Pst ! Wanna win some cool cool mobile devices ?

This is official. Its from my company, and we have set up a couple of 15 min surveys. If you take part in this - you will get an opportunity to win some of the coolest devices around.

The Prizes :
  • Treo 700p
    • The coolest palm device around.
  • Motorola Q
    • Slim is IN ! This device is the slimmest smartphone device around.
  • Nokia E Series
    • Its a Nokia smartphone. Can't be seen without one!
So, what do you need to do ?

Not much. Spend sometime filling up the survey below. Each would take about 15 mins.
The results of the study will help us and other industry partners to improve our service towards mobile users and increase overall satisfaction..

As appreciation of your input you will be entered into a drawing to win one of the new hot new handhelds: (Treo 700p, Motorola Q and Nokia E-series) all with Good messaging. Please complete the survey before July 31th 2006.

Best Of Luck !

Bombay, Zara Bachke

I got the following as a forward, about the spirit of Mumbai. Instead of forwarding it again and again, I thought I might just put it up on this blog . Forward this article or the link all you like.

Rude city? You bet, says Mumbaikar Jerry Pinto in defence of a metropolis too busy to mind its manners but always ready to help when trouble comes.

Reader's Digest, which interests itself in these things, tells us that Mumbai is the rudest city in the world. This is also the magazine that carried a story saying that global warming might be good for us.

I swear, they did this in May, when my cousins in Nagpur were reporting that the city was burning up at 52 degrees centigrade.

I come not to praise Mumbai, however. I come to ask whether the Reader's Digest editors really mean it when they say that New York is the politest city in the world? What is it to be polite? In London, a terribly polite city by my experience, a young woman refused to lend her scarf to be used as a tourniquet when a man was stabbed on the bus. He bled to death. I am sure, the young woman said, "I'm sorry but it's an expensive scarf." The person who asked for the scarf probably said, "Right. Cheers." Meanwhile, the blood pulsed on from the dying man's neck.

In Mumbai, my mother once was forced to go to a public hospital with a torn-up leg. In front of her, the poor waited in the way that the poor wait, endlessly, patiently, quietly. When she joined the line, they all assessed their need, assessed hers and stepped out of the way wordlessly. She went to the top of the line, protesting quietly all the way. She did not bleed to death. Perhaps, she even forgot to thank all those people. Perhaps, they did not expect to be thanked.

But since no one seems to have bothered about definitions, let's dump them too. Perhaps it is polite to be a city like New York where all the shop assistants say thank you and please and the doormen are ready to open the door for you but there are 55,000 violent crimes a year. And that represents a 10-year low. Perhaps Mumbai with its 122 murders in six months must be significantly ruder but less lethal.

But are we rude?

" My dominant image for Mumbai. I'm standing outside Mahalaxmi railway station, it starts to rain. A man comes out with an umbrella and starts to walk away. He notices another man getting wet, he pauses, and in an unspoken way invites him under the umbrella. Then they see me, and I get under as well. That's Bombay. Three men sharing an umbrella, all getting wet. There's less space under the umbrella now — too many people, too little infrastructure, but people are still sharing it. "
Sudhir Mishra
Yes, we are rude. We are almost always rude. Cities are always rude. We are the only city in the country. Delhi is a bunch of villages held together by the politics of power and some nice roads. Chennai is a self-satisfied town which wants to be known for its culture. Bangalore looked like it might well grow up to be a city but now that it's got the opportunity to do it, it's choking itself to death. Calcutta had its moment of glory in the 19th century when they built lots of mansions and factories and set up the kind of intellectual atmosphere of a Cambridge debating society. Then they lost it, the Bangla babus and settled into making funny kurtas for their men to wear and selling Bankuda horses to the rest of the country.

Yes, we are rude. We don't have time for that. We're too busy dragging the rest of you into some semblance of wealth. We're too busy earning the money that runs the country. We're too busy paying for the Delhi and Kolkata Metros. We're too busy earning the money to pay the 75 percent of the income tax paid by the country. In Kolkata, they don't earn money. In Bangalore, they know how to hide it cyberwise. In Delhi, everyone's a farmer with agricultural income that's tax free.
" I think of Mumbai as a very cold but sensuous woman — it all depends on how you warm her up. In this city every kindness begets more kindness. Delhi's eyes literally undress you. Mumbai sees you first as a person then a woman. People do tend to keep their distance here, but if you try and do something nice, a sudden sensitive humanness peeps out. It's hardship city — it gets by on humour. "
Sarayu Srivastava
Land-starved Mumbai? The 14 million of us, we dream of the kind of space that young couples have in Delhi. We'd like a barsati too. We won't get it. But we'll work hard at it. The shop assistant who doesn't thank you probably goes home to his 'side business' and puts in another two or three hours. This could be anything from making papads to selling insurance to giving private tuition. It leaves him with very little time or inclination to say thank you.

But when trouble comes, he will do what he can. In the cataclysmic floods of last year, the average person did what the government could not. They threw open their homes. They left the security of dry land and waded into the water to rescue children. They formed human chains to take people off the buses. They made tea and snacks and gave it to people. Contrast that to the way Americans behaved when Hurricane Katrina struck. People went on the rampage. They shot at each other, even at their rescuers. They assaulted each other. They looted abandoned homes. In Mumbai, no violence was reported. No violence happened. Ask me, I walked home. Ask my sister, she walked home too. Together, we covered a distance of 30 kilometres that day and we only saw people helping each other, people offering support and solidarity.
" My idea of Bombay? A waiter serving in the Taj — during the day he might be serving Bill Gates and he'll carry himself with aplomb, be as cosmopolitan as anyone. At night he'll be taking the train to Dharavi, return to his slum, put on his lungi and baniyan, help his old parents, help wash dishes, and watch TV. You can be everything at the same time in Bombay. It's like that old Sinatra song — if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. "
Milind Deora
One of the most compelling images in Suketu Mehta's essay which Naresh Fernandes and I included in our anthology, Bombay Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (Penguin India, 2003) … but read on:

If you are late for work in Bombay, and reach the station just as the train is leaving the platform, you can run up to the packed compartments and you will find many hands stretching out to grab you on board, unfolding outward from the train like petals. As you run alongside you will be picked up, and some tiny space will be made for your feet on the edge of the open doorway. The rest is up to you; you will probably have to hang on the door frame with your fingertips, being careful not to lean out too far lest you get decapitated by a pole placed too close to the tracks. But consider what has happened. Your fellow passengers, already packed tighter than cattle are legally allowed to be, their shirts already drenched in sweat in the badly ventilated compartment, having stood like this for hours, retain an empathy for you, know that you boss might yell at you or cut your pay if you miss this train, and will make space where none exists, to take one more person with them. And at the moment of contact, they do not know if the hand that is reaching theirs belongs to a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Brahmin or untouchable or whether you were born in the city or arrived only this morning or whether you live in Malabar Hill or Jogeshwari; whether you are from Bombay or Mumbai or New York. All they know is that you're trying to get to the city of gold, and that's enough. Come on board, they say. We'll adjust.

More links about the tragedy:
And all the politicians can do is :

Dastardly Cowards

Update :

Yesterday there were 2 more terrorist attacks in India. One was in J&K , the other in Mumbai. Reportedly carried out by Jihadi's, these attacks show what kind of cowards these people are.

The Religion

Is Islam a violent religion ? Did Mohammed decree that his followers should kill other people ? Did the Koran talk about spilling the blood of innocents ? And yet these so called jihadis are doing everything that the founder of their religion did not decree. Mohammed was himself hounded by the Meccans - but did he retaliate by Killing their kids and wives ? No ! Then what religious fanaticism do these self proclaimed prophets follow ?

Some say its because muslims feel that the people who do not follow their relgion are infidels. But here's a translation of the Koran which states :
The Disbelievers

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
[109.1] Say: O unbelievers!
[109.2] I do not serve that which you serve,
[109.3] Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve:
[109.4] Nor am I going to serve that which you serve,
[109.5] Nor are you going to serve Him Whom I serve:
[109.6] You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.
The Koran is tolerant. Then where do these dispicable people come from ? Who has given them the right to slaughter people in the name of the religion ? No, I do not believe these people are muslims. They have disowned thier own religion for delusions.

The Mumbaikars

I have deep respect for the mumbaikars. I think they should do away with any political party, mayors etc from their city. Cause the govt only keeps yapping and yapping and yapping. About how they will not let it happen next time. About how it was all the other party's fault. About how less funds they get from the centre. BUT they do not do anything about making life better.

And everytime, its only the mumbaikars who come to the aid of each other. Its always the mumbaikars who help people stranded in the rains. Its only the mumbaikars who help to take the blast victims to the hospitals. If mumbaikars are the only people who really put their foot forward and help each other out - who needs a govt whose only target seems to be to misuse the tax money.

I am sure , that if in a locality , all the tax payed is pooled and used to make the locality better - we will have much better cities than what the govt promises.

The Media Channels

Sometimes the media people make me sick. They revel in showing people crying , brused, bleeding and dead. Makes me wonder why ? Are they in cahoots with the terrorists that they are almost always at the site of a happening in a few minutes ( ya ya , they will talk about their response teams... but still the suspicion remains. After all, there are many unscrupulous people who would do anyting for their ratings - which translates to better pay).

I would like the media to showcase how the heroes in the people - not the whiners. I would like them to show how the people respond to the attacks and rebuild their lives and not how they are lamenting their faith.

For those who died, I do not know what to say. One part of me is angry that they got such a death. But another part of me - the philosphical part, thinks its not how they died that matters its how they lived.

For my Readers

For my readers, i would offer the suggestion - death is inevitable. You can die by many means. At the end - you die. Simple truth. And the only thing left is to live your life. So, live your life. Take risks. Dont life a safe life cause death can happen anywhere. You may life a very sheltered life and yet die young. Live your life the way you want to. Is there something you want to do - but are afraid to do so cause every one else says its dangerous - go with your heart. Travel around. Bungee Jump. Do anything - but do not live a safe life. Because when its your time to die - you will think - what have I done in life - and you will regret not doing so manythings.

One Life. Live It.

Flapper the Ornithopter

This is no ordinary plane. It flies... by flapping its wings, in a way similar to how birds fly !

The first successful flight was on 9th July. News is on the Toronto Star. After the successful flight of 14 sec and 1/3 mile , inventor James DeLaurier had this to say to his pilot :
`You did it man. You've made an old professor really happy. You've made aviation history'
- Ornithopter developer James DeLaurieto test pilot Jack Sanderson
More info about what an Ornithopter is can be found in the Wikipedia entry. Simply put "An ornithopter is a machine that flies like a bird, by flapping its wings"

Amazing !

The Bajaj Dts-fi

Speculations are rife about the new bike coming from Bajaj - a 220cc , 20bhp bike. But information about the bike was scare. A couple of weeks back, Bajaj took out an add in the TOI about its next generation bike - with the Fuel Injection technology.

Now the details are out - check out the blog : rearset.

Cost : around 92k
Top speed : 135kmph

Le Tour on Ze Google Earth

Tour de France is an annual event held in france where participants from round the world compete in one of the most gruelling cycle races on this planet. Last 7 years had been dominated by Lance Armstrong which is amazing as he did it after recovering from cancer.

Now, with the use of Google Earth, you can check out the route they take ! You can download the kml file , and view using Google Earth. Here's a couple of screenshots to get you interested !

The entire route

Through the mountains