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Why not switch over to Linux/ Open Office/ Mozilla?

July 25, 2010

I have just now installed what I feel is one of the most impressive and simple-to-use Linux OS versions – LinuxMint. Everything works out of the box – network adaptor, Wi-Fi client, Mobile broadband USB based device, printer, MP3 & Flash for audio/video multimedia play back, and pretty much everything else! All this might sound like very normal for Windows users – but for Linux, it is no short of a Renaissance!

Initially, two years back, I tried Fedora Linux (On dual boot mode) – but did not use it much as there were some restrictions in my office and I couldn’t connect to the printer. Then, I happened to take a break for about six months and was determined to use Linux. This time, I installed Ubuntu Linux. Agreed, I had to do some minor configuration changes to play Mp3, Flash and even the Wi-Fi (The wireless adapter did not work and I took help from a colleague who downloaded the driver and made it work), but most other things, including printer, worked. Then I upgraded to the latest version and suddenly found that my display was gone when I booted in to Ubuntu!Β  This is why I always keep Windows in dual-boot along with Linux. Then I inquired and my geek friend asked me to try LinuxMint. It seems LinuxMint uses the same repositories (what ever that is) as Ubuntu but comes with built-in support for most of the hardware drivers. I can testify this – On my Toshiba laptop, pretty much everything worked!

On any laptop or PC, all the components are not manufactured by the same vendor. Your graphics card might come from a different vendor, your DVD drive might come from a different vendor, your Wireless adapter comes from a different vendor. So, each component also includes their own software (device driver) to work with the processor and other components in a Laptop/ PC. But this crucial piece of software is written mostly for Windows. That’s why everything works immediately in Windows. But for Linux, there are thousands of enthusiastic open-source volunteers around the world who keep track of all such devices that are released in the market and write the code for recognizing/ supporting them by themselves – you can guess why this is so difficult. So, getting to use a Linux OS which natively supported all such different components out-of-the-box on my Laptop was such a surprise!

By the way, open source means that all the programming code used to develop an application/ Operating system etc are hosted in the Internet for anyone to see/ test and re-use it to make further improvements/ newer applications. Open-source is nothing short of a new and rising reformist movement – but I will expand on this later, in another post.

Coming to the applications part I seriously fail to understand why one uses a commercial package when an excellent alternative is available in the form of OpenOffice. With OpenOffice, most of the features that we need to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc are very much available and simple to use. Of course, initially it might be slightly difficult or rather different, but you can learn things very fast as you explore.Β  You can directly save a document or a spread sheet or even a presentation as a pdf file! And most importantly it doesn’t crash or hang. You can very much open an MS Word Document (In .doc format), edit, and save in .doc format, if you wish to. But the open-standard for saving a document(for example) is .odt and I strongly recommend that everyone save and exchange documents in this format. I have been using OpenOffice for more than a year, and it is my primary office application for both my personal and official use. I have not come across major compatibility problems with Microsoft files except few minor formatting changes, which can be corrected easily. OpenOffice, by the way, has a Windows version also that you can use – so there can be no excuses.

Mozilla Firefox is my favorite browser and it is very much supported both in Windows and Linux. I was even using a WYSIWYG blog post editor which came as a add-on to Firefox. I guess Firefox should be the browser with maximum and very interesting add-on’s. There are other browsers like Opera, which work very well in Linux. I was using Mozilla Thunderbird (but currently use Evolution) as the email client in Linux.

As you would have seen from what I have written, I am no geek. But a little interest and exploration led me in to the wonderful world of Linux / Open-office/ Mozilla. In fact, you have open-source equivalents for almost every paid commercial application developed for windows. Have you heard of the GIMP program, which is an excellent alternative to Photo-Shop in the open-source environment? I even downloaded an open-source DVD writer application for Windows (when trying to install the LinuxMint) which is not only free but does the job perfectly without reminding you that the demo license period is over and you need to pay $ to use the software!

And most importantly Linux loads only the applications that we really need and hence boots very fast and shuts-down equally fast, without really wasting precious minutes. Yeah, the icing on the cake comes last – You don’t have to install an Anti-Virus program which keeps reminding you hundred times in a day that it has caught this or that virus, and still find that your files/ USB devices are infected with so many viruses that the only way to continue to use the computer even for a temporary period is to re-format the whole hard-disk!!

Destination Infinity

You don’t have to be a Geek to switch over to Linux – you just should not be very dumb!! πŸ˜›

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Iniyavai Narpadhu rally photos – Sendhamizh Manadu Kovai 2010

June 23, 2010

Today, 23rd of June 2010, there was a procession on the theme ‘Iniyavai Narpadhu’ {Sweet 40 things} which is basically a rally with statues and models (oorvalam) about Tamil language, culture, icons, civilization, folk arts, musical instruments, etc. from VOC Park in Coimbatore to the CODISSIA grounds where the Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu (World Classical Tamil Meet) is being organised. The procession went through the Avinashi Road and there were huge crowds all along the way to watch it. Since I was also one of the crowd members, I hereby share some of the photo’s that I was able to click from there. Enjoy :).

Iniyavai Narpadhu 1 - Semmozhi Manadu 2010Iniyavai Narpadhu 2 - Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu CoimbatoreIniyavai Narpadhu 3 - Ulaga Semmozhi Manadu CbeIniyavai Narpadhu 4 - World Tamil Conference 2010Iniyavai Narpadhu 5 - Thamizh Manadu Kovai Iniyavai Narpadhu 6 - Semmozhi ManaduIniyavai Narpadhu 7 - Tamil conference 2010 Coimbatore ProcessionIniyavai Narpadhu 8 - World Tamil Meet Coimbatore procession photosIniyavai Narpadhu 9 - Avinashi road procession for Senthamizh ManaduIniyavai Narpadhu 10 - Procession PhotosIniyavai Narpadhu 11 - Semmozhi Manadu procession Coimbatore photosIniyavai Narpadu 12 - Semmozhi Manadu photosIniyavai narpadu - 13 Iniyavai Narpadhu 14Iniyavai Narpadhu 15 - Tamil World Conference Coimbatore photosIniyavai Narpadhu 16 - Semmozhi Manadu procession photos avinashi road Iniyavai Narpadhu 17 Coimbatore Semmozhi manadu procession VOC park to CODISSIA photosIniyavai Narpadhu 18 - Semmozhi procession photosIniyavai Narpadhu 19 Thamizh Manadu Oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 20 - Semmozhi manadu bhavani oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 21 - Semmozhi Manadu first day display photosIniyavai Narpadhu 22 - Coimbatore Thamizh Manadu procession oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 23 - Kovai Senthamizh manadu display photosIniyavai Narpadu 24 - Semmozhi Manadu artefacts photoIniyavai Narpadhu 25 - Bharathiar statue photoIniyavai Narpadhu 26 - Semmozhi Manadu ship photoIniyavai Narpadhu 27 - Semmozhi manadu traditional arts performerIniyavai Narpadhu 28 - Semmozhi Manadu statue photoIniyavai Narpadhu 29 - Semmozhi Manadu Iniyavai Narpadhu 30 - Semmozhi manadu 2010Iniyavai Narpadhu 31 - Semmozhi manadu Iniyavai Narpadhu 32 - Semmozhi ManaduIniyavai Narpadhu 33 - Semmozhi Manadu Coimbatore Oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 34 - Semmozhi Manadu puliyattamIniyavai Narpadhu 35 - Semmozhi manadu madu photoIniyavai Narpadhu 36 - Semmozhi Manadu satelliteIniyavai Narpadhu 37 - Semmozhi Manadu kudhirai attamIniyavai Narpadhu 38 - Bharathiyar statue semmozhi manaduiniyavai Narpadhu 39 - Semmozhi Manadu folk artsIniyavai Narpadhu 40 - Semmozhi Manadu KadhalIniyavai Narpadhu 41 - Semmozhi Manadu temple and nandhi statueIniyavai Narpadhu 42 - Semmozhi manadu folk arts kalaingargaliniyavai Narpadhu 43 - semmozhi manadu procession house iyaanar statueIniyavai Narpadhu 44 - Semmozhi manadu coimbatore 2010

Related Article : Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu – World Classical Tamil conference (An Introduction)

Destination Infinity

This article is categorized as a ‘photo post’. You could visit the Music/Photos Section of this blog to read similar articles.

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Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu – World Classical Tamil Conference

June 21, 2010

Semmozhiyana Thamizh Mozhiye

In this part of the world, language is everything. Language is communication, language is commerce, language is politics, language is recreation and pretty much everything else.

The language is Tamil. You would be surprised to see the passion that the people here have for their native language. They also share a strong sense of brotherhood for all the Tamil speaking people around the country/ world.

Photo of Main Hall - Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu

Main hall from outside - World Classical Tamil Conference

To reflect their love for the language, a World Classical Tamil Conference (Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu) is being conducted, this time in Coimbatore, TN, India from June 23rd to 27th, 2010. It is an opportunity for one and all to learn and exhibit their knowledge of the language and see for themselves the various forms that the language has taken from time immemorial.

Inside the main hall - Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu , Coimbatore

The seating capacity in the main hall is around 50,000 and there is also a provision for additional 30,000 people to stand/sit down on the ground to watch.

Stage view from inside the main hall - World Classical Tamil Meet

The total allocated budget for the 5 day conference is around 300 Crores. Arrangements for commutation has been made via 400 special busses and three special trains for people around TN and neighbouring states to attend the meet. Forty one marriage halls with food arrangements have been readied for the stay of people coming from other places.

Museum view from outside the Tamizh Semmozhi Manadu Coimbatore

In the venue itself (CODISSIA Grounds, Coimbatore), apart from the main hall, there is a museum hosting more than 700 artefacts detailing the history and forms the language has taken. There is also a book fair with around 130 publishers having their stalls and displaying their books. There is also a handicrafts exhibition cum fair organized by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Huge complexes (temporary ones) are being constructed for serving food – the complex is expected to cater to 4000 people in five minutes. The meals would cost Rs. 30/- per plate in the afternoon. There is also an audio-visual arena with twelve plasma TV’s for multimedia presentations / screening movies related to the language. Around 70 portable toilets have also been organized, since the place is an open air venue and huge crowds are expected to attend this meet.

Dining Hall - World Classical Tamil Conference - Coimbatore

As to what is going to happen in this conference – Around 1500 language experts would be presenting papers/ essays related to various aspects of the language. Numerous Patti Manrams/ Karuttarangugal would be organized (Debate sessions) to discuss the richness of the language and also the challenges facing the development of the language in this modern era. Cultural programmes like dramas, songs, folk arts, dances etc would also be organized. All the programmes are expected to be covered extensively by the media.

Logo - Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu - World Classical Tamil Conference - Coimbatore - 2010

The theme song for this World Classical Tamil Meet has been composed by A R Rehman and directed by Goutham Menon. This has been written by the Chief Minister of TN, Mr. Karunanidhi and sung by a lot of well known singers.Β  The video of the song can be viewed in this link (Click to view).

There was an oorvalam –Β  procession (rally) titled ‘Iniyavai Narpadhu’ as a part of the Semmozhi Manadu event in Coimbatore through Avinashi Road. The two photos published below were clicked from there. To see more photos from ‘Iniyavai narpadhu’ oorvalam (rally), click here.

Iniyavai Narpadhu - Semmozhi Manadu bharathiar iniyavai Narpadhu - Globe and dish - Semmozhi Manadu photos

Destination Infinity

This article is categorized as a Photo post. You could visit the ‘Music/Photo posts‘ section of this blog to read similar articles.

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My Professional blog on Computer Networking – www.excitingip.com: Please vote!!

March 19, 2010

Hi People,

I guess this is the right time to come back, as I have now got my Reliance Data Card (3.1 Mbps) as well as a new Toshiba laptop (the motherboard in the old one was not working!). And as an icing over the cake, my professional blog on computer networking www.excitngip.com has been nominated as one of the finalists in the Avant Garde Bloggie Awards 2010 in the “Best Professional Blog” category. I am sure you remember this website, as I had introduced it earlier, when I started it.

But now, I want to write a separate post on the same as I have taken quite a bit of efforts for that website. I took a break for almost 6 months to write 125 articles in that blog, full time, all related to computer/ IP networks (I work on providing networking solutions for various organisations/ enterprise companies – I am involved in the Pre-Sales and the Sales activities, precisely). But, taking a break for six months is a professional gamble. Fortunately, my current boss viewed it positively as the website was in the same domain as my work, so I am back to my full time vocation.

Frankly, I wanted to achieve two things with that website – One, achieve recurring income through advertising and second – try and fetch leads for requirements for networking projects with new customers through the website.

So, on the first one, I have made around $ 25 USD in the last 10 months (I have just written 4 articles in the last four months due to lack of time) through Google Adsense which is a Pay-per-click advertising network run by google. So, as you can see, it averages to around 2.5$ a month, and that is not exactly a huge amount! But yeah, these are the initial months and I hope to make it better as I go on.

The second one is more interesting – I needed to write on specific brands/ products in order to generate any kind of leads for new business opportunities. I also needed to mention specifically that if any one was wanting such a product/ solution in so-and-so place, they could contact me using the contact form. But I never did either!! I have kept the website as neutral as possible without any product names/ brands and hopefully I will keep it that way in the coming years. This decision was not planned, in fact, the reverse was planned! But another hurdle in this approach was, most of the visitors who arrived through the search engines were outside India or at least not from the southern states where we work.

But frankly, since I have referred to a lot of material over the internet and the downloaded manuals etc for writing each article in the site, I have got a better understanding of enterprise networks and the elements that go in to building and managing them – This is priceless!

If you are inquisitive, it takes around 3,500 to 4000 rupees to get your domain and hosting space on a shared server (I hosted it in Bluehost). Then you need to install a content management system (Like self hosted WordPress.org version which I used) and get a theme to suit your blog/ site. The last two are available free of cost. And yeah, C.Bavota (the developer of the free theme that I am using), if you are reading this, the first investment that I would make is to purchase your professional theme of the same magazine basic series when my first check would arrive from Google! because I love the theme I am using – Great work mate! I might still not change to the new professional theme I buy though!! And yeah, Google pays out once the amount accumulates to 100 dollars – so I guess there is no hurry πŸ˜‰

Ok, the idea of writing this post is to request my wonderful audience (if you remember me still!!) to vote for my blog http://www.excitingip.com in the Best Professional Blog category of the Avant Garde Bloggie Awards as I would love to see it win there!

For this blog (Destination Infinity), I am planning to write at least one post per month from now on, and I want to take some interviews with real people we meet every day (Auto-wallah’s, shop owners, etc) and write about their life, work etc. in order to get a better understanding of the lives of people living around us. I have wanted to become a journalist when I was young, and this is the closest I can get to it – but still I am happy, as with my blog I can decide on what gets published!!

Destination Infinity

PS: Here is the link you need to click to vote. Happy Voting πŸ™‚

Related Articles: Click here for information on Converged Networks – Basic Introductory articles on wired/wireless networks, voice, video over IP networks.

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Taking a short break

January 10, 2010

Hi ppl,

I want to take a short break for 2-3 months from blogging as I feel I have not been able to write with full satisfaction, especially in the recent posts. And besides, commitments at work have increased and I have not got a broadband connection at home still – its pretty hard to manage a blog with mobile GPRS!

I hope to come back and start writing in this blog sooner…

Destination Infinity

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Popcorn

January 3, 2010

“Sir, why don’t you buy this popcorn?”

“No, we don’t want…”mumbai beachPhoto credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdixon/

“Please sir, it is so tasty…”

“Yeah it must be, but we are not in a mood for it”

“Eat it and you will get the mood”

“No yaar, we don’t want it”

“Sir, please”

“Do you go to school?”

“Yeah, we go to school in the mornings and in the evenings we come to this beach”

“Why are your parents making you sell these things”

“They don’t have money”

“Ok, take this ten rupees”

“Here are your two popcorn packets then…”

“No, we don’t want popcorn. Just have the money”

“Why you don’t want the popcorn?”

“I told you no, we are not in a mood to eat popcorn, re”

“Then have your money back”

The kid (maybe 10 years of age) gives them the money and walks away from there. The two youngsters chase him, take the popcorn from him and pay him for the popcorn.

This is a true incident. I was very close by when this happened in one of the beaches of Mumbai.

And I could hear Bombay say ‘This is the spirit of Aamchi Mumbai!’

Destination Infinity

Wishing you people an advanced happy new year 2011. That way, you can’t complain that I am late or I forgot to wish you for 2010 πŸ˜›

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Tirunelveli Halwa

December 27, 2009

Tirunelveli or Nellai (as called in Tamil) is a town that is situated near to Kanyakumari/Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. This place is very famous for its Halwa – The jelly like sweet made out of wheat and ghee that almost melts in your mouth! In fact, Tirunelveli Halwa has become a brand in itself! It is easily one of the best sweets I have tasted so far.

People here say that the halwa recipe is more than hundred years old. Some say that the halwa recipe has come to the South from North India. In fact, the owner of a hugely popular stall called ‘Iruttu kadai'(Literally meaning dark shop) is a North Indian, perhaps settled here. It is also said that the halwa gets its special taste because of the water that is used to prepare the same is taken from Tamaraibharani river which runs in the place.

Iruttu Kadai in Tirunelveli
Iruttu Kadai is the most popular shop in Tirunelveli for Halwa. The opens only at 5:30 PM in the evening and remains open for a hour and a half or till all the halwa is sold out. We were lucky to get half a Kg of halwa when we went there at 7:30 PM when the shop was almost closed and only one door was open (see picture above). It seems that earlier, there were no lights in this shop and in the evenings they used a candle to run the business, and hence the name. Now there is an electrical bulb in the front of the store. It seems that the halwa bought from Iruttu Kadai doesn’t get spoilt even for 2-3 weeks. In fact, the people say that the halwa tastes better after a week! And yeah, there is not even a name board for this shop – If you see a bright flashy board in a shop called “Iruttu Kadai” you can be sure that it is not what it claims!

Santhi Sweets in Tirunelveli
Another hugely popular store that sells excellent halwa is called the “Santhi Sweets”. You need to be careful with this one – There are so many shops with the same place all over the town. But there is only one original! Above, you can see the photo of that shop located right next to St.Mary’s Medicals. The photo was taken at 11:00 PM in the night, and look at the crowd at that time! Fortunately, this shop is open almost 24 hours. People there say that the Halwa from Santhi Sweets is best consumed hot immediately or at least within a week.

Lakshmi Vilas Shop in Tirunelveli

Another less popular shop (but recommended by some local people) there is called “Lakshmi Vilas”. This shop has good milk halwa and muskoth halwa as well!

Below is the photo of the halwa from all the three shops. In my opinion, the halwa from Shanti Sweets is the best, and Iruttu Kadai halwa is a very close second! The photo of the jelly like halwa is also published below.

Halwa packets from Iruttu Kadai, Shanti Sweets and Lakshmi Vilas

Tirunelveli Halwa
Neighbouring Kanyakumari is a very popular and a must see tourist destination. Do consider going to this town from there, even if only for the halwa – It’s worth your efforts πŸ™‚

Destination Infinity

The address of Iruttu Kadai and Santhi Sweets are given in this link.

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Religion is the opium of the masses…

December 19, 2009

He was rich, he was powerful, he was influential and he was addicted.

He was the president of the trust which owned one of the most influential temples in his location. The temple was so popular that it drew crowds even from the neighbouring states. Naturally, when there is such a high foot fall, there is bound to be good commerce in and around the temple. And he controlled that commerce.

He was not born rich or influential. He was the son of one of the priests of the temple. As was the custom, be too became the priest in the same temple. He had a certain charm and style of saying the prayers. There was a lot of life in his ways. This was noticed by the temple authorities and he was asked to chant the prayers during important and special occasions as the collections were generally higher when he conducted the sessions. People were mesmerised by his skills and were happy to donate considerable amounts.

His administrative skills were also not un-noticed. He made sure that the queue moved faster and special prayers were started on time and ended on time too. People liked the punctuality he introduced. He interacted well with both the temple staff and the devotees. He understood their concerns and often took steps to rectify them, as far as was possible in his capacity. These small gestures made him the favourite of the devotees as well as the temple staff. After a point of time, he was even considered lucky and was requested to preside over many of the functions and important occasions of people. Especially people who were rich and influential. That enabled him to develop a lot of important connections. All this took so much of his time that he did not have any time to get settled in a family and have kids!

Eventually he was made the treasurer of the temple. This brought him in the direct contact of all the trust members and enabled him to have a clear view of all the money that was exchanged between various parties. He knew exactly how much money came in and where it all went. During his period, the collections to the temple increased tremendously and hence no one, including the members of the trust bothered to look into minor details of where a certain share of it was going to. He knew the loopholes of the system and the money flowed freely in to those loopholes. Rather, he was able to direct the money into them quite perfectly.

Once he started to make more money, he wanted even more. And then, a lot more. He was able to make any amount of money he wanted to, and he was still in the good books of the trust members as the donations and collections kept increasing as well. After a point of time, he had so much black money that he had to open an account with a Swiss Bank. After all, the income tax department could raid the houses of important people any time! And he did not want to part with his money in the form of taxes, to the Government. First, it was made illegally and second, why should he give the Government any money? What did the Government do to him anyway? He was a very hard negotiator, even for small amounts and never spent huge amounts of money on anything.

In due time, he became the President of the trust. He started to make so much money that he had no idea of even how many zero’s were there in the value he held in his Swiss Bank! He had so much money.

Now, in his death bed, he was only worried about one thing – What would happen to all the money once he passed away?

He realised just too late that he had been addicted so much to making more and more money that he never thought about spending it! All his happiness came from making more and more and more of money alone. Money, in his case, became a commodity rather than being the medium of exchange, that it normally is!

Religion is the opium of the masses.
Sure. Like how,
Money is the opium of the rich.

Destination Infinity

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Neighbours

December 6, 2009

Neighbours always share an interesting relationship. They don’t belong to the same family (like relations) and they are not selected by each other (like friends). But still, they know so much about each other and participate in the important events of the other families. Sometimes, they keep in touch with each other even after being separated for a long time. Of course, they also gossip about each other! This story is about two such neighbours, who were faced with similar situations but chose different paths. And when their paths crossed once, they were shocked to find out the power. The power of influence.

Ram and Shyam knew each other since they were kids. Their families were neighbours for atleast a couple of generations before they were born. Ram was the only son in their house and Shyam had an elder brother and a younger sister. All of them played togeather, went to school togeather and grew up togeather.

There was one more common factor between the two families – The temple. Their houses were very close to the biggest temple in their district. The temple was not only a cultural powerhouse, but it was also the place where a lot of economic activities took place. Over a period of time, the land value around the temple increased tremendously. Naturally, their houses were also sought by a lot of merchants who wanted to set up shop close to the temple.

Ram was the only son in the family and he was not interested in the temple service that their family was involved into. He wanted to start a business of his own. He worked for some years in a neighbouring shop and eventually set up his own shop inside the town. The initial years were very hard. There were times when his financial situation was so bad, that he wanted to almost quit the business. But somehow he was able to get some loans and invest further in his business. The only reason why he was able to get loans was the house which he owned – since it was so close to the temple, it was valued highly, and people were not very reluctant to give him money. He was also of the opinion that if the business fared badly, he would sell the house and buy a smaller one in the town and settle the loans. But everytime he took such risks, he was able to get some returns from the business and settle back the loans. People thought it was due to his hardwork, but he thought it was pure luck! Anyways, slowly the business picked up and he no longer had to take loans as the business was doing pretty well after a few years. He was quite satisfied with the revenue earned through his business, and now thought he should sell the house and buy a similar house inside the town and use the remaining money to expand his business.

Shyam, on the other hand was not the only son in his house and had to share it with his siblings. There was not much of problems when they grew up, other than the small fights they had within themselves. It started when all the three of them were married. Joint families always give people the impression that they are getting less then what they deserve and the other families are treated better. Their family was no exception especially when kids were born and responsibilities increased. They did not have much expenses other than the clothes and food which was shared among all the families. But the temple, where they worked paid them a modest amount, which was shared till then. The siblings had other ideas and wanted to move inside the town so that they can earn more money in other ventures. Each had their own idea of what to do, and naturally they wanted some money to invest in whatever they wanted to do. They thought it was the right time to sell their house and share whatever they get equally and start living independently. Based on the amount of money that was offered by the merchants, each of them was confident that they can buy a house in the town and still invest in some ventures. Basically, they were not able to resist the offer of the merchants – they wanted the money.

It was at this time that both of them got lawer notices from the temple. The houses, it seems were leased to them for 100 years by the temple, and the period was expiring in a couple of months. Since, they were not interested in continuing the temple service, the temple wanted the property back.

They got the shock of their lives. It was evident in their voice when they spoke to each other the next day.

“Did your father ever tell you about the lease agreement?”
“Not even once. Not even when he died, I always thought that we owned the house”
“My God. I took so many risky loans thinking that we had a property for back-up. Just imagine what would have happened if the business had failed at some stage. In fact, I asked my father if we can sell the house if there was a huge loss, and he nodded his head!”
“At least, you have your own business to depend on. We don’t have anything. We were totally dependant on the property, and now getting to know that the property is not ours, we are clueless as to what to do next. We never learnt any trade or business. God!”

They had to move on, and they did. Ram was able to afford a rented house and worked harder in his business with the goal of buying an own house. Since Shyam and his siblings had no regular business to hold on, they decided to stay togeather and share whatever was brought by each of them. One family made more money one month, and another made more money the next month. But they always shared whatever they got. It was required, as no one had means to regular income at that point. They had to support each other to help themselves and somehow were able to adjust, share and live togeather.

The same people who were not able to live togeather just a few months back due to the wealth (rather, non-existent wealth) were able to live togeather now!

They learnt the hard way that assets like Gold and Land can either make people work more and take more risks (or) can make people totally dependant on them. The investments made in gold and land can vanish instantly at any time, but the investments made to acquire them cannot vanish suddenly. Without such effots, gold and land are only metal and mud.

Destination Infinity

PS: Don’t depend on inherieted property. Its more important to inheriet skills.

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A revolution to save tradition

November 29, 2009

This post is not about saving traditional outfits (In my college, guys were not allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts… I was never able to understand why!). This is about saving a much more important tradition which is always neglected by the right left and centre parties – Food.

“There are some people who eat for living. But there are many more (like me) who live for eating (good food)” – The quotation is mine, no prizes for guessing that! πŸ™‚

If you ask your grand mother, she would say “My mother used to cook so much more variety and they were much tastier”. If you ask your mother, she would also say the same thing. So, the rich cooking tradition that we have developed and the variety of dishes that we skillfully mastered have been reducing with every generation. With the nuclear families of today and mother and father both working – we are at the brink of a great disaster. Realistically, 2012 might be the end of all cooking in homes! Since the women are so busy these days, it is the men who ought to be spearheading this revolution to save the most important tradition – cooking.

After my initial path breaking finding and confession before a year, one thing was sure to me – this was not going to be easy! One thing you don’t want to try when you are so new to cooking is to read a cooking blog and trying to cook based on the theoretical input you gain from there. No, you can’t even take the first step that way. Generally, we have sufficiently insufficient vocabulary of the cooking items. So, reading a cooking blog might be like reading an Arundhati Roy’s book – you just can’t understand any word other than is,what,was,where,why and a few more adjectives and verbs. If you are lucky, some nouns πŸ™‚ So, if you go to a shop for buying some cooking items (after making notes from the cooking blog), the following conversation would ensue:

Enna?
Do you have mustard seeds?
Ennathu?
Well, coriander leaves irrukka?
Aaannn?
Astodaphedia?

Everybody around you laughs, but no one translates it to the local language! Considering you have a lot of such foreign words in a bit paper, you concede defeat in your mind but say something like “shopkeepers don’t even know English in this place” and run out!

Then you blame destiny, and spend some more time hoping that some other door would open – after all, a revolution doesn’t die because of language barriers. If you are lucky (like me), the house owner’s son might know to cook a bit. He at least tells you what mustard seeds are, which oil to buy and if you are even more luckier, he brings all of it from his house and actually shows you how to sprout the mustard seeds in oil – That is the most important hurdle to cross. Once you have done that, atleast you become mentally prepared for everything to follow! Then he shows how to cook rice in a pressure cooker, and you use all kinds of podi’s and pickles and curd packets to eat with it, for a couple of months. Then you become bored.

At this point of time, you need to use the expert technique used by the British – Divide and Conquer.

“Grandma, you know what mother said about your cooking”
“What did she say?”
“She said that there was no better cook then her”
“But that’s not about my cooking”
“How can she say directly? What does she mean by that, think no…”
“I have been cooking since she was a small kid, and she says my cooking is no better than hers?”
“Yeaaah…”
~Grandmother fuming~
“I asked her to teach how to cook tomato rice”
“And she didn’t?”
“No Grandma………”
“Come – I will teach you”
“Ha, Ok… ” πŸ™‚

If you go to any family function, and want to make the women in the family get tensed, just write a blog post like this and say that you have written a post on cooking and are following a few cooking blogs (at least know one url) – and then see their reaction πŸ˜›

Ok, now the call for action – Let us (men) take up the challenge of learning to cook a huge variety of dishes and hence save the rich tradition of cooking, that is being neglected by the younger generation nowadays. Let us take on the women in their home front – the kitchen and prove that we can be good cooks too. After all, most of the five star hotel chefs are men! I have already taken my small step – Tomato rice made by me πŸ˜€

Yummy Tomato rice

Destination Infinity