Monday, December 27, 2010

mist, mistakes and a mystic

the delayed winter is here.
after many warm days and nights, it started cooling a bit in the last couple of weeks in Bangalore.
a few days ago - my morning trip to the airport was refreshingly different - with hardly 10 meters of visibility!

the good feeling did not last long - to think of the possible flight delays.
as expected, all flights in and out were delayed.

the real impact of the size of the bangalore airport could be felt.

particularly compared to the T3  - in spite of its problems - this is woefully inadequate for the increasing traffic.

the place looked like what bus stations used to look like.

announcements about the 'bad' weather being the cause made me think.
was the weather really bad?
they could have been kinder to mother nature by saying the foggy weather, that technology has not yet been able to deal with.
why bad weather or good weather.

maybe the trigger was what i had heard the previous evening.

the previous evening, i had an opportunity to listen to Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, in person, talking to a small group of people, specially invited to spend an evening with the mystic.
He spoke on spirituality - how it is misunderstood and what it really means - and how there could be a balance of spirituality and 'normal' life.

in his definition, every human being is a mystic. some realize it and work towards an inner understanding, and are called mystics - and the others, just mishtiks [mistakes, as pronounced in the typical chennai tamil!]

p.s. i finally reached delhi - a full 10 hours after i left home [close to 11, from the time i woke up!].
but, that seems to have been a much better day compared to the last couple of days.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

commoditized universes

Oliver sets a new benchmark being at his peak in the last 2 weeks.
George breaks an earlier record to rise above that, yesterday.
Tania hits a new record.
Omanakutty crashes against tough competition and not being in good form.
Raghu's popularity rises with increased interest from the traders.
Sonya makes gains though the fans are dwindling.
Global trends help Edward stay high.
Chandra oscillates.

what could the stories above be? sports? business? P3? politics?

now read the same, replacing the names with the alternatives as below:
Oliver = [crude]Oil
George = Gold
Tania = Turmeric
Omanakutty = Onion
Raghu = Rice
Sonya = Soya
Edward = Edible oils
Chandra = Copper

these were slightly modified headlines from the commodities section of a business paper a few days ago.

with the overdose of politics and scams on almost every page of newspapers and every news channel on TV, i had switched to more of business news channels - that still carry some 'stories' - of companies, personalities etc.

i have always thought that the financial markets were the fictional side of business. most of the derivative concepts being primarily speculative and though cloaked in a lot of mathematics, it is not real economy!

nowadays i spend more time on the commodities [and weather] sections. one of the benefits of travel is that you get time to read the paper at leisure!

it struck me that every commodity seems to have a life of its own - going by the headlines - when the behavior on the [commodities] market, both real and the trading market. the movement of prices of commodities are many times attributed to behavior as if these commodities could act on their own.

such as Soya oil gains despite subdued demand.
what could Soya have done to achieve this?
Or Turmeric, when it hit a record Rs. 16,000 per quintal?

i recently read about the google / harvard university project on the study of the 'english language genome'. by analyzing words from published books over the last 200 years,
wonder if they also look at these 'sentiments' in the business news to complement the stock ticker data.
could provide many plots for novels and movies..
move over matrix!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teeth[ree]-ing troubles

after a long gap from the blog -- thought i should write on the new T3 terminal at New Delhi.
having used that every week in the last 3 weeks [and scheduled to in the next 2 as well!], before it is no longer news.

the first impression was the size. having been used to the other Indian airports, this looks somewhat intimidating!

Earlier, with the new runway, it used to take about 20 minutes of taxiing to get to the terminal after landing.
now, if you land in one of the farther gates, it would take about 15 minutes to get to the baggage claim area, even if you use the travellators.

the walk areas are wide and carpeted.
but it makes it difficult to pull your luggage along as the carpets have not yet settled in.

the parking infrastructure is very comfortable and world class in terms of design. the driver was cribbing about the check out system - where you go to a booth on the floor to pay and then yuo need to be out of the parking structure within 15 minutes - else pay more!
the construction is still on, with the exit control guards sitting out in the open.

the check-in area is very spacious. multiple bays and check in counters dedicated to various airlines. it does not feel crowded.
after check in, the shopping area is also spacious with comfortable seating.

there are many four seaters with a central riser with power points.
these seats also have small armrests that can comfortably accommodate a laptop.

the upper level is for the food courts.
it is still to be completed - but the floor is already giving away in some places - with the tiles broken.
the quality of workmanship in some other sections are also shoddy, with the joints either visible or mis-aligned.

the departure gates are also well spaced - you would be very lucky to get one of the closer gates - which is not bad, less than 5 minutes of brisk walk to reach after clearing security. there are sufficient seats

with some recliner seats as well..
another interesting aspect i noticed was that the labeling of toilets - the his and hers labels are on the doors, but to identify them as we walk along - other than the signs, there are pictures of men and women to let one identify.
with attractive pictures, wonder if it would lead people to the wrong toilets!

on departure, i realized that the time saved on arrival taxiing is lost.
though one of my flights was ready to take off on time, it had to taxi for about 20 minutes before reaching the runway to take off!

as my luck has been running in the last couple of months, every flight that i had to take has been delayed..

to summarize, T3 is a refreshingly pleasant experience, in spite of the glitches. i have probably explored less than 50% of the terminal.

i have not had any checked in baggage. but a couple of others i had spoken to, had some not so nice experience with their bags.