TEATIME

I was put into a new project in a new team with entirely different set of people whom I knew little. As time passed on, my acquaintance grew much better with them. Though, I knew most of them, I wasn't much closer or shared personal matters with any. Few things I knew about the senior teamates were the existing facts which others also knew-how old they were in this team or company, if they were married or not, where they resided and nothing much personal was ever disclosed.

My acquaintance with my teamate, R~, grew stronger. R~ was an year senior to me in age and the team as well and she would board the same bus in which I travelled. R~ became closer to me, she would share her personal experiences. I would rather say, R~ was more a friend than a colleague. Soon, R~ introduced me to another senior member of the team, J~, who was senior to both of us.

Once, R~ invited J~ and me to join her for the tea and evening snacks. Three of us would meet for tea, everyday. J~ was a new person to me and so I was. Hence, I restricted myself to talking only the project related stuffs. No sooner, J~ also began opening her mind, her journey in life. She had a little angel who was just two year old and was taken care by her parents in her native town. One fine day, I learnt her life.

She was married to a post-graduate engineer who was ambitious of pursuing doctoral studies, though he worked for one of the best companies and had a well paid job, it couldn't stop him from taking up the thesis. J~ convinced and motivated her husband that she can run the family alone and he shouldn't give up his hope so easily. She was carrying when her husband quit his well paid job. Her husband was a major son and also a bread winner of the family of four: her father-in-law who was retired and no longer worked, her brother-in-law who was still a student. Behind every successful man, there is always a woman. How true!!!

A few months later, her FIL fell ill and the medical expenses reached as high as 1.5 lakh. Having no money on hand, they were completely under debts. Yet, J~ did not lose hope and did not allow her husband to give up his studies, either. After her baby was born, she had to leave her under her parents care.
When she finished telling this, I was lost in deep thoughts. How difficult it might have been to leave her daughter miles away. The moments she wished to hear her daughter utter first words, the glimpse of her laughter, holding her tiny soft fingers when she might start to walk.

As a wife, she brought in the confidence in her partner to achieve his goal. As a daughter-in-law and sister-in-law, she had done the needful to her family. Her support to the family was magnanimous.

Though, J~ had faced so much at such a young age, she would never crib over it or boost of her deeds. She would say - Cribbing makes the problem more worse and bigger than it is. Her deeds spoke of selflessness. A courageous lady with a smiling face. 

Last friday, she quit the job. I wish her the best endeavours in life.

Tomato soup for...

Its been a long weekend for me. Four continuous days resting at home due to cold, cough, head ache and sore throat. On thursday night, having attended my cousin's wedding reception which had yummy ice cream, chats, paan and ask what not! Though, it was not a perfect weather for ice cream, I ate it heartfull.

Tomato soup

Head ache, cough, sneeze and sore throat are the best companions which cannot live without each other. Though, I am taking medicines, they are reluctant to leave me alone! The climate is so chill that it drives me to sleep..yaawn! This evening, after sipping the steaming tomato soup with pepper and salt already added by Knorr, it was a great relief from those uninvited guests!

Now, I am ready to attend office tomorrow!

Phoonk

Running Time: 114 minutes

Language: Hindi

I don't want to brag about this movie, so here is a simple review.

What I liked about the movie?

  • Kannada actor, Sudeep's acting, is good.
  • Ashwini's acting and the little girl who is ill have enacted well.
What I did not like?
  • The is not scary at all even if you're watching it alone and power goes off!
Rating: 2/5 

Kaleidoscope

During the school summer vacations when I was less than ten year old, my mother took me to her native to visit her parents. It was this time of the year when all the aunts(my mother's sisters) used to visit along with their children. It was a family get together where all the ladies would bring gifts or were gifted by their loved ones. They would discuss their family matters etc. We, as little kids, would play in the back yard of the ancestral house. The house had a big well and sometimes we would try pulling the metal pots through the pulley.

During the early 90's, the television had hardly reached the remote towns in India. So no chance of watching cartoons at granny's house. Few of my cousins, both elder anf younger to me, played all sorts of games including Ring-a-ring-a-roses, hide and seek, choukabara (game of dice), aLugiLi mane(not sure what it is called in English) and so on. Some games were known by all of us and we learnt a few from others. We also had the hand-made dolls and the tiny plastic kitchen items in which we mixed water with sugar and drank :)

Quarrels among us for the same toys were common. Sometimes, I wanted my cousin's cute Barbie doll or I would cry wanting for some antique piece placed in my maama's living room showcase. Or it was vis-a-vis. But neither would happen.

Kaleidoscope
                                                   Kaleidoscope using Photoshop.

One of my little cousin had a Kaleidoscope which she owned with pride. I, as a kid, was fascinated to see the unique patterns formed by the mirror pieces each time we rotated. I wanted it, but she wouldn't give!

Using Adobe Photoshop while editing an image, I created a Kaleidoscope pattern. Last weekend, I was watching a movie in which the hero of the movie roams and finally manages to bring a Kaleidoscope for his love which she preserves till the end. After watching this movie, I am motivated to buy a Kaleidoscope but unable to find them anywhere :(

I tried to build it on my own reading this link, but the process is complex. Or has anyone tried doing it on your own?

Does anyone know where is it sold here in Bangalore?

Dasavatharam

I, finally watched this movie: Dashavataram last week. The media went ga-ga over the publicity of this movie. I had even received many forwarded chain mails praising the performance of the renowned South Indian actor, Kamal Haasan, how well he enacted the ten roles with different makeup in various situations.


When I sat and watched this movie, I couldn't even tolerate it for more than 45 minutes :( Though, Kamal Haasan wanted to make this movie a record, he couldn't patch up the flaws. The involvement of too many characters has also made it boring just the way - "Too many cooks spoil the broth". Asin's acting was not pleasing, either. Her way of speaking adds ghee to the fire.


When I heard: Dasavatharam, I imagined the story to be very mythological involving the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu since the movie starts with a story which happened 800 years ago with Rangarajan sacrificing his life for Lord Ranganatha before the King and the movie ends with Tsunami deserting lives of millions.


The movie could have been made much better. Sometimes, there wasn't any connection between the characters and were involved just for the sake. The makeup was not that impressive as in his earlier movies like Indian - Kamal plays the role of an aged man and Chachi 420 - he plays an aged strong woman(Remake of Tamil movie: Avvai Shanmugi which in turn is a remake of Mrs.Doubtfire) etc. I would say his earlier classical movies were excellent where he plays the role of classical dancer. The movies Swarna Kamalam and Saagara Sangamam won many awards.

Though, Kamal has potential to do better movies, its not reflected in this movie. Also read review on rediff.

EDIT: Note added on Aug 28: Also read the review by fellow blogger: here

Of remakes and perfection

I was in class 6 when I watched this Malayalam movie: Manichitrathazhu. Though, I did not know Malayalam language, I was able to follow this movie and watched it on some channel at home. The movie was released in the year 1993. The lead role was played by actress Shobana who is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. This movie is one my favourites. Remember, language should never be a barrier. The story line of the movie being Shobana suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder and concludes with her chopping the head of dummy toy whom she thinks is a king and recovers from the disorder. Shobana also won Best Actress Award for this movie.
Following the success of this movie, remakes were done in several languages including Kannada (Aaptamitra), Tamil(Chandramukhi), Telugu(Chandramukhi) and Hindi(Bhool Bhulaiyaa). Though, the movie was a flop in Hindi due to the flaws in direction, it was a major hit in Kannada and Tamil.
In Kannada, the lead role was played by Late Soundarya in Aaptamitra (year 2004) which was her last movie and was released after her death. Though, Soundarya wasn't a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, her performance was fabulous. The reason I liked these two songs is because of the fast beats. Though, Chandramukhi has the same song in the ending, it was too slow and did not amuse me much.
The Bharatanatyam dance video of the original movie: Manichitrathazhu


The Bharatanatyam dance video of Aaptamitra

I watch them many times in my iPod :)

Skyscrapers

Disclaimer: This post reflects my opinion only. It is not posted to hurt anybody.

I sometimes wonder, what makes a country strong: is it the huge buildings, posh roads,  etc or the strong wise men to build a nation? Is it not that both the former and latter are equally essential? Is it so the former can be  accomplished only if we have the latter ones??? The latter ones say that there is no reason to be here since there is no career and recognition for merit. The latter ones remember that they once belonged to this land and come back when their kids begin to grow up in a foreign land. As for me, just because the neighbouring house aunty is modern and gorgeous, I can't stay at her house as a guest for a long time and can't love her as much as I love my mother. No matter how ever my mother is, I love her and the love is eternal.

On thursday morning, while I was stuck up in a traffic jam as usual, my attention was caught by the two little kids aged around 10-12 years who were asking the car owners or the bike riders at the traffic signal to buy the tricolor flags or the badges. But nobody even bothered to look at them. I was watching this through the window of the bus which was far away from those kids. Many people speak of abolishment of child labour and lengthy speeches on it, if they are so concerned why wouldn't they help those kids by buying a flag/badge which would cost them less than Rs 10/- or did they think it was a waste of money buying them? The child wasn't begging or stealing. He had chosen a path of decent living.

At office, grand celebrations went on in the evening which included cultural dances and finally concluded by National Anthem. All of us stood up, no matter we were eating or hurrying for the bus. There was some sort of oneness to which all of us are bound to.

For those people, who work on daily wages. Those who sustain eating once a day or thrive with hunger for days together, who don't even have voters card nor a shelter to protect them, it was just another day in their life.

Janani janmabhoomisch, Swargadapi gariyasi (the mother and motherland are dearer than heaven)

CNN IBN on gtalk

Now you can receive news updates from CNN IBN right on your gtalk. Just add IBN alerts in your gtalk and receive updates even while you are offline.

me: help im: These are the keywords you can use:

top: Gets you all the latest stories from IBNLive
sports: Gets you all the latest sports stories from IBNLive
biz: Gets you all the latest business stories from IBNLive
ent: Gets you all the latest showbiz stories from IBNLive
search: Search IBNLive's stories (Example: "search Euro 2000")
subscribe: Shows you the ways in which you can subscribe to or manage alerts

Twitter
had introduced sending and receiving updates via gtalk which conked off in mid-May and they haven't restored it.

Lets see, how far this feature introduced by IBN will maintain its charm!

A season of flowers

August is a month of flowers when the sepia leaves shed and the fresh flowers bloom. Every year, the horticulture department organize the Flower Show at Lalbagh twice an year at Bangalore. Once during the Republic Day and Independence Day. The Flower Show was open to the public on Saturday noon from 3pm onwards.

Lalbagh is a well-known botanical garden. This time, they have come up with their own website for the Flower show: http://lalbagh.org/ . The Flower Show is open till August 17th from 9am - 6pm. The entrance ticket is Rs 30. The ticket e-booking facility is available here and the route map here.   

I have been a regular visitor to Lalbagh during the Flower Shows. Last year, it was Taj Mahal. I was here, today morning at 7am. Though, it was drizzling in the morning, I was able to capture the lovely flowers many of which I don't know the names.

Flower Chariot
 Chariot made of flowers. An imitation of the Stone Chariot at Hampi.

Kannada Poets 
Kannada Poets carved on the vegetables.

Ugra Narasimha
An imitationUgra Narasimha at Hampi

Strawberry
Strawberry at the entrance of Glass House

Flower Guitar
Guitar made of Flowers.

Flowers.. 
                                                                        Flowers

Star
                                                                    Star like flower

Spider Lily
                                                                            Spider Lily

Quack Quack
                                                                    Duck swimming in the pond
More pics: here

Now hurry up and don't miss the show :)

Flower shows of yester years: Jan 2008, August 2007 and Jan 2006

Ik Onkar

Everyday, I listen to music while traveling in the bus. Today, I was listening the songs from Rang De Basanti, I came across - Ik Onkar. Though, I knew "OM" is considered to be scared among Hindus and it is chanted before any prayer, say, Om Namah Shivaiah, I had never known the meaning of "Ik Onkar" which I learnt today. :)

OM is a compound Sanskrit word , which we consists of the three letters:
अ + उ + म = ॐ
ಅ + ಉ +ಮ = ಓಂ
 
OM represents the trimurtis:
अ for Brahma - The Universal Creator
उ for Shiva - The Universal Destroyer
म for Vishnu - The Universal Protector.

Ik Onkar means there is only ONE God. According to the Sikh philosophy, it is the opening part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and also Mool Mantar(Main prayer) in the Sikh scriptures.






Here goes the actual meaning:

ik-oNkaar sat naam kartaa purakh nirbha-o nirvair akaal moorat ajoonee saibhaN gur parsaad.
One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace.

jap.
Chant And Meditate.

aad sach jugaad sach.
True In The Primal Beginning. True Throughout The Ages.

hai bhee sach naanak hosee bhee sach. ||1||
True Here And Now. O Nanak, Forever And Ever True. ||1||

sochai soch na hova-ee jay sochee lakh vaar.
By thinking, He cannot be reduced to thought, even by thinking hundreds of thousands of times.

chupai chup na hova-ee jay laa-ay rahaa liv taar.
By remaining silent, inner silence is not obtained, even by remaining lovingly absorbed deep within.

bhukhi-aa bhukh na utree jay bannaa puree-aa bhaar.
The hunger of the hungry is not appeased, even by piling up loads of worldly goods.

sahas si-aanpaa lakh hohi ta ik na chalai naal.
Hundreds of thousands of clever tricks, but not even one of them will go along with you in the end.

kiv sachi-aaraa ho-ee-ai kiv koorhai tutai paal.
So how can you become truthful? And how can the veil of illusion be torn away?

hukam rajaa-ee chalnaa naanak likhi-aa naal. ||1||
O Nanak, it is written that you shall obey the Hukam of His Command, and walk in the Way of His Will. ||1||


Friend forever

For the past one week, I had been receiving emails for Friendship week; forward it to so many people, if you get 5..10 back then you have ... friends. Well, I don't believe in forwarding chain mails and I detest the idea that someone is your friend only if he/she diverts the mail back to you.



At 12 'o clock, short messages starting pouring into my mobile phone. I was sleepy and read them only in the morning.



A couple of years ago, when we were in school or colleges, the hand-made friendship bands and greeting cards were widely exchanged among the circle of friends. And few close buddies would gift us keychains, earrings, dolls .... At that time, everybody religiously celebrated Friendship Day. The greeting cards had touching lines written with the glitter pens or sparklers.



I have carefully preserved them all these years. Though, I tried to burn a few when I fought with them, I just couldn't. There was a time, when Friendship day healed or repaired the relationship with the close friends when we finally spoke forgetting the previous quarrels.



Though, I did not sms, mail, scrap on orkut or even call up any of my friends this time, it doesn't mean I don't care them or I have forgotten them. They are always remembered and there are many ways of communication unlike a decade ago.



Likewise, I have always hated rating friends on Facebook or Orkut. Everyone is unique in their own ways and I just hate judging people or even saying he/she is my best friend. I will be there when they need me.



To all my friends


Now, only memories last. The sms can be easily deleted. But those hand-written greeting cards, those rose petals and leaves preserved in the notebooks, those bands bring nostalgic feeling.

CHDK

CHDK is a firmware enhancement that operates on a number of Canon Cameras. CHDK gets loaded into your camera's memory upon bootup (either manually or automatically). It provides additional functionality beyond that currently provided by the native camera firmware.

CHDK is not a permanent firmware upgrade: you decide how it is loaded (manually or automatically) and you can always easily remove it.

Terrific geeky technology. It does the following too:

The current set of extra capabilities fall into six categories:

a. Enhanced ways of recording images - you can capture still pictures in RAW format (as well as JPEG), and for video images you can have increased recording time and length (1 hour or 2 GB), and a greatly increased range of compression options.

b. Additional data displays on the LCD screen - histogram, battery life indicator, depth of focus, and many more.

c. Additional photographic settings that are not available on the camera by itself - longer exposure times (up to 65 seconds), faster shutter speeds (1/25,000 sec, and faster in some cases), automatic bracketing of exposure, etc.

d. The ability for the camera to run programs ('scripts', written in a micro-version of the BASIC language) stored on the memory card - these programs allow you to set the camera to perform a sequence of operations under the control of the program. For example, a camera can be programmed to take multiple pictures for focus bracketing, or take a picture when it detects that something in the field of view moves or changes brightness.

e. The ability to take a picture, or start a program on the memory card, by sending a signal into the USB port - you can use the USB cable to take a picture remotely.

f. The ability to do a number of other more useful (and fun) things, such as act as a mini file browser for the memory card, let you play games on the LCD screen, etc.


The All Best version CHDK which is better than the others as far as I've seen.

Steps for installation

1) Copy both the attached files to the memory card (in the root folder) using a memory card reader.

2) Put the memory card back in your camera

3) Power up the camera in review mode

4) Press the menu button and go down to the last option. You would see a new option that reads firmware upgrade or something similar.

5) Select that option and give ok when it asks confirmation

6) Your camera would restart.. and now you should be seeing additional options like a battery charge indicator..

Now switch to camera mode. You would have to experiment a bit to learn how to function with CHDK.

To avoid the camera going back to the normal mode each time u start the camera and to start  it directly in CHDK mode you'll need to use a SD card that comes with the "lock" notch in its side.

1) Start the camera and enable CHDK mode.

2) Go into the CHDK's <alt> menu.

3) There would be an option that reads debug parameters or something like that. Inside menu there'll be an option that reads "make card bootable".

4) Give ok. Give it 2 seconds.

5) Now switch off your camera. Take the card out and put it to locked mode using the 'lock' notch.

6) Now put it back in. That's it. Now your camera will always load in CHDK mode. (Until you push the lock notch to normal position in the SD card). The camera will shoot pics even while the card is in locked mode.

Try http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK_firmware_usage for operating instructions if needed....

Shooting images in RAW:

When you start your camera in CHDK mode its like this….

There are 2 menus that can open up when you press the menu button

1) The standard menu that came up with the camera

2) When you press the shortcut key, you'll see an indication in the bottom of the screen that reads <alt>. Now the menu button would open up the CHDK menu instead of the standard  menu.. To shoot with the camera or to go to the standard menu you've to press the shortcut key again so that the <alt> disappears. [When you press the shutter release with the <alt> mode up, it would not shoot but rather run the script that had been selected using the CHDK menu]

Once you get inside the CHDK menu, there'll be lot of options…

In this menu, go to RAW parameters, the first option would be Save RAW. Enable this option. Now your camera will shoot in RAW and also in jpg. The RAW output might be located in a separate folder inside the DCIM folder.

In RAW, more details can be brought up. So doing an action like increasing exposure would yield better results and hence not much of postprocessing would be required. However, initially we've to convert it to DNG format. This software does a mass convert into DNG format. DNG format is a widely known common RAW format standard.

To process the RAW photos, use a software called DNG to convert it to DNG format (http://dng4ps2.chat.ru/index_en.html) and then import it using photoshop CS (7.0 doesn't support) or Lightroom. Only then we can process it.

Advantages using CHDK

It adds up a lot of functionality that we can utilize when needed.

S3 IS doesn't have a battery charge indicator. It will indicate only when the battery is about to be empty. But using CHDK I can get a precise battery charge indicator.

The maximum shutter speed provided in the actual firmware is 15secs. Longer values of 25secs can be achieved using CHDK…

Another cool feature: Anti motion detection - What it does is that after the camera is set and press the shutter release button, it keeps on detecting motion. It will take the actual picture when motion becomes nil. This is kewl for taking group shots. We can press the release button, go stand in front of the camera and when everyone's ready and stay steady and pose for the camera, it will take the snap.

If you've any of Canon Sx(1/2/3/5) IS Series, go download and feel the difference in camera shooting :)

Courtesy: Cliford Shelton
 

Flickr Images

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