Thursday, July 02, 2020

2nd July

So finally in this lockdown decided to come home to spend a few days at home.

We landed on 19th June and up until today, we were in quarantine. For from tomorrow onwards we are kind of allowed to step out. Kind of relief that we can do that and buy a few essential items too.

Also, today happens to be the day, I joined CSG/INTEC more than a decade ago. Time does fly...

And finally, today also happens to be the day, our new CSG Office in ETV was commenced. So it has been 2 years since it was opened and we ventured into a new side of Bangalore traffic. Life hasn't been the same ever since :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Staycation and Workation

The terms "Staycation" and "Workation" would be two words that got more visibility during this COVID-19 lockdown.

I personally have enjoyed Staycation many times in the past. Every time I would return from an onsite trip which would be around 3 months or so, I would simply long to be at home. That's when I enjoyed the Staycation. Being at home and reading a book and probably do nothing substantial would be my way of enjoying and resting at the same time. 

However, when I think of Workation, that's not something that I long for. I would rather enjoy a vacation, rather than work during a vacation. And even if it means taking up and laptop and doing something, I would definitely want to do something which would be of my preference rather than work-related. 

But no matter what, these two words will remain in focus for this year or until the whole COVID-19 episode subsides. We will end up doing more Staycations and probably when we go to our home towns and spend time with our near and dear ones, we would end up working and will be a Workation. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Wealthy Families

Came across this small snippet - Probably on Quora.  Very deep meaning though

Wealthy Families: A brilliant plan is structured to transfer the family’s fortune in the financially optimal way. Estate taxes, private business interests, capital gains — all in the plan. The kids are filthy rich. So are the grandkids. But the soul of the family erodes, and so does the family fortune.

Wealthy Families: These families are not passing on money, they’re passing on a family culture. The family fortune is one tool entrusted to the family, and so they do want a great financial plan. But the fundamental legacy they’ve built is an institution, a culture — a family.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hospitals and Clinics - The cleanliness for COVID-19

After a long wait of two months, all thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, I managed to get an appointment with my regular Dentist. I was told to come a bit earlier than the appointed time to do the sanitization and other precautions.

As soon as I entered the Dentist's clinic, they sprayed some sanitizer almost all over my clothes. They gave me a shower cap kind of stuff for covering my hair. Then two more such covers for my foot and then a plastic apron. Finally two plastic gloves. Basically I was covered head to toe and there was no room for any physical contact. 

The dentist too was in similar attire, and much more if I can say. Overall, I was feeling safe when I was in that environment. The entire dentist chair was covered in a layer of plastic, which would be replaced once I was done, and before the next patient would turn in. I must add, its an expensive affair, both from an economic point of view as well as the environment. But then I guess that's something that needs to be done in this crucial time and can take no chances until we have a better method of sanitizing or we have treatment for this Virus. 

They didn't even take my credit card for payment and only wanted me to pay using my mobile apps/wallets. That was the amount of discretion they choose to opt and I must say that, its a must. 

Given the medical knowledge the Dentist's and team have; and add to that the commonsense which should not be missed, every aspect was taken into account. 
In the end, I was told to take an x-ray of my teeth in the next door diagnostic center. As per the ritual, I was given a hand sanitizer before I entered and they took my temperature reading with a contactless thermometer. So far all good. 

Once I entered and showed the prescription of the X-ray to be taken, he gave me a form to be filled. It didn't look like the pen or the cardboard where the paper was placed was cleaned well. I was not sure, how many people had touched it. Nevertheless I choose to use my own pen and wrote the details, with minimum contact of the cardboard, submitted the form, and took my seat. 

Suddenly someone behind me sneezed loudly. I just went away from that place, instantly and moved towards the reception. When I turned back, I happened to see a person in a white Kurta talking on the phone and the mask- not covering the nose or the mouth, but only his neck. As usual the mask is only a fashion statement. When I told the folks at the reception that, the person is sneezing and the reason for wearing a mask is so that, the virus doesn't spread, he only acknowledged saying OKAY. There was no action from his side. He didn't try and educate him not to do so. Everyone in that sitting area was at risk but there seemed no difference to him.  I told the receptionist the second time, but the response was the same. There was no difference during the third attempt. 

That's when I realized that when they are so careless of someone sneezing, how can I afford to take any risk with their x-ray machines which I will be in contact with. It was within a few minutes of difference I got to see two different worlds in a medical environment. I simply left that place, never to be seen again. I also made sure that I informed my dentist so that he doesn't send any other patients to the same clinic. 

This was the first time, I had visited a medical facility after the start of COVID-19, and these two huge differences in handling the patients made me understand that, we need to be in charge of ourselves and can't rely on any medical facility by its own. Different people have different methods of handling. 

In the Dental Clinic, the Dentist was responsible for the whole clinic, while in the diagnostic center, the owner or the responsible person was not to be seen. It was only the employees. And these small differences as to who actually runs the administration does make all the difference. 

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Lockdown 3.0 - Thoughts

As the news of the lockdown, kind of closing down, though step by step, there are few things that keep coming to my mind.

Freedom Birds

  1. All these days, there was huge propaganda to reduce traffic and use public transport. Now, due to the China Virus, this can change again. Those who can afford will try and purchase vehicles and avoid taking public transport. At the same time, there will be lesser travel. Everyone will try and keep traveling or going around to a minimum. So I do see a growth in the vehicle sales figures.
  2. People will get used to working from home and even from an employer's point of view, it will be more acceptable. So there is bound to be more purchases for good chairs and work tables for home. The amount saved in fuel and time will easily make up for the costs of furniture. 
  3. There will be more demand for broadband connections at home. Again, more UPS or power backup mechanisms. These will be on the rise.
  4. Hair Cutting Salons/Parlours - I think it's a funny scenario. Everyone will be wanting to cut their hair, but at the same time, they will try to get the job done at home. It's lesser touch and that will matter a lot. For the men, I get a feeling, we will see more people shaving their heads or having overgrown hair.
  5. The restaurants will take quite a hit. Yes, there will be people who will continue eating out, but a lot of people will stop at least in the near term of one year.
  6. Travel - one of the biggest hits for sure. I feel only mandatory travel will be taken by people. All vacations, leisure, etc will be postponed or canceled. Though travel by personal vehicles will rise. So, more crowding at the toll booths.
  7. Gyms will take Big hit. Considering that everyone touches the same equipment and everyone being quite sweaty, I guess fewer people will use the gym. Yoga at home will be on the rise.
  8. Trains will see lesser tickets being booked. I don't see a lot of waitlisted tickets which used to be a norm earlier. Even the number of passengers in a train or a flight will be reduced. We will see a huge change in the way Airlines operate now. 
  9. I think it's payback time for the airlines. They had started to suck every penny out of the passengers. First, they made your seat very very congested and then they would charge for availing extra legroom. I guess things will need to change now. There should be more room between passengers. I think I need to wait and watch this sector.

Some of the things which should be done going further -

  • It's high time that we abolish the zoos across the world. 
    • We now know, what it is like, to be stuck at home in a limited area. If we don't even realize our mistakes now, then when will we?
    • It's not easy to release the inmates of the zoos so easily, as they are not used to searching or hunting for food. At first, we can release the birds, a few of them, so that they can come back if needed. And food should be served to them if they come back or leave if they wish to. Then comes the bigger animals where they should be released in a bigger and safer forest areas, where they can adjust accordingly. 
    • Probably small steps, but they are needed and the start should be done.
  • Limit the needs of each one of us. 
    • There is definitely enough for everyone's needs, but not for everyone's greed - This was penned down by M.K. Gandhiji, but its high time we are doing it out of our own will, rather than compulsion. 
    • The Virus has shown us, how the environment gets better if we don't get greedy. We should let everyone live with equal rights.

COVID-19 Impacts - Airlines Sector

Airline Seating Arrangement

It wouldn't be wrong to say, that, one of the worst impacted industries, due to the COVID-19 would be Travel Industry. In a time, when even going out for essential services and day-to-day work, sounds risky, I can't even imagine taking a flight or public transport.

Keeping a timeframe of 2-3 months, and if there is a reduction in the number of cases or the spread, we might be able to see the Hotels opening up slowly. Not due to choice off course, but more for survival.  But every time I think of the airlines, the reasons for taking flights seem to be very very less. It will be only, as the last option or the last resort that one will take when taking flights. 

Reading the latest news in the Hospitality Sector, it's becoming clear that the industry will no longer be the same.  In India, all the Airline companies have been asked to reconfigure the sitting arrangement in the air crafts. Which will mean, that more space will need to be kept between seats? In all possibilities, the economy class sitting arrangement will look more like Business Class.  

A few years back when the airline's industry started booming, step by step, even without we knowing, the seats had become cramped. For a person like me, who needs a lot of legroom due to my height, it was getting difficult, from the early days in 2000-2001, when the legroom in Air India/Indian Airlines and Jet Airways was really spacious. With time and the need to add every extra seat that can be accommodated in the aircraft, every inch of space was used up. Then to top it all, they started charging extra for seats which had slightly extra legroom.  Life does come in a full circle. 

Now, if there are fewer seats in an aircraft, it's obvious that the cost per ticket will be more. But, if I compare the prices of the tickets during the 2000-2001 era, a Goa-Bangalore flight would cost 5000/-  but with time, they have got substantially less(For the low-cost carriers). 

We will for sure, see a huge change, in the way the Airlines Industry works now. In the past few years, we could actually see that the Pilots and the Cabin Crew have been pushed to the limits to reduce the operating costs and increasing the profit. Due to which we would see a higher percentage of so-called 'near misses' as compared to the earlier decade. All, thanks to the huge increase in consumer traffic.  Profits are important, but there was a pressing need to take things a little bit slow. 

Things have got reset, all thanks to this Virus, but should have ideally happened by our will, rather than greed and consumerism.  Hope things change for the better and everyone gets to enjoy life a little better than what it was, and more importantly, the Earth gets time to breathe.

Monday, April 06, 2020

The Virus and the Impacts

While the whole world has been under the impact of this China Virus, COVID-19, we have seen unprecedented changes in this world. I don't think there was a shutdown of the Earth,  ever. There have been wars, floods, earthquakes and have created havoc in the lives of people. This is something different. Just stay at home and you will be safe. Sounds funny but its indeed true.

Its almost been close to a month, ever since I have been working from home and I have to admit, it's getting very difficult every passing day. Thankfully, we are staying in a safe area and we have sufficient means and access to groceries and veggies.

At the same time, we have seen so many changes on this planet, which would have never happened, all thanks to this consumerism which has been very vocal on this planet. Someone had to reduce the pace or stop it. But as long as the Businessmen are hand in glove with the politicians this would never happen.

We really needed this stop, but not in this manner though, where so many lives are taken away by this virus, simply originated by eating some live bats. Nature has its own ways to get back to you. But never in my dreams, this is what I had expected.

The govt has taken strong steps to reduce the impact and the spread of the virus and so-called to flatten the curve. But it isn't as easy. There are enough idiots and I don't mind calling them terrorists who are creating enough damage to the planned activities.

Having said all this, there have been some great learnings that we all have learned in some or the other way.

The important part is that we should continue to use and follow all the learnings, even after this phase. Its seen that a lot of great ideas and learnings have happened during some of the worst phases of human life.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Movies during the Lockdown Period - Covid 19

I got this list from my colleague - Seems like a good list during this lockdown Period.

War movies:
‏1-Atonement (2007)
‏2-Saving private Ryan (1998)
‏3-full metal jacket (1987)
‏4-Hacksaw ridge (2016)
‏5-Valkyrie (2008)
‏6-war horse (2011)
‏7-Enemy at the gates (2001)
‏8-The thin red line (1998)
‏9-The English patient (1996)
‏10-Downfall (2004)

Western movies:
‏1-The good the bad and the ugly (1966)
‏2-once upon a time in the west (1968)
‏3-The ballad of buster Scruggs (2018)
‏4-Dances with wolves (1990)
‏5-Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid (1969)
‏6-The searchers (1956)
‏7-The man who shot liberty valance (1962)
‏8-The assassination of Jesse James by the cowered Robert Ford (2007)
‏9-The wild punch (1969)
‏10-Ned Kelly (2003)
‏11-Django unchained (2012)

Sci-fi movies:
‏1-The matrix 1&2&3 (2003-2005)
‏2-Annihilation (2018)
‏3-interstellar (2014)
‏4-Arrival (2016)
‏5-The Martian (2015)
‏6-bicentennial man (1999)
‏7-2001 space odyssey (1968)
‏8-Balde runner (1982)
‏Blade runner 2049 (2017)
‏9-Contact (1997)
‏10-a clockwork orange (1971)
‏11-Passengers (2016)
‏12-Lucy (2014)
‏13-The fifth element (1997)
‏14-E.T. The extra- terrestrial (1998)
‏15-A.I artificial intelligence (2001)
‏16-Moon (2009)
‏17-In Time (2011)
‏18-Inception (2010)
‏19-The Truman show (1998)
‏20-The lobster (2015)
‏21-The final cut (2004)

Time travel movies:
‏1-Back to the future 1&2&3 (1985-1989)
‏2-12 monkeys (1995)
‏3-Looper (2012)
‏4-predisposition (2014)
‏5-about time (2013)
‏6-The lake house (2006)
‏7-The jacket (2005)
‏8-The time travelers wife (2009)
‏9-The butterfly effect (2004)
‏10-groundhog day (1993)
‏11-Midnight in Paris (2011)

Zombies and post apocalyptic movies:
‏1-The road (2009)
‏2-The book of Eli (2010)
‏3-I’m legend (2007)
‏4-28 days later (2002)
‏5-28 weeks later (2007)
‏6-Mad max (all parts)
‏7-world war z (2013)
‏8-after earth (2013)
‏9-Shaun of the dead (2004)
‏10-snowpiercer (2013)
‏11-escape from New York (1981)
‏Escape from L.A (1996)
‏12-Children of men (2006)
‏13-Blindness (2008)
‏14-Resident Evil (all parts)
‏15-The quiet earth (1985)
‏16-seeking a friend for the end of the world (2012)
‏17-The mist (2007)
‏18-down of the dead (2004)
‏19-a boy and his dog (1975)
‏20-Zombieland (2009)
‏Zombie land: Double tap(2019)

Anime & Animation movies:
‏1-all Directed by (Hayao Miyazaki)& (Studio ghibli) movies
‏2-all Directed by(Satoshi kon) movies
‏3-all Directed by(Isao Takahata) movies
‏4-all Directed by(katsuhiro otomo) movies
‏5-wolf children (2012)
‏6-The girl who leapt through time (2006)
‏7-a silent voice (2016)
‏8-5 centimeters per second (2007)
‏9-Children who chase lost voices (2011)
‏10-The anthem of the heart (2015)
‏11-I want to eat your pancreas (2018)
‏12-a letter to momo (2011)
‏13- Wall.E (2008)
‏14-Toy story (1&2&3&4)
‏15-shrek (all parts)
‏16-The red turtle (2016)
‏17-The prophet (2014)
‏18-Ace age (all parts)
‏19-The garden of words (2013)
‏20-your name (2016)
‏21- Isle of dogs (2018)
‏22-Fantastic Mr.Fox (2009)

Gangster movies:
‏1-The godfather (1&2&3)
‏2-once upon a time in America (1984)
‏3-Scarface (1983)
‏4-Donnie brasco (1997)
‏5-Casino (1995)
‏6-Miller’s crossing (1990)
‏7-A Bronx tale (1993)
‏8-American gangster (2007)
‏9-Mean streets (1973)
‏10-Carlito’s way (1993)
‏11-The departed (2006)
‏12-Pulp fiction (1994)
‏13-Road to perdition (2002)
‏14-The untouchables (1987)
‏15-snatch (2000)
‏16-Eastern promises (2007)
‏17-The Irishman (2018)
‏18-Goodfellas (1990)
‏19-Public enemy (2009)
‏20-Gotti (1996)
‏Gotti (2018)

Drama movies:
‏1-Her (2013)
‏2-Lost in translation (2003)
‏3-good will hunting (1997)
‏4-Forrest gump (1994)
‏5-Cast away (2000)
‏6-green mile (1999)
‏7-Eternal sunshine of spotless mind (2004)
‏8-The curios case of Benjamin button (2008)
‏9-Pride and predjudice (2005)
‏10-one flew over the cuckoo’s nest (1975)
‏11-The Shawshank redemption (1994)
‏12-The perks of being wallflower (2012)
‏13-moonrise kingdom (2012)
‏14-The piano (1993)
‏15-The pianist (2002)
‏16-The piano teacher (2001)
‏17-The before (Trilogy)
‏18-portrait of lady on fire (2019)
‏19-blue valentine (2010)
‏20- 500 days of summer (2009)
‏21-Taxi driver (1976)

Outside of Hollywood movies:
‏1-The lives of others (2006)
‏2-Never look back (2018)
‏3-The secret in their eyes (2009)
‏4-wild tales (2014)
‏5-City of god (2002)
‏6-Cinema paradiso (1988)
‏7-Malena (2000)
8-8-1/2 (1963)
‏9-Y tu mama tambien (2001)
‏10-The 400 blows (1959)
‏11-Incendies (2010)
‏12-son of soul (2015)
‏13-The sea inside (2004)
‏14-Hunt (2012)
‏15-Ida (2013)
‏16-Cold war (2018)
‏17-In a better world (2010)
‏18-Hero (2002)
‏19-in the mood for love (2000)
‏20-Yi Yi (2000)
‏21-Train to busan (2016)
‏22-short film about love (1988)
‏23-El sur (1983)
‏24-The spirit of the beehive (1973)
‏25-Wild strawberries (1957)
‏26-Life is beautiful (1997)
‏27-Oldboy (2003)
‏28-The last emperor (1987)
‏29- it’s hard be human (Trilogy)
‏Directed by (Roy Anderson)
‏-Songs from second floor (2001)
‏-You, The living (2007)
‏-A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence (2014)
‏30- Underground (1995)

Friday, December 27, 2019

How does FASTag calculate charges for round trip?

I have been a regular user of FastTag from 2017 onwards, and I must say, it's very convenient at the Toll Booths. Especially during the initial days, when there were very few users, it used to a Royal Treatment and one would get out of those crowded toll booths in no time.

Now, that it's made mandatory, I need to clarify and document a few observations which I have encountered during this short stint.

  1. I had bought the FastTag from Paytm using their online Portal. They charge around 350/- INR for the RFID Sticker and they would keep 150/- INR in your FastTag wallet of the Paytm app. That acts as a reservation for your next toll booth and if it goes below that, it will ask you to recharge your Paytm regular wallet.
  2. At run time, each transaction will be actually consumed from the Paytm Wallet, and the reserved wallet will always be kept at 150/-. 
  3. When you cross a toll booth, there will be a scanner above, which will scan your windshield and automatically deduct the amount from the reserved amount and approve your payment. The boom barrier opens when the transaction is a success
  4. Many times, there could be issues, and most likely than not will need to move your vehicle back and forth to get closer to the Scanner. 
  5. When the scanner on top, doesn't seem to help, they will do the scanning using a Hand-Held Gun Scanner.  From my experience, this always works.
  6. The return journey always costs lesser and to take care of that, fast tag, charges the One-Way charge when one crosses a given toll booth. If one returns the same toll booth with 24 hours of the 1st transaction, the 2nd one will only charge the difference of the Two Way charge and the One Way charge.
    1. Example - If the one-way charge is 90 Rs and Return journey is 135 Rs, then while going the first time, it will charge 90 Rs, and while returning will charge 135-90=45 Rs only.
  7. One does get an SMS with the amount charges and the time when you had crossed the toll booth. But normally I have seen a delay in receiving the SMS.
If you have any queries, then please ask in the comment section. 

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Bangalore - 20 Years Back...

It was on a chilled winter morning that I had landed in Bangalore, 18th December 1999 from Trivandrum. The TCS initial orientation training had just completed and it was time to jump into the real world of IT Industry.

While I completed this long journey, I thought I will pen a few of my experiences/changes during this long journey.
  1. We complained of Traffic then and we still do. The number of vehicles has increased, and so has our patience level
  2. Going to ITPL was considered a privilege. It would take around an hour from Sadashivnagar to ITPL by bus those days
  3. There were open green grounds in the ITPL campus and only one ATM. The Banks came in a bit later.
  4. The Marathahalli, narrow Bridge was the biggest traffic jam location. Not much traffic on either side of that bridge. Now, it's almost 4 Lane Road
  5. The closest good restaurant from ITPL was Golconda Chimney. All our office get-togethers and celebration lunches were to be planned there. And then there was no other good restaurant till Kempfort(Now, Total Mall).
  6. The last signal if travelling from Airport Road towards ITPL was at the Wind Tunnel Road. After that, till ITPL or Whitefield, there was no signal at all.
  7. HAL Airport was kind of outskirts, even though it was just a couple of km's from Leela Palace.
  8. Citibank Suvidha Debit Card was one of the first Debit cards introduced. Others only had ATM Cards. There used to be a lot of discounts available on using the Citibank Suvidha Debit card and entering the PIN was considered up-market.
  9. Brigade Road and MG Road, were the only happening places to be.
  10. I would ride on my bike then, Suzuki Fiero, which was one of the few bikes to have an auto-start
  11. I would cruise at 80-90 kmph after entering the Whitefield area.
  12. Nandini Restaurant was the most happening place for Non-Veg food especially Biryani's
  13. The Music Stores, Planet M and Music World were some of the happening places to hang out and buy the CD's, play your music and listen to them there./li>
  14. Every Friday, I would ride my bike from Vijaynagar to ITPL, a distance of 30kms. It used to be a chilled-out ride and I used to enjoy it.
  15. The common meeting point on MG Road would be the Food World Super Market. Don't think it exists now.
  16. Plaza theatre had one of the best Music System in a Movie theatre, but they also had a lot of bed bugs on the seats.
  17. MG Road, Church Street and Residency road had most of the Pubs and used to be the happening places for hangouts and pub hopping.
  18. The only malls of those days were on Brigade Road, which was Fifth Avenue, Mota Royal Arcade.
  19. Mota Royal Arcade was probably one of the few places which had an escalator. I do remember, my friend and me would stand there to watch peoples reactions when taking the escalator.
  20. There was only one Shoppers Stop and Westside during those days, and Westside used to my favourite place to shop for clothes.