And you thought there is nothing great about ants ?

Less than thousand (I guess) members. Exactly twelve hrs, that also night shift. They didn’t waste even a second I am sure. And the result ? A cute fort ! Really nice.Aerial view of fort created by ants You can see how beautiful it is. The design – perfect. Circular shape, one side higher than other (see the side view). Entrance at centre. Four ants will start from the centre every five seconds, they will go near the uppermost point of the fort, then will come back. Making sure no attack will be there in the near future ? Other members might be very busy inside the fort. Call me crazy (even the IRC does it these days !) but it was really nice and interesting watching this.

Side view of the same fort – You can see the difference in height. Side view of the fort created by antsNow, don’t you think they are really amazing ? And when you sit near and watch, the ants get the signal very fast. Within seconds all the security-staff goes inside, may be passing the warning to message to the top officials ? They came back after about five minutes and continued the duty ! See the material they used, how they collected it, the pattern and distribution of the material. WOW, I am impressed !

While I was watching this, I saw another type of ants making something different near. Trench created by ants near my homeNot a fort this time, but a nice trench ! That was near our open well. The trench is of about two metres length. Seems they have more entrances and exits throughout it. More than one way might be the idea ! These ants must be really intelligent. As the open well is near, there is chance of a flood any time and if that happens, these multiple entrance / exit combinations will help them to manage things. Good teamwork and great crisis management team.

Lesson learned – Going out and watching these small but amazing things (instead of sitting in front of the computer all the time) is really a nice experience. Yes, I am childish sometimes !

Note : Click on the thumbnail images for enlarged view

Never go too fast, you will regret later

I was on the usual weekend trip with the family. It was near Vyttila (Cochin), the traffic was really heavy. I heard big siren of an ambulance and knew that there are two and in some emergency. I turned my vehicle to the left as much as possible to help them. The ambulance drivers were trying their best to move forward as the road was jam packed with vehicles. Almost all vehicles were helping and giving way for the ambulances. Suddenly I heard another big horn but this time on left side ! And guess what ? A private bus was on its usual off-road drive (they are notorious for the style of overtaking, not obeying traffic rules, careless driving etc). There were not much space in the left but the bus driver manged to make a fast move and they did overtake the ambulance. Yes, on left side.
Bus overtaking ambulance photo one

I was shell shocked but I couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t even shout. In the picture above, you can see how the private bus driver made way on the left while the ambulances were packed in between other vehicles on the right. It was done by blowing horn very loud (other staff in bus supported him by beating on the bus body and making big sound). After the right turn, there is a narrow bridge and I saw the bus going very fast way front of the ambulances.

Bus overtaking ambulance photo two

I was totally helpless, couldn’t even note down the number of the bus and felt sad. Heavy traffic is quite usual in Cochin on weekends but drivers forgetting the priorities and ethics is really shocking.

I am pretty sure those who are going too fast in their life will regret later. If not today, tomorrow.

Sleeping on the railway station over bridge

All the time we were complaining about Government, about lack of facilities, condition of roads, how life is tough with out a broadband connection and so on. After seeing this person sleeping peacefully on the Ernakulam South Railway Station over bridge, I thought how lucky we are, at least having a house to sleep.

Sleeping peacefully on the railway station over bridge

Taken using my mobile phone camera on 10th April 2008.

Help the family of Ajith (died in an accident on 4th March 2008)

I was about to press the ‘Spam’ button in my email client when I received an email which had a link to http://www.helpthefamily.org but on a second thought I decided to go through the site. Just out of curiosity, I made a call to the number given in the website and I found it is all true. The family is in pathetic condition. They are in real need of help – financially and by any kind of support.

Help the family of ajith

The family is basically from Kerala, settled in Tamil Nadu long back. Ajith was all their hope and they were all very happy when Ajith got the job in the company. When I called them over phone, I was little nervous as I was not sure what to talk. Ajith’s mom was very sad and she couldn’t talk much. Finally talked to Vinod (Ajith’s cousin) for some time. I am quoting the email below. I forwarded it to most of my friends in the address book.

Email follows …

You might be receiving hundreds of emails claiming to pay some $$$ whenever you forward it to others. Please do not treat this as one among them. By forwarding this email, no one is going to pay any $$$. As you know I always discourage such emails, so I personally verified the information in this email before sending this to you. Please do not ignore.I request all to get united in this matter and help the family. It is our duty and commitment towards the society. Please do not ignore. Please send an email to all your friends, please post this website and details in forums, please talk to your friends and family about this.Everything matters.

Please visit the website – http://www.helpthefamily.org

March 1, 2008. Ajith, a young man who was working in a BPO firm in Chennai, Tmail Nadu was on the way back to home after his work. It was his salary day and he was happy but the same day turned to be the worst day in his life. He was hit by a speeding vehicle and thrown to the dark side of the road, he became unconscious and nobody noticed him. Some of his co-workers who came after the work heard some sound near the roadside and shocked to see him in a pool of blood. They took him and rushed to the nearest hospital and then to another super specialty hospital. Three days he fought for his life but on March 4th he surrendered to death.

According to Ajith’s family – The hospital bill was really high, which came to Indian Rupees 3 Lakhs (USD $7,500) . The BPO company in which Ajith was working, paid Indian Rupees 1 Lakh (USD $2,500) to release his body from hospital. The hospital authorities asked the relatives to sign a lot of papers which were in English. They signed in all papers without knowing what they are (as they were in shocked state plus they were not good in English). Later they came to know one of the form was for eye donation as they saw eyes were removed from Ajith’s body. They are still not sure what the other forms were.

The whole incident was a big shock for the entire family and they didn’t recover form it yet. They were running a small tea shop which is closed after his death. He was the only earning member in his family. All their dreams are shattered with the fatal accident which took their loving family member away from them – for ever.

We believe it is our duty to extend our support to the family. Ajith was just like every one of us. Young, talented, happy and having a lot of dreams about his future. We request every visitor of this website to give support and donate to the family. Even a small amount will make a difference in their life. That is the least thing we can do.

Please visit the website and help the family if you can. That will be a great help and as in the email, that is the least thing we can do for them.

Drinking a country ! And it is good for health.

Yes, it is possible to drink a country, that also in a beer glass, and yes, you can have three countries – Sharjah, Oman and Saudi. Now, I am not sure why only middle east counties are there !

Year 1995, Back in Engineering college class room, on lunch break. Dev, my friend started his class as usual. He narrates even silly incidents with his own style, adding more spice to it and making it all suspense.

“Listen Din, class will be over at 4.10 and I will take my bag from hostel room, will rush to bus stop and then to Town to have a Sharjah first. After that, direct to home.”

I didn’t understand the middle part, Having Sharjah ? How is that possible ? I had no clue what it is and here comes Dev’s (usual) narration.

“Ok, ok, I will explain. In Town there is a shop called – Popsy. Go there, order a Sharjah and you can see how they make it. First they will get a frozen Milma (pasteurized milk) packet, will put in in the mixer, then will add the ‘secret powder’, sugar and then one or two banana and will make it like a paste. They will put it in a big beer glass and you can have it, believe me, its an excellent thing.”

I decided to give it a try. On friday I went to the shop with Dev. There were eight or nine small shops just like Popsy, all in a row, but majority of the people were going to Popsy only. Dev ordered two Sharjah. I saw them making the much awaited, Dev’s favorite Sharjah. Beating the milk cover with softwood to make it like a paste, then put it in mixer, adding ‘secret powder’ form a big cover, adding sugar and banana and finally poured into beer glasses. And for the first time in my life I tasted milk shake. Dev was right, it was really nice. It was very tasty, cold and it was like half eating and half drinking. After having it I couldn’t speak properly, my tongue was out of control, my head was like frozen, but it was real fun.

After 13 years, knowing most flavors and names of milk shakes, I still remember the great taste of the first Sharjah I had with Dev on that day.

Note : For those who never heard of it, give it a try and you will sure love it. You can do it in your home and there is no harmful things in Sharjah. It is just milk, sugar and banana. If you want to experiment more, try with mango and make it mango shake, try with chocolate powder to make it chocolate shake, add dry fruits, add color, it is all up to your taste and imagination and during the summer season it is really nice to have a Sharjah.

Just five photos from my album, no big deal.

Thought I will share some photos, of course nothing great in these. All taken by me, that is the only problem ! Please click on the thumbnail images and you can see enlarged view.

Pegion on my old crt monitorThis is what happens when you keep the windows open and allow fresh air to come in. Some Pigeons will also come along with the air and will sit on your monitor. If you have no plan to flew her off after taking the photo, you will have to clean monitor with liquid soap too ! Taken 2 years back, using my mobile phone. Location : My computer room.

Kid-Paint my bodyYou might have seen people painting their body for fun and for publicity. Now see this photo. Taken at a place near Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India. The kid painted his body (or someone else ?) and begs. It is not fun. The paint he used is the one we use for painting metal sheets and pipes. Very harmful and he is standing under the hot sun. Only thing I could offer him were – can of soft drink and some money. Yes, shame on me and it is one of the most embarrassing and sad moment in my life.

Cat in munnarWhen the cat does not sit ready and pose for the camera, what will you do ? (Goobi, you are not supposed to answer as you are a cat expert ! ) Get a small plate, put some milk, give her some biscuits. Thats all ! See how friendly she sits now. Ready for any pose ! Planning to write a guide on cats.. Location : Munnar, Kerala, India

Mother's love - monkey and little monkeyMonkey taking photo of another monkey ? Yes, that is correct. This is the photo that I took while coming from Wayanad. and you thought only human beings care for their kids ? See how animals care. Motherly love. There is no place safer than mother’s lap. Really liked it. Location : Wayanad ghat section, Kerala.

Truck on train !

Truck on train ? Yes, this is not something new for the people near Konkan Railway route. Was on a trip from Mangalore to Goa and then to Mumbai. Vehicles helping vehicles ! And drivers too. Thats is really good. I see most people write only the negative side of Indian Railways and now this is something what I would like to call – Positive. Location : Konkan Railway Route, India.

Taare Zameen Par – an excellent movie

Watched the movie Taare Zameen Par yesterday. Actually my wife asked me many times to watch it with her but I postponed. Finally I decided to watch and the least to say – it worth the time. An Excellent movie from Aamir Khan who does not act in every movie he come across. I think thats the secret of his success. He make only one or two movies in 2 years and that becomes a hit. I loved the movie. It made me cry many times, yes I admit it. It took me back to my school days. It reminded me how lucky I was. To spend time with my loving parents, my favorite friends from all strata of the society, great teachers of my school, no school bus, no barding school, walking 2 miles every morning to the school, no pressure, life was – Bindaz !
Thare zameen par picture

Major part of the credit goes to the little hero – Darsheel Safary - he is really amazing. I think, just like in the movie, Aamir comes only second compared to him ! He does not speak a lot in the movie but every word he say, every movement he makes, the emotional scenes, everything will remain in our heart for long.

Every scene of the movie will touch you. Never miss the movie. Please watch it at least once and I am sure you will like it. If possible, watch it with your kid. It is a great lesson for parents who make the kids ready for the race from Age 1. It will sure make them think there are some other things in a kid’s life than getting admission in the best school in the city or getting high marks in every grade or getting some costly gifts or toys for them. As the movie says – every kid has a dream. Evey kid has talent too. Sadly most of the parents and teachers never tries to find what it is.

The movie reminded me two of my friends. One just like Ishaan in the movie, but very good in sports and games, but not that good in studies. When he get gold medals in sports, his parents never cared. They will say – there is nothing great in getting a medal in sports, look at your elder brother who got the first rank in the school. And just like in the movie, they put him in a hostel. I really hope his parents see this movie and at least they realize their mistake.

Thank you Aamir, this is really a nice movie. Motivating, fascinating, inspiring and beautiful. If anyone in this world read my blog, I strongly recommend them to watch this movie.

Currency conversion syndrome

This happens to people going abroad, mostly for the first time. Right after one week they start sending email to all their friends.

Everything is fine here. Life is great. We visited XYZ place with friends, find the photos in my web album. The only thing I am worried is the cost of living. It cost Indian Rupees(INR) 1200 for a hair cut. Thats really terrible isn’t it ?

Guys who cut their hair in India for Indian Rupees 30 or 50 or maximum of 100 read this and says – WOW. Now, please stop this. We had enough ! We all know this is something happens to people go abroad for the first time. Happens mostly to people go to US or Europe. This syndrome does not seems to be affecting people going Middle east though (they are happy telling the excellent condition of roads in Dubai or about DSF). Think about this. You get a salary of Indian Rupees 10000 here. You spend 100 out of it for a hair cut. That comes to one percent of your salary right ? Now, in the US you get minimum of USD 4000. You spend USD 30 for a hair cut. Compare it, comes less than one percentage right ? Now for God’s sake stop the comparison ! When you are abroad (that is when you are on a job and not on a vacation trip), do not start calculating and converting the currency every time you go out for shopping or every time you go for a hair cut. Even if you do, please do not send email to all your friends telling this ! Do not make calls to home telling – Mom, my hair is so long, but I do not want to spend a lot of money for a hair cut (now why not learning hair cut ? Not a bad idea for sure. There must be a Do it Yourself guide somewhere)

The same dream two hundred times

I have seen this strange dream at least two hundred times ! Yes, that is correct. Sometimes the location changes, sometimes the persons change. But the main theme remains the same. I have no clue why I see the same dream again and again.

Anyway here it is. This is what I see in all dreams.

I am going back to my school. Oh my God, I just can’t imagine it now, going back to Grade 10! but thats what I see in dream. The reason being, I didn’t pass for some subject, so I have to re-appear for the exam. Re-appear for exam after 16 years ? No, no questions are allowed in a dream. Thats the rule. One thing is, I never write the exam, all I see is, going to the class, sitting with the students who are 16 yrs younger than me (man, it is not fun), and then all of a sudden I wake up and find myself in the bed! Sometimes I go back to my Engineering college, meet my teachers, attend the class, again, can’t write the exams. May be one day I need to write the exam at any cost in the dream, should be alright then. I know most of my dreams are related to some incidents in my life, like when I was a child, I wished for a bicycle. And in my dreams, I get that. I could pedal the cycle very fast and sometimes the handle bar disappears, sometimes the cycle starts flying. WOW, thats was really nice.

I was not that bad in studies, starting from Grade 1 to Engineering college, I failed for exams only two times. Once in Grade 8 and Once in Engineering college. First time, it was not the final examination, like a terminal exam. And the Engineering college one, I couldn’t study well as I had jaundice (good excuses ?). I tried my level best to recall and link some incident in the past to this dream. But every time I failed miserably. I know it is not a big deal, still its disturbing me slightly. Two hundred times the same dream. Do I need to consult some Psychotherapist to avoid seeing it for one more time ? At least I can see some new dreams instead of seeing the same thing again and again.

Dear Mr.Analyst, can you figure any thing out of it ? I am so confused.

On Vacation From May 19th

I am on vacation from May 19th 2007 to May 25th 2007. To my all-time favorite place – Wayanad. Family trip. Planning to meet my friends, teachers, family friends etc.

Will keep you updated ….