Very excited about the reporting capabilities built into Office 2010 beta..
Trying to familiarize myself with it .. tried installing PowerPivot. Seems you must have XP SP3 pre-installed (not documented in the help files) before you installed Project Gemini.

I’m still waiting for my SP3 updates to complete…

Rights. or is it right?

I read an interesting article yesterday here, the results of a poll that suggests that over 80% of the 27000 people who were part of the survey from all over the globe, suggest that the Net is a “Fundamental Right”.

My idea of fundamental rights was a list of some words that you had to memorize, & be able to recite to pass your school exams. I can’t remember one fundamental right or duty enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Or any other country’s constitution for that matter.

I began to think as I write this if I know what I hold to be my own fundamental rights, my private Constitution. I struggle with the  thought, but here’s a feeble attempt:

  1. Right to decide what to do with my life & discover my own destiny.
  2. Right to enjoy life & all that it has to offer
  3. Right to learn more about anything that catches my fancy.
  4. Right to my personal beliefs, & to change them.

This list is by no means comprehensive, & is something I have consciously set out to discover. I realize that these Rights also come with Duties or Action.

My personal role model, Ben Franklin had a list of 13 virtues he attempted to live is life by (you can read about them here), which he had a very interesting way of tracking. In his autobiography, he mentions how he would try to live each one of them for one week. Over the course of 52 weeks, he would have tried (& his achievements & life tells us he mostly succeeded) each one of them four times, he also tells us he tracked his results very diligently for quite a long period. (Reminds me to read the book once again, I don’t seem to recollect some important details!)


It was a warm day.

The air was thick & sticky, like a bowl of porridge.

The train was packed with people heading back home. Some kept fanning themselves to cool down. Others tried to get busy with their books or iPods or computers. Minds were feeling as dull as the heat that numbed it.

Then suddenly came the staccato of machine gun fire. Jerked into action. Those unfortunate enough to be seated at the windows ducked for cover. Everyone else did too, not wanting to get a stray bullet in their ear.

The firing continued. People peering from their hiding places. Nearly everyone had ducked. Most were safe.

Most, except one young, bearded fellow. Had dark glasses on. Well dressed. Polished shoes. Head leaned against the window. Unmoving.  Was he hurt? Did he get the gunfire? Where is he hurt? Do we need to pull the chain & stop  the train?

& then came the sound again. Louder this time. The silence in the train car was deafening. Were they following someone? Everyone was looking out the window, trying to identify where the tanks & guns were.

Attention went back to the young fellow. He was breathing. Deeply & regularly.

Sleep is a wonderful drug. Snoring isn’t!


Things are always in motion. Nothing ever rests.

Metaphysics. Philosophy. Religion. I think they all speak of the same thing. In different figures of speech.

We went out on our daily walks by the sea. Low tide at the hour we were there. The sea having its lows. Like all people have. People are 79% water anyways. Any surprises then that we too have our tides? With clock-like regularity.

The Wiggles!

The Wiggles are the Beatles of children!!

For someone who hadn’t heard of them till a few months ago, I’m hooked too. Along with my daughter. We both sing along. As best we can. Laugh out loud at their antics. Shake a leg a bit too! That, for me, a two-left-feet guy, is saying a lot.

I’m certain I’m not the only middle-aged fan they’ve got. The oldest lady (at least 75, I’m sure!) at a recent Toastmasters’ meeting regretted she couldn’t attend the next meeting, since the Wiggles were performing a concert & she’d booked several months in advance!

If you’ve not heard them yet, go on, get yourself a copy of their video! For the child in you! You won’t regret it!


One of the many joys of having a small child at home is the gift of laughter. Any time of the night or day. Comes without invitation. Or expectation. Or warning.

The little angel comes up to me today to remind me that I have to read her a story.

How many, ask I.

Silly question.Deserves a ruthless answer.

She holds up three fingers of her hand.

Five, she says.

Too much confusion for my accounting brain. Three or five, I ask her, pointing out the apparent variances in the two numbers.

Short pause.

She prefers the spoken number – Five. A dazzling smile. I get a hug & a kiss to help make up my mind.

Laughter. Both of us. Then her mother joins in too.

No negotiations possible when laughing!

Fast asleep now.

My latest goal: At least one hearty laugh a day.

Happiness, I think, is an inside job.


Apprehension. Agitation. Knots. Anxiety. Cold feet. Chicken. Cold sweat. Creeps. Distress. Doubt. Dread. Misgiving. Faintheartedness. Fright. Panic. Qualm. Terror. Trembling. Trepidation. Unease. Worry.

I have fear. Of various things. & in various degrees.

Today, I promised myself I would speak to a recruiting manager in the company I work in.  I promised myself I would be bold, walk up to him & speak about the position he has advertised. Maybe even ask him for the job. I am competent surely, I said to myself.


One of those words listed above defines my level of fear. On a scale of 1 to 10, I think I feel 10.

Of what?  I am unable to define.

Meeting him? Perhaps.

Making a fool of myself? More likely.

That I will be refused? That too.

I called him. The phone rang. Several times. & he didn’t answer. I felt a sense of relief! I didn’t have to meet him!

My usual response is to wait . Give myself excuses. Maybe he is busy. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk to me. Maybe the role is already filled. All sorts of weird & wonderful excuses.

This time round, I did something radically different.

I sent him a mail, asking to see him. Can’t wriggle out of that now.

I will call him again tomorrow.  Talk to him about the problem he wants solved. Who doesn’t have a problem he can pass off to someone else to solve? What have I to lose?

Wish me luck!


I grew up around books. For whatever reason, they seem to offer to me a safe haven.  From unfriendly To paraphrase Ruskin Bond “Books are never cross, they never fight with you, & are always around when you need them” – & they were. I’m still enamored by them.

The ancestral house we moved to when I was 8 or so had an inherited collection of books, articles, magazines, writings – legacies of my maternal side of the family. Readers Digest editions going back to the 1960’s, copies of Wisdom (a locally published book), essays, they were a godsend to keep me company & out of trouble. I remember reading a children’s version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin & crying my eyes out, the first time ever that a story did that to me. I was hooked. I read every thing I could lay my hands on. Good stuff. Not so good stuff. Lame stories. Fun. Adventure. Sleaze. Spy. Classics. A 10-year old has no idea what constitutes a good or poor choice of books, but I was happy & willing to try.

The first biography I read was Ben Franklin. I was 9 years old. A red, bound book, with profile pictures of a young fellow, discovering himself, & inventing several things along the way – the story was absolutely fascinating. I read & re-read the book. At least a hundred times.

There was Shakespeare in prose form. Another bound tiny book with paintings inside. Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrew, & another 6 more, abridged versions that a child could read & get lost in imagination.

The Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew. Famous Five. Other Enid Blyton classics. Cricketing heroes. Louis L’Amor & other country western classics. General knowledge. Algebra. Too many to list here. I couldn’t get enough. I was addicted to printed material. I wonder if there’s a word for it. & in this day & age, I’m sure there’s some authority on the subject who’ll say reading is bad too! 🙂

As I went through school & what passed for education – qualification & education are synonymous for most Indians – I read. & read more. In class. Under the desk. On my way to school. On my way back. I did have other things to do, but reading was like a high I couldn’t get from anything else.  My spoken english got better, as did my writing. It still is going through evolution. Like life itself.

For the last 5 years or so, my reading has been more of the classics authors – Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato, Aristotle.. – Autobiographies, biographies, philosophy, history, scientific thought, reasoning, creativity.  I guess the older I’ve grown, the more I’ve found that these subjects really have given me an education, while accounting, tax & audit have merely given me a qualification. I spend at least an hour or two every day reading, & will most happily admit that my education continues each day.

To me, reading is not an escape from reality. It makes it more fascinating. Some things have never changed with time. The daily struggles of living. Habits. Motivating. Circumstances & technology might change, but our daily concerns haven’t. Thoughts in words from the past give more ideas on how to surmount them.

What do you read?



Give a man a fish, & he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, & you feed him for life.

Moving to a coastal, country side town brings with it the time & opportunity to do some interesting activities. Fishing caught our collective family fancy.

Sitting by an idyllic stream/ river/ waterbody, catching as much cool breeze as possible in my (balding) hair, the sounds of birds & water all around, watching the not so infrequent trains rumble over the bridge, angling…the stuff dreams are made of..

For a twosome who’s only knowledge of fishing rods has been movies & TV programmes, we learnt today the the science/ art of lining the rod, baiting a hook, casting the line without tearing any flesh from innocent bystanders (meaning our little daughter),  & not losing our tempers or patience with ourselves & withe each other, we did very well, indeed!  The fish were lucky too – none of them were unfortunate enough to get caught!

& we begin another chapter in our lives.