Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chasing KIMbia

When feeling down or lost or aimless, run.

When feeling otherwise, you could read http://www.chasingkimbia.com/

And if you need to know why, read http://www.chasingkimbia.com/about

As the site tells you, KIMBIA is derived from the Swahili for "to run"

And I thought it was bad enough being beaten by the Kenyans. For those who didn't know, last year's New York Marathon was not won by a Kenyan. It was won by a Brazilian. Tipped off from http://thinkingrunner.blogspot.com/

We now have a new verb in our vocabulary KIMbia.

For those who want KIMbia this Sat and Sun and plan for about 20 miles (8-10 on Sat and 10-12 on Sun) mail me. Nagaraj and myself plan to KIMbia in Bangalore's Lalbagh like every other weekend.

Update: One alert blogger corrected the earlier post where I had said that a Brazilian had won the Chicago Marathon.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Appeal for help

The young son of a former colleague (Maltesh)is an unfortunate victim of leukemia. Please find below his appeal for help (specifically financial help). The appeal below is mostly one that was made through the Cancer Patients Aid Association. It was originally composed in January, but the date is the only change as of now. The kid still needs help. Please do contribute.

APPEAL BEGINS HERE->
An Appeal to the kind hearted people – CAN YOU HELP SAVE PIYUSH?

“Piyush, the only child to his middle class parents, will complete his 7th Birthday on January 25, 2007” The kid has completed 7 years at the time of this posting.

Piyush (7 Years) was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblast Leukemia, a form of Blood Cancer) in February 2004 and underwent the treatment as per the standard protocol at Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi under Dr. Amita Mahajan (Contact No.: +91-11-26925858).

He was recovering quite well and was doing fine, leading a normal life like going to school and playing like any normal kid.

Perhaps all was not well. The tragedy struck his unsuspecting parents when during his routine blood test in December 2006, it was discovered that the disease has RELAPSED, leading to a big risk to his survival. Doctors say that his best chance for surviving this relapse is an aggressive round of chemotherapy, followed by Matched Unrelated Donors transplant or Cord Blood transplant.

Since he is the only child to his parents, the option is MUD transplant. His situation is more compounded by the fact that Matched Unrelated Donors transplants are not performed in India and we need to take him to US or Europe. This entails significant medical related expenses in an outside country, which clearly is an uphill task for his middle class parents, especially compounded by the fact that at this terrible moment for them when their only child is struggling for his life, they have to make arrangements for a large amount of money which is clearly out of bounds for an average income family like theirs.

The estimated cost of treatment in USA (Children Hospital of Pitsburg) is appx. USD $ 350K. (INR 1.60 Cr. Rupees) and the estimated cost of treatment in France (Robert Debre – Paris) is appx. USD $180K. (90 Lacs Rupees). His insurance coverage is USD $7K ONLY (INR 300,000/-)

Presently, Piyush is as inpatient at Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune under Dr. Shailesh Kanvinde (Contact No.: +91-20-40151000) and recovering from intense chemo therapy. He needs Bone Marrow Transplant / Cord Blood Transplant as soon as he goes in to remission. He is expected to be in remission in next 4 to 6 weeks time. By Mid Mar’07, he is expected to be ready for transplant.

Piyush is looking forward to going back to school, playing with friends, going back to Casio classes and so on…his immediate dream is to learn skating and wants to become a pilot one day.

We make this appeal to YOU to save a life that has yet to come out of its tenderness and in his eyes holds a lot of hope and promise for his family. Can you help Piyush in realizing his dreams by helping us to raise funds for his treatment?

Many thanks to Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) for supporting us in terms of collecting the donation from all of you. They will directly send the collected funds to treating hospital against actual expenses.

Your may donate to CPAA using a credit card online, cheque or demand draft. The procedure follows.

In case you wish to make a donation, you can do so online on CPAA website www.cpaaindia.org using a credit card. Simply click on the picture of the credit card and follow the three easy steps. In the field marked "Projects" fill in "For the treatment of Piyush." Alternately, you can send a cheque or demand draft in the name of "CANCER PATIENTS AID ASSOCIATION" to the address below. Write "For Piyush" on the back of the cheque.

Shubha Maudgal,
Cancer Patients Aid Association,
Anand Niketan,
King George V Memorial Infirmary,
Dr. E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi,

Mumbai-400011, INDIA
Phone: 0091-22-24924000
0091-22-24928775
Fax: 0091-22-24973599
URL: www.cpaaindia.org
Email: Shubha.Maudgal@cpaaindia.org

Donations to CPAA are tax exempt under section 80G (50% exemption). You will be sent a certificate of exemption along with receipt and letter of acknowledgement.

For the verification, you may contact Piyush’ father, Maltesh Kolur on the below given address and contact nos.

If you wish to not avail the tax benefit, you may deposit the donations in our following accounts,

In the name of “Maltesh Kolur”

ICICI Account No. Account No. : 002701016473
ABN AMRO Bank : Account No. : 971916

With kind Regards,

Maltesh Kolur
Flat No. 7, Building No. 6-C-4,
Siddarth Nagar Housing Soc, Phase-1, University Road,
Aundh, Pune – 411007
Maharastra – India
Cell No. : +91-9881138337
Email ID : maltesh@rediffmail.com

<-APPEAL ENDS HERE

Monday, February 26, 2007

And the Oscar goes to...

There are few things which get me as excited for a few hours as the Oscar awards, despite the fact that the winners are not always the best in their category.
The excitement is mostly due to the opportunity to see the kind of work that was presented early this day by Tornatore as a tribute. It was like I had gone to Giueseppe’s room and he took me on his tour of his favourite things.

And then there is the scene like Ennio Morricone’s honorary Oscar.
There are also gags like Robert Downey’s Jr’s just before the award for best visual effects.

For sheer production value and entertainment for a cinephile, not too many things beat this.

How many things can match Scorsese getting an Oscar from Spielberg and Lucas?! And the digs at Lucas were nice and funny.

Like Ari Sandel said in his acceptance, Tornatore’s piece already had me crying and then the rest followed. As if to remind one that life is short, Phillippe Noiret and Robert Altman who account for two of my favourite movies passed away some time in the last year.

We will be off now. Have a lot of movie to watch.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nagu, RIP

A part of my past has died.

Dear old Nagu, a tea vendor opposite the gate of REC Trichy apparently passed away some time ago. The present batches don’t even know he existed. I have met some alumni who used to come to campus much after they had passed out and would also make sure they did visit him. He must have been around for atleast a decade or more.

Anyone who had tea at his ‘kadai’ (shop in Tamil) would acknowledge his contribution to our lives in those days. Nagu was the first to know about our exams since we would proceed to gate after yet another exam down the drain. On some rare day, we would actually sit there relieved that the exam went better than expected. I must have spent a lot of time during those four glorious years at Nagu’s. I used it as my sulking point, meeting point, “leave me to myself-point”, “let me a give you guys a little treat-point,”etc.

I went to Nagu’s almost every day from my second semester in engineering for a little over three years. I was one of the few who got to meet seniors (Partially because, I went there with the seniors that I had already gotten to know!) at the tea shop in the first year itself (Those were the days of ragging). In fact, I got to know most of my seniors and juniors at the outlet. And he stayed open, well beyond midnight. There were several occasions on which I used to wake him up and ask for tea sometime beyond 3 am! Only when there would be no milk would Nagu say no. In fact whenever I went to Bangalore on the weekend and returned, Nagu would eagerly greet me like a batchmate and ask if I had gone home. There were a few occasions when I would be out of campus for some fest or some other work and not make it to Nagu’s. He would ask when I returned, “ye tambi varle? (Almost translating to, “Why didn’t you come, brother?” Even on the rare occasion when it rained, I did manage to sneak in a visit to his outlet. I used to have around half a dozen teas or more in those days (started mostly due to the lousy coffee around on campus and the need for some release) In fact, that was the only time when I was almost a pure tea drinker.

There was this really black period during our time when some students died in several different incidents. Nagu was equally upset by all these as much as the student community. In fact during one of them, when the body of the unfortunate guy involved didn’t arrive, Nagu also kept an overnight vigil waiting for some information to arrive.

He had this son called Lingam who made better tea, but had a drinking problem – thus blowing away all his earnings in no time. Nagu thus ended up taking care of his grand children as well.

When I left college, I had given most of my worldly possessions of any value to Nagu, since he could have found some use for them.

Two days ago, I was in Trichy after a gap of nearly 7 years and had hoped to catch up with him, among others. First, to my disappointment, there was some other hut in the place of Nagu’s kadai. Next, there was some structure in the place where Lingam’s kadai used to exist. After some investigation, it turned out that Nagu died some time ago. I didn’t have the heart to ask any further questions.

Life goes on.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Times gone by

It will be 7 years since I finished engineering in about 2 months!

It would have been 7 years since I had gotten married if I had said yes to a proposal 8 years ago! My kid would have been in the 2nd standard if other things had followed suit.

It would have been half a decade of visiting my father-in-law’s coffee estate if I had assented to one of the other proposals similar to the above mentioned one. But I am still a willing visitor to www.happilyunmarried.com

It would have been 7 years of being in the US if I had accepted that sweet offer in New Jersey to program in Java and Cold Fusion. Would I then have begun running earlier? Would I have done a management degree still? Would I have met Thangam or Guru garu or Aby or Heman?

And I have been dreaming of running around the campus for the last two days. I used to walk around endlessly in those days. Reading Kelman and Amis is not sufficient distraction. Neither is the latest Economist talking about Bush or Frontline talking about Cauvery.

And yet I feel so excited to be on the verge of visiting campus after that rather tearful day in 2000.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

CLOSING ARGUMENTS IN MANJUNATH MURDER TRIAL FEB 26-28TH

Mail from Anjali->
Barely nine months after the trial started (June 5th 2006), the
trial is coming to an end with closing arguments scheduled for Feb
26-28th, 3 days in a row. The defense did not produce any witnesses .
Kamini Jaiswal ,noted Supreme Court lawyer, and I.B. Singh, reputed
Lucknow High Court lawyer, will be working with the Public
Prosecutor for the arguments. Ms. Jaiswal will be travelling from
Delhi for this.
These lawyers have made the cause their own. So much support has
been received by them, by the media, by the police force - now is
the time for all of us, the professional corporate community, to
show that this is our cause, too.

Please attend one of the days. Email amullatti@gmail.com /
h.jaishankar@gmail.com for logistics arrangements.

Regards,

Anjali Mullatti
IIML (Batch of 1993)
Trustee,
The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust
Dir: 91.821.4288 688
<-

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ek ka Do

Had a coupon and a terrible impulse to exit the bookshop with a book. Ended up exiting with two

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

Need to start bandaging my hands to prevent any more book buying before I finish a few more;)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Family blockbluster

On one of those rare Sundays, I actually got to seeing a movie on TV – Pyaar Ke Side Effects, for the record.

But the truly hilarious part of this episode was not the movie, but this ad for another movie – Apaharan advertised as guess what?! FAMILY BLOCKBLUSTER. This is on Star Gold!!!

I can quite imagine the happy Indian family bonding watching a movie which has people being kidnapped and killed occasionally. Wow, Imagine, mummy, papa and guddu beta hugging each other in joy when a minister orders the kidnapping or supports it. I mean really, What were they thinking?!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Under the watchful eyes of Meenakshi…

Its been three days since we touched down in Madurai as part of our traveling circus.
Paramount Airways is not bad at all. They could do something about the idlis though.
Much against earlier thoughts, put off plans for yet another quiz in Madras to stay put on the weekend and attend some meetings with the client. And then there is some long due business to attend to.

The 3 english newspapers in Madurai choose not to tell you about the movies on show. There are some ads for the Tamil movies which I would usually not watch anyways except for the annual Mani Ratnam quota. There are no Hindi movies right now. Its been a while since our 4 year romp in Trichy ended. Madurai brings back warm memories, quite literally. Its 32 deg C here.

Of course, we had an ally who had already enquired about where to run. There is a nice ground called Railway Training ground in an area called Arasaradi, which is not too far from the station. The auto drivers are no embarrassment to their brethren in Madras. The outer lap in the ground is about 600 m and there is an inner lap which must be the standard 400 m. People stare at my shorts, which are, well, a little bold, with the split sides like in any standard running shorts!

Today’s Mileage: 9 km. I ran about 6 km the day before, at the same ground, the day I landed. And today, ran in the rain for about an hour.

Yesterday being Friday, went and collected the standard goodwill from the resident deity Goddess Meenakshi who occupies a rather beautiful South Indian temple. And there is the Lord Sundareshwara to make sure you collect twice the blessings. And then there is a rather cute looking Ganesha outside the sanctum sanctorum in the temple. There are a large number of tourists here.

Watched 400 Blows by Truffaut, which is standard Truffaut. As the narrator/commentator, a film critic put it, Truffaut mastered the art of filming a scene which does nothing to further the story he is telling, but is just pure brilliant observation of some activity.

Am now trying to finish the two books - one by Kelman and another by Kiran Desai, the latter being on my list for an irritatingly long time now (perhaps she is not as good as I had hoped for).

And its not even Sunday yet. And we have had work, running, books and movies.
I don’t think there is any quizzing happening here yet!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

WingCo memorial Open Quiz 2007

My team consisting of 3 killer quizzers - Thejaswi Udupa (avowed Bangalorean), Jayakanthan (how the f&%* does he know stuff like Eagles of Death Metal!?) and Rajagopalan (the cool, calm and collected dude in the team) collectively called "Dhamaal" (and NO! I didn't suggest the name!) won the annual KQA WingCo memorial quiz :)

And that is after a long time of quizzing that any team I have been in has won an Open Quiz at the KQA. So this is a scarlet red letter day for us("kempu patrada dina" this is for Udupa only).

And made trebly pleasurable by the fact that the prize was in the form of a book coupon from Premier Book Shop - our favourite shop in Bangalore.

We also came 4th (same team as above + Sairam -Udupa (since he was QM)) at the IIMB Unmaad quiz.

Update: Forgot to post that we answered a question on H2G2 :) (Its been like a lifetime cheap thrill to answer 1 q on H2G2. For the record, we answered that a scene from a Monty Python clip that was shown inspired the Vogon scene in H2G2 about the effect of bureaucracy...)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bengaluru Books

How Late it was, how late by James Kelman
The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis
The Picador book of cricket by Ramachandra Guha
An Area of Darkness by VS Naipaul

joined the club. So we now have 2 more Booker winners in our collection as well as the Naipaul trilogy on India