bhargavkesavan

Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…


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Home Automation, no more a fantasy!


Remember the car chasing scene in Tomorrow never dies? Pierce Brosnan operates his car using a remote device?

This movie was released almost 20 years before! The remote controlled car in this movie was a very big hit! So how does that matter to this post? Well, let’s see.

Since a long time ago there are many companies that are trying to make a lot of automation to the products that we’ve using. When TV channels were manually tuned to different channels, remote control to TV was introduced. Similarly lot of automation were introduced to what we’re using.

One such automation to the home electronics is WeMo. WeMo is a series is of products by Belkin. There are several products that can be used at home in all power outlets.

downloadAfter talking to my friend, Libin, I’ve ordered a WeMo Switch Insight and was very curious to use. As soon as I’d received my order I’ve started using it.

WeMo switch is a 372.jpg simple device, just plug it in any power outlet and connect it to your home wifi, download wemo app in your android or ios device to start using it.

You can easily turn on and off any device that you’ve connected to this device.The remote access feature allows you to control the device from anywhere in the world using your mobile data! You can also connect a switch hub and control all the devices that are connected to the power hub.

I’m using it for my light and it’s super cool to control it from your mobile. The best part is, you can schedule the device to turn on and off anytime you want. And there is a away mode, using which you can schedule the device to turn and off at multiple times just to make up as if people are at home.

You can also see the energy usage using the device which is the additional feature in the device. There is a basic version which is $10 lesser price than this one which is good and same as this one. The reason I bought this is, it’s an affordable price. Unlike super costly devices, this one is $50 & the basic is $40.

On a lighter note, if you’re buying it, don’t tell anyone at home and make a ghost prank by turning on and off remotely, Don’t do it to a light hearted person who can’t handle a prank!

Check out the 30 secs video, I’ve just recorded the turning On and Off using mobile!

Check out  Amazon for more of WeMo products.

Do comment if you like this post. Thanks for reading.


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Dinosaurs – Graceful Ice 2015


You may very well remember Ice Sculpture – Microcosmos photos that I’ve shared last year. This year the theme was Dinosaurs! Jurassic Park movie is what I could recall when I looked at the notice last week.

The sad part about the Ice carving this year is the weather 😦 Last year the weather was so cold that the ice carvings lasted for two nights! But this year due to warm weather, the ice carvings melted overnight and many people couldn’t see the carvings!

The Okamoto Studio artists did a great job as they did last year! Here are the photos of the Dinosaurs, people were so happy about this event and I could see from the way people showed eagerness to watch this event that age doesn’t have a limit to enjoy watching the Dinosaurs and to get excitement!

These pics were taken using my mobile, so keep the expectations low and enjoy the pics & a short video too 🙂

Click on images to view in full screen 🙂

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View from top!

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Day 2 night! The last one that stood still!


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The Winter Palace


As the Holiday season begins, so are the celebrations!

Places are decorated with all their favorite Xmas Trees, Lights, Santa, Snow man and so on.

Here at Saks Fifth Avenue, their building is decorated with the theme ‘The Winter Palace’ for this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Here is the short video of the spectacular light & music show that happens at every evening. Don’t miss to witness it if you’re visiting NYC.

First few seconds are the Tallest Xmas tree at Rockefeller center.


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A weekend at New York City with Friends


New York City never makes you feel bored. Though I travel to the city daily, everyday, everything looks new. Especially the Times Square at the 42nd street & 7th avenue intersection never make you feel lonely. This is the street where people across the world gathers and enjoys their time. It is referred to as he Crossroads of the World, The Center of the Universe,The heart of The Great White Way, and the “heart of the world”. While writing this blog post I got to know this is the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection.

As it ‘s a long weekend, it’s time to get together especially when my best buddies are in close by states. Praveen had visited Vignesh’s house at Philadelphia from Richmond, VA, together they came to NYC & I’d started from NJ while Sriram had started from Connecticut he had asked me to keep his visit as surprise and for the first time without giving any hint or anything I’d kept it secret until Sriram himself had showed up to the city 🙂

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It was a great feel to be with best buddies especially in front of my office 🙂 Just when we went to order food, praveen realized that he had lost the parking ticket 😐 He searched everywhere and couldn’t find it, later Vignesh & I thought to go back to the parking building to check with the attendant on what to do for the lost parking ticket and Praveen was planning to walk back in the same path he went from parking to Bryant park. We were little worried what if someone else picks it and pick the car! When Vignesh and I almost reached the parking building, Praveen had called me & Vignesh, we went back to see what he had found & it is our parking ticket!! What a miracle! In a busiest city, we dropped a parking ticket & it was luckily not picked by anyone! He checked the ticket printed time and the call history to check the time he had called me and made sure that’s our ticket! 😀

haha… finally after picking the ticket, We’ll had the yummy veggie biriyani from the cart at 44th street & 6th avenue. After food we spent time at Bryant park and after a while we started walking to Central park. Wrapping my hands on friends shoulders I walked in the 6th avenue like never before. After a good time at central park, Ejas and his parents came to meet us at the central park and that moment was like a mini family function with all the friends and their family.

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We had dinner st Bryant park & thought to spend time at times square, just when we were crossing road, Sriram found out that he had missed his Ray ban sunglass! Half the way through the road & we ran back to the table where we were sitting, not even a minute, and the glass is gone! Paavam! His brother gave him the sunglass & he was very sad that he lost it! Who won’t be sad?! Morning the parking ticket was still left in the street for more than 45 minutes! And now not even a minute and it’s gone! So if you loose any paper in road, you can be sure that you will get it if you follow the same path provided wind blow is less 😀

Vikky and his family started back to PA and Ejas and his family started back, Sriram, Praveen and I had roamed a while post 10 PM and enjoyed the Godiva ice cream from Godiva showroom at 50th street at RockeFeller center, as our car moved through the streets of Times Square like a snail visit to the city on day 1 got over & we reached my home at 23:45

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Day 2 started with visit to the icon of Wall street, Wall Street Bull through the Subway of New York in which Praveen was very eager to travel from the time he had arrived. We took the number 2 train from the Times Square 42nd street station after spending sometime at Times Square and reached Wall Street shortly after boarding. To my surprise the Bull looked like Bullsh*t 😀 The color was faded out as comparing to my previous visit. Only the face of bull had it’s bronze color and rest were of multiple fade colors.

We’d noticed a pizza shop while having donut at Dunkin Donut & had lunch at the pizza shop just to fill up stomach as our next visit would take few hours at the next place we were about to visit, bought a water bottle from a cart for $2 (!!!) which was $1.5 at the pizza shop, I thought the shop is selling it with more price as it use to be $1 in the carts near my office at Times Square, but the carts near ferry terminal sells it for more price. We then started walking to Staten Island ferry white hall Terminal to catch ferry to Statue of Liberty. As we were waiting to cross the road a M15 bus that crossed us reminded Praveen about the M15 bus that goes from Mylapore to Pallikkaranai in Chennai 🙂

Think it as 1983! (If it was me, I would say think it as 1988!)

Talk to friends & think it as 1983! (If it was me, I would say think it as 1988!)

As we crossed the road there was a guy who showed his ID and asked us if he can help us to plan our visit to SoL & few other places. There was two ferries, one was water taxi & other was a private cruise (Hornblower). As I’ve seen several deals & coupons for a lesser price than he had said I was not sure whether to go with this guy or not and I’d called Ejas and checked with him about how he had visited the previous day. I’d shown my mobile to that person and said see it’s $17 and not $31. He said ‘OK go ahead and book that… I’m sure you’re going to get trouble (smiles!!) 😀 Sriram and Praveen were sitting on a bench and were looking at me. We were discussing whether to go for this guys ticket or.. or nothing as we didn’t have other plan ready yet! Silently I’d noticed that the deal I showed to that guy was not available 😀 😀 also realized that Sriram too had mentioned it to me when I showed the mobile to him.

He came to us again and said ‘See man I can give you offer up to $25 (!!) but if you have decided to go with your mobile thing, I’m sure you’re going to get trouble getting the tickets’ etc… We thought he would come down with price again but he didn’t come back for a while, then we’d decided to get in to the terminal and get tickets on our own & started walking, he said alright see you 😀 As Praveen and Sriram are kind heart person and this guy looked paavam (innocent) we planned to get the tickets from him. He then took us to someone and charged $5 more for something he said must be service charge or something. He gave the tickets and showed a place which was 0.7 miles from there… haha 😀 we were little worried whether the ticket was valid!! I could recognize the boarding place (Hornblower Cruises) as I’ve already been in the same Cruise on New Year night. Only difference it is that the ticket price was $120 on New Year night (with unlimited food & drinks) and it was $25 this time.

Finally we’d boarded the cruise and directly went to terrace of the cruise by the time we reached the terrace the chairs have been occupied. But that wasn’t necessary for us, we stood at rear side of the terrace and it was a good view. The cruise started at 3:40 which was supposed to start at 3:30, in a 10-15 mins our cruise went near the Statue of Liberty, it was gigantic and standing tall! I was glad I’d visited it the same way I’d imagined! We didn’t choose a visit to get down at the Liberty Island as that would take us several hours since it was a long weekend!

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After a stop near  Statue of Liberty the cruise went the same way back and went near the Brooklyn bridge, which we could see very well while waiting in the queue to board the cruise, just a small difference that we went little closer and were able to see the view from beneath the bridge. 😀 😀 And… yeah and that it!!! It’s not even 1 hour, it was just a 35-40 mins and the cruise came back to shore, the guy who sold ticket said it’s a 1 hour ride & it’s not even 1 full hour including the time we stood in queue to on board & off-board from the cruise! Since we’d visited the SoL & Brooklyn bridge and had few other places to visit, we didn’t take it seriously and didn’t think about it much later. (May be this is how all tourists are being cheated?!!)

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We then had planned to visit 9/11 memorial and One World Observatory (Which I’d been planning since May when it was opened). We walked for 15 minutes to the 9/11 memorial which was the convenient way to commute from Pier 15, as we reached we could see a huge crowd. We spent few minutes near the fountain and then moved to the observatory. As I couldn’t find any coupon or deal for the ticket, we got the tickets with actual price $31 and entered the building.

As we entered the building there was a usual way of security check and then a queue to enter the building. It didn’t take more than 15 minutes to enter the lift that carries us to the 102nd floor. As the lift was closed, the walls of lift is a high definition display that had a great video as the lift started from ground floor and reached the 102nd floor. As the lift started the experience was like the lift started from beneath a river and as the lift goes up, a time-lapse was played which showed the transformation of New York city from the olden days till 2015. And when we were about to reach the 102nd floor, I felt like the lift is going in  sideways in a construction building we have seen in many movies including the main scenes in ‘Cube’ movie.

Just discovered that there is a different video for Night view

We got out of the lift and were eager to see the view of New York from the Tallest building in Northern Hemisphere. There was a presentation video over the walls of 102nd floor in a panoramic view, post presentation the card board screen was scrolled up and the view of the outside was shown! Wow! It was great that moment! Immediately it was closed and were asked to enter another room which they call Observatory hall, as we enter there we were asked to move a level down which is 100th floor, not sure where did 101 go!! Never seen a place which you visit thinking tallest building and they send us a few floors down??!!

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As we walked down people used escalator to go down, since it’s summer and the sun sets very late, being at the top the sun glare was very high as it was reflected by the Hudson river water. Without a sunglass it would be very tough to enjoy the outside view. As it’s a closed top (not like Empire State Building & other tallest building in New York) and covered by glass, we could see the view with others prints of the world(??!)… yeah! All the finger prints of the visitors were on the glass that covers the 100th floor, it wasn’t clean! The glass wasn’t anti glare, there is a big gap in 102nd floor (which is design!!!) through which you can see the 100th floor, people might accidentally drop camera, mobile or any valuables.

There was a Sky portal where people can step on to a 14-foot wide disc that delivers real-time HD footage of the streets which was utter waste! Not clean and not anti glare, due to sun rays nothing was visible (it should look like the one in the image below, but nothing was visible when we were there!) Spent sometime there and took pictures, which didn’t look like taken from a tallest building at all 😀 While coming down in lift there was another video that was played and it was good, the bad was the thick line that spoils the display!!!

A 4 Billion building and don’t know why can’t they make a frameless display! From a few decades ago there are large displays that are used just for advertisement and bill boards in Times Square, they could have used it! I felt Empire State Building was the best!  Came down and rested for few mins near 9/11 memorial again and boarded a subway to go back to uptown. Finished the day with a good dinner at Chennai garden, walked till bus terminal and visited Grand central station and then & headed back home & Sriram had started back home. Reached home at 00:15 by Lakeland bus!

Started back to NYC on day 3 (today) as Praveen has to catch train at 3 PM, we reached NYC for lunch and bought veggie biriyani from the cart on same street that we had on day 1 & had lunch at Bryant park. Praveen started to Richmond from Penn station and I’d headed back to bus stand to catch my 3:30 bus after he boarded train! Now back home and cherishing the moments while I’m writing this (smiling)!

Look out for next post if you’d liked this!


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Adopt a Terrorist!!!


It is the Indian politicians way of doing politics in every possible way and make their presence in media and Media has their own way of doing politics and shows with politicians by letting them talk for an hour without knowing what the discussion is about. For an hour all members in the show will speak shout whatever they know.

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He is the one who said, give us 15 minutes and we will kill all the Hindus!

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Times Of India – Where Front page is allocated to Terrorist and a side box news is for Former Indian President.

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In a country where a Muslim can be at any top positions including President and Prime Minister, there are still a bunch of people who cries for %

In the recent Yakub Memon case, similar to Ajmal Kasab case two years back, there were a lot of forward thinking & liberal minded “Intellectuals”, our air-conditioned humanitarian Nationalists who raised a very big hue and cry and signed mercy petitions. They should read this response by the Canadian Govt to their own armchair philanthropists on their concerns regarding standards of treatment of captured Terrorists.

Canadian female liberal wrote a lot of letters to the Canadian Government, complaining about the treatment of captive insurgents (terrorists) being held in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.

She demanded a response to her letter, She received the following reply:

From:
National Defence Headquarters.
Pearkes Bldg., 15 NT, 101 Drive, Ottawa , ON K1A 0K2
Canada.

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your profound concern of treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists captured by Canadian Forces, who were subsequently transferred to the Afghanistan Government and are currently being held by Afghan officials in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.

Our Administration takes these matters seriously and your opinions were heard loud and clear here in Ottawa. You will be pleased to learn, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself… we are creating a new department here at the Department of National Defence, to be called ‘Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers’ program, or “L.A.R.K.” for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists and place them in homes of concerned and responsible citizens such as yourself… around the country, under those citizens personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.

Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his ‘attitudinal problem’ will help him overcome those character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere ‘cultural differences’. We understand that you plan to offer ‘counselling and home schooling’, however, we strongly recommend that you hire some assistant caretakers.

Please advise any Jewish friends, neighbours or relatives about your house guest, as he might get agitated or even violent, but we are sure you can ‘reason’ with him. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless in your opinion, this might ‘offend him and his sensibilities’. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills either in your home or wherever you choose to take him while ‘helping him adjust to life in our country’.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters except sexually… since he views females as a form of property, thereby having no rights, including refusal of his sexual demands. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him.

You also should know that he has shown violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire. I’m sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of ‘respecting his culture and religious beliefs’ as described in your letter.

You take good care of Ahmed and remember that we will try to have a counsellor available to help you over any difficulties you encounter while Ahmed is adjusting to Canadian culture.

Thanks again for your concern. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the “PROPER WAY TO DO OUR JOB AND CARE FOR OUR FELLOW MEN”.

Good luck and God bless you and your daughters

Cordially,

Gordon O’Connor


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Dr. Abdul Kalam & Me


It was in March 2008, when Cartoonist ‘Mathi’ from Dinamani released his cartoon collections books in Mylapore, Music Adademy, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was the chief guest. Our college secretary was the first person out of three to receive the first issue of book from Dr. Abdul Kalam.

I read this news in a newspaper around noon at my hostel library & immediately informed my friends. Around 3.30 afternoon, I along with my friends Mahesh anna, Vedathri, Harish and Aniruth started walking out of hostel room and were walking near tennis court, our secretary was about to enter his car & I smiled at him and said, ‘Hello swami ji, we’re walking to the same event where you’re headed’ and asked him you are still here? I read that the function is at 4 o clock?, he said yes, but it’s ok, I was asked to come at 3:45, he said and then  he didn’t give a second thought, he had immediately asked me to board his car & I’d boarded and said, not just me some of my friends too 😀 He couldn’t say no & hence we all boarded the car. Humorously he asked, is it all or is anyone else joining? I said only us 😀

It was a proud moment, that we are going to a function where Abdul Kalam is Chief Guest and our Secretary is the first person to receive the book & we are going to that function in his car! As the car headed, being 17 years of Ramakrishna Mutt President of SriLanka & a 70 years old famous and great college Secretary he was little afraid that he is carrying more people in his car and was looking out to see whether any cop is noticing us, I said.. Swami ji! Why are you worried? No police can stop us, forgot whom you are going to meet now? (haha the same ‘gethu’ scene that you see in every movie!)

Our car entered the Music Academy (Mylapore) entrance, as soon as our car entered, our college assistant secretary came running and opened the back door and gestured Namaskaram (Vanakkam) thinking it is our swamiji who was sitting at back side, as soon as I got down he was little embarrassed 😀 and said oh! it’s you and ran to front door and welcomed our Swamiji. We all laughed secretly at him 😀 We entered the Music Academy hall in VIP entrance, our swamiji said sit where you feel comfortable, and said he will go to his chair.

Just when I moved from the entrance to look out for seat, I heard more noise from outside and ‘vaazhga, vaazhga’ within no time after the car had arrived I could realize it was Dr.Abdul Kalam & he entered the hall so fast and was very brisk. He entered the hall like a child entering an exhibition, such an enthusiasm and smile he had in his face.

He walked very fast in the stage and asked his secretary about where he has to sit, he sat and smiled at all. One of the other chief guests was actress Manorama. As soon as Dr. Kalam started his speech, the very first sentence he spoke was, ‘Aachi… enakku ungala romba pidikkum, naan unga padam laam nariya paathuruken andha kaalathula’ (I like you very much, I have seen your movies a lot in my childhood days!) He said it in such a voice that it showed he is completely down to earth, not a single percent of ego or anything, he never showed any sign that he speaks as a former president or a great scientist.

During his speech about the book release, he said ‘Cartoon is a very effective communication tool.  They powerfully communicate the message with a sense of humor. He also shared his experience as to how his team felt rejuvenated by cartoons, when they were dejected due to the failure of SLV3 in those days. He also advised the media to use lot of cartoons in the newspapers to create awareness.

His briskness, enthusiasm was such an inspiration for everyone who had attended that function and when I remember the moment I saw him, he still makes me smile 🙂

Today when one of my friends sent a message saying Dr. Kalam had passed away, I didn’t want to believe it and prayed that should just be another hoax just like others that pops every now and then. Don’t know what is the joy behind spreading rumors about ones death.

Last week, Neera Yadav, Jharkhand’s Education Minister had kept garlands and payed homage to Dr. Kalam when he was still alive. People are in so hurry to believe something without even checking the facts and to inform their friends which sometimes ends up as a rumor.

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Now, after checking the news that Kalam is really passed away, it is very hard to lose such a enthusiastic person, India’s missile man & our beloved former President of the Nation. He collapsed when he was giving speech to the youth of our nation! He loved doing what he did till his last breath. I don’t know why we call Nehru as chacha and why we celebrate his birthday as children’s day (May be because of… hmm no, let’s not talk about him here!). After Vivekananda, to me Dr. Abdul Kalam is the youth icon & he will always be remembered by all of us. His birthday should be celebrated as Children’s day.

May his soul rest in peace.

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