Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sugar, spice and everything nice

A random photo that I took for testing my cam.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Murphy’s Laws of Placements

Read this beautiful article in BusinessWorld (No subscription needed).

I loved the closing lines.

Murphy’s final law of placements is: if you’re happy with a salary today, you won’t be day after tomorrow. There’s always someone out there earning a few bucks more. So don’t covet thy neighbour’s paycheck. Just remember, the concept of RG (relative grading) continues in life — as it did on campus.

Someone’s gotta make up the middle and bottom ends of the curve. What really matters is how well you sleep at night. Choose the person you marry more carefully.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Steffi Graf being proposed for Marriage

Just watch this awesome video!

via Kiruba and Jammy

Uncle Sam’s backyard

I opened the map of USA a couple of weeks ago, closed my eyes and randomly touched my finger on the map. My finger tip pointed to Long Island.

And that’s where I went today.

Ok, I was kidding. Wish I have the luxury to say things like these! This is roughly how the Scottish doctor found himself in Uganda, in Idi Amin’s terrain. Go watch The Last King of Scotland if you haven’t.

Read on if you are ok reading about not-so-famous places.

After two weekends in NYC, and a busy week in office, I decided to drive down somewhere into the country side, and one of the few places that were in the drivable distance was the stretch jutting out of New York State into the Atlantic Ocean called Long Island. I decided to go to the tip of the Island, visiting famous places en route.

The risk about driving to a totally unknown far-off place is getting lost. I had taken printouts of the maps and had an overview of the major routes to take, but, to my utter surprise, a lot of roads mentioned in the map (Mapquest) were simply non-existent (I probably made a mistake here since I generally go for Google Maps). After several sorties in the middle of nowhere, I decided to go on my hunch and the compass in my watch (I hate asking directions – they just add to the multitude of confusion!). I did get back on track each time, but my total driving for today extended from 8 hours to 9.

Here are some pictures (as usual). To start with, the country side was awesome. So splendidly clean and romantic. Artistic buildings like these pop out of nowhere. And a LOT of these buildings and shops have an American flag waving outside.

And these are remote villages. Wonder what makes them so artsy - the architecture, or the ambience or the effort they put in. Perhaps all of these.

At the end of the drive, I arrive at Montauk Point. I first saw Montauk in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was much more romantic in the movie, but I guess I got the timing wrong - should’ve come here during winter.

Montauk Point Lighthouse, built in 1792, is the fourth oldest in the US.

Atlantic Ocean. A pillow of winds. (View from top of lighthouse)

A long lonesome highway, east of Long Island.

Eagle’s Nest estate castle built by marine biologist Vanderbilt. An amazing peaceful place with a backside entrance from the port.

The pleasure of getting lost is the drive, which takes you unwittingly through really beautiful port-side villages like these...

See ya next time!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Meeting Lucy

Ever since I read about Lucy in A short history about nearly everything, I wanted to visit the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). I never imagined it to happen this fast though.

AMNH, being 135 years old, is one of the greatest natural history museums in the world. A view from Central Park, NYC:

It consists of a dome planetarium, an IMAX theatre, several temporary exhibitions, in addition to the 45 exhibition halls that are open round the year. Here’s what makes it different: the Dinosaur hall, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer hall of Human Evolution, and the Earth and Space center. The whole museum is so big you can barely browse through the entire collection. You need to spend about 10 days to read the contents of all exhibits.

Here’s the view of the space center. Needless to say, things all over are sparkling clean and tidy. There are thousands of LCD screens in addition to exhibits all over, I truly don’t know how they break-even.

The Hall of Human Evolution is a major reason why I visited AMNH. The hall explains how life evolved (whatever science explains), how complex life originated, and how chimpanzees finally transformed into humans.

Here’s the prized Lucy – one of the best known fossils till date. Lucy is the ONLY fossil (3 million years old) ever found (in Africa) that explains the migration of human ancestors from trees to plains.

The Jurassic era…

What is really breathtaking about AMNH is the amount of detail that has went into each of the thousands of exhibits... here's one. The 3D representation is just spotless.

I did have some pleasant surprises as I came out. When I was strolling in the snow-covered Central Park, I found a beautiful snowman in a corner. I instantly named him Calvin!

And, as I was walking near the famous Madame Tussauds, I lost a moment of breath when I saw... one of my idols!

I couldn’t catch the New York rickshaws last time around, but this time I did. Watch the bottom left of the picture… a typical rickshaw, except that it looks much better. Women too drive rickshaws in NYC!

There is one other big reason to visit this place – the breathtaking dome planetarium that gives a thrilling ride through space and time. It was the biggest dome I had ever seen, but photography was unfortunately not allowed. My camera memory conking off half-way is another story...

Update 1: Since no one found it, I'll disclose this myself: The Morgan Freeman in the picture is his replica and not his actual self. You just can't see the difference until you are real upclose. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

3 reasons to catch up '300'

I haven't yet, but there are three reasons to watch this war epic - titled '300'.
  1. It's apparently en route to break North American Box Office opening records (BBC news) - which is how I came to know about it.
  2. Iran condemns this 'war epic'. So there's gotta be something good about it. :)
  3. And here's the ace - this is from Frank Miller (of Sin City fame, to the uninitiated). And its already topping the IMDB charts.
Enjoy the trailer.

Go catch it folks, and let me know if there's a download link around! [Don't bother about industry revenue falling et al. We'll catch up in the theatre too!]

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Biting the Big Apple – New York City

The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York. (Via Wikipedia)
And that’s where I stepped in this morning. When the crazy side of me tickled me into stepping nto a city such as NY without help or company, I did decide to give in - to the extent of doing a quick visit to a couple of places and turning back, and then to slowly get comfortable with the place. In the end, I visited more landmarks in one day than what I generally do in whole years.

It all started when I stepped into a metro train heading to the Grand Central Terminal (GCT), New York. GCT didn’t look an iota like the largest train platform in the world. Things are so organized there are just a bunch of tourists in the main concourse taking photographs. All commuters use several exits and get away smoothly.

I stepped out of GCT and walked across, subdued by the magnitude of skyscrapers. As I inched towards Times Square, I tried hard to recollect the Manhattan map that I had seen in Google Maps. What gave direction to me were the increase in intensity and presence of colors. That’s what Times Square is about – colors. You see colors, colors and more colors. And your senses automatically start to savor the taste.

Here’s the Times Square – the square of the squares.

It’s almost unfair to have so much in such a little place - Broadway shows, I Love New York merchandise stores, some of the world’s best dressed people, climax of technology, the flute, the drums, live performers, round-the-clock restaurants, shopping plazas and high-fashion stores.

Square side performers like these set your mood on fire.

And then there was the ‘Naked Cowboy’, singing happy and free in the heart of the world.

I had a hard time getting the solo snap of this guy – there was a mad frenzy among the girls to strike a pose with him, just like the one below. It’s all about having fun. :)

Times Square is also where I met the NY Sight Seeing bus. You pay 40$ and select a route – Downtown, Uptown etc- and that’s about it. Buses keep going around the circuits and you just hop-in and hop-off anytime, anywhere in the circuit.

After some shopping, and more of hanging around, my next stop was the Empire State Building. I was more interested in a sky-line view of downtown Manhattan from the 86th floor, and this is how it looked.

This is how the other buildings stack up (or chicken out!)

I liked the Graffiti, New York style...

Ground-Zero of WTC. Time-travel backwards by 6 years, I might’ve been staring at the tallest buildings in the world.

Traffic, New York style. I hear downtown NY has jams for 3-4 hours even during mid-nights.

‘Melting Pot’ to the IIMI fraternity is the name of our dance floor, but the word originally got its meaning in New York, the truest of the true cultural capitals in the world. You see people of every know breed – Caucasians, Africans, Hispanics, Asians, Mongoloids… you name it.

There are places in Manhattan for everybody – Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Korea… and the street for exotic Russian, Ukrainian, Indian stuff etc.

Here’s a sneak view of Chinatown.

Following is the crown-jewel landmark of NYC, the Central Park. I just loved the half-formed ice... makes for a very peaceful setting.

And by the time I decided to return, the colors only got brighter…

I hope my next trips would be to museums – especially the science museum. And NY has got just about everything – Museum of Science/History, Museum of Art and even a Museum of sex!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What's the dumbest thing you've done?

Whatever that was, I bet you can't beat proposing stuff like this.

I don't understand what's the point in doing dumb things. You could do a lot of crazy things, which is alright coz you might be hoping that one day someone (a la Elisha Cuthbert in The Girl Next Door) might ask what's the craziest thing you've done, but doing dumb things?

Duh! Guess I really digressed.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nike Cricket Crazy

Did you guys catch up with Nike's Cricket commerical? We are all mighty used to those awesome football ads from Nike, but this is the first one of the same genre in cricket. And it r-o-c-k-s. This is one good ad full of passion I'm seeing after a long time.

Njoi the video!

(via YouthCurry)

Monday, March 05, 2007

When angels cometh and call thee a blessed one...

You'd probably feel how I felt tonight.

Yeah, looks like there is something in the world for everybody. Even for the lazy-to-the-last-underlying-bone ones like me. (Near) two weeks of bread-omelettes, corn flakes, repeat of the same 'n' times, burgers, of all kinds and shapes, muffins, salads, with and without dressings, then some chocolates, peanut butter, chips, more junk, even more junk, apple juice, orange juice, etcetera left my taste buds nearly dead.

And then, on one of those routine sorties to the nearby grocery, I find this heavenly thing. At 4 something dollars, but I don't give anything close to a damn.

Heavenly. Beats the stuff you get at home. Creamed spinach & cheese with rice and rajmah dal. Made with support from people flown from the region of Punjab in India, it says.

Buy it, put it in 5 minutes of oven and you are done. Perfect for bums like me. Amy's Foods. New York.

Bless life. Bliss life.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

IIM Indore placements 2007

You feel each day moves very slow (depending on where you are), but net-net, time just scoots. I can't believe it's been a year since I passed out of the 'hill', or 'Planet-I', as we call our alma-mater. On the other hand, the placement report this year makes me feel I passed out a full 5 years back.

For those who didn't read the report in EconomicTimes and IBN Live, here goes the excerpts of Final placements 2007.

I'm just putting in the excerpts here, while the full report will be uploaded here (shortly I suppose).
  1. A total of 329 offers were made to 115 students of the eighth batch, which included 12 international offers and an average salary of Rs 12 lakhs per annum, an increase of 45 per cent over last year
  2. Out of the 67 companies that participated in the placement process, 29 took part for the first time. On an average, 2.8 jobs were offered per student
  3. In the IT sector, besides Oracle, Capgemini, Headstrong, Cognizant, IBM, Tech Mahindra and Covansys - Infosys also came back to the campus with an international offer of US Dollar 110,000 per annum
  4. This year saw IIM Indore’s placements take the stage among the big league of consulting profiles - McKinsey, Accenture Business Consulting, KPMG, Stern Stewart & Co, Deloitte Consulting, Aptivaa Consulting, Price-Waterhouse Coopers, SAP Labs
  5. Global giants Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial, Bank of America, HSBC, Citigroup, Standard Chartered and JP Morgan along with domestic majors SBI, UTI and new-comers YES Bank were vying for the best students on campus
  6. New entrants Alghanim Industries with international retail profiles and Colgate Palmolive in FMCG were accompanied by established names like Asian Paints, ITC, Reliance, Dabur, Astro MEASAT among others. The pay packages saw a high of US$67,000 internationally and an unprecedented Rs.18 lakhs per annum domestic
Apart from the reporting jump in salaries, it's gladdening that the big daddy of consulting - McKinsey is in, in addition to Accenture Biz Consulting. McKinsey coming in per-se isn't all that big a deal. It's the time they've taken to visit the campus. IIM-I has pulled them in for the 8th batch that's passing out, which is probably a record of sorts.

Heartening to see the institute grow in jumps, leaps and bounds.

My previous posts on IIM-I placements:
IIM Indore placements 2006
IIM Indore placements 2005