Thursday, April 30, 2009

The College Days (कॉलेज के दिन)

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कॉलेज के दिन ...
--------------------------------
कॉलेज की हर बात मुझे अब याद जो आती है
मन पछताए, दिल को हसाएं, याद वो आती है

शाम को मेरे कमरे में वो दोस्त पुराने थे
जब दिल चाहा झगड़ लिया तब लाख बहाने थे

बात न होती कई दिनों तक, अदनी बातों पे
यार ही लाते खींच तान के होश ठिकाने पे

शाम-ऐ-नज़ारा ऐसा होता मजनू लैला के
मिलते थे सब चौराहे पर, बातें बनाते थे

हम जैसे जो यार शराबी क्या क्या करते थे
पिया मिलन के चौक पे हम तो नाटक करते थे

भूख लगी तो गुल्लक देखें पास परोसी के
दम भर खाना और ये कहना "सैंडी" पे लिख ले

नींद थी आती हर दम भाई नाम को पढ़ते थे
जी भर गाली उनको देते जो पढ़ते सच में थे

याद बड़े वो आज भी आएं हमदर्द पुराने से
मैं हूँ अकेला आज बहोत अब तंग जमाने से

दिन लौटा दे फिर से कोई दिन वो सुहाने थे ...
------------------------------------------------
If you want you can listen to these lines in my voice ...


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Mumbai Taxiwala (मुंबई टैक्सीवाला )

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मुंबई का वो बद-नसीब टैक्सी वाला जो हर रात उनका इंतज़ार कर रहा होता है ...कि आज वो आयेंगी ...आज जरूर आयेंगी ...और जब वो आती हैं तो स्टेशन से "अँधेरी" जाने को बोल कर दिल की सारी बात छू - मंतर कर देती हैं ...
सुनिए टैक्सी वाले की ज़ुबानी उसी की कहानी ...

मैं मुंबई का टैक्सीवाला ...
-----------------------------------
कल रात की है बात
जो न सोचा था मेरे साथ
होगा वही हुई फिर बात
सुन लो सनसनाती रात

थी कल आई मेरे पास
रुक गई मेरी धड़कन साँस
काले बदरों की अठ्ठाश
बढ़ती मेरे दिल की प्यास

फिर अधरों से निकले बोल
टैक्सी वाले "भैया" खोल
सवारी "अंधेरी" की टोल
बदला मन का सब माहौल

जाने कब आयेगी रात
होगी उनसे मुलाक़ात
फिर नयनों से होगी बात
उनके हाथों में हों हाथ

मेरे सपनों की वो नैया
बह न जाए बिन खेवैया
मत कर तू अब ता-ता थैय्या
तपता है "प्रवीण" गवैय्या !
-----------------------------
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Morning Sunshine (भोर की धूप)

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भोर की धूप
---------------------------------
सुबह सुबह ही आँखें खोले
बाहर निकला कोयल बोले
आँगन बाड़ी साफ़ सफाई
भीनी धूप है ताप लो भाई
भोर की चादर ओढ़-सोढ़ के
तकियन को सिरहाने रख के
लम्बी सी लो एक जम्हाई
पीठ के नीचे खेंच चटाई
अलस भोर की मन ललचाये
किलकारी बच्चों की भाए
दबे पावं फिर निंदिया रानी
और ममता की बोली- बानी
सपनों के संग आँख मिचौली
मीठी घी की पूरण पोली
करवट ले कर ली अंगराई
धूप भोर की बड़ी सुहायी
मींच - मींच कर अंखियन खोले
अलसाया मन फिर से डोले
हाय रे मस्ती धूप शराबी
मुझे बनाये भूप नवाबी
जितनी भी मैं करूँ बड़ाई
हर दम कम होगा वो भाई ।
------------------------------------
If you want you can listen to this poem in my voice ...

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The Revolution Must Continue (क्रांति)

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क्रांति
-----------------------------
कसम तेरी जननी मुझको
आज तुम न रोकना
खादीधारी हर इक को मुझे
मृत्यु को है सोंपना

देश पे जो मर मिटे वो
आज बैठे रो रहे
क्रांति उनकी विफल हो गई
और हम सब सो रहे

तंग हूँ मैं झूठ इनके
अब सुने नहीं जायेंगे
मार कर ही इनको अपना
तिरंगा फहराएंगे

जेब अपनी भर रहे नेता
हमारी साख पर
देश की सुधि नहीं लेते
रखा है जो ताक पर

भगत गाँधी नेहरू पर वो
कसते हैं अब फब्तियां
हर तरफ़ हैं आज फैली
नंगी भूखी बस्तियां

आज तेरे चरण छू कर
तिलक करता हूँ अभी
मार डालूँ भ्रष्ट ऐसे
जन्म लें न वो कभी

यदि वापस नहीं आया
प्रण मैं ये तुझसे करूँ
जन्म फिर से यहीं लूँगा
युद्घ करने फिर शुरू !
-------------------------

If you want you can listen to this poem in my voice...

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Am the Indian Youth (आज मेरी मृत्यु आई )

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मैं हूँ भारतीय युवा
------------------------------------------
आज मेरी मृत्यु आई और बोली ऐ मनू
खोल तेरा चिटठा देखूं , तेरी बातें मैं सुनू

मैंने बोला ज़िन्दगी में, कर्म अच्छे हैं किये
मैं बड़ा हूँ, सब हैं छोटे,काम मैंने वो किये

(मृत्यु ने पूछा)
बोल कितने कर्म तेरे, दूसरों के हैं लिए ?
घूँट कितने जहर के हैं दूसरों के सत् पिये ?

(भारतीय युवा ने कहा )
दूसरों के वास्ते हा ! मैं भलाई क्यूँ करूँ
जहर पियें शत्रु मेरे, मैं सदैव आगे बढूँ

(मृत्यु ने पूछा)
बोल कितने झूठ बोले, सच्चा कितना है बता ?
काम कितने झूठ आए अब तो हो तुझको पता ?

(भारतीय युवा ने कहा )
लेखा जोखा झूठ का क्यूँ मैं भला रखने लगा
सत्यवादी हूँ बड़ा मैं, गाँधी मेरे पर-पिता !

(मृत्यु ने पूछा)
धन के पीछे ही रहा तू या गरीबों के लिए
कुछ कभी तूने किया हो बद-नसीबों के लिए?

(भारतीय युवा ने कहा )
धन से ही तो ज़िन्दगी है मैं बड़ा हूँ मेहनती
दूँ कभी जो दूसरों को मेरी संपत्ति घटी

(मृत्यु ने पूछा)
देश तेरा दुर्दशा में बोल क्या तू सोचता
तू जो चाहे देश से हटने लगें काली घटा?

(भारतीय युवा ने कहा )
देश को नेता चलायें, देश की है क्या पड़ी,
देश ने नहीं दिया कुछ भी, गर्त मैं है वो गड़ी

स्वर्ग में आराम से मैं रहूँगा ये है यकीं
बोल कब है जाना मुझको, संग तेरे मैं यहीं

(मृत्यु ने जवाब दिया )
तेरे जैसे नरक जायें, स्वर्ग खाली हैं पड़े
युवा सारे भारतीय हैं नरक मैं हैं जो सड़े

दूसरों के लिए भी जो कुछ कभी तू सोचता
मुर्ख तू है और सारे जिनको ये हो न पता

देश की सोचे जो पहले और सच पे जो चलें
स्वर्ग उनका, राज उनकी, प्यार सबसे जो करें!
--------------------------------------------

If you want, you can listen to the poem in my voice ...

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Friendliness of Difficulties (मुश्किलें अब दोस्त हैं)

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मुश्किलें अब दोस्त हैं
-----------------------------------------
मुश्किलों से क्या डरें हम, मुश्किलें अब दोस्त हैं
उम्र गुजरी मुश्किलों मैं, मुश्किल-ऐ-मदहोश हैं

होश पाया मुश्किलों में, और सीखी ज़िन्दगी
अब जिंदगानी क्या बताएँ, मुश्किलों से पूछिये

प्यार खोया और पाया, मुश्किल-ऐ-तहजीब से
इश्क करना हमनें सीखा, मुश्किलों के बीज से

मुश्किलों के हैं रथी हम, आयें मुश्किल बीस अब
हम छीन लें हक़ ज़िन्दगी का, मुश्किलों के बीच से !

मुश्किल-ऐ-प्रवीण हैं हम, आजमा कर देख लें
हो नहीं सकता कभी ये, मुश्किलें हमें तोड़ दें

मुश्किलों का दौर साहब, इन दिनों चहुँ ओर है
मुश्किलों से दोस्ती ही, ज़िन्दगी की डोर है

--------------------------------------
If you want, you can listen to this poem in my voice ...

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kill The Indian Leaders (नेताओं को मार डालो)

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नेताओं को मार डालो
-----------------------------------
बेच डाला देश को अब
चाहिए इक क्रांति है
भगत कोई तोड़ डाले
बम से जो ये शांति है

नेताओं को मार डाले
तोड़ डाले सनसनी
देशवाशी हैं तड़पते
खून से है माँ सनी

युवा सारे मर चुके हैं
डर गई हैं युवतीयां
सागरों मैं हैं चमकती
दुश्मनों की कश्तियाँ

ढूंढ लो सब चंद्रशेखर
राजगुरु सुखदेव को
बटुकेश्वर इन्किलाबी
चाहिए इस देश को

खादी को अब फाड़ डालो
लद गए दिन गाँधी के
सौन्डर्स हैं भरे सारे
नाम लिखो गोलीयों पे

यहाँ कोई गाँधी अब
कोई नेहरू न बचा
लोमडी है सांप है वो
खादीयों मैं है छिपा

उठ के सब हुंकार कर दो
मचा दो अब हाहाकार
भाग जायें या मरें फिर
न हो वापस अन्धकार

इनसे छूटें और मनाएं
हर बरस दीपावली
शांति हो और अमन हो
दिल में न हो खलबली
-----------------------

If you want, you can listen to the poem in my voice ...

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The color of blood ...(रक्त हिम न होने पाए)

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रक्त हिम होने पाए
--------------------------
क्या देखता है
सामने जा
प्रखर कर आवाज़ अपनी
बाजुओं में भर ले दम तू
सीना चौडा कर ले अब तू

रण की डंका बज गई है
मौत तेरी सज गई है
माँ के अश्रुओं की धारा
रोकने का वक़्त है अब

देर न कर
बजा भेडी
शंख तेरा फड़क रहा है
प्रज्ज्वलित कर ज्वाला तेरी
डाह कर दे दुश्मनों को
लहू से कर सात फेरी

रक्त हिम न होने पाए
श्वेत फिर वो हो न जाए
लाल रख इसको हमेशा
फख्र कर तू इसमें ऐसा
कि देखते रह जाए फिर सब
दुनिया तेरी गाथा गाये !
--------------------

If you want, you can listen to the poem in my voice ...


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Fear ...( डर )

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डर
--------------------------
अपने कमरे के कोने में
छिपता रहता डरता रहता
मन के अंदर अँधियारा है
गलियारों में परछाई है
गहराई है कहीं छिपी हुई
बस दर्द समेटे रहता हूँ
कोई दोस्त मिले बस ऐसा अब
जो थामे हाथ अंधेरों में
फिर निकल चलें
अनजान डगर
दिल के अन्दर !!!

-------------------------
उन राहों पर
जहाँ गया नहीं
करवाए बोध
उजालों से
अंधियारों पर
फिर चुप्पी हों
बस ललक हो
मेरे चेहरे पर
जो देखूं मैं
जो देखें लोग
झरोंखों से अपने अपने
ताने सीना घर के बाहर
फिर निकलूँ मैं
और दिखला दूँ
डर नहीं है अब
मेरे अंदर

डर नहीं है अब
मेरे अंदर !

If you want you can listen to the poem in my voice ...

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दीपक की एक कविता (जिंदगी की ये कहानी)

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My friend Deepak is a great poet. I didn't know he writes so well. Here is a poem from his new blog that I liked so much that I stole it from his blog just to see how great it would have been to read it in hindi... Please see his blog for more such excellent poems and ideas...
क्यूँ
हो तुम आज
उदास भला

देखो ये पल कुछ
कह रहा

देखो ये चाँद
कुछ कह रहा
कल मैं भी था
बुझा हुआ,
अमावस ने था आके
मुझे मिटा दिया,
हैं गिर के उठना
उठ के गिरना
धर्म मेरा,
पूर्णिमा की रात
मैं खिला हुआ;


देखो ये सूरज
कुछ कह रहा,
कल ग्रहण था
मुझ पर पड़ा,
अदने से चाँद
की देखो मजाल,
कि था मुझे
छिपा गया,
पर आज ऐसा
कौन हैं
जो देख ले मुझे एक
नजर
भर के जरा

देखो ये पेड़
कुछ कह रहा,
आके तेज तूफ़ान
आन्धिओं ने,
कल था मुझे
झुका दिया,
पर आज देखो मेरी
लहलहाती डालिओं पे,
पंछियों ने आ कर
घर बना लिया

जिंदगी कि ये कहानी,
धुप छाँव की जुबानी,
कभी हैं चढ़ना कभी उतरना,
सीखा हैं कहाँ
इसने एक सा रहना,
छोड़ो अब ये उदासी
बहने दो आके लब पे वापिस
हँसी का एक झरना..........

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fretting over memory loss makes it worse

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I learnt today that fretting over memory loss will make your memory respond to your calls slower than if you remain happy with your brain cell's performance. Isn't that strange? I usually do fret over my memory specially in recent years...for about 3-4 years now ..that I have been losing memory ...And I'm still sure I do. At times I can't recall people's names... a railway station's name which I used to frequent earlier for going to office ... a restaurant chain name where I used to call every night for dinner and used to get food delivered .. a popular brand name which I used to wear when I was in my first years of job ...my latest colleague's meeting reports which they told me yesterday ...some programming concept/construct that I had thought about yesterday evening before calling it a day to resolve an ongoing problem..but failed to recall it this morning ...and many such instances/stuffs ...uncountable ...!!!

The report suggests to think positive, especially if you want to retain a good memory as you age. That’s the advice of scientists at North Carolina State University who found that expecting to have a diminishing memory with age could be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In a study published in the journal Experimental Aging Research, they found that people who do not believe in the negative stereotype that memory loss is a natural occurrence as you age did better on tests than other people.

The negative effects were strongest in adults with the highest level of education, according to the researchers. But on the plus side, if people have a more positive view of ageing their memory performance scores are higher.
Obviously the take-home message is that you have to be happy about whatever performance you get out of your brain cells ...and get upset about it daily ... :D

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Holy religious books of India

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There are so many people around who want to read about the holy books of Indian religion. though, there are many religions practiced in India, there are a few which have more recognizable presence in Indian societies in general than others. I do not intend to offend anyone, but if you think there is some other religion which needs mention in major religions of India, please update http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_India.
Going by this record, I have tried my best to compile all the available links for these major religions here so you can download any/all available text and read them for your satisfaction and faith. This is also meant to help such people who get lost in the confusion of what is right and wrong, who is speaking the truth ... what is the truth about some religious belief ... etc. I think every educated Indian youth must read each of the following for all such major religions in India so that they know and understand the truth about everything. Once you read all of it, you will realize that all religions are the same and they all teach you the same thing: love for mankind!

I hope these links help you re-vitalize your beliefs and enlighten your conscience.
Let me know if some link is broken or you need a pdf version or audio version for the same. You may also like to search for the related text on http://en.wikipedia.org. So here are the links:

Religion: Islam



Religion: Christianity


Religion: Sikhism

Religion: Hinduism











Religion: Buddhism


Religion: Jainism


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Property rates in Mumbai, India

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I really wonder why the property rates are still going up. Looks like the buying capacity of the Mumbaiites is still going great. The rates here are comparable to the best locations in the world. Mumbai, the financial capital of India has always been the trendsetter in the indicative property prices of real estate India Mumbai as such has always been in the forefront when it comes to property prices. It has in the recent years a record rise in property prices at par with some of the highest real estate prices in the world. In such terms, Mumbai, our ‘Manhattan of India’ can put New York’s Manhattan to shame.

The property prices as well as the increase in rental values in Mumbai owe much of its credit to the large scale investments in the commercial sector. Mumbai has always been the hot favorite for most of the corporate sector to have their headquarters in the city. And with increasing investments by MNCs in the IT, ITES and the BPO sector, there has been a growing demand for office space; which have consequently created an imbalance in demand and supply for residential properties. The rental values in Mumbai have also gone high corresponding to that in other metros.




Mumbai is also the fashion capital of India, so it is one of the foremost cities to be hit by the retail buzz. With the opening up of the retail market, there has been a growing demand for retail properties in Mumbai. This has created a viable market for mall space and other retail stores and showrooms. These retail stores and malls are either owned by a business group or leased for hefty prices as the demand is high.

To compare, I checked the rates for New York, USA and here is what I found ... (see picture on right)
For you to understand what a single family home is, you can see here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-family_detached_home. For Condominiums see here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condominium

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spam mail from Punjab National Bank's Proxy

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When a bank's website alerted me every time I used to log on for my banking needs, I always used to ignore the alerts. I used to think, c'mon who is so stupid who will send an e-mail to me asking me to verify my security details after logging in to my bank account. But a few days back, I did receive an e-mail allegedly from Punjab National Bank asking me to login and verify my details etc. so the mail sender can take away my money (though I bet there is no balance what-so-ever in any of my bank accounts) thinking I'm stupid. How sad! I wonder if people still get tricked by such e-mails and they actually go and verify such details.

If they do, they are in big trouble. The hacker can transfer all the money from such accounts in no time. So, if you receive any such e-mail from any bank, do not click on the link provided in the e-mail. If the bank really wants you to verify some details, they will automatically take you through a series of pages after regular login through their valid site. Do not ever click on any link within the e-mail that you receive.
The fun part was I did not have a Punjab National Bank account. Still, I tried to dig through it a bit to understand who is the sender. Apparently, the sender is someone sitting in New York,USA or Osaka,Japan. I'm posting a part of what I dug through :

Return-Path:
Delivered-To: pkjmesra@f5.p23.mail.in.rediffmail.com@f5.p23.mail.in.rediffmail.com
Received: (qmail 64018 invoked from network); 1 Apr 2009 03:02:23 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO jtchina.japan-telecom.com.cn) (218.80.230.30)
by 0 with SMTP; 1 Apr 2009 03:02:23 -0000
Received: from User ([216.139.170.14]) by jtchina.japan-telecom.com.cn with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
Wed, 1 Apr 2009 10:59:56 +0800
From: "Punjab National Bank of India"
Subject: Irregular Online Access Activity
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 03:57:20 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/html;
charset="Windows-1251"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
Bcc:
Return-Path: alert@pnb.com
Message-ID:
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 01 Apr 2009 03:00:08.0968 (UTC) FILETIME=[F77A6080:01C9B275]
X-TM-AS-Product-Ver: SMEX-7.2.0.1122-5.6.1016-16552.001
X-TM-AS-Result: Yes-9.477500-5.000000-31

Here is the e-mail that I received:



Irregular Online Access Activity

We detected irregular activity on your Punjab National Bank Online Account on 03/31/2009. For your protection, you must verify this activity for we are necessitating a verification process as an added measure to ensuring adequate security on your online access. Log In Securely here https://netbanking.netpnb.com/BANKAWAY/Action.RetUser.Init.001=Y&AppSignonBankId to review your account activity . We will review the activity on your account with you and upon verification, we will remove any restrictions placed on your account.

Want to confirm this email is from Punjab National Bank India Sign in to Online Banking and select Alerts History to verify this alert.



Though, I knew just by reading through e-mail, this is spam and someone has sent a mail bomb to everyone trying to hack through people's security details. Still, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who actually fall into such traps ...

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On the Ground realities of Indian poverty

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I watched movie Barah Aana a few days back. The movie brings the ground realities of the Indian poverty to the front. The truth and irony of the story is stark. It hits you in the heart especially the character of watchman(Yadav) played by Vijay Raaz. Though, all the three characters are humorous still what pinches you is how they turn from simple living common poor man to a group demanding ransom. The scene here is the most touching one. I could not resist uploading a portion of the scene. See how Vijay Raaz, the watchman, is asking for a small token of help when his child in village is sick and does not get any help from anyone. The later part of the movie also shows how he becomes a non-compliant watchman first and then leaves his regular job to become a kidnapper.

Click on the play button below to start playing...

video



The thing is all of us know it happens in reality in Mumbai and other parts of India. But we tend to ignore its existence. How sad!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The feeling that we deserve more than what we get!!!

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Many a times I feel .."Oh my God! I certainly deserve better than what I got!". Do you guys also feel the same way at times?? May be when you are frustrated ... isn't it?? Now don't lie. Tell me you do! Anyways...the point is all of us try to get more out of our lives ..and some of us really work hard and smart to give life more so that life can give us back more.... And then you compare yourself to someone who you think got more than he/she deserved... :) huh ! What a feeling it is! You did a quality job putting in all your efforts but someone else took the credit ....These are very small things ...which in the long run do not matter much. What matters is that your mind is restless because you are not stretching it to its limits (?) and it tells you that life is passing you by — whizzing by real fast ? May be yes! May be No? I certainly deserve much better than this, is the constant refrain in your head.

When we think like that, are we deluding ourselves that circumstances are holding us back from the greatness we deserve and aspire for? Is it abnormal or is it the way the rest of the world thinks too? Why do we think at times that had we been with no direct relations, no societies to be face-to-face with, no one to ask a question on why we are doing what we are doing, we could have achieved more. A picture of yourself being larger than life. Quite a few people actually did exactly that and became great! Does anybody anywhere believe “This is it! This is the life I want and this is exactly where I want to be at this point in time!” Why do we all get the feeling we are in the wrong place at the wrong time?

We feel this all our professional life and feel it even more when one fine morning, we retire from work. With mental faculties that are sharper than ever, we wonder why the office suddenly doesn’t need us anymore.

So many of us feeling caught in our circumstances, rue the situation and seek to change it or may be compromise and start living with it. Is that good or bad? It can be argued both ways. A permanent state of dissatisfaction can only lead to misery and frustration, and so should be avoided. On the other hand, complete satisfaction with a situation leads to complacence and a lack of drive to achieve bigger and better!

Quite often, circumstances may be beyond our power, but we can certainly change the way we respond to them. All you need to do is step away and take a good, hard look. What is it that you really want to do with life? What is it that you hope to achieve? You can either focus on your limitations and lead a defeatist life, or resolve to turn your adversity into an opportunity and make the best of a given situation. Well! Well! Well! But even if we do, do we really take actions even when we exactly know what we need to do to get the most from our lives? Probably, we don't, may be because of lethargy or plain want of will-power! Someone may say is there an end to wanting? If you achieve what you want today, you will want something else tomorrow. There can be no peace from wanting and needing. The only peace can come from acceptance.

But acceptance sounds somewhat defeatist, unless taken in well-measured doses. We should have the wisdom and capability of figuring out what we need to accept and what needs to be challenged and overcome. The idea is not to quit dreaming and planning. Because it’s from those dreams that we evolve. The idea is simply to make sure we live life to our full potential.

For as someone said, it isn’t dying that we need to be afraid of, but of an unlived life...a life which we could have lived much better to our fullest potential ...to let the world know who we were and who we could have been!

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My new dumbbell exercises and workouts

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I always decided to exercise on a regular basis but could never actually do it probably because of lethargy. But this time around, I bought myself a pair of dumbbells and started working out. Needless to say, dumbbells are an easy way to work out and can be conveniently done everyday at home too. I chose dumbbells because dumbbell exercises form an integral part of most strength training programs. They can be used to develop the various different elements of strength such as maximal strength, hypertrophy or muscle mass, explosive power and strength endurance. Free weights such as dumbbells activate smaller stabilizing muscle groups to control the exercise. Resistance machines on the other hand, tend to work muscle groups in very strict planes of movement. The downside of this very strict movement is that while some muscle groups will become significantly stronger, other, smaller muscles are neglected.

The other advantage dumbbell exercises have over machines is that they fit around your body so the movement can be performed correctly. Although resistance machines can be adjusted, such as the seat height for example, the movement pattern is still largely governed by how the machine is built.

Athletes typically favor dumbbell exercises over machines as they can replicate sport-specific movements more accurately. They also know that they will develop a more balanced physique and structure if most of their routine employs free weight exercises.

Here are some of the exercises that I do. Hope you might also benefit from these details:

Chest Dumbbell Exercises
Flat Chest Presses


Flat chest press

1. Lying flat on bench, hold the dumbbells directly above chest, arms extended.
2. Lower dumbbells to chest in a controlled manner.
3. Press dumbbells back to starting position and repeat.
4. Avoid locking elbows.



Incline Chest Presses


Incline chest press

1. Adjust bench to an incline of 30 to 45 degrees.
2. Repeat as above.




Flat Chest Flies

Flat chest fly

1. Lying flat on bench, hold dumbbells directly above chest.
2. Bend elbows slightly and maintain throughout the exercise.
3. Open arms to sides. Elbows should remain 'locked' in a slightly flexed position.
4. When upper arms are parallel to floor, return the weights to the starting position and repeat.



Incline Chest Flies

Inlcine chest flies

1. Adjust bench to an incline of 30 to 45 degrees.
2. Repeat as above.







Shoulder Dumbbell Exercises


Seated Shoulder Presses

Seated shoulder press

1. Sit upright on bench with dumbbells over head. Make sure back is flat.
not 2. Lower dumbbells slowly to shoulders.
3. When arms are at 90 degrees, press the dumbbells back up and repeat.




Lateral Raises

Lateral raises

1. Stand upright, knees slightly bent, shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells at sides.
2. Bend elbows slightly and raise the dumbbells out to sides. Keep elbows slightly bent throughout.
3. When arms are parallel to floor, slowly lower back and repeat.




Reverse Flies

Reverse flies

1. Sit on edge of bench, feet flat on the floor. Bend over so chest is almost resting on thighs.
2. Hold dumbbells next to feet and bend arms slightly. Open arms out keeping elbows bent.
3. When arms are parallel to floor, slowly lower dumbbells back.




Front Raises

Front raises

1. Stand upright, knees slightly bent, shoulder width apart. Palms should be towards thighs.
2. Raise one dumbbell directly in front of you.
3. When arm is parallel to ground lower dumbbell slowly back. Repeat with the other arm.




Enough for today ... I'm trying to find out what all possible ways are available to do more exercises with simple dumbbells.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Software Estimation

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I feel being in the software industry is especially challenging because one has to do software estimations every now and then. Though I'm not sure if someone in a different industry has to do so frequent work/task estimations, but I assume not. If you are in a different industry and think you that's not the case, let me know. Having said that, I want to focus on the why of software estimations. But before we begin, let's see what people usually do. If you are a software programmer or tester, you'd know that your manager wants you do a software estimation first before actually going ahead with the development of testing process. If you are in a support project, your manager may also have asked you prepare an impact analysis along with the estimation sheet. So why do it?

Most of the time I've seen people abruptly telling their boss that a particular task can be achieved in n number of days/hours/months etc as soon as they are asked about the feasibility of the task. Later, they realize (either during development or a bug-fix or testing) that the estimation of n weeks/days/months is taking them nowhere and there is no way they will be able to achieve the task goals without over-running the cost and initial estimate. Well, if that's happened to you even once in your IT life, it's time you learn to keep your mouth shut when you are asked to do a feasibility study or estimation for a task. At least do not utter a word immediately or as soon as you're asked.Take your time, and then after you've given the task a good thought and researched about the feasibility, go ahead and do the estimates. But the question remains ... WHY DO THE ESTIMATIONS?
I am also skeptical about the whole enterprise of software estimation. At times I say to myself that we should never make schedule estimates. The managers should manage his developers by trying to get them excited enough about the features he thinks should be added to the product that they decide to go ahead and add them. Or they may get excited about their own ideas and add them instead. Manager should retain final authority over what gets added to the product and a developer who consistently gets excited about developing things that Manager refuses to allow into the product should probably make sure their resume is up to date. But he should never ask them for estimates. He should encourage his developers to spend most of their time working on things that they can finish quickly and get into the product, but that seems to be as much about, what one might think, most likely to keep his developers happy as anything else. When they need to, the developers will tackle bigger projects, still without estimating how long they will take. My point of view, and you will have to take it, is that the only reason to do these big projects is because you have to, and if you have to, it doesn’t really matter how long it’s going to take.

On the other hand, estimates are very much essential too. A good estimate is an estimate that provides a clear enough view of the project reality to allow the project leadership to make good decisions about how to control the project to hit its targets.

I think the key word in estimate's definition is “targets”. The reason one can get away with not estimating is because one has found a way to manage without setting targets. So the question “Why estimate?” is better expressed as “Why set targets?”

Sometimes we set targets in order to convince others, or ourselves, that something can be done. We may set targets to inspire ourselves to do more, though it’s not clear that’s a winning move, and even less so when managers set a target to “inspire” the folks who work for them. We may also set targets to give ourselves a feeling of control over the future, illusory though that feeling may be. After the fact, a target hit or missed can tell us whether or not we did what we set out to do. However if we missed a target, we can’t know whether that’s because the target was unrealistic or because we didn’t perform as well as we should have. Setting and hitting targets does make it look like we know what we’re doing but we need to keep in mind that targets rarely encompass all the things we care about — it’s much easier to set a target date for delivering software than a target for how much users will love it.

If the goal is simply to develop as much software as we can per unit time, estimates (and thus targets), may be a bad idea. Programmers are more productive when working against their own estimates as opposed to estimates created by their boss or even estimates created jointly with their boss. On projects where estimates are made by third-party system analysts the average productivity is usually higher. This last thing may be a bit of a surprise, ruling out the theory that programmers are more productive when trying to meet their own own estimates because they have more vested in them. But the real surprise is that the highest average productivity is on those projects that didn’t estimate at all.

There is, however, one other reason to estimate: to coordinate our work with others. In my earlier project, the marketing department would like the developers to estimate what features will be included in the next release/iteration so they can get to work writing promotional materials. Or one developer wants to know when a feature another developer is working on will be ready so he can plan his own work that depends on it. Note however, that in cases like this, estimates are really just a tool for communication. Marketing needs to know what’s going to end up in the release and the developers, by virtue of being the ones building it, have the information and somehow that information has to be communicated from the developers to the marketers. But there are lots of ways that could happen. In a small company it might happen for free — everyone knows what everyone else is working on so the marketers will have as good an idea as anyone what’s actually going to be ready for the release. If coffee machine conversations are insufficient, then marketing and development could meet to talk about it on a regular basis. Or the developers could maintain an internal wiki about what’s going on in development. Some of these methods may work better than others but it’s not a given that using estimates is always the best way.

To decide whether estimates are a good way to communicate, we need a way to compare different methods of communication. I’d argue that all methods of communication can be modeled, for our present purposes, with the following five parameters:

* Preparation time required
* Communication time required
* Rate at which information is conveyed
* Rate at which misinformation is conveyed
* Other benefits and costs

The idea is that communication happens in this pattern: one or more people spend some amount of time preparing to communicate. This would include activities such as thinking, writing, estimating, etc. Then the communication proper happens, which takes some time. This may require time from both the sender and the receiver (conversations, meetings, presentations, etc.) or only the receiver (reading an email, looking at a web site).

After the communication is complete, some amount of information has been conveyed and also, sadly, some amount of misinformation. The misinformation may arise from faulty preparation, from misstatements by the sender, or from misunderstandings by the receiver. Obviously different methods of communication will be able to convey more or less information in a given amount of time and will be more or less prone to miscommunication.

Finally, different methods of communication can have benefits beyond the information conveyed and costs other than the time spent and the misinformation conveyed. For instance, chatting around the coffee machine may build team cohesion while highly contentious meetings may have the opposite effect. Another important kind of benefit is that the preparation and communication phases may itself improve the communicators’ understanding of what they are communicating about. For example, writing clearly on any topic invariably forces the writer to clarify their own thoughts and the give and take in a well-run meeting can help bring out and refine what were previously only amorphous notions.

Now we can look at estimation as a communication tool according to this model. The preparation time for good estimates is fairly high. This is why so many developers try to avoid estimating or give it short shrift :). The communication time is low — since an estimate distills things to the essence of “these features by this date” or “this much effort for that much functionality” it can be quickly conveyed. However, exactly because estimates do distill things, they are a low bandwidth form of communication. Without a lot of other communication about what exactly the features are going to look like, a list of features and the dates when they will be done, leaves out a lot. Worse yet, estimates are notoriously prone to conveying misinformation, either because the estimate is inaccurate or because an accurate estimate is misunderstood. No presentation style can help the poor estimator who’s giving an estimate to an audience that hears “2 to 4 weeks” as “2 weeks” though :(

When it comes to other costs and benefits, it’s hard to say. If we assume for the sake of argument that it is possible to make good estimates, does the very act of preparing the estimate have its own benefits? Certainly, making a good estimate requires identifying all the work to be done, so a team that has gone through the exercise of estimating may identify all the work that actually needs to be done sooner than a team that hasn’t, which may allow the work to be done more efficiently. Another potential consideration is that in a company where non-developers expect developers to be able to provide reliable estimates, then meeting those expectations has the social benefit of giving the rest of the company confidence in their development team.

On the other hand, there’s no guarantee of obtaining those benefits. Estimating badly certainly has bad ancillary costs. Leaving aside the consequences in terms of the misinformation it generates, it’s just no fun to estimate when you know your estimates are bad :( Either you feel guilty because you believe it’s possible to do well and that you should be better at it or you think it’s actually impossible and therefore whoever is asking you for the estimate is wasting your time. And if good estimates can increase the company’s confidence in their developers, bad estimating can destroy it. Or, worse yet, developers can be unfairly deemed unreliable because the rest of the company expects more precision in estimation than is actually possible. At the beginning of a project even the best estimators can be up to 4x off in either direction. Which means unless folks can accept an initial estimate of “from three months to four years” and a promise to refine it over time, developers are bound to disappoint.

So we have: High preparation cost. Low communication costs. Low bandwidth with high potential for misinformation. Ambiguous ancillary costs and benefits. Clearly, if you’re going to estimate, you’d better do it well and accept the costs that entails. But if you doubt it’s possible to do well, either in principle, or in your particular situation, then it can be useful to think about other ways to make sure the necessary communication happens... Enough said for today ...
Let me know what you think why you should estimate and if you've ever estimated something that did not go too well on timelines ... :)

Some content also taken from http://www.gigamonkeys.com/blog/2007/04/26/estimation-considered-harmful.html

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