30 Days of April!

With slight hitches and glitches, some dated entries, I finally managed to complete my Blog-A-Thon for the month of April, 2009. 

I must admit that writing everyday was a challenge and some of my articles were not upto the mark. But I felt that this regularity helped me to write better and more in this one month on some topics I wouldn’t ideally have dealt with. 

Over all a great experience and I hope that my readers liked it. 

I hope to be much more regular and conduct some more Blog-A-Thons in the future.

Installing The Split A/C – A Pain!

Sweltering summers do see the a/c section of the electronic stores brimming with people, but trust me, in order to instal a split air conditioner is a pain in itself. The primary reason being the inability of the builder of our apartment in providing the provision for the Split Air Con installation. 

I was apprised of the lack of logistics in our apartment, for a split a/c installation, just today. Now a split consists of:

  • an indoor unit
  • an outdoor unit
  • a stabilizer
  • and a not very well know support for the indoor unit (which our guys forgot to pack it for us)

The indoor unit’s supporting metal plate is fixed first and then goes the marking for the mess or the drilling area. If my apartment builder – who claims to be a building “Intelligent” homes – Aliens Elite – had ideally provided for a split then we wouldn’t have required to go in for this drilling. But, as things stand, apparently drilling is a norm. So our bedroom was in a state of utter mess. This drilling is primarily done in order to connect the indoor with the outdoor unit with a set of cables and gas lines for the a/c. 

Next the outdoor unit is heaved on to the wall using two metal supports and more drilling is on for that and also to hang the stabilizer. 

Finally the indoor unit is hung and after four hours of mess – the split a/c is finally installed. 

What makes me mad is the fact that the builder in most apartment claims to give “provision for split a/c” and when one really wants to utilise this provision it never seems to be done the right way or is placed in the most unimaginable location – right over the bed. The builder supposedly provided us with a plug point (which we never used, as the location was most in convenient) and an outlet pipe which once again is useless. 

A word of caution, when you are constructing your own house or are purchasing one from a reputed builder, ensure that the point for split a/c installation is given correctly. In out case, we assume that the builder expected us to install our outdoor unit over the window sill in the bedroom. This arrangement is feasible only in independent houses with single or double storey setups. For an apartment that has more than three floors, this arrangement is downright pig-headedness and the provision for split is as good as not given. It makes no economic sense for us to have heaved the outdoor unit on the window sill of our third floor apartment as installation and maintanence costs into the future would be exhorbitant. The other aspect I can’t seem to understand is why can’t we find better way sto avoid this drilling? It is such a messy job. I am sure, if thought properly one can come up with alternatives to avoid mess in the future. 

So, with some ingenuity from our electrician, loads of drilling and further permutation and combinations have now made us the brave the rest of the summer heat with our new Samsung Split Air conditioner.

Summers and Train

My earliest memories of travelling by our Indian Railways has been that of the unending journeys between Dehradun and Hyderabad, mostly during my vacations. I have loved the journeys in Second A/C and Gandhi class or Second class has also had its own charm. It is very interesting to note the change in topography as one traverses from the North to the South Central regions of this vast and varied land. 

With the prevailing heat and current conditions I find it impossible to travel in some regions by sleeper class. Thankfully, back in the late 80s and 90s, global warming didn’t cause temperatures to soar to these unseen levels and we could travel in sleeper class with some discomfort. It was a high treat then to be allowed the passing cutlet or samosa and my favourite breakfast in the A.P Express has been Bread Omellete. Don’t ask me why, it was just that then. Trips to the pantry were another interesting timepass during the long journey between Delhi and Hyderabad. 

I can’t remember how many friends I made in the train, but one thing was for sure, somehow never contacted anyone later. It is strange how the train associations seem to end with the end of the journey. Lack of internet could be said to be a cause, but not really a good one. I somehow can’t imagine travelling by sleeper class in the current summers.

The Garib Rath concept of the Railways is pretty good; affordable A/C travel. Though the train is pretty comfortable and nothing really Garib about it, I find the name irksome. More such trains would help the common man. The side middle berth which was introduced to increase capacity, isn’t too bad as it seems. Change is not palatable to any of us and I found this concept tough to digest till I actually got to see it myself. 

For all the travellers heading out for a summer vacation, take care of the heat and have fun!

Freedom Writers

 

 

Freedom Writers
Freedom Writers

 

 

It is not often that one happens to see an excellent movie and Freedom Writers was definitely one. I can rate it among the top 10 I have ever seen.

The story is about a school teacher who at the cost of her personal life spends time, effort and money on her students to improve their lives. These students are part of a reputed public school, because of some recent rules that makes it compulsory to have under-privileged children too. The general attitude of all the other teachers is extremely discouraging. They do not trust these students and do not even give them good books. In fact the whole set of such children are put into one class. These primarily constitute blacks, Asians and other origin children from the lower level of the society. There is considerable animosity among the class members and this is something their teacher deals with beautifully. The story is about how this teacher commits to their development and improvement in their general behavior and grades and makes them realize that they need not die like their friends in their neighbourhood. They need not continue to live in poverty and squalor, but rise above it to be someone important. She shows the importance of graduating and pursuing studies beyond it; instills confidence and pride in each one of them.

Her way of teaching is very unique and different. She encourages them to maintain a diary and write in it daily. Later on these accounts are compiled to be published as Freedom Writers. She introduces the concept of holocaust and relates to their existing lives. Makes them realize the importance of voicing their concern and doing it the right way and finally teaches the “Unteachable” lot.

Hillary Swank plays the role of the young teacher. The director of the movie is Richard LaGravenese and the movie won Humanitas Prize in 2007 under the Feature Film category.

Watch this movie, for its content and strong portrayals and you’ll love it. 

Mama Mia!

I had one of the rare opportunities to see Mama Mia, performed live at broadway and what can I say that it was splendid. I was blown away with the way the actors performed. They sang and danced to the famous ABBA songs and the best part of all this was that the stage had very few changes, all through. Just by rotating some aspects of the set and elevating thigns here and there, the whole effect of a Greek island and a home cum hotel was reproduced.

This famous musical has been made into a movie – Mama Mia! Starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth. The story is about a girl who is raised by her mother on this Greek Island and is now getting married. She wants to know who her father is and hence invites three men to her wedding. 

 I just happened to see one of its trailers once more, I suppose it is time I catch up with the DVD.

Ahead of The PM

For a change today, it was good to see an interesting picture on the front page of the Time of India. Our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh was standing in line with his wife to cast his vote and ahead of him in the picture were three ordinary denizens, looking most bewildered.

Looking at that picture, it just made me think, as to what would I have said if I were among those three there. Well, for one, after the initial shock, I would have exchanged some pleasantries, enquired upon his health. Well, may be something that one wouldn’t do, but I would have loved to do it, take his autograph. We do take autographs of all those glitzy hollywood/bollywood stars and well the cricketers then why not of this gentlemen who has held so many important positions and is called the father of liberalization?

I still wonder what those three did. Most likely, just kept looking back, with a stren face or a bewildered expression and went about their business. 

What would you have done?

 

PS: Will try to upload that picture.