Saturday, April 12, 2014

10 Reasons you should have a Gujarati friend

Gujaratis are people that originate from the state called Gujarat in the western region of India. Its a flourishing state with cultural diversity. It is vibrant with its true colors of rich heritage, art and cultural traditions. Famous Gujaratis include Mahatma GandhiSardar Vallabhbhai PatelDhirubhai AmbaniSwami Dayananda SaraswatiMuhammad Ali JinnahVirchand GandhiNarendra Modi and Vikram Sarabhai.

In the words of early european traveller Ludovico di Varthema (15th century):

...a certain race which eats nothing that has blood, never kills any living things... and these people are neither moors nor heathens... if they were baptized, they would all be saved by the virtue of their works, for they never do to others what they would not do unto them.

Gujaratis in United States: Gujaratis attained prominence as merchants and hoteliers, and over 40% of the hospitality industry in the United States is controlled by Gujaratis in the 21st century. As time passed, the offspring of the initial Gujaratis have also made high levels of advancement into professional fields, including as physiciansengineers, and lawyers.

  1. Foodie for sure: You can eat some great Gujarati cuisine! In snacks be ready for some spicy and fried dishes., Khakra, Dhokla, Faafda, Paatra. They are as heavy as they sound. You will feel the oil going down your throat and the meal will probably clog your arteries, but it’s worth it. Jokes apart, traditionally Gujaratis eat dal-bhaat-saak-rotli (pulse-rice-vegetables-bread) as everyday meals. When summertime rolls around, Gujarati folks love mangos! You can try keri no rus (fresh mango pulp)! Yum! Also, Gujarati moms will feed you until your stomach seems to explode. (A few minutes later without any shame, she will comment on your waistline.) They’re also very generous in the sense that they will always pack all the friends some food to go.

  1. Dancing and clapping: No party is over without a Garba or Dandiya raas. Garba is a traditional Guajarati dance with a lot of clapping and turning around, while dandiya raas is a dance with sticks. Both are high-level energy dances for the Gujarati folks! Most of the time, you’ll hear your Gujarati friends complaining of being tired after walking for more than 15 minutes or have tendency of using the elevator rather than stairs. Well, don’t be too quick to judge their energy levels. These are the same people who will be able to dance to both garba and raas all night long without complaining of being tired during wedding season and Navratri.

  1. Outfits: Ladies can easily borrow traditional Chaniya choli, a 3 piece outfit consisting of choli(blouse), chaniya(skirt) and odhni(long scarf). Male dress consist of Chorno (cotton drawers), Kediyu(short frill shirt covering upper part of the body) and phento (layered turban). These outfits are usually decorated with beads, mirrors, and embroidery work. A saree can also be worn in Gujarati style for a photogenic photo shoot.

  1. Bargaining skills: Gujaratis have PhD in bargaining, the moment they are born. A must have with you in your shopping spree. Whether it’s online or in stores, you can trust that your friend is not going to stop until you get some sort of discount, coupon, deal, steal, or something in between.

  1. Gujarati words: Being with your Gujarati friend, you will definitely learn some Gujarati words, “Kemcho” (How are you?) and “Aavjo(Bye, see you gain). The more you hangout with your Gujarati friend you will start to pick up more words, phrases and sentences. Believe me, its easy to learn Gujarati.

  1. Gossip and drama: Your Gujarati friend will always have some sort of gossip and/or drama to share. It’s always fun to hear about it because most of the time, it is all nonsense and silly issues turning into big things.

  1. Forever Food Supplies: Gujaratis are never short of their home-food supply. Your Gujarati friend will have enough stock while travelling too, especially yummy “Theplas” (spicy indian bread) with “Choonda” (grated raw mango pickle)

  1. Great Gujarati weddings – Did I say lavish weddings! These tend to be 3-day events! You can have an amazing experience from attending a Gujarati wedding. You’ll have the honor of seeing the groom come on a white horse, more than 500 people, awesome food, amazing dance music, and uncles and aunties breaking it down on the dance floor!

  1. Free tutor: Be it Science, Maths or management, your Gujarati friend is always ready to help. Gujaratis take pride in giving gyan.

  1. Social reach will multiply many folds: Between extended family members and friends of friends, Gujarati folks tend to know a lot of people. They even tend to keep in touch with their 2nd and 3rd cousins. Most importantly, it show how family oriented your friend can be. (Meaning? You’re going to have a friend for life.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Knowledge occupancy

Four quadrants of knowledge in descending order of occupancy in human mind :

  • Things that you don't know 'that you don't know' (99.99999%)
Rest 0.000001 % is occupied by below 3 =>
  • Things that you know 'that you know',
  • Things that you know 'that you don't know' and
  • Things that you don't know 'that you know'

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

It was inspiring to watch Sir Ken Robinson's speech on bringing revolution in education. It truly makes sense in giving a thoughtful approach to the idea of letting children evolve as per their passion, rather being forced to follow a linear approach to live and waste precious lives.

I particularly liked statements, "The great problem for a reform or transformation is the tyranny of common sense" and "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams", "Everyday and everywhere children spread their dreams beneath our feet and therefore we should tread softly"...

However, the speech does not offer any takeaways as no specific solution was recommended for the problem in discussion. It was good to wake-up to the issue, hardly being thought about.

Comparing the indian education system before the advent of British Raj, had solution to all the elements being highlighted in the speech. Children were offered formal basic education in Vedic maths, logic and religious scriptures, providing a perfect blend to develop and build a solid foundation for body, mind and soul. Students were expected to follow strict monastic guidelines prescribed by the guru and stay away from cities in ashrams.

It largely followed educating generations on the basis of castes and related duties that one had to perform as a member of specific caste. The Brahmans learned about scriptures and religion while the Kshatriya were educated in the various aspects of warfare. The Vaishya caste learned commerce and other specific vocational courses. Educating on the basis of caste would raise eyebrows in today's world, but viewing it from a different perspective, it provided specialisation to the communities, rather a child re-inventing the wheel in a complete new field of study. Such practice provided the child to quickly adopt the skills and a opportunity to develop it further, from where his father left. There were some cons too, like caste based education, dependencies and power.

Undertaking a careful study of ancient Indian education system to build a bridge with the current education practice could help bring Revolution in building stronger societies for generations to come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

False ceiling in Nehru Stadium collapses

Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandreshekhar told, "The cables which were to be set up for the data network were placed on the false ceiling and due to the weight of the cables the ceiling fell off. It's a minor thing and it will be corrected. It's not a matter to be worried about"

Is CWG to degrade or enhance the image of the world's third most powerful nation?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

MS-Speech Recognition

Today morning, exploring my ThinkPad for its features, came across this Speech Recognition application from Microsoft. It took me through the wizard to setup the component which also involved certain training to the application, so that it recognizes my voice and words correctly during dictation in office files.

I also underwent additional training lessons, for the computer to reach better accuracy. Thinking the setup being successful, it would save my effort and time to type emails in office. It was time to try this out in MS-Word, I pronounced “Resource Augmentation”. Here is what it typed for several repeats:

Results of medication
He has also been taken
His last publication
This also, and they should
Results of an indication
Response of medication
The socks, and Asia
Just last publication
Response of engaging
His response, and they should
His last album information
Besides publication
It’s also published
Besides application
This last publication
Results of medication
Besides obligation
He decides to take
Response of medication
Besides of medication
And the sounds of medication
The size of meditation
Resource of medication
The source of many days
A source of meditation

….Finally, I gave up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cycling: Hobby Revisited

After a gap of 15 years, googling to find some cyclists, I came across this wonderful website, which left me overwhelmed. It was a networking site exclusively meant for cyclists in India. I was overjoyed to find loads of people like me who were interested in cycling and searching for information.

In the foray, I met some cyclists who proved highly helpful to provide me all the information alongwith the contact numbers of the cyclists in my vicinity. Losing no time, I contacted them and sensing willingness of beginners like me, Vikram and Sunny organised a cycling event on Saturday from Borivali to Aksa beach.

Being new and with no bicycle, I went to a nearby cycle shop. To my dismay, the shop didn't had cycle fit for me, but the guy was tizzy enough to help and arrange a cycle for a day.

I had my bicycle and thereafter there was no looking back. Up in the morning at 6 am we met at Don Bosco school and my passion for cylcing kept me going. On the way I had opportunity to ride various other bikes like, Raleigh elevation MTB 2.0, Hero Nuage, L.A. MTB with disc brakes and all alloy Hero Thunder racer. While returning we had a quick breakfast from the local cycle sold idliwala.

On the way back I could feel the pain in my legs. Sun and pollution multipled the hardship to reach home. Nevertheless, satisfied and having revisited my old pastime made me forgo the pain. However, I had to relax for rest of the weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sixth Sense

Yes, that’s true. In my previous post you read about the advent of Microsoft Surface with a huge price tag for commercial use. But, if Pranav Mistry has his way, the technology will soon become available for masses for the price no more than a mobile phone.

Pranav from the MIT Media Lab has developed a wearable internet-connected computer that can turn virtually any physical surface (like the wall, your hand or even a book in your hand) into a Microsoft Surface like table computer allowing you to interact with that surface using simple freehand gestures. Called Sixth Sense, a prototype of the device was recently demoed at the TED Conference by Pattie Maes (Pranav’s advisor) and it left the audience completely awestruck.

For instance, you could pick up any book from the store and the device will display ratings from on the book itself. Or you could project Google Maps on the wall and zoom & pan using fingers.

The video also show how you can display a pile of photographs on the wall of your room and arrange them using natural hand gesture similar to Microsoft Surface. Or do graffiti on the wall by moving your fingers in the air without touching real paint.

A newspaper can show live video news projected from the video camera of the "Sixth Sense" computer. Pranav says in an interview that any application, now on your computer or mobile phone, can be used inside Sixth Sense.

The device costs less than $350 to build but the price will obviously model "if" it goes commercial and reaches the "mass production" stage.

Microsoft Surface

I hope most of you may have heard of Microsoft Surface. It’s a computer without a keyboard and mouse. It allows you to do almost anything at the sway of your finger tips, providing a very easy to use table computer with a magic of touch. Sway your fingers and there you are maneuvering the objects on the surface.

It’s also called Touch and Gesture computing. The line between the physical world and virtual world is thinning. For instance, Surface allows cellphones to introduce themselves to the buyers. Place the cellphone on the Surface and it displays all the details about that model. Place another model and it displays the comparison with the earlier model.

Plan your holiday with the maps visible on the Surface or juggle the photos clicked, zoom them or even edit them. As visible from the videos available on Microsoft Surface’s website, the screen does not follow a fixed or disciplined width or format. You can easily rotate the applications upside down or full 360 degrees.

This piece of technology is available in US for $16,000 and is strictly for commercial purchase only. On 19th March 2009 Microsoft UK team launched the device in UK with a price tag of ₤ 11,000.

Surely, it wouldn’t be that difficult next time, when you have to teach computers to your grandparents.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Soap business: Change in Indian Television

I am not referring to the detergent business or, nor do I have plans to start one. Here I am referring to the soaps shown on Indian Television on almost most of the entertainment channels. All, with almost same set of story line involving some kind of disputes between family members. It could be between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law or two sister-in-laws fuelling their husbands to take up a fight or husband and wife.

How this era entered Indian Television when detective or comedy serials were prevalent? It all started with the advent of a soap called “'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi'” (Mother-in-law was someday a daughter-in-law) by Ekta Kapoor. Most Indian women as a general nature are inclined in gossiping internal matters of a neighbour or some near relative. This tendency was well captured by Ekta Kapoor who cleverly portrayed the gossips in this soap.

TRPs for the channel (Star Plus) rose sharply breaking all records, prompting other TV channels to follow. It brought a drastic change in the way Indian audience viewed television. However, this also had ill effects as it corrupted minds of youth, especially the women folks.

Action of the women vampires in these serials are being taken seriously and some women audience even go to the extent of practicing them in reality. The dramatization and overreaction to the smallest of the issue in the house as shown in these serials started getting replicated in reality. This has lead to bigger disputes and issues in the house, and finally break-ups. To prolong the episodes, producers and directors add more disputes and drama to make it more interesting and spicy. Some audiences are so engrossed that every comment or issue in the house are compared to the similar event in these serials and are followed up, the way they were in those teleserials. In reality, this has allowed stretching up of issues without giving any second thought to the results.

Audiences need to get more intelligent in terms of solving family disputes and not take support from such serials, which are just doing their business. Serials are not there to leverage solutions to the disputes, but are only a form of entertainment which should be forgotten with the end of episode.

If at all I am given a choice to watch any soap, I would prefer watching some comedy. They are the perfect form of entertainment that makes you laugh and forget all kinds of stress and woes encountered in a day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Road Ahead

It’s been a long time that I wrote a post. Few of the hurdles in life kept me away from writing. At times, there are situations where we are forced to take some tough stand, without any of our fault.

On the road of life we come across some people whom we expect to enhance our journey, but not always. We are given a choice to either rely on them and help us, or not rely and continue with the journey. If good enough they will help you to achieve the target, but if not they can bring a major accident(disruption). Again it depends from situation to situation and person to person. There is no correct answer for it. It’s all about how your resiliency helps in coming over such events.

It’s very important to have a goal in mind. One cannot achieve much without a strong determination to achieve a target. Without goal, he/she will get distracted by the people around, and in the end will stand to have achieved nothing. Over and above he /she will find himself having lost good time and lagging behind today’s competitive world.

Your goal will determine the decision you make at such critical junctures of life. It’s good to face the hurdle, then turning away from the road of life. This will atleast keep you on the road and allow you to achieve the target. Positively, such events will make you more tough and strong, helping you to face bigger impediments with ease, and come out successfully.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

Year 2008 has been marked as one of the worst in the history. It all started with sub-prime crisis followed by world-markets crash. We saw oil prices climbing above $ 150 per barrel and witnessed wiping off some of BIG MNC banks like Lehman Brothers, Wachovia and saw companies like Citibank and GM tremor to the economic tunes.

US had to bail out Citibank and GM, preventing a big financial fall. This was followed by job cuts in US. Is it over or are we going to see some more of it in the Year 2009? There are mixed feelings among the economists. Some say there is more to come whereas some are of the opinion that, the worst is over. We also saw terror attacks here in India with Mumbai twice falling victim to terrorism, claiming hundreds of lives.

Surprisingly, it proved to be a best year for the Indian sports arena. Indian cricket won T20 as well as shooter Abhinav Bindra claimed gold medal at Olympics 2008. There were some outstanding performances by Sania Mirza (ranked 32nd in the tennis world) and Saina Nehwal (foraying into the top 10 badminton world rankings).

Hopefully, all of us would like to see Year 2009 bring peace and cheers to the people. This would become possible with controlled inflation, lower loan rates, affordable oil, etc.

Though, oil prices have fallen significantly, but more changes and reforms are required to bring back HAPPY OLD DAYS and normalize the situation. Wish Goodbye to year 2008 and welcome Year 2009.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year 2009 !!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Serious security flaw found in IE7

A week back a serious security flaw was found in Internet Explorer and everybody is been advised by 'MICROSOFT' not to use Internet Explorer for any confidential banking transactions until the new patch is released.

The new patch would be released at the earliest and Microsoft advices everybody to use the browser from their rivals until the patch is released. As many as 10,000 websites have been compromised since the vulnerability was discovered.

Other browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, are not vulnerable to the flaw Microsoft has identified. PC Pro magazine's security editor, Darien Graham-Smith, said that there was a virtual arms race going on, with hackers always on the look out for new vulnerabilities. "The message needs to get out that this malicious code can be planted on any web site, so simple careful browsing isn't enough."

"Every browser is susceptible to vulnerabilities from time to time. It's fine to say 'don't use Internet Explorer' for now, but other browsers may well find themselves in a similar situation," he added.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Scientoons are the cartoons, based on science. They not only make you smile and laugh but also provide information about new researches subjects, data & concepts in a simple, understandable and interesting thought provoking way.

Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Senior Scientist (Chemical Technology Division) at the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, India coined a new name for such cartoons - SCIENTOOONS.

If you find science dull, dour and boring? If words like ozone hole, glycobiology, nanotechnology or mass spectrometry sound like mumbo-jumbo? You know whom to contact next time.

On December 5, 2007 in South African Science Communication Conference which was held at Port Elizabeth and was attended by experts from all over the world, Pradeep thought to announce his concept as a new science called scientoonics.


Scientoons have also been included as a subject in the syllabus of M.Sc. (Mass Communication in Science and Technology) in Lucknow University, Lucknow (India), Devi Ahilya Bai University, Indore, India, Makhan Lal Chaturevdi University, Bhopal India, B.Ed. course of Mohan Lal Sukhadia University, Udaipur and more. Many other countries are also planning to introduce scientoons for science education and science communication.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mumbai Local Trains

Only local train passengers in Mumbai will know how helpful commuters try to be......

Last week, a hapless victim fell prey to the over enthusiastic Bombay's local train commuters.

Our hero, a man from Pune, wanted to go to Matunga, but as luck and trains would have it, boarded a fast train not halting at his destination. He panicked on realizing his mistake but by then the local had started moving.

On seeing his plight, a sympathetic co-passenger decided to come to his rescue. It seemed that he had been commuting by that particular train (6:03pm Kasara Fast) for the past 6 years and had noticed that the train always slowed down just before Matunga station and crawled at a snail's pace while passing through it. He told the man to jump out of the running train as it slowed down and that with a little bit of fleet-footedness, he would make it safely on terra firma. However, knowing the man's inexperience, he added some words of caution:

"Keep running the moment you jump or you'll fall. Just keep running." He stressed the word "running" lest the man not know the laws of motion. The train did slow down just before Matunga station and at the prompting of his mentor, our hero jumped out of the train and started running as if all hell had broken loose.

What he didn't realise, of course, was that he was running parallel to the train instead of running away from it. Meanwhile, the train slowed down further, so that the man was running faster than the train. In the process, he reached the door of the next compartment and the footboard commuters there pulled him in thinking he was trying to board the train! To his agony, the train picked up speed and sped past Matunga and his new co-passengers started to congratulate him on how lucky he had been, until he told them that they had actually undone what he had done with great difficulty.

Those standing at the door of his "ex-compartment" had witnessed the whole drama and just couldn't stop laughing at the poor man's situation, while he grinned sheepishly!!!

Ae dil, hai mushkil, jeena yahaan...., zara hatke, zara bachke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan......................