Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leh Day 4

We have woken up early today, by 6 AM we will leave for Pangong Lake.

 SS had a lunch in a small town before the mountains started. As we start climbing the mountain, it has started snowing. For the first three days of our stay, we have seen snow, only on the mountains. Now we can experience it firsthand. The snow is getting heavy and our driver feels that the road may be blocked.  We say never mind keep going. After the Scorpio slips a few times, the driver announces we will need to put chains on the tires. Well, I am new to this concept, but apparently it is very common. With our kind of luck, the chain keeps coming out every km for the next 10 km or so. We cannot differentiate the roads from the mountains as everything is drowned in a heavy snowfall. It is about more than feet deep and the Scorpio cannot move in. The driver takes out a spade and starts clearing the snow. 

SS chips in, a capital mistake for which he will suffer badly. I try it but give it up, the air is way too thin here, and I cannot tire myself with digging snow. The driver throws down his cards; there is a possibility that we might get struck anywhere. Now I understand the principle behind depositing a challan at every check post. In case we get struck in snow, the army will come for our rescue. There is confidence in knowing that, just like the jumpers who know there is a net below, even they are not able to hold on their colleagues. If something goes wrong, the army will come for us. Thank you.

 In the middle of the road or after reaching pangong, if the roads are declared closed we will be struck there. There is a village there where we can stay overnight in that case. We have an early morning flight back to Delhi and then another to Mumbai.  We take our gamble; we go on at the risk of getting struck in the middle of now where or not coming back by the evening.

A few of the tourists have turned their back and have returned. Since we started pretty early, we are the first on the road and the falling chain causes us to fall behind another cab.

A few KMs hence, when it is too much to clean the snow ourselves, we see an army trawler clearing the path for us. SS‘s disposition is deteriorating, he has worked hard in gigging snow in where the weather does not suit us.  We pass through changla, the second highest motorable pass in the world. For the last 50 km we climb down from the mountains. Now we are back in the desert with no snow around us. After a few KM we remove the chains on the tyres.

The last 20 kms are the most beautiful, we are right in the foothills of a valley , with a frozen river below us to give us company, we keep moving just a few meters above the river.

A few kms hence we see the first sight of pangong. We are more relieved when we reach pangong. A friend had described it as the cleanest lake I will ever see, when I end up boating there. But how does one row a boat in a frozen lake?. Pangong is frozen, but even then it is one of the most beautiful sight we have ever seen, there are mountains of different colours all around us. Pangong I guess is a 120km long lake, again I might be wrong with statistics, with 2/3rd of that distance in china.  

As much as we want to walk on the lake, we are frightened and stay on the edges. A newly married couple and a 35ish couple give us company in Pangong. The newlywed groom shows his chivalry to the girl and we gather our courage and walk exactly where he had put his foot down.

We came back through the whiteout, this time the three cabs ran in formation, so that we could help each other. I also picked up a fight with a retailer for selling fruitjuice beyond its expiry date and he told me the roads are closed for 8 months, how do you expect me to keep everything with a good freshness index.

The next day we left Leh. As to say a thank you, it had snowed in the night, so we could find ample snow within our residence itself.  We took leave of our host, the sweet lady who made breakfast for us every day and our guide and mentor. Btw the driver to pangong was his nephew, pretty aggressive driver. For the last 20 kms yesterday we were on a flat road and on every turn we felt like this is our last turn. It was fun to watch the snowflakes in the beam light of our car. 

Leh - Day 3

The plan today is to go to Zanskar valley, if the roads are open i.e. If not go up to the point where the roads are open, about 30 km afar, and come back. Rambo would have been ashamed of his descendants though, both of us are not well, and we are in a worse disposition than yesterday. After a brief discussion, in which we involve our driver, who also doubled as our guide and mentor, we throw down our arms and agree to visit a doctor. It is a momentous decision for us; both of us at various times in our lives have been confronted with the issue of (false) pride or hubris. And we have mostly held our head very high, refusing worldly virtues like humility and understanding.

We go to the Leh market and the driver takes us to his favorite doctor. The whole Leh Diaspora is present there, and we represent the tourist demographic. We are the only representatives of our group. We sit in a Q for some time and then face the doctor. He is seen a lot of them like us before. He gives us some medicines and asks us to take a rest today. We ask him, can we be back on road tomorrow, expecting him to say a categorical No, he says why not. At that point, he had more jest about our lives than we do. We thank him and the driver then takes us to his favorite restaurant where we have our lunch. There are posters of Chinese atrocities in Lhasa and around Tibet there. It brings us back to the moment where I had planned this trip. There was this interview that Prannoy Roy doing with the Dalai Lama, on the backdrop of violent protests in Tibet, and I thought I should go to Dharamshala and see for myself everything myself, firsthand. I called up SS in Mumbai and told him the plan, and he said Why not.

And when we had exhausted all our plans to reach Dharamshala, direct flight from Delhi was 7k per head in those times, too much for us. The other options were flight up to Amritsar and then a cab or shatabdi up to Chandigarh and then a cab. It was getting complicated and expensive. Then SS just threw the idea of why not Leh and I asked him get me the flight fare and he got them for me. Delhi- Leh per head was around 2.5 k I think. I said freeze it. All of this was happening over yahoo chat.

We ordered a local delicacy, but in veg, and it killed the taste altogether, we then ordered some sane stuff like noodles and packed the local delicacy and handed it over to the folks back at the NGO. We took a long nap in the afternoon and generally killed our time by going to the workshop and checking out an electric motor used for grinding wheat, which had conked off.

We also met with everybody at the NGO and discussed how it is run. At the lowest rug, there are no salaries, salaries start only from the Project head level. For the guys at lower level, all their needs are taken care of, education for kids, boarding, entertainment etc. They showed us a few snaps of a vacation cum educational trip they had taken last year where all major NGO’s had gathered to exchange ideas. After the conference they had gone to visit the cities. They said cities are Huge. They love the cities; we love the villages they live in.

There is a lake, we wanted to visit the other day, Pangong Lake. But it requires a license by the army to go there, and 5 copies of it to be deposited on check posts. We contemplated for some time on whether we would be well tomorrow to go there, which I guess is 150 km away. What the heck the license was just 80 bucks we anyways took it. It was a typical sarkari office, and it took some time and no greasing to get the license. At this point we were not sure if we would go to pangong or zanskar so we took a license for both these places.

Tomorrow we will risk everything for a glimpse of the lake.



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Leh- Day 2

The night was difficult for SS as he vomited and even my head was heavy. When I asked him should we cancel today's schedule, he pretended to be stronger than he felt and said, we would go on. Generally I am the weakest person in any random group, but here somehow my ultra weak immunity was standing up for once in life and being counted. Or, I think high altitude sickness has nothing to do with immunity. Either case my disposition was not the worst.

We took the black Scorpio along with the driver to visit a nearby fort. It turned out to be a ruin. Then we went to the two monasteries, Hemis and one more. 

On the way, we met a set of camels, which were being reared by GOI. In olden days when the silk route was active, it was these camels that use to transfer goods on their back. Now, though there is no need for them, GOI is trying to save a relic of the past. We met a female director from Doordarshan there. She wanted an idiotic shot of those camels running at full speed and taking a 90 degree turn near the end. We left her at her attempts to succeed.

One of those monasteries is near a river, which then was frozen. We reached there at around 1 PM and as it was lunch time, the monastery was closed for lunch. I randomly walked inside the caves and saw a group of lama preparing and having lunch. I greeted them casually and sat down besides them. They offered me warm water to drink and food for lunch. I couldn't have asked for more in life at that point. We had a free flowing banter where the lama ridiculed my muffler. He asked me from where have I come. Mumbai came the impulsive response, and we had some discussion on film stars. I haven't seen any film stars house, neither in Bandra nor at Worli and have no ambition to see it, but people who have never been to Bombay have this strange desire seeing their film stars house. 

SS joined me after some time and cursed me as to why I did not involve him in lunch. I redirected him to the place and asked him to ask for lunch, if not offered. After lunch time the monastery opened and the kids rushed inside to study, though SS was apprehensive, we entered the monastery to see what was happening. We saw one of the most beautiful murals ever. After some time the classes started with all the kids humming the holy verse and we quietly made our way out. We went to another monastery, where it was a holiday, so no kids there. It has one of the biggest statutes of Buddha, where he is in the meditation posture with his palms open and pointing outwards. SS managed to catch a nap, while sitting on the edge near the big...What do I call it, the holy cylindrical thing on which the rhyme is written in Tibetan language and which the kids keep rotating. That was dangerous, but I moved on without realising that he had fallen asleep. 

We came back to the NGO; spoke in detail about what the foreigner was up to. We had a long discussion on electrical motors, I superficial, SS deeper. Both of us are electrical engineers.  I was more engrossed in a travel book I saw on his book shelf, which was about a traveler who travelled Africa North to South. I have forgotten the title and author’s name and tried finding that book in Bangalore, but could not. The foreigner dude was Dutch with 20 years of experience in electronics in some medical equipment company. He was also coming back to electrical motors after 20 years, I was coming back to them after 3 years, while SS has always worked on them, and he still is.

Tomorrow we will realize, what actually is High altitude sickness.

The other monastery is called Thicksey 

Thicksey :

Hemis( During festival, we realised we were there in an off season, after we landed there) :  

The credit for the snaps does not lie with me. 


Monday, April 27, 2009

An attempt at Biryani/ Pulao


  • Rice 1 cup
  • Water, as required
  • Haldi/ Tumeric powder
  • Salt 1 Teaspoon
  • Kadi Patta leaves, a bit rotten but ok
  • Onion, A bit rotten, so removes as many layers where you can see the yellowing
  • Green Chilli, It has turned red 
  • Ground Nut, I like it , so 2 big spoons
  • Put all the above in a cooker, wait for 3 whistles 
  • Tomato, as randomly cut as you can. For the first two cuts the tomato always behaves, but then I loose control over the direction of cut and just randomly cut into whatever possible shapes

Most of my problems i.e.rotting of vegetables is a result of a lack of refrigerator. My science teacher in school always use to tell me, you need to boil things and eat, while Indians fry everything which results in loss of nutrients. This biryani is dedicated to you ma'm. Jay Shree Ranganathan. 

Also to the ass of the cook who bunked today.

Addendum : They usually puts some oil in cooker, add onion and tadka lagao and then add the rice, and puts the cooker lid. I forgot this part. I added everything in cooker without the tadka. But yes, I will have a healthy , oilless biryani for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow. 

P.S. : It turned out a good khichdi and a bad biryani. Though , nothing left for breakfast tomorrow. 


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Warne on Leadership

I will put them in situations that are hard and tough. (Warne, not me)

Went to BSNL office again, the madam coolly said, it will take one week more, the same thing she had said last week. I wanted to burst out laughing, but I controlled myself and tried my angry look on her, but to no avail. I told her, this is not right. She said, I know it is not right, go and talk with anybody you want to, it will take another week. It's been 3 grand weeks, since I put an application for shifting the phone. I tried speaking with her superior's superior, he wasn't in his office, so I asked the chaprasi, so who is above this guy. He gave me his name and told me to go to the other office as the area manager sits out of that office, I went there, the dude at the reception told me to go there, and when I finally reached his doors, I was told he is on leave. Now, everybody in this chain thoroughly knew that the area manager is on leave but nobody let the secret out. Finally I tried yelling at his assistant, who sees people like me day in day out, she easily manipulated me into shutting my mouth and gave me 5 different numbers to call in case the phone did not shift even after one week. I am planning to knock airtel's doors tomorrow, the last time I had attempted that they had said, they have exceeded the number of connections for that switch so get lost. 

Here's to Susan Boyle. The embedding has been disabled by request.

Here's to the fake IPL player. Go find his blog yourself

Have been seeing some IPL on and off on streaming sites, as I don't own and watch the telly. In an ideal world I will watch the matches on my comp and ask harsha bhogle and Geoffrey boycott to do commentary for me. 


Friday, April 24, 2009

Man gaye Dada

So KKR lost again, but there will be one moment which will stay with me for long. When Yashpal played another of his idiotic shots and got out,he was cool in his disappointment but Ganguly,as the commentrator put it, was livid. 

To have that intensity, after having retired, after having seen all of SRK's nonsense, and been generally on the wrong side of establishment, to bring life into that one moment, forgetting everything about the past, is all one aspires for. 

I would have liked Ganguly to win today, for himself. But then again, the match is not finished, and ironically from one of SRK's movies, IPL abhie baki hai, mere dost.

Intensity dada Intensity, kahan se late ho yeh to bata do. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Leh - Day 1

We are in a Deccan converted Kingfisher flight. The seats inform us they will not recline, so please don’t use force. It is mostly empty, the emptiest flight I have ever boarded. But soon the landscape outside changes. There are mountains after mountains, covered in snow. More than thousands. It is a spectacle I have never seen before. Every person in the flight has diffused to take a window seat and experience for themselves, nature’s bounty. There is a foreigner who has flashed out his SLR camera; we are sticking to our digicams.

Just as we are about to land the pilot wishes us nice stay and off handedly drops the information that it is 4 degree Celsius outside. I have already put a pullover; S happily walks out, feels the cold breeze hit him, runs inside and puts on something woolen. When one steps out of the flight, it is sunny and pleasant but very cold, the breeze hits you like a bolt. And all I want is to run out in there inside the airport terminal, and feel warm.

We fill in a mandatory form which all Indian citizens need to fill in once they enter Leh, the foreigners need a license and it is a lengthy process. It might have something to with article 356. We step out and find our taxi; it is a Scorpio, which a friend has booked for us. We get in and pass through the lanes of Leh towards the NGO where we will be put up. A friend who is already in Leh for some project on renewable sources of energy has made all the booking for us. It is all very beautiful and stunning when one views Leh from an airplane, only when one is sitting in a taxi, and sees things from closer, that one realizes the poverty and the primitive conditions in which most of the people stay in Leh. The NGO where we are going to stay encourages the use of non renewable sources of energy like Solar panels and micro hydro power plants. With the topography that Leh enjoys, a standalone system cannot solve all the energy problems. Sometimes there is Sunlight sometimes there is none. The rivulets flow sometimes and at other times they remain frozen.

The reason that alternate sources need to be explored is because Leh is not connected to the National Grid, as most of the other parts of the country and hence power cannot be produced at one point and transmitted anywhere where there is demand, over transmission lines. The terrain obviously does not make it any easier to install transmission lines. I don’t know the exact math, but even if someone puts a transmission lines, the inclement weather would make failures a dally phenomena and defeat the whole purpose. At a certain level the problem is akin to what I have in my native place, they have electricity for about 6-10 hours a day normally and when the transformer blows up, it does quiet regularly, there is no power say for a month or so. The village is in some interior part of UP on the UP-MP border. Strangely the situation is exactly the opposite in those villages which are in MP. They have a pretty efficient power distribution system.

We reach our place of stay around 9:30 AM. We have normal Leh breakfast, I have forgotten the name, but it was something like a very thick puri, which we had with jam. Also boiled eggs with salt later on and finally tea or coffee depending on our preference. We went around the place; saw our small room met our friend and the owner of the NGO and the people who work there. We were advised at least 2 day bed rest to avoid any high altitude sickness, but we are Rambo’s descendants. I catch up some sleep have my lunch and watch Harsha Bhogle’s gyan to IIM C people, when he was there. The dude has some sense of humor; I don’t know why it doesn’t come out in his commentary. SS goes out along with the other guys to see the market and rent bikes. In late afternoon we start with 4 bikes and I guess 6-7 people. We have to head to a place where Indus meets…which was that river, wait let me go to Google maps, I couldn’t find it. Let’s call it Zanskar for now. It is one of the best roads that one gets to drive on, it is the same road for which the mtv junkies have their ad for the roadies reality no-show.

That drive amongst the mountain has to be experienced. Period. We went down near the place where the rivers embrace each other, there is a small and sweet bridge, since I have just seen bridges across Montana County by Eastwood some days back, and the camera is yet not stolen, I click my way to glory. I was a pillion rider and clicked random snaps sitting behind. One of the best snaps we took was a random snap. I touch the water and it is bone chilling cold. In Winter Zanskar usually solidifies and Zanskar trek is popular among people where one treks from Zanskar valley to this point. Leh is mostly desert, so a few places where there is vegetation and greenery, they are called valleys.

We came back, with people driving their bikes at above 100 speeds. I don’t drive a bike. We came back in the evening, had our dinner and went to sleep. Had we not been Rambo’s descendents this was sufficient for us to fall sick, but thanks to our ancestors we waited for nightfall. SS pukes in the night, I have a heavy head. I forget is this day 1 night or day 2 night.  

Leh - Day 0

It's been a year. Precisely a year, since we took that vacation to Leh. 

I have packed my bags and am heading to the airport. Been to brother’s places to find all the woolen wear and associated accessories like gloves and woolen socks. I am on the flight now a late night flight. It’s exact departure time, I forget. On the Bangalore Delhi flight there is this group of kids, engineering 2nd or 3rd year who are returning from some techfest. It looks like they might be from the IIT. The demographic of the group is pretty diverse, the arrogant Delhi boys, the reclusive shy kid from some interior part of Andhra Pradesh, all are together. And they are literally pulling the flight down and giving the worse once in a lifetime experience to the air hostesses. I think it is in our blood that with, someone like an air hostess who is paid to be courteous to us, we assume a superiority complex because we have paid the flight fair, we the cosumers are the king. So the kids were making them run for water and perhaps only to press the call button and see the plastic smile, just once more. It was obvious to everybody, what was going on. Then out of the middle of nowhere this flight attendant gives a nice whacking of words to one of the kids, I don’t remember the exact words, but it had something to do with respect and the whole flight is dead silent with only the lady yelling at the kid. They deserved it. But I never expected a always smiling air hostess could gather so much of courage and tell the ever pampered Indian customer to go to hell. There is also this false pride we associate with ourselves that when someone criticizes us in person, it’s OK, but when the same is done, in attendance of an audience, we feel humiliated, rather vengeful. 

The flight was mostly quiet for the rest of the time, with kids now talking in whispers. I loved the air hostess who had the gall to give it back.

I reached Delhi somewhere around 11:30 PM. Ok, I remember now, it was a 9:30 PM flight from Bangalore. I got out of the airport and tried to locate my friend who was to pick me up, but the dude was nowhere. I called him up and he said, he was in an auto somewhere very near the airport, and I knew how near he meant. Meanwhile he asked me to come out of the airport and wait at a particular road. Now, that was too much to ask for but I trudged into darkness, reluctantly. Why should only I have these kinds of friends? Finally out of nowhere I heard my name being called and there was the angel friend, hanging out of an auto, just like a superman. He asked me to come in and I parked my luggage in the auto.

Me: So , we are going to your home right.

He : No, no, no, no. There were some guests at home; I will take you to my hostel room.

M: Thanks, so nice of you.

H : Relax man, it’s better than my house.

So he took me to his hostel room, I think some hostel in DU – south campus, I think it was the south campus because the airport was not very far from there and the airport is in the southern part of the city. The typical Delhi type hostel guard gave me a key and bedding. 

Maybe I just stop making caricatures of people depending on where they have been brought up. Some other day. 

Helpfully his room was on the same floor and there was also an internet room, so I was at ease. We then went for some Chinese type hotel, to have dinner. When I asked him what he will have for dinner, He said I have already had it at home and he will just have an ice tea. We were kind of lucky as the restaurant was just closing and since my friend knew the owner, we weren’t thrown out.

Then we went to the campus and he introduced me to many of his friends. We also took a round of the campus. He showed me his college and I told him and let's go in and see it from inside. He was a bit reluctant but I pushed him. Sure there was a sleeping beauty of a guard, so we were extra quite when we were closer to him. He showed me the campus and all with great pride. Then we quietly went back. The devil in me wanted to wake up the guard after we were leaving as anyways we had seen the campus, so I banged the door loudly, but as happened so often with me during the past, I failed. I could not pierce his sleep. 

When back in my room my friend asked, will sleep now, right? No, I want to see the India Gate..It is far, it is night, I don’t have a license,the policewallah are real bad, there is no petrol in the bike….I don’t care, I have come to Delhi and I will see the India Gate and go.

He finally relented; he said that in his two years at campus he hasn’t come out at night to see the India Gate. And I told him, precisely because you lack my type of friends. They usually call me impulsive. The roads in Delhi are good. Wider than Bangalore and Mumbai put together. We spoke of all things, our solitary common friend, his gf( they have broken up now)and all things under sun. At gateway( On review I realize, this should be India gate, but I will allow the mumbaiya in me, some liberty)  there were people playing football along the road, hawkers selling ice-cream, an army guard standing in a STOP( The game we use to play when we were kids) position , though all at a smaller scale, but it was not deserted, as we had expected.

Then we went to Comesun near nizamuddin station and some drunken bloke tried picking up a fight with me, why are you staring at me? Come on you are drunk, out of your senses, blabbering, why won’t the whole world stare at you. But for a moment there was a rush of blood to my head and I was ready for a mortal combat, thankfully his friends intervened, and we celebrated world peace. We had some ice cream and fruit juice. But it was a spectacle; these many young people right in the middle of the night, there were also families and kids, and no place to sit chattering away to glory as if it was the middle of the day. 

There is a hotel near Mumbai airport, where I have seen something like this, not this density of people though.

We came back to campus sometime later, I caught half an hour of sleep. Y had called a taxi for me and paid him in advance. I left for the airport and probably caught the longest flyover of my life on my way. Met S at the airport who had come from Mumbai, an hour back. I hadn't taken an early morning flight from bangalore, because there is none, But not so for Bombay. The flight was delayed from 6:30 to 7: 20. As it was a flight coming from Leh where the weather wasn’t very good. as they say in airport parlance, due to inclement weather. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ek rasta hai Zindagi, Jo tham gaye to kuch Nahin

Conrad, Yashraj films has their own youtube channel now. Anurag Kashyap, where art thou. 

Banks which I have visited to find the lowest FIRC ( Foreign Currency Inward remittance)
SBI , two branches, one did not do forex transactions 
Syndicate Bank
Bank of Baroda
Corporation Bank 
ICICI bank. 

There is no clarity yet but we might go with HDFC bank. The partnership deed which was to be
registered on Wednesday is still not registered That delays the application for a PAN card which 
in turn delays the account opening form, which in turn delays my quest to raise an invoice.  

The skin is sensitive to washing powders, this I have known, now I know that it is also sensitive to 
Vim bar, solutions and company. 

The cook wants 1200 bucks per month to prepare my food, i don't know what to do, pay him or
start cooking myself. And yes, India has gone to vote, being forced to register I did register on
jagore and also managed to submit my application.

I will vote if I am motivated enough on apr 26th, and if there is no Q outside the booth, though I have
no idea whatsoever on who all are contesting. It is not fair to cast a no vote , when one is not aware
of the candidates credentials, but I might still just do that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Avinash's Chessboard

just came from nowhere today, while walking on a road. 

It is but a small obstacle. 

Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft armchair, you will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this story of great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy. But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true.

You cannot draw lines and compartments, and refuse to budge beyond them. Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair…Yes, in the end, its all a question of balance.

Another paragraph from the chapter of Kochu thombam needs to be searched out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sangli, Ak Wedding

Sangli- Miraj are twin cities just like hyderabad and secunderabad. The only difference being that of scale. For good measure AK decided to get married there, and since it was just an overnight bus ride for me I decided to attend it.
I boarded the bus around 6 PM and it reached Kolhapur at 6 in the morning. There are no direct Volvos between Bangalore and Sangli, so I booked one up to kolhapur. For good measure makemytrip also was offering 20 % cash back, hence the total cost turned out cheaper. From kolhapur I took the State transport bus up to Sangli, which is I guess about 40 kms from there. I was in Sangli then at around 7 in the morning. Had a nice footpath, sweet tea.
Sangli falls right in the middle of the Sugar lobby part of Maharastra. The south-maharastra region owes most of its growth to sugar cane and Sharad Pawar. Conversely Sharad Pawar owes most of his financial growth to this region. He has been an honest politician, one may say. He has contributed to building good colleges and educational  institutions in the nearby region. We have come to such a passes in the Indian politics that we accommodate a corrupt politician who has done some good for us than those who merely are raw power mongers.

Coming to sweetness, everything in sangli is very sweet or very spicy, because of the sugar canes. Sugar cane is a funny crop, it required the most amount of water to cultivate and though may be profitable in the short run, in the long turn, I guess agriculturists generally discourage its plantation.

I also had the famous kanda poha near the bus stop and more sweet tea.  From there AK's cousin dropped me to a hotel room, where the Bombay gang was already lodged. It was morning for me, but for them , the middle of the night. They had come in a second class compartment drinking cool drinks and snacks. The intelligent buggers had mixed some alcoholic beverage in that. For the world they were drinking a cool drink. For themselves alcohol. The biggest joke was that they claimed that no one realised they were high on alcohol. Obviously they were drunk. 

We had our breakfast in a sweet shop around 11. For me it was my second breakfast of the day. Before I forget we were four jokers each dressed in a different way :
S: typical marriage dressing . tie and suit boot , in south maharasta , in an afternoon, in February. Some people let nothing come between the weather and their protocols. 
PA : Normal office going formals, no tie no suit. But the bugger was running his office from there. He works in a cellular company in a marketing function where I guess he mostly collects data on Roaming usage etc. The thing which pisses of a sales guy more than anything is a marketing guy telling him what to sell and how. 
DB : Sherwani. Recently his brother had got married and his hangover was not yet over
Self : Jeans and Kurta. 

So when one imagines all four walking towards the marriage hall, a circus in motion. 

The one thing which all the guys wanted to do was dance in a marriage. But the agenda of the marriage did not have a dance program, though there was background music, but other than us, no one else wanted to shake a leg. That was a damp squib. 

We had our lunch in the marriage hall, spicy food, by default 3 gulab jamuns etc. You could ask for any more as you wish. And then BD and S went in an auto to find a pan shop to have Pan and bring them for us. 

The autowallah again fleeced us.  

In the evening we visited the Mahalaxmi temple in kolhapur. I had the famous usal pau in dinner .As luck would have had it, I got the same konduskar volvo with same driver and the same cleaner. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mysore and Naipaul

I reached Mysore at around 930 PM. On enquiring around, I found that the auto might take around 20 bucks for the auto trip to the ginger hotel. There was also this option of taking a prepaid auto. I settled on the option of the prepaid auto initially.

As soon as I got off the train I started walking in the direction of the prepaid auto counter but realised that the entire train of people was walking in the opposite direction. I changed the plans and started walking in the opposite direction, along with the crowd. Outside  I got into a bus which did not fo to Nazarbad. Then the mind wandered off to a nearby bus stop. Having convinced an autowallah to drop me for 20 bucks, I saw a tanga standing nearby and the mind again wandered. 

A minute hence I was sitting in the tanga. Meanwhile the enterprising tangawallah pulled 5 other guys in the tanga. Soon the exclusive tanga was converted into a share tanga. Nevertheless the tanga took its own sweet time to reach ginger hotel. Meanwhile I made small talk to my neighbour, and he asked me from where I was , what do you do etc. A few were easy, I am from north. But then the difficult one came, what do you do and why have you come. on Dooty. I assented. What Dooty. this inquisitiveness is a great trait to see in any person, irrespective of their social standing because it tells that a person has a thirst to know how is the world outside his well. Sometimes one also perceives it as being unnecessarily nosy. I follow the former idea. But yes, I did struggle to answer him on what did I do, does the company have an office in Bangalore, if it is based out of bombay, do i work in bombay. 

I kept giving him true answers, but they kind of did not make sense to him, perhaps because I did not provide him with a string to join the variety of thoughts. 

Ginger hotel was pretty lively when I reached there. Unlike other hotels , the dude and dudette at reception were in jeans , t shirts just like they are in, I guess Go airlines, or is it Indigo. I forget. 

Tatas have decided that the hotel concept would be the crucible where all the tata products come together. Tata wifi cards, soaps, tata sky etc. One day they will have nano playing in each hotel room. There was also a funky retailing machine which had everything from soaps to cool drinks, but a tooth paste, someone had not brought, expecting to find it in the room. The low cost Indian hotel room concept does not have any space for the tooth paste anymore. 

The next day after haggling with the auto wallah for almost 20 minutes, I got into an auto and he took me precisely in the opposite direction from where I needed to go. After I made a few calls and realised that and browbeat the auto wallah to take me to the proper location. The 20 minutes I had spent in haggling were wasted coz the autowallah finally extracted exactly double the amount. I am ok with people making a fool out of me , as a reason to earn a livelihood, but I guess there is some fundamental problem somewhere. When I get into a Bus, a gang jostles with me and flicks my phone, an autowallah takes me for a ride. I need to change my looks . Start going to gym, double my muscles count, throw away that specks of mine. Look more aggressive and AB, 70's style. I will work on this. Starting tomorrow. 

In the hotel the whole Indian family was travelling, After some thought it occurred to me that it is time for th great Indian schools, summer vacation time. I saw a group of punjabis , loud , very loud having dinner with me. The progeny and the progenitor at loggerheads over an ice cream. For some good measure the uber helpful hotel staff were on the progeny's side, and the Mom was cross. Real punjaby crossed mom. 

I returned by the shatabdi. They have timed the departure perfectly. No lunch. I was banking on them to feed me, but all I got was a jumpin and few biscuits. The caterers on the delhi chandigarh sector are more munificent when it comes to feeding their passengers. All during the journey they keep feeding you something or the other. One of my greatest challenges in life has arisen when I am on a shatabdi or a flight , not the low cost ones, and I am presented with something to eat and I have seriously no idea how should that thing be consumed. 

Saw Oye Lucky Lucky Oye yesterday. Good movie. The best part Abhay Deol's nonchalance. Trying to read The writer and the world. The Jamaican-Indian authors essays beteen 1960's to some other year. What's his name...V. S. Naipaul( Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul) . Wiki says he is from Trininad and Tobago. Ok he is from there. The other books which we have read include , Among the believers, my first and India a million mutinies now. 
Of all the normal books I have read on India by gurcharan das, tharoors etc, this one still ranks my best. I know there have been other better books written on India like the last Mughal etc, but I have not read any of those. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

CA formalities

Finally, we took some time out and spoke with the CA again for the company registration.
If we hire an employee we need to pay profession tax.
If the total outgo for a subcontractor exceeds 50k in a FY , we need to apply for a TAN number and deduct TDS at source before making the payments
There are three forms in which we can pay for subcontracted work, as a subcontractor fee, professional fee and as a salary. In professional fee the limit for TDS is 20k
If domestic TO is more than 9 lacs we need to register for Service tax registration. If we are planning to sell a product we need to register for VAT registration. 
Even if we plan to hire a single employee, we need to apply for a shop and establishment license. We need to maintain about 20 different forms of registers like attendance register, salary register, woman employee register etc.
If we receive foreign currency payments we need to have an IE( Import export ) number. The fees for the same is 4k.
The most important, the partnership deed is merely to satisfy the legal obligations, the partners need to have a sufficiently good understanding as to how they are going to run the business. 
The partnership deed needs to executed on a 1000 rupee stamp paper.
It is a retrograde step to be starting with partnership, when one of the objectives is to create employee wealth. Of the many concepts I have rejected, one also is the grand objective of the existence of a company, i.e. to create shareholder wealth. Wealth usually is unequally distributed with zero correlation to a person's utility and intellect, but those wield power with whom it rests. Juxtapose these people with those individuals who actually give their precious years to the expansion of a company. It is with these employees that wealth needs to be distributed more evenly, hence the utility of ESOPs. 

No other Indian has made more crorepatis in India than Narayan Murthy with his ESOPs schemes in '96-'99 period. But the internet bubble took away this tool of employee retention from Infy. 

Google also right now is struggling with the problem, Infy faced during the bubble, when Google's share price has crashed and employees hold on to ESOPs at a price which is higher than the current market price. It has tried to do good this loss by buying these ESOPs from employees and giving them fresh ESOPs, or some such form of jugglery. 

The reason to start with partnership is all monetary. No cash to spend about 20k for a pvt limited, when one can issue share certificates and have an ESOPs scheme. 

The plan is to run this as a partnership for this financial year and if revenues justify our existence, then dissolve this and have a pvt ltd from the next financial year. 

Hopes. High hopes.  

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


As is usual, there was a chickening out event, which occurred when it came to shutting down this blog. So, we wait for another day when we can gather sufficient courage and pull it off. 

Though, I am not the kind of person who gets bogged down easily, if a series of incidents one after the other go against me, my usually iron like nerves start showing signs of malleability. They have, now. 

The problem occurs when one usually looks at events or reality from a fixed point with today's coordinates. Rather than looking at an entity like a house and see what all is wrong with it, one can also look at it from a future perspective saying how can it be changed. Most of us are usually too bogged down in the humdrum of daily life to pause and dream a better world and work towards creating it. So am I. But I guess, I am taking the first steps at recognizing that my frustrations are trivial and merely a function of time. When I look back at time, I will look say at a duration, which I might not measure in terms of years or age but between events. Say, what I did between Event A and Event B. And then, remember only the fine things which are worth remembering. The trifle that a tap is not working is just that, a trifle. Today it was like a nuclear bomb.

The maturity of a person lies in how many events can one trivialize and move on.  On that one of my theories is that when something doesn't happen your way, you can either gripe about it or laugh about it. Someone takes a sharp turn in front of you; you can either laugh about it or curse about it. I believe, it is generally better to laugh more than swear in life.

Finally, anything can be made to work. Even the most difficult of marriages , not necessarily spousal. But if one comes with a fixed set of ideas and expectations, start issuing threats and saying you will have to this or that, this will be difficult ,then the equilibrium breaks. 

We need reasons for people to sympathize with ourselves. Reasons are lies. Why models works and do not is never the problem of the model but that of the person executing it. 

Any model can be made to work. Or any marriage. 

Communication is important. So is support. And so is the pleasure of sharing the process of building something. Towards the end in "Into the Wild", the protagonist finally realizes the truth about happiness, Happiness only real when shared. 

There is a difference between command over the language and ability to communicate feelings, likes and dislikes. The challenge for me always has been in communication skills. It is a pity though, that one can have a sufficiently good command over the language and still suck in communication. This has to change.


  • Create employment opportunities
  • Change the society
  • Create employee wealth

The list should be added and modified.