Protos' Musings

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Archive for the ‘Chennai’ Category

Hell freezing, Pradeep blogging!

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After pulling my leg for more than two years, Pradeep has decided to join the blogging bandwagon. He starts with a series on our under construction appartment — Jains Kences Retreat. You might find it interesting if you have read my earlier post about having booked a flat. Over to Pradeep! I would hope he starts writing about software and programming as well, so that people can learn from his experience.


Written by Proto

September 7, 2008 at 16:08 hrs

The Harishs at Chennai

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The Harishs were in Chennai to spend 12 hours in the searing heat as they were getting bored of the Bangalore weather. Ok, I change that. The Harishs were in Chennai to visit Vidya’s grandmother, who wanted to see the kiddie. They came home in the evening, after spending the day with her relatives.

Ramesh and Raghu also came to meet Nano and the Harishs and to be with us for the dinner. Subru was the surprise package. He had informed no one that he is coming down to Chennai. This weekend Preethi’s parents are also here and so in all it turned out to be a memorable evening for all of us.

Nano (Vivek Krishnan) has grown up since I saw him last, and he was busy trying to learn how to turn around and lie on his stomach, though he couldn’t quite get his right hand out of the way. We all took turns to spend some quality time with him, though he kept going back to Vidya.

Preethi prepared yummy Pulav and Raitha for dinner and Harish had picked up a tin of Rasgullas. The best part of the evening was Subru joining us at the dinner table. I think this was the first time he had said no to eat something, anything!

We also witnessed the kick off of Euro 2008. I would love to see the mighty Germans win their first match at the Euro since 1996, and then go on to win the coveted Cup. But let us see whether someone again manages to refuse them the title.

I also used the occassion to fire up Preethi’s k550i and here is a collection of pix from the evening. Be warned though that the pix are a bit grainy thanks to k550i being not a very great camera phone, especially in the absence of very strong light.

Harish was returning by the 1130 train in the evening and since Raghu offered to drop them, Ramesh and myself managed to join the gang to see them off at the station.

On the way back we took the beautiful Beach Road (you were so right, Raghu. Vidhya and Harish would have loved the view and the well maintained road instead of the usual Royapettah route), and since Ramesh and Raghu were discussing about Dhoni’s new Chennai flat (though Dhoni himself has refused it as rumour), I took them inside MRC Nagar so that they could see the flat from outside. Not too sure whether they were impressed or not with what they saw.

Thus ended a wonderful day for all of us, and looking forward to the next meeting of RiceBowl Avenue kids, though when it is gonna happen, I don’t know now.

Written by Proto

June 8, 2008 at 14:35 hrs

Mahesh got married to Vidya this Monday

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I will update this entry later on this week (hopefully, especially considering the quality of the time the Chottupura kids got to spend together), but for now, pix would suffice.

Here is the link to Mahesh’s wedding snaps taken using Preethi’s SE k550i which doubles up as our digicam. I was not able to change the Album cover since loading the list of pix inside Picasa is taking too much time, and I have to rush to work now.

Written by Proto

April 22, 2008 at 08:24 hrs

Wrapping up 2007 and welcoming 2008

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As we bid adieu to 2007 and look forward to a what should hopefully be a wonderful 2008, I thought I would break my silence and post an update. So, here is a not so quick wrap up of 2007.

The first three quarters

The biggest event of the first quarter was Harish marrying Vidya on 9th Feb. We (me and Preethi) had a nice time attending his wedding at Bangalore, and it also was an occasion for the Rice Bowl Avenue kids to catch up with each other. We last met during my wedding, but Apple couldn’t make it then, though Raghu was around. This time Apple was around, though Raghu couldn’t make it since he was chilling it out at the Swiss Alpine valley.

The second quarter was full of work, work and more work. I set some awful records as a workaholic during this period. I managed to work for 10 weeks straight without taking even a single day off — most of the time working for 12+ hours per day. This was for creating an Offline version of my product that would talk to Interbase instead of SQL Server. The best part of the design was that we managed to do this with minimal code change to the “data access layer” (that sits inside the UI layer) to talk to Interbase instead of SQL Server, though the existing data access components won’t/can’t talk to Interbase. Once again, the years spend honing up the OOAD skills payed off.

March-April was also the time of the Cricket World Cup, and luckily Indians put up such a pathetic show that I was free to concentrate on work rather than worrying about whether Indians would march into the Semis or the Finals.

The work was tight during the third quarter too, though mercifully not as tight as the second quarter. In May (or early June) Gazoo paid us a visit at home (on the day Shruthi, Subru’s niece turned 1). July saw Ram(kumar) becoming father and we all were happy for Uji and Ram.

August saw us taking a break from work and packing and traveling to Bombay to spend the Independence Day week. We managed to visit Reghu at Pune too during this time. August also saw Ramesh relocating to Chennai, and as a result, we had had some great moments during the rest of the year. None was more joyful than hosting Apple and watching Yuvi hitting six sixes in an over with both of them. This period also saw Indians becoming T20 champions, and that was some consolation, really, after the World Cup debacle.

The Last Quarter

The last quarter was made memorable thanks to another big event — Mahesh getting engaged to Vidya at Trivandrum on 6th Dec. This meant that we now have two Vidyas around and need to devise a way to distinguish the two when both are around :).

Harish and Vidya paid us a visit during Oct end and we had a great time at my place, though it was raining incessantly that day. Another good news during this period was Sarath becoming a father, when Manju gave birth to their daughter Veda on Dec 13th.

We traveled a bit during this period — there were multiple trips to Kerala — a pilgrimage trip to Palghat, Guruvayoor and Kadampuzha during October, and then the trip to attend Mahesh’s engagement three weeks ago. This was my first trip to Trivandrum since attending Harish’s engagement last year, and this marked the longest break between two trips to Trivandum in my life. We had a great time at Trivandrum. We stayed at Reghu’s place (as usual) and managed to pull off quite a few things that we normally couldn’t do earlier.

We managed to pay Papps a proper visit, catch up with all the relatives, roam around a bit with Sir and Mami going to places like Valiyathura Kadalpaalam (a pier; the first time I am going there), watching the sunset at Shankumugam beach and spending the late evening at the Musuem lawns. We had dinner out that night at the Aryaas, and then I manged to take Preethi out at 2100 hrs to The Archies (the best ice-cream parlor bar none in the world known to me and many others). Needless to say, we enjoyed every moment of our stay there ;).

We were privileged to see the return trip from Trivandrum getting screwed thanks to the strike by the Train Drivers in Kerala (haven’t heard about Train Drivers striking before, thought it might have happened before), and that was quite an experience. Luckily we got seats in a dubba Air bus and so managed to reach Chennai on Monday morning and avoid taking any extra leaves.

This time there was no Jiju (who is in US doing his course to become a pilot) in Trivandrum, and that made it a bit different from the normal trips. We managed to meet Sunil for a few minutes as he was in the City for some work.

Through out the year my good old Nokia 3200’s battery was giving lots of trouble (the original piece from circa 2003) and when we went enquiring for a new battery, we came to know that Nokia has stopped producing the battery model that was in 3200. The new ones don’t quite fit, and so the only option was to go in for a duplicate. So, I decided to exchange it for a new one, and finally exchanged it for a brand new Sony Ericsson k550i Cybershot. It comes with cool set of features at a good price — a good 2MP outdoor camera and an awesome audio player — for 8k.

Subru was in Chennai for about 10 days during the last two weeks, and we had a nice time roaming around in R.A.Puram and generally catching up with the events in each other’s lives. We also took some nice snaps during this period.

Yesterday we visited Ramesh’s place in Thiruvanmiyur and went to the Thiruvanmiyur beach too, and there are some snaps of his house in there, and Preethi just loved the oonjal. It is a pretty decent house situated amidst lots of greenery, and that is good thing to have in a hot place like Chennai.

Thanks for reading thus far, and have a fantastic 2008 ahead, and please start using Mozilla Firefox and Google Reader, if you haven’t yet. It will change the way you think of and approach the web for sure.

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Written by Proto

December 31, 2007 at 18:00 hrs

Kerala Pigrimage trip 2007

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It is after a while that I felt like posting something and upload some pix. We just returned back from a memorable pilgrimage trip to Kerala over the weekend.

Myself, Preethi, my parents and her parents (who were on a visit to Chennai) left for Palghat on Thu, 04-Sep-07 and came back to Chennai on Mon, 08-Sep-07. It was primarily a pilgrimage and so we got to visit lots of temples in Palghat, visited Kalpathy gramam (where I stayed during my Engineering days), Malampuzha Dam and my alma mater, NSS College of Engineering, Palghat.

We left Palghat on Sat morning to Kadampuzha Bhagavathi Temple, a fantastic temple in the Malappuram district, 3 km off Vettichira in the NH 17 connecting Thrissur and Kozhikode (and beyond probably).

After spending 4 hours at Kadampuzha, we left for Guruvayoor, and visited the famous Anathavalam in Guruvayoor on the way. We had great darshan on Sat evening and again had darshan on Sunday. We also visited the other temples like Mammiyoor, Parthasarathy, Balaji and Sai Baba.

Post lunch, we packed again and were on the way back to Palghat. Sun night we boarded the train to travel back to Chennai.

The worst part of the trip was the fact that almost all the roads in the parts of Kerala I visited were in pretty bad shape, something most people from Kerala are aware of. I heard that the last roads in Palghat were worked upon was about 8 years back, while I was there! Amazing, isn’t it? It happens only in Kerala.

Earlier, during August, we had taken a week off from work to spend some quality time at Preethi’s home in Bombay. That too was quite a memorable trip and as a bonus got to read quite a bit during this trip. I got to finish the Edition 1 and 2 of “XP Explained: Embrace Change” by Kent Beck. I also got to visit some of Preethi’s relatives and family friends and her Sify office near the Airport. We also met my good friend Biju during our stay. I also started watching some great action from the English Premiere League.

We spend the Independence Day at Pune with my cousin Reghu. He took us to the Tirupati Balaji temple that morning. It is another great temple in the middle of (almost) nowhere, about 2 hrs journey from Pune, lying between the Satara Highway on one side and the Bangalore Highway on the other. Climate was just pristine during this period, as the South West monsoon was just winding up its act.

I have uploaded some of the pix taken at various points of time in 2007. Click the links below to watch them:

Palghat trip, 2007

Bombay trip, 2007

Chennai photos, 2007

This time I have decided to try out Picasa Web Albums instead of Flickr (Reghu, hope you are happy now) for a change, and let us see whether I like this better enough to make the switch.

What I don’t like about Picasa is that it offers only 1 GB of free storage. There is no such storage limit in Flickr, though you can only upload 20 or 40 MB of pix per month and one gets to display only the 200 most recent photos on the Flickr page. Of course, all the old photos are still available for viewing provided you know which tag to use to view them.

I would love to post my musings on software and life and click and upload pix more regularly going forward. Let us see how far I succeed. I don’t have a camera with me and so that is a serious limitation on trips like these. I have lots of pix awaiting upload from 2006 and let us see whether I get around to upload them as well.

Thanks for reading so far. Take care and be well. And please start using RSS for your own sake if you haven’t started yet. You might get lost in its magic just as I have!

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Written by Proto

October 11, 2007 at 00:22 hrs

Honeymoon photos

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As promised in the post in which I shared the marriage photos (or whatever is available as of now), it is time I shared the honeymoon photos [slideshow]. Wait! don’t click that previous link. A better way to watch them would be to read through the post, clicking the links provided below which are about specific places. That would be more convenient. I have provided links for opening the slideshow alongside.

To begin at the begining, we came back to Chennai (after marriage) on 09/11 by AirDeccan. Then on 09/14, we took the AirDeccan flight to Trivandrum where we stayed in a hotel [slideshow] for that night. On 09/15 we started our honeymoon trip by travelling to Alappey [slideshow] in a cab that stayed with us till the end of the trip. We boarded the houseboat arranged for us for about 22 hours. Needless to say, we had a splendid time [slideshow] in the boat roaming around the backwaters. It was absolute bliss!

On 09/16 we got out of the boat and travelled to Thekkady [slideshow], where we spend a couple of days/nights. We had a great time at Thekkady [slideshow]. We had a nice trip in the boat ride through the Periyar, though we were distinctly unlucky to miss meeting any elephant herds up close.

On 09/18 we left Thekkady and travelled to Munnar [slideshow], where we spend about 4 days/nights. Munnar was superb [slideshow] on days one and two. But on the third day it started raining and since we found Munnar (itself) to be very cold and since both of us kinda fell sick at Munnar, we decided to drop the Kodaikanal leg that was there in the actual plan). So we couldn’t watch the Kurinji flowers blooming on the way to Kodai.

Instead we extended the stay in Munnar by one more day and returned to Trivandrum [slideshow] on 09/22 where we spend the next two days receiving first my parents (on 09/23) and Preethi’s parents (on 09/24). We also used these two days to visit Papps temple, Saraswathi Amman and the Shangumugam beach [slideshow], not to mention catching up with friends and relatives [slideshow].

The two sets of parents reached Trivandrum so that we could carry out the second leg of our three week non-stop travel break — a pilgrimage to various temples in Kerala and Tamilnadu. More on that trip with pix tomorrow.

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Written by Proto

October 8, 2006 at 23:51 hrs

The Months That Were – July/Aug ’06

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July 2006 was a month of very less activity, lots of reading, some great moments, and some heartbreaks. The heartbreaks started with the German team loosing out to the eventual champions Italy, and the final twist came when Italy managed to steal the World Cup. If ever there was a Champion unworthy of the title (when teams like Argentina, Germany and France were around), it was Italy! Of course, they won and they are the champions, and I better keep my mouth shut! :)

As I was saying in the first para, during this month and the next, I managed to read quite a bit (compared to my recent book reading trends). The best of the lot must be the works of Robert M Pirsigthe Zen book (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and the not-so-famous, but equally good (if not better) second part — Lila. Both have had tremendous influence in my life, and I would advice anyone to give the books a go when they get the chance! The depth and breadth of coverage is quite remarkable.

I should also stress upon the fact that they are not the usual fiction or the fad books, but are categorized under “Philosophy” by the publisher. They are a bit heavy (in terms of pages and theme wise), but are well worth the time invested. I would try to post more about them later on, but for now these two links would do. But suffice to say that the concept of the Metaphysics of Quality (which is explored in the Zen book and given a firm shape in Lila) are simply the best thing I have ever read! But I am sure I wouldn’t mind reading both the books a few more times, time permitting!

In fact, if you are still having a doubt, this is what Joel Spolsky has to say about the book in his famous Book Reviews post:

“Some people’s attitude towards programming is that it’s a nifty way to
pay the bills. For others, that’s not enough… our work is a
significant a part of our lives, and we need a philosophical
understanding to make sense of it. This book goes a long way towards
relating engineering and philosophy”

I am deeply indebted to Joel for making me aware of this book (in 2002), Jiju for referring these gems way back in 2003-04 when I was out to purchase a gift for a friend, and to Raghu, who gave me the thing I appreciate the most as gift: Vouchers to buy books (at my engagement) :). In fact, when I left my previous work, I was asked what I wanted as a parting gift. I told them, I am planning to buy a book. Give me your contribution in cash, I will contribute the rest to pay the bill for some book I had on my mind. Probably, I am just crazy! ;)

Apart from these two seminal works, I also managed to read two more great books: Tuesdays with Morrie and The Alchemist. I also enjoyed the Dan Brown novel Angels and Demons. I recommend A&D to anyone who thought The Da Vinci Code was good! This is the novel in which Brown introduces the character of Robert Langdon, and is quite absorbing in itself. I heard that the movie will be out in 2007.

Apart from this, I had been to Trivandrum and Mahabalipuram during this period, and there were lots of team-treats at work as well. So, in all, I was having a nice time.

The lows during this period include a few days I was not well, Mom suffering from fever and being down for more than 30 days (in three slots of 10 days each over a period of 40 days starting in May and ending in Aug), the countless visits to the Doc and the Apollo for treatment. Mom is doing fine, except for muscle pain in her right leg, that makes her limp while she is walking these days. Docs say that it will take at least couple of months for the muscle pain (induced by Chikungunya that spread like wild fire down south of India during summer) to go away!

Thanks for reading thus far. Have a great week ahead.

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Written by Proto

September 3, 2006 at 21:39 hrs