school toppers, Rahul Daga, choose to do commerce. He was very focussed though, and ended up topping his insti.

So, from the learning and application point of view, it is a totally useless degree to have. And most "engineers" will agree with me. But, as I said before, from the overall perspective, it is a pretty good, and SAFE degree to have. Besides the aforementioned points of a) being respectable b) being a good resume-filler c) being a passport to a good life, the BE/BTech degree has some more good things to offer.

For example, the 4 years of my B.Tech life provided me with innumerable opportunities for personality development, expansion of the mind and exposure to various people, cultures and situations. It gave time to think and to find out what I wanted to do in life. It toughened me up and gave me a chance to be more independent. Without doubt, I learnt a lot of stuff (mostly non-academic!!).

Thus the degree has been a great 'filler'. However, I would like to add that a large chunk of the benefits I mentioned in the previous para were possible only due to living a hostel life in a strange land, with students representing practically every part of India.

If, before you select your under-grad course, you know exactly what you want to do, then pursue that in a very specific way. Don't waste your time doing engineering. If however, you don't know what you want to do, or want to give yourself more time, then pursue an engineering degree by all means. However, do try to do it from an IIT/NIT/any other prestigious univ with a vibrant hostel life. It makes all the difference in the world.

What started out on a satirical note became a little preachy-sermonish in between, and ended on a slightly senti note ! The joyride/ordeal of B.Tech is over. Amen. Anyway, expect a lot more posts revolving around the B.Tech theme in the next few weeks. I have a lot of ideas... !

Sunday, May 11, 2008

! Re@!!y |-|@te t|-|0$e !@#$%^&*

I hate it when these people change their names on orkut, either to some silly sentence, or to hacker font. It's impossible to search for such guys when you want to scrap them, and it's very tough to find out who they are if they scrap you.