Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Incidents - 2

Here's an assortment of random non-topical stuff from the past few weeks, it's been a while since I posted some original crappy stuff on the blog, so here goes...

My friend asked me if I've changed my ancient, non-digital-looking Nokia 2300 and I said, "No". He asked me why? I said, "A crappy mobile... it's like a bad GF, u wanna get rid of it, but u're just too poor for a new one!"

I went to Herbs and Spices this month with some of my friends and there was this waiter who was acting really weird. For e.g. we ordered 4 soups and when we asked him to repeat the order he totally got it wrong, sweet corn was replaced by lung fung, wtf? So we were all a bit irritated by what happened, then he gets the soup and we've not even had a taste of it when he says in a slightly rude tone, "Main course boliye". I look up at him and say, "Main course!"
All four of us burst out laughing, on hindsight it's one of those stupid incidents which I really hope I don't repeat again till I'm 90 years old and probably senile, but the waiter totally started behaving normally after that and we all had some silly fun. I can't really believe I actually did that, but I guess it's one of those things!

One keeps getting calls from all kinds of banks who are so eager to dish out loans and credit cards to me, it's almost as if they've got too much money with them. The thing is they've also become smart, they call from different phone numbers and each time it starts with, "Hello, is that Mr. XYZ" and Mr. XYZ is like, "Yeah". "I'm calling from Fraudibank, would you like a personal loan?" Mr. XYZ has no qualms in ending the call. But then the next day you get a call from Bank of Balochistan asking you if you want a BOB Card and you're wondering how many banks really are there in this world? Now after all the exaggeration in this incident, time for a real narrative, I got this call asking me, "Sir, we would like to designate for you a Wealth Manager, when would you be free to meet him?" I say, "As soon as I have some wealth!"

That's all folks!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Google News - Confused

I just noticed this a few minutes back and thought it deserves a mention. At 8:17 AM today if one were to use Google News and go to their Sports section, something random was on display. An article about Harbhajan Singh with Dr. Manmohan Singh's photo alongside the link! Dr. Singh's photo link then takes you to this article about Indo-Pak relations what is that story doing in the sports page?

A little confused, Google News?

This man is a genius!

Robin Williams is arguably one of the greatest entertainers of all time. The man is not only a great comedian, he is also an exceptional actor. One only needs to see Dead Poets Society, which I saw some years back and it blew me away! Carpe Diem has ever since been in my thoughts every day.

Why am I suddenly writing this? Well, because while India and Australia were waiting for the rains to abate, which eventually didn't happen, I was busy searching and then enjoying some amazing stand up acts of Robin Williams. I had seen the entire Robin Williams Live on Broadway DVD in TY, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. This is comic genius in it's purest form, the man cracks hilarious jokes on the fly! A lot of my friends haven't seen much of this genius in action so I'm posting a lot of video links which I think should be seen. So whenever you have time, just check them out, Robin Williams ladies and gentlemen!

Robin Williams on Obama and Bush: Sitting in the audience, Prince Charles and family amongst others!
Robin Williams on American Idol
Robin Williams and Owen Wilson: Robin Williams lets it rip in this spontaneous interview while Owen Wilson gets completely overshadowed
Robin Williams on Golf: My personal favorite [profanity alert] from his famous Live On Broadway performance.

Take a bow Robin Williams and thanks for all the laughs, looking forward to a lot more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

They're Back!

2 of the 3 shows I've followed over the past few years had great starts to their new seasons. How I Met Your Mother and the great House MD. I'm waiting for 30 Rock next month.

Season 5 of House ended with Dr. Gregory House having voluntarily admitted himself in an asylum for curing his delusions, season 6 starts of just where it left and in such an awesome way. The best thing about the show is how it dares to break boundaries, imagine a season premiere without any of the major characters apart from House himself and a fleeting glimpse of his best friend Wilson. The premiere was a 2 episode special and a great start to a great show.

How I Met Your Mother started off pretty nicely as well, finally we get to see Barney and Robin actually as a couple, I guess as far as Ted is concerned he might take 10 seasons to get to his real wife, or maybe he could end up saying, "Well, kids, I just can't remember who your mother is 'cause I think you both were adopted!"

But more on House, I am eagerly looking forward to all the episodes of the show, it's the only 40 minute per episode show I am hooked onto along with Boston Legal. So... I'm glad they're back!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Layla Lyrics - Eric Clapton

I rediscovered this song a couple of days back, by rediscover what I mean is that I had heard it a long time ago and I forgot about it. Somehow I heard it again last week and it blew me away. Eric Clapton is one of those legends whose live performances exceed even the studio versions of their songs. If you haven't heard much of Eric Clapton please go ahead and take a look at this video - Eric Clapton on stage singing Layla

Here are the lyrics of this amazing song:

What'll you do when you get lonely
And nobody's waiting by your side?
You've been running and hiding much too long.
You know it's just your foolish pride.

Layla, you've got me on my knees.
Layla, I'm begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.


Let's make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don't say we'll never find a way
And tell me all my love's in vain.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stop offering me a smoke!

Ok, this happened about an hour back. I had just narrated an incident that took place in Magarpatta City where, one day I was chilling on the benches at the ground floor of Tower XII when a gentleman, very kindly, but unnecessarily offered me a smoke, which I declined, simply because I Do Not Smoke!

Then we finish our dinner at Shisha an hour or so ago and were standing near the exit when a random gentleman - can you guess it - offers me a smoke!!! WTF!!!

I am so sorry kind smoke-sharing men of Pune, I do not smoke!!! Period. The next guy who offers me a smoke is really going to have it from me. So please keep your precious slow poison kits to yourself, I do not smoke!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Ok, so I bought a BOSE headphone last week, it was delivered ahead of time and I heard some of my favorite songs on it. It is AWESOME! Honestly, it is unbelievably good. No song will sound as good on any other headphone. I recommend it to everyone who is a crazy enough music lover to spend some extra cash and buy it. True, it is costly, but if you love something you can't put a price on it. Music is one thing I love, and Bose is my medium to connect!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Magazine Chronicles - Episode 3 - Plans

My final article for the college magazine, as always a light and occasionally humorous read :)




Harshvardhan L Pande
B Tech

“Look at these guys, they look so happy”, she said to me; pointing to a bunch of FY students who had just had their first day in college. We looked at them, then looked at each other and laughed. “Bechare, they don’t know what’s in store for them”, she said again. Quite frankly, neither did me. It was the last year of my engineering course. I had finished luckily with my placement work. I won’t say which company I got placed in, but let’s just say I’ll be above the poverty line even in the richest country in the world!

We were both placed in the same company; we were both in the same class, the same batch. I was pretty sure in the last few weeks that she meant a lot to me. But I didn’t know what to do. My male friends always had some advice to give –

“Just go ahead and say it man…” [Yeah, it’s very simple isn’t it? Why don’t I just hold a placard and stand in front of her house today?]
“See a man always has to take the first step…” [No wonder there were no girls sent along with Neil Armstrong to the moon]
“Dude, you have to do it, so just do it…” [I’m not too sure whether he was referring to the same thing as I was]
“Arrey you don’t know girls yaar…” [Oh really, and you are a PhD. On Female Psychology]
“All you’ve got to do is sweep them off their feet…” [Do I need a broomstick to do that?]

What was weird was that these guys who knew so much about girls; they were all single!

Time flew by, the semester was soon over. She started her project work; so did I. We went out very often in a group, but never together. If I was feeling the pressure of time, I didn’t show it, but my friends didn’t make it easy –

“Man, these college days are all you can use to enjoy, don’t wait too long…” [I wasn’t aware that life ended after college, but thanks for the tip]

But somehow even I got the feeling that I was running out of time. I had to do something, but what? So I did the next best thing, I took advice from girls. “All you have to do is impress her!” said one of her close friends, who swore secrecy about the matter. “How do I do that?” I asked. “Think of what you’re really good at” she said.

That night I went through my entire life, finding out what I was really good at. I tried singing, but I woke up the neighbors’ dog, he started barking. I then looked at a poster of Led Zeppelin on the wall, my heart sank; I couldn’t play the guitar either. For that matter I couldn’t play any musical instrument. I could whistle quite well, but somehow I couldn’t imagine myself impressing a girl by whistling. In fact I don’t think anyone in the history of mankind has done that.

All of a sudden my eyes fell upon a book lying on my study table; it was a book on Software Engineering. It had this part in which any successful software development has some stages –


Now, I had an EX grade in this subject and was pretty good at it. I quickly got a pen and a book and jotted down my action plan.

Step 1 – Communication
The next day, when we met, I asked her a whole lot of questions; her favorite color, cuisine, clothing, music… surprisingly I gathered a lot of information I didn’t know in all these 4 years.

Step 2 – Planning
I decided what I had to do and drew up a plan, the kind of gifts I would buy her, the place I would take her out to for dinner on the night I planned to ask the question and also went to that restaurant and made arrangements with the manager for special treatment for us on THE NIGHT.

Step 3 – Modeling
I optimized my own look in the week approaching THE NIGHT.

Step 4 – Construction
I didn’t need to construct anything, so I didn’t!

Step 5 – Deployment
I asked her out for the evening, she agreed. I borrowed my friend’s car for the evening, she was surprised. The moment she entered the car, on the dashboard was a nice gift wrapped present for her. She liked it a lot. The plan was working. We reached the place, the waiter held the door for us, it was an Italian restaurant. The manager called her “Ma’am” and addressed me as “Sir” and specially designated an exclusive waiter for our table. I made a mental note of giving a hefty tip at the end of the night. She was a little surprised about the whole thing, which was a good thing. As the night went on I gained in confidence, but each time I was about to say the 3 magic words, I had the urge to drink water.

ME: Hey listen, I wanted to tell you something…
SHE: What is it?
ME: Ummm… [picking up my glass] gulp… The food is pretty good isn’t it?

Then finally I decided to man up. I pushed away my glass and moved my chair ahead.

ME: Listen; there was a reason why I asked you to come here tonight.
SHE: Uh, huh…
ME: I have to tell you something
SHE: What?
ME: It’s like this, from quite some time I’ve had this thought… and I’ve never had the chance to tell you and it’s high time I told you…

All of a sudden her mobile rang. “Hi maa, yeah I know it’s getting late. I’ve just finished dinner… Will be home in 20 minutes… bye”

SHE: Hey, I need to get back home now. What were you saying…

The next morning I woke up really late. I didn’t even go to college that day. I couldn’t execute the plan; after her mom broke my momentum I just couldn’t go ahead and complete the quest. It was over.

The rest of the weeks went off without any major incident. I completed my engineering. The next time I met her in college was at the convocation. There we were in the graduation dress. We were clicking snaps and stuff, then there was this moment, we were about to the leave the gates of the college. Both of us were on our bikes. The others had left; it was just the two of us. “So that’s it then, the moment we leave the gates college life will officially end!” she said to me. “Yeah” I said, looking at her. “What’s the matter?” she said, sensing that something was on my mind. I got off my bike, put in on the side stand. “There’s something I want you to know…”

The next day my Orkut relationship status had changed to committed, so had hers! College life ended on the best possible note.

Magazine Chronicles - Episode 2 - The Interview

My personal favorite article, because I had written it 6 months before giving my first interview and I was quite surprised as to how accurately I got the process and mood ;)


The Interview
Harshvardhan L Pande
T.Y. B. Tech

It was the biggest day of my life; my very first interview. The last few days had been very hectic, solving loads of aptitude test papers, going through Complete Reference for the third consecutive time. Herb Schildt was my best friend along with Balagurusamy and a host of other people who took pleasure in writing computer books that just refused to fit in my college bag. All the grades and exams and aptitude tests were now to be tested one on one with the interviewers.
I had a hurried breakfast and left home. Riding a bike, my friends, is not as much fun when its raining and you have to reach dry and looking good for an interview. The Raincoat – I think they call it by that name because it is as good as wearing a coat of rain. The thing is that while it pretends to save you from the rain, it actually has planned a diabolical conspiracy to wet your clothes and shoes while you take it off! The Raincoat Gods didn’t spare me that day.
My well combed hair was in utter disarray. It’s funny how your own body works against you when you need it the most! My own hair was conspiring against me. I tried to urge them to get set, but no they wouldn’t budge, it was only after I used my trusted ally – the comb – that they fell in place [a few hair fell off onto my comb, but baldness was not an issue for me that day].
I found my friends, sitting together, going through important questions. I sat with them for an hour listening intently to questions that were “sure shot”! Well, not a single one of them was asked. The interviewers had “surely shot” them off their questionnaires.
Then finally I was asked to enter the room where the interview was to take place. Then after 5 minutes I was informed that I had to go back, because they’ve gone for lunch. Here, my future was at stake and those people were interested in a free lunch. The HR finally arrived. As always the HR was a deceptively beautiful person. Deceptive because as calming as she seemed externally, I knew inside she was waiting to destroy me and tear me to shreds. I sat down on the chair. She went through my resume. Here’s a part of our conversation.
HR: So you got 93% in HSC?
Me: Yes ma’am. [I wanted to say, “No I forged my marksheet, I actually got 71%, watcha gonna do about it!”]

HR: Why do you want to work in this company?
Me: Because I think it is a great organization with a great reputation and would nurture my talents to a higher level, while giving me an opportunity to grow in the corporate field [Yeah, right! You want to know the truth, the stock of this company is out of the roof, I’m gonna be richer than all my cousins and that elusive XBOX 360 will be mine with my first salary, not to mention the latest cell phone and who knows, a new bike]

HR: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Me: My strengths are that I am diligent, zealous, honest and a hard worker. As far as my weaknesses are concerned, I’ve so far removed them as soon as I found them. [I nailed that answer, all thanks to www.interviewsfordummies.com, of course, the HR never found out that it always took me an hour to get a simple linked list node to work correctly, but who cares?]

HR: In your project, what role did you play?
Me: Well, we had divided the work equally and I was able to do my designing and coding modules well within the stipulated time frame. I was very comfortable working with a team. [Actually, I had to do most of the work in the last 3 days… I’ll never work with those idiots in my group again]

HR: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Me: I aim to be an asset to this company. [I’ll definitely do better than you]

HR: All the answers you’ve given have been satisfactory, but somehow you’ve been very politically correct, almost like clich├ęs. Am I right?
Me: Ahhhh… Ummmm… Ahhh… [Dammit, even she visits www.interviewsfordummies.com]

The HR started laughing, “Relax, I was only joking”. Thank God, I said mentally. I just realized how fast my heart was beating. I was very close to my first ever heart attack. Just then I had a weird thought in my head. What if I got a heart attack and wrote a note before dying that the HR was responsible, would she go to jail?

HR: Do you have any questions?
Me: No. [Excuse me ma’am, if I had a heart attack just now would you go to jail for culpable homicide not amounting to murder? No… Oh, then I don’t think I’d like to have a heart attack and die!]

After the HR round I went through for the technical, I won’t bore you with that stuff, because what transpired in there would only be of interest to Herb Schildt and Balagurusamy, because they didn’t write anything in their 1000’s of pages that would remotely have helped me that day]
But then after the technical I was out again in the room nearby, waiting with the rest of the herd.

I’ll cut to the chase; I got that job, more because of my ability and brains rather than Uncle Herb’s textbook. I went on to buy more than a cell phone and the XBOX. My fear of HR’s also reduced a bit and am glad to be working for this company, because they have a great work ethic. [And an ever increasing stock] Good luck with your interview!


Magazine Chronicles - Episode 1 - How I Met Natalie

So here I am, a couple of months into my first job, creatively I haven't suffered much, but I sure am going through a time crunch, I haven't had the time to write new material on this blog. But I also just decided to go through with publishing all the articles I had ever written for the magazine on this blog, one at a time. So here goes -

How I met Natalie…

Harshvardhan L. Pande.
S.Y.B. Tech [Computers]

I was traveling alone and had completed the security checks at the domestic airport. The new millennium had ushered in a lot of changes, one of them being a quirk of fate which made traveling by domestic airlines cheaper than a long train journey from Delhi to Pune.

As I struggled to push my suitcase and bag, I reached the passenger lounge. It was surprisingly empty except for the sole seat occupied by a young and attractive blonde woman.

I stopped to check my appearance and arrived at the conclusion that there was nothing that could make me look worse than I already was; a very positive thought! I started walking again, but with a bit of style, the way a hero walks in a slow-motion scene in Hindi films. She was reading a magazine and was about ten feet away when, I stumbled and fell [this time nothing was in slow-mo!] My bag fell open, just to add to my misery, the blonde woman was looking straight at me!

Why God, why? I asked myself, why didn’t she look while I walked stylishly like Robert Redford and Sean Connery, and why was she staring now when I was on all fours? Where was my “dudeness” and machismo when I needed it? Anyways, moving on; I quickly got up and collected my stuff. I walked upto her and said, “May I sit here please?” “Sure”, she replied without even looking away from the magazine.

My flight was still half an hour away, which gave me time enough to at least talk to the very attractive (as I realized with a closer look) blonde. What should I ask her? Should I ask her name or which country she came from? Nah, that’d be too personal. Maybe I should start with… “So you’re an engineering student?” the blonde asked, suddenly breaking the silence. How the hell did she know? “Yeah” I said… dammit, why’d my voice crack? “How do you know that?” I asked, this time my voice was firm, almost to the extent of overcompensating. “I read the title of one of your books, Engineering Mathematics III, when you fell down” she said. “Stupid question”, my brain said to me. Five minutes passed by and not a single word was said. Well, I thought, there’s no way I can be more embarrassed than I already am; so why not make some conversation?

“My name is…” I introduced myself and told her in which college I studied. Finally she put the magazine away and said, “I’m Natalie Schneider, I work for Reuters.” We shook hands.

Reuters??? Reuters??? Reuters??? Where have I read that word?

“I was in Jaipur, to see the forts and do some research on them, now I’m headed to Mumbai and from there, I’ll be going back home” she continued talking.

Reuters??? Reuters??? Reuters??? God, I know it’s something important! Oh, please God, help me out here! She must not think that I’m stupid and that I don’t even know what Reuters is! The seconds were ticking away and I had to say something. “Reuters, huh? Must be great working for Reuters?” I said, trying to bide some time. “Yeah, it’s really exciting. This is my first outdoor report, you see” she said. “So where are you headed?” she threw another question at me.

Reuters??? Reuters??? Reuters, got it! “I’m headed for Pune, you know, Oxford of the East. How long have you been working for Reuters, the great French news agency?” I said, emphasizing the last part of the sentence. “Just about a year” she said and then smiled.

What a great smile… stop… maintain eye contact, my mind said to me. Reluctantly, I obeyed. “What about you and your college?” she asked. I told her about my family and about my college, COEP. I harped on the fact that it was one of the top ranked colleges of India! She gave me an appreciative look and then smiled again. Thank you God, for putting me in COEP! I thought as my mind drifted onto “day-dream-land”. “Tell me more about engineering in India?” she asked as she shifted her position to face me. Maintain eye contact! Those three words kept replaying in my head. Then I started narrating my engineering experiences like some wounded soldier recounting his wartime stories. I added a lot of humour to increase the interest value, she laughed a lot at the standard engineering jokes; a very good sign.

“… and after the submissions come the vivas! Somehow, the external examiner always asks questions that have no answer. It’s only after the viva is over, that you feel prepared for giving a viva!” She laughed again. I would’ve patted myself on the back for doing such a great job.
“You’re a very interesting guy” she said. Don’t blush, you’re a guy, don’t blush… its not as though you haven’t been complemented by a gorgeous French woman before… actually, it is the first time… alright, just don’t embarrass yourself! Once again I was talking to myself, but I realized soon enough, my cheeks were as red as apples. Lets face it, I was having a great time. But as usual, good times aren’t very long lasting for engineers… my flight had landed at the runway. “Its time for me to go” I said, trying to hide my disappointment. “Have a nice flight” Natalie said. We shook hands again. All of a sudden, her cell phone rang; she got a notepad and a pen from her purse and scribbled something. I saw what she was writing. She wrote…Hotel Le Meridien, Room No. 607, COEP – 2 miles. “My boss just called. He wants me to do a story in Pune, focusing on student exchange possibilities with colleges in India and France. I’ll have to stay in Pune for ten days. Which college did you say you’re in?” she asked.

Ten minutes later I was on my flight, I had her cell number, she had mine. She was going to get in touch with me the next day. I had agreed to show her around the city. Thank you Reuters and I love engineering!