Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Awesome sTORY..!


Happy v Day..!


Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb
everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.
They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.
The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.
You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Waterfall Restaurant in Philippines






Some Beautiful Thoughts..!








Largest Picture Captured in 111 Giga Pixel


You will enjoy this.
This is the largest picture in the world.
This is a technological wonder.
Zoom in to see a particular building.
Watch and enjoy. It’s a big picture.




 
Click Here :  http://www.sevilla111.com/default_en.htm



The picture was made with the Canon 5D mark II and a 400mm-lens. It
consists of 1.665 full format pictures with 21.4 mega pixel, which was
Recorded by a photo-robot in 172 minutes. The converting of 102GB raw  Data
by a computer with a main memory cache of 48 GB and 16
processors took  94 hours. The picture is the largest in the world.
Zoom in to see any particular building/object. This is just Amazing !

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Woman In Your life


The woman in your life...very well expressed...

Tomorrow you may get a working woman, but you should marry her with these facts as well.
Here is a girl, who is as much educated as you are;
Who is earning almost as much as you do;
One, who has dreams and aspirations just as
you have because she is as human as you are;
One, who has never entered the kitchen in her life just like you or your
Sister haven't, as she was busy in studies and competing in a system
that gives no special concession to girls for their culinary achievements
One, who has lived and loved her parents & brothers & sisters, almost as
much as you do for 30 years of her life;
One, who has bravely agreed to leave behind all that, her home, people who love her, to adopt your home, your family, your ways and even your family ,name
One, who is somehow expected to be a master-chef from day #1, while you sleep oblivious to her predicament in her new circumstances, environment and that kitchen
One, who is expected to make the tea, first thing in the morning and cook
food at the end of the day, even if she is as tired as you are, maybe more,
and yet never ever expected to complain; to be a servant, a cook, a mother,
a wife, even if she doesn't want to; and is learning just like you are as
to what you want from her; and is clumsy and sloppy at times and knows that you won't like it if she is too demanding, or if she learns faster than you;
One, who has her own set of friends, and that includes boys and even men at her workplace too, those, who she knows from school days and yet is willing to put all that on the back-burners to avoid your irrational jealousy, unnecessary competition and your inherent insecurities;
Yes, she can drink and dance just as well as you can, but won't, simply
Because you won't like it, even though you say otherwise
One, who can be late from work once in a while when deadlines, just like yours, are to be met;
One, who is doing her level best and wants to make this most important,
relationship in her entire life a grand success, if you just help her some
and trust her;
One, who just wants one thing from you, as you are the only one she knows in your entire house - your unstinted support, your sensitivities and most importantly - your understanding, or love, if you may call it.

But not many guys understand this..

Please appreciate "HER"


I hope you will do..

Respect Her
.




 



__._,_.___


Friday, February 10, 2012

Now, glasses with in-built computer


Google is to soon launch hi-tech glasses with inbuilt computer displays, a media report said, quoting a company insider as saying.

Speculation is rife that hitech 'heads up display' glasses are being developed at Google's secret 'Google X' lab for months. Now, sources claim to have seen a prototype of the product, Daily Mail reported.

The glasses will be armed with cameras, an Android operating system, and could be on sale soon, the source said.

Google specialist Seth Weintraub says, "Our tipster said it looks something like Oakley Thumps. These glasses, have a front-facing camera and could aid in augmented reality applications.

"The heads up display is only for one eye and on the side. The navigation system currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click. We are told it's very quick to learn."

AMASIA - NEW CONTINENT


America and Eurasia will crash into each other over the North Pole in 50-200 million years time, according to scientists at Yale University.
They predict Africa and Australia will join the new "supercontinent" too, which will mark the next coming together of the Earth's land masses. 
The continents are last thought to have come together 300 million years ago into a supercontinent called Pangaea.
Details are published in the journal Nature.
The land masses of the Earth are constantly moving as the Earth's tectonic activity occurs. This generates areas such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where Iceland has formed, and areas such as that off the coast of Japan, where one plate rides over another.
Geologists believe that, over billions of years, these shifting plates have driven the continents together periodically, creating the hypothesised supercontinents of Nuna 1.8 billion years ago, Rodinia a billion years ago, and then Pangaea 300 million years ago.
The next supercontinent has already been given the working title of Amasia, as it is expected to involve the convergence of the Americas and Asia.

Facebook reveals salaries of top execs




Facebook's top executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, are eligible for twice-a-year bonuses of up to 45 per cent of their base salaries and other earnings, according to a regulatory filing.

Facebook Inc said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will pay Zuckerberg, 27, a base salary of $500,000 per year. Zuckerberg's 45 per cent target bonus will be based on his performance.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will receive a base salary of $300,000. Her target bonus is also 45 per cent.

David Ebersman will continue to serve as chief financial officer and he will get a base salary of $300,000.

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's vice president of engineering, will receive a base salary of $275,000. Both he and Ebersman have a target bonus of 45 per cent.

That said, the bulk of the windfall Zuckerberg and others will earn will be in the form of Facebook stock they own. The company said last week it plans to raise $5 billion in its IPO. If all goes as planned, Facebook could be worth as much as $100 billion.

Another executive, Vice President and General Counsel Theodore Ullyot, will receive a base salary of $275,000, according to the filing. He will also get a retention bonus of $400,000 per year for five years, as well as restricted stock and stock options.

Microsoft to unveil Windows 8 on Feb 29


SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft revealed plans to unveil a test version of its latest Windows computer operating software later this month.

The US technology titan sent out invitations to a "Windows Consumer Preview" event to be held on February 29 at a hotel in Barcelona during a Mobile World Congress gathering in that city.

Microsoft promised to release more information closer to the end of the month.

The introduction of a test, or beta, version of Windows 8 to the public is expected to be accompanied by the opening of an " app store" stocked with mini-programs tailored for the next-generation operating system.

Interesting Facts About the Sun


Think you know everything there is to know about the Sun? Think again. Here are 10 interesting facts about the Sun, collected in no particular order. Some you might already know, and others will be totally new to you. Interesting facts after the break...

1. The Sun is the Solar System.

We live on the planet, so we think it's an equal member of the Solar System. But that couldn't be further from the truth. The reality is that the mass of the Sun accounts for 99.8% of the mass of the Solar System. And most of that final 0.2% comes from Jupiter. So the mass of the Earth is a fraction of a fraction of the mass of the Solar System. Really, we barely exist.

2. And the Sun is mostly hydrogen and helium.

If you could take apart the Sun and pile up its different elements, you'd find that 74% of its mass comes from hydrogen. with 24% helium. The remaining 2% is includes trace amounts of iron, nickel, oxygen, and all the other elements we have in the Solar System. In other words, the Solar System is mostly made of hydrogen.

3. The Sun is pretty bright.

We know of some amazingly large and bright stars, like Eta Carina and Betelgeuse. But they're incredibly far away. Our own Sun is a relatively bright star. If you could take the 50 closest stars within 17 light-years of the Earth, the Sun would be the 4th brightest star in absolute terms. Not bad at all.

4. The Sun is huge, but tiny.

With a diameter of 109 times the size the Earth, the Sun makes a really big sphere. You could fit 1.3 million Earths inside the Sun. Or you could flatten out 11,990 Earths to cover the surface of the Sun. That's big, but there are some much bigger stars out there. For example, the biggest star that we know of would almost reach Saturn if it were placed inside the Solar System.

5. The Sun is middle aged.

Astronomers think that the Sun (and the planets) formed from the solar nebula about 4.59 billion years ago. The Sun is in the main sequence stage right now, slowly using up its hydrogen fuel. But at some point, in about 5 billion years from now, the Sun will enter the red giant phase, where it swells up to consume the inner planets – including Earth (probably). It will slough off its outer layers, and then shrink back down to a relatively tiny white dwarf.

6. The Sun has layers.

The Sun looks like a burning ball of fire, but it actually has an internal structure. The visible surface we can see is called the photosphere, and heats up to a temperature of about 6,000 degrees Kelvin. Beneath that is the convective zone, where heat moves slowly from the inner Sun to the surface, and cooled material falls back down in columns. This region starts at 70% of the radius of the Sun. Beneath the convection zone is the radiative zone. In this zone, heat can only travel through radiation. The core of the Sun extends from the center of the Sun to a distance of 0.2 solar radii. This is where temperatures reach 13.6 million degrees Kelvin, and molecules of hydrogen are fused into helium.

7. The Sun is heating up, and will kill all life on Earth.

It feels like the Sun has been around forever, unchanging, but that's not true. The Sun is actually slowly heating up. It's becoming 10% more luminous every billion years. In fact, within just a billion years, the heat from the Sun will be so intense that liquid water won't exist on the surface of the Earth. Life on Earth as we know it will be gone forever. Bacteria might still live on underground, but the surface of the planet will be scorched and uninhabited. It'll take another 7 billion years for the Sun to reach its red giant phase before it actually expands to the point that it engulfs the Earth and destroys the entire planet.

8. Different parts of the Sun rotate at different speeds.

Unlike the planets, the Sun is great big sphere of hydrogen gas. Because of this, different parts of the Sun rotate at different speeds. You can see how fast the surface is rotating by tracking the movement of sunspots across the surface. Regions at the equator take 25 days to complete one rotation, while features at the poles can take 36 days. And the inside of the Sun seems to take about 27 days.

9. The outer atmosphere is hotter than the surface.

The surface of the Sun reaches temperatures of 6,000 Kelvin. But this is actually much less than the Sun's atmosphere. Above the surface of the Sun is a region of the atmosphere called the chromosphere, where temperatures can reach 100,000 K. But that's nothing. There's an even more distant region called the corona, which extends to a volume even larger than the Sun itself. Temperatures in the corona can reach 1 million K.

10. There are spacecraft observing the Sun right now.

The most famous spacecraft sent to observe the Sun is the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, built by NASA and ESA, and launched in December, 1995. SOHO has been continuously observing the Sun since then, and sent back countless images. A more recent mission is NASA's STEREO spacecraft. This was actually two spacecraft, launched in October 2006. These twin spacecraft were designed to watch the same activity on the Sun from two different vantage points, to give a 3-D perspective of the Sun's activity, and allow astronomers to better predict space weather

Godse is often a misunderstood character..!


He is referred to as a Hindu fanatic. It is often hard to understand Godse because the Government of India had suppressed information about him. His court statements, letters etc. were all banned from the public until recently. Judging from his writings one thing becomes very clear – He was no fanatic. His court statements are very well read out and indicate a calm and collected mental disposition. He never even once speaks ill about Gandhi as a person, but only attacks Gandhi's policies which caused ruin and untold misery to Hindus. Another interesting point to note is that Godse had been working with the Hindu refugees fleeing from Pakistan. He had seen the horrible atrocities committed on them. Many women had their hands cut off, nose cut off, even little girls had been raped mercilessly. Despite this Godse did not harm even single Muslim in India which he could easily have. So it would be a grave mistake to call him a Hindu fanatic.

Let us start by studying the motive behind Godse's act. By seeing the nature of the assassination in public space and Godse's act of turning himself over to the Police, we can see that Godse did not do this for personal reasons. He very well knew that he would be hanged and his name would be disgraced as Gandhi was considered a saint. And again Godse could have ran away and escaped punishment. But he did the reverse. He called a police officer and courted arrest. Before we proceed it would be wise to understand the backdrop of the assassination.

The central government had taken a decision — Pakistan will not be given Rs 55 crores. On January 13 Gandhi started a fast unto death that Pakistan must be given the money. On January 13, the central government changed its earlier decision and announced that Pakistan would be given the amount. On January 13, Nathuram decided to assassinate Gandhi.

Nathuram Godse was a learned man, very sharp and intelligent – editor of "Agrani" (one of the most famous newspaper of that time – with Nana Aapte). In his last editorial of "Agrani" which he changed overnight – he said "Gandhi must be stopped – at any cost" and he justified why Gandhiji's assassination was not only inevitable but also a delayed action, sth tht shud've happened LONG AGO.

In Nathuram's words - " I don't refute Gandhi's theory of non-violence. He may be a saint but he is not a politician. His theory of non-violence denies self-defence and self-interest. The non-violence that defines the fight for survival as violence is a theory not of non-violence but of self-destruction.The division of the nation was an unnecessary decision. What was the percentage of the Muslim population as compared to the population of the nation? There was no need for a separate nation. Had it been a just demand, Maulana Azad would not have stayed back in India. But because Jinnah insisted and because Gandhi took his side, India was divided, in spite of opposition from the nation, the Cabinet. An individual is never greater than a nation.

In a democracy you cannot put forward your demands at knife-point. Jinnah did it and Gandhi stabbed the nation with the same knife. He dissected the land and gave a piece to Pakistan. We did picket that time but in vain. The Father of our Nation went to perform his paternal duties for Pakistan! Gandhi blackmailed the cabinet with his fast unto death. His body, his threats to die are causing the destruction — geographical as well as economical — of the nation. Today, Muslims have taken a part of the nation, tomorrow Sikhs may ask for Punjab. The religions are again dividend into castes, they will demand sub-divisions of the divisions. What remains of the concept of one nation, national integration? Why did we fight the British in unison for independence? Why not separately? Bhagat Singh did not ask only for an independent Punjab or Subhash Chandra Bose for an independent Bengal?

I am going to assassinate him in the open, before the public, because I am going to do it as my duty. If I do it surreptitiously, it becomes a crime in my own eyes. I will not try to escape, I will surrender and naturally I will be hanged. One assassination, one hanging. I don't want two executions for one assassination and I don't want your involvement, participation or company. (This was for Nana-Apte and Veer Savarkar as they were against ghandhi's policies too, Godse wanted to assassinate gandhi all by himself and took promise from Nana Apte that he will continue helping Veer Savarkar in rebuilding India as a strong free nation.)

On January 30, I reached Birla Bhavan at 12 pm. Gandhi was sitting outside on a cot enjoying the sunshine. Vallabhbhai Patel's granddaughter was sitting at his feet. I had the revolver with me. I could have assassinated him easily then, but I was convinced that his assassination was to be a punishment and a sentence against him, and I would execute him. I wanted witnesses for the execution but there were none. I did not want to escape after the execution as there was not an iota of guilt in my mind. I wanted to surrender, but surrender to whom? There was a good crowd to collect for the evening prayers. I decided on the evening of January 30 as the date for Gandhi's execution.

Gandhi climbed the steps and came forward. He had kept his hands on the shoulders of the two girls. I wanted just three seconds more. I moved two steps forward and faced Gandhi. Now I wanted to take out the revolver and salute him for whatever sacrifice and service he had made for the nation. One of the two girls was dangerously close to Gandhi and I was afraid that she might be injured in the course of firing. As a precautionary measure I went one more step ahead, bowed before him and gently pushed the girl away from the firing line. The next moment I fired at Gandhi. Gandhi was very weak, there was a feeble sound like 'aah' (There are proof that Gandhi did NOT say "Hey Raam" at that time – it's just made up stuff ) from him and he fell down.

After the firing I raised my hand holding the revolver and shouted, 'Police, police'. For 30 seconds nobody came forward and I scanned the crowd. I saw a police officer. I signalled to him to come forward and arrest me. He came and caught my wrist, then a second man came and touched the revolver… I let it go…"


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Dying Traits of Bangali


On a lazy Sunday,  Misses (or as the traditional Bengali bhodrolok would say “songsar” or the more bourgeois would say “phemily”) and I were discussing the dying traits of the traditional Bangali and his culture (pronounced kaalture), traits that would be lost in a generation or two as he becomes globalized into that mythical beast known as the “Bong”, assailed by the integrating and homogenizing influences of cosmopolitanism.
Here are few that we identified.

Shopping For Fish:  Note I do not say the love for fish—which I believe will persist for some time. What I however believe we are losing is the sense of sheer joy that people of our parents’ generation and those above partook in the experience of procuring fish for the family.
Bengalis were never an overtly religious community. The closest they came to a regular communion with God was their weekly expedition to the fish market. Make no mistake. This was a ritual. First there was the proud walk to the market holding a bag (”tholi’). This would be followed by a slow survey of the cornucopia of aquatic edibles, as the expert spotted the will-be-rotten-soon from the fresh specimens by expertly pressing the belly of the fish, glancing at the color of the gills and the eyes all the while smiling to oneself at the mistakes of the novice shopper Barin-babu who does not know the significance of a fish that has its belly full of eggs and Banerjee who is unable to distinguish genuine Padma-r Hilsa from the local variety.
Then there would be a lengthy comparative shopping/ bargaining process where the bhodrolok/mohila would wag his/her finger and through a mixture of threats (I will stop buying from you) and entreaties ( come on I am your old customer, make your profit from Barin-babu not from me) that would impress a hostage negotiator, fix the price. Finally there was the observation of the fish cutting process where the Bengali Zen Master had to make sure that the fish was being diced into appropriate sized pieces (too big makes it difficult to cook and too little means it breaks in the pan) while at the same time keeping an eye out on the rapscallion fish vendors, who were known for their legerdemain by which they would tamper with the weights or make prime-cuts that had been paid for vanish somewhere near the folds of their lungi.
Bengalis arent proud of their wealth because they have none. Bengalis aren’t proud of their physiques either again because they have none. But they were always proud of their fishy skills and Bengalis of past generations would discuss their fish market conquests with the same enthusiasm (”Where do you get good shrimp nowadays–all the good shrimp gets exported to the US”)  and one-up-manship (You paid Rs. 50 for a kilo of hilsa —well I paid Rs. 48) with which today’s generation discuss their cellphone models.
That pride is gone today as a new generation slowly and surely migrates to supermarkets and packaged fish with even those who are still forced to go to the fish market treating it as a horrible chore that needs to be dispensed with as quickly as possible. Consequently, the savoring, the languidness and the pride that used to be associated with this almost mystical activity is now slowly dying away.
Tea: Accepted that drinking tea (cha) doesnt face imminent obsolescence like the expedition to the fish market. But its pre-eminent position as the discussion-fuel of the Bangali has been challenged by the ever-rising popularity of the coffee which once upon a time used to be the exclusive prerogative of”South Indians” as an uncle would say. When people now drop in, the host asks “Tea or coffee”? A generation ago it would be “two teaspoons of sugar or three” with tea being assumed to be the beverage of choice. Not convinced about the demise of tea? Ask 10 under-30 Bongo-sontans and Bongo-tanayas whether the word “Makaibari” rings a bell or “Barista”? I am sure most of you will come to the same conclusion that I have.
An Obsession With Catching The Cold:  The Bengali is always catching a cold or the flu, at least much more frequently than any other lingual group in the world. Critics say that is all nonsense and just an excuse to avoid work but to be honest the Bengali does not need an excuse to do that since shirking work is his birthright.
So yes. It is true. Bengalis do have a genetic susceptibility for viruses and bacteria which explains why we have CPM and the Trinamool Congress and why we are forever sneezing and sniveling and running up a temperature, blaming it on what we call “season change”.
The Bengali has historically been well aware of this limitation of his constitution.  That is why he used to fortify himself against the cold, even if it as mild as the Kolkata one, in such a heavy-handed manner that non-Bengalis could barely suppress their mirth. First there was the ubiquitous monkey-cap, black or brown in color, with which the Bengali would cover his head making him look he was on an expedition to the Antarctic than on a quiet stroll in the park on a November morning in Calcutta. Then there was the muffler and the turtle-neck sweater protecting the neck and torso from the depredations of Mother Nature. If one was going out for a picnic to Calcutta Zoo (which is where 80% of family expeditions finished up), the Bangali almost always carried a thermos flask with hot tea and oranges for the Vitamin C.
The women, unfortunately, did not have the luxury of the monkey-caps but had voluminous shawls and sweaters that kept them warm together with heavy woolen socks that protected their feet (since cold evidently attacks from the feet). During the winter, windows were usually stuck tight with the first breeze of spring (bosonter haowa) considered specially treacherous, known not only to bring out romantic poetry but also snot from the Bangali nose (Rabindranath Tagore reportedly tried to rebel against this trait of the Bengali to isolate himself from the environment by keeping his windows open during the extremes of summer and winter but then again there are certain changes even he failed to bring.)
Today’s generation of Bengalis have become more “fashionable” and scoff  at wearing the monkey-cap and the woolen socks publicly. But they are still as afraid of the common cold as their predecessors were and don’t be surprised to find them surreptitiously wearing three heavy cotton vests beneath their shirts and thermal underwear beneath their trousers as they look over their shoulders from time to time to check if their biggest enemies are creeping up behind them.
Namely capitalists and rhinoviruses.
A Healthy Disregard For Allopathic Treatment: The Bengali spends much of his lifespan in pain—either doubled up from stomach convulsions or sitting on the potty passing stool or having ice-cold napkins pressed to his forehead. But there was one thing old-timers avoided like the plague even in the midst of all this pain—allopathic medicine. As a matter of fact, the ultimate macho Bangali line used to be ” I do not believe in allopathy” with those who took Crocin or Enteroquinol being considered wimps of the first order.
For the Bangali Sunny Deol, any disease, from cough to cancer, could be cured by neem/basak leaves, karola (karele) and “chirotar jol” with the potency of the “medicines” being directly proportional to their vile taste. Every Bengali mashima (aunty) was an MBBS in plants and herbs while Bengali meshomashai (uncle) knew everything there was to know about homeopathy. This meant people went to Dr. De’s allopathic clinic round the corner for two reasons–1) death was imminent or 2) a fake health certificate was needed to explain why someone fell ill on the very day of the Mohun Bagan-East Bengal match.
Today’s kids are however different. Having lost their faith in the remedies of old and slavishly following the West, they rush to the allopathic doctor at the first sign of trouble, whether it be a slight rumble in the stomach or a temperature of 99F.
Adda: Again it is not that Bengalis do not get together and talk today or will cease to in the future but the defining characteristics of what was the Bangali adda (community chat sessions) is gradually dying out under the ceaseless attack of modern life and bi-yearly performance evaluations at work. Much as we Bengalis want to cling onto our glorious pasts and our four-hour workdays, the breakneck culture of today makes it impossible for the Bangali to come home from work at 3 pm, take a relaxing siesta, have a cleansing bath with Margo soap, wear a “photuya” and “pyjama” , slip on a hawai chappal and walk over to the community tea shop or to the “rock” of a house (an elevated unroofed portico) and have a relaxing discussion with fellow Bengalis over tea and alur (potato) chop.
There is much romanticization of the adda of old as if the topics of discussion were almost always Socrates and Camus and Trotsky and Tennyson. It was not. Much of adda was idle gossip about whether Uttam Kumar was really going out with Supriya and whether neigbhourhood  Minu who had run away with the taxi driver will ever be able to get a decent husband. [Satyajit Ray’s “Agantuk” has a discussion on this with Rabi Ghosh asking “Rabindranath ki adda diten?”(did Rabindranath engage in adda?)]
Just to make things clear once again.  The concept of adda and gossip is as alive as ever and will always be with technology like the internet allowing it to expand its scope beyond the boundaries of geography. However what is steadily dying out is the languid late-afternoon community gatherings and the face-to-face meetings as  Twitter, email and SMS take their place.
Maidan Football: Ask any Bangali old-timer about cricket and the chances are he will tell you that it is a pansy game played by imperialists. Not that the Bangali did not love cricket. After all in 1976, more than 40,000 came to the Eden Gardens on the fifth day morning to watch Bishen Singh Bedi bat as India crashed to a loss to Tony Greig’s England. But the passion generated by cricket was nothing compared to that generated by the baap of all games—football. More specifically local club football played at the Kolkata maidans.
The bitter rancor between Shias and Sunnis pales in comparison to that between old-time  East Bengal and Mohun Bagan fans with migrants from Bangladesh (Bangals) constituting the support base of the former and the traditional denizens of West Bengal (Ghotis) comprising the latter. Offices would empty during East Bengal-Mohun Bagan games and those unable to leave work would huddle over radios and transistors at their tables as all life would come to a standstill. There would be heated debates during and after the game with hands reaching for collars and with even bricks being thrown after particularly acrimonious referee decisions. The first game of the season used to be a social occasion. Goshto Pal and Chuni Goswami had their place in the pantheon of Bangali Gods along with Subhash Bose, Rabindranath Tagore and Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. And grandfathers would get all teary-eyed and emotional as they would recall how in 1911 Mohun Bagan taught a colonially suppressed nation “to believe” when they defeated the “sahebs” to lift the IFA shield, an act the British never forgave the city for leading to the shifting of the capital to Delhi (All historians would disagree with this being the reason why the capital was shifted but try telling that to an emotional Mohun Bagan dadu).
For today’s generation of Bangalis however, cricket has knocked football off its pedestal. Blame it if you will on the steady decline in the standards of Maidan football or on the jazzy marketing strategies of cricket or the arrival of a certain man from Behala. Even those who still love football follow Manchester United rather than Mohun Bagan and obsess over which club Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing for as opposed to Baichung Bhutia. As a result of this lack of interest, Maidan football is slowly dying out and with it a hallowed Bangali tradition.
Elocution (abritti) and Rabindra Sangeet In College Fests: Tough for the young uns to believe today but the abritti competitions and the rabindra sangeet concert were some of the most well-attended events in Kolkata college socials during our parents’ generation with artists like Chinmay Chattopadhyay enjoying the kind of adulation reserved today for a Lucky Ali or a Shan.
But then the “social” became the “fest”. The old flowery elocution style with the trembling voice went out of fashion. Rabindra Sangeet is now considered too boring for the “masti public” since it doesnt get the crowd head-banging and grooving in the same way that Bangladeshi rock bands with their profound songs like “Frustration. Ami hote chai Sensation. Jiboner Expectation gulo sudhu baaki roye jaaye” [Rough translation: Frustration. I want to be a sensation. My life’s expectations remain unfulfilled] do. Which is why they are no longer financially viable in the corporate jamboree that college fests have become.
One can still take a look at how things used to be if one goes to college reunions, whose organization is typically dominated by generations past. Here elocution and rabindra sangeet is still the accepted mode of entertainment as the oldies sit awash in their memories.
And bachelor Debu-da wonders how his life would have been if he just had the courage to put the rose in Debolina’s Geetobitaan in 1966 as he wistfully looks at the 250 lb giantess that is the Debolina of today. However in his mind’s eye he sees only the Suchitra-Sen lookalike of 1965 which is how he remembers her.
Yes. The Bengali is changing. Fast. Not always for the good. But somehow I do not think that the romanticism that is wired into our DNAs, that Debu-da part of us, can ever be wiped away.
And for that strangely I am thankful.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"India is difficult for product-startups"


Mobiles have become an indispensable part of our lives and their utility has expanded from just being a communication device to a service provider. The entire gamut of information is now just a click away. Quantama.com is one such start-up that uses mobile to help consumers to discover awesomeness existing around and in turn bringing relevance closer to them. Quantama’s founder, Preetham V V throws some light on how it came to be:
What is Quantama?Quantama.com is a mobile LBS provider in the Retail space. QUB3 (powered by Quantama, pronounced as Qube) helps consumers to discover points-of-interest, promotions and events around them which are relevant to them. QUB3 also enables the Retailers to conduct Behavioral-Targeting and Location-Based-Engagement with their consumers who are in the vicinity of the store.
How and why did you choose the particular idea?While starting Quantama I did draw a framework to myself where I wanted to work on an idea that impacts a large consumer base, is scalable, exciting and something that I would invariably love to do.  I also wanted the idea to be challenging and something to do with the mobile devices. The current idea evolved as an amalgamation of several ideas that were churning in my mind.  I was thinking of a dating engine which hooks-up people in the vicinity to serendipitously discover each other over mobile phones.  Also, due to my past experience in developing software for Retailers, I was pondering on ideas that can help retailers power-up their revenues.  That's when I realized that a dating engine for getting consumers and retailers together fits well into my defined set of criteria.   Upon initial market research, I did find that there is enough scope for the idea as it addresses some core problems of the Retailers in the areas of consumer engagement.
How did you go about executing the idea? Once the scope of the idea was chalked out, I started to run it across several people including investors, colleagues, friends, neighbors and occasionally to teenagers.  This allowed me to distill the idea where an execution plan can be put together and initially decided to execute the idea as a mobile proximity story over Bluetooth networks.  With a projected burn-rate for the execution, I thought of going after angel funds and prepared a full working prototype end-to-end in about 3 months before approaching them.  After a couple of months of pitching to the angels, I realized that the nascency of the industry is seen as a bigger risk for the investors. I was getting terms at higher dilutions than I was ready to accept and decided that it is not worth de-valuing the idea based on someone else's measure of risk (which is very relative).  I have bootstrapped the idea on my own by pulling out my savings and assets as well as performing occasional consulting engagements. Recently I raised a small round of funding from supportive friends.
How and why did you select the target industries?Given the core idea of our business, we can apply it across HealthCare, Insurance, Retail, and Banking etc.  We chose Consumer Retail as our Phase-1 Go-to-Market strategy, considering the intensity of the pain faced by the Retailers that needs to be solved and also due to a higher percentage of reach that we can grab with the end consumers.  There are 5.5 retail outlets for every 1000 people in India. The market size of $350billion is made of only 5% organized retail compared to other countries.  The un-organized sector is definitely hurting to execute efficiently compared to the organized counter parts.  Also, every one is hurting equally to engage with their end-consumers. This is where Quantama can make a significant impact.  We have decided to go after specific formats in the consumer retail segments which have higher margins. Our revenue model is based on zero capex and a subscription fee for usage. We are very focused on consumer adoption more than revenues.
What is the current profile of the company? What kind of growth did it witness over the years?Quantama is front-footing the LBS and Behavioral-Targeting story for the Retailers. Also our consumer value proposition is to help discover awesomeness that exists around them.  We have just launched the LBS model over last 4 months. We have been able to get a small group of initial adopters who are helping us stabilize the platform.  We have also acquired initial set of Retailers who are helping validate the model.  We have tagged 3000 retail outlets on the QUB3 platform which is contributed by our consumers organically. We have registered in excess of 60,000 mobile hits on our platform since launch. All this tells us that we are probably on the right track. 
What kind of challenges did you face in the initial stage? What mistakes did you make?The initial execution plan was to enable a push-based engagement model over Bluetooth network. I did bet a good portion of my resources building the idea on proximity hoping that Bluetooth adoption in my space shall accelerate.  I made a mistake by not accounting the fact that not many people were building businesses over Bluetooth as of yet.  What this does is shift the market-making cost entirely over to me which is capital intensive and I wasn’t ready to foot this cost.  Realizing this mistake, I quickly reinvented over to the LBS model which is relatively less capital intensive and has lesser friction in the consumer adoption lifecycle.  But we are still learning and evolving to the new market dynamics and shifts in consumer trends. We are also constantly innovating to be quick and effective and build a model which is sustainable in the long run.
What have been your learnings' in the process of building the start-up?Stating that start-ups are a tough environment is a cliché. India makes it difficult for technology entrepreneurs, starting product companies, due to lack of access to relevant mentors who have built successful product startups.  Also a higher maturity in investor vision is sought to fairly assess the risks involved in product based startups. We are yet to see large scale success here. You can check out my blog link on these thoughts:(http://ow.ly/3jTFi).  Added to this, I have to sustain the down-cycle of markets of 2009-2010. Lot of investors pulled back funds or were on freeze for a while.  Retailers here in India put a freeze on all their expenditure and investment plans. Some retailers went out of business over the last year. India (though stable compared to USA) had to re-factor the economic growth rate. 
In the midst of this turmoil was my idea, trying to change the world. My learnings are multi-fold. I learned that it requires great amount of tenacity to stay focused in such adverse times.  You should be in love with what you are doing to reduce the noise levels. Choosing an idea that you love (however irrational this may sound) is the key. It is important to accept mistakes and have the ability to quickly re-iterate over the plans.  It is important to engage with your mentors and vet the ideas thoroughly. I also learnt to keep distilling the idea to a level of simplicity which can be expressed in probably 3 sentences to the relevant audience.  The biggest learning is to make your idea an inclusive process from day one along with your users and customers.  This helps you either to kill bad execution models quickly, or to allocate proper resources to eliminate confirmatory-bias that may exist in the markets.
What is your vision for the company? Throw some light on its expansion plans, innovations, future prospects.Quantama's Innovation shall be in the Behavioral Targeting space through click stream analysis. The holy-grail is to enable "Relevance" to the consumer. Learning about the behavior of the consumer by analyzing the click stream is a very challenging task.  One needs enough data before even starting out to make any reasonable guesses. Collecting such data is what we are focusing on in the immediate future.  As far as expansion plans are concerned, we have to execute well over the top 10 cities that we have earmarked over the next 18 months.  We want to be the dominant player in the LBS and Behavioral Targeting markets over the next 3 years. The key is to acquire consumers by offering intrinsic value that is compelling enough for them to engage.
What is the importance of team, partnerships in a start-up?Having a team is very crucial for start-ups. In my view, your team typically consists of you, your mentors, customer champions, strategic partners, investors and your core team members.  For a start-up, all of them have to be in sync. Hiring your core team is a very exhausting process. It is imperative that you bring people who love the idea as much as you do so that it is easier for them to sail through adversity as much.  That said, passion should be higher in priority than skill. I believe that passion helps acquire skills if there is a lack of it. It is hard to look for skill sets for a business idea which is going after nascent markets. You have to learn new skills on the way anyway. I had to keep looking for more than a year before I could hire Rahul Jaiswal on board to the core engineering team. I am still on the lookout to augment the team with more capabilities.  We are also blessed with mentors who bring great domain knowledge in the area of Retail. We are working on strategic partnerships in the area of marketing, distribution, operations and consulting. 
As an entrepreneur what is the advice that you would like to impart to budding entrepreneurs?I can only state my experiences from which I have learnt that entrepreneurs should have a sense of 'attachment' and a sense of 'detachment' in what they do.  It’s imperative that you validate and choose the vision that you deeply, truly believe in and get attached to it.  It is also imperative, that once the vision is set, you are willing to accept your mistakes, detach and re-iterate the execution models to accomplish the vision.  It’s hard to find this balance, as sometimes, it’s hard to discern one from the other.

World War II The Invasion of Poland and the Winter War