Welcome 2006, Bye 2005

December 31st, 2005

As time and tide waits for none; the year 2005 came to a glorious end at the last milli-second. It was a very special year because each and every festival and get-together i took part taught me a lot of things. It was a year filled with enjoyment, lots of worries, abundance of love and affection, exquisite friendship, fearsome battles and what not. In the end, each event carved me into a better human, which has told me to expect the worst unexpected, be emotionally strong, mentally rock solid, stone deaf to unworthy comments, ignore stupid people, at the sametime take very good care of loved ones. Most importantly, my dreams have told me to be “Really really cool during adverse situations” and has told me to preach this to every human i encounter on the enduring journey of life.

My heart-felt wishes of a wonderful new year to my parents, my grand parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and the best of all, my dear friends whom i have(nt) met in the past, the present friends, the online friends whom i haven’t met, my co-blogging buddies and that includes my best online friend also ;-), not to forget my enemies (if any). I can’t thank God enough for giving me this life and my friends who have been/are/will be with me during the ecstasic and painful moments. Thanks a lot people, without you im not what im.

Wishing you all a successful year ahead…

-

Angel in Disguise

December 27th, 2005

Okay, i was busy playing shuttle today morning ‘cos it was a superb sunday and as an exception i was woken up by a friend who thought i shouldn’t be sleeping (duh!). Never mind that, we were playing shuttle at 6:30AM. Some 5 minutes later, we felt some strange vibration. It stopped a few seconds later. And we continued to play…. Getting damn tired after 2 and half hours of playing, we started back home …. our clothes completely soiled from the play.

Then came the news, it came as a huge wave, bringing with it all the dirty pictures that washed away every single human heart in the world. The news created ripples of feelings, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, colour etc. It destroyed part of Mother Earth’s biggest continent. What followed was a week that we can’t forgot. Its not the ills of tsunami that im going to tell you about. Its about how the world helped the affected people to get them on track ASAP. Myself and my friend played a small role with the help of an elder, whom we can never forget. He is our friend philosopher and guide.

[Sunday - 26 Dec 2004]
The tsunami struck. First i thought it was just a hoax. As more news was pouring in, i soon realised something bad had happened. The rest of the day was spent on many Oooo’s and Aaaa’s, typical of every accident or incident encountered till now.

[Monday - 27 Dec 2004]
[9:00 AM]
My friend gets a message on his mobile. It told us to donate for tsunami relief and gave an address for doing so. The address was a place in north Chennai called Kolathur. Soon, we got into action. We collected clothes from our friends and got them assembled at my place. So much we got that it can’t be taken by public transport. We were wondering what to do with those, when we got a call from a person. We told him we have collected some clothes … and more than half of my house’s living room was full of them. He told us to keep it in our house itself and told something that he had planned for the evening.

[12:00 PM]
We assembled a small team of 8 year olds in my apartment. We also assigned them a team leader ;-) and told them to collect as much proper kitchen ware as possible. The one with the most vessels got 2 kitkat family packs. That was enough to set them on fire. About 2 hrs later, we had collected quite a lot of vessels too. Some more of my friends came and we were now 6 altogether with around 8 of those 8 year olds. This was exciting. We took some rest and the real adventure started after 6PM.

[6:00 PM]
A local team had been formed in the playground near my house…a bullock cart was arranged along with an auto-rickshaw that had a portable microphone attached to it. Two collection centers were also temporarily arranged. The auto went from street to street in the locality announcing that a bullock cart was on its way to collect relief items. With more than 40 of us now, lots and lots of items had been collected. The whole of the area was buzzing with activity. A lot of ladies from nearby houses came to those collection centers. They seggregated the clothes into shirts, pants, sarees etc. and made individual packs. A lot of work was going on at tremendous pace and everything was happening simultaneously. The more we brought in, they more they enjoyed of seggregating them. Hats off to those ladies and the 8 year olds !!! :D

[10:00 PM]
The collected items were taken to a place called Vivekananda Kendra. The night was cold today. So, lots of bed sheets were taken now in a van for distribution at Fore Shore Estate. The sight that engulfed us was worse than what i mentioned here. When the van stopped and when the window was opened, people swarmed to get whatever they could. It was like throwing a stone at a beehive. Myself and my friend covered all the 20km in my bajaj sunny ;-) ‘cos the van was full. We returned home by 1:30 AM.

[Tuesday - 28 Dec 2004]
A meeting was organised to distribute the relief in an effective way. Those who swarmed yesterday aren’t beggers, they are people like us…many having a decent living but lost everything to the tsunami. So, something had to be done that will prevent them from swarming and also the relief will reach properly. A plan was devised. A survey was planned to assess the damage and requirements. Just collecting something and throwing it at them will never work and it is a waste of time too.

[Wednesday - 29 Dec 2004]
We assembled at Vivekananda Kendra at 10AM today. Myself, my close friend, the elder i mentioned and 10 others were packed in a Tata sumo to visit 3 villages along the East Coast Road. Similarly, other teams were also formed to visit the nearby areas. Some fellows had the opportunity to visit Nagapattinam (the worst affected place, where there was atleast a death in almost all houses), particularly a young doctor who spent the next month doing free service and helping them rehabilitate. Good work dude !!!

The first village was Chinnandi Kuppam near Neelangarai (Blue Lagoon). We heard almost all of the painful tales that they were telling. At places where there were huts, only stones remained. A huge chunk of a road was missing and it was found about half a km inland. Boats were thrown atop houses that managed to survive. Well, those sights are still fresh in my mind. We took a detailed survey of each and every house. They said, “Everybody is giving us packets of raw rice sir…with no oil or vessels to cook them, how do we use it? We are more than 200 families here”. This hit a point and made a note. One more remarkable thing happened. A team of Muslim doctors were doing a health checkup in a temple at this place symbolizing “Unity In Diversity”.

The other 2 villages that our team visited was Injambakkam & Panaiyurkuppam. We returned home by 8:30PM.

[Thursday - 30 Dec 2004]
We went back to Kendra and did lots of work there. Many people of my age were present and we made good friends with them. Some of them are still in contact. We seggregated clothes for half the day today. This was one of the toughtest parts because more than anything else clothes were abundant. Two guys from Pune had come down to Chennai for this purpose. As the segregation was being done, they were arranged into family packs. It contained 1 shirt, 1 pant, 1 saree, blouse material, a set for kids, 1 towel or bedsheet. They were packed and sealed.

[Friday - 31 Dec 2004]
Today, we took a hand with the vessels. Many people from big companies visited today. One of them notably asked us how much family packs we had assembled. We told, “about 150 yesterday”. He immediately called up Saravana stores and ordered 150 kerosene cookers. Wow!!. We also learnt how to stitch sacks after packing the vessels. First time in my life, i realised studying and earning a good life isn’t the only thing. There are lots more to life. It was a very exciting day. I just loved this moment.

[Saturday - 1 Jan 2005]
A new year began today. I realised a lot in the past week. With all the family packs, we were scheduled to go a place called Devaneri to distribute them. They contained a dress pack, kerosene cooker, 2 vessles, 2 tumblers, 5 kgs of rice, 2 soap bars, bread, biscuits, a small lamp, oil, a bed sheet, straw mat, pillow and a photo of Lord Ganesh and Jesus. We reached Devanari by around 11 AM. The experience on monday had taught us not to throw things. So, the older people who came with us, met the village heads and asked them to call all the families to an open ground where they would be delivered a hour’s lecture. When the lecture was going on, all the family packs were moved from the van to a counter. The whole process was done very fast with more than 25 of us in a chain.

The lecture was over by this time. One lady from each family was asked to get the relief materials. They all came in a quiet queue and the relief were distributed without even a wee bit of trouble. :D

Thus came to an end a week that i can’t forget in my life. Furthermore, as part of the rehabilitation programme we assembled before pongal festival to get a survey of the number of people doing 10th and 12th in each of those villages. Myself and my friend went to Injambakkam to get the details. We also determined a place where a tuition can be housed. Exactly a week later, teachers were appointed and free tuitions were started. On the day of pongal, 15th Jan 2005 we went to Srinivasapuram to celebrate a united pongal, gave them mental strength to overcome this.

What more would i want?? The tsunami was an angel in disguise and it had taught me so much. If you wonder what you can do, try to be a part of a good NGO. Also try to donate a small sum of your salary every month for this purpose. Islam says, “For every Rs.100 you earn, donate Re.1″. My heart-felt thanks to the guys who made this possible and made me realise the other side of life…

Update: Check this post at World Wide Help blog. Also, check Echo Club !

Happy Moment

December 25th, 2005

As i was going to a store nearby, i met an old lady from my apartment and this conversation happened.

Myself: Hello granny, how are you?
Granny (smiles :D): I’m fine son. How are you?
Myself: I’m very fine (considering the exams tomorrow, im not that much fine)
Granny: When do you have to go for work?
Myself: May be next june or july
Granny: Very happy to hear that. Is it going to be Bangalore?
Myself: Ya, may be
Granny: Good, i know you are a very smart boy (:D). You will do well in your career. All the Best.

Saying so, she left. I was very happy to hear such encouraging words and got nailed to that place for about a minute, staring into infinity….she came back again and tapped my hand and asked “What??”. Getting back to senses, i smiled and said “Nothing granny” and left.

Something that made the day so special was the words she used. She didn’t say “do well”; she said “you will do well”. There is a significant difference in the meanings of both of them :-).

Thank you granny, for making this day so special !!! >:D<

Thanks a lot …

Exams

December 23rd, 2005

hi!! its been a week since i blogged. Guessed why?? Exams have started again….and God!!! how i hate it. They are really a huge pain. No wonder, it was a very happy occasion on the evening it got postponed…Now its even sadder to note that they have got postponed to the 2nd of Jan and all the new year fun is ruined boooohooooo !!!

Still 3 more to go…. :((

LINQ Framework

December 22nd, 2005

LINQ or Language INtegrated Query is a set of classes in .NET that allows you to query arrays just as would query a database, using keywords such as ‘select’, ‘where’ etc.

Sounds interesting?? I’m just exploring it. Have a look at these sites in that order.
1. http://blogs.msdn.com/danielfe/archive/2005/09/13/464904.aspx
2. http://blogs.msdn.com/sriram/archive/2005/09/16/468927.aspx

There is also a video at channel9…Do check it out…http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=114680 and here is the related MSDN link that offers a lot of code samples and downloads.

By the way, it is supposed to be shipped with the next version of Visual Studio (Orcas).

Powerful Words

December 18th, 2005

I was taking notes very sincerely (occasional hobby he he)…every 20 or 30 seconds looking up to get what he was telling. The lecture was on how to speak well in group discussions during campus interviews. Some guys at the last were giggling at every word he spoke…it made me to smile ofcourse….classroom fun is too good…He completed what he was saying and then clapped his hands twice to the get attention of the class.

The giggling stopped…everyone looked up. He said, “Put the pens down. I’m going to tell you something important”. That said, even the last benchers looked up. The sound of all the books closing filled the room for sometime and then there was pin-drop silence. He cleared his throat….

“Do you know???” he began, “Do you know, im HIV positive”….What??? What the hell?? I was shell shocked. My eyes popped out. He continued, “im having leukemia too”. What the hell of a class was this…I was bombed. This was worse than the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. A HIV+ guy doing a class for us?? Not even in the wildest dreams i was imagining so…almost paralysed with that information. sniff…sniff…some girls on the far right had started weeping and they began to wipe their noses…the news too big for them to bear.

Seeing them, he began to laugh. I couldn’t just understand what he was doing. He tells he is HIV+ and starts laughing. Congrats!! for his positive approach but it was still beyond comprehension. He started again, “Didn’t I get you all by surprise?”. “Yes” was the unanymous reply. He said, “Words whether they are empty or full, they leave a huge impact. I know you wont forget this in your lifetime. So choose your words carefully in your Group Disscussion. If you dont then your job is out of your hands”.

How true that is with our life also. With hasty decisions and words thrown out carelessly, we not only create a crack between our friendship, we also leave a scar in our friend’s heart. So, let us choose words carefully before we speak. This brings back to my mind the famous Thirukkural “Theeyinal sutta pun ullaarum aaraathe naavinaal sutta vadu“. It means, “Even the deepest burns caused by fire will heal one day, but the burns caused by words wont heal”.

Brr…I’m shivering now!! The exam fever caught up sometime back…Its showing the symptoms of leaving now because of the rains…and the exams got postponed again.

Kannadasan

December 15th, 2005

hi!! just remembered these very famous Kaviarasu Kannadasan’s poems….enjoy them….

1
kalangalil aval vasantham
kalaigalile aval oviyam
mathangalil aval margazhi
malargalile aval malligai

2
veedu varai uravu
veedhi varai manaivi
kaadu varai pillai
kadaisi varai yaro

These poems are really superb!!!

Trip to Bangalore

December 12th, 2005

hi!! I went to Bangalore for the past 2 days…1st day to attend the launch event…2nd day to roam around the place.

Day 1
Reached bangalore at 6AM and had a lunch-like-breakfast with 4 aloo parathas, 2 club sandwiches and a pineapple juice. Phew!! getting quite heavy with that, went to the nearest lodge & flopped for the next 4 hrs, almost shivering due to the cold weather.

Finding it was already 10:30AM, had a good bath & after another small breakfast ;-) headed to Palace Grounds, where the launch event was about to take place. Btw, if you are wondering what the launch event was, Bill Gates was visiting Bangalore to launch the latest version of the platform for developing and deploying software….Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006.

Event started at about 2:30PM; Bill Gates giving his keynote address for about an hour and after other blah blah blah, the event was over at 6PM. Parikrama was good with their Super Hero song, but other than that i could find they were only screaming with their voices and guitars :)) .

The event as a whole was great. The audience, around 6000 IT pros in and around B’lore and we Microsoft Student Champs from chennai, coimbatore, b’lore and mumbai. It was great learning experience, in that we got to know how Bill thinks. He is thinking at about 20 to 30 years ahead of today (duh! ofcourse he does) & with his proper timing of events, no doubt he is the richest man personally and built a company that is building 300 odd products. He was sharing his vision of the tablet pc as the next revolution, his next investment of $1.7 billion in India over the next 4 years etc. He also mentioned that India is 1 of the primary development centers outside USA. Getting a seat barely 100 metres away from the man, i was no doubt very attentive to his keynote. Thanks a lot to the ADEs for arranging that. Moreover, we had a great time meeting the other champs.

As with any big event, there are some negatives too. The food was as bad as it could be. They served 2 very small bananas (each 1 about an inch in size), 1 cake, 1 veg puff, frooti cool drink, 1 small sandwich, 2 cookies. Anyone with the right brains couldn’t have thought of such a wonderfully stupid lunch. That apart, the event was a success.

Day 2
Night dawns early at B’lore and it gets dark very soon. So, waking up at 10AM the next day, i got ready in half hour and went to Lalbagh Gardens. It was a half hour journey from the place called J.P.Nagar. The garden is so huge and its right there in the center of the city. It also has a mini lake inside and the whole atmosphere was cool and great. If you would want some peace amidst the noice of bangalore, then this is the place to go (i would recommend Thekkady lake in Kerala as the first destination).

Now for some positives about Bangalore…
1. Its a good place with a cool-cooler type of weather in contrast to Chennai’s hot-hotter weather.
2. A city with lots of opportunites for IT pros because this is the home for some of the biggest software companies.
3. Helpful people and uncheating autorickshaws.
4. Its the place for bird hunting ;-)

As for some negatives,
1. Very crowded. If there is anything else that would determine the time required to reach a place its the worst traffic.
2. Cost of living is high. You need to earn a decent amount to sustain yourself in bangalore.

Personally, i love Bangalore and i would love to work/live there, but it would only come next to Chennai bcos its my darling hometown. How much i had missed this place for the past 2 days??? Phew!!!

hey! did you ever wonder why Bill had to visit this time for the launch???

Fun Poems

December 11th, 2005

hi!! read these 2 poems….

Poem1:
saptiya bun
beachla mun
shoot panrathuku gun
kalayla udhikum sun
unga appavuku nee oru son

Poem2:
pepsi romba gup
nee kooda romba gabbu
vekka poraen appu
sariya mappu
beer kudicha erum mabbu
velaiku pona kidaikum dabbu
un mela enakku veruppu
en endral nee romba sharpu
nan than idhai writingu adhai nee nambu!!

Ha ha ha….these 2 are really comic…no meaning in them though. Ofcourse, they weren’t written by me.

The rains…

December 5th, 2005

It was a cool night….very cool…infact it was a perfect kinda night everyone would be looking for. No rains, no wind, just a gentle breeze wafting through the air, carrying with it the fragrance of fresh winter flowers, the billion stars in the sky….showering their ray of light on every particle of earth…so much so that i actually drifted into sleep…unknown to me…..dreams enveloping my web of thoughts. Then slowly & unknowingly, i went off into a deep sleep…..merging with my soul….

Then suddenly i woke up….so wide awake that every ounce of sleep that assembled, shattered to pieces. I was starting to sweat. Didn’t have any clue…why was i sweating?? Just as I was thinking, a thunder crashed through, tearing the skies apart with a lightning. Then slowly it started to drizzle…slowly at first…a bit louder then and it continued. After about 20 seconds, the light drizzle became very heavy, falling heavily on my windows. Already puddles of water had formed here and there.

Completely awake now, i got up & went to the balcony to watch the rain. It hit me now, I started to feel the pinch, then the pain…it tore through my heart…it was excruciating now…I was almost in tears. Yes, I knew it. I discovered where it originated. It was also running deep in my subconscious mind.

I was snuggling in my warm blankets sometime ago & woke up sweating…only to think that…they were littered on the roads. Like small children litter broken toys all around the house, the flood-devasted people were everywhere….on the road, on the pavement…every place you could think of. My heart ached seeing them. I was crumbling sensing that I couldn’t do anything more than give away a few shirts and pants. My sub-conscious said, “Every human is born with a purpose, do it now. Its your turn. Do it whole heartedly” as I listened to them patiently.

Things became clear now. Sweating ceased. The crumbling blocks started to rebuild themselves…Its a new life…a great life…a life of giving !!!