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Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Independence Day 2011

Kuch saal pehle ki baat hai,
Hum sab saath milkar lade the,

Woh bade angrez bhi bhaag pade the.
Azaad hua tha yeh desh, azaad hue the hum.

Par kuch bhediye hain aaj bhi hamare beech,
Bhookhe, beimaan or neech.
Ab aaj kis kis ko bhagaoge aur marte jaoge?
Kabhi na kabhi uss dayre mein apne aap ko bhi paoge.
Azaad kardo, apne aap ko is bhrashtachaar ki gandagi se,

Dusshere tak maar do Raavan ko fir Deepawali manayenge nai jyot se.
Naya saal jab tak aayega, iss desh me har koi naya ho jayega,
Agle saal ki azaadi tak poore desh ki kaya palat ho jayegi,

Darr ke simat jayenge baaki saare mulk, na ungli na awaaz utha payenge,
Bharat ki azadi duniya ke har kone me mil kar log manayenge.

Tab kahenge garv se, fakr se - Happy Independence Day.

- Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Android 3/3 : My experience with Android

Part 3/3

Part 1:

Part 2:

What I am going to share here is MY experience of Android.

By now it is pretty obvious I was blown away by Android.
Here's why:

let's begin with BASIC features that it did so well:

1. Contacts: the MOST essential part of a phone
It SYNCs contacts like no other:
Not only did it take ALL contacts with ALL details VERY smoothly from my old Nokia E72 (that process is amazing and it has the option in-built where it has in it's database choice for almost EVERY damn phone possible in recent times - I am floored! Even Nokia allowed only Nokia to Nokia via the phone over BT.

To sync from Nokia to BB or Nokia to iPhone - without outlook - costs anywhere from 150 to 250 Rs in most 'shops'. They have a special device for it.

But my Android did IT
then went one more step further:
when provided with the details :
it synced contacts with:
my 4 gmail ids (the important ones)
my FaceBook account - synce the calendar and therefore Birthdays too !
Yahoo messenger
Yahoo mail
Hotmail account

WOAH. And it automatically detected duplicates, merged them, provided individual fields and even synced the latest profile pics from FB into the contacts (& does it regularly).
This led to some massive 6500+ contacts in the phonebook.
Yes, it did slow down a little. No doubt. So then I had the option to let it show only the ones I wanted - so tweaked it a little - and now its as fast as my nokia. But better equipped.

2. Messaging:
I spent half an hour searching for a Sent items folder: there was NONE.
It was a threaded view - sent items reflected in the same window. Only separate folder for drafts.
And the NUMBER of options!
I can copy paste text from anywhere to anywhere.
Just highlight it (with a nifty magnifying tool) and it lets me share it - over email, whatsapp, web, fb, twitter - you name it. Every new feature install syncs in and links in right upto the roots deep inside the system.
Made work really easy!
Have a nice sms that I want to put as my FB status msg - 3 taps and its shared. Got some new news to be broadcasted on whatsapp - 4 taps and shared.
Above all - whenever and wherever the on-screen keyboard pops up (messaging, search, email etc. etc) - there is a small microphone icon - I can just speak and it types it out with about 97% accuracy in proper english despite major background noise. ( Speech to Text and Text to Speech too)

3. Phone Calls:
the call history, integration of phone contacts, visual treat is too much.
For e.g. it shows me the latest FB pic with the latest FB status update of that person when they call right on the screen!
Awesome features like: the phone automatically detects and rings louder when inside your pocket or bad and lowers the volume once you have fetched it out!
Now THAT is a smart phone.

4. Gallery + Camera + Videos : Almost everything you saw in that iPhone ad. Pinch to zoom,. quick, clarity, folder names converted to album names. Fast smooth (not buggy like nokia). Quick to understand. Great clarity. And ofcourse awesome sharing over every medium - EVEN Bluetooth (without any additional app)

5. FM Radio and Music player: yes it has a Radio! Music Player - output was decent to good. You can flip through albums. Even when phone is locked change the volume and track. but I sorely missed the presence of an Equalizer by default

6. the BROWSER ! - oh yes! the BEST stock browser (safari comes close no doubt, but absence of flash screws it up). AMAZING browser.
It re-aligns the text when you zoom in to fit it on 1 screen. Ever thing is smooth, intuitive, clear and enjoyable.
Ofcourse there's always Opera - but more on that later.

You know this could go on & on... these are all basic features - many phones do share a LOT of these features,
so whats new?

APPS. Applications. APP STORE. ANDROID MARKET. EcoSystem!

You name it and there's an app.

WHATEVER you don't like - there's an app to replace it.
And LOADS of free ones.

Don't like the default music player - theres Winamp ! Yes. Winamp. (& you can chose to make it the default player).
Don't like the browser - there's Firefox! Yes, Firefox which can sync bookmarks from your PC and can also be set as default.
Ofcourse theres google:
So GMAIL - smooth as ever.
Gtalk with voice & video chat
G Maps!
G docs app - so all google docs at your finger tips - with Multiple accounts ! Woohoo!

Times of India, CNN, BBC, MSNBC
Engadget, Team Bhp, Gsmarena
Apps to help you do push ups, sit ups, running, jogging
Apps to watch your calories, know whats mixed in your drinks
Apps to calculate distance, conversion, weight, balance, level
Apps to give you first aid guide, medicines info


You want reminders;
Sure, do you want to be reminded by no. of days left, by alarm, by a note, by flicker on your screen, by sms, want to send sms on particular day, want to send a card : ALL SET.
You want to be reminded if a thunderstorm is coming - done. You want to be reminded if your girlfriend has her periods - done.

You want integration: It will remember your contact, show the last calendar entry with them, last messages shared with them, emails and the pics of them in your phone or fb.

Homescreens: a Widget for everything!
Message widget - read & reply right on the screen. calendar, voice recorder. You name it! Just name it!

Now if it only had a switchblade knife coming out of its side - it would really be the Swiss Army Knife !!!

Okay, sorry I got carried away.
In short - the APPS and their eco-system make this a very formidable OS rivalled only by the iOS. No doubt.
Both very competitive and almost equal.
I give android the edge for 2 simple reasons: 1. Google ('nough said) and 2. more free apps with lesser restrictions

But then it isn't all work. Inspite of the smooth email, integration, document editing, google docs, calendar syncs, tasks & to-do.

The phone is SO much fun. There is SO much of life into the phone.
Like the raindrops that drop on your homescreen and a wiper wipes them off - when its raining outside and the weather tells you its raining.
Or the way the clouds come up on your screen on a cloudy day (with lightning in case of a thunderstorm).
The way to the to-do notes flip and strike off at a tap.
FB, Twitter, Google+ widgets : everything at 1 simple glance.
(thanks to HTC Sense UI too actually)

It is an experience to be believed.
Seriously, it changes the way you look at your phone.
It really becomes an extension of you.
And every bit is customizable.
If you don't like HTC Sense UI - try Go Launcher. It lets you add upto 18 homescreens and you can customize the animation and appearance of every icon, every screen, every widget every app.
A new experience EVERYDAY..

And there is no major learning curve. It is very simple and intuitive. You start enjoying it within the 1st 2 hours itself.


But, I am just thrilled, overjoyed with my experience.
I wish to applaud the makers of this OS, extend my appreciation and gratitude and share my feelings with the rest of the world via my blog.
And yes I would genuinely advise and recommend this OS for many a purpose to many a people.

BUT BUT BUT - there are some things I did not like
(alas, the heart is never satisfied...)

Somethings that I miss, sorely miss and wish for:
(especially in my HTC Desire Z)

Sorely Miss:
Bigger better battery - these phones need 1600mAh +. They need all the juice they can get.
What my Nokia used to last me 1 1/4 day with my heavy usage - same for the droid is 13 hours. (ofcourse it does much more with bigger screen - but still)

Front facing camera (now present in newer models)

Bigger screen

Higher Processor

USB on the go functionality - where a small adapter is connected to the microUSB port and a pendrive can be connected to the port which can be read by the system just like a memory card. It is present on new Nokias like E7 and would really make the phone a mini-laptop.

Miss (functions that would have been nice to have but not heart breaking):
Call receive and call reject keys - they Green & Red keys - no matter what i feel they are essential.

'Exit' option - most apps - dont have an 'exit' option. You never know wether they are running in background or really closed.

More control over apps - who is allowed to do what. Kind of like the 'msconfig' option in windows.

Touchscreen could be better - sadly it is really not at par as the iPhone (I admit nobody beats them there - till date)

I WISH (the future):

It really had a knife hidden in it somewhere (kidding)

Dual booting - windows 7 + android (I know of people who have managed to have dual boot Windows Phone 7 and Android on their rooted phones)

The future is tablets - no doubt.
What is the DREAM
is a tablet which runs Windows and Android with a keyboard (detachable or in the case) and which can support any external devices accordingly.

This will happen when Android comes out with Icecream Sandwich which will be their unified OS for phones and tablets (currently Gingerbread is for phones and Honeycomb is for tablets only)
Windows 8 (not windows phone 8) will be released which is optimized for touch screens.

So say an Atom processor or an Ivybridge intel processor - with Win 8 on my basic core machine at home,
win8 + android on my tablet and an external keyboard
and can connect any usb to the tablet - pen drive to external cd writer or maybe a dock.
and an android phone.

OR: - none of this:
with a dual boot Android + Win8
With external keyboard - in the case
SIM Card slot + 3G - calls over a bluetooth handsfree
A media dock - this can be kept at home - it houses the cd/dvd writer - more ports for USB display adapter and also a dedicated Graphics card or GPU - so when I plug in my tablet at home or workstation I have complete power and processing to do high end work too.
And printer connected to the dock.
While when on the go - I have all the files with me, can access them and do light editing too. + the cloud.
And maybe a pico projector inbuilt too (asking for too much I know)

Now THAT would be perfect. But it would be putting all your eggs in 1 basket. But still - Overall it will work out cheaper, efficient and simpler than currently having 3-4 different machines and shuttling data between them. Also cloud storage is catching up too.

This dream:
As of now
is partially possible with Apple ( iOS, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, Macbook Pro, Lion OS + iTunes)
partially possible with Google (Gmail cloud + Chrome Browser + Android + Chrome OS + All media services - picassa, youtube, google+, docs etc.)

Advantage with Google is - you can choose different manufacturers according to your budget and tastes.

Some glimpses of my fantasy/ imagination are already visible today:
ViewSonic 10 inch viewpad tablet
the new Sony Vaio Z with media dock
the Asus Padphone & the Asus Transformer Pad
the Acer Iconia Tab 500
the Samsung Chrome OS equipped netbook.

I think I have rambled on enough and got totally carried away by android. Worse than a freshly smitten love puppy.

A big round of applause to anyone who does manage to read through all 3 parts of this love story.
And to those who don't - another round of applause - you are still SANE..
Sorry - but this is me.

Android 2/3 : How to buy an Android phone

Part 2/3

Part 1:

So, anyone looking to buy an Android phone:
Should do so ONLY if:

1. You like smart phones and really want to experience an OS belonging to this Generation
2. You are flexible and sensible
3. You don't want a dumbphone that thinks its a smart phone and makes you think you are smart when actually neither of you are.
4. You are not a HARDCORE higher level exec. with strict preferences for secure coded email (read pure BB user)
5. You have always liked Swiss Army Knives or phrases like Jack of All trades or All-Rounder or One Man Army (You get the drift)
6. You do not subscribe to herd mania, society norms or random comparison and measuring of status based of particular 'fruit' phones
7. You dare to be different, you dare to think and respect your individuality
8. You are an urban road warrior or even a regular joe who REALLY has to multi-task
9. You have GOOD access to power sources throughout the day.

BEFORE you go to buy an Android phone (there are WAY too many in the market)

1. Decide your budget (if your are intending to spend 25k+ on a phone, do give a Tablet a thought. and Android is available from as cheap as 6k, with even DELL starting their line-up at 8.5k [XCD28] )
2. Decide the features (which are a MUST have,which you can do without)
3. Decide a BRAND:

Yes - Android is basically a Free OS like Linux and ANY company can install it anywhere they please (ofcourse certain T&C by Google have to be adhered to) and customize it with their own UI.
So you find Android in a VARIETY of gadgets - from netbooks by Acer, to phones to tablets etc etc.

The versions of Android have an alphabetical nomenclature corresponding to a dessert :
A. B (ButterCup), C (Cupcake), D (Donut), E (Eclair), F (Froyo), G (Gingerbread), H (Honeycomb), I (Icecream sandwich)
[Froyo is a Frozen Yoghurt]
Further reading here:

While by default an Android phone comes with 1 version - usually there are official updates that are offered by Google and MAY reach your device - these are usually only 1 or 2 versions at the most - beyond which there is NO official support extended - but one can always BootLoad newer ROMs versions (besides your warranty is over by then anyways... more on that when that day comes)

One should know that not ALL manufacturers receive official updates:
MicroMaxx & Videocon etc usually Don't.
Official Google phones get it 1st (Google G1 Google Nexus S etc.)
Then usually Samsung / HTC, later Motorala, later sometimes Sony Ericcson, much later maybe LG etc etc.
So that should be given a thought.

Also, most manufacturers have their CUSTOM UI (User Interface) loaded over Stock Android which adds to the functionality of the phone.
HTC = HTC Sense
Samsung = TouchWiz
Motorla = MotoBLUR
etc. etc.
Again - HTC > Samsung by a small margin.
* special note here - a small clarification later

Then one must consider the Brand.
Do you like the look of the phone of this brand or other's?
Build quality?
Plastic v/s Metal
Is it too chunky, too curvy, too feminine, too small etc etc. Cosmetic things.
Battery life - Samsung BEST, HTC, Motorola, LG, SE worst
Service centres in your city, close to your home etc. etc.: Again Samsung has a small edge over HTC here. Rest really don't have anything to talk about here in Mumbai, India.

Then coming to the HARDWARE:
the prime difference between phones is
1. Processor - bigger the better. yes. Indeed. I can vouch for it. Android needs ALL the power it can get!
Dual Core 1.2 processors are here, Single Core over clocked 1.4, Some with dedicated GPU.
Worth considering.
Obviously Dual Core + dedicated GPU = BLISS.
2. Screen size and TYPE - 3.6, 3.7, 4.0, 4.1, 4.3, 5.0 - usual screen sizes in 'Phones'.
And types: Retina Display > Super AMOLED > Clear Black > AMOLED > S-LCD > LCD
Higher pixel density also helps. Sunlight legibility also changes.
3. Camera + Flash: 5mp with or withour AF + No Flash, LED Flash, Dual LED flash? Dual Cam?
4. RAM & ROM: Higher the better
5. Storage - memory. Internal 8Gb / 16Gb / 32Gb. + MMC card support? Hot Swappable?
6. Wifi + BT is standard. But BT3.0 is preferable and WiFi support b/g/ + n
7. GPS: yes / no.
8. Document viewer / editor ?
All usually have standard 3.5mm jack (thank you Europe Union) and microUSB charging + data ports (thank you again)

This is just basic guidelines - other finer aspects are always there.


Part 3/3 :

Android 1/3 : My introduction to Android

Change is always with Hesitancy.

Its never easy to change, to make the jump, to take the plunge.

But I did it - FINALLY.

From Nokia to Android (HTC Desire Z)
now - makes me feel like a FOOL for not doing it earlier.

My Nokia smartphone looks like a dumb phone after experiencing the power of Android with HTC Sense!

TOTALLY loving my new weapon - the ultimate in my arsenal, the 3rd screen, the Victor.

I have a new Friend. A new best friend.
So what if he's green?
So what if he has no neck?
So what if he has 2 antennae on the top of his head?

He is my best friend.
He follows me everywhere & does everything I want - wether I tell him or not.
He follows my every command.
I love him.
My Droid.
My Android.

I begin with these notes.

One may wonder whats all the fuss about a new phone?
Android has been around since 2009!

Yes, I am late on the scene.
Yes I was (still am partly) a HARDCORE Nokia fan/lover. Having used 32 of their phones in the last 7 years or so.

A techie like me should have made the jump LONG ago.
Yes, my apologies.

But I did not have the liberty of taking a chance earlier.
I did not have the time to manage change of contacts, the patience for the learning curve (which although short for me and in android) and many such relatively important reasons then.
But the temptation was ALWAYS there.
And slowly I learned these were non-issues.

But what REALLY made this happen was:
Nokia. Yes, they themselves are to blame.
My E72 would hang up 4 times a day despite repeated repairs and software updates.
I tried the N97mini, 5800 and C7.
The former two had horrible screens. The N97mini keyboard was 3 row - too little for me.
The C7 was QUITE nice. A real surprise from Nokia. Loved it. But NO keyboard!
They took too long for the E6 & E7 - and till then the HUGE growth of iOS & Android and their functionality could not be denied for a guy like me.
My closest friends also had a major role in making me switch over.

The FINAL nail in the coffin was Nokia abandoning Symbian like a mole on the back, aborting MeeGo like an unwanted pregnancy and WORSE - Adopting Windows Phone 7 !
How could you Stephen Elop? This will definitely haunt you till your memory serves you and will hurt us till the end of ours.
Had Nokia chosen Android as they were considering : HEAVEN.

Since BlackBerry was NEVER an option for me: )

I did genuinely consider iPhone 4. Worked out all the permutations & combinations. Including Bluetooth keyboards.
But iTunes was TOO much of a pain. There were too many restrictions. The 'business' functionality was sorely lacking. It was a fun to use phone, but not as smart as I would want it to. And the bottomline was quite expensive - definitely not VFM.

Windows Phone 7 or Windows Mobile 6.5 or whatever was NEVER an option.
(Horrible experience with Windows 6.1 on a HTC Touch few years ago. Besides poor support in India. & WP7 was just RIDICULOUSLY stupid till Mango update came along)

I still have a Palm Pixi Plus with me - WebOS showed promise. But then Palm was purchased by HP and it was all in suspended animation - in the freezer. And had no eco-system whatsoever.

Bada by Samsung was an OS not even considered for reasons that are obvious.

So frankly, it was more like TINA (There Is No Alternative) besides I wanted Android too (I LOVE Google, seriously) and Google+ app was on Android TOO!

Then Began the hunt to narrow down the piece:
I was very clear about 1 thing - I WANT a physical keyboard. Period. I do not want to even justify why or get into an argument of why not and auto-correct etc. etc.
Call me queer, call me weird, call me eccentric. I don't give a damn. I want and NEED a physical qwerty keyboard.
& when I opt for a tablet next, then too I will buy one which has an accessory keyboard either in the case or in the dock.

I had really liked the original T-Mobile G1. The 1st Android phone (manufactured by HTC). Ofcourse that was not an option today - so there was G2.
Yes, the T-Mobile G2 a.k.a. HTC Vision a.k.a. HTC Desire Z.
The other options were Motorola Droid 2 and Samsung Galaxy 551, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro & Motorola BackFlip.
(HTC ChaCha, Samsung Pro, Motorla Defy / TXT etc. had not even been released)

Motorola Droid 2 was nice - but keyboard lacked the feel & besides - Motorola & MotoBLUR? Not a candle against HTC Sense UI.
BackFlip was just too weird.
Samsung Galaxy 551 was grossly under speced and lower ranged.
SE X10mini pro was just TOO tiny for me.
Had they had a proper SE X10 pro - I would have given it a thought for its awesome screen and looks. But SE doesn't have a soft spot in my heart (except for the SE P990i) wonder why they stopped the P5.

So the HTC Desire Z it was. What a 'Vision'.

I am not going to sit and review the Desire Z here. No, thats not what this is about.
( You can read that here:

contd.... ...

Part 2/3 :

Part 3/3:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tata does it AGAIN !!!

I have been repeatedly waxing eloquence about the amazing principles, products, etiquettes, work culture, results and Indian drive of the Tata brand and most of their products.


But they have gone and done it again!

They have amazed me & floored me ONCE AGAIN!

This time : it is with their willingness to keep pace with current technology and be the leaders in innovation in their segment.
Not only do they embrace every new change and progress in the right direction, they implement it very early (sometimes too early for it's time and thus initial failure or pick up lag in the graph)
They ensure it reaches the end consumer!


1. Tata Aria concept + AR (Augmented Reality)

In July 2011, there was a online contest to identify 36 new automotive features in the Tata Aria and get a chance to win the Aria itself
(I managed 35/36 in case you were wondering)
No big deal, a common contest, regular flash animation... been there done that you will say. Right?
So what if they provided good regular updates and support via FB & email. So many marketing campaigns do and reply religiously. Right?
Towards the end of the contest, they introduces a new feature.

You click on it, it requests you to print a particular page (that they give) - and then you hold up THAT page against your webcam and voila - it detects it (kinda like the barcode app on Android phones) and lets you unlock 5 features for free.

I don't know if this has been implemented in India earlier, but I found this quite a novel idea to keep the buzz alive in the contest.
I am quite familiar with Layar & Augmented Reality so it was not the idea that floored me, it was the implementation.

2. Tata Sky - Mobile App for TV remote.
Again an old concept - almost 3 years old since the time of the iPhone 3g.
A small device that plugs into the 3.5mm microphone jack of ALMOST all phones and comes with its own app that runs on the phone allowing you to control your TV or music system with the phone as the remote and buttons on the phone.
(Remember the IR Remote app on the Nokia 6600 almost 6 years ago? Something similar, except the RF is in that teeny device at the end of your phone)
It costs 8 - 35$.
to get that here, that concept, that idea, implement in in its product in India, customize the app to suit your product and support almost ALL smart phones - that deserves a mention. And a pat on the back too.

3. Titan HTSE + AR (again)
Yes, I know. Its like old wine in new bottle, but again the implementation made me smile.
Titan HTSE [High Tech Self Energized] (as you may already know from the awesome TV add) is Titan's new range of watches that run on light - get charged with any source of light above 200 lum. even candles and last really long.
Citizen has had the Eco-drive range since years now.
Being an eco-friendly guy I have LOVED these watches since then.
I love SOLAR power too.
But frankly those Citizen watches were way out of my budget then.
and they used to have these Mother of pearl dials which I wasn't very fond of.
So when Titan HTSE was launched I was happy, but I thought, what the hell - this is going to be expensive too!
But I was amazed to see the range was genuinely reasonable: 6495 to 10995 !
I will be getting one soon - not now since I did not really LOVE any of the current models launched. Will wait for some more. But will definitely get one.
Coming back to the amazing part - when I checked their website:
It begins with a note - asking you to place a source of light near your webcam for it to be 'powered' to load.
that light can be a candle or even the display of your cell phone.
Obviously you are not going to get dripping hot wax anywhere near your laptop, so I used my cellphone display
and it worked like a charm.
The animation and experience was quite nice.
Again - applause for IDEA, innovation, execution and concept.
Loved it.
You can try it yourself :

Letter to Mr. Ratan Tata

This was a letter I had written to Mr. Ratan Tata Sir.
the best part was I received a genuine reply straight from the Chairman's office !
I shall scan and upload the reply letter later.

28th February 2011

Dear Mr. Ratan Tata Sir,

I am an avid patriot of Tata & Sons and all their products.
My home & life is FILLED with varied products.

From the water (Tata Swach),
The pipes that carry the water (Tata Steel),
The Salt that we use (Tata Namak)
The tea that stimulates us (Tata Tea)
The groceries & food that we consume (Tata Star Bazaar)
The crockery in which we serve (Tata Ceramics)
The celebrations that we have (Taj group of hotels)
 The clothes that we wear (Westside)
The jewels that we adorn (Tanishq)
The watches that we use (Titan)
The car that we drive (Tata Indica)
The electronic appliances that we use (Croma).
Our life is primarily made convenient & nice only thanks to TATA. An icon, a brand, an influence par excellence. Because, your role in our life does not end with the mere products, but the values that we learn.
That customer should be treated with respect & utmost priority.
Quality should never be compromised.
Money is secondary, but principles & morals come first.
It’s not necessary to be corrupt to succeed
& above all, one must always keep doing good.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you & congratulate you for some of the recent advances & improvements & some things which I sincerely wish would be better.
1.     Westside: what a refreshing change! The brand has just raised its standards for the better! The new line of clothing is amazing, the patterns & designs throughout is a pleasant change. Above all the entire shopping experience has been raised a notch. The staff & customer service is the BEST amongst such stores. The courtesy, warmth, respect with which your employees treat the customers is a pleasant change against what it used to be & what it still is in other stores like Pantaloons & Shoppers Stop. Please keep up the good work!

2.     Titan: Another brand that just keeps on improving. Though the Orion & Aviator series were really an eye-sore. I have fallen in love all over again with Obaku, Octane & Edge. Truly international quality designs, good materials, some freshness & variety which was long overdue. The Flagship store in Mumbai is also a very good concept & the 1st for an Indian watch brand. I have written about it in detail on my blog & also Congratulated Mr. Suvendu Roy & Ms. Toranj Mehta in that regard. Once again, the customer service is Fantastic. The only brand that cares. With a watch for every hand & every budget. From the innovative FastTrack to the classy Nebula. Loved them all.

3.     Tanishq : Though not quite the most reasonable in its category, still decent service, Beautiful designs & the general thoughtfulness & warmth in all Tanishq outlets makes you feel nice about shopping there

4.     Tata Indicom: amazing competitive prices & finally some good service for both your Internet / Broadband services & GSM & CDMA Telecom services. Unfortunately, I jumped ship a few years ago, when both your Internet service & Telecom network were a major pain & grossly dissatisfying, but I am happy to see the change & whole heartedly recommend the brands today.

5.     Croma: another upcoming brand, yes upcoming, because it still leaves something to be desired for, when it comes from the same firm that has the Westside chain. Definitely Croma is marginally better than its competitors because it offers GENUINE discounts & products and does not literally fool & fleece the consumer like the other brands, but occasionally the pricing (usually the deciding factor) just dampens the whole show. Nevertheless, still love it & always will, especially now that a new branch has sprung up in my locality!

6.     Tata Ceramics: What a surprise! When one fine day, I spot an amazing looking piece of crockery & check the bottom to see the make & I see those 4 letters T A T A! That day itself I ended up buying quite a few pieces myself. The sheer quality, path breaking designs, the uniqueness & appeal, simply unmatched at that price. A true gem.
7.     Tata Motors: You may be reading this for the umpteenth time, but HATS OFF for the Tata Nano, truly a worldwide engineering marvel. I would love to own one, but my family fears for my safety & my past experience with Tata Motors left a bitter taste in my mouth. Yes, sadly so. Definitely you have simply grown from strength to strength & I feel very proud to see the beautiful indigenously manufactured passenger vehicles. From the days of the Tata Estate & Sierra, you have transformed leaps & bounds! Tata Sumo, Safari have both graced beautifully. & the change in fit & finish in the new cars have to be seen to be believed! The feature list of the Indigo Manza tempted me to buy it instantly, but alas, the nightmares of owing the Indica made me think again. Seriously, the cars are really very well thought, built with a lot of effort & above all Heart & Soul, for the regular Indian consumer & it shows. God bless you for that. You brought us on the map, made us a name worthy of considering, but it’s got miles to go before it starts getting the recognition it deserves. Whenever any popular Auto magazine or newspaper compares cars, in any segment, no one ever bothers to include the Tata vehicle of that segment. It is just not considered! Why so? Have you ever wondered? That why apart from some true enthusiasts the general consensus about buying a Tata car is so grossly negative. I wouldn’t blame them. The average Indian, like me, pumps in his hard earned money to buy the ‘luxury’ of a car, whichever segment he can afford, not to invite the additional burden of a fuel guzzling, half baked, poorly constructed, underperforming, high maintenance 4 wheels. I love my Indica, still do, the shape, the comfort, the joy! But it does come with its fair share of trouble. & when I test drove the Manza, I found most of the issues still persist. In today’s globally open Indian market with so many wonderful options to choose from, it hurts that my favourite Indian Tata cars are lagging behind. I really look forward to owing one again, if things improve. (still waiting before I make my decision Manza, Etios, Vento, Dzire or City)

8.     Tashi: for this Wonderful collection of shoes, finally something really classy, elegant and true leather shoes. Very nice collection indeed. But seriously needs better branding ! the insole of the shoes has that particular category named etched, but nowhere does one find the word ‘Tashi’ mentioned. Just 3 red-dots which are synonymous with another well known brand. Even the belts & the belt buckles have not a single insignia or motif on them. Such expensive simple well crafted pieces of leather, but not even a small ‘brand name’ to make them shine apart and identifiable. Guess like all Tata products known to me, this one too will have a extremely slow start, disappointing initially and then will excel and flourish. (hopefully not after I lose patience and switch loyalties) Nevertheless, both my & my dad have ‘happy feet’ thanks to Tashi. (previously thanks to Woodlands, Provogue and Metro)
Or is it that I always choose the Tata marquee to early? As in instance of the Telecom & Automobile sector, that I put my faith, trust & money, when you were growing rather than opt for Tata when it finally learns the ropes & then comes of age? Is that what happened, when you bought Land Rover & Jaguar? Because it does seem that paint quality & a lot of other things in your cars improved only after that! Even with the watches, after you incorporated Tommy Hilfiger & Xylus in your showrooms, there was major change in the variety, designs & quality of your other watches.
I sincerely want to thank you for one thing though. My father always told me “Be Indian, Buy Indian”. If we don’t support our economy, who will? We should not allow these foreign brands to come in & rape our country for their own growth. Thanks to you & ONLY you, am I able to abide by his advice in MOST walks of life.
Be it the Titan instead of the Fossil / Tissot / Swatch.  Or the Indica instead of the Santro/ Fabia / Swift.

I am happy; that I could chose what I wanted, because I had the options, thanks to you.
But now, it does become difficult, more often that I would like it to be.
Now, I hesitate, like I did for the Manza. It had my heart beating & it was love at 1st sight when I saw the brochure. But after I held the door handles & steering wheel, all the other cars were calling out to me more strongly & my heart continued to beat faster, but out of anxiety & disappointment.
What worries me even more is that ALL this was possible because of YOUR persistence & vision. The man Mr. Ratan Tata. Who has worked relentlessly to keep his family values upheld at all times. Who has strived for excellence & growth of this wonderful country India & provided such a vast plethora of commendable services for his countrymen. I am not in the least unaware of your contribution to this county at all levels, be it education, employment or essential commodities. & that is what makes you one of my IDOLS. Mind you Sir; I have only a handful few. But I deeply respect you for what you have done for all of us Indians, far & wide.
I shudder to think, what will happen, now that you have announced your retirement. It would be selfish of me to expect you to keep working for infinity just for the betterment of this country & of course, my personal benefits. But Sir, I feel very strongly as an Indian, that there are very few positive vectors that maintain the harmonious balance between good & evil in our economic & social reality of India. One of them is YOU. & none of them as powerful, multi-headed, dedicated, genuine & pure as Your firm & you.
Life goes on, it always does. For everyone. The God Almighty, He always has His plans. And there is nothing that anyone can do about it.
Yet, I request you, to once give a thought, of how things will be, after you leave.

An excerpt from the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
Sir, what you have built has taken years and is not a feat that can be replicated, ever. In today’s India, centuries old monuments are not taken care off, then pray who shall take care of such a vast empire?
A machinery that is currently fuelling the growth of this nation of abundance. An entity so big, wide & deep, that any change will impact the course of the future & the history that it writes behind.
So where will we find, people, because definitely one won’t suffice to fill your shoes, who shall share your vision, sentiment & above all purity of heart to be able to lead & steer this ship the way it should be?
I pray, that you have an answer to this, for my sake, our sake & the country in general. I know you will, I know you do. Because that is who you are. Yet, I wanted to express my concern and gratitude for all that you have done & all that will be done, because of you.
Thank YOU!

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani

Friday, July 29, 2011

What my Father Never taught me...

Do you read the newspapers?

I have given up, I just don't see the point!

EVERY damn time I flip through the newspaper - All I see is theft, crime, rape, murder, death, beating, cheating, racketeering, corruption, lies, sex, scandal, leaks, stings, links, terror, extortion, kidnapping, fighting, in-fighting, mud sledging, slapping, shoe throwing, war, famine, inflation, bankruptcy, law suits, .......

Bored already? So am I.

EVERY damn time.
Just makes me wonder, do I really live in this same world? Do I want to CONTINUE living in this world?
Do I want to bring another Human Being in this World?
Is this World?
Is this Life?

I am lost there, for a few moments.

I take a pause, try to focus on my Life.
My minuscule little tiny existence in this vast planet.

A Nobody.
A plankton in the lake (pun intended).

My world, my Life.
An odd profession, that though has a renowned & respected suffix, comes with its own baggage of queer looks an quizzical expressions.
A segment that is struggling to find its spot between art & science. Between main stream & alternative.
Comprising of people struggling to find peace, security & I am not exactly sure what they intend to achieve with all the rivalry & pain in the backside backstabbing, bickering, name calling, dirty linen & mocking.
Is it Ultimate Supremacy?
For What?

Again I am lost.

I look up from my bean bag to stare into the eyes of my father, reading his bit of the newspaper sitting right above me.
How he manages to make sense of it & see beyond the apparently obvious state of total chaos is beyond me.

He knows the questions in my mind.
He has been there.

He tells me, lovingly as always.
To be patient.

To stick to doing what I think is right.
To harbour no ill for anyone.
To dirty not my thoughts, deeds, actions or words.
To fret not, revel not, pride not, gloat not.
To continue doing good.
To believe in myself.

He has taught me a lot. My father. Everything I am, I am because he is.
I know him, I know what his mind thinks. I know what his heart craves.
I just wish I can be that. Get that. Put it all at his feet.
It would be an iota of what he has done to nourish and continue to nurture my sorry state of existence.

He knows where I am headed. He knows what I think.
He warns me of the consequences.
He just wishes the best for me.

He has taught me a lot. My Father.

He has taught me so much, sometimes I fail to recollect it all together in one piece at the right time.

But then there are some things I was BORN with.
Or so they say.
So they all say.
That I am destined for some things.

I fear nothing in this world, but to fail my father. For he is my God Almighty.

But then, my heart drums a different beat.
I have my goals. I have my visions.
I feel I have my purpose.
I have a different destiny.
Is it the warm young rush of blood to my head that makes me think such things?
They really just seem to keep coming and every around just seems to think its great!

But me? I am hesitant. I know not if I am willing to pay the price.

But above all, I know not if what my father taught me will suffice.

Because the world I see, tells me about everything my father never taught me.

He taught me that Life is priceless. The most valuable.
But it just doesn't seem so!
People today are willing (or rather do) to kill for the most minuscule of reasons and costs.

He taught me that Duty & Honesty come first. We must serve as it is our profession. We must be able to sleep easy with a clean conscience every night.
I wonder is that why the sale of sleeping pills is steadily on the rise?
Do all those people I read about force themselves to sleep or is that their conscience is differently tuned than ours?

He taught me that it is the Long Term result, the fruit of your labour takes its time. You must keep working in the direction. Short term short cuts bear short term rewards.
How 'long' is long in today's times where all definitions have changed?
Long distance is no more long distance.
Long Life isn't Long life !!!
Earlier one could start enjoying the fruits and live a grand life post 50.
Hell today I don't know if I will live to be 50 !

He always taught me to respect the values, principles, culture and ethics.
Examples were always Tata, Birla, Mahindra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar and so many more personal ones.
But it was Reliance that got down cell phone costs. It was Reliance that gave best returns to their share holders. Today I can see their downfall. But I still don't see JUSTICE.
I am yet to see the Cycle of Karma complete itself in MOST cases.
I am yet to witness the PayBack !
Yes, the dangerous path beckons & tempts.
But my father never taught me to Yield.

He always taught me to courteous, chivalrous, considerate and caring.
But He forgot to mention that the man standing near the door of the local train is not his son, neither did his father teach him that.
Ditto for the ladies whom I allow to board a bus ultimately end up pushing me out.
Or for the man in the queue ahead who will keep shoving you no matter how polite you are.
Or for the staff in most government run organizations.
Infact the only staff that is courteous to you is the one you are heavily paying for: be it at a really expensive hotel or a hi-fi bank.
They are polite because you pay for them to be.

He never taught me to cheat,
never taught me to close my eyes and pretend that its okay no matter what I do
never taught me to not feel a bit for other's and their sufferings
never taught me to be rash and force my right of way
never taught me to manipulate people and lie left right and centre to get done what I wish
never taught me to sulk or demand everything that I feel I should own
never taught me to be so selfish, self-centred and self-absorbed in my own life that I don't give a damn rat's a** about others
never taught me to be pompous, proud or porcine
never taught me to kiss butt and fan egos
never taught me to let circumstances dictate my principles
never taught me that money is the sole currency.

Why Dad?

Why did you never teach me all that?
Then even I could belong in this world and not feel an alien.
Then even I could mix about with the 99.5% of the people on this planet.
Then I would not have to hunt for the 0.5% of the world with whom I can connect, feel, share and interact with. (Thank YOU for being there all you people ... and those who know, know whom I am referring to)
Then I would not have to wonder all this.

I would not have to wonder ... Will I teach my KID what you never taught me?
Will I teach him what I learnt?

you DID teach me:

to BELIEVE in myself.
To believe in what I dream. 
To dare to achieve what I think.
To trust.
To love.
To fear nothing, not even God, but to fear fear itself.
To fall and yet to rise.

You by example taught me what it is to be a Father.
What it is to be a Homoeopath.
What it is to live a life by the principles to believe in.
What it is to be HAPPY.

So I guess that answers what I will teach my kid.
Homoeopathy taught me that there will ALWAYS be different individuals.
I must learn to accommodate them all, love them all, heal them all.

Now the only question left to see...
is will I achieve what I dream to be?
Will I get on my eyes are set?
Will this world, this teeny weeny mini world around me be what I dream, hope and try to make it to be?
Will I live upto your expectations and all of those that are set upon me?


But wait, based on all that I have seen, heard, felt, learnt.
The Time to come will give a resounding YES.

So the actual question is...

How much TIME ?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Singham : When a Leo goes to Watch a Lion


Old wine in new bottle - never tastes different : unless the maker is Rohit Shetty !!!

Age old story, but the treatment matters.
Crisp dialogue.
Amazing action.
Gripping screenplay.
Awesome performances.
Rocking title track with choreography.
Emphatic background score.
Hardly any songs.
Due credit to the profession and
Fresh ideas.

Never before has the climax of an action film been so full of laughs & comedy.

You can feel the angst, rage & power.
All the speciality of a Rohit Shetty film were present:
A song with HUGE number of dancers
Witty one liners
Classic lines
Hardcore action
Over the top fight sequences
Bloopers at the end (Which I feel really DILUTED the feel of the film & should not have been there for Singham)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update:- Titan: the INDIAN Watch Brand

Almost a year ago - I had written a post ravishing praise on Titan:

Its been a wonderful year, but then 1 of those watches, the Obaku, the soft leather strap started 'flaking'.
What happens next?

Just 1 simple letter to Titan and a prompt response - mentioning that they have ordered for a new strap from Banglore, 3 days later, I get a call from their Flagship store at Bandra - They have received the strap.
I walk in there - and its even better than last time.
You are greeted with a bottle of water and wet tissues (owing to the heat).
The lady at the service counter recognizes me, had the straps ready and its done in less than 5 minutes!
that is NOT what this post is about.
This post is about a small machine in that Titan Flagship store, near the entrance.
The kind service centre lady, guided us to it and ...
ETCHED my name on the back of the watch, with a laser, with customised font - for FREE !

They have a nice screen - you choose what you want to write, font (more than the standard MS office fonts) and within 2 minutes a lovely laser sears the back of  your watch and etches it permanently!

I asked her, if she could do it for my other Titan watches, she readily agreed and immediately - my whole family,each had a different Titan on their hands offered up their watches and another 8 minutes and we were all happily stepping out - smiling from ear to ear.

The finish and concept - AMAZING !

I don't know of ANY other watch brand here (from Fossil, Casio, Timex, Police, Giordano, Tag Huer, Tissot, Citizen, Seiko, Skagen) who offer such a service!

It is such a lovely feeling to wear a watch with your name engraved on it.
Next time you are gifting someone, you can even write Happy Birthday with the date and name.
It is such a lovely personalized touch !

Hats off to Titan for this concept, for providing it across ALL watch models irrespective of the cost and for making it FREE !

Keep it up !

Like I always say - Be Indian, Buy Indian.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Air Freshener in the Bathroom

Just a thought that crossed my mind on seeing multiple hoardings for various brands of 'de-odourizers' for your bathroom.

Poochta hoon main aaj ke iss insaan se, ki :

Tum apne hi pichwade se nikli hui badbu ko commode ke baju me rakhe hue perfume se mita dete ho,
Pare apne hi dimaag me paida hui, apne hi mooh se nikli dandagi ko kaise mitaoge ?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mobile Number Portability

Mobile Number Portability

After innumerable delays, a lot of finger pointing and teeth gnashing, the much awaited Mobile Number Portability service has been launched. MNP allows mobile users to switch cellular operators, without having to change their mobile number. Till now, if a user was not happy with the service provided by a cellular operator, the only option was to give up the existing mobile number and sign up for a new one, with another operator. This was proving to be a bit annoying for a lot of people, since changing mobile numbers literally amounted to losing one’s identity. The new number would have to be communicated to a lot of contacts, and inevitably, you would miss out on some! 

However, with the arrival of MNP, this is not the case. Users can change operators but retain the same mobile number. If you are unhappy with the service, or want to shift to a better tariff plan available with another operator, MNP allows you to do that. This service is available to prepaid and postpaid mobile users, on the GSM and CDMA platforms.

The impact of MNP will be immense. Not only will operators be forced to offer better services, but also keep tariffs very competitive in order to retain customers and try to gain new ones. The consumer will be the winner, because porting the number will also allow then to get the best deals, in case the current operator refuses to offer something similar.

What is MNP?
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) allows all mobile phone users to change between cellular operators, while retaining their existing mobile number. Until now, every time anyone wanted to shift to another operator, the mobile number would get changed. It was extremely time-consuming and annoying to inform all contacts about the new contact co-ordinates. However, now the user has to sign up for the MNP process, select which operator he wants to shift to, and retain the same number on the new network as well.

Is it available for all users?
Yes. MNP is available to all eligible postpaid and prepaid users. 

What is the porting process?
All users who wish to change operators need to follow the following steps: 
·         SMS “PORTmobilenumber” to 1900. This SMS needs to be sent from the same mobile phone which the user wants to port.
·         Once the SMS is sent, the user will receive an SMS with the Unique Porting Code (UPC) from the existing service provider.
·         Using this UPC, you will fill up the application form with the new service provider. Users will need to specify the tariff plan etc. which you have selected. This will be activated by the new operator, once the number is ported.
·         The porting process will be completed within 7-10 working days.
·         The process will cost a one-time fee of Rs 19.

What about the existing talktime balance on the prepaid? 
During the porting process, any existing balance or talktime will not be transferred to the new operator. It is better to utilize it fully before requesting for the change.

What about any unpaid bills/ unbilled amount for postpaid users?
Users will have to clear all outstanding bills and pay the unbilled amount before the porting process can begin. None of these charges will be forwarded to the new network.

Who do I follow up with during the porting process?
This is a two-step process. Once you put in the porting request, you need to follow up with the current service provider. Once you receive the SMS saying that the number has been ported to the new operator, you need to start following up with the new operator, to check about the activation status etc. 

There are some specific rules which define the porting process.
·         All bills/unpaid amount/unbilled balance will have to be paid in full before the porting process can begin. No amount- either unpaid or overpaid, will be carried forward to the new network.
·         Mobile users who have purchased a new connection can only port for the first time after 90 days from the date of activation of the connection.
·         Any user, who has ported the number once, can only do so again after a gap of 90 days from the date of activation of connection on new network.
·         Users can withdraw the porting request within 24 hours of submitting the application form. However, once the process has been completed by the existing operator, there is no way to stop the process.
·         Users can only port to service providers who offer services within their telecom circle. Tariff plans and schemes offered will be those currently being offered in the circle, currently.
·         No inter-circle porting is available at the moment. If someone is shifting between states, MNP will not be available to them.

 Here is the comparison chart of some of the options I was considering: (so basically this is just MY research, I suggest you do your own too).

Currently, I use:
1 postpaid VF number: purely private personal calls only : especially family & friends. Advantage: 1 number at 10 paise @ 25 rs a month, V2V @ 30p & rest @ 60p/min.
1 Reliance GSM prepaid number: my official number, my professional cellphone.
Advantage: Great roaming, 1p/sec to any1 in India even while roaming. Amazing internet @ 99 rs /month (seriously, I use a LOT), 500 sms / day free for 1 Rupee only ( & I sms a lot too)
Disadvantage: relatively poor network.
1Reliance CDMA prepaid number: my Clinic LANDLINE, a portable common landline number for any of my clinics, switched on @ 9 am, switched off @ 9pm everyday.
50p/min flat to any1 anywhere in India even while roaming & AMAZING rock solid network, the BEST.
Disadvantage: PATHETIC choice of handsets ! Often embarrassing to shell out such a stupid phone from your pocket (the reason why I got a R Gsm number too).

I plan to change R GSM to Tata DoCoMo soon.


Tata DoCoMo
Reliance GSM
Tata DoCoMo
(many other plans as well)
Initial Cost
49 Rs
506 /  507
49 / 50 /51
299 / month
99 or 99 / month
Lifetime *
1 year
458.75 / 459.66
75 Rs local Tata minutes free
99 min FREE per month
Call charges
(charges on roaming differ)
Local: 1p/Sec
STD: 2p/ Sec
All calls 1p/sec
All calls 50p/min
1p /sec
50p/ min
1 R / 3 min
1p /sec to ALL
V2V 1p/s
1.5p/s others
2.5p/sec STD
V2V 50p/min
1R/M to all others
Calling add on packs
49 Rs all calls 1p/2 sec for 30 days
79 Rs all calls 1p/2sec for 4 months
Keeps changing
Lots of “Toppings”
12000 Local + 9000 STD min free... etc..
15 Rs per month – 20 p /min to any 1 VF number
30 Rs p.m. – 30 p/m to all V2V only
SMS cost
60 paise local sms (but 1st 3 sms / day charged then 100 sms per day free)
1 Rs / SMS local
1.5 /sms National
1p /sms
50p /sms
1 R/ sms
60 paise local sms (but 1st 3 sms / day charged then 100 sms per day free)
1 Rs / SMS local
1.5 /sms National
SMS packs
(check for daily cap limit, holiday charges & roaming charges)
85 Rs – 15000 Local + National SMS per month (500 /day)
35 Rs – 350 local sms – 30 days
89 rs – 500/day local sms for 30 days (not valid for roaming or national)
19 Rs 1 time charge:
1 R / day auto-deduction.
500 sms /day (local + national)
Even on roaming
29 R – 600 L+N sms free / 30 d
49 R – 1500 L+N sms free / 30 d
89 R – 1500 L+N sms free / 30 d
149 rs – 500 sms /day for 30 days.

35 Rs – all sms 10 paise – for 30 days
(includes push email, browsing, chatting, tethering on most phones)
149  – 8Gb - 30d
95 – 6Gb – 30d
65 – 2.5Gb – 30d
48 – 1Gb – 30d
99 Rs – 1Gb for 30 days
99 Rs – 2.5 Gb – 30d
51 Rs – 1Gb – 15d
49 R – 500 Mb – 30 d

99 R – 2 Gb – 30 d

199 rs per month for VF Live –
5p /10kb
Other Features
FREE – Missed call alerts, Voicemail and Voice Chat
Also, many other packs as per requirement
Just great network
Good network on roaming, OK in Mumbai.
Call & sms all same & cheap on roaming as well.
SMS on holidays also free.
FREE – Missed call alerts, Voicemail and Voice Chat
Also, many other packs as per requirement
Good billing system, convenient payment kiosks, good service & network but EXPENSIVE
*Cumulative recharge of atleast 200 Rs over 6 months is compulsory.


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Original Work by Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani

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