Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oasis opens up in Bengaluru - its special for me!




The OASIS shopping center opened to public today the 30th of January 2008 in Koramangala. This perhaps kind of completes Koramangala into a fully transformed floating population hub as compared to the wild jungle it was exactly in 1983 when we first settled down here. Since 25 years, what a metamorphisis it has been! From a layout which had only one bus plying towards the city bus stand every three hours once to now being called the center of the city, its been quite a journey. So much so that the city’c center of gravity now has become Koramangala. Starting with cool parks, mundane post offices, one big school, missing bus services and being constantly harassed by small time RTO policemen in yesteryears, the locality has now seen a great transformation and amalgamation of different services including IT companies, ITES companies, call centers, petty shops, road side push cart shops, hundreds of Darshini’s, atleast two dozen good hotels, Pizza corners, hideouts, huts and what not, dhabas, multi cuisine hangouts, multiple petrol pumps, umpteen banks, arcades and shopping avenues, one 400 crore mall called the FORUM with multiple cinema screens, to tens of thousands of vehicles screaming at the top of your heads day in and out to hundreds of flights taking off on your roof everyday to spiralling rentals around the area - Koramangala has truly seen it all.




The Salarpuria owned OASIS mainly consists of the SPAR hypermarket (a full fledged shopping market), the LifeStyle store for all kinds of clothing accessories and POLYNATION - a one of a kind food court. Besides these there are software companies like NDS who also are put up there. And this building can accomodate many cars at its car parking facility at a time. Am I feeling lucky to reside here? Well until now no, but with the airport shifting out of here to Devanahalli, perhaps going forward in time, definitely yes! Thank you dad - I Owe it all to you!


So what are you waiting for? Visit the OASIS today !!


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good morning Bengaluru

Pictures speak a thousand words, and as summer begins to set in, I caught this pleasant sunrise on my mobile camera just near ITPL. Good morning Bengaluru!





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Saturday, January 26, 2008

India Celebrates 59th Republic day


India is celebrating its 59th republic day. It is on this day that the constitution of India came into effect way back in 1950. It also signifies the transition of the control from the British regime to the Indians. While we look back at these 59 years to see what effect the transition of the power and control has done to India, a lot of images flash through the mind immediately. A few of these are stated here to portray the situation better:

The PROS



  1. India made significant progress in the way a democracy is run by bringing in an extremely complex framework to handle this country as years go by. This is called the Constitution of India.


  2. Our country made dynamic strides in education and literacy


  3. Economic progress was extremely fast especially since the last 10 years thanks to economic reforms opening up during each government’s regime


  4. Almost every industry in India is now comparable to a similar industry around the world in terms of its execution, its profits or its sheer leadership prowess


  5. Health services improved dramatically over the past 50 years to a level where now our country is regarded as one of the best destination


  6. The common man has grown richer now (though there is still a divide) thanks to technology, knowledge and exercising his rights better in a democracy such as ours


  7. Companies are more customer oriented, more competitive and offer better services than ever before in this country


  8. Infrastructure has seen the biggest leap since a decade and is going places today.


  9. Tax collection has been at its highest since ever and we can now see it being used atleast partially in the right direction


  10. We are beginning to see visionaries in every field however big or small it is. Entrepreneurs are now having a bright chance to show their mettle in todays empowered world


  11. Women are being empowered more and more and reservations have been brought in towards education for those people who should be genuinely standing a chance to study well.


  12. More and more people are turning spiritual knowing fully well that this is the only way to bring order to the country and to bust the stress we are putting ourselves into unwantedly.

The CONS




  1. The education we have is being misused by us to lord above everyone else around us. This is beginning to create cracks and differences everywhere


  2. Our basic sense of being polite to others is now thrown to the wind and we dont want to care about anyone other than ourselves and choose to be rude everywhere and to everyone


  3. The rural-urban divide is either too noticeable or atleast being hyped to be so in demanding special rights to ourselves. This has also led to looting, arson, killings and all else for financial gain


  4. The so called leaders and bureaucrats continue to swindle preciously earned and taxed money leaving genuinely needy people and the citizens in the lurch. It has infact become so pathetic that these people even put their hands on money meant to provide good food and education to the needy children of our country.


  5. The complex constitution of India has made it possible to have several billion loopholes for every thing that we encounter that there is no one being accountable for any of their deeds today


  6. The male domination is once again rearing its head in an ugly way in this decade in a country which is already suffering with this kind of image since years. Its evident how women are oppressed, how cases are not filed or go unnoticed or unheard and how justice takes years to provide a recourse.


  7. The crime graph in almost every city is on the spiralling rise and this can be attributed to both inefficient security systems and change in human attitude in the society of the current context


  8. Terror is gaining an edge over a civilized society and will one day lord over the rest of the good samaritans if left uncontrolled. Though we have enough ways to tackle this menace, we are idling on it to let it grow omniously and silently till one day we find a mammoth problem that has no solution


  9. Stress related diseases on rising to a dangerous level and if we do not choose to remain stress free this country will see more people dying in the shorter term of a few decades from now falling to unnecessary problems of the body, mind and soul.


  10. Financial planning is at an all time low among middle class people as there are many avenues to spend money on today and many people are failing to realize the strength that a secured financial life will provide for ourselves and our families


  11. More and more families are turning nuclear and so are our values, upbringing and our levels of emotion and care. This is not a good sign as we will go towards a path where we begin to care lesser and lesser for the people around us in our family thereby diluting the essence of the family values to the fullest extent.

The list goes on, but so does time. And only time will be the healer to our problems. Every person at one stage in life will have to step down from the mantle of being an irresponsible person and choose to be a mature individual in life. The only question that then remains is at what age of the individual this happens? In my opinion, the sooner, the better.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Paperu, Sweetu in Bengaluru

I was in my office cracking some really irritating codebase when my friend Raja just came into office after his holiday in Telegu Desam. Oops I meant to say Andhra Pradesham. He thrust a box full of tissue papers into my hand and asked me to take one. Being used to the hot and wet face tissues that are given on flights I was about to take one and wipe my face with it. Its only then that he told its to be eaten. Yes you heard it right - EATEN!!!!!! I was a bit dumfounded at that moment wondering why is he making donkeys out of everyone asking them to eat paper. Its the he told me that it was a box of sweets.



Called as Pootha Rekulu, this is a coastal andhrasweet, made of starch and powdered sugar. Andhra is known for its many flavours, sizes and types of sweets and this one brought a smile on my face. Its been a while since I saw or ate anything like this one. It was too good and required an entire 10-15 minutes to complete one such sweet!


So here’s a cheers to Raja, for his Pootha Rekulu Sweetulu made of paperu, brought to Bengaluru :)


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Friday, January 18, 2008

Google's Googly

I was casually running a search on google for "dvd ripper" and google delivered a googly as result to me and left me dumbstruck for a while! The rest is left to you to see and decide



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Did you meet yourself anytime?

Have you ever wondered how you would feel if you met yourself somewhere on the streets? Would you not have the curiosity of understanding who the other "you" is ? well, though this exactly did not happen to me, I however bumped into an identical pair of twins in a super market. And boy oh boy, were they exactly similar!? You betcha! To be a twin brother or sister to someone is perhaps an exciting thing in itself in life. Very few people are gifted with that combination. But though we feel that twins will have the same behavioral tactics always, that is not really true. I have two pairs of twins in my home, with completely different interests and behavioral themes! Well when you have had a lot of pressure at your work and return home to spend a quiet evening shopping around, what more pleasure can one get than a scene like this? - Identical twins!





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Monday, January 14, 2008

Pongal brings out the ultra cool winter in Bengaluru!

Today I was getting ready to drive out of my locality towards office and I was greeted by the most insane of foggy conditions just outside my home. The fog was so bad the visibility was less than 20 feet! The winter in Bengaluru has been greatly chilly this time alone which is again a climatic pattern change compared to couple of years back when it was more moderate. This is only a prelude to then what summer shall bestow upon our city ! Enjoy the pics








Here is wishing all the readers of my blog a very happy Sankranthi!






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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The fiat 500, in India as a CBU for Rs.10 lac - doesnt it rock?

I was pleasantly surprised to see the FIAT India website updated with the cute and sexy Fiat 500. I also came to understand that FIAT has decided to sell this car in India as a CBU (Completely built unit) for about Rs. 10 lacs. Though the price looks steep it will be for those people who want to flaunt their style attitude on the roads. It will come with the same 1.3 MULTIJET diesel engine that is there in the swift diesel car today. Same power, torque but smaller car! Can you imagine how thrilling it will be to drive this car with such a zippy engine!? And oh yeah its a three door car meant for two people with plush seats and biege theme upholstery inside and with the usual safety features. The day FIAT decides to build this here in India, it would cost upto 5 lacs which is still a great price to pay for a car that has 500000 combinations of style possible (tyres, body, paint, wheels, colours put together!). Even if there are only basic options provided, it would still be the same fit and finish as sold in Italy and elsewhere making it a bargain!


This car is like the Beetle of yesteryears. The FIAT 500 was first launched in 1936 and FIAT has successfully continued its legacy in keeping the FIAT 500 going albeit with new spirit and style options. For more information check out the indian website of fiat here. Fiat also plans to sell its BRAVO for about 20 lacs as a CBU (around 7-8 lacs if built here) and BRAVO has won many awards elsewhere due to its spacious theme and ultimate looks and style. The BRAVO gallery can be found here on FIAT india website.


(Flash presentation courtesy : FIAT INDIA limited)


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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More city development charges in the making for Bengaluru

So have you been wondering why the updates on this blog have become slower? Well Happy New Year 2008 to all of you and I must say I’m just back from my one week full shutdown vacation. Got my batteries recharged spending time with my family and now ready to take on 2008. And what does Bengaluru have to give you this year? More levies and fees for each and everything that the citizen is involved in. Take a look yourself



This year the whole country seems to be talking big. After the climate change convention in Bali, stricter norms are in the making for all countries including India. Though we may not be immediately affected, India has managed to convince USA to reduce emissions, it being a developed nation. While this might mean more fuel efficient vehicles and lesser dependence for USA on fossil fuels, back home this automatically leads everyone (yes even if he is a politician) to think about the impact of climate change and accordingly self impose stricter rules and penalties to reduce this drastic impact on human life.


Taking one item at a time from the sticky notes above, while congestion tax is a good thing for India (just like in London) it will work out well only if the tax is almost 250 bucks a day. But it also means the government needs to moot and run an efficient transport system which not only uses cleaner greener fuels, but also handles the whole population of cities like Bengaluru. Higher parking fees would work out only if the parking fee is Rs.100 per hour or more, and it will not only discourage people from taking out their cars each time, but also bring in lots of developmental moolah for the government to run an efficient point to point public transport. This brings back the pressure on the government to look into the transport aspect in full detail.While current vehicle registration charges are almost 10% of vehicle value, it will make a lot of sense to make it 25% of the vehicle value. This only means going against the automobile lobby as their sales will drastically drop and indirectly impact many workers in the automobile sector. This however will not only prevent 1 lac cars from clogging roads but also enable only the super rich to flaunt cars and keep most general public out of a traffic jam at all times. What this essentially means is that the public then will learn to use public transport such as buses and trains instead of cars for every single mile they travel (mind you this includes me too!)


The tax on fuel is already as much as the per litre cost and this is already one significant expense for the average indian. The fuel charges alone work out upto Rs.5000 to Rs.10000 per month which on the average is about 5-7% of a person’s monthly income. But there is a negative impact of this tax, as it will push up the commodity prices for those essentials transported by vehicles running on this fuel. Whichever way you look at it, the common man is going to be burdened! So either you pay more for your food or for your fuel or both! Needless to remind you of the already existing food (hotel) tax and entertainment (cinemas) tax that you are paying up. The carbon based road tax is however a good thing as less pollutant vehicles might end up paying lesser tax than those that burn more fossil fuels. On a larger scale the carbon credit system will define future economies as we continue to march ahead with economic progress.


Since diesel vehicles pollute more, the government has already started discouraging diesel vehicles with Delhi announcing banning of diesel vehicles sooner than later. While this is definitely going to help the automobile lobby even more, it also helps oil companies earn more with petrol. But on the brighter side we have automotive companies working on hybrid’s and showing their commitment to ethanol based petrol - like Mahindra and Honda for instance. Diesel vehicles will also be dearer to get and more scarce if there is a cap on diesel vehicles manufactured per year. Already we have 15000 vehicles (of all types) being registered in Bengaluru per day now and you can rightly imagine whats going to be of our city if this continues! Already the fuel economy standards have been much spoken about above so there is no need to reiterate on that again.


The statewise public transport funds is definitely going to help for a city such as Bengaluru as we have dedicated funds to run proper services. But the one thing still is a dire necessity is dedicated lanes/roads for these buses to ply on. Hopefully the governments schemes would surely turn into a reality soon. The dedicated bus lanes on highways is more of a doubt cast with the highways we have in place in Karnataka. If it were to be an expressway one can understand the reasoning (an example of highways in Kuala Lumpur and around), but around Bengaluru all lanes have already turned into truck only lanes leave alone buses and two wheelers/cars to drive on! That requires some really serious planning and most of all enforcement. As long as enforcement is not a regularlity such schemes will die a relatively fast death. Hopefully encouraging private sector to design better public transport systems would bring about the best engineering talent forward to give us an effiicient system for our clogged city.


Lastly the inter city rail links are already a hit, and enhancing this by adding more trains at better frequencies and also for freight is surely going to bring the congestion burden down by a bit if not too much. So hopefully by end 2008 Bengaluru should be on the pathway to lesser congestion unless a new government becomes a stumbling block for economic progress once again. This makes me only wish that the president’s rule lasts the remaining two years more.


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Sun Direct DTH launches in Bengaluru


I had earlier written an article on the entry of Sun Direct DTH into the DTH space, when they started off in Tamil Nadu. In that article I had compared various players in the DTH space as well. You can find more details about the various DTH players here


Today Sun Direct DTH has started off their services in Karnataka, and particularly in Bengaluru, although they are now singing a different tune than the old "Free set top box + free installation" song! This time they are offering the service for Rs.1999/- (*****) with lots of "conditions apply" buzzword - the jargon meant to indicate everything is not what is indicated in there! If I am probably right, it would only mean an installation charge of Rs.999 extra putting the totals upto Rs.3000/- which is no different from the other existing players.





Interestingly earlier Tata Sky was offering their customers a million minutes free which they have now withdrawn. Instead now they are beginning to capitalize on the kids segment (a segment where the people involved wont take a "NO" from their parents) by saying kids of TATA Sky owners are more brilliant than others- becuase they do mathematical puzzles and play reasoning games on their set top boxes using ACTVE LEARNING.


For once I believe Tata must provide more channels in their boquet rather than all these games before customers assume Tata DTH is only for kids alone in the longer run. Coming back to the Sun Story, note however in the above AD that they still do not disclose the monthly charges which by foresight I assume to be much higher than Rs.150 atleast and not the erstwhile Rs.75 for 75 channels (which is ridiculous since it will eventually bring down their profits like hell).


As usual a call to any of the dealers mentioned in the AD only returns one of these




  1. The phone you have called is busy, call later


  2. This call is being diverted to a different number (which probably will never be answered!)


  3. The service reps are so busy assisting millions of customers that they dont care for another customer like you who will join that queue of never being answered technically speaking


  4. The worst part of the toll free number for Sun DTH service is that the IVR is in tamil as well making us all feel that we have dialled some Tamil Nadu number, which by coincidence is also true. Atleast Sun could’ve done better putting up that IVR in the respective local languages.

So another day of wasted phone calls to no avail, even to find out details. Perhaps the Sun scheme details are already there on their website, I would’nt care much just because I expect Sun to take atleast a month or more to seriously begin addressing the Karnataka market. Since this is all about pre booking, it means you pay up your hard earned money for equipment that you would get perhaps a month or even six down the line! If Sun has to make boxes for you, you pay up first, they get confirmed orders and perhaps approach a hardware vendor like Flextronics or the likes and place a volume order for those many pre booked number of boxes! From that day your wait starts until you get frustrated.


So its all a wait and watch to see what impact Sun Direct DTH makes in Karnataka, and in particular a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru.


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BSNL launches 8Mbps broadband in Bengaluru

So its about time we had some decent net speeds, and BSNL seems to understand our requirements as well. Yesterday, they have launched an 8Mbps broadband scheme in Bengaluru. Now you can be assured of simply blistering speeds. I got a chance to experience 8Mbps while I was at London, and it was simply terrific.


They have three plans, 2000, 4000 and 15000. While the first starts from 256kbps upto 8mbps, the latter start from 1mbps minimum and go upto 8mbps. Whats also good is the download limits. Instead of skimpy 1Gigs they now have 27GB in the starter plan upto 125 GB !!! in the last plan.They even have a free modem (rental, and without monthly charges, returnable on disconnection) for the last two plans which makes this a scheme to lap up immediately if you got the dough!





For more details you can call a toll free number of BSNL - 1800 424 1600 and be rest assured your life might change forever with respect to the way you browse!


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Repair your PCs, laptops and networks in Bengaluru - 24/7, online support and more!

Some decent support for all your computers seems to be finally in the making! Yesterday a website called itsupportdesk.com was launched in Bengaluru. Operating out of rajajinagar area, for about Rs.899/- ($23) they offer you unlimited software downloads onto your PC/Laptop, live chat 24/7 and one year’s worth of warranty for your PC. Stealing the punchline off HP’s ad blitz about the computer being personal, they go on to add, ’the computer is personal, lets treat it personally’For this price you get 4 free carry in services if in case something is wrong with your PC. While the price seems a bit steep for just four services, atleast you have someone reliable (hopefully) and someone you can reach 24/7 online. This makes the price a bit attractive especially considering 24/7 work.





(image courtesy : times of india)


They have quarterly, annual, and pay per visit plans while they have managed to keep their online support free forever. They would perhaps be able to solve most of the problems by logging in remotely into your PC. A sister concern of Rooman Technologies, this company seems a bit promising for now. Other than PC support, they also offer support in network installations, security and offer helpdesk outsourcing options to customers. Their website is basic, static HTML content, with a login page for customers to login and view history of their activities with the company. This unique database management of customers would provide such companies with strong base to manage their ever growing base of people coming to them and put them into the bigger league of well managed companies.


Their customer service link though did not work on the website, which means something is still brokenSo what are you heading for? Have a problem late in the night in Bengaluru? log on to www.itsupportdesk.com and voice it out.


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Rammurthynagar underpass finally ready

The BDA officially inagurated the Rammurthynagar underpass yesterday. With six lanes (3 on each side) this underpass will enable smooth movement of traffic from Hebbal towards KR Puram and vice versa. The BDA completed this in record time as scheduled. but the main bottlenecks still seem to be the Lingarajapuram signal and the Nagawara signal. Assuming the BDA does up these junctions with two more underpasses the road then must be sufficiently free enough for smooth traffic movement.





dImages courtesy: Deccan Herald and Times of India.


This is something that BDA must have thought about long back, which they did not, and thankfully they are now proposing something like this for the 8-lane peripheral ring road - still to be one of the best ring roads in Bangalore. For now they can either use the precast underpass blocks (which they are now using for the international airport connectivity) elsewhere too at places like Nagwara for example. Only time will tell how the congestion will look like after these structures are in place.


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The good old Bengaluru cigarette lighter

Yes we have seen thousands of cigarette lighters of all jazzy types and prices and sizes in both the domestic and international markets so far. But how about the good old indian beedi and cigarette lighter? It has withstood the test of time, and has lit many billions of cigarettes and beedis for the customers since time immemorial and continues to do so.





Except that if its electricals arent so right, it could even light you and your clothes in flames too

This the real raw deal - two probes connected to a 230 volts 50Hz AC supply and a small spring connected inbetween them, much as a filament rests between the leads in the tungsten lamps. When you pass electricity through this spring, it lights up and becomes white hot (not red hot!) which you can then use to light your puff. Though dangerously exposed, this still is the cheapest, to the point concoction that simply works till date! And maintenance is super easy too! Just replace the spring or better still each component that goes into this stuff.


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Chilly season still persists in Bengaluru

I had posted earlier about the onset of winter in our Bengaluru, well the season seems to be still on, with temperatures going as low as 12 degrees this time. Add to that a cyclone in Tamil Nadu, and the shivers only crept up more faster than ever. The fog was so thick that it had engulfed the whole of the KR Puram hanging bridge. Proof of that is here:





Its there in the first snap, and missing in the second! With this being the only hanging bridge (other than the ones that well …. sort of hang precariously), it always makes me stare at it in awe everytime I pass through it each day.


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Apple cutters for Bengaluru, my day is always made

So how fast can you eat an apple? Well, perhaps in five minutes or even lesser depending your hunger level. But If I were to tell you to cut the same apple in the same two minutes, would you be able to do it without the seeds being there?

I can thanks to my new apple cutter which I bought from the London M & S store (marks and spencers). It cost me about 7 pounds, but more than compensates for that price with the many apples it has sliced for me since a year now.





So there you go then! Easy to eat apple. There is also another product called the apple corer, where you just push that instrument right into the middle of the apple until it reaches the other end, and the entire seed portion is cored out like drilling a hole into a wall

This brings me to a parting joke for this post


An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if the doctor is beautiful, keep the apple away!

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Staples comes to Bengaluru

Staples Inc has finally made it to our very own Bengaluru, at Marathahalli! Opportunity knocked I would say. Staples was the store that invented the office supplies superstore concept way back in 1986 and has over 74000 people working for the store all over the world! Staples 2006 sales alone was $18.2 billion, can you imagine how much that is in Rupees? It is 18.2 x 1 000 000 000 x 40, which is a mind boggling figure of Rs. 728000000000 !!!!!




Today as they step into Bengaluru, consumers never had it so good with respect to choices for stationery. Move over William Penn, Staples is here! As I was driving down the Airport road towards Marathahalli, I finally caught up with this poster!




So people what are you waiting for, bring your kids along and splurge on some great stationery for yourself! I am sure you wont regret it

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Gmail launches AIM integration in chat

I am not sure why Google thinks AIM is so important that it has integrated AIM buddies into its own chat, but perhaps they foresee a potentially lethal alliance between themselves big enough to screw other players with their chat application going places. One thing is sure, Google is sure upto lot of things this Christmas!


For more details on AIM integration, click here!


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Gmail adds more functionality to labels, and new colours too!

Google seems to be doing new things with Gmail. First it was emoticons, then it was IMAP, then it was a slight change in UI, then it was group email chat. And now labels and options on labels. For starters, google is now adding colours to labels, and you can set colours to your important labels to spot them easily on the screen.





Not only that, you can also access emails or conversations based on labels more easily than ever before. One can easily notice its AJAX at work efficiently on the google mail. If your conversation has a label, you can now click on that label and it will open that conversation in a much bigger better view showing all labels associated with it.








You can then click on the labels in view to search for all messages with that label. You could also delete a label off this conversation by clicking the small close ’x’ button next to label. Pretty neat eh?






So more label related features coming onto gmail now! Google is now ensuring that people drift more and more away from traditional memory hungry, bandwidth hogging email services such as Hotmail and Yahoo! And as of date google has given me almost 4 GB of space (virtually though!) which itself is unmatchable by anyone as time goes by. Way to go google!


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The leaning tower of Bengaluru - the silicon city of India

As usual my evening drives always provide me with interesting insights into what automobiles can be used for in India, and today was no exception. There was this truck with a huge set of container type loads, of which two of them were dangerously leaning on the verge of collapsing onto vehicles nearby. In fact in all glory it resembled the leaning tower of Pisa. I could not help marvel at the angle at which this load was balancing itself. I am not sure when I would get a chance to see the leaning tower of Pisa, but for sure I would perhaps get many chances to see such leaning towers of Bengaluru, the Silicon City of India!






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PR #2, 10000 visitors and two blogs - thanks Bengaluru!

One of the aim of this site was to create content that my visitors would like and to enlighten them about life in Bengaluru. With my many posts I have managed to convey this information in pictorial ways to make you enjoy and see Bengaluru city through my blog! With encouraging comments (good and bad) from all of you, I shall continue to go foward with this venture to measure up to your expectations. Just to let you know, the website today crossed 10000 visitors since its inception and a record 4000 visitors since just six months.





Not only that this website now has a page rank of 2/10 on google, which in itself is an achievement. As I go foward, I intend to make this blog a PR4 blog with my contributions and I look forward to all your support to make the Bengaluru blog the most liked blog about Bengaluru!


Shown below is the statistical data about this blog, with data got from www.siteranks.net





So do keep visiting and happy reading the Bangalore blog and the Technology Blog!









http://blog.chowchowbath.com





http://technology.chowchowbath.com




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Google introduces group email chat!

I was browsing through my google mail when this menu item caught my fancy:





Upon clicking it, it showed me a new feature launched by google, group email chat!





For more information, google says:



About group chat


The group chat feature lets you chat with many friends at once. There’s no limit to the number of people you can chat with, and any participant can invite others to join. To get started, follow these steps:


1. Start a chat with a single person in your Contacts list.
2. Once you’ve started the chat, click Options at the bottom left of your chat window and select Group Chat.
3. In the field labeled ’Add a person to this chat,’ enter the name of the contact(s) you want to add to your group chat.


To end your chat, click the X at the corner of the chat window. Others in the group chat will get a message saying that you’ve left the conversation. If you want to rejoin, you’ll need to be invited back by a contact who’s still in the group chat. The group chat will continue until all participants have left.


So how easy it is exactly to access this group chat? would it accept names or only email IDs? Well it does accept names so you can type the name of the person as you have named him, and he will be invited to chat with you on the same window with other people. I tried it, but did not find the window so intuitive enough, perhaps I would have preferred a list from where I could pick up the persons I wanted in one shot. Typing each person’s name is pretty painful, hopefully google will change that shortly! Way to go google, you never cease to amaze!





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Gmail chat now has smiley icons!

Recently while chatting with a friend on google email chat, I noticed the following support for icons in google. It was a long desired feature, and now that its there its time for you to be emotional with your chat partner! So go ahead, frown at him, smile at her, do what you feel good doing, with emoticon support in google email chat!










There seems to be support for text icons, round icons and square icons, pick your choice!


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Chowchowbath - sweet, sour, spicy, bland - all the things you need to know about Bengaluru




The time has finally come to explain why this website is called chowchowbath.com - why this name and what it signifies. From the day I began to understand life, about 25 years ago (a silver jubilee of sorts!) I slowly began to be associated more and more with Karnataka, Kannada and our very own Bengaluru. In these 25 years, Bengaluru has seen so much of metamorphism that no other city in India would have probably witnessed. From the days of having no TV or telephone, until the present day Tata Sky’s to DishTVs, and to Reliance free mobile to mobile calls, so much has gone in between like you would find a burger from Mc.D’s! We have come across sweet things, spicy things, sad moments, sour moments and bland moments. In essence this represents Karnataka’s favourite dish, Chowchowbath. From the day I began to build my website since 1997 until now, it went through different stages until I reached a juncture where my blog became my shoutbox and the site itself attained this name - Chowchowbath.com. And to keep it just like the age old Karnataka recipe, I try to give you to the best of my ability, all news and opinions, sweet, sour, spicy and bland on my blog. So the next time you head to a nearby Darshini(Fast food joint in Karnataka) - remember to order for CHOW CHOW BATH! - It has all the things you need to eat, just as this site has all the things you need to know!


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South Indies, Bengaluru, a one-off experience

A friend who dropped down from the USA to Bengaluru, wanted to meet up with me and another pal, at a ’decent’ restaurant where we could spend some time chatting away. We were thinking of the usual Ebony Restaurant at Barton Centre, MG Road, when one of them pointed me out to South Indies, at Indiranagar 100’ Road. The idea appealed to me as it was South Indian food, and they also had a menu that looked like a travelogue which highlighted important aspects of the four southern states of India (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh)



So after having a concurrence from all friends, I booked a table (this is a very important step to get there!) at 7pm (early dinner!) and we reached there. Though there was valet parking, I hated to give the keys of my Swift VDi (rocket as I call it) to anyone in Bengaluru to handle. I hated the concept of valet parking as the last time I did it in church street, I ended up having a scracth on my precious asset - my car. Luckily since I was one of the earliest to reach there, I found a good parking place (which are at premiums these days in the city) and settled down to have food. The rest of this post is about South Indies and my experience there.


In my opinion, the rates are horribly expensive. The food varieties are minimal and there are no deviations possible. Certain food items are procured based on an analysis of estimated orders and hence no customizations will be done for you even on request. The food presented there does not present the true picture of the four southern states. I have eaten Chettinad food at the Curry Leaf (which unfortunately is no more!) restaturant in Koramangala, and I would bet any day that the food there is much more authentic and tasty compared to South Indies. Having the benefit of knowing about Tamil food and also being a Kannadiga, I have no qualms in saying what I just did about South Indies. I have eaten some tasty Mangaluru (Mangalore) food at my office and that was anyday much better than the tastiness here.


The ambience of South Indies is good, and architecturally the building has been spruced up to the best extent. But I believe strongly in the weakest link - the link to my stomach! If that is not good, no matter what amount of ambience is provided, I dont feel like I had the best. I had a soup (which was basically sambar in our terms - I still dont know how they call anything and everything soup), Uralakazhangu poriyal (spiced potato sliced thin), brinjal gravy, curd rice,one neer dosa and steamed rice. Even if each of these costed Rs.100 the worst case, my bill should have been 600 bucks, but I ended up with a bill of Rs.750 which is why I said this hotel was horrendously expensive for simple items. Lets be practical, everyone earns a lot, everyone likes ambience and magazine styled menu cards, and coat-clad waiters and valet parking, but no one will tolerate improper food or dish selections for that price.


I dont intend to always play down their food selections, but I expected better when smaller restaurants from the southern region operating out of Bangalore are more focussed in what they do delivering quality.


One another thing you pay for is for the waiters holding PDA’s to take orders. I dont understand this fancy of hotels asking waiters to use PDAs, tablet PCs, mobile phones, pagers and what not to take orders. I however appreciated Coffee Day’s scheme of using a wi-fi enabled order machine which would bill your order then and there. Just using a PDA for no reason isnt exactly style!


So at the end of it, I went home and told my mom about the dishes I ate, and the price of Rs.750 and she said she could feed me for atleast a fortnight with much more tasty food at the same price and same southern authenticity! In one statement this sums up south indies for me - horrendously expensive, not much variety, you pay for ambience, valet parking, and technology, not for food.


South Indies - thanks, but no thanks, not again.


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