Pass/Fail Port

Posted in Random Observations on February 3, 2011 by raghavr24

I am trying to apply for a passport. Update an expired passport, to be precise. Below is my tale on my quest to achieve the same.

A little history here to get things into perspective- Why did I need one?.

You see, my parents were smart people to realise that a passport is one of the 100 million identification documents to you will need eventually in life in India. But unfortunately being an early adopter in this regard is not the greatest idea as the validity of an Indian passport is as equal to the average execution time  of a 5 year Plan, ie, 10 years.  I was  8 when I had taken it and if my math serves me well, expired just as I had become a legal adult aka 18. Perhaps my parents were under the impression that I would suddenly become a medical child prodigy say like Doogie Howser at 14 or  a chess prodigy like Kasparov and go all over the world displaying my God given genius. Unfortunately, my biggest medical breakthrough was biting off my toenails without infecting them and my  biggest chess achievement would be figuring out that the horse is the only unit that can jump over other units.

Normal Vs Tatkal Mode

Ever since everyone in my family, and my extended family , some Centenarians and even animals have been abroad with a valid passport. So, now weather  there is a reason or not, I needed to obtain one.  But , recalling the  trouble & time I had with getting my drivers licence, I realize that getting a passport would be akin to cutting the guardians knot.

As I logged on to the passport website https://passport.gov.in/,  going through the application form and the number of annexures  and sub annexures  required , it reminded me of the first time that I saw the periodic table being explained to me by my chemistry professor.

Apparently there is the tatkal system even in getting passports , a system which I thought existed only in the railways. Tatkal is a term I never understood, but closest understanding of the same is when people go for ‘tatkal’ , its like the last resort, no turning back option. All tickets sold out in the train? No problem. Tatkal it and lo!, a seat magically comes out of the heavens for you.  Some poor $#@$@ was either thrown out or they decided to do with 1 less railway official.  Need that new Apple IPAD that you’ve been waiting for like 2 months, but its sold out? No problem, just get it through tatkal. Steve Jobs will personally ensure 1 more is shipped out for you. I never could figure out how it happened.

But the pitfall of going for the tatkal scheme is that you will need every government authorized legal certificate issued since the day you were legally born. From you birth certificate , to your failed report card , your ATM receipt taken from any SBI bank to even your probable death certificate and a written letter stamped and signed b y the entire batch of IAS officers from the year of your birth  , the list is endless. Much to the dismay of my agent, I told him that I would like to take the non tatkal aka normal route of getting the passport.  He grimly informed me that not only would this entail a loss of over Rs 2000 in ‘agency commission’ aka the bribe to be paid to the respective officers at the passport office , but would ensure that I would go through bureaucracy  hell in the passport office before I came out successfully. Being not the one to be intimidated by a small time agent, I put up a brave face and told him to inform the passport office to bring their worst. They did.

Final Destination- The Passport Office

As I was headed towards the  Passport Seva (Ironic huh ?) in the auto, I was thoroughly  lost. As I kept asking random pedestrians the way to my destination, I could see the sympathy and pity in their eyes as they pointed towards to my final destination.

Now, to be fair, the office looked pretty modernized with its clean floors and organized seating arrangement.

To sum up the entire process of getting the passport, once has to go through the reception>counter A>Counter B > Counter C > EXIT. Every round is an elimination round.

I have summed up the entire process with the help of  a simple  Flowchart.

View this document on Scribd

A clip from Asterix at the 12 tasks where he has to get a Permit- Form 38 A from a Govt office.

Lifes Like that

Hell, Its about Time- Starcraft II , New Laptop etc..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 22, 2010 by raghavr24

Well, its finally happened… We’ve seen good times together, have taken her out a lot, lot of sleepless nights (gaming ;p) and well was getting a bit expensive at the end. We had to let her go. So far my dear HP nx7400

I guess it was destiny when it gave out and Starcraft II was released. I must be the only guy who would get a new laptop – good enough to run a PC game not the other way around ;P

Ive also got mixed feelings – Why? after 3 days trying to install the cracked version of Starcraft II (apologies blizzard) – but this time even the wiliest of hackers couldnt get through Starcraft II’s anti crack software. I was up for 2 nights trying to tie the gaurdian knot. I realized that for a game like Starcraft II, I would dishonour it if I did not buy the original version, which I did later – under a timespan of 2 minutes. 59.99 $ was the price and,hell its worth every single penny.

Initial thoughts-
Graphics are amazing, destroying the environment has never been so much fun. Campaign is a bit RPG’ish, missions are very fun and hopefully will lead up to continue the great epic left from Brood War. I am a bit disappointed that the terran music has not be fully retailed from SC1, but the 1 song retained and remixed is something that will give you goosebumps.

Have a list of games I want to try, but seems like after inaugurating SC II, everything else will be treated with a jaundiced eye!

Welcome.

Posted in Random Observations on September 3, 2010 by raghavr24

School Topper, Best student Grad and Post Grad College, Double M.S. , Phd

Thats just the geeky part. Im not getting into other stuff.

Man, if growing up with her was a giving me an inferiority complex, I hate to think what you are gonna go through.

Lucky son of a gun.

Cant wait.

Stracraft II – Wings of Liberty released!

Posted in Starcraft with tags on July 27, 2010 by raghavr24

Released – Midnight July 27th 2010. Been waiting for this for a long time.

Played the beta, not too impressive honestly (50% due to playing it on an outdated PC), half the game is the graphics. Reviews are not too positive, gamers have slammed it for no LAN option along with just the terran campaign in WoL. Frankly, that is a terrible thing to do, considering the fact that it was the very same storyline between the Terran, Zerg and Protoss that has given fans so much to adore about the game. Splitting and releasing it as separate options is just not cool.

Will be some time before I get to play this, as I dont even think my home PC will have the engine to run this baby. And frankly, am in no hurry to upgrade. I hope I change my mind!

BSNL Phone Ad & Karthick Calling Karthick: Subliminal Connections!

Posted in Random Observations with tags , , , on March 30, 2010 by raghavr24

Have you noticed the striking similarity between the BSNL 3G internet Advert on TV  (A dude called Rahul) and the plot line of Karthick calling Karthick (a guy called karthick, duh)? Well, if you did not, its ok,  but since there is some part of by brain that looks out to correlate random events, here’s what I could observe:

Here are the 2 clippings to refresh your memory and lend visual support to my outrageous claims:

BSNL 3g Phone Advert :                 

Karthick Calling Karthick Trailer:

And now, here are the similarities..

Physical Appearance

  1. BSNL’s Rahul-       A nerdy loser with glasses, checked shirt, lanky build
  2. KCK’s Karthick –  A nerdy loser with glasses, checked shirt, lanky build

Social Plight

  1. BSNL’s Rahul : Boss screws him, friends screw him over, cant screw his girlfriend
  2. KCK’s Karthick : Boss screws him, friends screw him over, cant screw his girlfriend (not applicable)

The all important Phone

  1. BSNL’s Rahul gets a Phone and transforms into a winner overnight. Impresses the boss, friends and gets the girl. Brand: BSNL
  2. KCK’s Karthick  gets a Phone and transforms into a winner overnight. Impresses the boss, friends and gets the girl. Brand : Some random Malaysian model.

Deepika Pudokone

  1. BSNL-  She looks hot
  2. KCK –   She looks very hot

Oh yea, she is the heroine of both the ad & movie.

From a marketing point of view, it would have done wonders for BSNL had it had know KCK was going to rip them off (i guess BSNL was 1st) and ensure that it was a BSNL phone in the movie too. Now that’s some killer product placement, from advert to a successful movie!

I think I need more work.

Water water everywhere..

Posted in Random Observations with tags , , on March 3, 2010 by raghavr24

The following are incidents that I recently went through in the Malda Railway Staion- @  Murshidabad District, Bengal                                

 I decided to stock up for my night journey from Malda to Kolkata  ( 6 hours) by stopping at the local paper stand – getting my 2 English papers and 1 James Hadley Chase Novel. I could also noticed the shifty eyed customers leering at the scantily clad Bengali babes splashed over the cover of the best selling gossip rags. I, though moved on to me next objective. Getting my mineral bottle water from the Railway Catering Stand.

 Now let me tell you who exactly you can find in an the Malda Stations IRCTC Railways catering stand:

 1. Delivery Boy– Horizontally challenged and possibly partly mentally challenged. Quite flexible, useful in moving around the limited 3×4 cell space to pick up the various condiments from the stall and deftly hand them over to the customer in a flash. Practices FMFO and FIFO at a near 6 sigma level. Probably one project away from his green belt certification.

 2. Cashier : Will have a cash register that would be the envy of the Swiss bank – not in terms of absolute quantity, but can break even a thousand rupee note, if the total transaction cost is 12 rs and 75 paise. Change returned : Rs 987.25 . With a missing tooth smile to boot.

 3.  Cook/Chef from Hell- Burly, unshaven and foul mouthed gentlemen whose bathing frequency would be akin to the Hockey World cup frequency – once in four years. Probably an ex-con, who is doing parole now by giving back to society what he took from them- badly cooked food a good chance for a stomach upset.

 One quick scan at the worse-than-college mess food that seems to be displayed and decorated cunningly to tempt the weak willed consumer, I clearly reach for my goal, my aquatic treasure and my company for the night, my mineral water bottle. Alas, if my task was that simple. One can forget getting known brands like Bisleri/Kinely etc. For you drinking pleasure are brands such as ‘ Pure Water ’ ( obviously not the brightest marketing team , mixing up the attribute & the brand and ‘Klear’  (Not really, if you look at the contents inside the bottle).

 Before I could decide between the devil and the deep blue see, I could see someone else who seemed to be having bigger issues of life and death to deal with.

A foreigner, probably Australian, on the wrong side of 30 and probably on the wrong side of the equator was having trouble deciding what to have for dinner. Being the good Samaritan that I am, and for some bizarre reason, I enjoy helping the White Devils when they land up in our Snake Charmer Land. I seem to be under the impression that the white man will think I am the only one who can help them with the ‘local tongue’ since they might mistake me for one of their kind – A Cisco T-Shirt and my Ipod would surely make me affable

 Me : Hey, can I help you there buddy?

 Firang : Hey thanks, Geez, me and my mate want to have some dinner , what do you think would we should get?

 Me: Well, for starters,  you might wanna lose that (point to a very suspect Aloo Bonda that he has picked from the lot of goodies).  That baby there will set you back 30 minutes in the moving loo. That ain’t gonna be fun.

 Firang: Oh? (seems shocked and shoots a nasty glance at the chef). What’d ya think is good then?

 Chef : Shoots a nastier glance to me, convinces firang in Bengali that the bondas are’ eek dum’ & awesome & infact goes best with Fosters Beer. I could even hear a ‘fata-fati’ thrown in there for good measure – which means out of the world. Im sure it was.

 Firang: Blank Look.

Me : Blank Look

Chef:  Trying to understand why we are blanking looks.

Firang : Points to Dried up Samosa that used as a showpiece made from diesel when priced at Rs 10 per litre.

 Me : Desperately looks around for something to appease Mr Firang and more importantly Mr Chef.  This should be ok. Hand over Britannia’s Cup Cake cream thing.

 Firang: Yea? Oh great, so, Ill take like 10 packs of them , that should suffice for the night?

 Me: Now realized why Australians are competing with Americans in the Per Capita Obesity &  Stupidity scale.  Umm..sure. Could feel the stare of the Iron Chef burn into the side of my head had I dare suggest a lower quantity.

 Firang shakes my hand in appreciation for my kind gesture then clamps the retailers for doling out Kings Meal and gives him  a look that a UNESCO Aid Worker operating in Sundan would envy. 

 I then realize that its almost time for my train to depart and quickly hop on and finally after much huffing and puffig, get on to my customary upper bearth with the bedding in place and my Chase paperback in hand ready for the night.

 That’s when I realized that I did not even buy my precious water bottle in all the tamasha that just happened.

 Laziness overpowered my fear of death from thirst and I convinced myself that getting back to the platform would be as painful as a hernia check up with your physician. Just when I thought being a good Samaritan does not pay off, LO!, a vendor in a pushcart of water and other goodies seductively offers me my lovely curved bottle of water for just Rs 12. As luck would have it, the closest I had was a Rs 20 note which I handed over to the God sent water boy. He took the note from me and said he would break the

Change as he did not have any on him. I watched as he coolly pocketed the note, took his wares, got out off the train just as a the train started on its slow painful journey back to Kolkata. I watched stupidly as he grinned at me from the platform , with my money in his crudely made change box.

 That’s when I realized that I did not even get my precious water bottle in all the tamasha that just happened. And, I was gypped of Rs 20.

What was that poem? Water Water everywhere..not a drop to drink?

You damn right. 

Top Ten most influential songs of All time.

Posted in Passions with tags , , on January 28, 2010 by raghavr24

This is my personal list, and its killed me that I needed to drop a couple of songs..but here’s my list. Order is Random!

1. Stairway To Heaven – Led Zep : Tried forever to get it as my ringtone. The guitar riff by page/plant is to die for at the end. Responsible for 2 decades of Air guitar for every teenager at home

 2. Owner of a Lonely Heart- Yes : Heard this sweet alternative in T.C , Delhi and feel in love with music

3. Be Yourself – AudioSlave : My current head banger, the lyrics is something that I feel deeply about. Be yourself!

 4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Green Day : Heard it first on Yahoo! Radio, played it like 100 times the same day. Perfect for long road trips

5. Elenor Rigby : Beatles : Very weird lyrics and unlike the normal psychedelic rock of the Beatles. But I guess that’s what makes it so awesome.

6. What if God was One of Us : Joan Osborne – Heard it as a kid… nostalgic memories and a fabulous song

 7. Rock you like a hurricane: Scorpions : The best head banger song in Some Place else!!

8. Money for Nothing: Dire Straits: Was my caller tune for 3 months..so..must be awesome. It is.

9. Coming Back to Life: Floyd : Would be an outcaste if no floyd..but yea, this one is as good as High Hopes.

10. Other Side: RHCP : Probably the only group that has stuck with me since I was in school. The entire album of Californication was unreal.

Special mention to MJ,Madonna..your too good to be listed ;P

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