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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Golden Compass

I wish to live in the world of fantasy. It excites me very much. I enjoy reading and viewing stories that takes you away from the reality but at the same time makes you believe what comes across you.
May then it be the journey of the ring in the trilogy “Lord of the rings” or the story of Harry potter. Even the Chronicles of Narnia amuse me a lot. I even enjoyed watching the movie “Bridge to Terabithia” which I doubt many of you must not have heard of.
I find myself lost while reading these books or viewing them. At some point I wish to be a part of that world.
Very recently I came across a new fantasy world. It was introduced to our world as “The Golden Compass”.
I watched the movie many months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since it was the first part of the trilogy, it left the story incomplete at the end of the movie.
The movie motivated me enough to get into the pages of the “The Northern Lights”, the first part of the trilogy.
Story deals with the journey of an innocent girl from her home place “Jordon College” to the extreme north.
As every fantasy introduces you a new set of concepts, which you need to understand and believe, this story also gives some new concepts.
Consider a life where you are not alone. You are connected to an animal who is your dæmon . You cannot be separate. If some thing happens to it you feel the pain. Animal that changes from bird to cat to cheetah and any other form till you are a kid and gains a fixed form for the adults.
With the introduction of a dæmon in your life, then you are taken to a journey where the girl “Lyra” has to fight against the act of oblation board experimenting to separate the kids from their dæmon . You experience it cruel and hate any such experiments.
Mean while you try to peep into future that Lyra is reading out of altheiometer.
You wish to praise “Iorek Byrnison” a Panserbjørne an armoured bear who agree to fight for Lyra till she achieve the victory or he the death.
You get to know about a new elementary particle (like electrons, protons) called dust. It does not react with any thing. But is found over humans, adults specially. Children are not or rarely affected.
You enjoy the moment while realizing the association of dust with the growing up of children and their dæmon stop changing their form once grown up.
You felt enchanted while knowing the connection of dust with the original sin.
You are thrilled to know that this dust can open a door to enter a new world.
You feel like reading Bible once where in is the origin of word “dust”.
You are taken up by a shock while reaching the last chapter of the book. Interestingly the movie “Golden compass” has not covered the last three chapters of the book. This leaves us a lot to explore in the book and this is where you receive the biggest shock.
At the end of the book, you are just confused as you were while reading the book.
All your predictions seem to falter as you reach the last few pages.
The story leaves you with no conclusions to present and also leaves with any choice than to hastily move on to next book.
I finished “The northern lights” the first novel of the trilogy “His dark materials” by Philip Pullmann and now heading for the second one “The Subtle Knife”.
May be you also try to travel through this fantasy-land!! What’s say?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ground Breaking

Today morning we had a “Ground-breaking” ceremony for the new proposed fourteen-storied building of our organization. Unlike the usual ceremonies this one was rather informal.
We received an email just 20 minutes prior to the event and were told to gather at the proposed site. When we reached there, as expected the arrangements were still going on. But at the same time the atmosphere was rather calm and joyful. No sign of tension present on anybodies face. It was more like a “Ghar ka karykram”.
Later some sound started coming out of the speaker. I managed to hear “Hello, Chup, Hello, Chup.” I tried once again to hear what is announced and at the same time wondered why we are being asked to keep quiet (Chup = quiet) when no body is making noise. But after serious attention paid, learned that it was just a trial to check the sound saying “Hello, check, hello, check”.
Once the tasting was over some familiar words but in very strange voice and tone started falling on our ears. It was “Gayatri Mantra” and the “Hari Om” Jaap that we heard in foreign and very odd accent. It was a punishment to hear that. Soon the board of directors arrived at the place and we were relieved from the punishment.
For the first time I came across many new faces and realized that ours is a very big organization.
The program started and went through many talks giving varied information about the organization, its future plans and many other things. In the mean, the main event of ground breaking took place. A JCB was brought for the purpose, which was something different from what we normally see TV.
While we were getting bored hearing the talks, something happened that did disturbed us but was at the same time was rather amusing.
Our sitting arrangement was made in a pandal that was supported by heavy bamboos. In the beginning it was all fine but as time passed wind start blowing around and its speed slowly went on growing. Suddenly I found some kind of moment near me. Initially I did not understood but soon I realized that the bamboo that was supporting the pandal was almost two feets above the ground!
I was looking at the bamboo and every body around was looking at me. It was a situation full of surprise, tension (whether now the pandal will fall down!) thrill and being funny. As the wind blow faded for a while the bamboo came down to its original position. It was then forgotten and everybody returned to the talk.
But once again a big blow of wind came and to every bodies surprise the bamboo this time went up too high, crossed the two rows of chairs ahead (nobody seated in their) of us and had almost hit the person in the third when I almost jumped and caught hold of bamboo and brought it back to its position. Everybody around started looking at me, do not know if I was looking funny or was it a respectful look for saving one’s life. The wind was now blowing very fast and sooner not just me one more person had to keep the bamboo at its place. Later I realized its not just the bamboo next to me but every alternate bamboo was floating in air but since I was quite in center of the pandal and moreover I had just saved one life, all the eyes were set on me.
Soon all the drama was over. With heavy discussions not on the ground-breaking ceremony but on the floating bamboos we headed towards the much necessary (after all this exercise) refreshment counter.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Some recent updates I would like to add here:
  • Finally on Saturday, long awaited installation of linux on my system is done. It was a really long wait. Lot of technical difficulties had to be crossed to see this day. Further, the key software also got easily installed that had made my boss to wait for almost a year or more. So, friends, now I will be spending more time “working” on linux and might find less time for rest of things including blogging.
  • This incident also took place on the very same day. I had an uninvited guest at my home. I found a lizard wandering around. I confronted and asked,
    “ You haven’t taken prior permission to enter in my home and so you will have to leave immediately”.
    But the lizard was adamant. It gave no response to my words.
    Leter I kept another proposal
    “Look, may be you can stay but then do you agree to share the rent!!!”
    The lizard went more adamant and simply turned its face.
    It came to my nerves and I challenged the lizard “Its either you or me now”
    And then I had my weapon in hand “the broomstick”.
    But since I am very nice at heart, I just decided to threaten the lizard by hitting the ground some 15 cms ahead of it.
    Unfortunately, what happened then was not convincing.
    The lizard sensing the change in my nature decided to run away and unfortunately took the same path where I planned to hit the ground.
    It had almost crossed the point of strike but could not cross over enough to save its tail.
    In a moment the tail separated from the body. The lizard ran away in some other corner. I could not follow it since something made me stop there itself.
    I had only heard of it before but I saw it happening for the first time in front of my eyes.
    Once detached the lizard’s tail was wriggling like an earthworm on the floor. I just could not understand what is happening for a moment.
    When I came to senses, I decided to make a video of the same, but damn it my all the camera cells were burnt out. I could have used the camera of my cell-phone.
    But since this idea struck me while writing this post, so it was not possible.
    This incidence has now triggered my scientific mind to find out the root cause as you must be aware those scientists don’t believe in what they hear but believes in what they realize themselves!!
    I am still wondering did I kill a life since the tail stopped wriggling after some time? Do you have any answer?
  • My next update is regarding my attempts to get Tata Sky installed at my house.
    As you know I am trying hard to get it installed so as to be able to watch Olympics. But no success as yet.
    To get Tata sky activated you have to call on a number given on the net and get it activated. Once activation is done, the people associated to Tata-sky personally come to your house and install it.
    My problem is my call is not getting picked up! I follow all the instructions; I sequentially press 2, 1 and then 3 as asked to finally reach to a point where I can talk to somebody who would help me to install it.
    But for whatever time you wait, you just keep listening a melodious (its not any more) music that keeps going on for endless time.
    Some change to this routine music listening happened on Sunday when in between this melodious music, I was told how I to subscribe ten sports by just sending one SMS.
    I don’t mind subscribing any damn channel but first let me get this Tatasky installed!!
  • This Sunday I finally came face to face with Batman. I managed to watch “The dark knight”. No more words about the movie here since it deserve a separate post. Hopefully I will soon come up with another post dedicated to “ ‘The Dark Knight’ and the hunting”.
  • Last but not the least, few hours ago I was overjoyed with the news that India has finally made it to the Gold medal. Abhinav Bindra scored 700.5 to win the gold medal in 10m shooting while the rest two managed 699.9 and 699.7. I do not how these odd numbers with one crossing 700 and others touching 700 appeared. But that does not matter much. Abhinav almost snatched the gold from Finland’s Henri by performing better in the very last set. I feel a bit sorry about China’s Zu Kinan, the winner of Athens Olympic. His only aim was to be a champion in his very own land, but ultimately had to satisfy with the silver.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni

A mascot in Olympics has been a old tradition which started long back in 1972 Munich olympics. The mascots help to bring up the spirit of olympics, the sportsmanship. They try to introduce rest of the world to a small element of history of the host nation.
2004 Athens olympics had the official mascots as Athena and Phevos, the siblings. This year at the Beijing Olympics Fuwa is selected as the official mascot. I found the story behind present mascot very interesting which made me write this post.
Fuwa literally means good luck dolls.Fuwa under the name has five members suggesting different charachteristics associated with them. They are presented in colors similar to the five colors of the olympic rings. They also represent four of the china’s most popular animals - the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow -- and the Olympic Flame.
Most interesting story is about the names given to these mascots. They are given a rhyming two-syllable name. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow. When these names are put together, it can be read as “Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni” that means "Welcome to Beijing".
Well there are many more meanings associated with these mascots. I wrote about the things I found most interesting about them. There is lot more to read and know about them which you can find this link.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympics

Finally today the much awaited (for me at least) Olympics will shoot off.
I am very excited about it but at the same time feel sorry that I might not get a chance to watch any of the games. I still haven’t sorted out the problem of TV connection.
Anyway, I hope this time India would show better performance over the 2004 Olympics. In 2004 we won a silver medal in Double trap competition with a great performance down by Lt. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
Will we improve our position this time?
Need to do some analysis for that.
But hold on, to analyze, we need to know all the games we are participating in and all the players representing India.
Do we know our participants by name at least or may be the total count!!!
I doubt. I doubt how many of us would have tried to dig out this information from any medium available?
I tried to search this information and landed up at this link http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_indian_players_are_participating_in_2008_olympics
Not a single answer to this question!
Does anybody know this answer? Hello!!
Is there any official website that gives this information?
I can easily find the names of all the players playing in final eleven of third test match against Srilanka and even the names of players selected for the upcoming Champions trophy, even in local newspapers forget the internet and national level newspapers. And here I am struggling to know the strength we are sending to fight for 302 gold medals in 28 different events.
Leaving this aspect behind let me compile what all I could gather about our preparations for Olympics
§ I heard about Indian Olympic Association Chairman saying not to expect anything from present Olympic team. As a justification it was added that they are preparing for the upcoming Asian and next Olympic games. I just wonder what they were then doing since last Olympics? May be similar comment we will hear during coming Asian games and also during next Olympics! If Chairman himself is so pessimistic what say about people. I would have expected him giving some words that will fill our players with positive attitude.
§ Apart from this other news is that we failed to qualify for hockey.Men’s as well as Women’s. So, no “Chak de” this time.
§ Yesterday we got another jolt with Monica Devi, one of the weight lifters failing the dope test.
§ We do have hopes of showing some performance in Archery, Shooting and Boxing though I am not aware of who all are the participants there.
§ One more hope resides with the swimmer Veer Dhawal Khade who is consistently performing well.
§ The tennis duo Bhupati and Paes are again together, but I am doubtful if this reunion will prove any fruitful.
§ I would personally like to see some good results in Badminton.
That’s all is the information I carry related to Olympics and India’s participation in it. Though we never performed well in Olympics in recent years (once the charisma of Hockey was over) but still their used to be big enthusiasm in people about Olympics. But this year, I hear nobody discussing a single word on Olympics. Even doubt if anybody is aware about today’s Inauguration.
Hope for the best and wish our players good luck to perform the best they can perform!!!

P.S. Will anybody help me knowing the Indian players!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh hell!! these cell phones

We have a lady here who has a ring tone of old telephones. Everyday it rings at least 10 times, every time extended till the maximum possible duration. This lady has a tendency to speak quite loudly and in last months we all sitting on the other side of her desk (where she can’t notice us) laugh heartily knowing a priory all the details of the conversation and reciting it parallel.
There are two other people who keep receiving and making calls every now and then. I still wonder what business they are in which makes this possible.
The worst thing is I am surrounded on three sides by girls and ladies who show great stamina in conversing for long intervals worth counting in hours and not minutes or seconds.

Today morning one of the person left his mobile in the office and it started ringing. Not once, not twice but it received six continuous calls. It seems the cell was of very upgraded version since people sitting beside him tried to put it off, silent and even tried answer the call but all efforts went in vain. We were forced to listen that sweet musical tune for a long timeNo wonder when the fellow returned all the eyes were set on him and his cell went silent forever since then.
Just now after getting too much irritated with frequent cell tunes, I decided to go to my boss and discuss this issue and make some stringent rules.
I went near him and was about to hit his desk, when his phone started ringing!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why always the Asians at receiving end?

Recent news has perturbed me a bit.
Just have a look at these:
§ Australian and South African cricket players not enthusiastic to participate in the Champion’s trophy to be held in Pakistan in September in spite of heavy security. Not to forget that south Africa is one of the countries with highest crime rate.
§ A security committee from Australia will visit India prior to the test series to be held soon in India. Based on the report given by this committee will Australia decide if their team should visit India or not. These cautionary measures are taken considering the recent bomb blasts held in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. One of the test match is to be held in Bangalore.
§ Many of the players, athletes are planning not to participate in Beijing Olympics that will soon be start in August 08. The reason behind this is not political but the high level of pollution in Beijing. These athletes will rethink about their participation if china could bring sown this pollution level. To avoid any embarrassing situation China has to stop many industries from working in coming month and has to bring up some funny laws like giving permission to vehicles with odd and even numbers on alternate days.
These are some of recently appeared news items. But if we try to search, we can always come up with a situation where some Asian country is made to make some special arrangements, few adjustments so as to make conditions acceptable to Europeans or Australians or last but not the least the Americans.
For that reason you can also add the names of Iran, Iraq or even Korea in the list as other suffered Asian country.
Though the days are over when a country used to be a slave or a colony of a European country. But still the tendency of those countries to rule Asians is not gone. They always manage to make us do what they want. They always make us stand at the receiving end. In spite of the blunders made, European countries like Germany or Italy never stand on this end.
At the same time we Asians are equally responsible for this situation. We always try to follow their path and thus land in their trap. There never is a way that an Asian country shows to the rest of the world. May be for an exception we can mention the name of Japan, the country of rising sun, which has set its own standards and make these master countries stand at the same platform as them. And possibly that is the reason why the Japanese athletes could threaten the neighboring Chinese of wearing special masks during whole of their stay in Beijing.
I feel our recent N-deal is also a similar kind of adjustment that will allow we Indians to stand a bit higher than other Asians but again at a lower position than these masters.
May the day soon arrive when we live with our own rules !

Monday, August 4, 2008

Friendship day

Sunday, August 03 was celebrated as “Friendship day”.
I do not remember before this I ever celebrated this day. But yesterday, unknowingly I did.
The previous day I had spent time in shifting to a new location. Of course it was tiring and at the end of the day what all I planned was to lie down on bed like a dead man. But Mr. D who helped me in shifting put this proposal to accompany him for a dirt track cycle race. I told him yes initially but then repented a bit since we had leave for the racing spot at early 6.00 o’clock.
So as planned I was ready by six and was in his car heading towards the site of competition. Unfortunately it was the first time for the organizers and so as expected start of the race was delayed till 9.00 o’clock.
Among all the competitors, my friend was the only lucky person to have somebody their cheering him up. I feel I managed to do something unintentionally for my friend. I am not sure if my presence did mattered at all, but I could witness my friend’s joy for standing second in his first ever cycle race.
I think Mr. D also decided to keep up with the friendship day’s motto and in spite of being so tired after cycling 52 kms on those dirt tracks, accompanied me in my personal work.
Once done with the race we headed towards one of the famous malls to do some shopping. This shopping was not intended for me but for my friend Mr. R who was some 1000 kms away from me. We finished the said shopping and returned home.
At home I received a call. I came across a question full of surprises that I got up so early, went out with almost no break fast done with the lunch delayed till late after noon, further went to a mall and did shopping for some body else with out giving a single thought to do some shopping for self?
This made me think if I at all gained anything out of today’s all expeditions!!!
Yes, I gained a lot today
I feel, for the first time ever, I celebrated the “Friendship day”.
Whole of the day, I did not forwarded even a single already forwarded friendship SMS to any body. I did not call any body to wish “Happy friendship day”. I even did not tie the friendship band to anybody’s wrist, but instead I spent whole of the day in doing some thing for my friends, which was totally unintentional.
I feel that should be the spirit behind this “Friendship day”. If we can keep up with this spirit then we won’t require any specific day to justify our friendship but instead we can then turn every day in to a “Friendship day”.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Today I want to make a confession here.
I feel so sorry to say but this is a truth that I fail to understand the Humor in English.
For that matter may be it is the literature or even a play.
I am writing these words out of my recent experiences on either of the criteria.
I finished reading the fourth part of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”. I was then in search of a new interesting book to read. The search was on and in the mean time, I heard a lot about a big name in English literature, P.G. Wodehouse, a comic novelist who sort of ruled the world for almost 70 years and was called “English literature's performing flea”. Not one or two, but almost 4-5 people told me about him in a very short span of time. And then it so happened that one my friend finished reading one of his storybook “Right ho, Jeeves”. I got drifted by the way he used to talk about the book and his singularly laughs thinking about some incident from the book. I asked him if I could borrow the book. He agreed and gave me the book.
I reached home and started reading books. The book has nearly 240 pages. I was reading it as if there is no tomorrow. Five pages finished, then ten pages. Slowly the count reached over thirty pages. And oh my god, I still haven’t laughed a single time. I called off for the day.
Next day I continued reading the book but had the experience similar to previous day. No humor encountered. Still with a small ray of hope I continued reading the book and soon realized that I have finished the book, but still I did not come across any incident that will make me laugh.
At the end of reading the whole book what all I could conclude was the story was more of a kind of a joke told to you by a three or year old kid, who keeps telling you the joke for almost half an hour and after that when he conclude the jokes (where you can not figure out the end of joke) you are supposed to laugh as if you have really enjoyed and the joke was really funny.
The story was so elaborate, so explanative, and so full of minute details that it just took away all the fun out of the incidents to be happened and is supposed to be funny. It just could not amuse me. So, my words to Mr. Wodehouse are “ Sorry Mr. Wodehouse you failed to make me laugh”.
Another experience is about this TV play, which is actually is very famous among youngs. It’s all about a bunch of friends with name of the serial also as “Friends”.

The serial does not have any storyline as such but instead have short stories with the humor hidden in the conversations made by the members of this friend circle that includes three boys and three girls, if I am not wrong on the count. And here is the problem with me. I just could not understand this humor in their conversation. I plainly went through the first four episodes. May be it is too early to make any comments on this, since I have hardly been through only four episodes of Season-I. Though these four episodes haven’t succeeded in bring up that one must needed smile (forget a big laugh) on my face, but still looking forward to other remaining episodes to make it happen.
Just wish me luck or better wish luck to these “Friends” to succeed in their expected task.