Thursday, November 30, 2006

Waiting for E70

After much deliberation and discussions with friends and thorough research, I decided to change my current cellphone. In my friend Manish Joshi's words, "My aim is to use a single device". This makes perfect sense to me. I do not want to carry a mobile phone, an iPod a digital camera and laptop most of the time. I want one digital Jeeves that will help me do most of my work while on the go.

So my first choice was Samsung BlackJack. They had an exclusive deal with Cingular and it looked pretty attractive, sleek and bright. It has a camera, full QUERTY keyboard, quad-band, office documents and PDF viewers etc etc. I almost bought it. But then I started thinking about what else I want in one device. I must say, Nokia's website especially Nokia India's website was a great help in my decision making process. Once on their site, I decided what I wanted in a phone and I made my list. My preferences were,
  • A full QUERTY keyboard
  • GSM International Phone Tri or Quad band
  • Camera
  • Office editors not only viewers
  • Wi-fi enabled. This was important. I will explain in a bit.
  • Music Player
  • Bluetooth
  • Extensible memory slot
  • HTML web browser
BlackJack and a lot of other phones including TMobile Dash, had most of these capabilities, but they lacked one or the other feature e.g. Wi-fi or Office doc editors. So if I have to browse internet using these phones, I would have to use GPRS or EDGE. This is not bad and considering that BJ is a 3G phone, it must be pretty fast. But this will require me to buy a data package from my service provider. Unlimited data package would put a hole of additional 40 dollars approx. in my pocket. Instead, if I have wi-fi, I can simple use this phone in a wireless hot spot and I am set to browse the Internet. As far as office documents are concerned, I could only view them or not at all on some phones. I wanted the ability to edit the office documents as well.

Now TMoble MDA has wi-fi and office suite and also Windows Mobile, but it was not unlocked phone to the best of my knowledge. The E70 that I have ordered is unlocked. So that gives me freedom to use it in different countries. Also MDA has 1.3 MP camera, E70 has 2.0 MP.

So finally I decided to splurge some money and bought myself this holiday gift. It has not arrived yet. But I cannot simply contain my excitement. I got a cool deal and I hope that my phone will will prove its mattle. I am going to call it my digital Jeeves.

I would surely write my review of this phone once I get is started. Till then... I pray that my phone arrives on time. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

एक चेहरा ...

Note: To read this post, your browser needs to be able to display Devanagari fonts.

एक चेहरा ...

एक चेहरा असा साजरा
डोळ्यांपुढून जाइना
विरून गेली रात्र सारी
चैन काही पडेना

निमिषार्धाची भेट ती
पण क्षणामध्ये हे जुळले नाते
सेकंदांच्या चिमटीमध्ये
जग माझे गुरफटले होते

कळेन अाली कोठून चपला
करून गेली वाताहात
प्राण अडकला श्वासामध्ये
नजरेने केला त्या घात

नाव नाही पत्ता नाही
शोधू तिला कुठे अाता
भेटेल का ती परत मजला
जुळतील का अामच्या वाटा

भेटली जर का सांगीन तिजला
जीव माझा गुंतलाय ग
एक फुंकर फक्त घाल
काटा खोल रुतलाय ग

---- सुमोद

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving.. down the memory lane

As I mentioned previously, my friends from VJTI days did visit me this thanksgiving. So it was obvious that we would discuss lots of old stories. If I have to describe my years in VJTI, I can just recall the song, "Those were the best days of my life".

Indeed, I always get nostalgic when VJTI comes up in any discussion. VJTI is my engineering college where I did my BE, US equivalent of BS. So it is my Alma mater. I spent a major chunk of my formative years in the canteen of VJTI and around Matunga and Five gardens area.

I still like the Chinaman, DPs, Mani's restaurants. I simply love the aroma of coffee around the King's Circle area. I think it is the best coffee I can ever get. And of course, all the second-hand books you can get on the footpaths around that area, you cannot beat that price and the variety.

When I went there last time, I went to the open corridor on the third floor in my department and just looked at the quadrangle below. It was the 'Quad' where we would hang out, sit on the steps, have vada-pav or tea, complete our assignments 15 minutes before the submission. It was where Pratibimba, the annual festival would be held. Quadrangle was a phyical part of VJTI but it was an emotional part of our life. The 'Quad' seemed awefully empty when we left VJTI the last time. But now it looked full again. It was full of unknown faces, with the same rush, carrying same folders, speaking about same labs and viva-s and trying to catch same trains and buses.

I still remember my first lecture in VJTI. It was maths-1 and I was late for that. It did not take long to make my best friends. Semesters passed, exams happened or got postponed, vivas gave us sleepless nights, assignments came and went, practicals and journals were done as had to be. But the bonds of friendship and affinity we formed in VJTI lasted through all that. Even after all these years, I cannot forget my 7:56 morning train to Dadar and the 5:24 or 5:40 evening train from Dadar, and my friends who would hold seat for me.

Simply said, "Those were the best days of my life!"


Monday, November 27, 2006

Marathi Poem

भावना माझ्या मनीच्या

भावना माझ्या मनीच्या त्या तुला कळणार कशा
पाचुमय पाषाण नजरा स्निग्ध मला मिळणार कशा

वाट पाहून विरहवणव्यात जाहलो निष्पर्ण मी
अव्यक्त शब्दकुसुमांस माझ्या बहर कधी येणार कसा

का मी झालो वेडापिसा हा प्रश्न मुळी पडणार कसा
प्रेमप्रश्ना प्रेम उत्तर हा खुलासा पटणार कसा

वादळांतून तुजपर्यन्त मार्ग सापडणार कसा
गुंतलेल्या हृदयाचा ह्या पिळ कधी सुटणार कसा

---- सुमोद

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dhoom 2

It was an 'on the spur of the moment' decision. Today afternoon my friend Kini called me and asked me if I was interested in going for Dhoom 2. I had liked Dhoom 1 a lot and all the songs as well. So I immediately said yes. Afterall movies are my passion.

I went to Dhoom 2 expecting a masala movie. A movie where a hero e.g. an ACP from Bombay Police just does everything in his abilities to catch a thief. I assumed that there will some taporigiri and corny dialogues. I was expecting, ok let me say it, at least one good dance number and other songs with catchy beats. I was expecting some 'kahani mein twist'. I was looking for a stupidly funny sidekick. I was definitely expecting car or bike chase and some hollywood-like special effects. I did not go to Dhoom 2 to get lessons for life and learn some ideals.

All my expectation were fulfilled 110%. Ash has really toned and tanned her body and looks great. I liked the scene very much where she descends down stairs in Hritik's villa wearing a blue dress. Her dress matches the decor of the background superbly. Before this movie, I did not like Bips particularly. But she also earns my appreciation in this movie. She has a double role, as a cop and as a babe in Brazil. She has been terrific in the latter. Abhishek has done justice to his role and he looks fine as an ACP. Poor kid, his dad is the living film industry and he will always suffer from his father's greatness no matter how hard he tries. Uday Chopra is the stupid sidekick of Abhishek and he has acted naturally. And finally the great thief aka A aka Aryan that is Mr. Hritik. I saw his movie after a long time. He is surely a good dancer and a match for Ash. Not bad at all.

The special effects and use of cool gadgets is definitely a plus point of this movie. Apart from that the outdoors in Brazil are awesome. The Spanish music in the background is nice too. The songs are catchy and especially the "Crazy kiya re" will be a big hit.

I will not tell the story and surely not the end. In all it is a paisa vasool movie. Pure entertainment for almost 3 hours.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I love holidays, I loved them in India and I love them here. Thanksgiving is a truely American holiday and I absolutely enjoy it. Whether I am visiting someone or someone is visiting me or I am just sitting at home, I like it nevertheless.

I still remember the thanksgiving we celebrated during my MS at College Park. We decided to make turkey... but sadly our cooking skills did not match our enthusiasm. In the end, we managed to pull through a palatable menu and it turned out to be quite good. At least nobody complained :). We had all our friends invited and it was a great party.

Last thanksgiving I did not go anywhere although my college friend visited me on thanksgiving eve. For the next two days, Spike channel had Bond movies re-runs and those saved my thanksgiving.

This thanksgiving day, I had my guitar lesson. So that kepy be busy. I am practising 'Pal Pal..'. And I am glad at my rate of progress. I need to find out the exact tempo of the song and that will help me a lot. I am also looking for western notations of marathi songs. I really want to practise "Sur Tech Chhedita", but I cannot get notations anywhere.

Good news is that my college friend is visiting me and another friend will be joining us tomorrow. So it will be fun, lots of catching up with old pals and VJTI memories. I am looking forward to a great time and discussions on almost all topics.

Have a happy thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Something worth reading.. and remembering

भग्न स्वप्नांच्या तुकड्यांना कवटाळून बसण्यासाठी मनुष्य जन्माला अालेला नाही.

मानवाचे मन केवळ भूतकाळाच्या साखळदंडांनी बांधून ठेवता येत नाही. त्याला गरुडपंखांचं वरदानही लाभलं अाहे.

एखादं स्वप्न पाहणं, ते फुलविणे, ते सत्यसृष्टीत उतरावं म्हणून धडपडणे, त्या धडपडीतला अानंद लुटणे अाणि दुर्दैवाने ते स्वप्न भग्न पावलं तरी त्याच्या तुकड्यांवरून रक्ताळलेल्या पायांनी दुसर््या स्वप्नामागनं धावणं हा मानवी मनाचा धर्म अाहे. मनुष्याच्या जीवनाला अर्थ येतो तो यामुळं !

वि. स. खांडेकर

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai.. bole to zakaas

तो क्या बोल रेहेला था अापुन ? अाज अापुनने एक मस्त सिनेमा देखा। काफी टायम से अापुन का पंटर लोग बोल रहा था की भिडु एक बार मुन्नाकी गांधीगीरी देख लो। एकदम हिट पिक्चर हैं। तो अाज अापुन ने टाईम निकालके डीक्स पे पिक्चर देखा। दिल खुश हो गया बाप! बनानेवाले ने भी क्या सोच के चिज बनायी हैं। कॉमेडी, अॅक्शन, ड्रामा, रोमान्स, सब मसाला तो हैं ही, अैार साथमें फंडु ....... क्या बोलतें हें हा !! फिलॉसॉफि, भी। साला रात दिन मुम्बई के तेज बाउन्सर से दिमाग का दही होता हैं, पर बापु के गुगली ने कब अपनी विकेट ली, पत्ताच नाही चला। ये सिनेमा पहेले मुन्नाभाई एम बी बी एस से कुछ वास्ता नही रखता हैं। मतबल ये के, मुन्ना अैार सर्कीट वापस से अकेले हैं अौर अपने भाईगीरी में व्यस्त हैं। पर हाय ये कम्बख्त दिल कब कीसीके पे अाता हैं वो बोलके थोडे ही ना? तो मुन्ना भी लट्टु हो गया हें, जान्हवी पर, अब उसे पहेले मिलने अौर फिर पटाने के चक्कर में मुन्ना बनता हैं प्रोफेसर अौर पढने लगता हैं बापुजी के विचार, अैार उस में उसे बापुजी दर्शन भी देने लगते हैं। अब अाता हैं कहानी में ट्वीस्ट, मतबल ये के बभूआ, एक कमीना विलैन जो जान्हवी अौर उसके दादाजी का मकान हडपना चाहता हैं। अब मुन्ना जान्हवी को सच बतायेगा?, क्या गांधीगीरी से वो जान्हवी का प्यार अौर मकान दोनो हासील कर पायेगा? बॉस, सब इस्टोरी मैं ही बोलेगा, तो तुम क्या करेगा, मामु? जा जाके पिक्चर देख, वट ले, वट ले।


Saturday, November 18, 2006

My first Hummingbird Guitar... well sort of

I had a tough piece to practise today, "Cielito Lindo" or translated in English, Beautiful Heaven. It is a spanish piece. After a while, my guitar teacher, Mr. Williams, asked me to try a new guitar to play an etude in the key of D in second position.

I liked the guitar the moment I looked at it. The first thing I noticed about it was a beautiful design of roses and a bird done on a patch next to the sound hole. It had a bright yellow colour covering most of its body merging into sunset red colour towards the bottom. My teacher told me this type of guitar is called as "Hummingbird Guitar". And the mixture of yellow and red colour is called as sunburst. Indeed, it was giving the guitar a cool flamingo appearance. It was a Cortez guitar, made in Japan. It was not very large as compared to my Yamaha folk guitar. But even though the width, height and thickness were only slightly larger, they were increasing the total 'hollow' volume of the guitar. So it was producing indeed better sound.

It is amazing what a good instrument can do to your playing skills :). I was so happy playing that guitar that I did not realize I had made quite a good progress on the etude I was playing. For the first time, I was truly enjoying the music without worrying about the metronome.

Geez! I want to buy that guitar for me. But I am pretty sure it is very expensive. May be one day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Casino Royale

I happened to watch Casino Royale today. Since I have been a huge fan of all the 007 movies, I was pretty excited about the new movie and to see how the new Bond fares. It will be quite unjust if I just say that it was a bad movie. But I should say that I was a bit disappointed after watching the movie.

First the good parts, this movies begins with a black and white scene. This helps to create an atmosphere. The theme song "You know my name" has been done really well. The director has created a nice effect with the animated cards. The stunts especially the chase in the beginning is extraordinary and breathtaking.

Having said this, I do have some negative points to mention. First of all, Bond has been shown as an emotional person. I think this does not confirm with the Bond we have known over the years. I agree that this movie was supposed to show the beginning of James Bond and hence they might want to show his evolution as an agent. But they could have done a better job. They have shown James Bond falling in love, losing his cool and having a big ego. I mean if they only had shown him dancing around trees with Eva Green and singing group songs, they could have turned this into a Bollywood movie.

I also missed Moneypenny and Q. Judi Dench is the M, quite quintessential . About the new Bond, well, I still think the throne belongs to Sean Connery. I think Daniel Craig has done an honest job. But he simply does not have the charm and suave-ness yet. another thing to miss is, well last but not the least, witty or rather corny dialogs. And of course, Eva Green is stunningly beautiful. She looks gorgeous, acts well and keeps a good demeanour.

Will I recommend this movie? Sure I will. Just know that this is supposed to be the beginning of Bond. So keep your expectations accordingly.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Growing up

Pure, simple pleasures pouring through the sky
Uncoditional love from kind hearts
Words of wisdom taught by grey hair
Friendship in its truest sense

Everything I have I am grateful for
Nothing I don't, I miss
Moments of success and everlasting memories
With loved ones near and far

Long way have I come
Remember every step I took
Gathered along the way, some experience
Lessons of life never to forget

Where will I go from here
I do not know
But I will never be away
From my home

- Sumod 11/12/2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Marketing close to heart

I had never thought I would be interested in aspects of marketing. It was until last week when I watched Kevin Roberts on CNBC. The CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, was on Squawk Box to talk about his new book: Lovemarks, the future beyong brands.

The point Kevin made was quite simple. There are psychological reasons why people buy a certain brand even when they have plethora of options. It is kind of an emotional bonding that exists between the consumer and the product. e.g. there are a multitude of MP3 players out in the market, but iPod is the undisputed king. The other players might be better or cheaper or store more songs or offer more functions and formats. But iPod had been able to make a connection with the music lover that other instruments can only dream of. It is not only a status symbol, it also has a 'cool' and 'hip' factor. Same is the story with Nike.

"Lovemarks are brands that inspire loyalty beyond reason." (Ref:

Come to think of it, this strategy should be applied not only in marketing but in lot other places. e.g. If students are studying not because they have an exam to pass, but they like it, it will produce better results. It is like focusing more on the roots than on the fruits. This is an inherent paradigm shift that considers consumer as a person and not only a marketing target. Because when you consider each consumer as an individual, you try to make your product more individualistic. And that gives your product a unique edge.