Thursday, June 28, 2007

IXI GOooo.....

I was shown before it was launched – courtesy Vibhu. And I found it pretty amazing and certainly ‘different’ from many other sites which thousands of people use everyday, fuelling the boom called aviation industry of the country. This boom has lead to a number of travel sites popping up. So when Vibhu told me that he is working on such a travel site called , I asked what’s different. Then he gave me a sneak peek at it.
Using the latest JSON technology, which incidentally is also being used by Google for Gmail, this is arguably the fastest site available around for booking your airline tickets. Considering my learning curve had become more or less flat, I was inclined to learn more about this JSON, but a look at the front end caught and didn’t leave my attention.
The speed factor was of course there. Once loaded, it was super fast (an indication of major use of client side programming). Within seconds, it browsed through all the airlines and brought out the comparative rates – of course the cheapest at the top.
A distinct feature I loved was the slider. You just move the slider and change the different timings on which you want the flight. And as you keep on moving slider, the right pane keeps on updating with the required timings
One of the best things is that the prices shown are including taxes. That is the exact amount you need to shell out. I have suffered at many other sites. They cause you heart break. You are so happy to see a ticket for 1000 bucks and think “ Yes. I have made it. I have something to boast about to friends. 2000 mein return”. Its such a nice feeling. And then when as you near the payment time, some strange taxes appear spoiling your party. That is why I liked the approach in this site. They don't take you to the dream world.
Moreover, unlike others, you are taken directly to the check out page, where you just have to pay. In many others, you see a 500 Rs ticket. With experience of additional taxes behind you, you add up everything mentally. “chalo 1700 rupees. Not bad” and then you reach the site and Woosh.. no tickets available any more. So guess it is much better in this case where they skip many intermediate steps for the user.
I really enjoyed just browsing the site. May be because my friend had a hand in its making it. But nevertheless you enjoy something which has a fresh feel to it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The College Fun..

It’s back to college for me. After 3 years of living an independent, carefree life where you could pick just pick up expensive provogues or pepe’s while roaming, pay by card and carry on. But it is different back being a student. And also I have realized that 3 years indeed have brought changes – may be made more mature.
Take for example what happens in a class. I don’t know it is me only or what but the idea of fun for many of my classmates is still the same – the one we had in engineering college. Though most of the class has more than 2 years of work ex but it is the same what we did in engineering – clapping without reason, unnecessarily creating ruckus in the class, if there is someone’s birthday in the class – then singing it aloud in front of the teacher, creating hullah if the light goes or if the non working projector suddenly comes alive – as I said typical graduation type fun which entertained us for 4 years.
I am not saying people should not do it. May be they are trying to live that golden period once again by having the same kind of masti and fun. But for me, at this point of time, I am certainly not enjoying this. I used to do this and be a part of all these activities and I truly relish those times but I guess it’s over. That time is gone and this time is different. An MBA program – by the name itself sounds much more mature and serious. Not that we should stop having fun – not at all any time in one’s life but I am certain, there would be ways other than this childish fun.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On Top of Mumbai

Sunset at Juhu Beach

Rooftops always relax me. During the early years of 11th, 12th and then college, it was the home rooftop with a picture perfect view of Himalayas. Then in Hyderabad, it was the view of the far away buildings of IT giants - glittering no matter at what hour you see them. In Mysore too there were terrific views of greenery and sunsets at my second house. The romance with rooftop continues here in Mumbai. But the views are entirely different here. The two sides are covered with buildings higher, so as soon as you climb on, you see an array of windows hardly 30 meters away. The one on the right side is a bit far away but as you turn around there is an endless expanse of lights in front of you. As you sit in the slight drizzle of the monsoon shower, earphones plugged, you start seeing different lives – all together. There is a person sitting on his PC, a lonely old lady watching saas bahu soaps, another person praying before going to sleep, a lady preparing food in the kitchen, a girl talking animatedly on her mobile, children playing in their stylish 2 storey beds. The closeness to the Airport ensures a flight rising just in front of you every 5 minutes. Nothing specific I am trying to get to here but just the fact that it was pretty amazing and a new rooftop view for me in this city of dreams – a city which they say runs very fast. Strangely when I see the traffic, the people, the city - all running, I feel that all the while it is trying to run fast, it is getting slowed down.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Strengthened Beliefs.. err.. Non-Beliefs

It was 3 years ago, at the time I was leaving Chandigarh to Join Infosys, Hyderabad, that I went to a Gurudwara/ Mandir on extreme insistence of my parents. It happened again, today when again I am set to leave Chandigarh. It was a trip to Golden Temple, Amritsar this time. There was an unordinary rush at the most important pilgrimage place for Sikhs. The first thing that struck me, apart from the scorching heat was lack of any kind of security system – anywhere. While there were around 40 – 50 Thousand people, I couldn’t spot a single policeman. To plan and execute some bad things seemed to be the easiest thing to do there. The next thing to notice was the enormous rush of people. There were huge lines and average time a person took to get 2 minutes in front of the Guru Granth Sahib in the main complex was rumored to be 4 hours. We had some VIP ‘contacts’ which reduced our ‘turnaround time’ to 30 minutes.

This thing led to confusion for me. You go to a religious place to pray, pay homage, thank god or ask for His blessings. But there too one doesn’t have the patience to stand for his turn. All this basically becomes a ‘task’ which has to be completed. Not that I am targeting people who have VIP influences. Even the one standing in line is not by choice. Given a chance he will jump to take the advantage. While, as VIP you bypass the line, you get jealous and sometimes angry looks from the ones standing in lines. Who wants to stand in long lines, in so much heat?
Even inside, in front of the sacred book, while paying obeisance, there is so much pushing and pulling to get ‘close to God’. So much that even if one wants to pray in silence for a minute, he can’t. Seconds later, you will experience a push here and a nudge there.

Who has the time man?? Get over with it quickly. It’s a task. After completing this task, you have the next task ready – to manage a touch at the sacred tree. And then to get a sip of the holy water, a dip in the ‘sarovar’. You fight your way through all these and emerge a winner. At the end you are satisfied - not because you feel spiritual or at peace with yourself but of finishing all tasks in record time (courtesy VIP connections)

Carvings on the Golden Ceilings

Ironically, my beliefs in being a non-religious person were strengthened today. There was not a single moment after entering the complex that I closed my eyes or folded my hands – not even while kneeling down and paying the customary obeisance. For me, it was just an opportunity to see a historical place, admire the beauty and click a few photos to put in Orkut and blog. But unfortunately, there were problems even with that. Inside the main building, as I stood admiring the precision and accuracy with which a pattern was carved out, I was quickly shoved off as I was blocking the line. May be going to Jalianwala Bagh and Wagah Border could have been more satisfactory for me.

Photo to put in Orkut ;)