Wednesday, May 30, 2007

French or other languages: gain with pain

I am in the third week of my french class and now can speak few sentences. There's a whole lot of conversion (english-french) and constructions taking place in brain, before words burst out of the mouth. And again most of them would be improperly articulated. It's difficult and yet fun to learn new stuffs. Sometimes it gets really frustrating when I don't understand anything our instructor is saying and i feel that I am the only victim. Later it turns out that most others are also on the same side.

The problem with beginners in any language is vocabulary. There are so many things you want to say but you don't know the words. You go through simple nursery books, comics and couldn't comprehend beyond first few words. Our instructor said that we would be in a position to understand simple comics after third level, which would take six months plus. That's a way too long for me. I am really looking forward to read comics after the first level. That means I give at least an hour to french everyday. Gain and pain are part of learning indeed.

technology vs us: who is using whom

My mobile had crashed two times, leaving me at the mercy of the callers. Technology does paralyse us at times. But still we are dependent upon it. Just to make sure that I don't go through the same agony, I now take monthly backup of my addressbook, transfer to my computer via bluetooth and then safely email to my gmail account. There are cases I have seen, when people totally get lost after losing their mobile. Well I am not preparing to lose my mobile nor crash it again, but just the precaution in case. If you notice, I am still at the mercy of the technology. I sometimes wonder if we are using technology or it is using us. This world has indeed become more and more complicated.

It's upto us!

1960: richest 20% of the world's population had 70% of global income

1991: richest 20% of the world's population had 85% of global income


"A billion customers in the world are waiting for a 2$ pair of eyeglasses, a 10$ solar latern and a 100$ house."

There's a lot of inequalities among the richest and the poorest of this world and yet the cleverest designers are catering to the richest 10%, according to Dr. Polak. True! isn't it?

We can help billions of poor people and yet make money (only if u are money minded - i guess most of us are) or we can help few millions of rich people and again make money. What do we choose? It's upto us whether to bring long-lasting smile to the billion people or an instant joy to the insatiable million people.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

For how long??

I stayed in queue for exactly 50 minutes to get fuel for my bike. There were hundreds of people waiting for their turns. How many productive hours of the nepalese citizens been wasted? Who cares? Those who should never get time to think about the citizens and their welfares.

Waiting in queue for 50 minutes with starving stomach. Ohh! Finally I got home, just to find that there's no electricity. It was load-shedding day. Well my would-be-unproductive hours seemed to be productive, though in some way. I must say that "They do think about us - randomly". />

Monday, May 21, 2007

being positive is hard

No matter how much I read about positivity, it's really hard to be positive. I was returning from my french class, there was a jam in New Road. It was not moving at all. I got off my bike and climbed the overhead bridge to see the vehicles, enveloping entire road - as far as my vision allowed - just sitting there without any sign of movement. I asked couple of people standing, "What happened?". Most questioned me back. Some were mentioning that something's to be with whining teachers, they were burning something. I still don't have any idea what might have happened exactly where at 7:30 in the evening today.

Anyways I turned back and came the long road - yeah we still have fuel shortage. On the way back, there was a mid-aged man, with a pot belly, in a scooter honking after almost every 3-4 seconds. I would count 1-2-3-4 and he honked and it continued for quite a long period. I wondered if he is obsessed with horns. So I let him overtook me. And he would still not stop honking, even in an open road. I was so irritated that everytime he honked, I would honk him back. He didn't seem to be affected at all. Finally he took another way. I wonder what's wrong with people here. They don't think or they don't have mind at all.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Runner's high: I felt it before I knew about it

I wrote about happy feelings after running, almost two months back. I have even recommended people to try running rather than consuming alcohol to achieve the same feelings as one would get during alcohol intake. I even derived an empirical equation

Tiredness = hanged - worries = happy feelings

I didn't know that people already knew about such happy feelings and have even given a name "Runner's high". Runner's high involves not only in running but all sort of sports and occurs due to the generation of chemical called endorphine during strenuous exercise. I felt it and now I knew about it.

Today is my probably the 6th run to-fro Budhanilkantha. My wish to run without breaks is finally accomplished today. I am happy about that and ofcourse there's runner's high. The mild rain on the way back added even more excitement and boosted my energy. I guess I experienced "runner's very high" today :)

Scott Dunlap seems to know a lot about runner's high and his feelings are also quite similar to mine - regarding the use of marijuna (in his case) vs running for the euphoric feelings.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

'Telecommunications in all villages in a year' huh!

I wonder if Mr. Mahara did any study or consulted with telecommunication people before making statement like 'telecommunication facilities would be expanded at each village across the country in a year's period'. I hope he did. He is information and communication minister after all. I would like to see their work plan not just talking. I wonder if they think construction is as easy as destruction.

If you look at the ekantipur news, the above statement seems to make way for other topics like declaration of republic, constitutent assembly, Moaists People's Liberation Army...

It just seems to be waste of time to go through such news. But the headline caught my eyes. These media people do know how to get their audiences.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A short Shivapuri hike

Though it was a short hike, we had lots of fun talking at the colorful monastery somewhere at top of Shivapuri hill with Anna, Emma and Prajna. The rain was even more exciting, with one umbrella and one raincoat and 4 people with coordinated down hill walk. We didn't get to drench in rain though our pants got dirty and gave the look of the real hike. And I got to know lots of interesting facts on Sweden from Anna and Emma.

Foreigners do have lots of problems here. We have to pay Rs 10 to enter Shivapuri National Park while they have to pay Rs 250. I was surprised to hear that they are constantly approached by drug dealers, asking if they need any, while walking in the city. Interesting.

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Kathmandu city as seen on the way

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Girls pointing somewhere at the city

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Way to Monastery (Yellow Building)

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A whole lot of colorful Buddhist flags near Monastery

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Emma, Prajna and Anna inside Monastery

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A huge colorful drum inside Monastery

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Boogie, the bday boy

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The Boogie, alias Sugam bhai, was preparing to cut his birthday cake in the third and the last day of his birthday celebration series. I heard it - about the series. Yet to find the truth which I don't care, and also similarly non-important issue is about his name - why he is called "The Boogie".

Updates: Three days bday celebration mystery solved

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's so easy to get depressed here, learn to suppress it

I was just going through the daily online news and felt very bad reading all those bad news, making to the headlines.

Fuel shortage hits valley
[...]The current stock of petrol, diesel, and kerosene in the Kathmandu Valley is hardly adequate for two days,[...]

Patients return from Bir hospital empty-handed

[...]I came from Janakpur for my throat check-up, but they (hospital officials) didn't issue a ticket saying there was no doctor,[...]

Camps: Hell for PLA combatants
They desert their camps and knock at the doors of locals, pleading for
shelter and protection from gales, rain, mosquito bites, and possible
harm from snakes and scorpions during the night.[...]

Ex-soldiers take to the street
We will now hold an indefinite transportation strike in Chitwan,
Bharatpur, Mugling Bazar and Bhaise area of Makawanpur district
beginning Thursday to exert pressure on the government[...]

Besides there's daily traffic jams, water scarcity, terrai conflict... Few days and probably weeks back, I thought I wouldn't see news and read news. I hardly watch News anymore, though I skim through the online news once in a while. And it's enough to get depressed easily.

It is said that whatever is in our mind, will manifest. We are very prone to negativity. Negative thoughts are very very health hazardous as explained by Guru Michael Anthony in his freely downloadable howtobehappy book. Read how to be happy and may you help yourself and your surrounding in getting happiness despite the looming depression.

"I am always truthful, positive and helping others" is the mantra to bliss.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wired Kathmandu

I still remember an ICIMOD colleague, a finnish lady, once mentioned to me, "I wonder why do people need to hang all those wires around the city". I looked around and wondered "Wow! she's right!". I have never realized that. After 25 years of staying here at Kathmandu, I saw that there's not a street, alley that don't have wires hanging in air. We are so much used to hanging wires, our eyes filter them unconsciously. We have to be reminded that it's there. Among those wires are electricity wires, telephone, channels cables, and now internet cables. I bet people would also hang wireless cables, if only they could.

From the visible perspective, Kathmandu should be one of the most wired city. What do you say, folks?
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If you look down from my home veranda, there's a bunch of wires running across the alley towards my home and few of them are actually for my home - telephone, channel cable, internet cable and electricity. The white box in the dirty looking pole is actually the world link internet cable box. You can imagine how easy it was to get internet for me. Don't ever think of stealing internet from there.

Hail wired Kathmandu!! Now I see wires everyday ;)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ugh! Worldlink

It's been few days that is not working from home, the result is none of the are working. I called Worldlink, the Great ISP, to inform them about this. They told me that they have blocked to prevent massive spamming to their email accounts. How could they do that to such popular blogging site just because they can't control spamming? I was asked to talk with some other person tomorrow. Let's see what he'll say to me.

Strange - French or English?

Learning French is fun and strange, especially when we are much used to English, which is even much strange when we really ponder on it.

Pronounce Put and Hut

Similarly Go and Do

We pronounce them correctly because we are used to it. Such type of mis-pronunciation rarely occur in French, our instructor at Alliance Francaise told us. I have yet to find that out by myself. So far I learned speaking 4 sentences, which I don't remember at all. I don't need to - that's what our instructor told us. And I obey him :)

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Kathmandu jams

If you ever been stuck in Kathmandu jams, you will know how suffocating it can be with smokes, dust, horns, ever-increasing vehicles and mindless people. Vehicles are increasing in a daily basis and it is said that if all the vehicle are being lined up, then the entire Kathmandu road will be found shorter. I don't know how much facts support that said statement. But whenever you get stuck in jams which don't seem to move for almost half-an-hour, you feel that all the Kathmandu dwellers are on the street in their vehicles at the same time - atleast I feel that way. If people are little calm, then we don't ever need to get stuck in jams. Everyone is in a hurry and as a result everyone gets stuck. We should abide by the rule - first-in-first-out but here people try to follow last-in-first-out rule. Usually people take up the wrong lane in order to leave the jam behind and in a matter of seconds, two-way lane gets filled with unidirectional vehicles. You don't want to be there.

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Yesterday I got stuck in a not-would-be-but-people-caused jam. A taxi tried to change the lane to move in other direction. It's quite common in Kathmandu. You back the vehicle and change the lane and direction. You may see the traffic policeman approaching a taxi (see image above), which hit the micro-bus during backing process. The other side is blocked up by the micro-bus, driving in the wrong lane (see below), trying to overtake, God knows who. This is called bottle-neck and it happens almost everyday. If only people have mind, they would never hurry to drive, change lane and would never get stuck in jams.

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Artifact to be preserved or replaced?

Can you see what exactly it is? Looks like some sort of artifact.

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Take a close look.

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More close. Maybe you want to take a sit now.

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I hope you can see that it's a bus stand (5 minutes walk from Narayan Gopal Chowk). It has been there for more than a year in such condition. It's obvious that some reckless driver had hit on it and I still wonder from which side. Isn't that something to be preserved for future generation to see? Maybe it is otherwise it doesn't make sense to have it lying there for more than a year. I propose that it be fenced to protect it from amendments.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

10 free softwares without which i can't think of my computer

Some of the free softwares which get opened in my computer frequently. Besides I use other propriety softwares also, microsoft office, photoshop, adobe acrobat to name a few, which are not included in this list below.

Firefox Browser
I can't live without firefox - my window to the internet world. There are plenty of extensions/plugins that enhance the functionality of firefox. Let's see whether you imagination can beat it.

I accidentally used Notepad++ for the first time and now this is my standard editor. I use it for normal editing and even for programming php, python. This light-weight notepad++ has tabbed interface, syntax folding, line numbering,... features. I use its regular expression a lot when I need to manipulate data, extract information from raw data.

7-zip is open source counterpart of winzip, winrar or whatever you are using for compression. So far 7-zip can open any compression file type. It's been more than a year that I have been using this and haven't regretted since.

VLC is a fork of M-player. You can play almost any media (video/audio) in these players. How many times your window media player wouldn't play some video and shows you some nasty message. I bet you will never get such message from either m-player or VLC. It's default installation contains most plugins for many media types. I like controlling volume, forwarding using keys functionality of m-player.

Fox-it reader
This is a light-weight counter part of memory gobbler and slow starter adobe reader. These days whenever anyone comes to me for help in opening pdf files, they get free fox-it reader installed in their computer and without a charge.

Process explorer
This is another freeware, highly advanced counterpart to the windows task manager. Have you ever realized that your windows computer wouldn't let delete some file or folder, saying used by some other program, and you won't see any program running. Huh! crazy Microsoft. Now you have to restart your comuter just to delete that file. But not anymore with process explorer. You can search for that file from it and choose to close the handle that is using that particular file or folder. No more restart. Really useful and attractive GUI.

You are reading in your computer. You come across some unfamiliar words. You turn your dictionary. No way. You can setup a hot-key to open freeware wordweb after selecting some unknown word. If I come across some unknown words, i will select it and press CTRL+ALT+W to see the meaning in wordweb. Really handy if you do lots of reading in your computer. So far there are 2/3 instances where wordweb couldn't find the searched word but provides a link to search in the internet.

Winamp (lite version)
Lite version of winamp is free and consumes very little memory and also installer is pretty much small. Unfortunately it doesn't play wma file in its default installation.

This is editor, image viewer, screenshot capturer and free of course but for non-commercial use. I like its batch transforming features. You select a bunch of images and choose to resize to some standard size, in just one click. This is very handy when you have downloaded large images from your digital camera and your friend asks you to email photos of him only. Capturing screenshots with xnview is also very very useful and easy and time saver.


I use Thunderbird to get mail for my office mail only. Otherwise I prefer web interface for others.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Some salesperson are just too great

When you are buying any stuff, you will immediately know that, "yes, this is the person I will buy from". They explain the things, even without being asked, and so nicely put that you can't resist buying from him. Similarly you know when you are not buying from some sales-person when he/she speaks his/her first sentence.

Like today, I was buying a battery for my bike, to replace the worn-out one. The person, behind the counter, probably at this sixties, explained to me so nicely about the battery world that I couldn't get out of there without buying one. Though I was looking for some recommended brand, I got some other "If you are not careful enough, any battery will drain out no matter how expensive it is or of whatever successful brand it is. If you are careful, the battery will last for atleast 4/5 years, no matter how cheap it is." There may be some exaggeration, but he was very persuasive, with reasoning ofcourse.

think before you leap

Sometimes I wonder why I do something without thinking. Today at office I suddenly stopped the database server; I was testing something. I forgot for a moment that lots of applications are being served from that server. It took me more than an hour to get it started - just to start the database server. Can you imagine that? I was so tensed. Sometimes linux machine gives me a lot of headache. Now I know the problem and the solution. There's always learning from ones' mistakes. But again I haven't documented anywhere about that scenario. Ugh!


"I have been drinking lots of water these days."

"You better leave Nepal soon. Maybe water scarcity will get minimized to some extent."

You bet I would, if only I did that.

In almost every get-together with friends, there would be jokes. Some jokes get really creative, like the one above. Laughing and mocking never gets done before the party gets over. This is very important for everyone of us to get refreshed from our daily work. Socializing every once in a while is a boost to the productivity.

How long have you not been out with your friends? Have you realized how much dull your life has become? Get your feet running.

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