Hi folks,

Someone is impersonating as me, on gmail.

If you get an email from the id : - rest assured that it is not from me. notice the switch in surname and first name.

If someone knows how to file a case against impersonation, please let me know. The criminal should be brought to the book.

BMW GINA Light Visionary Model: Premiere

An amazing concept...

... does not seem to be for indian conditions.

With this post, I am starting an "Objects of Desire" tag. This used to be a regular feature on the Sunday newspaper ( I think it was HT), but haven't really seen it much nowdays.

Rain Ride !

A steep downward gradient. Loose stones make up what some say is a road. Slippery mud at places where the stones have been washed away. Heavy rains. My breath mists up the inside of the helmet and my glasses as i mutter 'Oh Shit!'

The plan started off inocculously enough. Meet up at Lonavala to discuss about the upcoming trip to Leh. There were going to be 5 of us meeting up there. Bike ride to lonavla is about an hour. I left home at 10:15am - camera and rain gear in my bags. Not even a drizzle. Around Hinjewadi crossing it started to drizzle. Stopped, put on my 2 piece raincoat. Started off again, and voila .. the sun shines. Damn! It feels hot. This did not last long. The closer i got to lonavala, the darker the clouds looked. Finally ended up there at 11:10 just as the drizzle started. The stopover point was RK.

Waited . Waited some more . Ordered a cup of tea (where are the damn fellows). Smsd them that I had reached. Got sms from Hrishi - hes not coming - rains were too heavy in mumbai. PS was stuck in office. Nalin was on the way and so was Sravanth. Waited a bit more. Ordered omlet bread. Almost noon. :(

Went to buy some chocolate fudge. Called up Nalin - he had just arrived. Called up H, talked to him about the rain. Talked to S, he was 10-15 mins away. Headed over to RK and met Nalin. Decided to wait for S before we ordered anything.

Sravanth arrives on his Eliminator

The main agenda to discuss was the leh trip. Discussed a bit about luggage and the cramsters. It was then we decided to head to mulshi to test the jackets we all had got. N's was a First Gear , S had a DSG, mine was a Frank Thomas.

Off we went.

The first part of the road is great. Nice twisties. Full of water. I was the slowest one. Kind of psycological with me and water. Soon, the others were way ahead of me - i just cant get myself to lean on wet roads!

Stopped just before Amby Valley to call up shaunak who was going to meet us up at Mulshi. It had stopped raining - so took a few pics. We started off again. Just afterwards we hit the first Y junction, and too the one on the right. The road surface dramatically deteriorated then.
Sravanth and Nalin with Tweety
Kissing the Clouds

Ride up into the clouds
Stopped again at this place. It is tough riding on these roads, and the scenery was just beautiful. Had to stop for a few pics. The problem though - the cameras are not waterproof. And it rains incessantly here. These were the last pics i took before I gave up to the rain gods.

Rainy Lake
Over the mountain, and on the other side is mulshi lake. But just before that the road almost disappears - or rather becomes like the one I mentioned at the start of the writeup. Gingerly we went down the slope, and stopped at a vantage point. Oh man ! that place was worth it ! A gorge made of vertical cliffs, with the fog moving there - below your vantage point. The cliffs which towered above you had a thousand small fountains, the while lines squiggling off their surface.

Nature is amazing!

It was already 5pm now. Headed towards mulshi now. Did not stop at the lake for any pics, but headed towards Disha Dhaba where Shaunak was waiting. A cup of tea, and me and shaunak headed off towards Pune, while N and S decided to laze around a bit more.

Drenched . Cold. Heart in mouth most of the time. But oh - what a ride ! :D

Yahoo! Moderators conference

As being Moderator / Owner of yahoo groups, I was made aware of the Yahoo! Moderator's conference by Ashish (another Mod on BN). He had added my details, but I did not get any mails. Then, seeing the 'join' button on the yahoo group, I again entered the details.

As such, I finally got the invite, and was to report at 4pm at Sahara Star hotel in Mumbai.

No sweat. Plans were made, I was going to go on the bike, attend the conference, stay over at a friend's place and head back the next day.

Monsoon threw a spanner in my plan though, and from the mid of the week, it started to rain cats and dogs. Quick pulse check with friends in mumbai told the story - its raining quite heavily there. Last minute plan changes, and with my wife wanting to come with me, we decided to go in the car.

Usually it takes around 3 hrs to reach the airport (where the hotel was ), but with rains, we started with a buffer of another hour. 1200 hrs we left. Going was smooth with a few splatters of rains, but with each km nearer to lonavala, the rains started pouring in. Just after the Talegaon the rains really started pouring in. Rains by themselves are great ! Rains with spray from the trucks and cars in front ... oh boy ! no visitbility at times ! Speeds dropped.

Droplets on the windscreen


The Verna and the Expressway

Smokey Clouds

Around 3pm left the expressway and got into the mumbai traffic ! Oh man ! What a pain. Traffic was crawling everywhere ! :( , but still better than in Pune as people were driving mostly in their lanes. what would have taken around 40mins took 1h30min. Reached the hotel at 4:30pm - which was ok, as the start was delayed due to rains !

The moderator's union is an effort by Yahoo! to reach out to the moderators of various groups, and hear their voices. Each moderator was to come up and present about their group. Just 2-3 mins per person, but many took more than that.

At the end there was a poll for the following categories (2 winners in each category):
1. Most Unique group.
2. Best introduction.
3. Best dressed moderator.
as well as an award for the most punctual.

Well, I was there representing BN and I am proud to say that we were voted among the top 2 most unique groups !

Me at the conference podium

After the moderators, it was the turn of the Yahoo folks to tell us the goodies in store for us. This is what I am assuming many people will like more instead of my dreary writeup of travel ;)

Yahoo! Groups 2.0

Yahoo groups is going to be revamped fully. The concepts they showed us were great (but with a disclaimer that things are likely to change). Heres the feature set that I remember :

1. Customizable homepages.
What this means is that moderators can have different elements on the home page instead of the current static one. E.g. instead of just showing the current description and a few messages, one can customize to also show pics, calendar agenda etc. Kinda like what you can do on a google homepage, but I am not sure if the widgets are going to be customizable.
2. Custom user profiles.
So, today you got a yahoo id - and you join a group. No other info is available. The moderators will be able to provide custom fields on a profile which they would want users to fill up.
3. Group discussions on Yahoo pages.
This is the example given to us. Say there is a discussion on NBA, and there are NBA centric yahoo groups. If the group has opted for the feature, then current discussions will be shown next to the news item on the Yahoo page. Pretty neat IMHO.
4. Allowing attachment Archives.
Storage space is going to be unlimited. With that, YGroup also will provide for a means for archiving any attachments sent to the group. Hmm.. Unlimited Storage space : check. Archive of attachements ... what if they are viruses ? I do not think I will still be in favor of attachemtns, but there are many other groups out there who do allow attachments - it would be great for them I believe.

Yahoo! Glue

The other thing that was shown was yahoo glue. Its a search with a difference. It searches different places for the item. you can check it out on :
Search for something - say - Yamaha. You will get pics, videos as well as the regular search.

Left Mumbai around 9:30pm and was home at 1am ! Next day was to be a meet at lonavala.

Most pics taken by my wife

First Rains

First Rains
Originally uploaded by vibhu

After a few blistering days, it started to rain in Pune. The weather is lovely, but the roads are a nightmare. This shot taken from the office window overlooking baner road.