[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

New Photos

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

Posted some new pictures from Harini’s Birthday. Our parents also wanted some pictures of our home, so we added them as well. Among the pictures is Tinku and Chinku, two little stuffed toys hand-made by Harini. A couple of pictures capture the view of the river hudson from our living room. It tough to see it, but if you try harder, you can see the great Statue of Liberty in one of the pictures. We also were lucky to take a shot of frozen hudson. Its a beautiful site to feel with real eyes. Enjoy Them.

A Drive Across Brooklyn Bridge

Monday, February 23rd, 2004

We had another good weekend. Susi came over from ithaca, NY. She was visibly happy and excited to get a break from her usual routine at cornell. We visited Balaji Temple at Bridgewater. As always on a saturday night, it was flooded. There was a group of non-indian visitors, possibly from a community group, curiously stopping at every idol-house and astonished at the rituals, bhajans, dressings, jewellery etc. A japanese turned over to me, as we were doing a pradhakshanam ( a walk around an idol-house ) and asked me, why everyone is standing patiently in a line, to touch the brass bell hanging from the top, to make that sound (it sometimes is annoying when nobody around expects it). I was very happy to explain to him the reason, which i read incidentally, from one of this little books, that came as a gift to our wedding, from Swamini Vimalananda of Chinamay Mission, Coimbatore. The book explained the reasons behind some of these procedures that we do at home and in temples and at time on streets ( slashed pooshnikkai ! ).

The reason for using the brass bell in Hindu temples is to block and arrest those other unwanted noises coming from elsewhere. This more often happens during aradhana of the diety, when holy vedic hymns are recited. It also helps to grab everyone’s attention towards the diety and force them to listen to hymns instead of talking.

On our drive back home, susi mentioned that she wanted to see brookly bridge. I said no big deal. We drove straight into holland tunnel ( we live just off the entrance to holland tunnel ) and across manhattan and into the bridge. We didnt realize we were in manhattan bridge, until i looked over to see brooklyn bridge to my right. We took a short trip into brookly and turned around and this time I made sure we drove into Brooklyn bridge. Susi was happy. It seems she had a poster of the bridge in her bedroom and had always wanted to see it.

The rest of the weekend went pretty quick and here I am on this monday morning meeting spree. Got to go for next one, bye

Finished About Sudhar.com

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

I finally managed to finish my write up on ‘A Brief History of Sudhar.com’. It sounds like a great title, not sure if it turns out a good read. I glad I am able to document it. I am sure I will find it a good read after a few years from now.

I also wanted to write, a very short note this time, about what software/hardware I used to run this site. My next task in hand.

I am really tired

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

I am really tired today. I have become busy these days at work, as I am getting my hands wet with a lot of teams and projects. Its good to start on a bunch of them and hopefully it should consolidate into a handful of projects.

Every work day includes a full 45 minute commute from home. This is probably another reason I am feeling tired. Just sitting infront of the wheel and staring on the highway isnt easy, though I have started listening to audio books and impressively completed a very good book ‘Management Challenges for the 21st Century’ by Peter F Drucker. The drive back home is even worse as it gets dark early around this time of the year, around 5PM and the yellow glaring head lights from a bumper to bumper traffic from the other side of the highway, causing trouble to my, already astigmatic eyes!

Days run so fast and nights even faster. We made a wonderful trip to detroit. We had nice time with friends and relatives, though we wish we had spent more with some of them. Personally, I felt a sense of home-coming. I have spent 3 years going back to detroit on friday nights. For most part of those years, I have been flying back from newark, the very same airport we flew in this time. At times, I still feel that I am on travel and that I am living here for a short time only to get back to detroit for the next weekend.

I have started running regularly from this week. This puts me into a very tight schedule after i return from work and pretty much is the reason for my inability to post a note on my weblog. To top this one, work has been little hectic this week. I am feeling much better I could find a little bit of time, though terribly tired than usual, to write down some of my thoughts.

Sometimes I have a feeling that I write as I would speak it or say it. Is it very spoken english, that i write?

Improve your vocab

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004


This is a great site OneLook to search in all dictionaries across web, not just dictionary.com. It also provides everything on one page, that way you dont have juggle between thesarus and dictionary. I am sure it will help me a lot and hopefully improve on my vocabulary!

History of Sudhar.com in the making

Monday, February 9th, 2004

I have been spending the last two days in writing the history of sudhar.com. I have no idea who would be interested in it. Its getting longer than I had expected, partly because I might give more details than required in some cases. The biography ( if i can call it so! ) will be released tomorrow ( hopefully if i dont get too much excited to write even more! ).

I am also running out of disk space in my little primitve PC that runs this site. I still dont know whats the way out, guess have to call prasanna for rescue.

I might go to Toronto, Canada for a week around 20th Feb on an official trip. Harini will sure accompany me. Great plans ahead, Detroit, Canada, Susi visit, Chicago and what else?

We both have also put on a little bit of weight! Inspite of our efforts to cut down on rice, I think the mother nature is playing her cards against us. A serious emergency plan has been worked out ( to workout ).

Harini is little disappointed that Birthdays only last 24 hours!

Good Night!

Harini’s Birthday

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Its harini’s Birthday today. She is really excited since we are celeberating her first, together. I gave her a sweet surprise with a Diamond Ring. It was beautiful, the moment I saw in the store I thought she would definitely like it. She was indeed very happy with it. She also deserved it since I have been telling her that I should get a diamond ring as a complement for her great cooking. She does a great job making the house too. I think its a fitting match. Besides, she is madly in love with rings and would take one for her toes too, after she runs out on her hands.

We had a very small party last night, with just two of us. A candle with numbers 24 lighted the midnight darkness. The white cake with red words that said ‘Harini’ tasted very good. I couldnt do a good job with icing, as I had left the icing tube in the refridgerator by mistake, with the cake. I had taken a few pictures of this sweet night, will be published to gallery later this week. I completed the ceremony with my gift pack and a very senti card from Hallmark.

She has been busy since morning with calls from all over the place, including calls from india. Its nice to see a few people calling up and wishing her, especially those you didnt expect. A bunch of email greetings added more excitement for the day.

We had planned to get into the city and go around a bit. The weather looks great from inside, though I hear its very cold on the radio. We might visit a few places and come back for a good dinner.

A Brief History of Sudhar.com

Friday, February 6th, 2004

I am not sure if anyone is interested in knowing more about how I got this site up and running, but alteast let me write it, if only for myself. Warning:Read only when you have lots of time at your disposal and if you dont easily get mad at reading boring stuff 🙂

The history of the site goes back to may 1999. Thats when I got www.sudhar.com registered. It was more out of curiousity to get a domain registered on my name, with no idea of what to do with it. For an year or two after that, the domain name was doing nothing, except debiting my credit card for the annual charges. Somewhere in 2001 came the reniasance day, I came across a personal website of somebody in singapore. It was a well presented personal site and i really liked the way the guy presented himself on the web. Naturally, the kind of person I am, I wrote to that guy asking him how he got his site up and running and what he did with hosting. He was kind and prompt enough to reply soon with the details. He was hosting with Pegasus Web Tech in US and had only good things to say about the ISP. I called them up, enquired about the services and opened up a very basic (and cheapest) account with them for 50MB of disk space and windows hosting. The very next, I put together a rudimentary website, mostly copying/recreating design/layout from other personal website. It was only about myself, my immediate family members and a handful of pictures. Hence sudhar.com was born. It may not sound a great story, but was a great moment for me. Try to get yours up and running (do it yourself), you know what I mean exactly.

The site and the hosting partership with pegasus went very well. The initial spirit was soon gone and I failed to update the site with anything. I was working with CBSI ( convansys now ) then. I switched jobs to KPMG Consulting ( BearingPoint now ) in July 2002 and its a pity I had to force myself to update the home page where I had mentioned I work for CBSI, to BearingPoint and that remained the only change for a very long time. Everyone who knew about the site were bitching me that it wasnt any different from what it was, when they saw an year back.

HTML Editor: Though the site remained static and unchanged for a year, the thought of making it an up to date had been hitting every now and then. Every time I see a good persoanl website, I get excited and start looking HTML editors and online reviews. On one of those occasions of soul search, I came across Trelix Web. It was a cool, light weight HTML editor that helped HTML-illiterate folks design personal/business websites in matter of few hours, if not minutes. I was tired of trying to think of myself as a web designer, so I was badly in need of some help. Trelix was not coming for free and I had looked at freeware HTML editors of no use. If paid less than 100 bucks (not sure!) and bought Trelix Persoanl Editon. I tried to create a new look and feel for sudhar.com and I indeed got a new look in almost a few hours, mostly with out of box templates. It also helped me easliy publish into my FTP server on Pegasus. All of a sudden, I thought my website had become easier. I contined to be in love with Trelix for a few days, before I started realizing its clumsiness. Since I am software programmer by trade, I couldnt digest some of the workings of Trelix, specifically the way the HTML files/images were named and managed. This frequently bothered me from understanding what content was on what page and also linking them. I also had probelms with frames and other strange things. I was also unable to publish from another computer when I had no access to Trelix Web. Trying to understand the files name outside of Trelix web is a wasted effort. Perhaps, it was a strategy to lock the users in. Even then, I managed to make some updates here and there with my limited HTML knowledge, never using Trelix Web. As frequently happens to every other PC, my PC crashed one day. I had to reinstall OS, lost Trelix Web and chose not to reinstall it. The site remained with no change to either content and look and feel. A new born child of Internet, a personal publishing system called WebLogs was in the making, exploding in great silence.

Weblogs started spreading like wild fire. I spent a lot of time reading a lot of weblogs, of every kind from every continent. It actually takes no time to get attracted to weblogs. Reading weblogs, specifically weblogs published by real common people was fun. It also gave a boost to my thoughts that i could also write one. I didnt think I could have a weblog myself, until I came across Blogger.com ( now part of Google ). It was very easy to get started and I had a weblog for myself in a matter of few minutes. I was really excited and start posting something frequently, sometimes crap. All of a sudden I had a great feeling that I was a part of new online community. I didnt have a lot of things to write about, so I limited everything to my daily happenings and sometimes about sites/places I had been to. I am still amazed at how good some weblogs are. The people who write for them are just down to earth folks like you and I, writing mostly about what they have seen or heard or read. I had also set up the web log page to be hosted on my host server/website. I used to login to Blogger.com, write my logs and post into pegasus servers. I had a link from my still static website into the weblog. It didnt take long time before I got stagnated again. The laziness factor soon returned home and I did write a weblog for months together. If you go back and look at my monthly archives, you still see a lot of months missing in 2003. I guess I was waiting for the weblog industry to mature. It had by then coined scores of other words, like Blogosphere, Blogzilla, Blogrolling etc, each one obviously with its own site and technology.

Hosting @ Home:
Prasanna, a very good friend of mine and colleague from L-Cube has been my motivation to get started with Linux. Besides, he was also hosting his website from his home servers, running on Linux. Another colleague from L-Cube, Srini was working in Turbo Linux and he shipped me a full version of Turbo Linux the moment I told him I was interested in Linux. I didnt want to screw up my PC and so I chose to buy a throw away computer from eBay to play with Linux. To make an otherwise yet another long boring story short, I found a compaq desktop machine for $200 in eBay. I had Turbo Linux installed/configured the very same day I had got the shipment, ofcourse with Srini on the phone support. I didnt know head and tail of Linux. I installed apache and everything else I wanted to host my own website from home. Everything worked fine with the installation, except the important one, the Network Card. The primitive compaq desktop had a network card built into mother board and with my lack of linux OS configuration, I could get it identified by Linux. Poor srini and prasanna couldnt help me by phone. Atlast I made the natuarl choice to return back to Microsoft and with my sense of desperation and urgency, installed W2K the very next day!

The enthusiasm didnt last long as I couldnt set up the hosting of sudhar.com from home, or atleast I couldnt do it myself. As always, I continued to use time as an excuse to convince myself. For the first few days, the poor pc remained next to the other better PC, inviting my roommates attention. They took a while to tell me, but finally they did, that I could save some space on our computer table, if I moved it out of that area. I had no choice but to oblige and moved it into a corner in my bedroom, though feeling sad, but assuring myself that i would soon bring it back on to the main computer room to give it the honour of hosting my website. I lied again. It was resting peacefully until a while ago.

A few important things happened in my life and I moved to new jersey. The poor old compaq, resting without power for months now, came over with me. As I parked him in a new corner in the room, I told myself that I am not doing justice to myself and ofcourse, to this lifeless PC. I decided to dig down and find out how to host from home and then move my website from my ISP to home. I knew I could also save 20 bucks a month. The timing couldnt have been better, my ISP ( pegasus web tech ) emailed me saying, the NT servers that I have been using with them, are retiring (microsoft doesnt support them anymore!) and that I have to move my site, myself, from their old systems to their new systems. They had to ask customers to move their own files, it ended being a trigger for my ego. The time had to come. I called up pegasus and said I would cancel my account by the end of the month. I started searching online as to how to move/setup the website from home. I didnt think then setting up a webserver at home to host our own website, could be so easy. I remembered I had registered a long time ago, another domain name ( website address ). I knew Network Solutions was the company, thru which I registered this other domain. I thought I would move sudhar.com domain name ownership to newtwork solutions as well, so I could have one stop management. This marked the beginning of a smooth transfer from pegasus to home based hosting. It was a breeze from then on. All I had to do was, wake up my poor compaq, get him hooked to an internet connection ( I already had a hub in place ), start IIS, configure network solutions account to point sudhar.com to my IP. The network connection sharing hub gets this IP from comcast ( my cable internet provider) and all the PCs conneted to the hub get internal local IP addresses. Though it took a couple of days for me to figure this out, but I knew I could do something to the hub to rediret the port 80 traffic to one of the internal computers. Eventually I nailed it out and Alas, sudhar.com was up and running from my home, from my own PC. It was a great feeling. I immediately moved the website html and image files from my back into the new website. The site looked the same, except it nows runs from home. I thought, now I had the freedom to try new things on my site, at my own liesure and from my bed side.

New Avathar & MovableType:
I continued to feel bad about the look of my website and about its content that never gets updated. I always felt updating the content for the website should be easy. I didnt want to spend time on HTML or images or anything like that. All I wanted to do was write, and it should show up there on www.sudhar.com. I was ready to provide content, but i wasnt ready to care about the look of the site. I spent nights looking at different HTML authoring tools. I knew they werent for me. I didnt want to be a web site designer, I just wanted a place to express my thoughts and share it. I continued to adimire weblogs, though I didnt post a lot through blogger. I knew that satisfied my core requirements of writing and posting for sharing, but I wanted a little more than that. I wanted control over the entire web site’s content. I had my eye of MovableType for a while. I knew it was free and easy to use. I just didnt know then, that it would change my site forever. After spending few more nights and days on reading about movable type, i decided to spend a day getting my hands wet. I spent about 5 hours downloading/installing and configuring it in the old pc. It was not difficult, but wasnt easy either. My wife was cursing me that I hadnt stepped off from the computer for 5 hours. I posted my first message into MT running from my site. It was yet another moment of elation. I soon started thinking about redesigning the entire website based on MT and importing all the content from the old into this. I spent an entire weekend for the redesign, a new Avathar of sudhar.com was born. This time it is centered around content and not looks. I felt even more happy. In just a few days time, I was doing things that I always wanted to. The excitement was apparent in everything else I did. I felt successful in a whole. The site you are reading from today, thus evolved. The new look and the frequently updated content, gives a kind of feeling, of great achivement may be.

All of a sudden writing content for website had become very easy. I now post very frequently. We even created a separate weblog for myself and Harini. To my surprise, she turns out to be a good writer. Friends and family now get details of anything happening here much sooner.

I also made some analysis on online photo albums and spent yet another hard-working night to install and configure Gallery, a php based tool. The photos link from the left side main menu takes you to gallery. This now makes our life a million times easier to post any new set of pictures into my website. I just need to upload them to Gallery by pointing to a directory where I have my pictures scanner and just name the album, boom…the new album will be up online at sudhar.com, in a minute.

All of this had made my life easier and happier and ofcourse, makes me do what I really wanted to do, WRITE.

More updates to this story continues here : New Face of Sudhar.com

Worlds Best Blogs

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Now you can understand why iam so crazy about this. I think its feeding the animal within. I just came across this one Worlds Best Blogs


Check them out, you wont realize how soon you could lost in world of internet and amount of creativity the lies within.

In the middle of Internet

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Once in a while ( more often ) i get off from what i am doing at work to read something online. Again, it has to be very different from what i am doing. Lately, I have been memerized by the Blogger phobia and ask Harini, she would say a dozen things about it.

Ok, about the site i got into today(now), http://www.blogd.com/. Looks like maintained by a guy in japan ( most likely an american working there ). Well, its a good self published website. He write quite well about politics and everything else he is interested in. The site looks more like running on MovableType, I am not sure. It definitely one of those Blogging systems.

The most interesting aspect of it and the very reason why I got into this site is ‘EyeLid Twitching’. Thats exactly what i searched in google and this guy’s site seem to have propped at the top of the results, surprising to himself, for no reason. From what i read, t all started when he mentioned about eyelid twitching in one of his blogs and few people commented on it and few more commented and all of a sudden people started linking to his site, thinking it had some serious discussions about it. He calls his site now, Mecca of Eyelid Twitching and it is not.

Having read that, my eyelid twitching is gone now. All i wanted to know was why the hell it twitches all of a sudden and goes off all of a sudden. I was even more curious about some belief in our indian culture about left and right eye twitching. Each eye twitch has its own and I know one of them is good things are coming. I just dont know if its for Left Eye?

Busy Work Day

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

It was a very productive day at work. I had very informative discussions with Fred Shumake, Art Harris, Tom Seal, Sanjay, an hour with each. I getting a good hold of the things that I am working on.

Visalakshi is here with us just for the day, since she had to meet someone here in exchangeplace early tomorrow morning. Harini went up to grand central to pick her up.

I got Gallery php utility up and running on my server. I am slowly migrating all my images from my current photo category into the gallery website. Its little tricky as it creates the thumbnails of the original images as you upload them. But the gallery itself looks awesome and I am really happy about the state of the website today. Its very consistent with what I have been wanting it to be. I am also using it as a platform for me write more, though i dont know if I am improving.

I had also written a long mail to sumi today. I hope she finds interesting.

Everyone is asleep. Harini is upset that everyday I am spending way too much time on this computer and with setting up the site. I know this is cutting down on the time I spend with her. I wish I had more than 24 hours a day. I know its very hard for her, as she spends the entire day alone at home. Somehow this was interesting enough to me to pull me these days, I hope to change the pattern pretty soon. Once I have the photo gallery and the rest of the website consistent on a whole, I should only spend a few minutes a day with my daily notes. Lets turn it up. GN


Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Harini is already done for the day and is trying to get into her sleep mode, while i am staring at my computer, thinking about what i should write in this daily note.

why am I getting into this confusion everyday, about what to write, while I can think of a million things to write, when iam driving on my way to work! Its wierd. There are so many things that i could possibly do, I havent written a mail to my friends and cousins in a long time and why dont i do it NOW? I dont know!

Didnt I want to write about the books I am reading lately? well, then i need to metion here that I belong to that platinum club of book readers, who buy books, sincerely every month, only to leave it in the shelf after 10 pages ( may be 20 for you and 30 for someone ). It hurts when I look at my shelf everyday, I can sense each book, throwing me a dumb sigh on me, asking me, why did I buy them, when somebody else would have cared to open those unopened pages to free those unread words into this world. The sad part is I pick out some books, once in a while and read some random pages in the middle of the book and console myself for a great day of ‘READING’. How I wish that I could open a book and have that feeling and satisfaction that I have enjoyed and read that book from cover to cover. strange mind indeed, is mine.


Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Attended the new hire Orientation at the Bridgewater Crescent Building. They made a good decision to shorten the whole orientation to two and half hours. They squeezed all the topics to a slide or two, especially the MetLife history was just a slide, easily could have bored us with 15 slides of history, that not many would have cared much. We got a good idea of the company and its products and services. They spent a fair amount of time and employee benefits and services, one of the good things being pay back for your fitness workouts etc.

The rest of the day went by going over some readings. We have a dinner outing with my Bearingpoint folks. Harini and I are going. She seems to be sick today, though she is saying she will be alright. Its going to be late before we get back from the city. Another short night of sleep ahead I guess.

I have been wanting to write about a lot of things on this website, but just cant get my hands/time around it. This past weekend went by without writing anything. I dont think Iam doing justice to reading Natalie Goldberg, who insists that we should write any crap, atleast for a few minutes(30 mts recom) a day. I stole a few minutes from my work today, before I leave home, to drop this note. I am looking forward to some good times ahead.

I am not sure if my writing itself has improved since I have started this log, which was one of my primary goals, besides maintaining a diary that i could go back to read in future. Good start atleast.

Not again

Sunday, February 1st, 2004

I am glad I am posting my note again. I was afraid if I would leave yet another months of gap before my next one.

Its super bowl weekend and the game is nearing a nail biting finish I think as I write this.

The past two days was pretty good. It passed by faster than I had expected. I was hoping that i could get somethings done on my reading front. bt couldnt accomplish much. We went out to Suresh place on saturday for lunch.

I had planned to go to the NJ Tamil Sangam Pongal Celebs get together, mainly because I thought I could see Srikanth from Studio 1234 in live action. Unfortunately only after 1/2 hour into the programme, we were told that srikkanth couldnt make it. I was little disappointed as I had been planning for this for almost 10 days. Anyhow, we enjoyed the orchestra. The group of around 10 folks did a fantastic job to keep the crowd dancing and whistling. The song selection were done well enough to mix the old songs and new ones. Mr.Sreedhar, did a good job compiring for the function. He appreciated, thanked and also gave due credit to each one of the orchestra members, inbetween the ongs and mixed them up with funny conversations and jokes. The whole group was also very friendly, enthusiastic and energetic. Mr.Ramani, who leads the group did a great job running the show. He sings pretty well too, sounding like TMS. Singers Sunder and Suresh did a good job mixing up their styles with the song and dancing too. Female singers were start attraction, harini special with mentions. They were cool on stage and were singing better than their male counterparts. Manmadha Rasa song topeed the first half of the show. Some of the folks couldnt stop jumping out their seats to dancify for this duppanguthu. Uyiren Uyire song could have little faster, it seemed slow to me. Suresh was showing off on stage at sometimes, only to miss his timing and pitches. He was too loud sometimes. Sunder showed his capacity as a good singer. He did a few alaaps before some songs to showcase that he is a talented singer. I have listened to some of his recording with srikkath. Overall, it was a very good performance and thoroughly enjoyable. Our wishes will be there for them to grow.

Sunday went by with Bubu(Harini’s cousin) and Vadivel visiting us. Harini cooked a good sambar/rasam/poriyal meals and a cutlet snack for the evening. The game must have been over by this time, I got to go to see who won.

I have my orientation at MetLife tommorow. Its going to be another quick day and good week ahead, as I would start getting my hands wet at work! GN