Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Chennai pals in their true colors

The Dooby show!

Munch the crooner

Kiru .. I knew it!

Appu Brokovich

Well, I'll be damned!

Someone's got the whole world in her hands!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Ducky Ad Awards - Dec 07

Well I never thought this series would make it past the first episode. But I did it. This is the second post!

Before I say anything about this month's winner, why not see it first? I only hope you've never seen it before. Don't want to spoil the ending for you.

Here are the lyrics of the song. Extensive googling didn't help. So I guess someone at Oglivy just picked up a guitar and hummed this one out. Makes a beautiful number.

Uuuu uu uuu uu
Uu hoo hoo u hoo
hoo hoo hoo uu

Blue skies and la la la
There's a place
for us somewhere

Take me away,
somewhere far away
beyond the sun

uuuu huuu huuu huu huuu huu
uuu hoo u
uu hoo hoo hoo uuu
take me a away
somewhere far away
beyond the ...
A big investment from the guys with the deepest pockets. This 60-seconder comes ringing in for Christmas TV from the giants at O&M

What I love about this ad is that you don't know whats happening till the last second. There's a man stuck in an elevator apparently waiting for something to happen. It's only in the last second that you're told it's an ad for an Astrology SMS . By the time you figure it out, the brands out there on your screen. I assume it would have excellent recall.

The man in the elevator has a great expression on his face. You actually understand some of his emotes when you see the ad for the second time.

Vodafone have another ad as well for India, on the astrology concept, but I like this one.
(Plus I couldn't find the other one on YouTube )

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I'm sick!

That's right! Don't tell me you knew it all along. Here's a list of all the stuff that I suffer from.

Bouts of Acute viral nasopharyngitis once a year

Palmer and
Plantar Hyperhidrosis

Early Stertor

I'm sure I have
Hypersomnia but no one believes me


Pilomotor under dire circumstances

Pityriasis capitis

Declining Myopia

and of course, perpetual Pantaphobia

And you think you have problems!

Mastercard with the Sharjah Police

Getting an application type written in Arabic and taking passport photos : 25 Dirhams
Opening a new file in my name at the Sharjah Police : 50 Dirhams
Registering at the driving school for mandatory classes : 75 Dirhams
The look on my face when at the end of it all, they say "Come back in 6 months" : Price@%$#less

Further reading

P.S. First you wait to start classes, then they fail you a minimum of two times and give you new dates after months. The articles says it may take something like 9 months! I know some other things that get ready in 9 months far more easily!

Ego Massage

Hey I can get one too. My dad called me up the other day to tell me that my pic had come in Mangayar Malar. I found myself thinking about the nice time I used to have at college. I rememered winning an award and wondered if there was some stuff about it still online. Turns out there still is:

XIM Bhubaneswar Rules at 13th B-school Affaire

Cool Avenues

The 13th B-School Affaire that saw the participation of all major b-schools was led by XIMB. The contest was held at Mumbai.

The most coveted title of the Best Management Student was adjudged to Kartik Subramanian (PGP-II) of XIMB. The contest (BMSC) was sponsored by the Dewang Mehta Foundation and Kartik fetched a cash prize of Rs. 75,000 for the same.

The road to success for Kartik came after much strife as students from all the top B-schools in India including the IIMs, XLRI, MICA and MDI vied with each other for the coveted title of the "Best Management Student of India".

The elimination process included a shortlist of the resumes by the student's B-school, followed by a second elimination by the organizing committee bringing the shortlist down from an applicant list of 500+ to just 35 candidates. The candidates were invited to participate in the contest in Mumbai. The process included a presentation by the students followed by a vigorous round of questioning by the 30-member strong jury panel, which included luminaries like Dr. Prasad Medury and ad guru Prahlad Kakkar.

"India's - Civilization greatest melting pot resides in her villages, where the wheels of change have been set in motion. XIMB presents managers, moulded to lead this change."
This was the unique theme of the PGPRM Placement Brochure of XIMB that fetched the award for the Best Brochure of the Year.

The team said that the theme of pottery was the ideal platform on which the brochure could have been presented. The depiction of the various forms clay takes at the hands of the craftsman was the USP of the brochure. The brochure was a clear winner right from the start, as per the opinion of the judges. It signified the rustic scenario and blended it extremely well with the urban culture. The brochure, thus, stood out among the brochures of XLRI, MDI, NITIE and other B-schools.

The third competition where XIMB made a mark was the Best Presentation Contest. The topic of the presentation was "The Retail Paradigm: Growth and Opportunities". The contest was evaluated by a panel of 30 jury members with presentations being made by over twenty teams from various B-schools in India.

Kartik Subramanian and Shikha Garg did XIMB proud again by winning the runners-up prize for the contest. Thus, XIMB won in three of the total four competitions organized during the mega event.

The stories are also at : Indian B-Schools & Gary's Blog

Foodie's Recipe Link

My cousin sis 3P once said that we both have been born into a family of foodies. I remember that realising that it was something that was as true as an other universal fact. I just had not seen it.

How blind could I have been? My mom and Patti are excellent cooks. Mom's from Trichur but she cooks anything. Her Gujju dishes have made Gujju's shower praise. My Patti is a food-freak - the incipient of it all. Any conversation with her will include - "What did you have for breakfast and lunch and dinner?" If someone wants to make her happy, we just ask about a recipe. My sis runs a restaurant in Chennai. And everyone else (dad, uncle, cuzns) love hot and spicy vegetarian food. I love cooking so much, I dance a jig and sing when I cook.

I have come across a lot of links that have good recipes on the net. So I thought, why not put them in a post where everyone could check it out at once. I'll keep updating them as I get more.

Here they are:

Recipe Link:

Recipezaar : You can search in any conceivable fashion. Plus you get a calorie sheet, a servings adjuster and an option choose my ingredient and save and print the recipe. Woo Hoo!

Mental Masala's Blog blog : Very nice blog if you use the tags on the right. He gives a good intro about the food he prepares.

100% Microwave Food blog : This is the site that I love. Microwave cooking is something I discovered after coming to Sharjah. It's easy, takes less time, requires not much attention, stirring and can be taken out served. Check out this guys links to other blogs. He's pretty much done what I started to do.

ClickaFood blog: This guy writes a superb blog. Bachelor recipe paradise! Only problem - No links to help searching faster.

Sailu's cooking blog: This is a must-read if Andhra cooking is your thing.

Mom and Patti's cooking : Well, its not written down yet .. but you want to taste heaven ;) go to these people.

Conversion of various cooking units can be comfortably done here.

You'll notice that a lot of the links are blogs. Let's face the facts. Websites needs money to run and many of them are not going to hand out recipes for free. So blogs rule the roost. Here's a nice site using which you can search for any category of blogs. Simplifies a laborious search process.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Toor Dal in Microwave

I only wish I had read this sooner. It Would have saved me half a day's cooking if I had known this. Give it a try and see if you can get the dal cooked without doing it about 7 times if you haven't read what's below.

  1. Wash the dal like rice, soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Place plenty of water, add dal and boil.
  3. Simmer and cook covered, add more water if required.
  1. Toor dal takes approx. 40 minutes over stove
  2. 3 whistles pressure cooker
  3. 1:3 water in microwave high 12-14 minutes.
  1. Yellow moong dal: 25 minutes on stove
  2. 2 whistles in pressure cooker
  3. 1:2 water in microwave high 8-9 minutes
I got it from this link.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Ducky Ad Awards - Nov 07

I have yet again instituted a new topic that might look like it's going to continue for a big series. But you will be glad to know, you're probably reading the last episode. This has happened in the past. Have no fear... the tradition shall continue.

Without further ado .. the Ducky Ad awards goes to ...
ICICI Prudential (Both the ads)

Here's the first one: (hint: Press play)

I couldn't find the second one.
But have no fear, Ol' Fuzz is here. This link takes you to the storyboard. I'll upload the video when I get it.

Both of them are brilliant pieces of work by the guys at Lowe. Why is that?

I'm in sales. You can sell many things. You can even sell sand if you wanted to. But of all the things that you can sell, selling death is the most difficult. Basically what insurance marketers are tying to tell you is "Look buddy .. you're going to die. Pay me some money now and I'll make it worth your while"

The first ad, is an ad about Life Insurance. The endearing stuff in the ad is the 'pat-comes-the-reply' banter between both of them, making a grave subject look like a slapstick routine. Not to mention that they make a very cute couple. There's also a nice kid to add some more meaning to the storyline. Plus the best line 'Sign karo' not because of what she says, but how she says it. That eyebrow! Whew! I wonder how many takes that took!

The message is clear as can be. Take Life Insurance now. Live a tension-free life.

The second ad has also got the same cute couple back. God! I wish they were married in real life as well. This stuff that you like is the two 'Hello? Itna emotional kyon ho rahi ho?' Well disguised! Hats off to the ad guys. As usual, the lady takes the sweetest line 'No Yaar..Pyaaz!'

The guy delivers the message this time. I've taken Health Insurance. Now we don't need to beg anybody for anything.

Notice that both are family situations. In both, the woman plays the role of the suggester
"Sign karo" / "Ek health insurance hi tho lena tha"

The guy plays the role of the doer. "Sign Kar dun?" / "Yeh rahe health insurance ke papers"

That's the way it is and these guys have told whoever is watching they ad, exactly what they need to do and who they need to do it with.

All I can say for the guys at ICICI Pru, the Lowe guys and the two people in the ad is ..

Jeetey Raho!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vikram and Betaal like no other

It was a dark night and it rained in fits. Gusts of wind shook the trees. There were strange noises and in between the thunderclaps, the moaning of jackals could be heard.Flashes of lightning revealed fearsome faces and there was a strange and mysterious laughter of the spirits.
Vikram carrying the corpseBut King Vikramaditya swerved not. He climbed the ancient tree to bring the corpse down and soon he began crossing the desolate cremation ground, with the corpse lying on his shoulder.

As he walked back, the betaal spoke to him thus:

"Vikram I appreciate you picking me up every night and to make the journey back more pleasant, I shall tell you a story."

Vikram listened quietly as the Betaal continued.

"There was this 19 year old woman. One day she went out alone to meet a man to pick up some photographs. When she reached there, both of them were abducted by 7 men. They took her somewhere and each of them raped her. They were later found and they were brought to court. They were sentenced to any where between 10 months and 5 years in prison.

The attorney of this woman appealed that the sentence to these wretched men be increased. He argued that they had committed an unholy sin and deserved to be tortured more.

What did the court say to the appeal, Vikram?"
Poof! You're King Vikramaditya!

What is your answer going to be? If you say the right answer, the Betaal will go back. If you say the wrong answer, then he will chop your head off.

What do you think the court did?
It increases the sentence for the 7 men as requested.

Then it also decided that the 19 year old raped-by-seven-men victim be given another 200 lashes in addition to the 90 lashes that she had been destined to receive. Also she was sentenced to six months in prison for good measure. This was because she had had gone unaccompanied to meet a man.

The attorney who had represented her for this appeal got his license to practice law revoked.

The place as you may have guessed by now is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a true story that has been all over the news. You can read more about it here.

The Qatif girl, as she is referred to, has outright support of nations worldwide. Saudi has very strict laws regarding women in their country has so far refused to budge from their stand. The girl's fate now stands at the door step of Kind Abdullah, the only person who can waive the decision, or enforce it.

Of course, one cannot imagine that such a decision would have been reached without reason. After saying no comment for a long time, the decision makers have offered a rationale for their judgement. You can read it here.

We shall have to wait, pray and see what happens to the Qatif girl.

As for you King Vikram, the Betaal just beheaded you!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Get more space on Vista

I've got a 100GB hard disk that runs Windows Vista on my laptop. I'm using about 5 GB so far. Vista tells me that I have 80GB left.

Do the math. 15GB of precious hard disk space had vanished into thin air. I was concerned. Was I victim of a virus? Was there a file/program that was hogging space as a hidden file?

I ran a virus check. Clean as a whistle. Then I had to figure a way to show hidden files. In Vista, they take simple things and complicate it ten times over and say 'New and Improved'. Tip: To view the old menu-bar to unhide files. Press and hold the Alt key when viewing the folder. Magically, you'll see it appear it again.

Added on 24/2. Quick,Temp Fix
- Goto Start > Accessories> System Tools> Disk Cleanup.
- Select "All Users"
- Click "Continue"
- Choose C:
- Select "More Options" Tab
- Click "Cleanup"
- Go back to My computer and check space. If you are still not satisfied, read below for a permanent fix

Well, I was stumped. How was this possible. Searching Google for answers proved difficult. It was tough to define my query. Finally I found what I was looking for. I first came across this site which said that you could reset your Restore point space to 1GB. By the way, the space was going because Vista allocated 15% of space to System Restore Points. But don't try this site's solution.

Go to this site and you will realise that the previous site was hastily written. The site says that you can clear all but the most recent restore point files. I did that and Bob's your uncle! I have 94GB hard disk space.

Happy! Joy!