‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ Lil Champs audtion at Delhi and me

It was in far north of Delhi, as far as Rohini sector 3 at ‘Mother Divine School’ and from Indirapuram, Ghaziabad where I stay, I had to first go to Paschim Vihar to drop my 3.5 year old daughter and 19 year old niece in the safe custody of my in-laws (Joke time – Outlaws are Wanted) but if that is what, that be it and it took me close to 2 hours to do all of this.

Driving through the Darya Ganj, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg ,watching the tonga-wallahs and leaving NDLS before you take the Paharganj flyover and meandering through ladder neon signs of hotels is a good fun on a Sunday since the market is closed. Rohtak road has still a lot of character left which is so difficult to find in new-age super-shiny-surfaces with routine signs and all that.

It is never hard to find what you are looking for in Delhi as long as you do not shy asking around. As we entered ‘Mother Divine School’ in Sector 3, Rohini, we took a good sweeping look and were pleasantly surprised to see a real large number of kids looking fwd to be next sensation.

There are kids who have come from as far as Jhansi for their pie of fortune, some kids really sounded well but were rejected and a couple was taken just to get some entertainment factor in the initial rounds.

We moved towards the registration kiosks and after the usual pleasantries, were ushered in an ‘Audition Room’. I was there for about an hour or may be 45 minutes.

While sitting there, there was more than one instance when you have 3 cm dia goose bumps and you say, Voila but then judges have a different opinion. Later when I was a part of a bigger conversation with few people around, including Ashish Golwalkar (apparently the boss of the program from ‘content’ side and my motivation to be there, old friend) I realized that there are kids who would memorize few songs so well that you do not know whether its the play of a good gala-n-sur or just plain mugging. So while someone may sound super to you for few songs, they may not make the cut.

Then there was a single lady who wanted to make her kid do well and tell her husband that she can bring up a kid better, can’t blame the mother entirely but not sure whether the 8 year old kid understood all of this.

Here’s a video of a promising chap called ‘Ankit’. He started with a Sufi and did very well. Later he took out a 4 times folded notebook sheet where he has written the ‘scale’ information of the songs he has prepared :).

The food was at Metro Walk, Pind Balluchi. @ 135 a mojito it sounded like a steal but it tasted more like Shikanji, a detailed review on that later.

Picked a carton of KF pints, Picked the dropped ones from P Vihar, picked a mutton-keema potion from Anand Restaurant (from the bylanes of CP), picked the weekly quota of Classic Verve and Regular for the clan and polished it with a saada paan (At Rs 6, its the best you can get) from Bengali Sweets, I was home before it was too dark and in time to not miss our cook.

So far so good.

Community Site for Nagars – www.nagarwara.com and more

An old colleague pinged me sometime back. He was with Adobe India for couple of years and then moved out of India for greener pastures, taking a position in IBM, USA.

He wanted to build a website for his community. While looking at various solutions, he was not sure whether he should use a “Content Management System” like Joomla which is feature-rich and appear more suited or rely on something like Word Press which is rather thin but quick to setup. I had tried my hand at Joomla and from his initial set of requirements, it seemed to me that its the right thing to invest in but I also warned him that Joomla has a steep learning curve.

Few more chat sessions and he settled on WordPress and with in couple of days, he was up and running. He has always been a very active and energetic person, a Go To guy, but setting a website that quickly needs lot of hard work. Though he attributed that to his family being back to India leaving him with ample time to work on the website.

The website is called www.nagarwara.com and has picked up well in the short span of its existence. Being a Gujrati community site, its not very surprising that he quickly received offers for hosting advts.

This post is not entirely because of him starting a website for his community, rather this post is for a wonderful work which www.nagarwara.com has been able to do in its short span.

Recently they ran a story about a person in need, who was undergoing medical treatment and would have tremendously benefited from any help. Though now the site is only open for its community members, but here is the link of the story : http://www.nagarwara.com/2008/10/23/urgent-medical-help-for-mrs-indira-naresh-dave1/

It was not long before lot of Nagars came forward and helped him. My bro-in-law’s brother works at Vadodra (Reliance) and my bro-in-law often visits him, and one observation which he made about Gujjus is that they really help each other, esp when someone is in need. I had this thought in my mind and when my friend, Nimesh Nagar, told me about Mrs. Dave’s case and how a short post helped her, I was not surprised.

I think its so much nice for Nimesh to create a platform and once you know that the platform is being used for these deeds, you can only wish them more luck.

All the best and good luck.

Turning 35 and looking back

I am now 35+ years by my biological age. I wanted to write a small post here, mostly to read it again when I turn 40 or at some greater age.

First 22-23 years were mostly dedicated to formal education with some sprinkles of extra-curricular like theater, public speaking, writing. In terms of education it was a very regular one, with a graduate degree from Kirori Mal College, DU , in pure sciences (B.Sc) in 1994. Then a PG Diploma in Computers after my attempts to get into a MA (International Studies) at JNU failed. The high point of this phase was the time between 1992-1995. During this period I got exposed to a much bigger world doing lots of theater, learning lot many things and shredding so much of baggage which any avg middle class study-driven boy keeps. This meant going to various college fests, winning acting awards and so on. I was almost staying by myself after my class XI so I had more time and little or no family-pressure. After I finished my college in 1994, I enrolled for a evening course in Urdu. Did a program with National Museum and spent lot of them in their huge library. :). I also started to write as a Theater critic for a ‘Sunday Mail’ publications. Lots of things happening during this time. I stayed at JNU for probably 3 odd months.

Later a new group of friends in the PG course. My school life is not the high-point of my first 22-23 years of life since I didn’t do much in school days, more so because there weren’t enough avenues. My father had put to the best school which he could as per his means so I am really lucky to get what I got but as a school it didn’t indulge in any genuine extra-curricular or things of that sort.

Next comes the work life. With my first job in a garage firm ACPL in early 1996, writing anti-virus TSR programs in assembly language was fun. My first salary was Rs 3600. When my daughter starts her school from April’2009, I would probably be paying more than Rs 3600 as her monthly tuition fee. And she is not going to a new age, new world, 20 students a call, international, all air-conditioned school. Its a regular school. But Rs 3600 were enough to pay for room rent, conveyance expenses, food etc. I was also taking some tuition which used to give me another Rs 650 – Rs 900 and most of that were getting saved. My next job was with Newgen (1997 – 1999) and Newgen was indeed a large firm. Then a brief stint at Quark, followed by Legato and finally at Adobe for last 7 years, since January 2002.

The high point of this period was 2000 – 2004 when two things happened. At a first level, this was the first time when I started to live with friends. Some of us took a large duplex flat in Noida and that bond is still very strong. I spent about 4 years there (2000 – 2003) and they were simply out of the world. I also bought my first car while I was there i.e. in Oct 2001. It was a WagonR and I still have it. We were at house no 437 in sector 37 and sometime back, we even attempted to have a blog on that.

Meanwhile I reconnected with some of the old college friends and met some new people in the process and we had a gang. We made numerous outstation trips and it was simply a blast time. Later I got married in Oct 2003 to a real old friend who was part of that gang and we had more parties. In fact there was a party almost every other day. We bought our 2nd Car, a Mahindra Scorpio, in 2004 and that meant more outstation trips.

By the mid of 2004 things started to move a little away. I had moved to my own house after my marriage so the connection to friends with whom I stayed with was gradually getting weak. The old college friend gang was also getting thinner since one of them moved to London. Others got occupied as they got married.

In 2005, Pihu came into our life. While Pihu was coming, our outstations trips reduced, gradually coming to zero. Parties stopped happening since we can’t any long have a a drink-all-night-smoke-any-where scene. By the time Pihu was 2 months, we started our outstations trips to break the monotony. By the time Pihu was an year old, we moved to a new house and setting that up was keeping us busy. By this time, parties have almost stopped or probably they have taken a new form which meant less people, more clam and all that.

I would think that this is the time when the 2nd golden era finished. This was the time between 2006 begining to 2007 mid.

Smita took to work again and that pepped up things. Pihu started to go to Play School. And by the beginning of 2007, things started to change. We were again going out. Later I started Ghuamakkar in July 2007. Later in the year, I drove to Jaisamler. Things were again bright and chirrupy. In 2008, I drove to Allahabad and later all the way to Darbhanga. My work at Adobe was going steady and after a few changes, Smita was back to ZEE which she was enjoying. Zee gave her the freedom to work at flexi time. We also booked a house at the posh ATS, Paradiso, Greater Noida in early 2008. Last summer my niece has now started to live with us as she has taken a program at a nearby college.

Last month we went to Dubai, first international trip for the family together. I would guess that 3rd era has started from early this year and would probably carry on for some time. I would guess that we would most likely move to ATS house in 2009 as we complete 3 years in July 2008 in current house. or May be it would happen in March 2010.

I dont know what lies in future and probably I would want to write this kind of note when I get to 50.

Adobe India enthusiasts put together world’s largest jigsaw

Last week, few jigsaw enthusiasts at Adobe India did something magnificent. They pieced together world’s largest jig-saw puzzle. As per Aditya Nagpal, who led the effort…

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that we’ve assembled the puzzle in 108 hrs 43 mins. This puzzle has been assembled for the first time in India and non-stop for the first time in the world.”

This has earned the team a 3-way entry into the WLP Hall of Fame. Look at following links:
http://www.worldslargestpuzzle.com/hof3.html and

It took me a week to publish this but better late then never.

Congratulations Team. Great work.

Age and Distance Criteria for Nursery Admissions in Noida Schools

This post is a result of a conversation between two colleagues, one who’s Kid is trying to get admissions for the academic year 2009-20010 and the other whose kid might be ready for 2010-2011 and would need to start the process around September 2009.

I initially planned to include more schools but thats taking time so here’s the one which i have been able to compile so far.

1. DPS Noida – Between 3 & 4 on 30th Sep- 2008 – Residence With-in 8 KMs.
2. Amity Noida – Born between 1st April 2005 – 31st March 2006 – Residing in Noida
3. Somerville – 3+ as on 01.04.2009 – Residing in Noida
4. Cambridge – Born between 1 Oct 2004 – 30 Sep 2005 – Residing in Noida
5. Vishwa Bharti – 3.5 years on 31st March 2009 – No restriction on residence
6. ApeeJay – Between 3 and 4 on 31 March 2009 – No restriction on residence
7. Khaitan – 3 on 1st April 2009 – No restriction on residence

For aspirants who would want to seek admission for 2010-2011, probably add one year to these days and they would still hold good.