[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Back On Time

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

So I am back…exactly after fortnight, as I had anticipated ! Verizon DSL took just so long to install a new service in our new house. Thats the turn around time in the 21st century for a high speed internet connection. Costs you what? Be disconnected for two weeks, because I didnt plan well in advance. I had no clue whatsoever, I thought they could do it in a couple of days, so paid the price. Consequently, my beloved Blog has to go down with me. The poor old PC from where Sudhar.com runs was put to an extended sleep for two weeks. It was a good vacation for that poor box after almost an year. So now its back up. Welcome home!

It took a full day to figure out how to configure the DSL Modem to enable me run this webserver from home. Was skeptical all through, didnt think it will work. But it did. So here I am getting back in form with my Blogs. It was tough to see the site go down for so long, not as much as being unable to write anything. After all, the site was existing for the very purpose. Good to be back.

We have moved to the bustling city of Bridgewater in central new jersey. Apparently, Bridgewater is in Top 15 Best places to live in East coast. Thats so wonderful! I didnt know until now! BUT, we now live about 40 miles from new york city. Its still an evenings drive away, but would never come as close as it was in our Jersey city Port side tower apartment. It was literally a stone throw away to manhattan. What we miss from that aspect, we seem to have recouped by now being just a mile away from the Lord Venkateshwara Temple. So no more excuses from visting the Lord every week. We have already been there thrice since we have moved ! Eventually, a 15 minute drive to work thru the woods is one of the very reasons we live here. 🙂

Glad to have you back & See you all more here from now on!

Going offline for a fortnight

Thursday, September 16th, 2004

This tiny place of mine(us) on the web(sudhar.com) is going to go offline (not available!) for about two weeks as we move from our lively jersey city skyline apartment to a more static bridgewater townhouse. I am also experimenting with DSL at the new place and it will be interesting to see if I am still able to run the site from the bedside! So until this comes back alive please hang in there.

I cannot believe its been a year since we moved into this house. We enjoyed every bit of our downtown life though looking back at it we feel we could have done even better. There is still so many things we never cared to do while we were here. There is a bunch of nice restaurants in the water front area here that we never cared to visit. But we dont miss a chance to say “We should eat there sometime!” everytime we walk across these wonderful eateries. The fast paced downtown life has infact made the past year look even more shorter.

[You see the building on the left most? two identical buildings, but one on the left bit smaller. We live in the 9th floor of that building.]

We will miss the beautiful evening walks around the liberty state park. On one side you glace at the statue of liberty and on the other side the fantastic downtown new york city skyline stares at you and on the other side the jersey city skyscrapers daunt you. The biggest of them, right infront of us, the 80+ floor Chase building (guess from the picture?) stands so humongously tall at the top of the jersey city water front reminding us of 9/11. The chase building, unfortunately, remains the tallest building south of midtown on either side of the river, after the two towers went down.

[See the statue? Hard to recognize…check the closeup below.]

We will miss the always-on-time Colgate clock, standing right next to Chase tower, helping ferry commuters get a sense of the day. According to Colgate, this is the largest clock in the world!

[Closeup of Statue from Colgate Clock]

Right below the Chase tower, facing the downtown skylines is a small memorial for the twin towers. They placed a criss-crossed rusted steel beam (real) remains from the towers. Everytime we walk across it you cannot escape from the spirit of that remains touching you.

As much as we will miss all this, we are looking forward to a wonderful beginning at our new home. Within two miles from the Bridgewater Temple we are going to be in close contact with Lord Venkateshwara. Not to mention the delicious puliodharais and thayir sadhams at the temple cafeteria!

Until my old pc (running this website) comes back to life online, I am going to redirecting and possibly writing out of my account at Bloggar.com. See you all soon.

India – Try Try Touch the Sky!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

Even though the BJP goverment was stumped for its slogan ‘India Shining’, the reality is India is indeed Shining. This month CNN is running a special report called ‘Eye on India’. It might seem like Singh government has done something spectacular in the last 100 days, but the BJP govmt created the momentum.

ManMohan Singh
CNN Special Report ‘Eye on India’

The Domestic Airlines Industry is booming like a rocket. Deccan airlines recently announced a Rs.500 ticket from Delhi to Mumbai. Thats less than $15. Even less than what one would have to pay to take a taxi from Mumbai airport to downtown. I hope these competitions are not deceiving. (I wonder how they could slash prices so low and still make money out it) Neverthless, they are giving people real options to think about travel and tourism.

The media industry veiled by the glamour of bollywood is running HOT as well with more and more programming channels popping up Zoom, the latest addition is targeted towards ‘metrosexuals’…the keyword that epitomizes the Indian youth (payed heftly, thanks to US BPO Market!). Zoom also promises to stay away from the MIL-DIL soaps by offering more content on lifestyle, fashion and music. Recent changes in the govt policies for media industry, including the “Industry” status to Film sector, has sparked the growth.

If the UPA govt promise to focus on the poor remains to be achieved, there is hope for everyone and the country to touch the sky!.

Coimbatore – The next nexus

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

Wipro finalising land purchase in Coimbatore

Its a major boon to the local business and economy of coimbatore as Wipro’s Billionaire Chariman Mr.Premji recently announced the acquisition of land in Coimbatore for their software development center. Through other unofficial sources I have also learnt that the land being targeted near the beautiful landscapes at the foothills of Western Ghats Mountains, enroute to the Marudhamalai Temple. Having grown up there, I can vouch its a marvelous place to write code with lots of blessings next door Lorg Muruga!. The interesting thing to note here is Wipro is opening a center to cater the local business around coimbatore and not necessarily the US or Europe markets. With thriving industrial market combined with computerization of everying from banks to supermarkets, Wipro has all the reasons to make this move.

[After first hour, We used to bunk college, go to ooty, ensoy and come back for last hour to give the attendance! Stupid System, only the first and last hour counts for the day!]

Coimbatore or Covai as its lovingly called, has a wealth of resources, both natural and man-made. The best of the natural ones being the renowned cozy weather, water(Though less and less parts of covai is getting siruvani water these days!) and the spectacular Ooty. The best among the man-made being the large pool of talents from around the town. These top-notch institutions churn out 10,000 graduates a year. Wipro is targeting the cream of that, about 100 or so everyyear. I bet the best among the city talents will find a reason to stay home in cbe instead of venturing out to Chennai or Bangalore or farther out. With TCS already in town, and Wipro almost there, I am optimistic more world-class companies will follow their paths to transform the textile city into a Java Town.

Mr.Premji apparently also appeared on Television interview for the very first time. Surprising isnt it? This interview for experss india has some good pointers to everyone of us. Remember, this is one of the wealthiest Individual in the universe talking. So we better listen. I am fascinated by the some of his responses.

He still goes by autorickshaw…at times.

His focus is on Education and he has visited primary schools in remotest villages and even had eaten their mid-day meals with the children.

Which country in the world has this combination of political leadership, in terms of people in power, of different religions, of different communities, of different parts of the country?

India is the best!

Experience the India call centers

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Aside all the good things about living close to new york city, there is one unfortunate consequence of friends visting us combining with their tour of new york city! The catch : Those tours have no hotel stay 🙂 (No offense; those who visited us) So that story repeated for the 5th or 6th time this past weekend. So we visited the world trade center site for a 200th time and thats apart from the daily stop over there that I am used to when commuting to work 🙂 Add to that the woes in the messy processes for buying a home, we have been stuck with so many things to do in the past one month, I would have never believed that I will find no time to post a note here. Its not about the time anymore, its about the mental readiness to spend that time on to writing something worth. Another part of your brain tells you that “Just gimme a break”.

We celeberated Krishna Jayanthi yesterday with loads of bakshanams(sweets & snacks) feasted to Lord Krishna. Our toddler krishna idol was given a nice bath and was transformed into his festive attire. To save her some last minute work, Harini had cooked and packed all the the snacks a week earlier. They have been dangerously arousing our appetites since then. To make it even worse, she had boxed them in transparent plastic cases and elegantly arranged them right over the fridge. Just FYI, that is the first and brightest spot that will catch your eye everytime you walk into the kitchen!. But Harini acted as a demon for last 5 days gaurding the snacks from me. Seedai and thatta murukkus were most vulnerable, I could have done dozen things to steal them, but then I didnt. At least, I shouldnt admit that I didnt -:). Finally the demon transformed into a pious and traditional patron yesterday to perform the poojas. Me the evil was eyeing the obvious! We all had a taste of the snacks around noon yesterday and I should say, they were worth all the anxiety and wait. Seedais rocked, undeinably of Lala sweets quality! Murukku Thenguzhals come close second with Rava urundais grabbing the bronze (with olympics season, my ideas run wild! ). She told us Rava urundai was screwed up, but as always, we werent wise enough to notice. After all I savor them once a year, How in a life time I can remember what it tasted or looked like last year?

Funny, it takes me two paras to come to explain the title. Imagine if I hadnt looked at the title just a second ago, I would have slipped two more here before my horse treaded back on course. So recently I changed my really really neanderthal timeline sanyo phone to a new, trendy and cool, Nokia 6225, with a camera (for which I didnt find a real use though I like the built-in FM, grabbing everyone attention with ads & music from pockets! ). In order to change my not-so-great SprintPCS service from my old brick phone to the new hep one, I called up Sprint customer service. After a minute or two, a lady voice sounded as if it was a robot. I really should have recorded it for you to believe how she actually said the words, “Hello Sir”. It was programmed to be that way, the same precise, even if she repeats a million times. Of course, it took no time for me to figure that she was an Indian female (from a call center in blore or delhi). But her english was so strangely funny that a computer would do a better job. Atleast I would have felt better if I didnt knew it was a human. As she started helping me transfer the service to the new phones, I understood she was reading everything from a screen or paper infront of her. But that robot english was so annoying. It was clear and understandable but with absolutely NO emotions attached it. Trying to do one aspect of phone based customer service, she was totally lost on the human aspect of the call. After all, isnt that why we are still having humans answer the phones at call centers? And she said ‘Sir’, about three times for each sentence, it was as if I was a district collector and she was a peon. But its all ok until the wierdest part that came towards the end. After switching the service(technically she was perfect!) and after I said thanks,

she said, Sir…Sir, H O L D O N Sir, I would like to tell you about some our long distance service..etc?

I said, “no thanks, I am not interested now”.

She said, “N O, S I R. Its part of my job to explain this to your Sir”.

I said, “No, Mam, I have already heard about it and I am not interested now, Thanks for your offer”

She said, “P A R D O N M E, Sir, My call is not complete until I tell you about this Sir”

I screamed “WW HH AA TTTTT?” I said to myself, “Holy Mother, please save me from this ruthless evil of Off Shore Marketing ! ”

She of course is relentless and wasnt stopping, ” Sir, Can you tell me how much you are paying for your current long distance service Sir? ”

I just thought I should help another fellow indian by not hanging up on her, but she was just pissing my paitence off.

I said “I am sorry Mam, I dont want to share that info with you, I really need to hang up now, Thanks for your help”

She goes, “Sir, Long Distance calls are getting expensive and Sir, this is a rare oppurtunity for you to save Sir”. As she said that, I was burning with fury.

I said “Listen Mam, I am paying $9 a month for Verizon local only with no frills attached, Can you beat that?”

She said, “O H, H O, O H R E A L L Y, Sir, I am sorry I wont be able to do anything for you with that Sir”

I thought, “YOU wont be able to do anything for ME? Holy Mother, DIDNT I TELL YOU THAT BEFORE, Why in the hell didnt you listen?”

Somewhere in the middle of this comic conversation I switched over to speaker phone so harini could listen to the robotic accented english of this Indian female. As I hung up the phone, Harini was literally holding her palm across her mouth laughing herself out. It is unfair to judge all India call centers based on this one funny experience, but my first impression will stay for a while.