Kids prefer logical explanations

by Yash 0 Comments

When my 4 year old daughter demands something which I think she does not need, she acts like a typical child. Being stubborn. If i refuse her without giving a reason when will continue her demand, but if I give her a logical explanation she will stop.

One day at a mall she asked for one of those air filled plastic balloons which come in various shapes and sizes. The balloons are sold on the road side for 20-30 rupees, in the mall it’s 150. She asked and I said no. She kept at it, so I explained it to her – look this uncle here will take a lot more money from us for this balloon. The same balloon can be bought outside of this mall for far less money. We can actually buy 5 of these from there. She understood. She has never asked for the balloon at the mall since then. Whenever we pass the balloon shop in the mall, she reminds us that we have to buy it from the vendor outside.

She clearly understood that the balloon sold in the mall wasn’t worth it. If I had just said no without explaining why I am saying no she wouldn’t. I hope it would have also instilled a little sense of value of money in her tiny brain.

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Last week me and Yaashi went to watch The Jungle Book. My wife had gone to attend a seminar.

Yaashi (while we were leaving): “Let’s pickup mom as well”
Me: “We can’t. She’s at the office.”
Yaashi: “Why is mom at office today? It’s Saturday!”
Me: “Well, she had some work”

Her office is on the way to the cinema hall, as son as we passed it Yaashi said, “Stop, let’s pick up mom”
Me: “Mom is not here, she is at another office”
Yaashi: “So let’s go there”
Me: “We can’t go there.”
Yaashi: “Why?”
Me: “Mom has gone to attend a seminar on international taxation, if we go there we will not understand anything”
Yaashi: “OK”

That was it. We went for the movie and enjoyed it. I am sure Yaashi had no clue where and why did her mom go, but she surely got some idea that whatever it was, it was clearly not for me and her.

So I think kids demand logical explanation. Why can’t I wear this dress today? Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why should I share my food/toys? Why I should not hit other kids? Why should I not waste food. If you try to be dictatorial with them – they won’t listen! They’ll rebel. If you tell them the reason – it doesn’t matter if they are too young to grasp it fully – they will understand.

What has been your experience with your kids?

Where is “she”?

by Yash 1 Comment

Yaashi has started playschool from this Monday. On Saturday we had a parents induction meeting at the school. They gave a nice presentation covering wide range of things but one thing stood out. In the presentation and conversation whenever a child was referred, it was referred as “he”. He will learn this, you should not say this to him, he will observe… and both me and Bijal were wondering where is “she”?

Now that the classes have started, out of 14 kids in the class 10 are girls. In the nursery out of 27 kids 14 are girls. If we stop killing our girls we’ll have a feminine population as we see in most of the developed countries. And yet we continue to assume the person in question will be a male.

I have seen similar thing happening when writing software requirements or documentation. The user is assumed to be a male. And when he clicks the button a new window will open where he can select blah blah…

We need a gender neutral pronoun to address people in the English language. I have seen Facebook using they and them when a gender is not known. They liked it instead of he liked it sounds better.

Any ideas?

I still use Winamp and will continue to do so

by Yash 0 Comments

Winamp

Winamp is shutting down. It was a great music player once. It still is. But people have moved on, now the music is consumed on smart phones and instead of downloading MP3 files people prefer to stream it thorugh Pandora and Spotify. But I still use Winamp on my laptop – the lite version. Winamp is the best program for the way I like to listen to my music. I don’t get many MP3 these days. I mostly listen to Bollywood stuff and occasionally some International chart buster. I get the MP3 only if I really like an album or songs and would prefer to listen to it even when I do not have Internet access. I mostly organise my MP3 files in folders. I do not listen to songs based on genre or artist. I listen to an entire album and I like to listen in my preferred order and the order keeps changing. I might be listening to all Rockstar songs and I want to start with Sadda Haq followed by other sad songs or on some other day I want to listen all the peppy songs first from Rockstar.

Winamp in its lite version is a very simple music player, I can just double click on a file in Windows Explorer and it will start playing then I can add more songs by right clicking and adding them to the play queue. No time wasting in creating a playlist or anything. I never save playlists because my order of listening music is never same. I also like the ability to reorder songs with dragging and dropping.

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I do not like the way how some players only let you sort songs by track number or alphabetically. That’s why I do not like any of the mobile music players. All of them try to be smart and classify songs by genre or artist or album. Boss I know what I want to listen and where the songs is, just let me select a few songs quickly and let me listen to them in the order I want. I really liked the original music player on Android before Google tried to make it smart! It used to let me play songs from a particular folder and order songs by dragging up/down. After Google screwed it up, I had to find another player and found MortPlayer for Android. And I never listen to music on my iPad because the music player just sucks (for my taste)!

As far as I am concerned Winamp continues to whip the Llama’s ass!

Diwali 2013 Gadgets

by Yash 0 Comments

Got some new gadgets this Diwali – a Panasonic TV, Google Chromecast and a stationary exercise bike.

Panasonic TH-L39B6D

It’s a 39 inch flat panel LED that we got for the living room. After watching demo of 3D TVs and being impressed with 3D content I considered getting a 3D TV but the 3D looked good only with 3D content and the 2D to 3D conversion wasn’t that impressive. Also I found 42″ to be insufficient for 3D content, so dropped the 3D idea and went with a good old TV. Connecting TV to the Internet was a requirement so also considered some smart TV models, but then decided to give Chromecast a try to see if that worked. I got the TV from Vijay Sales for 35K (INR) after exchanging my old 21″ CTV.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast is a tiny little HDMI dongle that can connect your TV to Internet over Wifi and you can stream content to your TV from your Android or iOS device. Officially Chromecast is not available in India yet but it can be purchased from ebay and other sites. I got it from ebay for 3500 and the initial experience was bad. The first piece I received didn’t work, I was worried my money would go waste but luckily the seller replaced it and the new one worked. Although Google says setting it up is snap, it wasn’t so in my case. I had to change the HDMI port, had to reset Chromecast a few times and somehow managed to set it up. Even after it was set up the performance was erratic. On the very first attempt to play a video it hung!

Finally it started working perfectly and I was able to stream videos from YouTube from my mobile and iPad. And now I must say I am happy with the way it has been working so far. There are not many apps that can stream to Chromecast but I am sure, more apps will add Chromecast support in near future. I haven’t yet tried streaming a tab from Chrome desktop to TV yet. Should try it today. However the most important content that one wants to see on TV is videos and movies. YouTube is where the videos are and that works really fine. I stream cartoons and jingles and rhymes for Yaashi and that helps us feed her without much effort :) Now I am waiting for some video player app to add cast support so videos on the device can be streamed to the TV. Google Play movies can only play movies downloaded (purchased) from Play store.

Fuel Upright 3.0 bike

So I and my wife decided to start working out to lose some extra kilos. I had tried running some time back, but I am not much of an outdoor person. Treadmill would take too much of space in the living room, so decided to get an exercise bike. Good to burn calories, helps with cardio and weight loss. It’s been 3 days since we got it and have started with using it twice a day with 15 minutes each. A 15 minute session burns 100 calories. Goal is to increase the time gradually so we build stamina and burn more calories. This is the first time in life that I have started to exercise. It’s a good start, will write after 3 months how it went.

Yaashi’s room

by Yash 0 Comments

Diwali was a home renovation time and walls got a new coat of paint. In particular Yaashi’s room became much more colourful and playful.

Yaashi-room1

On one wall we painted a grassy plain with Sun and butterflies. We found the design on the net and tried to replicate it. We still want to draw some grass over the green.

Yaashi-room2

Another wall got animal stickers I bought from ebay. Kids coming to our home are particularly liking the stickers.

My Love Story Part 3

by Yash 2 Comments

Almost a month had passed since I proposed her and she refused. One day I got a call from her and she said she wants to meet me. Now something had started to happen on the other end too. We met at a temple near our school and talked for about an hour. In the last one month she had become restless and couldn’t stop thinking about me. She remembered the school days and the happy moments we had shared in school with all those academic rivalries and stuff. For her completing her CA was of utmost importance everything else was secondary. We decided to keep in touch and the old friendship blossomed again.

We started calling each other regularly. Mostly it was me who would call her at her office during the afternoon when her boss would be away for lunch. The calls started to last longer. 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour. Sometimes I would sneak out of home to make the call if my parents were at home. At that time a public call would cost a Rupee and pulse rate was three minutes. I remember putting 17 coins once! She too emptied a whole bowl of coins her dad had accumulated in a few months.

By then we were into TYBCom – the last year of our college degree. I used to go to college and then to a coaching class. I would reach the class early, and make a call to her and it would last for as long as it could before I had to get in the class. Now I was into computers, had a computer at home and was even planning to open computer coaching classes. Bijal on the other hand had computers as compulsory subject in her college in the last year and she was completely alien to the subject. I seized the opportunity and offered to teach her computers. At first she was reluctant but once she opened the book, she knew she needed help and there I was! :)

So she came to my home for the first time to learn computers. We would learn computers and talk. Learning computers started to become a pretext for us to meet. Parents had no objections obviously and very soon I started my computer classes so the office became our meeting spot. Slowly but surely she started to fall in love with me.

Some silly things also happened while we were in college, little fights, not talking to each other, patching up. Once we got in a fight and then I cut my thumb with a blade and wrote I am Sorry with my blood. Super filmy stuff! If I would gift her something she would ask me to keep it with me cause she could not take it home. Sometimes she would take the gift home and would tell her mom they were from some of her other friends.

It was good till it lasted. Soon the college was over and the official excuse to meet was over too. Now was the time to begin with the real life. My computer classes didn’t last long. I got a job, Bijal also got her articleship shifted to another CA. Reason being the CA she was working for wanted his son to marry her! By that time it was an unofficial understanding between us – we were for each other and no one could come between us.

As the official reasons to meet dried up, we had to fabricate reasons to meet. Especially her because Indian parents are Indian parents. So we would meet up in the evening when we would both return from our work. She would take leaves prior to her CA exams and would go a library to read. I would accompany her at the end of the day on her way back home. We used to meet alternate days, sometimes daily. When I changed job and joined Magnet, we would meet early in the morning just before we would go to our offices. We had some regular meeting places and shopkeepers and restaurant waiters started recognizing us. Once I reached late and Bijal had just left after waiting for me and the shopkeeper of a nearby shop informed me she had left. We were just starting our careers and we didn’t have mobile phones then. I got my first mobile phone in 2004. Even to this day one particular guy at MM in Malad recognizes us and whenever we happen to go there we meet him.

2006 arrived, Bijal cleared her CA and achieved her goal. In the meantime I had left my job and started my company back in 2005. Bijal helped me incorporate my company as a Private Limited Company. In fact she did most of the paper work despite her exams approaching. Now we were both in the career consolidation phase and by now it was clear to our parents as well as to where we were heading.

Our parents have always been supportive of our relationship. We never actually told our parents we loved each other and we wanted to marry. As things unraveled, it became obvious to them and they never objected. Bijal was very afraid her parents won’t approve of our relationship. But I knew her parents back from school days and I knew they won’t have any problem with me. Once her dad caught us eating Sandwiches together and when Bijal went home asked her a sarcastic question – “Are you still hungry?” Bijal thought that was the end of our meeting days but I knew that was not the case. Bijal’s parents wanted her to complete her education first so that was her priority. I have never really told my parents, I want to marry this girl and they never asked me.

It just happened.

Somewhere near the end of 2006 probably around September I just said to her how about getting married next Valentine’s Day? We were together for almost six years and I just thought Valentine’s Day would be the best day to get married. And we just decided we are getting married on Feb 14, 2007. So I told my parents I am getting married on 14/2. Met Bijal’s parents as well and told them about our decision. Again the kind hearted parents agreed to us. Even then I didn’t believe in looking for auspicious dates and stuff. Her father tried to suggest a different auspicious date, but I was firm on Feb 14. So everyone gave in.

So we arranged everything in the next 3-4 months and put together a wedding. Come 14 February, 2007 and we were a married couple.

And life has been excellent so far. At the time of our wedding we had decided we will never spend a Valentine’s Day at home so every year around Valentine’s Day we take a 2 week long vacation and go to far off places. This is the first Valentine’s Day that we are celebrating at home because we are awaiting the arrival of a new bundle of joy soon.

We have known each other for over 23 years now. Life has taught me one thing – if you really want something just go for it. Don’t think. Things will fall in place.

Life is awesome.

Part 1, Part 2

My Love Story Part 2

by Yash 2 Comments

Phone rang. I picked up and heard a familiar voice after a long time. “Yash it’s me, Bijal”. I literally missed a heartbeat! It had been more than 3.5 years since we had left the school. We were in different colleges and there was absolutely no contact, no phones, nothing. Don’t know what made her call me but she called and that call changed the lives of both of us. It rekindled the latent feelings and I absolutely could not sleep that night. I kept thinking about her day and night. Days passed and I just could not get her out of my mind. I decided I had to tell her about my feelings.

Being a very to the point and direct person – and one who believes in the power of letters – I decided to write my feelings in a letter. A more mature letter than the one I sent a few years ago and I also decided to hand it over personally. I very carefully drafted the letter about two pages long and the letter ended with a very direct question – “Would you like to change your name to Bijal Yash Gadhiya?”!! Well that’s me! I am in one sided love with a girl since third standard, I haven’t even talked to her for more than 3 years and I know for sure she does not have similar feelings towards me and here I am proposing her to marry me when we are still in college. Naive, stupid whatever you may call it, but it was just a dumb guy madly in love with a girl for as long as he can remember.

When I look back, I think a sensible guy might have decided to get in a stable friendship first and then take it forward slowly. But I had one final goal in mind and just went for that.


I decided to hand over the letter on her 19th birthday which was coming soon. Now was the time to get in the detective mode. I wanted to know everything about her that I could find, her office address, where she goes, what she does – everything. All I had was her office phone number. She was studying for CA and was doing her articleship at some CA’s office. So I thought she must be going to the college sometime in the morning. I decided to stand near the opening of the street where she lived and wait for her to come and hand over the letter. The day arrived and I got to the spot at around 8 in the morning. Waited for her to leave for college. I waited and waited and waited. She never arrived. Later on I came to know she used to leave earlier in the morning.

Plan 1 failed so I decided to catch her at the office. I only had the office number, I used MTNL’s online directory and got the address of the office. Reached the office it was closed. Nobody was answering the office phone either. A CA’s office can’t possibly be closed in the afternoon. I thought it must have moved or the directory might have incorrect address. So I decided to call the home of her boss! Got the name of the boss from the office number and from that name found the boss’ home phone number. Called there, posed as a client and asked for office address and I got the same address from boss’ wife. Finally someone at the office picked up the phone, I asked for Bijal I was told she had shifted to another CA. Got the number of that CA, found his office address from the directory and went there the next day.

And I saw her after almost 3 years. She had changed a lot, she had got glasses and was kind of unrecognisable. I too had changed a lot, at first she didn’t recognise me either. She thought I was a client of her boss. I wished her belated Happy Birthday and said I had something very important to say. She had no clue what I might have in store but she called me in the evening and we decided to meet after a couple of days. She had a very busy schedule so she asked me to come to the Kandivali station and said I could accompany her while she walked back home. I went there, handed over the letter to her and the reaction and the answer was exactly as I had expected.

No.

to be continued…

Part 1, Part 3

My Love Story Part 1

by Yash 5 Comments

The year was 1989. I was in standard 3 and had just joined a new school. I was shy, introvert and a bit scared by being in this large school. One day in the class, one of our teachers asked the name of our school. Nutan….Nutan everyone started shouting. Nopes nopes that was not the answer the teacher was looking for. “Shree J P Shroff Nutan Vidya Mandir” said one girl siting on the first bench. I looked at her, that was the first time I had noticed her and in fact that was the first time even I came to know the full name of the school! Wow! I said to myself, that girl is smart! Who is she? I asked someone. Her name is Bijal, I was told.

Bijal. That was her name. That IS her name. And she is my life.

So that was how I came to know of her.

Then it so happened that one day our class teacher rearranged the seating arrangements. Well in a typical Indian school there are benches and they are arranged in columns and boys and girls occupy one side of classroom each. Our class teacher Jyoti Mam was fed up by the constant chit chat going on amongst the students. So she decided to rearrange the seating and made one boy and one girl share a bench. She randomly picked one boy and one girl and allocated them to a bench. I had two wishes – one, to get a first bench and second, to share the bench with that smart girl. :P Lo and behold both my wishes came true. I don’t know why and how but the teacher paired me with the smartest girl in class. I was a rank new comer in the class and she was a ranker. That was the best day of my life till then! :)

I was good in studies and it wasn’t late before I started getting good marks and got everyone’s attention. And that’s also when the academic rivalry started to flourish between the two of us. We two were the undisputed scholars of the class. And exam after exam we would fight over who got better marks and a higher rank. It would alternate. Both of us would bring the best in each other.

She was first in standard 3.
I excelled in standard 4 and was first not just in class but in school.
She came back in standard 5 and became the top ranker.
Standard 6, it was me again.
Standard 7 it was her.

By eighth standard we were teens. I have always been attracted by smartness and the liking and fondness that I had developed for her was becoming a crush by then. I couldn’t stop thinking about her all day. I had also developed another interest by then – comics – I was an avid comics reader and was also into creating my own comic line that affected my studies and I permanently withdrew from the rank race. But she was becoming my fascination and I did what many stupid 14 year olds would do. I wrote her a letter.

A love letter!

I don’t exactly remember what was written in the letter, may be just I love you and drawn a heart with an arrow. Very filmy! When we think of it today we just cant help stop laughing. I actually had guts to POST that letter to her home!!! I thought I was very smart to the extent that I put the letter in a small envelop and wrote – this envelop should be opened by Bijal only – and put that envelop in a larger one and addressed it to her home. It didn’t even occur to me that that stupid gimmick of mine wont prevent someone else from opening the letter and that the letter can get in anybody’s hands and it can do a lot of damage.

Luckily nothing happened.

The letter ended up in Bijal’s mom’s hands and she tore it with rage. She asked Bijal about who might have sent the letter and whose handwriting it could be. Now Bijal says she did recognize my handwriting but she didn’t tell her mom! She won’t tell me why but she didn’t want to ruin my life at school by blowing the whistle.

And then after the tenth, the school life came to an end. By that time my crush had somewhat subsided. One major factor was height! She grew taller than me! It may sound silly but when you are 15 and everyone around you is growing taller and stronger and you are not, that has immense effect on a boy’s psyche. So school ended and we lost contact. I didn’t see her until three years later barring a couple of chance encounters on road.

to be continued…

Part 2, Part 3

Mensa test experience

by Yash 4 Comments

I had taken the Mensa Admission Test back in the month of September. Got my results last week.

There were two tests, one had 50 questions and the other had three sub tests with 15 or 20 questions each. All were multiple choice questions and we had to solve them in amazingly small amount of time. We got some 10 or 12 minutes for the first test and about 2 to 3 minutes each for the each of the sub tests for the second one. The test charges were Rs. 300 and we were told we would be getting the results back in about 6-8 weeks. Well, it didn’t come back in 6-8 weeks, took like more than 4 months. The examiner said the test papers will go to Pune where a psychologist will check the scores and ascertain the IQ.

I scored 84th percentile. Not enough to join the elite club of super intelligent. In order to be a member you have to score in 98th percentile or above. According to this table at American Mensa that converts and IQ of 115. I thought of my IQ to be somewhere around 120, so that was close enough. 84th percentile onwards is the high average of IQ in the population. Some consolation. :P