Thursday, December 10, 2009

Political Agitation

This week, we had a few days of political agitation. The issue was the splitting of the Andhra Pradesh state so that the northern part of it would become a separate state. That part is called Telangana.

The leader of that movement was fasting to death, supporters were making demonstrations, shops were closed, etc. A few of my teammates were unable to come. Church on Sunday was migrated to house churches.

Now, its over. The Central government has decided to grant the request. The rest is a matter of how and when. Splitting a state, establishing a new capital, making elections... this is going to take time to set in place.

Trip to Chhinwada

Oh man! I spent a few days in southern Madya Pradesh, for a friend's brother's wedding. I did a little bit of sightseeing too.

Quite a trip it is! I had to take a bus from Hyderabad to Nagpur, then a jeep from Nagpur to the city. That's roughly 10.5 hours.
Things were OK, but a bit below expectations. I wanted to do much more sightseeing than that. Nevertheless, it was good to be out from the city.
Things were hectic for coming back. My bus was canceled because of the political agitation in Hyderabad. But my travel agent managed to get me and my friend in another bus, and we made it to Hyderabad early enough on Monday to avoid the agitations then.
See the pictures here:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Canada Best for Expats

I was claiming that Quebec was the best part of the world for a long long time.
The latest study by HSBC gets pretty close to validate that!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Detailed Description of the Mumbai Attacks

Sixty Hours of Terror offers a good description of what happened during 26/11 and the next few days of terrorist-fighting. A good read if you haven't followed the details on TV.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moved to the Latest Kubuntu

I installed Kubuntu 9.10 on my computer. And I have to say, I'm finally back to being satisfied with Linux.
- I had problems with the video drivers, which were making using my computer irritating.
- And the flash video works painlessly on all sites I've been to, whereas it was a bit broken before
- Adding MP3 support and the like happens smoothly at the beginning, a real joy!

English Shellcode

This is crazy! Have a look at the paper:
English Shellcode, by Joshua Mason, Sam Small Fabian Monrose and Greg MacManus shows how you can encode a malicious payload into spam-looking, but valid, English prose.

Whitelisting just got more difficult...

Saturday, November 21, 2009


This looks really awesome:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Teens not as sexually depraved as we think

Here some interesting tidbits from a report in La Presse:
- 50% of 18 year-olds are virgins
- First time is part of a couple relationship in 83% for boys, 85% for girls
- Average sex partners over their life: 4

That is still too much, agreed, especially considering the impopularity of marriage in Quebec, but that's reassuring in a way... the world is not as dark as we think!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Upgraded to Kubuntu 9.10

Yes, I have made the upgrade! I'm glad I did. All these annoying video card glitches are gone, and my flash player works for Colbert Nation! It was fairly simple to set up the flash and MP3 support too! Its a nice step forward!

Alphanumeric Shellcode

I'm surprised that this didn't make the news... some guys came up with alphanumeric shellcode on ARM processors. That means that some filters can be bypassed. So some buffer overflows that were thought as safe are not exploitable.

If you're really interested in the technical details, its there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Domestic Violence in India

Have a look at "Working women face more domestic violence in India: Study".

The survey was limited to the Bangalore area. It would be interesting to have the same survey done in other parts of the country. I would also like to see the distribution relative to education and socio-economic level. I'm guessing that wealthier and higher-educated couples would be less likely to have domestic violence

Sunday, October 25, 2009

AR Rahman's Concert

I attended AR Rahman's concert in Hyderabad this Saturday. The attendance was estimated at 50'000. The tickets were costing between 500 Rs and 25'000 Rs. Surprisingly, the higher the price, the more the sections were filled with people.

I felt that the 500Rs section was so empty...

Anyways, the profits will go to the flood victims. In case you didn't know, we had major floods in AP a few weeks ago. My company organized a donation drive about that, and gave about 25'00'000 Rs.

Back on topic, the concert was great. Since most of the songs were from movies he made the music for, it didn't connect as much as the others around me. Still, this composer is great, and the performing artists did a good job. We had fireworks during Jai Ho at the end. And there was this huggggggge screen at the back that was used very creatively during the concert. It gave great ambiance. Money well spent.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reverse Brain Drain

It looks like the Indians and the Chinese in the Silicon Valley are returning home, and its because of a mix of personal matters and better opportunities, says a recent survey.
Of course, it doesn't cover the case of Quebecois IT professionals coming to work in India ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trip to Chennai

I went to Chennai and Mahabalipuram this weekend. Just for sightseeing.

I put some pictures online.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A small stockpile of classical music

MusOpen is the start of a repository of open classical music on the Internet. Please note that it still misses a lot of stuff from Wikipedia and the Pandora Records collection.

But still cool! Have a look, learn something new :)

Retreat in Bangalore and Dates

I recently went to a church retreat in Bangalore. It was pretty nice. It gave me some room to think, and I realized that I had been holding back a lot on my commitment to God. So the experience was uplifting.

In parallel to that, I was supposed to have 4 dates. I stayed an extra day and booked a flight for that sake. 2 sisters canceled at the last minute! Of the 2 that are left, I had 2 dates with one and 1 date with the other. I'm not too attracted by any of them, truth be told. But I'll go a second time to Bangalore to give this a final chance.

I had a date prepared in Chennai. She too chickened out. The common problem is that sisters don't want to marry a foreigner. As far as I'm concerned, such racial thinking belongs to the 19th century, and those who engage in it are retards, and it doesn't belong in the church. We are all one in Christ. We are individuals, and not representatives of a given sub-species (or whatever you want to call it). Further, we have to be ready to go anywhere and do anything for God. So how is it acceptable to be afraid of leaving your backyard? Instead of tackling the concerns and insecurities head on and be concerned of matters of character and compatibility, the Indian church is letting this retrograde and immature thinking go unchecked.
A brother was telling me he was denied dates in the US because he's Indian. I see from this that retardation is not constrained to India, but can be anywhere in the world. This is sad, unspiritual, and needs to be weeded out from the church with upmost dedication.

End of rant.
P.S. I now officially have no hope of getting married in India. Miracles can still happen...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ramoji Film City and Brrrrraaaaiiiiinnnnnsss

On Monday, we had a holiday, and I visited Ramoji Film City with a colleague from Mumbai. It was OK, but many steps below La Ronde in Montreal.

Yesterday, we ordered fried mutton brains for dinner. Yummmmy! I guess that makes me a zombie :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Visa Extension Work Done

Just a quick update...

It took me 1.5 days to get this done, but it is done...
On Wednesday, I had to rush to the office to get a document from HR, then rush back to the Foreigners' Registration Office (FRO) to get the forms. Then off to pay the challan for the fee (they take cash only, and there is no ATM near by) and then finally get all my documents attested (I didn't have enough cash... the ATM nearby was not working and the nearest ATM was 15 minutes of walk away...) I was back home tiiiiired. I went to bed at 19:30.
On Thursday, I went to the FRO early, I got the gentle welcome of the frontline officer who looks like he doesn't like his job. Then go inside to stab all my documents so that I can tie them in a nice little bundle. Then come back, give the bundle and start waiting.

Now, I have a piece of paper that says that my stuff is in process. Yay.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Men Getting Dumber Around Good-Looking Women

Now its scientifically proven, men don't perform cognitive tasks as well after chatting with a pretty woman.
Of course, everybody already knew that. The interesting part is that the result is not symmetric: women are not affected by men's good look.

That's why the Bible teaches women to be modest (1 Peter 3:1-4, 1 Ti 2:9), but never told the same about men. God isn't sexist, he's just accurate!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Its that time of the year...

Festival galore in India!
First, we had a Jain festival this week, Paryushan.
Then, its Ramzan, better known as Ramadan. The mosques aren't enough to contain the believers praying in the evening, and I saw some praying in the street next to the mosque yesterday evening.
Oh, and we have Ganesha Chaturthi and there is plenty of temporary Ganesh shrines all over the place, except in my neighbourhood. At least there is ONE advantage in being in a predominately Muslim area ;)

Why I'm not in Grad School

'nuff said

Troubleshooting Flowchart

Simple generic-purpose flowchart on how to get something to work on any computer program, courtesy of XKCD.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Batch of Updates :)

- I went to the Singles' Retreat in Delhi... major waste of time and money. There was some encouragement from the messages, that is true. My search for a life partner was not fruitfult, sadly. I'll post some pics soon.
- Working on a paper that is due at month's end for a conference in Chennai.
- Witnessed two baptisms last Sunday. Amen!!! One new baby brother and one baby sister :)
- Had a rock solid moment of discipling with the leaders and it was great! I've been challenged clearly and they (finally!) told me that I needed to improve some things in my character if I want to get married. Hope is back :)
- My work is progressing slowly but surely. We should reach a milestone this week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Major Stuff Happening

Ok, lets summarize this

- I've taken the decision to stop attending leader meetings in the church... I am not doing so well spiritually, and it would be hypocritical to keep on pretending like I've been doing for some time now.
- I've had friends coming over from Mumbai and I got to show them around, I finally got to see some of my city! 'Veiled Rebecca' in the Salar Jung Museum is an amazing sculpture!
- I'm getting good feedback on my driving
- My car is majorly scratched, courtesy of the kids in the neighbourhood and of my lousy parking skills (and my lousy parking)
- I am considering yet another scheme to start a PhD... the saga isn't over! Essentially, try to do the research now and be officially registered as a student later.
- I've given my notice to my landlord. I'll be gone on Oct 1st. I've started looking for apartments near the national park, so that I can do jogging in the morning!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Maker's Schedule

Very good article about different ways of scheduling. I agree with that the author says: techies need long uninterrupted moments to tackle technical problems. A couple of uninterrupted hours of work mean wonderful productivity.

And also some tidbit of advice, extending on what the author say: bunch together all the little things that are distracting and do it in one shot, so that you can focus on the real work after.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yes, they landed on the moon

In case you've heard conspiracy theories, here's something to help you see that indeed, people went on the moon, and it wasn't Michael Jackson :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Got a New Car

Yes... you've read it well!

The lousiness of Hyderabad's public transit has finally driven me over the edge. I've gotten a car with some financial assistance, and I'm driving to work now.

You can say that my pragmatism has finally triumphed over my idealism.
As luck would have it... I've gotten it just after the price increase.

At 50 Rs per litre, it makes it easy to do math, but it really hurts the budget. (That's 1 USD or 1.25 CAD, approximatively... can you say heavily taxed?)

I've gotten to the RTO get this thing registered today. I'll soon have my license plate.

The car is a Chevrolet Spark. It claims to have good mileage, but I've yet to see that in reality.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finally, a Court with Sense

Its finally official: marriage is not the same as a de-facto relationship.

Of course, the matter is going to be appealed.
In my opinion, these relationships have already too many rights given to them. If you want to live together, you should get married. End of story.
It takes about 5-15 minutes to do that at the courthouse and its not too expensive, so nobody really has the right to complain...
In India, its even cheaper... just tie the yellow thread (AP) or exchange the garlands (North India) and the matter is over. Then you need the pandit to give you the certificate. Done!

Why is it that people confuse tradition with principle? You don't need a fancy banquet to get married. There is no financial reason not to get married. It boils down to a 5 minute thing that makes your couple legitimate and protected. I have many friends who want to wait until they are more settled in life before getting married... what stupidity!
And in the meantime, they'll live together, and every time they'll sleep together, they'll add one more sin to their already tall pile of sins. All of it for what? Impressing people? Some stupid tradition they don't care about? Fear of commitment?

In the article, they mention that the man who was with her didn't want to get married, because he didn't believe in the institution of marriage. Interestingly, he got 3 kids... looks like someone believed in the institution of family... Go figure.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now Officially a Polluter

I got a car. I did.

Yes, me. The environmentalist. The guy who was recycling every piece of paper.

No, not even with LPG, I wasn't able to afford it.

So I'm polluting to go to work and to come back. And doing errands. And soon for meeting brothers and the like.

I'm a bit ashamed. But there was little way around it. I can't live close to both work and church, the trains suck and the buses are overcrowded. I've dealt with it for 9 months. I've been thinking about it since month 6...

God willing, He'll bring me to another city or country that will have fantastic public transit. And recycling. Maybe I'll be able to atone for my destruction of the world somehow at some point.

I hope.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flow-based packet switching

Very interesting article. The concept is simple, it saves enormous power and would allow data centers to actually shrink in size!

A Radical New Router

Monday, July 13, 2009

Save More Than Fuel

Good website, with simple advice to get the best mileage from your car

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Air New Zealand Pushing Nudity

If you didn't know we live in a dark world yet, here's something that might be a wake-up call:

Air New Zealand has safety measures explained by naked stewards and stewardesses with body painting! How ridiculous and depraved!

If I don't watch the safety instructions when I fly, that's because I fly enough to know them by heart! I don't think that the airlines should worry about that...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stats About The Québécois

Two survey summaries worth reading (use Google Translate if you can't read French).

Essentially, the vast majority of Québécois won't care to celebrate Canada Day. But they still like Canada, think its a great country to be part of, and don't see Québec separate anytime soon. The editorialist says it nicely: they love Canada with their heads, but not with their hearts. Whereas, for the rest of the country, both are engaged.

Geek Clock

Now, THAT is neat!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Machine Guns at the Office Today

We had the visit of a VIP at the office today. There were a couple of police officers in uniform, and plenty of plainclothes officers in plain clothes, and with a sniffer dog. Apparently, the guys were 'black cats', the NSG. Rumours say that the VIP was an ambassador, and hence the heavy security.

Still, that freaked me out a bit. You know... military weaponry a few meters away from you...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bravely FOught The Queen

I saw, this Saturday, Mahesh Dattani's "Bravely Fought The Queen", as rendered by D Fir Dramatics.

The troupe was of young actors, and it was a bit special for 20 year olds to be playing characters of married parents. Physical appearance aside, I think that they did a pretty good job.
I said, 'I think', because this show was suffering from bad acoustics... so I would get enough to keep me on my seat, but not enough to really enjoy it.
The actors were not having a powerful voice, and the flawed sound system was supposed to compensate. I think that my bad hearing didn't help either, because the crowd laughed at jokes I didn't hear at all!!!
As for the rest: SPOILER ALERT!
The story is about a cascading effect of sin. The mother was a mistress to a man. She lied and told her 2 sons that he was dead. One of the son is gay. His lover convinced him to marry his sister. And then her sister got married to the other son. One of the sons is violent and beat up is wife when she was pregnant. And the kid is handicapped. One of the wives is a drunkard and one of the husbands gets his employee to pick up a prostitute for him.
In all that, you have this employee and his wife, who end up being witness of all the insanity of the above-mentioned characters.
The storytelling is done properly, as the facts unfold just enough to leave you in the dark, and all fit together at the last minute. It ends up with a drunken wife passed out on a couch and her husband confessing to her his homosexual liaison with her brother. Then, all clicks: she's an alchoolic because her husband doesn't like her at all and she's trying to drink her sorrow. Her sister and her have a bad relationship, because that sister is married to the abusive husband, and it happened only because of her elder sister getting married. They both have created an imaginary lover. And they hate their mother in law because she's really senile and hates them too.
In short, you'll see a lot of the social evils that plague india under the hood, all put in one family! I'm sure I would've enjoyed this play if the actors knew how to project their voice.

Hyderabad Theatre Festival

Until tomorrow, its the Hyderabad Theatre Festival. Yes, there is some refinement in this city!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Monsoon Rains

I don't know if monsoon has officially started, but we're having quite a shower right now.

And, as usual, the power is down. But my laptop has a battery, and I'm plugged directly onto my ISP's wire (no equipment in between) so I'm able to blog despite all that. Crazy huh :D

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ubuntu for Windows Power Users

A nice article for new converts to Linux on Tom's Hardware

Saturday, May 23, 2009

PhD Comics

I started reading those... and I really love them!
Piled Higher & Deeper

Here are some good ones:
Grad student productivity curve
and motivation curve
Mapping of the years of work vs the thesis content
Comic Chart jokes

Dr. is informal
Grad Seminar Bingo
Life Plan vs Reality
Geek, Nerd, Dork
Deciphering Academese

The author list
The economic meltdown
Darwin remixed

And, best of all, the Matrix version of grad school

Kubuntu 9.04

I finally go around to install the latest Kubuntu on my new laptop. Finally, my 64-bit hardware is going to be used to its full potential!!!

But what a pain it has been. The audio didn't work 100% out of the box, meaning that it would work in Amarok, but not with flash and VLC. I finally got it to work, but then the microphone didn't work... turns out that I needed to jack up the alsa mixer settings.

Here are the links to the solutions, just in case it helps you :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Power Failure

On Tuesday, as we were about to leave the ministry gathering to share our faith with the people, a storm started and knocked the power. We could not go out, so we lighted a few candles and played some games until it stopped.

The cut was spread to many parts of the city. Going home in the dark isn't fun, and I'm reaching home and I'm baking in the heat... only that small hand fan saved me from cooking on the spot!

I asked a brother, and he told me that it was happening nearly every day during monsoon. Oh, and did I mention the streets were flooded?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The joy of simple things

This weekend, I got fed up of waiting for my fridge to be fixed. The repairman "fixed" it, but it wasn't working.
I had the wisdom of asking a brother to try it out, so that I don't have to pay a fortune each time.

So, I'm in super-hot summer, no fridge, and the big bottle of water is empty.

First, I got a fridge on Sunday. That was easy... go to 2-3 shops, get the prices, then send brothers to bargain the price for me. Then, I get it delivered, plug it in and its working!
The store that sells the water didn't deliver the day before. I called and they don't have anyone to deliver. I went back and got my deposit back. I moved to the other store that sells that... to find it closed! I roamed around my neighbourhood... but noone else sells that. Call a brother again, and he got me some water. Its a short-term fix though...
But still... I put the water in the fridge, went to do some groceries, and I had the PLEASURE of taking a cold glass of water. I was giddy drinking water!!!
Then the brothers came and we started watching a DVD together while eating food.
All in all, a lot of simple things gave me joy last Sunday!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Long Weekend

We had a long weekend, since Friday was worker's day.

I went with brothers to the Osman Sagar lake.

View Larger Map
They had a swim in it, but I abstained. I was afraid my skin would turn green. The place is very quiet, very peaceful. We have almost no engine noises, breeze, and birds chirping.
I had quite the sunburn though, even though I creamed myself with SPF 50 sun lotion. Oh well.
On Saturday, I played Warcraft III. I bought it for 50 Rs at a charity sale of the expat's club!!! And I hunted for Eucalyptus lotion to soothe my painful skin.
On Sunday, after church, I went with my friend and did some computer fixing for him. Then I took the time to learn how to drive a scooter in a safe environment. I've managed OK, but its far from being skilled enough to go to work. Its a start though.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

No martyrs here

Good article in The Guardian. Now you understand why you can't pay me enough to relocate to Orissa.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Indian Elections are Fueled by Booze and Cash

I had the pleasure to take a colleague's copy of The Hindu newspaper last week. In the news, I saw that the police arrested and filed cases against hundreds of people in relation to buying votes. It was either with cash, or with spirits. Too bad I can't find the link right now :(

Now that the elections are over in my state (AP), I guess this is over. This year's election went smoothly enough, and there were no riots or anything like that that happened.

That's good news, as I was afraid to be caught by some fundamentalist mob at some point...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Post-Vacation News

So everything went well flying back to India. Except for a mess-up by Lufthansa that made me waste a looooooooooot of time, I had the usual enjoyable travel experience.
That mess-up is that my 16:20 flight was shifted to 18:00 or so, which would have been a tight connection. So I asked to have a 17:00 flight. All in all, I could've spent some more time with my friends at church on Sunday.

Then, I arrived.

Hyderabad airport is... interesting. Things go relatively smoothly with the officials and stuff. But once you get out, you know that you're in India. Anyways, I got myself to a Radio Cab (I'm not taking the bus past midnight) and it cost me ~ 650 Rs to get back home. Expensive, but manageable.
I slept and went to work the next day. And then bad surprises came: nothing was completed. The hurdles they faced along the way made them loose enough time so that things weren't done. So, I had to roll up my sleeves and we got things working. The demo to senior folks in the organization is tomorrow. I'm looking forward for this phase to be over.
Then, I'll be able to focus on my research again :)
Other than that... I'm in the full swing of summer. The temperature will sometimes be above 37 degrees centigrade in the afternoon. Oy! During weekends, I end up doing a siesta every afternoon... I can't manage the heat very well.
Ministry-wise, I got encouragement from a brother yesterday. I was feeling down because I felt unproductive for God. He told me that, since the church wasn't doing well, the mere fact that a brother is taking responsibility is a big deal. I didn't think of it that way, and it helps me feel useful again.
In other news, I have decided not to apply for the Tata Nano. I am thinking of learning to drive a motorcycle and getting a nice cheap scooter. A car will be expensive, and I need to learn to drive manual anyway. The final decision is not taken yet. I want to get a learner's license and learn the motorcycle driving to get a feel of it. If the feel is good, I'll go ahead.
Marriage-wise, nothing will happen for some time. There is some mega-matchmaking session that will happen in August, and I have been told to wait and participate in that.
That guarantees that I won't get married in 2009. That's a disappointment, but I must live with it. Prayers encouraged!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

End of Vacation

I'm just finishing 2 weeks of vacation in Quebec. It was great, and relaxed me.

What did I do?
- sleeping lots and lots
- 3 days of ski
- 2 full-body massages
- reimbursed my parents the money I owed them (whohooooooooooo, no debt!!!)
- Caught up with old friends in Montreal

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

World's Most Expensive Cities

According to this article

1. Moscow
2. Tokyo
3. Hong Kong
4. Mumbai
5. New York
6. Beijing
7. Geneva
8. Delhi
9. London
10. Singapore

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Birthday Stuff

It was my birthday this week, and I had a few celebrations.

- With the single brothers at church, we had biryani. They said a lot about how they were touched by my humility... I hug everyone the same in the church, and I'm very approachable.
- With my coworkers, we went for South Indian Thali. That was nice, and not too boring.
- With other friends, I had a party at my house. A friend of mine took a lot of time to plan it, and it was beautifully decorated. Sadly, a few people who said they would come didn't, so it was a small party.

I had a few gifts, some nice, some were ???. I had one nice workout polo shirt, and some glasses, for instance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Have I Been Up To?

Its been a few weeks. Nothing happened? Think again.

On the first Friday of the month, we had a 'prayer night' with the brothers. Two came and we must've prayed a big... 45 minutes :(
My fridge is dead for a month now. The compressor needs to be replaced. That's half of the price I paid for it. The guy I bought it from doesn't come, and I'm not feeling like clearing time in my schedule for waiting for his (potential) visit. So I'll get it fixed when I'm out of town by delegating it.
Gotta love Hyderabad! In Mumbai, this thing would've been fixed in 2-4 days.
I was sick with food poisoning for most of last week. I had to hide in the doctor's room and sleep on the bed there sometimes. I was barely able to work even.
I have been hanging out with the expats a little bit, and with some other trainees some. One friend was surprised to see me in a pub. And he was even more surprised to see me resist his repeated offers for free beer. In 5 years of Christianity, I've gotten some resistance against peer pressure :)
My weekends are busy with social activities, doing whatever needs to be done, and church. Lately, I started giving a class about the early church. It feels great to be involved in teaching again!
There was a book sale at work. I bought a Stephen Hawkins book as well as Anne Frank's diary. Its an entertaining read, seriously! And I didn't know what kind of challenges the Europeans were suffering during WW2.

Fighting for Jobs in the Current Economy

Very good and very short commentary by Jonathan Browning

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend in Mumbai

I spent the weekend in Mumbai. I took the bus on the way there and on the way back.

First, I have to say, bus sucks if you don't want to watch a movie. Truly, Indian's ability to sleep despite major disturbances eludes me!
Anyways, choose between watch and don't sleep or don't watch and don't sleep.
So on my way there, it was Ghajini. The love story in itself was worth watching. The violence was not needed.
On the way back, it was Fashion, which was stereotype-filled piece of fanservice.
Leaving the movies aside, I attended a friend's wedding, saw a play at Prithvi theater in Juhu (Hamlet, remade by clowns, very funny!) on Saturday. On Sunday, I went to Leopold Cafe and had FANTASTIC pesto pasta. hhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Then, my friends and I walked about in Colaba and took in the view. We Andherites never go there... I didn't go for a long time when I was living in Mumbai... all that you need is between Bandra and Malad, so why bother?
Anyways, it was great to catch up with my old friends :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Other Misc Updates

I have gotten my driver's license. Legally, and no bribes too. The process was really painless, I must say, and nearly quick. Yup.
Don't get excited though...

I've gotten failed 3 times last Sunday. The plumber didn't come. The repair person didn't come. My friend didn't show up when we were supposed to go see a movie together.
And I didn't even get to see the movie!

So, I have a fridge that is not keeping things cold, a pipe from which nauseous gases come out, and a boring Sunday that was supposed to be packed and productive.

And I've been trying to get a stabilizer for said fridge, only to have the shop selling it in the neighbourhood not be open when I needed it.

Oh, and I'm getting a new doctor (again!) for one constant problem I've been trying to get healing on. Its the 3rd in 3 months, litterally. Lets hope that '3 is a charm' is gonna work for me.

And things have not been working out too well for me with my scheme to stay late at night during the week.

I'm in Hyderabad, without a vehicle. That means that stores don't stay open super late, doctors don't work late (nor early, for the most part) and people won't be available either. And I can't order stuff on the Internet either for all my needs. And distances are farther than in Montreal. Suffice to say that a Montreal-like strategy isn't working.
Personal things don't get done well, so I'll need to switch to a more classical 9-6 and stick to it. I'm not so happy about that (less freedom, more stuff to do on weekends instead of having a social life), but it would make more sense for me and would make me more useful as a servant of God.
That also means more discipline, and having super-productive netcafe sessions when I get everything email-related done in one shot (despite the slowness of the connection). Can't think of a better approach.
At least I'm trying to optimize...

Other Misc Updates

I have gotten my driver's license. Legally, and no bribes too. The process was really painless, I must say, and nearly quick. Yup.
Don't get excited though...

I've gotten failed 3 times last Sunday. The plumber didn't come. The repair person didn't come. My friend didn't show up when we were supposed to go see a movie together.
And I didn't even get to see the movie!

So, I have a fridge that is not keeping things cold, a pipe from which nauseous gases come out, and a boring Sunday that was supposed to be packed and productive.

And I've been trying to get a stabilizer for said fridge, only to have the shop selling it in the neighbourhood not be open when I needed it.

Oh, and I'm getting a new doctor (again!) for one constant problem I've been trying to get healing on. Its the 3rd in 3 months, litterally. Lets hope that '3 is a charm' is gonna work for me.

And things have not been working out too well for me with my scheme to stay late at night during the week.

I'm in Hyderabad, without a vehicle. That means that stores don't stay open super late, doctors don't work late (nor early, for the most part) and people won't be available either. And I can't order stuff on the Internet either for all my needs. And distances are farther than in Montreal. Suffice to say that a Montreal-like strategy isn't working.
Personal things don't get done well, so I'll need to switch to a more classical 9-6 and stick to it. I'm not so happy about that (less freedom, more stuff to do on weekends instead of having a social life), but it would make more sense for me and would make me more useful as a servant of God.
That also means more discipline, and having super-productive netcafe sessions when I get everything email-related done in one shot (despite the slowness of the connection). Can't think of a better approach.
At least I'm trying to optimize...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cycling Around Hyderabad

Yup, you read it well.

This weekend, I purchased a bicycle. I'm using it to go to the train station and back. Its a 10-15 minutes trip. Not bad, considering that this is as much time as you'd spend waiting for the bus to come AT BEST. And its roughly the cost of 200 Rickshaw rides, about 10 months' worth of rickshaws (unidirectional) rides. So it'll have paid itself off by year's end, and then its free :)

Other than that?
Life is OK. I'm doing a bit less well than before though. I feel irritated and stressful more often. Its more challenging to be spiritual, and I feel ravenously hungry all the time. I guess I need to double-check the side effects of that pill I got prescribed lately...

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Food Poisoning and Other Non-Fun

Oh well, life happens.

I was sick most of the night from Saturday to Sunday thanks to food poisoning. Things are back to normal now.

I went to the Transport Bhavan to get an Indian driver's license, but I'll have to come back. That day they just weren't doing the licenses, and I needed some documents in original too. Anyway, it is cheapter than to get a new license in Canada, so might as well do it.

My DVD drive in my laptop is broken. Replacing it is 8000 Rs, half of what a new system would cost me. Do I endure things as they are, with the workaround of an external drive? Do I buy a new laptop? Or a new desktop? Do I put the 'net in my house?
So many questions I'd rather not have to consider.

On the + side, I've gathered enough information to take insurance, and I've learnt enough about investing in India to feel confident to start soon enough. Lots of savings are required: travels, marriage, retirement...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekend in Bangalore

I spent the weekend in Bangalore. A sister was visiting from the Montreal church, and I got to meet her. She broughts lots of stuff for the church here and for me. She's sssssssssssssssssssssssooooooooooooooooooo great!

I had a great time, seriously. Good food, good company, nice visits of landmarks I didn't see before.

Monday, January 5, 2009

5 Years as a Christian, Going for a PhD

Yes, you read right.
You can tell I'm crazy...

Last Sunday, on Sunday the 4th, I had a party at my house. To celebrate the fact that I was baptised 5 years ago. Yes, its been 5 years already. I remember when I was a baby Christian being all amazed by the guys who had been there 5 years, and even so with those who were 10.
Now, I'm 5 myself, and I'm involved in the life of young Christians. My evangelist is 20 years in the faith and still radical over all that time.
So, how is it to be kind-of-old? Well, its great! Through all this time, I have become more and more aware of God's Grace for me. I have been blessed so abundently in my life, before and after baptism. And I have goofed up and sinned so often in both periods too. Yet, God has enough Grace to keep on loving me. I have given up on being perfect, and I am accepting that truly, His Grace is sufficient, as the Scriptures say (2 Co 12:9):
'But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.'
The brothers shared movingly too. I was touched when one said that I was impacting because I was ready to face all the hardships that normal Indians have to go through every day just to get to work. Another shared that he was amazed about how I made decisions thinking about God first. Two cases in point: choosing an apartment that is close to the church, when nicer and cheaper options are available closer to work. The other is that I decided to stop using the company bus and went back to the train, even though its more expensive and is more complicated every day, and that because (in part) I was coming too late at church meetings.
Those 5 years have been memorable in many ways.
I have travelled much (Montreal, Switzerland, France, USA and India), moved by the wind of the Spirit.
I have learned much (think about the 2-3 books of mandatory reading for MTP sessions... I miss those!).
I have taught much (conferences on apolegetics, 2-3 messages a week at my peak in Campus).
I have loved much (so many brothers and sisters who have become nearly a part of me).
I have prayed, cried to and supplied Heaven much (but that's still a fraction of what I should).
And I have seen many many changes in my life, by the power of the Spirit.
I have lived more in 5 years than in the 23 that were before it. And I feel I have lived much more than many people have in their whole life.
I am praying for God to give me a long life, so get used to read little introspections like those every 5 years ;)
On other news, I had a conversation with the big boss at my office. Not the CEO, but someone who is only 2 hierarchical levels below... the kind that wear a suit even on Fridays. Ya, that kind of very senior gentleman. I am doing a research job, so getting a PhD is a normal question to have. He told me that I had essentially 2 options ahead of me:
1) stick around for 3 years, then they might send me to do a PhD somewhere that'd be good for my research
2) stick around for 1 year, get confirmed in the company, then start a PhD with a local university, and get various scientists throughout the company to support me before and after.
One way or another, I have to write a research proposal before we move ahead. I'm expecting an easy OK on the proposal, although its possible that he may request more work on solid theoretical foundations.
I'm not looking forward to be still in school at 35, nor do I feel like to give myself a lot of sweating and hardship to do the entrance exams, etc. to get to Harvard, Stanford or MIT. Although getting a PhD from those places is great, it remains that its not a super important goal in my life.
I am vision-driven, and I want to get this project done. And I want to see LOTS of people using it in a professional context. The PhD thing is an extra. It will give me a structure to learn quicker, do my job better and I'll get some recognition for what I did.
I am aware that it will have impact on my job prospects. On one hand plain jobs will be harder to get, and on the other R&D jobs would be harder to get too (since I wouldn't have a top school). I'm not so worried about that. The first case is likely work I wouldn't want to do. The second case may be mitigated by having a good publication record.
And if anyone asks "Why did you get your degree from India?" I can always say "I'm married to an Indian". What, you think I'll stick here 3+ years and stay single?
Don't book your tickets just yet though. I'm praying about all this and consulting the leaders. It'll take nothing short of God's mighty hand to get me married here, for lots of cultural reasons I can't change.