Monthly Archive: November 2005


Perplexing Paradox No. 1
A crocodile caught a kid and when kid’s mother came for rescue, crocodile posed her a question – ‘You can make a statement. If you speak the truth in it, i will return your kid . Otherwise i will eat him.’ And the mother agreed. The clever mother made the statement – “You will eat my kid’. Now, the crocodile is in a dilemma of what to do.

Perplexing paradox No. 2
A king caught the bandit chief and before punishing , offered him a statement. The king said ‘ You can make a statement. If you say the truth in it, you will be shot and if not you will be hanged ‘ . The clever bandit chief replied ‘ I will be hanged’. The king got into a dilemma of what to do.

Perplexing Paradox No. 3
Few centuries ago, a Law teacher came across a student who was willing to learn but was unable to pay the fee. The student struck a deal saying ‘ I would pay your fee the day i win my first case in the court’.

Teacher agreed and proceeded with the law course.

When the course was finished and teacher started pestering the student to pay up the fee, student reminded the deal and pushed days. Fed up with this, the teacher decided to sue the student in the court of law and both of them decided to argue for themselves.

The teacher put forward his argument saying : ” If i win this case, as per the court of law, student has to pay me. And if i lose the case, student will still pay me because he would have won his first case. So either way i will have to get the money “.

Equally brilliant student argued back saying : “If i win the case, as per the court of law, i don’t have to pay anything to the teacher. And if i lose the case, i don’t have to pay him because i haven’t won my first case yet. So either way, i am not going to pay the teacher anything “.

Any more such Paradoxes that you have come across ?

Chennai – Speaking Hindi – An offense ?

Back from Chennai trip. Glad to be back at home. Chennai sucks big time. Nothing about the whole trip was good, except for the company of people who were travelling along with on the train. i.e., some of my colleagues.

We boarded the West Coast express from Mangalore on Saturday night at 9.15 PM. The train was pretty much on time, but towards the end, it got delayed by around 1.5 hrs, due to (heavy) rains in the Chennai area. Its actually not heavy rains. If one compares the rains that Mangalore receives, its just normal rains. The problem is, there is absolutely no drainage system in Chennai. So, even if it rains for a couple of hours, many of the roads and low lying areas get flooded. So, due to the (heavy) rains, lot of the low-lying areas were flooded, and lot of chaos across the Chennai city. Luckily, our train didn’t stop forever.

We reached Chennai Central, i.e., our final destination at around 4.45 PM. It was damn cloudy, and was raining outside. We were around four of us, and non of us knew Tamil. Not knowing Tamil is bad in Chennai. And little did we know that speaking Hindi is a big offense in Chennai!. Majority of the Tamil people in Chennai have some major ego issue when it comes to language. At least, that’s what I felt. For example, one of the auto Rickshaw drivers refused to take us just because we spoke Hindi!. He blankly said..”If you know Tamil, only then I will take you” !! He even began to curse us when one of my colleague told he knew Hindi. Come On man….. Give me a break.

If you ask anyone … “Anna Salai …Where..?”.. they might tell you were it is. But if you ask the same question in Hindi… “Anna Salai Kaha Hai”, they might curse you!…… I am not exaggerating here. This has been our experience.

Most of the Auto Rickshaw Drivers are major crooks. Even though there were around 100 auto rickshaws just outside the railway station, we couldn’t engage even one of them. Either they refused to take us (because we spoke Hindi), or they charged around 3 to 4 times more the actual cost. The meter is present, but its always tampered, or they take you to the destination after going round and round the city. Oh.. there is also supposed to be a “Pre-Paid” auto rickshaw counter. But no one was in the counter, and the rickshaw drivers seemed too happy about it. (not that it works great even it was open). Its always better you have a fair idea of how much its gonna cost you before you engage a Rickshaw. Its also better you fix the fare before you sit on the rickshaw. If you don’t do so, you will be ripped off.

We were put up in the New Woodlands Hotel. We got the standard rooms since the deluxe rooms were all full. The rooms look pretty old. Kind of stuffy too. Not at all worth the money that you pay for. The fittings in the toilets were kind of rusted…horrible. May be the deluxe rooms are better, but I would not recommend this hotel to anyone. The Hotel serves only vegetarian food. Since it was raining (heavily), and it was kind of flooded, we ordered for food in our room itself. And we did a big mistake. We ordered for North Indian food. The North Indian food was bad as it can get. It was clearly done by some South Indian cook. We had ordered for a Paneer dish, and what came was….something like big pieces of Paneer dipped in something that looks more like sambar along with other vegetables. Somehow we managed to eat it. No other go, and we were hungry too. BTW, Food in Chennai is quite expensive!

The next day. i.e., Monday, the condition was much better. It wasn’t raining. But it was cloudy. Our work took more time then expected. Reached the room back at around 3 PM. Then we went out in search for a good restaurant. Found one. But the food again was not as great., But again, Hunger took priority over taste. :).

At around 5 PM we went to Spencers Plaza for some small time shopping. We spent around 1.5 hrs at Spencers, and came back.

We took the Mangalore Mail train at around 8.15 PM. The return trip was pretty good. The train was almost always ahead of schedule, and reached Mangalore 15 mins earlier.

One thing that I noticed in Chennai was, almost every other person you take services from is there to rip you. May it be a Rickshaw Driver or a Taxi/Cab driver, or a waiter at hotel or the room service guys. Everyone wants you to pay at least 2 to 3 times the normal.

One more funny thing is…..Even though speaking Hindi is an offense in Chennai, some of the Hindi Television serials like Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 etc is beamed in Tamil. Some TV Channels were also beaming some English movies with Tamil voice overs. What an Irony!

Many of my Tamil speaking friends too agree with the above mentioned reality/facts! I don’t have anything personal against the Tamilians or the Tamil Language. Yes, is a beautiful language. But its time that people open up and accept other cultures and language too. Its very essential if you want to be a part of the global economy. I have traveled to many of the places in South India. And except for Chennai, I didn’t have any problems when it comes to communicating with people. May it be Hyderabad or Bangalore or Cochin. If you speak in English or Hindi, people understand what you are speaking and respond back and try to help you in the best possible way they can.

But that’s absolutely not the case in Chennai!

Off to Chennai

Me going to Chennai tonight on official work. I am taking the West Coast express. Its a direct train from Mangalore to Chennai (Madras). Will reach Chennai at around 3 PM tomorrow. i.e., Sunday. Finish my work on Monday, and start back on Monday night itself. On the way back I would be taking the Mangalore Mail train, which leaves chennai at around 8 PM and reaches Mangalore the next day at around 1 PM. So, will be back in Mangalore on Tuesday.

While at chennai, I would be staying at The New Woodlands Hotel at Mylapore. Its kind of a very hectic trip, and I don’t think so I might get enough time to go around and see places. Lets see how it goes!

Firefox gets a Major boost!

Get Firefox!
Firefox, “the” best browser, is all set to become the most used browser.

Ask how ?

Google is supporting Firefox in a big way! Google AdSense has started a referal program where publishers can refer end users to download and use Firefox. And guess what? Google would pay USD 1 for every successful install of Firefox. Now, this is great news for the whole Firefox community.

Gone are the days when browsers were distributed for free. Now you get paid too! :). But fortunately in this case, you get paid for your good karma. Way to go Google!…

Just have to wait and see how Microsoft responds to this one. This one is definitely a big nail in the coffin for Internet Explorer.

AdSense has also started a referal program to refer publishers. The moment your referral makes 100$, you too get 100$ in your account.

More info on Google’s Inside AdSense Blog too.

Google Down – Again!

For the past 1 hour or so, google has been down. And it seems to be a major outage!.

Almost all google services are down including GMail, Google Search, AdSense, AdWords, Google Maps, API’s ….

Lots of discussion going at digital point forums thread :

Have been getting the standard Google error message:

Server Error
The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.

Please try again in 30 seconds.

Update (after 1hr): Seems to be back online now.

Tirupati – A thrilling experience!

I am back!. Our three days trip to Tirupati went well by God’s grace. As planned, we started early morning at around 5.30 AM on Saturday, and came back yesterday i.e., Monday at around 10 PM.

The route that we took for Tirupati was Mangalore – Hassan – Bangalore – Kolar – Chittoor – Tirupati.

We stopped for breakfast at Hassan. Next on route was Bangalore. We kind of got stuck in the Bangalore traffic. Horrible. I wonder how people travel in Bangalore. We did not enter the Bangalore city. We moved towards Kolar. We reached Kolar at around 4 PM, and we hadn’t had lunch. So, we stopped at a hotel called Kamat Upchar on the highway. Had lunch/snacks and continued our travel. We reached Tirupati at around 8.30 PM.

Sign on top of the Tirumala Hills

I think we were kind of very lucky. All along the trip, it did not rain!. (not even a single drop of rain!). Given the fact that cyclone warning was issue in and around this area, its a miracle!!! Also, due to the cyclone warning, and heavy rains, lot of trains and buses to Tirupati were cancelled. So, there wasn’t any crowd!. Now, thats the second miracle! Just to give you an Idea, on an average, Tirupati temple is visited by around 1,00,000 devotees every day. Normally, people spend hours (and in some cases, days) together in queues to get a glimpse of Lord Venkateshwara. And on festive days, the number doubles!. There is a very efficient system of queues etc to control the crowd. But, the point is, you need to wait!! On the day we reached Tirupati, it was virtually empty. So, it was really our luck. Or, you can say, God’s Grace.

The temple complex
The Temple Complex. Image Courtesy :

BTW, Tirupati is the name of the city. Lord Venkateshwara’s temple is located on Tirumala Hills. Its around 22 km uphill from the Tirupati city. Devotees can either take the road route to reach Tirumala, or can walk (i.e. climb the stairs) all the way up. Its an 8 km walk. It takes around 4 hours to go walking to the top.

Around 9 of our family members decided to walk to the Tirumala hills. I took the road route. We reached Tirumala at around 11 PM, and occupied the guesthouse that we had booked. The room was decent enough. It was a three bedroom apartment with some basic facilities. At around 1.30 AM, the folks who had decided to walk reached Tirumala.

We had booked for something called the “Archanantara Darshana” early in the morning at around 5 AM. So, we had to get up early in the morning. We reached the temple at around 4.15 AM, and soon we were on the queue. As per my estimate, there were around 600 to 700 people already on the queue. But we didn’t have to wait for long. We got Lord Venkateshwara’s Darshana at around 5 AM.

Belive it or not, its really a thrilling experience to see the Lord Venkataraman’s Idol. I just can’t describe it! You have to feel it for yourself. Due to massive amount of people, you hardly get few seconds to see the Lord’s Idol. But belive me, its one thing that you have to experience. Its like the God is standing right there in front of you!

Lord Venkataraman's Idol
Lord Venkataraman’s Idol. Image Courtesy :

After the Darshana, we came back to our room, took some rest. We had booked one more Seva in the evening called the Sahasra Deepalankarana Seva. So, we were kind of free for the whole day. So, we decided to see some other temples around Tirupati. We started at around 9 AM, and returned back at around 4 PM.

We saw the Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple, Sri Kalahasti Temple, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple.

Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple
Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple (Click to Zoom)

Sri Kalahasti Temple
Sri Kalahasti Temple (Click to Zoom)

Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple
Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple (Click to Zoom)

We went back to the Tirumala temple at 5 PM for the Sahastra Deepaalankara Seva. This Seva is a very beautiful one. The God’s Idol (not the one inside the Garbagudi*) is placed over a Swing, and the Seva goes on.

Sahastra Deepaalankara Seva
Sahastra Deepaalankara Seva. Image Courtesy :

From the Tirumala Website:

This seva is performed in the Unjal Mandapam. The Mandapam glows with the lights of sahasra deepa (a thousand earthern lamps). The Lord is seated on an unjal, which is rocked gently to the accompaniment of a clarinet orchestra.

After the Seva, we got chance to see the Lord again. Again an wonderful experience.

We came back at around 7 PM. After the Darshana, we decided to go around the shopping complexes. My folks did some minor shopping. Majority of the stuff in almost all the shop is somehow related to the Lord! But there is other stuff too. At around 9 PM we returned back to our room after having dinner.

Lord Venkateshwaras Idols
Lord Venkateshwaras Idols (Click to Zoom)

Next day, i.e., Monday, we started our trip back. We stopped for breakfast at Chittoor. We reached Bangalore at around 11 AM. Luckily, this time around, the traffic was much less. May be because, Monday was a holiday due to Deepavali. So, we didn’t get stuck in traffic. We reached Hassan at around 3 PM. We had our lunch at Hassan, and visited one of our relatives house. At around 5 PM, we started back to Mangalore. We reached Mangalore at around 9 PM.

Some interesting things that I noted about Tirupati:
1. One must book all the Seva’s, Rooms, etc well in advance. Its always crowded, and difficult to get a chance at the nth minute. You can get the List of Seva’s that you can offer at the temple’s website.
2. I was told that the surroundings of the temple used to be very dirty couple of years back. But when we went this time, the old timers were surprised. Everything seems to be well maintained now! Clean and Neat!
3. The free toilets in the Tirumala area are clean, and very well maintained.
4. Lot of security systems are in place, after an incident in which a Former Chief Minster was targeted in a bomb blast by Naxalites when he was on the way to Tirumala Hills.
5. Within the main temple complex, lot of security cameras have been installed to prevent corruption amongst temple workers! And we saw it working :)
6. The entire Tirumala Hills is a no smoking zone. No alcohol too! You are not allowed to take, nor will you get any cigarettes in the Tirumala town.
7. The temple uses finger printing technology to identify the people who would perform the various Seva’s!. This is mainly to prevent corruption/bribes etc.
8. Everything goes as per the schedule. Right on the dot.
9. Due to the security measures, you are not allowed to take any device like camera, mobiles etc inside the temple. I could not click any photos since I had to keep my camera back in the car.

*Garbagudi – Inner most area of the temple.