Now there must be something wrong with the internet. Facebook is down at the moment and its been like this for the past few minutes! Very hard to digest, but when Google could go down a few times and twitter could max out its capacity to tweet; why would Facebook stay behind!?

Come to think of it, when big guys like them can have downtime, all others can be spared. One shouts his heart out at the provider when his site is down even for a few minutes! But can the big boys can be spared because their service is free? Do they not have our personal and very personal data that could be compromised upon? Forget compromising the information what if all that you have done on such sites gets wiped out, erased! I dont know if it can ever happen, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for Facebook to show up!

Trust Domino’s Pizza when hungry! And all the business people & startups reading this; learn customer service from them. It was on my return journey from Goa in November last year. Since, we had to travel quite a distance to the railway station, we were unable to have lunch. Once in the Bangalore bound train and about 30 minutes to depart, we realised that there was no food available on the train or on the station! Exhaution and the the unwillingness to leave Goa only helped in increasing our hunger by the minute.  If we were in Bangalore, 30 minutes would have got us any kind of food; but in Vasco city you cant do much. I tried getting something from outside the station, got pav bhaji which was so bad that no man with a normal tongue could eat it! A few minutes later I tried pushing my luck…

dominos-logoI called up a phone directory service in Bangalore and asked for Pizza outlets in Goa. There were not many in this part of Goa as none were visible on the way; unlike north Goa where pizza outlets can be seen while beach hopping. I was informed that there was a Domino’s Pizza outlet in Margao, where my train would halt after another 30 minutes or so! I called up the number and the guy on the other side was surprised that I was asking for delivery on a moving train! I spoke to his superior who I presume was more composed and I convinced him that I was a genuine customer who was genuinely hungry! He took my mobile number, train and coach details, my pizza order and confirmed that the pizzas would be delivered on my seat at Margao station. I kept my fingers crossed.

Five minutes before the train reached Margao, I got a call from the delivery boy that he was already there! When the train reached the station, he promptly delivered hot pizzas. I tipped him royally. We were hungry to the limit. And guess what joy I got in putting my teeth into those hot, yum pizzas! I cant tell you how envious our co-passengers were and cursed themselves for not getting this idea! We however landed up sharing it with them as I had ordered meals for four when we were just the two of us!

Thank you Domino’s Pizza, your service was worth every bite, of this post!

I did that. I took a break and went to Goa. Just ahead of launching my next portal, I thought I must unwind. Unwind to relax, recharge and put my spirits high to face the grind again. And one of the best places one can go, is to Goa.

I have been to Goa a couple of times before, but not in November. November is supposed to be the start of season time and weather is supposed to be cool. Unfortunately, this time the visitors have not yet started flocking in huge numbers and the weather is also not cooler than Bangalore! Bobby, the restaurant owner of Brendons Shack on the Palolem Beach attributes this to global warming and recession. I kind of agree with him.

I had stayed at Chalston Beach Resort, a good hotel nicely placed between Calangute and Baga beach. I found it good value for money and the ambiance of it’s restaurant; bang on the beach, awesome! It had a clean swimming pool, large garden area and reasonable room service. We were at good comfort and enjoyed our stay there. Taxi, two wheelers and four wheelers for rent were available just outside the hotel adding to the convenience factor. The staff was generally good and responsive. Of course, you may sometimes get the uncanny feeling that foreign tourists are being given more preference. Overall a recommended place to stay. We were in an AC room (which we hardly used) that costs about Rs. 2000/- per night including breakfast. During off season, the rates are about half of this!

On day three we decided to visit Arambol beach as we were told it was very beautiful and great by one of the friendlier staff at the hotel. We would have found it great had we not stumbled on a stretch of one on the best beaches I have ever been on! This spot is just about 5 kilometers before Arambol and after you cross the Mandrem beach. It was clear blue water and not more than 20 people on the whole stretch of the beach! There were a few shacks there which sold stuffs at a bit higher price when compared to others. But this was absolutely OK as they really do not have people there and it is pretty isolated. Stayed there for few hours and then headed back reluctantly. Check the map below to reach there.

View Larger Map

That night we went to TITOS. Big Mistake! It is no longer what it used to be. We were there from about 11 PM in the night till about 2 AM. Except 2 men who didn’t seem gay kept dancing alone! A few couples sat waiting for the crowd to come in which didn’t happen. The lack of crowd can probably be attributed to the ban on smoking but what couldn’t be understood was BAD music. Can you imagine Punjabi and sad Hindi numbers at TITOS! Our Bangalore DJs (aka DJ Neil)  get to play less but they can surely do a better job! There is Mambo next to it but we had no guts to enter the place and take another shock. We left cribbing about the unjustified entry fees and time wasted there.

These are about the few things worth mentioning broadly. There is more to the trip which I may pen down later. I was at peace, with nature and my best friend which makes this one of my many memorable travel experiences. And for the first time in the last 5 years of holidaying, I did not bother to check my email and did not answer any business call! Total peace of mind. Take a break, go to Goa! Let me know if you take my advice.

Today has been one of the most memorable days of my life! And this was made possible by not one or two but over 200 special people! People who loved you though they didn’t know who you are. People without prejudice, open minds and with smiles that humbles and mellows you down.

“Wonder la, here we come!” was an initiative taken up by the BEC (Bangalore Expatriate Club). It was a trip today, to Wonder la with about 250 children from SRMAB, a school for blind kids and SUKRUPA, a school for underprivileged children. All the credit for this day goes mainly to Barbara (BEC), the lady of the day who planned, coordinated and made this event a big success! Of course, lots of credit to the volunteers and contributors too ;)

We started by meeting at Wonder la by 10 in the morning. After brief introduction to the wonderful people and volunteers for the day we engaged ourselves in distributing t-shirts to the children, sponsored by ATKINS. They formed groups with whom we mingled for the rest of the day and had a crazy time! The kids just loved it! Their enthusiasm was unlike what I had expected. They knew a lot about the place and some of them had been there before. They wanted to go everywhere… to the elephant ride, to the rain dance, the merry-go-round and some rides whose names, I still fail to remember. We were all more then glad to take them there. Also, I know Kannada with which the kids were very comfortable and spoke to me freely. How I just wish the others could understand how thankful they were to us. Some of them hugged us or thanked us for literally every ride! Wow, what an experience the day was!

Introspect – is what I did many a times today.  I felt privileged to have myself being normal.  Just imagine yourself without any one part of your body. Any One Part. On my way to the changing room, I saw some children facing a wall and standing, holding each other. Surprised, I asked them why they were there only to realize that they had lost trail of their group and didn’t know which direction to go as they were visually challenged. How far can you go with your eyes closed? And how far will we go with our eyes closed?! We need to open up, accept the world as one and put in our 2 cents to make this world a better place for all to live in.

Thank you all for making me feel the way I did today. Again my special thanks and warm regards to Barbara, Roberts, Sreejita, Jenny, Niel, the children, others whose names I don’t remember (please forgive me) and of course Gunar, a great musician and an even greater chess player, through whom I got to know such wonderful people. For any corrections or additions, please feel free to add it in the comments.

It was bound to happen. With light security, poor enforcement of law and laid back attitude of the Bangalore police, Bangalore would surely be targeted sooner or later. I started writing this post when I heard of one bomb blast near Madiwala, by now the count has gone up to six! I hope this is not the signs of things to come… God forbid.

I have just passed Mysore road a few minutes back and am happy to be in front of my PC in the office, but still unsure if there could be bomb nearby…

Wonder why some people engage in such mindless activities? As of now one woman has died and more than 20 injured.  What will anybody achieve? Reason for the blasts – people are running their imagination wild. I am getting calls every 5 minutes from one or the other concerned person. Some say its the terrorists at work and some say it is anti BJP sentiments being projected. In any case why violence? Lives of innocent people at stake, who actually won’t be able to solve anything.

I have been searching on Google and other sites. Not much news about the blasts. Shops and establishments nearby are closing. I will remain in my Office for any place is just as insecure as any other place in Bangalore…

This one has forced me to blog! Not by paying me loads of money or strong requests but due to my association with AAA (ASSOCIATED AMATEUR ARTISTES) and the personal touch which I have with the organisers, whom I admire a lot. A few months back I had joined this play and took part in many practice sessions. I was under the impression that the play would be released by December 2007 after which I had my German Classes to be attended. Due to this I could not be a part of the play which is releasing now. I still have my German classes going on the A2 level, after which I will head straight for the play on the 14th of this month. The play is a fantastic story of God who comes down to earth to get first hand feel of his creation. What happens during his visit is what you have to see!

I got to learn one thing thing from my short practice stint with AAA. A lot of guys like me are spending a ‘Digital life’ – everything timed, precision oriented, planned time-bound activities, action-reaction defined and a lot of monotonous stuff to add. Whereas, Art is like Nature, very ‘Analogue’ by definition – not time bound, slow but perfect, smooth, unpredictable and something which demands a lot of patience. I have seen Hiriannaiah uncle making us repeat a scene to perfection so many times without loosing 1% of his temper. I go bonkers if my staff does a silly mistake! He enacts anybodys role with such zeal and feel that one can’t help but admire his love for drama. Long Live AAA!

The details of the play are as below:

Date: 14T & 15TH OF JUNE at 6.45 PM
Venue: H N Kalakshetra (National College, Jayanagar)
Play write: Mr. N C Mahesh (lecturer, National college Basavanagudi)
This play won the first prize in Prof B C Memorial play write competition organised by Suchitra Kalalendra
Language: Kannada
Director: Sri. Hiriannaiah Haranahalli (Well known artiste in Kannada industry)
Music: Mr. SHASHIDHAR KOTE (Well known musician)
Dance Choreographed by: Mrs Deepa Narayan (well known TV Artiste)
Tickets: Rs 50.00

Next Production Late TP Kailasam’s ‘Soolay’.

AAA is also looking for theater enthusiasts. If you are interested in Acting, Direction, Backstage, Lighting Makeup or Anything to do with theater please contact:

Ms. Akhila H : 9880277470
Mr. Arun Rao: 9900107090

One fine day, I thought of improving my profile by doing a foreign language course. Out of the many options that I had – French, German, Japanese etc I settled for German Language. After a few visits to some language training institutes, I ventured into Max Muller Bhavan, Bangalore. Even before I had spoken to the person in charge, Ms. Jayanthi, I had decided to join there! Just by looking at the place you could swear about their professionalism. It has a well stocked library of books, German magazines, newspapers and not to forget, movies and videos in VCDs and DVDs. Neat classrooms with well furnished equipments, well trained teaching staff, a German cafe (Café Max) and loads of recommendations left me with little choice! The course fees for the weekend batch that I have joined is Rs. 8500/- (About 145 Euro) for the A1 level.

Good and positive vibes, from people and places draws you towards them. Germany, as I know is very open to Ayurveda and Indian culture. It respects both modern technology and the ancient knowledge of civilizations. We have reasonably good business and some very loyal and fantastic customers from Germany. I hope this course helps me to interact with them better and maybe lead me to do business there.

More on Max Muller Bhavan after I have attended a few classes! Wish me luck – its been a long time since I studied!

For quiet a few weeks there has been a great dismay and uproar over Google’s policy of giving lower Page Rank (PR) to sites that sell links off their site. So is TLA dead?

Not so soon baby! TLA is dead for only those who trust that Google will never be able to set it’s search algorithm and ways to filter its links database right. For some reason Google has choosen to punish publishers rather than check its own system of PR and rectify it. It has done something that completely opposite to what it has always stood for – “Do no evil”. But I am a hardcore Google fan and believe that soon it will realize its mistake and set things right. Publishers will have freedom to ethically sell links to others and enjoy freedom which is their right.

Cheers to Google! Long live TLA!

Bar Camp Bangalore 5

Here it is again!  On 17th and 18th of November at IIM, Bangalore. Apart from bumping into techies and a lot of tech talk, I intent to work around and trying to understand if blogging could have a visible social impact. Could we blog collectively about issues and make a difference? Could we have an off-line team to work on field if required? And yes, the most interesting one – could donating a blog post create a charity organization!?

It’s a bit hazy in my mind too, but I hope to give it a shape in the open forum discussion at the barcamp. I have booked a slot at 12 noon on 18th Sunday. Hope to meet a lot of you guys and like minded people to start off!