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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chp 398. The UPS schemozzle

It was just one of those lazy Sunday afternoons.

After a long night of partying at Aer, there’s nothing more relaxing and peaceful than just chilling out with my three friends Anil, John and Shaan over a couple of beer at Shaan’s Bandra cottage. Sunny outside, thighs sticking to the leathery bean bags inside, enjoying the breeze from the rickety old fan spinning above.

You could feel the air becoming sultrier with every passing day, announcing the arrival of summer here in Mumbai. The humidity was aptly countered by the chilled beer.

“Hey guys,” Shaan suddenly said. “Remember those days when we used to use UPS?”

“Aaah…” the three of us reminisced in unison.

“I think it’s been a really long time since I’ve last seen one!” John expressed.

Gulping down a refreshing swig of cold beer, I corrected John, “It can’t be that long. I think it’s just two to three years ago, I’m sure. But yeah, technology is improving so fast that it kinda seems like a long time ago.”

“True”, Anil nodded in agreement.

Working together at a digital advertising agency for more than five years now, it had indeed been a long time since we last saw somebody using a UPS. First of all, we all had laptops at home now, since it was easier to carry around between home and work and to client meetings.

And even in office, everybody’s either using a laptop or iPads and Android tablets. The very few people who use desktops and macs do not use any UPS since we’ve never had any power outage in office. That’s one of the perks of renting an office space with a 5 crore monthly rental.

“Hey, so what does UPS stand for anyway?” Shaan asked again.

“Urrrrmmm…”

We all rolled our eyes trying to remember, and then suddenly realized we had forgotten!

John and I immediately took out our Android phones to google the answer, when suddenly Shaan interrupted us, “Wait! Stop. Comon guys, we should know this. Let’s try to remember what it is, the good old fashion way, by racking our brains.”

We grinned back as we placed our phones slowly on the table.

“Hmmm… I think UPS stands for Unlimited Power Supply”, I said.

“Unlimited? But it isn’t unlimited at all. It goes off after a few minutes, giving us enough time to shut down our desktops”, Anil said.

“I agree with Anil,” Shaan said. “It isn’t unlimited…. But yeah, the P and S definitely stand for Power Supply, that much I remember.”

“Ok how about this,” John joined in. “Uncertain Power Supply? Because, you know, we never used to know when the lights would go off…”

We laughed.

“Underground Power Supply!” Anil blurted out. “Because I think it has to do with electrical and wiring systems, you know, when we earth the power line in case the electrical insulation fails, hence… Underground”

“Underground…” I replied, “That’s how we call groups like ULFA, NSCN, HPC, PREPAK, UNLF etc. in the North East. Underground. I don’t think people over there would buy a UPS if it means Underground Power Supply.”

We laughed again.

“Ok how about… Unbelievable Power Supply! Because it’s hard to believe that our PC is still running even though there is no electricity!” Shaan quipped.

And after that the rapid round of guessing started…

Anil: “Unauthorized Power Supply, because the Electric Dept shut down electricity and yet it’s still functioning, hence this power supply is not authorized!”

John: “Ulterior Power Supply – Because it has an ulterior motive of giving us electricity even when there is no electricity!”

Shaan: “Ultimate Power Supply, because, hey, there’s no power and yet there IS power. Isn’t that that most ultimate power supply you’ve ever heard of?”

Me: “Umbrella Power Supply! Because we use umbrellas only when it rains, in times of emergency right? Hence… Umbrella!”

Anil: “Unpleasant Power Supply, because it makes that really awful and irritating *peep peep* noise once the electricity goes off!”

John: “Utopia Power Supply – Because in a Utopian world, everything is supposed to be perfect. Hence even the power supply is perfect!”

Shaan: “Unsung Power Supply, because they’re like our unsung heroes. Nobody praises them or realizes how useful they really are.”

Me: “Umbilical Power Supply! Because it acts as the umbilical cord of power supply, protecting us and feeding us with electricity!”

FINALLY, we gave up and I slowly reached for my Android. “Google UPS”. Anil, John and Shaan looked at me and waited in great anticipation…

So which of us got it right?

As the search result showed up on my phone, I gave myself a hard facepalm. And then I told the others what UPS means: “It’s Uninterrupted Power Supply.”

They too immediately facepalmed themselves, groaning in disbelief. Frankly speaking, it was very embarrassing for us to forget what UPS means or even unable to guess it correctly. I guess we all become dumber with age.

We clinked our pints for one last toast before heading out to the balcony for the BBQ lunch. A lazy Sunday afternoon indeed, but it will be a couple of years before we ever forget what UPS means again. Hopefully.



Ps. Not an entirely true story. A work of semi-fiction. :P

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chp 397. Zonking out

Ever experience that moment when you suddenly zonk out while remaining conscious? You’re just standing or sitting still, lost in your own world but at the same time not thinking about anything in particular, just staring at something and not hearing a thing that your friends are telling you?

It’s as if time suddenly came to a brute halt and everything is stuck in some kinda limbo or warp zone...

…only to be broken by her screaming, “Why the hell did you suddenly stop? Continue or get off me!”

Just kidding... :P

But yeah, sometimes when you’re in that inanimate mental state, it is really embarrassing when you suddenly snap out of your blackout only to realize you have been staring at some woman’s breast, and that poor uncomfortable woman is giving you the “You dirty pervert” looks.

And then you try to mentally communicate with her, “I swear I wasn’t staring at your… I mean my eyes might have been looking there, but I didn’t notice anything!!!” which only seems to make the situation worse.

But hey, at least that is better than snapping out to realize you have been staring at some dude’s crotch…

…and that guy grins at you and changes his seat to move right next to you…

:)

This zonking out can happen to you while you’re in the middle of anything, and you’ll forget what you were initially doing once you come out of your trance. I’m just sitting in office writing this post to update my blog and…



















































…I think I’ll order pizza. I’m kinda hungry, all of a sudden.





Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Chp 396. Networking dinner II: Mediterranean

For the second time since becoming a member, I took part in the “Networking dinner” held at India’s leading Ad film maker Prahlad Kakkar’s bungalow at Bandra last Saturday, organized by Coral. The theme was “Mediterranean Cuisine”.

The eight participants of last Saturday’s exclusive networking dinner were –

Deepak Goel – Founder of Drizzlin Social Media Solutions
Sushil Cherian – Social Media junkie and Founder of Pet Pujaris
Snigdha Manchanda - Tea Sommelier and Chief Storyteller at Story Ninja
Joanna Irzabek – Journalist at Polityka, a renowned Polish newspaper
Neha Toteja - Corporate planning and BD at Times Television Network
Pawan Deokule – Managing Director at Digicat Digital Marketing Pvt Ltd
Megha Goyal – Founder of i2Cook and Head Chef at Coral Networks
Kima – Lover of Old Monk

:P

Most of the pics below were taken by Megha from i2Cook. In fact, photography was her initial passion and she started the company i2TakePhoto, but the name didn’t hit off well, so she switched to cooking… just kidding :D

[Click on the pic for higher res. The ones Meg took are extremely huge by the way, warning you…]







After the initial introduction and exchange of pleasantries (the usual “Oh you work there? Do you know so and so? Oooooh!”), I was welcomed with this exquisite “gazpacho” shot, which is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable drink. It’s apparently very popular in Spain, Portugal and parts of Latin America. All I say is, it was really good and refreshing and I could feel my stomach agreeing with the solution immediately. The taste still lingers in my mouth as I sit in office writing this blog post.



Now a little flashback: The last time I took part in “Coral: A Networking Dinner” was on June 3, 2011. That was during the time I was on my “One Month No Booze” pledge. I even live-blogged about that event at my Posterous blog (which was dedicated to the pledge). That night was a Coorgi cuisine theme, and the Coorgi Pandi Pork was awesome. But unfortunately for me, I did not have that much fun that night because since I was on my no alcohol pledge, all I could think about was the alcohol everybody’s having while I sat there like a shipwrecked sailor on a dry deserted island, mouth watering and hallucinating.

But this time, there was no such pledge, so alcohol really helped a lot in socializing with the others.



As we all sat around the table discussing about Mediterranean food options in Mumbai, which was the official topic of discussion, Meg served us with starters – Greek style zucchini fritters with tzatziki, and Spanish sausages along with Turkish yogurt hummus and lavash. They were très excellent!



Meg made the tzatziki from strained yoghurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. She served it cold, just like how it’s supposed to be, and the zucchini fritters blended perfectly well with the paste. It was amazing eating the zucchini fritters that look so much like potato pancakes, except there was no potato used in this.



And if you think the zucchini and tzatziki have too much of veggies for a hardcore carnivore like me, then there was the other starter - Spanish sausages with Turkish yogurt hummus and lavash. For the Spanish sausage, Meg used Chorizo (available from Nature’s Basket, Hill Road, Bandra) which she sautéed with some red wine, oregano & pepper. Once I started eating it, it was extremely difficult to stop because it was so good that I could literally feel the Heavens opening up and a chariot of gold descending amidst the loud beating of drums and trumpets, to tell me that my time on Earth is over because I have tasted the food of the Gods.



I shamelessly kept gobbling up the Chorizo while the rest talked about their favorite Mediterranean recipes, the best way to make Polpette using extra virgin olive oil, cheaper places in Mumbai where one can buy Sombrassada sausage etc. And of course the discussion went from food to politics to sports to digital marketing and so on. All in all, I had an extremely good time with the discussion.

Soon it was time for the main course.



For the main course, Meg served Moroccan meatballs with herbed couscous garnished with feta cheese. Vegetarians were given an option of sautéed zuchinni served on a bed of couscous and there was also an option of basa fish served on a bed of couscous.



Couscous – oh how I love thee! First of all, I love the name! Pronounced “kus-kus”, it consists of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat. It’s a North African staple diet and is used instead of rice and bread as the main course in countries like Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia. It went extremely well with the Moroccan lamb meatballs Meg served, especially since the couscous had been garnished with awesome feta cheese.

I’m not a food expert here, but if the “suzi” we eat in Mizoram or the “upma” in South India is prepared dry, then it would taste quite similar to couscous I think.





Here is me enjoying the food. In fact I loved it so much that I never tried the other main courses -  sautéed zuchinni and basa fish, a decision I regret now because an opportunity like that will not come again in the near future.

 

The dinner ended with desserts - Poached strawberry with cinnamon spiked ricotta cream cheese. I am not a big fan of strawberries, but poached strawberries were definitely something else. And the ricotta cream cheese blended so well that I had to go for seconds. The hint of cinnamon is what I liked the most. A simple yet exquisite dessert that was not too sweet for my taste buds.



As we bid farewell to Prahlad Kakkar’s cottage, I gave a high-ten to the scuba diver hanging from the ceiling.



I really love the way he had decorated the place, especially the lounge. Hell, I even took a pic inside his loo! :)



We ended the night with the usual complimentary gifts from Coral Networking Dinner. This time I got Pink Mustard and Pesto (crushed garlic, basil and European pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano). They go extremely well with bread, for those lazy hung-over Sunday mornings, or even with pizza and scrambled eggs.



 

So it was really great meeting Deepak, Sushil, Snigdha, Joanna, Neha, Pawan and Megha, and getting to know them. Until the next Coral Networking dinner then. Cheers y’all. :)