Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unethical marketing

Quoted from GMSV,

"It will chew up bandwidth and sell a ton of racks."

-- Cisco CEO John Chambers concisely explains with a smile the business reasoning behind the company's interest in bringing TelePresence to the home.
An offering like home Telepresence doesn't just make life easier for geographically separated families, of course. It also drives network usage and related router purchases by the carriers, Chambers added.
Not unlike what Intel did here
........Intel Corporation's online "Intel Inside" campaign. Intel has offered for sometime a commission to Web sites that feature its "Intel Inside" logo, with a clickable link back to the Intel Web site. In a scenario only possible online, Intel has asked Web sites to intentionally slow down their Web sites by adding three dimensional graphics and animations, and adding a message that says if you'd upgrade to an Intel Pentium II processor, this site would run faster (i.e., be "optimized"). In return, the sites receive an even larger larger commission from Intel.......
Not to mention the recent European ruling that gave a painful knuckle-sandwich to Microsoft.

For a remarkable example of indirect price discrimination, go to the Dell website. The first thing you are asked is what type of customer you are. It gives you four choices: You can be a medium to large business, a home, a small business, or a government agency. If you search for the price of a 512-megabyte memory module (remember to clear your cookies in between your choices) you will be quoted $334.99 for medium and large businesses and government and $267.99 for home and small business.

Conniving, isn't it? Using information on customers against them! By the way, MBAs might recognise this as value based pricing.
Then there's the case of IBM which had developed a fully functional 10-page-a-minute laser. They added extra 7 chips to the high speed printer to slow it down so that they could charge just slightly more than half the price for it.
That's an example of a clever manufacturer, spending more money to 'damage' his product, so that he could sell the undamaged product at a premium!
The Intel 486SX processor was just the regular 486 processor with the math co-processor disabled, and was sold for about two-thirds the price.
The Sony MiniDisc comes in two sizes, a 60-minute version and a 74-minute version. They’re exactly the same except that the 60-minute version has a software instruction that prevents writing on a portion of the disc, cutting its length by 14 minutes.
If you buy an inexpensive DVD player from a company that also makes expensive ones, such as Sony, and pop off the top of the remote, you’ll often find hidden buttons that provide functionality not accessible on your unit because you didn’t pay enough for it. The DVD player and remote possess the functionality, but the company has hidden it from you, so they can sell the player for less.
If you want to read more on how big companies are fooling you, read this. John Chambers' comment doesn't sound too bad now, does it?

It's an evil world out there and there are not many on the good side.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fun in the desert

It doesn't need much effort to have fun in a desert - if it's anything like UAE. Spending a couple of days in the tax free haven makes you realise what a big dent the vile 'tax' makes in your paypacket. It comes as a pleasant surprise when you step into a shop or a taxi or a restaurant - in short anytime you need to reach for your credit card. Not to mention the HUGe Indian population that will welcome you at every nook and corner.

Getting ready for the Desert Safari

I happened to go to a Desert Safari and guess who the organisers were? A team of very enterprising mallus! Guess who were the cooks? Mallus again. There were some people dressed up as Arabs - I really felt that they were just playing a part to appease us. By the way, the belly dancer was a local. Mallus haven't reached there yet.

If you like adventure theme parks, you should definitely try Desert Safari - highly skilled drivers will take you on high-end SUVs through some of the moderately big sand dunes. And believe me, its hard not to scream when you think you are just about to fall off a dune. And sometimes not to throw up.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A bumpy ayurvedic massage

It's partly curiosity and partly an intention of pampering myself that let me sign up for an Ayurvedic massage during my vacation in Kerala. Considering that it cost less than £5 for one hour of massage, it felt like a really good bargain.

It turned out that out of the two masseuses who were assigned the mission of massaging me to good health, one of them was my super senior at school. Undressing and handing over your body to an acquaintance was as awkward as the time your skirt flies up to reveal a 'What day is it today?' cartoon innerwear during the school assembly (It wasn't me btw!).

Once I lay on the table and the warm oil was poured onto my body and the massage strokes started, I forgot all the embarrassment, closed my eyes and actually started to relish the procedure. The enjoyment did not last for long though. Apparently my idea of a massage was grossly different from the actual ayurvedic massage. I expected slow and soft strokes. What I got was sharp slaps and rolled up fists that came down mercilessly on every nook and corner of my body.

When two quite well-built people slap you around, and you wonder you paid good money to get beat up, and one of your tormentors happen to be someone from your social circle, you can't do much other than bite your lips and pray that it gets over soon. It didn't. I counted every second of the 60 minutes and every slap inflicted on me before the masseuses finally led to me to the relaxing steam bath.

Have to admit that my body felt absolutely wonderful the rest of the day, probably because I wasn't being hit or slapped.

My experience seems to be out of the ordinary, as my parents who regularly pamper themselves with a massage, were surprised at my mention of pain. Neither did my husband who promptly fell asleep as soon as his massage began.

Ayurvedic massages are quite the in thing today with celebrities and people from all around the world flocking to Kerala to try this alternative therapy. Even in London, there are several Kerala Ayurvedic medicine outlets. It has been claimed that ayurvedic massage has surprising medicinal benefits and is also used as a diagnostic tool by experienced masseuses. Imagine you get a massage and you are told that you have a liver problem or a spine problem. I am not joking - it is routine work for some people in this profession.

Though my experience wasn’t entirely pleasant, I would advocate an Ayurvedic massage at least once in your lifetime.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

For a good laugh

I used to think this way two years back when I entered the blogosphere. Not anymore. I've tamed it, you see.

If you liked the comic above there are plenty of them here. There's plenty in there to snicker at. Don't miss the warning on the home page.

And if you have time to wade through it all, you might as well try this I-look-simple-but-I'll-bring-you-down-in-5-minutes geo-knowledge game.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Power at your fingertips

An amazing thing happened before my eyes yesterday.

My husband suffers from asthma occasionally. Yesterday due to some unknown reason (I suspect the unavoidable by-product of Indian cooking - the strong smell of masalas) my husband started wheezing. He was so uncomfortable that he had to even try breathing through this mouth. Having seen and not recognised an asthma attack once before, I panicked.

Thankfully I remembered some quick fixes that I had read about before and in 10 minutes, my husband was smiling! All he did was practice these mudras (Bronchial mudra and Asthma mudra) for 5 minutes each.

Today, I am amazed at the power of mudras and our little fingertips.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Babydoll GPS all started because I bought a car with a G.P.S. Like many men, I quickly established a romantic attachment to my G.P.S. I found comfort in her tranquil and slightly Anglophilic voice. I felt warm and safe following her thin blue line.

Says David Brooks, NYT.

If you mutter to yourself, that’s all rubbish – WAIT! Not so much. I’ve seen this happening in my own life. Not mine, but my husband’s. The first two days he drove to work, he got back home crying at all the humiliation he had to go through just to find out which route and which exit at the next roundabout would get him home. It’s a one hour drive and the instructions from Google Maps were not of much help either.

That’s when we decided to get a GPS. And we did. Next day my husband came home with a big content smile on his face and waltzing with an imaginary partner. The next weekend on one of our usual drives, he decided to christen the lady inside the GPS ‘Babydoll’! He went on and on about her virtues and all the cool things she knew.

Till then I was the official navigator and it was a relief for me as well to just sit back and not worry about the next turn anymore. But, I have never felt covetous before and funny as it might sound, after a few babydoll-invasions in my otherwise peaceful life, something triggered the jealous juice to flow to my mind. And before you knew it, I was jealous of Babydoll and had declared war!

Victory was mine. Familiarity breeds something, doesn’t it? It did that with my husband too. Not many days passed before he tired of Babydoll’s anglophilic voice. And more importantly he realised that listening to the wife had its own advantages that a stooopid babydoll trapped in a box can never compete with – like taking a detour so that you can enjoy those delicious cookies or that Taste-of-India restaurant. Or the brownie points you earn by the number of ‘Yes dear’s, ‘What will I do without you’s enroute.

Babydoll is dead. Our GPS is on mute now. :)

Anyway, since you have a lot of time to read my rambling, you might also want to read this (The Outsourced Brain) - an interesting write-up that points to a future where we might end up outsourcing even our memories and trust some websites to tell us out about our likes and dislikes. Outsourcing your life? Is that where this gravy train is taking us?

I love the new technologies, but always feel a little uneasy when I take notice how much I have ended up depending on them. It’s making my life a better one no doubt, but is there a line beyond which I will lose recognition of whether I am directing my life or whether my life is being charted by these technologies that I love? Are we anywhere near that line?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brighton up!

Brighton Pebble Beach

To celebrate the final days of summer, I packed my bags and took off for a weekend in Brighton.

Absolutely relished the antiquated narrow passages and cobbled streets of the lanes lined with a vast array of exotic shops, the mystical Royal Pavilion, the pebble invaded Brighton Beach and the lively Brighton Pier. Had to give the supposed-to-be feverish nightlife and Brighton Marina a miss as I did not want a weekend getaway to result in a drowsy Monday morning!

The Paragliding club in Brighton
More photos here.

We ended up spending most of the afternoon at Seven sisters. If there was anyone who had more fun than me at Seven Sisters it can only be the person para-gliding above my head.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Go on and swear at work!

Swearing at work can not only bring people together, it can be used as a way of signalling informality.

Swearing can also unite workers against customers in a harmlessly satisfying way.

In most offices, staff have to be excessively polite on the phone, so it can sometimes be nice, after a particularly trying conversation, to be able to put the receiver down and mutter “wanker”.

This is from an article in FT that advocates using words as you please for a stress-free work life. A caveat though - restrain when using it with someone higher up in the ladder.

Ah well, the marketing companies in India have been practising this for years now. And it's only now that the world is discovering it! Tsk tsk!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Japan breaks down at France!

Paris syndrome is a condition exclusive to Japanese tourists and nationals, which causes them to have a mental breakdown while in the famous city. Of the millions of Japanese tourists that visit the city every year, around a dozen suffer this illness and have to be returned to their home country.

The condition is basically a severe form of ‘culture shock’. Polite Japanese tourists who come to the city are unable to separate their idyllic view of the city, seen in such films as Amelie, with the reality of a modern, bustling metropolis.

Japanese tourists who come into contact with, say, a rude French waiter, will be unable to argue back and be forced to bottle up their own anger which eventually leads to a full mental breakdown.

The Japanese embassy has a 24hr hotline for tourists suffering for severe culture shock, and can provide emergency hospital treatment if necessary.

How do they manage the culture shock in India? Ah, maybe that explains why we don't see so many Japanese on a vacation in India.

They seem to be pretty happy and content over here in the UK though. And seem to have a great time in their own world trying to capture their favourite photo with their bulky cameras and highly advanced mobiles. If you haven't seen Japanese taking photos, you don't know what I mean. (More on this later!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hapless in London’s underground

I enjoy my daily commute to work and back thanks to London’s tube network. Not more than 40 minutes passes between the moment I lock my door at home and the moment I reach my desk at work. 40 minutes commute is a luxury over here. And those 40 minutes lets me dig into my book of the month or just close my eyes and slip away. Sounds like a happy story right?

It was happy until yesterday. It was just like another day until after work I got ready for my ride back home in the tube. It is usually crowded during rush hour and it does get quite difficult to find a place to sit; sometimes it gets so busy that you might not even get one of those hand-rails to hold on to which results in a ride where you’ll have to apologise profusely to your fellow passengers for having shoved your purse or an occasional elbow into them. Not that they mind – everyone in the tube puts on a glass-eyed-look. It’s almost as if everyone stops being normal people who can talk and smile as soon as they get into the tube.

Yesterday was different just because it was crowded beyond the usual. It was the first time London underground brought back unpleasant memories of journeys dared in Mumbai local trains. Consoling myself that with the sweaty-Mumbai-local-experience under my belt, enduring the well-mannered London tube crowd would be child’s play, I got into the tube and found myself being pushed into the middle of the tube standing area. This is the only place in the tube where there are no hand-rails to hold on to.

My right hand busy with my purse, my left hand went on to arrange some rogue hair that had strayed around blocking my vision. I patted my hair back in place and in that 3 seconds, even more commuters had managed to cramp into the tube coach.

Visualise this. I, a tiny woman, am at the centre of the tube standing area, with nothing to hold on to, people towering all around me, my nose is squished against a gentleman’s bicep, there is no space to move a finger and on top of all this – I had my left hand still raised high above my head and there was no way I could squeeze it back to where it normally belonged.

Now all I had to do was shout Jai Hind and it would have been a perfect execution.

And oh, I had to hold that awkward pose, squished nose and all for another minute (felt like forever!) before we pulled into the next station.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NITC Students’ Code of Conduct

I am an alumnus of NITC and like most other alumni and I get my news and updates about my alma mater through the alumni email group. And by news and updates, I mean the occasional mail seeking batchmates outside India or someone publicising or seeking a job opportunity or news of a demise or news about a strike/uprising/ragging etc. To be honest, I’ve always wondered why there haven’t been many ‘positive’ mails in the group. And I think I have the answer today.

The latest controversy is the Students’ Conduct and Disciplinary code published in the NITC website. Not a day passes, and we have alumni expressing their opinions known about the code of conduct. Everyone opposes it.

Here’s my opinion – I don’t oppose it. Considering some of the reasons why NITC has been in news lately (politics, ragging – yes, the wrong reasons!), I gladly welcome this move, though like others I too have my doubts about how these are going to be enforced. Take a close look at the some of the rules in the code of conduct -

NITC Campus is a “Smoking free Campus”.
Isn’t there a rule that smoking in public places is banned? So what’s new in this rule?
Students are not permitted to use mobile phones in the class room, Library, Computer Centre, Examination Halls, etc. They may use such gadgets judiciously.
Technology has caught up with the students to cheat the hi-tech way exams and class tests, but we are yet to see technology (jammers?) installed in the classrooms, exam halls to prevent them.

Students shall not indulge in any undesirable activity and shall maintain highest standard of discipline.

Students shall refrain from all activities considered as ragging which is a criminal offence.
And all of you who argue about the healthy after-effects of ragging, I have to say that a stranger who called himself part of the Nazi group and called me names which I would later go on to find were the ‘extreme non-veg’ variety did not help me one bit in my first few days in the institute. I don’t even want to go into his body-language and gestures. The experience just made me keep away from the stranger and his friends for the next 3 years and then heave a huge sigh of relief when he finally left the college. I am sure the unluckier ones who get beaten up just because they are from a particular state would agree with me too about the not-so-healthy effects of ragging.

Possession or consumption of narcotic drugs, tobacco, alcohol and other intoxicating substances are strictly prohibited in the Campus and hostels.

Students are prohibited from indulging in anti-institutional, anti-national, antisocial, communal, immoral or political expressions and activities within the Campus and hostels.

Students shall not deface, disfigure, damage or destroy or cause any loss in any manner to or regarding public, private or Institute properties.

Engaging in gherao, keeping under captivity or illegally confining any official of the Institute is prohibited.

No student shall enter or leave the classroom when the session is on without the permission of the teacher.

Students shall only use the waste bins for dispensing waste materials within the Campus including classrooms, hostels apnd offices.

As you read through these rules, did it occur to you that these are some of the basic manners expected out of a person anywhere in public? And isn’t it shameful that we have reached a point where we have to write it down, beat drums and publicise it and enforce public manners?

But then, there’s another side to the story too. Consider some of these rules for instance.

No student shall exert undue influence on fellow students.

No student shall collect money either by request or by coercion from others within the campus or hostels.
How would the clubs function without money from students?

…… Students should refrain from sitting on places such as parapets, stairs, footpaths etc.
Rajpath wouldn’t be as beautiful without the students in it. But yes, it will be good riddance to all those hooligans who used to wait for any form female to let out their sexual frustrations verbally!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Think green. Have some mercy.

This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day, joining thousands of other bloggers to write about one topic for a single day. This year’s topic is the environment.

It will take a strong self-conscious will power to change your lives and to become a friend of the environment. But if you think for awhile about the money you can save while promoting a greener planet, you will be surprised. Take some of these for instance:

Keep your car tuned. A well-tuned car uses approximately nine percent less gas than a poorly tuned car, and you can lose about two percent in fuel economy for every pound of pressure your tire is under the recommended level. Savings: $150 per year.

Learn to drive. Rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by five percent around town and 33 percent on the highway, or an average of $0.55 per gallon. And, you get less mileage for your money (23 percent less or $0.67 per gallon) if you drive over 60mph. Savings: $1.22 per gallon, or $634 per year.

Give your junk away. If you don’t have enough goods for tax deductions, remember, "One man’s junk is another man’s treasure." Use groups like Freesharing and Freecycle to move out unwanted items. You can find some great deals through these organizations as well.

Insulate your body in winter. In cold conditions, evaporation can quickly suck away warmth, especially if you’ve been active and then are stationary, leaving your skin exposed. Think of your body as a water heater and wrap yourself in insulating layers. Wear dark colors to absorb any outside light or heat energy.

Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). If an entire country (Australia) can do it, then you can do it too. But, wait until your current bulbs burn out before you make the switch so you don’t waste your money. Yes, CFL bulbs are more expensive, but even the cheapest energy saving CFLs will typically last for 5,000 hours compared to only just over 1,000 hours on average for the best conventional bulbs. You can save $30 or more in energy costs over each CFL bulb’s lifetime.

Plastic water bottles create small-scale environmental disasters. American demands for plastic water bottles requires the use of more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel approximately 100,000 U.S. cars for a year. Use filtered tap water in a reusable bottle, and you’ll save money as well as show the world that you’re green. Switch to a glass container at home or in the office, stainless steel when biking or bungee jumping or gymming.
Fore more of these energy and money saving tips head over here.

It's just not enough that we try our best to keep things green and clean around us; it'll be much more beneficial in the long run if we can convince our friends and family to take the green pledge too. And our generation, who have suddenly woken up to realise the need for a greener future, are best poised to take this up. So go ahead and tell your moms and dads, aunts and uncles why they should not litter in the public anymore, why they should not notch up the AC more than what is required and most importantly, why they should pass on the message. And soon-to-be moms and dads, let you your children learn to treat nature with respect along with their ABCs.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I am busy with....

.... the Global Management Summit in London. It's being organised by the IIM Alumni in Europe. If you are in London or anywhere nearby this Thursday, it might be a good idea to show up.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Can you tame your mind?

Solve the following puzzles and see how many you can crack. Answers need not match exactly, but if you have a logical answer that matches the situation, you can consider that as a correct answer.

  1. A man and his son were on a tour of an atomic power plant. In the control room, the boy asked if he could see the controls for the reactor core. The head physicist said yes, and explained how the controls worked. After the boy left, the head physicist turned to an assistant and said, "That was my son." How could that be?
  2. Three kids from Bristol went for a walk. About a mile into the walk, they came to a deep, wide river. There was no bridge. They didn’t have a boat or raft, or any materials to make one. None of them could swim. How did they get across?
  3. Jane walked out the back door of her farmhouse on a Thursday afternoon and found a man’s pipe, a scarf and three lumps of coal lying on the wet grass near the barn. The nearest neighbours lived a mile away, and no-one had visited that day. Where did the objects come from?
  4. A true story: a white horse jumped over a castle and landed on a bishop, who immediately disappeared from the landscape. Where did this take place?

I came across these puzzles during one of my stumbling sessions. All of them have very logical common sense answers, but chances are high that you couldn’t find any explanations for them. Especially the second and third puzzles.

Check answers to the puzzles here.

Now that you know what the answers are it would be quite clear to you why you could nail the 1st and the 4th one, but the 2nd and 3rd were beyond reach. To state the obvious – it’s simply because we generally don’t encounter such situations in our lives. Frozen river and snowmen aren’t something we are used to in most parts of India.

When I asked my friends and family to solve these puzzles, (was curious and wanted to test their reactions) almost all of them got the answers to 1 and 2 (yeah, we are a smart bunch). For the second one I got very weird answers that are too long to mention here. And for 4th, the most common answer was that it could be a dry summer and the river had no water in it. (But then, can you call a river a river, when there’s no water in it?) But that’s what we see in India right? No one could even imagine a frozen river – sure, we read it about it books, but it's difficult to think of one when you are given a real life situation.

I just want to highlight here that drawing only from our experiences might not be a good idea always. We cease to think of other possibilities simply because our mind refuses to admit them as ‘possibilities’.

Every MBA student will have at least one experience of solving a case study, that appeared to be highly complex one and had no straight solution and yet, when the professor points you in a direction that you had never thought could be possible, you would end up wondering why such a simple thing never occurred to you.

The older we grow, more grey hairs, more experience - the lesser our mind lets us wander to admit things beyond our world. Next time you have a problem to solve, tame your mind! They say 'think out of the box', but I say 'think out of your mind'.

But I am OK, as my memory sucks and I am a Capricorn and we reverse-age!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Digs that make you go OUCH!

Hey, call me when your life expectancy catches up with your inflation rate.

Cape Verde
Millions visit your island nation... to refuel their planes!

Czech Republic
The country that explains why Kafka never wrote a happy story.

Too bad you can't build a warm sunny day out of Legos.

The only nation brave enough to say "Let those offshore oil reserves wait. We've got a good thing going with these peanuts and palm kernels."

Where Europe meets Asia and says "Hey, why don't we both dump our crap here?"

Come visit our country, but make sure you also have an afternoon activity.

Home to eight of the world's highest peaks; nine if you count your unemployment rate.

A nation so richly diverse, you can walk into a single neighbourhood and find cholera, dengue fever, malaria, typhoid, and plague.

More digs here from Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland. It’s interesting to note why Conan came up with the list in the first place.

Monday, September 17, 2007

He & She

She: Am so excited about our trip to India. Let's plan for the trip.

He: Well, we have 9 days to laze at home. So what say 5 at my place and 4 at yours?

She: How about the exact opposite bozo?

He: Boo to you!

She: Ha! What a great argument.

And so the great debate continues.....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where's the web going?

Or maybe you should be asking where is the web taking you?

If your first thought after seeing this picture is its uncanny resemblence to the London tube map, you are not too far away. The web trend map has been 'derived' from the Tokyo Metro map.

The web trend map is a pictorial representation of the 200 most successful websites on the web today. If you have not heard of some of these sites and are feeling a little outdated, use this clickable version here to quickly travel to these sites and find out what makes them so popular. Most of us on the Internet are travelling on these lines, so you might as well give them a shot too! There are also some Japanese, Chinese and German websites featured here - nerds don't panic if you haven't heard of them before. You are still a nerd!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Kilogram seems to be on a diet!

How else do you explain this from Good Morning Silicon Valley?

You may not have known it, but there is one "official kilogram," a cylinder cast in 1889 from a platinum and iridium alloy, measuring 1.54 inches in diameter and height. There are dozens of copies, but the reference kilo is kept in a triple-locked safe at a French chateau and is only brought out for periodic comparison with its brethren. And now, that comparison has produced a mystery. In comparison to an average of the copies, the reference kilo has lost weight -- about 50 micrograms, the equivalent of a fingerprint.

"The mystery is that they were all made of the same material, and many were made at the same time and kept under the same conditions, and yet the masses among them are slowly drifting apart," said physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. "We don't really have a good hypothesis for it." Whatever the cause, the apparent fluctuation may push along a move to base our measurement standards on something more precise than a 19th century chunk of metal.

I am sure a handful of people would have lost a lot of sleep and weight over this!

But let us be glad that our local milk-men, vegetable vendors and the lot haven't realised this yet!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

London Underground Tips & Tricks

The tube strike made me sit up and appreciate the London Underground that I use to commute everyday to work and back. Now that I've learned my lesson, it's less painful even if I don't get a place to sit and read my book, or if a person next to me eats smelly chips or if I have to hang on to my husband for want of a place to hold on to because of the rush!

But you gotta be smart if you want to make the tube work for you. If you don't know much about it, you will end up walking miles (OK, I am exaggerating!) inside the tube station crossing between different lines and ending up at the butt of a long escalator queue. Nobody wants these on a work-day morning. So here are some tips and tricks that I have picked up in the last 2 months that have really worked for me. These are mostly time-saving tips.

1. Way-outs!
These are the exits to a different line or to a street and they are clearly marked on all platforms. But if you board a carriage that is far way from the 'way-out' you might have to plan an extra 5 minutes into you travel time everyday. The solution? The way-out tube map! It's worth the £1.95 if you haven't already worked out which carriage to get into so that when you reach your destination you are bang opposite the exit and no one can beat you to it or the escalator wait at the end of the way-out tunnel!
This could be your way to Mind the Gap between the carriage and the exit! :)

2. For the walker in you!
When I first came to London I was advised by someone that I could easily walk from Waterloo to Charing Cross. That someone entered directly into my not-to-take-seriously list of people. But after burning precious pounds on the tube travel, one day I found out that it was indeed a pleasant walk from Waterloo to Charing Cross. The official tube map does not give one a good idea of the geographical distances between the stations, if you were to walk. Here's the solution. An accurate geographical tube map. It will help you decide when to walk and when not to. Very handy, especially if you have only a couple of minutes before your play/meeting starts!

3. For the tourist
This book - Going Underground - can tell you which London attraction is close to which tube. If you happen to pass through a particular station, you might as well visit all the attractions close to it!

4. Get the cheapest fare
Public transport in London is the most expensive in the world. Or so I heard. It makes sense to make your travel choices wisely. If you work and/or live in London, you might already have an Oyster card. But you still need to decide whether you should go for a pay-as-you-go (pre-paid) or a travelcard (season ticket). You can find out at the Oyster Card Calculator.

5. For the bookworm
This is not related to the tube, but if you are a bookworm you will pardon me for that. If you miss your book collection back home and the affordable paperback prices back in India, you should visit one of these places - Oxfam, Cancer-Research UK (do you know any other?) - over the weekend. Satiate your need and also do a good thing! I bought 6 books for £3.5 last weekend and I am still beaming about it.
On second thoughts, you could read these books in the tube. So there!
A warning though - you have to be lucky like me to get the books that you want to read!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tea-shops in Gulfland. Too much tea?

You may be able to take the Gelf out of Mallus, but don't even think of taking the Mallus out of the Gelf.

In a state of 32 million where unemployment approaches 20 percent, one Keralite worker in six now works overseas. Without migrant earnings, critics say, the state’s luster could not be sustained. The $5 billion that Keralite migrants send home augment the state’s economic output by nearly 25 percent.

.....“The literacy rate here is great,” she said, “and unemployment is much greater.”

...the economic forces that lead people to migrate were beyond the state’s control. “But what’s unique about Kerala is that the benefits are likely to be shared in a more fair and just way".

...But the Kerala model is under attack, one outbound worker at a time.
I've grown seeing family members and friends slowly move on to Gulf. It was and is still considered as an express ticket to all the good things in life. But too much of this unemployment medicine seems to be harming the people and their lives. Read on over here (NY Times free subscription) for more. If you are in a hurry, catch the slideshow here.

Never in India...

A student who was controversially prosecuted for putting her feet on a train seat walked free from court with an absolute discharge. Kathleen Jennings wept and hugged her parents as magistrates cleared her of "wilfully interfering with the comfort or convenience of other rail passengers."

The Manchester University maths student was challenged by a Merseyrail enforcement officer for placing her feet on a train seat. She took her feet off the seat immediately and apologised, but was still prosecuted. The company has a zero tolerance policy for feet on seats and has prosecuted 250 people since February.

I reckon the enforcement officer will resign on accounts of burn-out if he had to do the same in India!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dishoom dishoom over IIMK

If you are part of the IIM fraternity, I am sure you must have already come across these articles published in LiveMint. If not, you might want to read them to get a crash course on the amazing shortcut to increase your readership in one day!

Does IIM’s location matter?

IIM-K’s past still points to trouble at Shillong IIM

Now that you know the tricks of the trade, you might want to read this ('Problems needn’t cloud efforts and performance of IIM-K’) just to find out what IIMK has to say about all this.

It’s surprising that the author of the first article conveniently forgot to consider placement track records, industry appreciations, the knowledge base, the alumni who have reached places and so many more factors that are important to someone who wants to do an MBA. Can IIMK's achievements on these factors be pure luck inspite of the location disadvantage?

And oh, there’s another trick to increase readership. Bschool surveys. How can people who fail miserably at analysing something as simple as this be trusted to do something as complex as B-school rankings?

One question. You wrote CAT. You got calls from IIMK and from a second rung B-school in a metropolitan city. Which one would you join?

I joined IIMK after turning down XLRI and then some more. And I did not even apply to the so called second rung Bschools. And, no regrets at all!

So my dear MBA/IIM aspirants, please don’t fall prey to these surveys and articles which have their own invisible agenda. If you want to make an informed decision talk to the alumni of the Bschools in your consideration set, talk to the faculty and if possible, visit the school. It’s going to be home for you for 2 years and will most probably have a deep impact on you and your life and you wouldn’t want a newspaper riding on readership-adrenaline-boost to make that decision for you, would you?

Would you go to a less exciting amusement park, just because EsselWorld is so far away from the city?
Would you miss EsselWorld just because a newspaper printed a blown-up advertisement about the second-rung Bschool?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Labour Strike and Game Theory

If you have lived around 25 years in Malluland, you might not bat an eyelid when you read in the morning newspaper that there is going to be yet another strike. It’s part of our culture. But over here in London, I did not expect these ‘strike’ traits to be so prominent.

Within 2 months of my arrival here there have been 2 strikes that affected almost everyone in London in someway or the other.

First was the Royal Mail strike. The snail mail service in UK came to a complete halt last month. One might think that in this e-savvy era, would we miss the snail mail for a couple of days? Looks like we do! Discontent was very visible among the public. I was affected too and had to shell out credit card late payment charges.

Then came the massive London underground tube strike. The strike is still on as I write this. It has inflicted direct pain into the lives of everyone in London. If you are use the tube, you would have lost your money spent on the season ticket for this week. No one is gonna reimburse that to you now, are they? On top of that you have to spend an extra two hours (in my case) commuting to work everyday. Even if you don’t use the tube, you are not spared. Your transport option, be it bus or car or cycle; you will be invaded with the 3 million people on the roads who would otherwise have been inside the tube.

So many strikes! What really goes beneath all that we read on the newspaper and see on TV?

Your local economist might be able to throw more light into it than the trade union who called for the strike in the first place. It’s all explained by the much celebrated Nobel Prize winning discovery in the field of Economics called Game Theory.

If you have not heard of Game theory before this might be a good time to get enlightened about it here. And read about the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma here. If not, then read on.

So what's game theory got to do with labour strikes?

In the case of a labour strike we have a non-zero-sum game. In this, the strategies that can be adopted could lead to a variety of different outcomes - you could stand to gain or lose or adopt a strategy of 'best case' or 'worse case' scenario. The union therefore could adopt an aggressive negotiating policy - if it succeeds its members could end up gaining a significant wage increase and/or an improvement in working conditions. There will be a temptation for the union to behave in this way if it thinks it is more powerful than the management.

Equally the management could behave in that way also if it feels it has the strength. Both, however, might feel that such a 'go-all-out' strategy is risky and as such they might prefer to adopt a compromise approach whereby they gain something but may have to give something in return - representing a potential 'loss'.

The game is made more complex by the fact that we have a number of examples of such behaviour in the past upon which to draw and to influence our decision making processes! If other unions have successfully confronted management then maybe the time is right for a bold approach now rather than a conciliatory one? The game goes on….

What makes this so called game so challenging is that, just like poker – which is a classic game theory scenario – your decision depends on the actions by the other party and you can only take a good guess about his strategy and pray to God that you don’t end up on the wrong side at the end of the game.

Our own Mahatma Gandhiji brilliantly played the game-theory-card to give us independence. His Salt Satyagraha or the Dhandi March is an example of game theory. And we all know who won the game at the end, though it looked otherwise just after the march!

I just wish that these people would stop playing their I-strike-Whachyugonnado game soon so that the rest us can get on with our lives.

Monday, September 03, 2007

London Eye ahoy!

London Eye

Towering 135 meters above London, the London Eye is the world's tallest observation wheel, but the not world's largest Ferris wheel. More pictures from GWBE's camera here.

On clear and sunny days one can get 40 Km panoramic views from the London eye. But you have to be very lucky to see such a day in London in the first place!

The 32 capsules, which take around 30 minutes for a full circle turn, represent the 32 boroughs of London.

That's David Blaine on the London Eye pod. We get into it. He gets ON it. That's the difference between us and maverick magicians like Mr. Blaine.

So, if you have £14.50 to spare on a sunny day (work out the combined probabilities yourself!) and you were about to throw it all into a wishing well or maybe buy a wad of lottery tickets, you are better off buying a ticket for a trip aboard the London Eye. If not, you are better off spending some of it on some snacks and coffee while you walk around the London Eye. I say this because, I was not very impressed with the panoramic view from the London eye.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Religion and culture. Do they go hand in hand?

I would say yes and no.

I walked into the St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh last Sunday and to my surprise, in addition to the usual paraphernalia that you would see in a medieval church there was also an exhibition. It was not an exhibition on religion or anything spiritual. It was a display of photographs and snippets about human trafficking. Real life stories of human suffering. There were stories of exploitation that had happened in UK and the hapless victims were brought in from all over the world.

I was intrigued by the exhibition and decided to attend the service. After the usual choir music, hymn sing-a-long and prayers, a lady pastor came on to the dais to administer the sermon. I’ve never attended a sermon before and The Simpsons was the only reference I had to what really happens during a service. I was expecting a boring lecture by the pastor which would put everyone inside the church to sleep. I was ready to rest my legs and well, if possible, my eyes as well.

The pastor started her sermon with a summary about the stories and the photographs that were on display inside the church. It went on for a good half an hour about what we, common people, can do to protest and prevent human trafficking and slavery. It was clear that she had done extensive research on this topic and she clearly meant what she was preaching.

After half an hour, the sermon was over and when I looked around, it had indeed put some of the people including my husband to sleep; Some were busy giggling, but clearly, there were some who were moved by this talk. I was glad I attended the service that day. And I was happy to note that religion did not end at prayers and wish lists over here. It started with prayers and went on to try to make the society a better place.

How many religions really strive to build a better human being out of us and a better society? How many take time to remind their followers that God resides inside every one of us and that we have a moral obligation to the world that we live in?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Edinburgh, Scotland at festival time!

If you have not visited Edinburgh while the festival is on, you are missing something. The usual sleepy medieval city comes alive with natives, street hawkers, tourists, live play previews on the streets, stand-up comedians… get the idea! For the Indians who complain that they don’t get to see too many people in the UK, this will make them shut up.

Festival crowd at Royal Mile
Royal Mile, the street around which life revolved around in old Edinburgh, comes alive and happily takes you in. And trust me, it gets busier than Linking Road Mumbai at evenings. Put together the people, the medieval castles and streets and houses, parks and palaces, couple of dormant volcanoes, theatres and the festival mood – you can’t have too much of it!

Some of the places in and around Royal Mile that we got to visit were

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh castle and the soldier guarding the castle have to put up with the street lights and the double decker buses that have invaded their city.
The castle sits on top of a dormant volcano. You will be poorer by £14 per person if you visit the castle and rent an audio tour. If you’ve been to some of the mighty old forts back in India, there are chances that you might be terribly disappointed. But you do get a great view of the city from the castle which throws in some good photography opportunities. The Prisoners of War exhibition is also not to be missed if you have not seen one before. Another attraction down there is the One O’Clock gun.

The Scotch Whisky experience
When you walk down from the castle and into the Royal Mile, this building is hard to miss. If you are a Scotch Whisky enthusiast, maybe you should drop in here first before you explore the castle (£5.50 per person); it might lighten things up in the castle! For the others, you can visit this place to pick up some gifts that will be appreciated by your near and dear Scotch lovers.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
If you have kids or if the kid inside you is still alive and kicking, this is not to be missed. It will set you back by £9 per person, but the pleasant surprises that are in store for you inside will more than compensate for this. The highlight being the Camera Obscura that is set up in the hexagonal tower, which lets you spy on all parts of the city sitting in the safe confines of the small room. If you loved science in school, you will love this. And the witty person demonstrating the camera only adds to the experience.

High Kirk of St Giles or St. Giles Cathedral
St. Giles Cathedral
The glass paintings in this church make the visit worthwhile. If you are lucky enough to be there during their service, do attend it. It drives some people to a place where they feel totally at peace with themselves and the world and it drives some other people, like my husband, into a state of deep slumber.

Mary King’s close
Mary King's Close is the best known close on the Royal Mile thanks to its 300 year old legends and ghost stories. If you are ready to shell out £9.50 per person, you will get to see how people lived in there underground alleyways from 16th up to the 19th century and how some of them succumbed to the plague during the 17th century. If you are from India or from any other developing country for that matter and have seen how people live in the slums sharing a one room tin house with 10 others, you won’t be impressed with Mary King’s close.
I’d suggest that you give this a miss and visit the Edinburgh Dungeon or one of the Edinburgh ghost tours.

Some other places you might want to drop in near Royal Mile are The Scottish Parliament Building - for those with an interest in architecture, Arthur’s seat – which is a reasonably good trek (822ft) up a dormant volcano which will reward you with a spectacular view of the city and even the beautiful meadows beyond, The Palace Of Holyrood House and Holyrood Abbey, The People's Story – an interesting museum which describes the life and work of the ordinary people of Edinburgh and, Museum of Childhood – which has a vast collection of toys, games and books most of which are extinct or are antiques now.

You can also spend some time walking around in the Princess street and keep an eye on the castle all the time, enjoy your takeaway lunch at Princess street gardens, watch a show by the street comedians, admire the Scott monument or just drop in at one of plays/films being screened at the festival. You will also get to see a lot of men in skirts……kilts; you can get one for yourself if you fancy those. But mind you, skirts sans stockings are not a great idea for the weather in Scotland.

Some dos and don’ts

  • Don’t drive down into Edinburgh city center at festival time. You might not be able to find a place to park your car or you might have to shell out exorbitant parking fees. You can buy unlimited travel in the local buses for £2.5 a day which is the best way of getting around in the city.
  • Book yourself early into a B&B or a hostel if you want to visit Edinburgh during the festival. Latecomers might have to pay double the usual rates or tent it out in one of the gardens!
  • Vegetarians beware. The city is not very kind to vegetarians. Your options are limited to Jacket potatoes or Subway sandwiches or a Veggie pizza or just desserts. Alternatively, if you search, you might be able to find an Indian restaurant offering to wipe your purse out for a dinner.
  • Visit the Information center at Princes Street for good deals on theater/film tickets.
  • Beware of ghosts or paranormal activity in the underground closes. I am not sure, but just be on the lookout!

More photos here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy? Independence Day

Of all the Independence days I have celebrated, this one has to be the most thought provoking of them all. Not to mention depressing.

Usually Independence day celebrations always involved most importantly a holiday from work or studies, a flag hoisting get together and the goose-bump evoking rendition of our National Anthem. But today, I am sitting at work and a million thoughts cross my mind. And it doesn’t help that I have been spending a lot of time reading The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor.

Don’t get me wrong - it’s a great book. I usually don’t enjoy reading historic novels. But this book has managed to capture my attention so far. Here is an excerpt from what I read today on my way to work. (Read Gandhiji when you see Gangaji and everything else will explain itself.)

When Gangaji arrived in Budge Budge he found a situation verging on the desperate. The locked-out workers were, of course, being paid nothing at all. Their families were starving. I need not describe to you, Ganapathi, child of an Indian city as you undoubtedly are, the sights which met Ganga’s eyes: the foetid slums; the dirt and the disrepair; the children playing in rancid drains; the little hovels without electricity or water in which human beings lived several to a square yard.

This is now the classic picture of India, is it not, and French cinematographers take time off from filming the unclad forms of their women in order to focus with loving pity on the unclad forms of our children. They could have done this earlier too, they and their pen-wielding equivalents of an earlier day, but somehow all the foreign observers then could only bring themselves to write about the glories of the British Empire. Not of the India weavers whose thumbs the British had cut off in order to protect the machines of Lancashire; not of the Indian peasants whose lands had been signed over to zamindars who would guarantee the colonists the social peace they needed to run the country and not of the destitution and hunger to which these policies reduced Indians. Indulge an old man’s rage Ganapathi, and write this down: the British killed the Indian artisan, they created the Indian ‘landless labourer’, they exported our full employment and they invented our poverty.

……and now we are slowly but surely importing the employment back to our country. It’s a longer battle to export back the poverty though.

It is difficult for you, living now with the evidence of that poverty around you, taking it for granted as a fact of life, to conceive of an India that was not poor, not unjust, not wretched. But that was not how India was before the British came, or why would they have come? Do you think the merchants and the adventurers and the traders of the East India Company would have come to an India that was a land of poverty and misery? No Ganapathi, they came to an India that was fabulously rich and prosperous, they came in search of wealth and profit, and they took what they could take, leaving Indians to wallow in their leavings.

...…proof of which (their plundering) can be found proudly displayed in the British Museum in London.

Reading the passage from the book while riding a London underground tube evoked mixed emotions in me. And so did all the BBC channels here broadcasting their special programmes on the 60th anniversary of the independence of India and the bloody Pakistan partition.

I am not happy this Independence day mainly because I don’t feel like celebrating it in Brit-land. It also brings back the realization that - millions of our children today have to live hand to mouth and another million people succumb to diseases which can be cured easily for the cost of what a Brit-person spends everyday on his/her beer – and all of this could have been different if we were left on our own in the first place!

A related article here makes for a very good read. It brings a strong ray of hope, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A kiddie bank

A bank where the Manager, the Board, the Loan committee and the Assistant managers are all children. A true bank by the children for the children!
Not sure how that would work? Read about it here.

Makes you feel guilty that you are sitting in a cosy room and sipping hot chocolate while you read about it doesn’t it?

It’s deplorable that we need such a bank in the first place and that there are enough children living out of our streets who needs banks like this! That gives us a very easy definition for Developed and Developing economies.

Developed Economy: One that can provide for its homeless and unemployed and take care of their basic needs and make sure that they even have enough money for a beer when they feel like it.

Developing Economy: One that has no time or resources to lavish on the homeless and unemployed and lets NGOs and generous citizens take up this role. And it doesn't care much.

All that matters is what part of the world you were born!

Friday, August 10, 2007

For all Monopoly fans

Glad to meet you. I am big fan myself.

I am greatly thankful to my NRI uncle for buying me the big London version of Monopoly when I was around 10 years old. Since then, I’ve always been fascinated with this game. Partly because, I’ve never managed to stay afloat in the game for long – I always end up losing all my money and crying! And partly because, the game was designed to educate children about the value of money and of real estate and how the two things work together in our economy. I won’t say that the game achieves its goal, but hey, it’s fun playing Monopoly!

Now that I am in London, passing the tube stations at Bond Street, Regent’s street, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square etc makes me feel as if I am moving through the Monopoly Board. I silently grin while passing through these places with the contented thought that I own a few houses and hotels in these areas! If only that was true!

To relive our childhood memories, my husband and I bought this travel monopoly pack and have been trying to ‘Monopolise’ real estate in London in the last two weekends! Lady luck, as usual, tends to stick to the other player and I always end up bankrupt even before I could build a home! I am waiting for that dawn, when I’ll make my husband and even the bank bankrupt :)

Latest news: The new Monopoly boards have a Stock-Exchange add-on, plastic money instead of paper money (I don’t mean the money is printed on plastic, but the player gets a debit card that he/she can swipe. Powered by VISA!) and Playmaster (something that keeps track of all player movement and real estate deals. Also manages auctions and mortgages!).

Some crazy stuff about Monopoly

-Escape maps, compasses and files were inserted into the Monopoly game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during World War II. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.

-Parker Brothers once sent an armoured car with one million dollars of the Monopoly game money to a marathon game in Pittsburgh that had run out of funds.

-In 1972, the Atlantic City Commissioner of Public Works threatened to change the names of the real Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, but public outcry vetoed the bill.

-In Cuba, the game had a strong following until Fidel Castro took power and ordered all known sets destroyed.

-Over here you can play Monopoly in real London with 18 real cabs fitted with GPS systems as your movers.

Some tips and tricks for Monopoly lovers

1. According to the laws of probability, seven is the most probable roll of two dice, occurring 6 out of 36 times whereas 2 and 12 are the least probable rolls, each occurring once every 36 rolls. For this reason, Park Lane is one of the least landed-on squares as the square seven places behind it is "Go to Jail". So you won’t gain much if you build a house/hotel here. Not many are going to pay you a visit!

2. Since players are frequently directed to "Go To Jail," they will move through the purple, orange and red property groups immediately after leaving Jail. Based on the dice rolling probabilities, Bow Street and Marlborough Street will be the next stop of a jailbird. So save your money to build some house/hotel traps in here!

3. One square — Go To Jail — plus a number of Chance and Community Chest cards will cause the player to advance a distance around the board. Thus, the squares immediately following Go To Jail and the take-a-card squares have a reduced probability of being landed upon. The least-landed upon property in this situation is the cheaper dark blue property (Park Place or Park Lane) because it sets in the lee of both Go to Jail and Community Chest (the Chance directly before it would not affect its odds because it is impossible to roll a one). So don’t waste your good money on these two places!

4. Several properties are blessed with Chance cards which draw players to them. Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Mayfair, all of the railroads except Liverpool Street Station, and both of the utilities benefit from this feature. King's Cross Station has the fortune of having both a "go to" dedicated card plus the card advancing to the nearest railroad. So if you have one or more these, you will see regular income flow.

5. A player may be directed to the Go square by a Chance or a Community Chest card, thus lowering the probability of being landed-upon of every square in-between. The properties most affected by this are the yellow, green, and dark blue sets. It also marginally raises the probability for each square in the wake of Go, including the purple and orange sets which will be reached two or three rolls after being on Go.

6. Sometimes a Chance card will ask you to Go Back Three Spaces. A quick look at the board shows that there are three Chance squares and hence three other squares which are 3 spaces behind (one being a Community Chest space, another being Income Tax, and the third being the leading orange property). The leading orange property (Vine Street) gains the most benefit from this card since the Chance square nestled amongst the red properties is itself the most landed-upon Chance square.

So to cut it short, during game play, Trafalgar Square, Vine Street, Fenchurch Street Station, and King's Cross Station (of Harry Potter fame) are the most frequently landed-upon properties. Old Kent Road and Whitechapel are the least-landed-upon properties.

Now remember these and pray when you roll your dice that you either land or do not land on these spaces! Good luck!

Some Monopoly resources

History and strategies from Wikipedia

Learn about the game, the strategies and print your own money here!

A detailed study of probability and Monopoly

Monopoly Pub crawl in London! All you need is an Oyster card for the tube or bus!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Potter mania

The new Potter book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released this Saturday.

- People all over the world were waiting in line all day and all night to get their hands on the book first thing when the shop opens and to make sure that they do get the book before the store runs out of the copies!

- When I went to Hyde Park this weekend, I was amazed to see that of all the people who were reading in the park, around 90% had their noses buried inside the new Harry Potter book.

- And same case in the tube! People were reading Harry Potter as if their lives depended on it. They were reading it while they were on the train, they were reading it on the escalator, they were reading it while they were walking on the platforms! I wouldn't be surprised if they gave up sleeping till they finished the book.

- I saw this family which has bought two copies of the book so that their two children don't fight over who gets to read first.

- And this couple, who have each bought a Harry Potter book and were racing with each other to finish it.

- And what started as a children's book has been happily accepted by the grown-ups as well! I saw more 18+ reading the book than 10-15 year olds.

- And I am not even talking about all the records it has broken in 2 days!

Ms. Rowling must be very happy!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hyde Park

Hyde Park in all its glory

- The largest park in Central London.

- 3000 trees. What more could a tree lover want?

- All spots are potential picnic spots. It's so beautiful and fresh and clean everywhere! You feel as if it has just been created!

- And there's so much happening either at the Bandstand or at the Speakers' corner or there's a roller skating club whizzing by or people jogging or swimming or rowing or horse riding or sleeping or getting some tan or sleeping or enjoying a picnic or reading a book. (See the next post to know what book they were reading!)

- I went on a small visit to the Park and ended up spending a whole day picnicking there!

I've always wanted to visit Hyde Park, and I just did. It ended up a place not just crossed off my list - I am sure I'll visit it many more times.

More pics here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From Lake District, England

Very poetic Windermere

A dear friend of mine once told me, “Do you know that Lake District is home to William Wordsworth? No wonder he is such a great poet; the place is so beautiful, anyone will be inspired to write beautiful poetry there.”


Now there’s a point. I agree that Lake District is extremely picturesque. You can see for yourself from these pictures here. But not so sure about the poetry bit though. All I got when I came back from Lake District was a fridge magnet souvenir and a parking ticket, the astronomical fine in which didn’t look very poetic to me!

The place I went to is called Windermere Lake and, is the largest natural lake in England. I went there during the British summer, but mind you, I had to retreat inside during the cruise, due to the chilly winds at the upper deck. That’s the summer there!

Places to look out for if you are planning a trip to Lake District – Windermere Lake Cruises, Ambleside village, Lake District National Park, Cars of the Stars Motor Museum, Cumberland Pencil Museum , Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, Haig Colliery Mining Museum, Honister Slate Mines and the Aquarium of the Lakes. And you miss half the fun if you are not driving down there. The journey is just as beautiful as the destination!