24 Sept 2010

Google search widget and its awesomeness


I read this in an Osho's book.  Someone asks Osho how one should seek their guru.  He replies, "You don't have to go looking for your guru, but the guru has to look for you.  When the disciple is ready, the guru appears."

Now what I think is, when one is ready to learn -- when one is receptive to lessons -- he finds his lessons from pretty much anything.  Guru and disciple are not two different entities, but the disciple has his guru in himself.  Guru, and his teachings, all come from within the disciple.  And that's why learning is always an intimate and personal experience.

23 Sept 2010

Customizing Gmail's Priority Inbox

Gmail's Priority Inbox feature divides your inbox into three sections by default: Important and unread, Starred, and Everything else.  This works for most people, but I am one of the people for whom it doesn't quite work.

In this post I am going to say how I changed Priority Inbox to suit my needs.  I should first say how I have organized my Gmail mailbox.  If there's a mail that I might need in the future but only occasionally, I star that mail.  Some of my starred mails have the license key for software I bought, links to my Internet domain's control panel, etc.  I don't need these information often, but when I do need them, I find it hard to locate them by searching.

There's another set of mails that make my "to-do list".  I add a mail to my to-do list by applying "pending" label to it.  Let's say I receive a bill for my Internet connection, and I am planning to pay it only a few days later.  I'd mark it as "pending" so I can get back to it later.  Once I have made the payment, pending label is removed from that mail.

Before Priority Inbox, I was using Multiple Inboxes Gmail labs feature to show my "pending" mails above my inbox.  If I can somehow make the "Starred" section of my Priority Inbox view to show my "pending" mails, I will get my old inbox view back.  This is how I did that:
I clicked on the title of the Starred section, and choose "More options..." item.

This showed me all my labels.  I selected "pending " from the menu.

That's it.  Now my Starred section has been replaced with more useful "pending" section.

There are more ways to customize your priority inbox.  Open Settings > Priority Inbox in your Gmail and explore the options available there.

20 Sept 2010

Bad things

Doing so-called bad things is arguably better than doing nothing.

19 Sept 2010

Slow poison

I have a good friend who likes to call himself "slow poison".  After I met him, I have thought about the idea of slow poison quite a few times.  I can now say I have experienced such a thing at least twice in my life.  But they're not negative as poison, they're very positive.

1. The movie Adaptation.  I first saw the movie, and I didn't really like it much.  Somehow I didn't want to accept that and told myself that it was an okay movie.  But later, different scenes from the movie came to my mind every now and then, and I started liking those scenes.  Bit by bit the movie grew on me, and a few days ago I saw the movie once over again.  I am thinking I will see it again after some time.

2. My long bike ride, Pilgrimage 2010.  As soon as I was back it was just another ride/vacation for me.  Nothing remarkable.  But every now and then I get a glimpse of how that trip has changed me.  Then I called it a pilgrimage just for the kicks.  But in retrospect, I think that was indeed a real pilgrimage.  And this pilgrim wants more and more such pilgrimages in life!

Accidents happen

What do you think about shouting at someone in Tamil, knowing well that he doesn't understand a word of what you're saying?  I really think it's pointless.  Although that's just what I did today.

About 6 hours back, I was on the road going on my bike to see a friend.  A city bus decided to stop for whatsoever reason, so the Santro following that bus had to stop suddenly too.  I was behind the Santro and I was impressed that I had avoided hitting the car by literally an inch.  Just when I was thinking "not bad," something happened and my bike fell on the road.  I turn back and see a truck.  That truck must have hit my bike from behind.

I scream and curse the guy, all in Tamil.  In the back of my mind I knew this guy won't understand a bit of what I am saying, and I kinda convinced myself that he isn't hearing anything of what I shout.  After a round of shouting I decide to get the bike up and see if there's any damage.  But the truck has to move a little for me to do that.  I extend my arm fully and shout "பின்னால போ" ("get back") and he immediately goes a little back.

I pick the bike up, put it on the side stand, and look around it.  There isn't any visible damage.  And the driver and the other man in sitting in the truck are looking very apologetic.  There isn't anything productive to do there.  So I start the bike and just go.

This is almost nothing.  Just one blow from behind, that too on the bike, not on me.  When I was doing all the shouting and checking the bike I didn't hear the song that was playing.  I mean, not "listen", I just didn't hear it!  My body was shaking for another few minutes, which I noticed only after getting off the bike after reaching the place I was going to.  I wonder how it would have been to the guy who got hit directly by my bike about 3 years ago!  It was fully his mistake and all that, but I really do feel sorry for hitting that guy.  Whosoever you are, where you are now, dude, I am really sorry, and I apologise for hitting you from behind.

13 Sept 2010

Things I've discovered about myself - 2

  • I hate it when friends don’t trust me.
  • I don’t like it much when others complain about things that I’m indifferent to.
  • I sometimes make typos while writing my own name.
  • I like to show off.
  • I’m claustrophobic.
  • I don’t like air-conditioning.
  • I like doing things that involve physical labour.
  • I like movies, but I like it better when someone I trust chooses movies for me.
  • I don’t experiment by trying out different food.  I’m conservative in that way.
  • Although I sometimes try insane combinations.  Like mixing pineapple and mango pickle.  Or mixing chocolate and curd.
  • I have the ability to, and I sometimes do, manipulate people.

12 Sept 2010

Blessing in disguise

Nov 23, 2008: I meet with an accident and break my leg.
Jan 1, 2009: I get back to my regular life, though I still depend on a walker to move around.
Feb 28, 2009: I go to Warangal with a couple of friends.  Of course, I carry a crutch with me.

Since then, the frequency of my travel has increased.  The way I look at life has changed.  The intensity with which I live has increased.

It's amazing how all bad things have some good in them and all good things have some bad in them.

Confession of an optimist

I wanted to get married, so started looking for someone I can live with.  People advised me that I should instead look for someone I cannot live without.  That sounded right, and I started looking for someone such.  It's been 45 years since then, and I'm still single!

10 Sept 2010

Random Thoughts: Togetherness

If you believe that someone else's love and togetherness is going to bring happiness and meaning to your own life, you are bound to be miserable, no matter if you do or don't attain that person's love.

8 Sept 2010

Random Thoughts: Final conversation

Often, when someone calls a person for having a final conversation, it just means they really don't want that to be the final conversation.

1 Sept 2010

Random Thoughts: Acceptance

How often have we heard the idea of accepting someone else as what they are, with their positives and negatives!  But in reality, how many of us accept ourselves as what we are, with our own positives and negatives?

Some tips for long motorcycle rides

It's been a while since I am back from Pilgrimage 2010, and since then I have been wanting to write down some tips that I found to be useful.  Some of them, I learned from my friends; some of them I learned myself.
  • Add bike maintenance to your plan.  If your ride is long enough to require bike maintenance, factor that into your plan.  After reaching Manali, both our bikes needed some maintenance to be done.  Like, cleaning and lubricating the chain, changing the engine oil, etc.  Luckily we had allocated one day at Manali for resting.  We used that day for getting the bikes done up.
  • Pack in small small plastic bags.  I had kept all my shirts and inner wears in one plastic bag, my jeans, track pants, etc. in another bag, chargers and other electronics in another bag, and so on.  This way they have a good internal arrangement, and they won't get wet if it rains.  Our saddle bags are supposedly water-proof, but without the plastic bags it would have been a really bad scene.
  • Take only what you really need.  For a 3 weeks bike ride I carried 5 t-shirts and 1 pair of jeans.  When a close friend advised us to carry one pair of jeans it seemed ridiculous at first.  But if we are going to be wearing our riding gears all day long, what's the point of carrying regular clothes?
  • Don't carry tools that you don't know how to use.  Or tools that you can find at a mechanic's.  This is pretty much the same as the previous one.  We found a "list of tools to carry" online and we bought them all enthusiastically.  Including a heavy foot pump!  After a good friend's advice we decided not to carry the pump and several other tools and spares we had.  It turned out that we didn't need any of those tools.
  • Add buffer days to your plan.  Keeping a reasonable number of days as buffer would be useful if something unplanned comes up.  If everything goes well, you can always think of something to do in those extra days.  (I had two spare days after the trip.  I visited Taj Mahal in one day, and returned early and rested in the other spare day.)
  • Remember it's a vacation.  This may not be applicable to everyone, but I like this one enough to add to the list :)  Our 3rd day in Leh, we woke up at 8 in the morning.  Both I and my brother were tired.  I had said the previous day that we should either go to Hunder next day or do white water rafting.  But we were too tired to anything, so we decided to sleep more and relax rather than forcing ourselves to go visit places.  I mean, if we don't allow ourselves to relax and rest, what's the point of taking a vacation?!