Archive for the Random Observations Category

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

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.

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. 

The Hand that Rocks the Dance Floor!

Posted in Entertainment, Passions, Random Observations on June 13, 2009 by raghavr24

 

Hand of God!

 

An amazing night at Some Place Else, with Hip Pockets belting out rock songs & had the audience eating out of their hand. I did a solo act there and it was turned out to be quite a fun experience. As usual  the bartender had to get my lime juice order wrong and give me lime juice with soda. Ughh. Anyways, more than just the music, the crowd is equally intriguing. I saw a 60 year old guy who seemed to be completely at home  with the 20’ish crowd. You can spot a 1st timer/socially awkward guy in a flash. He would come in with his hands in his pockets & try to look cool/try to fumble around in his cell phone/lean against the bar pretending to wait for his imaginary friend. Been there done that.

 

And of course, one of the better parts of the night is the inflow of the PYT’s (Pretty young thangs) that keep the place hot & happening. There was no dearth of ‘em last night too [ one of the pluses of going solo ;P ] . The payment system here is one for the books, you just give your credit card at the beginning when you order, and the waiter comes over every 30 mins to refill your drink and after your  done, he will automatically give you the bill (your too wasted to care/count). To keep track of so many customers with no real lighting speaks volumes on the caliber of the staff. It’s a pity that the band wound up by 12:30 which seemed quite premature. Am going there to get my 2nd helping though!

 

The one time the crowd waits for a guy, it’s the TOI Page III dude. He would come in here Hi Fi the regulars and keep his eye out for the PYT’s/ Foreigners who would grace us with their pompus aura of being agreeable with the desi crowd as this place is worthy enough for them to feel at home. As the camera went clicky, I was totally ignored (understandably) by the same but as you can see, my hand (circled in green) managed to make the cut. I was just a flash in the pan, but you’ll get the complete picture once things develop J  I give myself a +5 for punning. Time for the 2nd greatest act in 2 days, another visit to S.E!

Pop Culture in everyday life

Posted in Random Observations with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2009 by raghavr24

the-tipping-point-by-malcolm-gladwell3An interesting concept from The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell-    One chapter, for example, deals with the very strange epidemic of teenage suicide in the South Pacific islands of Micronesia. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Micronesia had teen suicide rates ten times higher than anywhere else in the world. Teenagers were literally being infected with the suicide bug, and one after another they were killing themselves in exactly the same way under exactly the same circumstances. 

 

  This news spread like wildfire and eventually acted as a ‘permission’ for others to commit suicide.- A Tipping Point. Moot Point at that.

 

fd1The reason I quote the above is because you see the world based on events that affect your everyday life. I just saw the Final Destination series – for those who are not aware of the cult hit, it’s about how the protagonist has a vision of seeing his death and people’s around him based on certain signs. After seeing FD-1, I skipped using the water geyser in my hotel room as that is the no #1 cause of people getting pwnd in the movie 😉 I ended up freezing my butt in the cold shower for the next two days. What’s worse, the towel of the hotel was the size of my shoe cleaning cloth. Wet, Cold , alone and  freaked out at 1 am in the Not a good state to be in.

 Continuing the ‘signs’, I recently went to a garbage dump (its part of official work, don’t ask.) I could see about a million kites/hawks there looking at me menacingly waiting for me to become their dinner menu, a scene quite reminiscent in FD-2 where doves are indirectly the cause of death of one of the victims of fate. Moving on, I saw a  donkey  with a rope around to his neck, the other end of the rope fastened to the ground with a 4 feet wooden stopper. Suddenly,  the donkey went mad (probably from chewing a Bengali rap video DVD or something), broke free from its shackles and started  running around the dump with the wooden shrapnel stump flaying about dangerously- another scene directly out of Final Destination 3 – Except it was a pretty white horse in a carnival in that.

 

I recently started to take an affinity to swimming , and I soon realized the worth of the clichéd term- ‘ I can’t swim to save my life’. I just went from my so self imagined Ian Thorpe in a pool to Govinda playing a game of chess. Let’s just say that I’m now stuck practicing my so called strokes at the kiddie end of the pool.  Hell , if Richard Branson can learn how to swim the first time(Screw it, lets do it, his book, there’s no reason why i can’t follow suit is there ? 😉 – Ironically, he has nearly killed himself swimming, flying on a plane, flying on a hot air ballon – I’m not here to tease Grim Death as much as he did- seeing the Final Destination series is fateful enough!

 

 

 

 

 

saw5I’ve heard a lot about the Saw franchise(listen to the theme song- the final test, its kick ass)  and couldn’t resist myself when i finally got hold of the same a couple of days back. It talks about a crazy psychopath who places his ‘victims’ in traps/games that they must beat to survive for petty crimes they have committed.   A very long shot parallelism can be drawn to the Tamil Film- Anniyan where the chief anti-hero character Vikram kills people in a very graphic way for the sins they have committed. I can get on board with Anniyan atleast, since the victims were sinners guilty of crimes of quite epic proportions. Whilst in Saw, it seemed very absurd that 1 man tries to put people through hell and convince the fuzz that he is doing it for ‘peoples on good’. Sorry, that just won’t do.

 

 

 

 

 However in the Saw series, the the chief baddie (Jigsaw ) has 1 simple message for all his victims-  ‘Those who do not appreciate live, are not worth living’.

Although that does fit the bill for a striking movie line – it seems a           bit over the edge. But a grain of truth is present in that statement , and I’ve come to realize it (luckily without having to be a part of the movie brrr). We sometimes take a lot of stuff for granted- family/friends and even our own lives. Don’t wait for your wake up call to remind you that you’re lucky 😉

I hope you have not gottten the impression that I’m a maniac depressed goth or something, I’ve been wanting to write about something that has really got my imagination working overtime for the last month or so- Out of the ordinary books like Tipping Point/Black Swan and crazy over the top movies like F.Destination and Saw 😉

There is a tipping point for everyone . Every event, although seeming irrelevant, is part of a bigger purpose, part of a plan. Nothing seems to make sense if seen in isolation. You just need to look at it closely and connect the dots. 

 

As Jon Locke said in LOST- Everything happens for a reason.

 lost1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                         Do you believe it?

Rag-a-Tag

Posted in Random Observations with tags , , on September 19, 2008 by raghavr24

I’ve been tagged by my school friend NivEdita, and there is an informal blog code that thou-shall-who-hath-been-tagged-must-comply. I never break the rules. I already am toeing the line professionally with the Govt of India anyway next post was my revelation  to the world how I lost 30 kgs in 6 months. I guess they will never know.

Here it goes..

1.What have you realized recently?

-> Bengali I guess now I can speak and understand mota-moti.  At first I would when people spoke bangla around me, I would try to pass time by wondering how many mouse pads if vertically stacked up would reach the ceiling fan above me.

-> Loneliness is your best friend & worst enemy. I’ve made some decisions that I would have never otherwise, and have appreciated the value and viciousness of silence . I’ve spoken to more people in these 3 months than I did when I’ve meet them physically. Even some random guy who was there on my gtalk list for 2 years with a chat name like  -FND5<><3#$$* How he/she/it got on my list also I don’t know -.-

->  It’s not the price of the product, it’s how much the consumer perceives it to be worth.  

-> Entrepreneurship is overrated.  IIM grads starting their own ventures ,making the front page of ET will be humbled by the grit displayed by the people I’ve run into. I’ve meet a dealer who made a million buck business from a capital of Rs 13 at the age of Rs 12!

 

 

 

 2. Have you given your first kiss away?

I really can’t understand the import of the question. Does it mean have I kissed or kissed and told someone about it? My 1st kiss was of course given to  my Starcraft cd case  , the

 most memorable and unforgettable one. It’s not blanked out, highlight to read 😉 Nothing more on this subject please. I could land into hot water..Amongst my other game CD’s.

3.If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, who are the 11 blog buddies you would take?

Most of the people on my blog roll are either guys/ economists/marketing experts. So no one really. It defeats the very purpose of a deserted island. Does anyone know if Cameron Diaz blogs?

4. Where is the place you want to go the most?

A trek @ The Amazon Forest with my closest friends/LAN party every night – gaming with  CS/SC/Dota!

5. If you have one dream to come true, what would it be?

Travel the World/ To work for Blizzard Entertainment @ Irvine, California/ Become a Starcraft game commentator / Win  the finals of a Tata Crucible Quiz /

 6. Do you believe in seeing the rainbow after the rain?

Hmm..If that happens I know a fox is getting married to a dog, based on school days legend!

7. What are you afraid of losing the most now?

My debit card. If I do, I’m as much use as  sand in the Sahara

8. If you win $1 million, what would you do?

Not invest in Lehman Brothers would be the 1st smart thing. Then I’d do #5 !

 9. List out 3 good points about the person who tagged you

-> Nivedita.., known her since school.   Tenacious, Similar-to-me (a good thing?! Oops..) and ambitious.

10.  What are the requirements that you wish from your other half?

To be as close to the 1st half as possible 😉

11. What type of people do you hate the most?

Terrorists. The real ones, I love the guys in Counter Strike.  

12. What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Nothing really. Yes, I’m made of stone.

13. If you have faults, would you rather the people around you point out to you or would you rather they keep quiet?

I’m beyond repair with a rock for a heart and a skin of a buffalo. So…

14.Are you a shopaholic or not?

Not in the least. Window shopping at best. I’m scared of mannequins too actually.

15.  Find a word to describe the person who tagged you

Independent

16. What’s the last shocking thing you’ve seen or heard?

That the entire 24 girls in my class had a major crush on me after they saw my baby photos!

17. Would you rather have love but no money or money but no love?

Put me on The Moment of Truth to get that one J

I tag…

è Atlee

è Akshat

è Vishal

è Nikhil

 

  As for the above four..Spill your beans !!