Monday, July 01, 2013


I read a recent tweet from Sir Richard Branson. There is no use if you travel and don’t tell the story when you come back. This is so true. It acted as a trigger point to write something about the recent travels by me. I can’t imagine it to be as detailed as Viky’s blog post on his Egypt trip, but I’ll give it a shot.

In the last 2+ years in Canada, I managed to travel to a number of places; 2 trips to Vancouver, many day trips to the Rockies, Kelowna, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, The Waterton Lakes, LA, LV, New York and Glacier National Park in Montana. I travelled North to Yellowknife at 90th Parallel, braving – 35 deg just to watch the Northern Lights. I had a nostalgic trip to the UK in April, surprising old friends and meeting new little ones.

This blog post is in the midst of my Canadian East Coast trip, which with just 3 days complete is mind blowing. I hope the remaining 6 days which also includes a Beach festival, lives up to my expectation.

I plan to write something about my past trips, not to the detail, but with the best use of my memory.

Keep checking for some updates!

Honorable mentions: Leaping out of an Aero plane and my dry suit specialization (which unfortunately was never again used)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bharat Ratna for the Little Master?

Just a couple of days after the World-cup win, I saw an article in the newspaper which talked about people wanting a Bharat Ratna for Sachin. Wow! I was initially excited; it would indeed be an honour for this great sportsman.

But it also made me think. Aren't we jumping the gun a lil bit? Probably yes. We Indians either carry our heroes on our shoulders during success or dump them in the gutter during failure. Anyways coming back to our discussion, I am pretty sure, many of you would vouch for Sachin, on getting the highest civilian award. But what we should know is the about the other recepients of this award. Most of them have received it, at the culmination of their talent and when they are close to retirement.

I think we can give the young man some space. He is just 38 years old, and has more records to break. You can't draw a line to his greatness. According to me, a Bharat Ratna is given to someone who has proved his point beyond doubt. Sachin ofcourse has proved his point; but he has not reached his zenith. He is still hungry for more.

Also another point worth noting is the hype that cricket gets. You want to give the award to someone is not even close to retirement. Why aren't you considering the other greats in the world of sport. Sachin is not the only great sportsperson that India has produced. There have been others too who have proved a point. For the record, not a single athlete has ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna till date. Not even posthumously.

I think there is one person who deserves the Bharat Ratna, before it is awarded to Sachin - Dyan Chand (posthumously of course). According to me he is (or rather was) the God of Indian Sport. If this is not done, it would just not be fair

Did you know that the highest award for excellence is sport is called the Dhyan Chand award? If the Bharat Ratna was not bestowed upon someone of such greatness as Dyan Chand, then why Sachin. For me its a NO, or atleast not yet.

According to me, the greatness in the Little Master, would be further proved, if he declines the award, if it is presented to him...Ever

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Have you played "Connect" in quizzing? Its an interesting round, where you have 3-4 images and you need to find the connecting factor among them.

Sometimes, this happens in reality too. You look at something and connect to it in a strange manner.

I happened to pass by a Chinese restaurant one day. The name sounded familiar; "Peking". No, the typo didn't bother me. There was something about this place which struck a chord. I could remember a school-mate of mine who worked there.

I can take his name for sure, as I am pretty sure he is no where in my FB circle. But still, I won't. He used to miss Monday mornings and invite the wrath of our class-teacher. He always had some reason or another, up his sleeve.

The actual reason was quite disheartening. I am pretty sure, I must have been a picked few who really knew the truth. He waited tables at this restaurant. Weekends they closed late; 2AM at the least (Yes, that was a time when we didn't have the 11:30PM restriction).

He couldn't afford the school tution fees and worked on Week-day evenings and Weekends full time to make up for it. He still had the energy to sit through all the classes in school.

I don't know what happened to this guy. I never heard of him, since I passed out from school. I really hope he made it through.

For me, he was the true example of perserverance.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate social responsibility drives every person is go green at work. It doesn't ask you go over-board on going green. Though it is a good thing. CSR asks you to be responsible enough.

It is best defined as something you do, for which you wont receive appreciation. If you dont do it, you wont invoke criticism either.

CSR doesn't ask you to go switch off every monitor in your office, at the end of every day. If you wrote a huge note on the white board, requesting the same, you have done your bit.

A similar message can be put on top of the white-board in a meeting room, requesting the team to switch off the lights before they leave the room.
Such small gestures can do wonders. I know this with practical experience. If you are walking down the corridor and happen to see the light turned on. Please dont stop yourself from turning it off.
You can put in an isnulting message too, to give some gyaan for the anpad gavaars!

Get a fancy mug, to avoid paper cups for your coffee. You can get a filter coffee tumbler and saucer too. You'll get noticed...

Use the stairs. You can avoid the long wait for the elevators and avoid the desi talk when in it.

Never use the printer, unless you absolutely need it. For photocopies, use your mobile camera. It usually does the trick.

This list could go on...But these basic things are good for a start. There's nothing wrong in being responsible at office... You can feel proud about yourself!

As a foot note, I must confess that I am not exactly a go-green person. I drive to office, which does more damage than anything else we talked about. But I am working on it...

Update: I use Office Transport now.

Simple encryption script

I first googled for such a script, when I needed one. I didn't want the complex encryption logic that were offered. I wanted a simple script, which served my purpose. When my search went in vain, I thought of writing one myself. Its pretty self explanatory. You would need to watch out for the last few ASCII characters. The logic is not very strong but will serve the purpose.

Also the encryption logic can be your choice. The script can be made execute only to conceal the logic from other users. Here goes...


# encrypt_string.ksh
# Change record:
# Author Date Comments
# Gokula Kandaswamy 09/23/2010 Created V1
# **************************************************************************************
# Purpose: This script applies a simple encryption to a string. It has the capability to also decrypt the same string
# # Command line parameters to be passed
# first: The string which has to be encrypted or decrypted
# second: The action needed on the string i.e. whether it should encrypted or decrypted.
# Valid values="encrypt" for Encryption and "decrypt" for decryption
# **************************************************************************************
# Usage for encryption: ./encrypt_string.ksh encrypt
# Usage for decryption: ./encrypt_string.ksh '' decrypt



while (( i <= ${#MyString} ))

[[ $k -eq 4 ]] && k=1

char=$(expr substr "$MyString" $i 1)
chr=`echo -n $char | od -A n -t u1`
chr=`echo $chr | sed 's/^0//'`
if [ $Type = "encrypt" ] && [ $chr -ne 126 ]
(( chr += $k ))
elif [ $Type = "decrypt" ] && [ $chr -ne 126 ]
(( chr -= $k ))
var=`awk -v char=$chr 'BEGIN { printf "%c\n", char; exit }'`
StrChange=`echo "$StrChange$var"`

(( i += 1 ))
(( k += 1 ))

echo $StrChange

# End of Script

Friday, March 18, 2011

To tip or not to tip

Its an unwritten rule, that if you don't tip at a restaurant, you are nothing but "cheap". 10% of the bill (or cheque) you foot, would be a generous tip. Most of us honour it either here in swades or in vides.

But what many of us oversee is a baffling 10% service charges that the Indian restaurants charge you by default. This does put you in doubt, whether you would like to tip the waiter.

People around have told me that its not mandatory to tip, as the restaurant has already fleeced you. Sometimes I give in and dont tip and sometime I do. There have been instances when the restaurant has been exceptionally customer oriented and has made your dinner special. I have happily tipped the waiter(s) even when the Service charges were steep.

But when it comes to your regular Pizza joint or run of the mill restaurant, I give it a pass. Shame on me I know, but I dont care. I would prefer to tip a waiter at a regular darshini, where you eat your heartful and feel warm, than at places where you know you have burnt your pockets for nothing.