Apr 22, 2007

Meet my best friend - Murphy

Today, I made an important discovery… that laptops can crash! Never mind that you paid 60K for that stupid thing (the more expensive it is, the worse your feeling, that’s it!); and took care of it like a baby.

And, the laptop is not very unlike the baby that decides it wants to pee just when the movie you are watching in the hall is reaching its climax, and it announces the fact loud enough for your neighbours to turn up their noses and give you dirty looks.

My laptop decided to crash on the last day in campus. I go rushing to the Computer Centre (CC) and tell them, “Boss, the laptop just doesn’t start.”

The CC guys live by the motto, “If you have a hammer in your hand, every problem is a nail.” You tell them the laptop doesn’t start, they’ll say “Reformat karna padega.” You tell them you have a bad headache, they’ll say, “Reformat karna padega.” You tell them you suffer from erectile dysfunction, your wife ran away with your best friend, your kids threw you out of their home, you are penniless, half naked and hungry, and they’ll still say, “Reformat karna padega.” So, the CC guy asks me, “Sir, aapne data ka back up liya hai na.”

And, I made another important discovery… that there is data on the comp (not just movies, songs, games and a zillion pics), and it is something that you take a back up of because your pricey laptop decides to, well... act pricey. But then, you know me, I am not the kinda guy who clings on to the past. I move on in life. I live in the present and am in the process of attaining nirvana. Ok, basically, I don’t have a backup. Never had even thought of one in my life.

So, the Reformat thingy hammers away at my laptop, and I happily realize that I have lost everything from my comp… all the stupid assignments, the DOCC reports, the Autumns project data, the songs, the pics, the movies (I would specifically miss the hidden ones), and most importantly the Asin desktop wallpapers. Also the drafts of the previous 49 stupid blog posts that I had saved faithfully. I just realized that my best friend Murphy had given me a great graduation present. Thanks buddy, I really appreciate it. Especially, after the crap show that we had in the name of Graduation ceremony. (ok, my lips are sealed on that one).

Anyways, Edison-like, I say to myself, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Because, though it is initially depressing to know that ALL your data is gone, you slowly realize that now is the time to collect back those things that really mean something to you. I mean, I have been meaning to delete some useless files for years now, and I hadn’t come around to it. But, Murphy buddy just made my job so easy. No more confusion as to whether this report on ‘Indian real estate scenario’ or the excel file on 'Multiple Regression' would be useful in future, and whether I should keep it. All gone, and I didn’t even have to say good bye.

What’s more, I am suddenly left with almost 45 odd GB of free space. To a guy who has been scraping by with 600 MB space for the last two months, it is like rushing from a monastery in Ladakh into a whorehouse bursting with busty bombshells. So, I go berserk downloading movies, games and books into my comp, hoping Murphy is busy somewhere else and wouldn’t pay me a visit soon enough.

Now, believe it or not, I have filled my hard disk to the brim again. And, un-Edison like, I say to myself, “There is great value in disaster. All my mistakes have crashed away. Thank God that I can repeat them.”

And thus, it is back to more movies, games, and of course, Asin wallpapers.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

PS: This happens to be my fiftieth post. I am getting nostalgic and all that. I would like to thank my mom, dad, friends, relatives, teachers, pets, strangers for helping me reach this milestone. I would dearly love to thank the multitude of readers of this blog (at last count, it was over 3!!!) for your encouraging comments.
I know most of you think it is time I hung up my boots (keyboard??), but I have decided to carry on with Sachin-like determination in the interest of the nation.

Apr 4, 2007

Gilbert Hill - a symbol of Indian apathy

There are some things that are so near to us that we take them for granted. I spent 2 years in Bhavans’ campus, Andheri and never realized that I was right next to a unique natural monument, a geological wonder – a monolithic column of black basalt rock named Gilbert Hill.

This is what Wikipedia says about Gilbert Hill:
Gilbert Hill is a 200 foot (90 m) monolith column of black basalt rock in Andheri, Maharashtra, India. The rock has a sheer vertical face and was created when molten lava was squeezed out of the earth's clefts during the Mesozoic Era about 65 million years ago. During that era, molten lava had spread around most of the Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, covering an area of 50,000 km². The volcanic eruptions were also responsible for the destruction of plant and animal life during that era.

According to experts, this rare geological phenomenon was the remnants of a ridge and had clusters of vertical columns in nearby Jogeshwari which were quarried off two decades ago. These vertical columns are similar to the Devil's Tower in Wyoming, and the Devil's Post Pile National Monument in eastern California, USA.

Atop the rock column, two Hindu temples, the Gaodevi and Durgamata temples, set in a small garden, are accessed by a steep staircase carved into the rock. The hill offers a panoramic view of the city of Bombay.

So far, so good… But, really appalling are the following articles that I came across when I was searching for information about the place:

“Even after the High Court has granted an interim stay on construction within 100m radius of the hill in April 2005, 27 buildings were constructed…” - DNA, March 14 2007

“Gilbert Hill is a rare and unique volcanic structure that is now in the danger of collapsing because of haphazard growth of buildings around it…” - TOI, July 6 2006

How to reach and other pointers:
- From Andheri station either catch a bus, a rick or walk down towards Bhavans’ College and ask any one for directions to reach Gilbert Hill
- The hill is closed for general public from noon to 4pm, but if you are quiet enough and do not create a nuisance of yourself, then you can tip-toe through an opening in the barbed wire, next to the gate! But do not enter the Gaodevi and Durgamata temples at the top of the hill during these hours
- The walk to the base of the hill is through some slums. Be patient in this part, and don’t turn back
- There are steps leading all the way till the top, and it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to climb them all
- Bring a pair of binoculars, for you can spot the Arabian sea, the Santacruz airport, Madh Island, most of Andheri, Lokhandwala, Jogeshwari, Juhu, and even the tall high rises of Hiranandani Complex at Powai
- Being up the hill and seeing a plethora of green in the monsoons can be specially rewarding

Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror, December 11 2006

It is really sad that such a natural monument is being handled in such a lackadaisical manner, and the general public have very little idea about it. Gilbert Hill does not feature on any tourist maps, which is good in a way since too many people crowding out there are not going to help it. But, the state in which it is at present, with slums surrounding it, buildings just metres away, and absolute ignorance about the legacy of the site among many Andheri residents, is really symbolic of the general attitude in India about historical monuments. If the world famous Taj Mahal is being defaced by pollution, I don’t see any hope for an obscure, never heard of Gilbert Hill.

PS: For all the news links, apologies for any copyright violations to the dailies concerned. All for a good cause!