December 26, 2016

The losing Compassion and Empathy...

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Sometimes you do something and immediately after that realize the mistake. But by the time you realize it, you also realize that you can hardly do anything about that. So a sense of guilt encompasses you, a guilt which you can't do anything about! 

Today while coming back to my flat, a poor couple on road, with a kid in the arms of mother, stopped me and pleaded for money. This is fairly common scene in Hyderabad, and I immediately ignore and brush past such people. But this time, the guy called back saying he doesn't want money, even food will be great. I had almost moved ahead, when I recalled that my this month's quota of helping people in need was still pending. So like a shrewd businessman I smelled an opportunity there- an opportunity to fulfill my monthly resolution, an opportunity to get some instant gratification. I turned back, told the guy to come with me and I will buy them Dinner. I signaled them to cross the road with me to the other side, where I knew an affordable restaurant. I went there asked the person on reception, to pack a dinner for two. I paid for that, took the packed food, and handed it over to the guy standing outside the restaurant. That's where I did what I immediately felt guilty about.  While handing over the food packet to the guy, I showed great hurry for leaving, didn't even look towards the guy, and quickly instructed him to move away from the place (so that he doesn't cause trouble to the restaurant owner). All this while he was politely thanking me for the food!! The moment I moved away from them doing all this, I realized my mistake! I realized my mechanical nature, my inhumane approach towards the family, my selfish nature to fulfill my resolution without caring for the intent. But the moment had passed, there was no going back, I could hardly do anything about that. I was in hurry to reach my flat, but once I decided to buy them food, I should have done that with a sense of empathy. That empathy was missing, that humane nature was missing. I did that as if I was doing a favor to the family, with no emotions, no humane connection with the family! Particularly, the hurry shown while leaving them, put myself to shame. I might have helped the family, but the intention of helping was missing. I immediately felt a pang of guilt, which I felt so helpless about. I just promised to myself to do better now onwards... 

The incident made me think, why have we become so mechanical and so self-centered in our life? We are we always in so much of hurry, that we forget there are other humans around, some of whom may need our compassion and empathy, much more than anything else! Money seems such an easy way out. Spend some money and suppress the need of helping with compassion! Where are we headed! Life seems moving so fast that we don't even want to stop think about the pain and suffering of others....

December 18, 2016

The Journey of Life...

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So busy we get in our life, that we forget to ponder on it, reflect on it...
the various hues and the shades, the various ups and the downs, seem to have been dumped deep down in memory.
Things that used to matter most, seems to have went into oblivion...
people who used to be omnipresent, seems to have moved on to different world.

As our life keeps expanding to the wider horizons, our earlier, closer connections with things and people who used to matter earlier, keeps on waning...
newer people and newer set of things make entry into our life, grabbing space in our already cluttered life.
Can't we stop, take a breath, observe, look back at life, and contemplate over things happening around? Can't we take a break every once in a while to think over our life's happenings? Are we prioritizing things wisely, are we spending our times judiciously, are we bringing good changes around us, are we being humane? Can't we think over things that matters most in life... 

November 20, 2016

Demonetization: How good is the move ?

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Several good steps have been taken by the current Central Govt, but the two major decisions that will be remembered for long, are the Surgical Strike on Pakistani terrorists in POK, and the current demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. While the demonetization being termed as "Surgical Strike" on black money was a bit too much, but then it does seem to be a great idea. However, there are several other things which need to be pondered upon.

Initially, the sudden announcement of demonetization came as a shocker but a pleasant one. The most surprising and appreciable thing was the secrecy with which the entire plan was put into action. But then, what came next was shocking! The ATMs were announced to be out of service for 2 days. So it was expected that they will start working from the third day onward. But forget third day, the ATMs remained out of cash, even after 7 days!! There has been utter chaos for cash. All this thanks to the horrible implementation by the Government. They first banned use of notes, and then started printing new notes. None of ATMs had anything other than Rs 100 notes, which drastically decreased the vending capacity of ATMs. The new Rs 500 notes were not even available with banks, they were still under printing. The Rs 2000 notes were so out of dimensions that they couldn't be made available in the current ATMs. So Govt first banned the notes, without making the equivalent notes available with banks/atms. Needless to say, the great looking idea was spoiled thoroughly and forced Govt to head to disaster management tactics!

But talking of some major issues:-
  1. Do I welcome the demonetization idea?
  2. Will it ensure development?
  3. Do I appreciate the efforts put that went into implementation and planning?
  4. Will it reduce corruption and black money?
1. First, Yes I absolutely welcome the idea. The idea in it's core looks great. If it will not curb corruption or black money much, at least it will definitely kill the counterfeit notes in circulation completely. 

2. Will it ensure development? Quite an unrelated issue, but I think it won't affect development much. Removal of counterfeit notes, and curbing black money to some extent, it will surly boost development for a period, but then after some time, development will hinge on the core issues. On the other hand, development may even slow down for the near future. There are already news of GDP growth rate likely to go down in coming quarters.

3. Do I appreciate the efforts and implementation plan? Absolutely not! What initially came as a great plan, later turned out to be a horrible mess. Come on, which Govt first bans notes, and then starts printing them! What was Govt even thinking! On top of that, this situation of chaos is going to remain for significant number of days. When PM himself has asked for 50 days, you can very well understand what is going to happen. For 50 days or more, there are going to be severe restrictions on withdrawing of your own hard earned money from Bank! Why should Govt block your money from getting withdrawn! There can be several issues for which one can need cash in lakhs, which one can't withdraw even if he has enough in his own account, all legally earned. Already, there has been news of some deaths due to the chaos. So it's quite apparent that the great looking idea was turned into a disaster.

4. Will it reduce Corruption and Black Money? Corruption- absolutely not. Black money- Yes to some extent definitely. Corruption will continue with new notes, I think corruption has hardly got anything to do with demonetization. The Black money though, will certainly be reduced to some extent. Even though most of the black money is either invested in properties or other non-cash items like Gold, whatever black money is there in cash, those are definitely going to be curbed. There are news of black money getting turned white through various clever means, but even despite all those tricks, a significant amount of cash black money will definitely be reduced.

All in all, a good move, but with horrible implementation. It could have been far better, had Govt prepared better for the big decision. With so much of inconvenience to public, it doesn't come out to be a great thing to happen. For catching 1% of people, Govt is troubling 100% of people, in some cases, threatening the lives of innocents, so all these take the sheen out of this great looking idea.

November 07, 2016

Freedom at Midnight: Some thoughts on the Book

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What went wrong, Mountbatten admitted to us, was this sheer, simultaneous reaction which nobody foresaw. No one predicted millions of people would pull up stakes and change sides. No one. 
Partition has always been an intriguing event for me, probably more intriguing than the freedom struggle. What happened that led to partition despite some prominent leaders opposing it till the end. What went wrong that partition led to loss of lakhs of precious lives, and forever bitterness between people of the two nations? These questions always kept nagging me from time to time. And that was the reason, even though I seldom read non-fiction books, and hardly have any interest in historical books, slowly I started reading partition related books. The first one was, “Pakistan, Or the Partition of India” by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, second one was “Train to Pakistan” by Khushwant Singh (the book is a fact inspired fiction), and the third one is this “Freedom at Midnight” by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre”. 

The Book is probably one of the most popular, and one of the most extensive account of the partition, and in a most captivating way. Primary, it has focused on below few issues:-
  1. What led to partition? Why did partition become inevitable?
  2. Mahatma Gandhi's life, and his efforts in bringing together peace in the pre and post-partition times. Also, why all his efforts failed to stop partition.
  3. The efforts and events that went into division of Punjab and Bengal, into Indian and Pakistani area. 
  4. The widespread riots and violence in pre and post-partition times and the reasons behind them.
  5. The hundreds of princely states of India, and the detail of efforts that went into forcing them unite them into either India or Pakistan.
  6. The detail behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Godse and his accomplices.
On Partition
The biggest reason of partition, was the rise of Jinnah as one of the most formidable power among Muslims. Among Muslims, he had as much popularity as probably Mahatma Gandhi had among Indians. But of course he was exact opposite of Gandhi in nature.  He had literally held Indian leaders to ransom, under threat of widespread violence by Muslims under his command.
Quoting from the Book:-

In a tent outside Bombay in August 1946, he had evaluated for his followers in the Moslem League the meaning of Direct  Action Day. If Congress wanted war, he declared, then India’s  Moslems would ‘accept their offer unhesitatingly .
Pale lips pressed into a grim smile, his piercing eyes alight with repressed passion, Jinnah had that day flung down the gauntlet to Congress, to the British. ‘We shall have India divided,’ he vowed, ‘or we shall have India destroyed.’ 
Such was his devilish nature! Why he turned into someone like this, and how he was able to turn a large Muslim population against Hindus, is another matter and that Dr. Ambedkar has dealt with better in his book on partition. But needless to say, Jinnah was the biggest factor for partition. In fact, it has been mentioned in the book that, Jinnah was suffering from a critical illness at the time of partition discussions, and was counting his last days, but this was a top secret. Had this fact be known to them, the last viceroy Mountbatten and Indian leaders, would preferred to wait for him to die, so that partition could have been avoided! 
Apart from Jinnah, another reason was that the patience of Indian leaders was running out. They have had enough, they just wanted freedom from Britishers as soon as possible. And Britishers led by Mountbatten, didn't want to leave without a proper system in place here!! Interesting fact is that, had Mountbatten not been sent to India, there was a chance that partition won't have happened. Because the predecessor of Mountbatten, Lord Wavell, had no plan to put in a system in place before leaving. Funnily enough, he had a plan named "Operation Madhouse". :) Quoting from the Book (Lord Wavell talking to Mountbatten):-
‘This is called “Madhouse”,’ he explained, ‘because it is a problem for a madhouse. Alas, I can see no other way out.’  It called for the British evacuation of India, province by province, women and children first, then civilians, then soldiers, a move likely, in Gandhi’s words, to ‘leave India to chaos’.
One more reason was the lack of time for decision making. During those times, the Hindu-Muslim divide was getting wider. There was widespread violence every now and then. On the "Direct Action Day" call of Jinnah in 1946, there had already been bloodbath in Bengal. Mahatma Gandhi's peace calls used to be temporary and were not effective for longer times. Jinnah was always on lookout for adding fuel to the fire. Leaders were clueless how to put things in control. Everyone agreed that some decision had to be taken, and it had to be done quickly. So in that haste, they went for something, which aggravated the situation rather than pacifying it. Essentially, everyone miscalculated the mood of millions of population. 

On Mahama Gandhi   
A great portion of the book is devoted to Mahatma Gandhi, his life, his ideals, his efforts to keep India united, and why his efforts failed.
Unlike popular perception, Mahatma Gandhi fought till the end to keep India united, and avoid the partition. That he failed in his efforts is another matter.
Quoting from the book:-
So desperate was he to avoid partition that he was prepared for a Solomonic judgment. Give the Moslems the baby instead of cutting it in half. Place three hundred million Hindus under Moslem rule by asking his rival Jinnah and his Moslem League to form a government. Then hand over power to that government. Give Jinnah all India instead of just the part he wanted. He could not budge Nehru and Patel. There was a limit to the price they were prepared to pay to keep India united and handing over power to their foe, Jinnah, transgressed it. They did not share Gandhi’s conviction that partition would inevitably lead to terrible violence. Broken-hearted, Gandhi would have to report to the Viceroy that he had not been able to carry his colleagues with him. 
Finally, Mountbatten held parleys individually with Sardar Patel and Nehru, to convince him on partition, and they agreed. Two of their crucial men going against his opinion, Gandhi was broken and felt helpless. He was also not sure how the common Indians will respond to his calls for opposition to the partition. Mountbatten also tried to convince Gandhi through all means, and was able to somewhat subdue his resistance. But in a nutshell, all Congress leaders turning against his opinion, was the breaking point for Gandhi. Quoting his own words from the book:-
‘They call me a Mahatma,’ he bitterly told a friend later, ‘but I tell you I am not even treated by them as a sweeper.’ 
Another quote deserves a mention in the same regard:-
Walking the streets of Delhi early one morning, one of his workers said to him: ‘In the hour of decision you are not in the picture. You and your ideals have been given the go-by.’
Yes, Gandhi sighed bitterly in reply: ‘Everybody is eager to garland my photos and statues. But nobody wants to follow my advice.’ 
Gandhi's life and ideals have always been controversial. The book also touches upon one major aspect for which Gandhi ji is criticised heavily even now - his views on sexuality, and why he used to sleep on same bed with his 19 yr old great-niece "Manu". The book gives Gandhi's perspective on those practices. (These views were actually views as told by Gandhi's personal secretary Pyarelal, and his Doctor Sushila Nayar). It also touches upon other related aspects like, why he used to get massaged by female followers, why he used to walk hands on shoulders of the two girls Manu and Abha. (All these were related aspects).
Even though I don't agree to his practices on this issue, his rationality behind it did make some sense, although it didn't look a practically possible thing to imbibe. I am quoting the related text from the book:-
As his confidence in the mastery of his desires came back, he gradually extended the range of physical contact he allowed himself with women. He nursed them when they were ill and allowed them to nurse him. He took his bath in full view of his fellow ashramites, male and female. He had his daily massage virtually naked, with young girls most frequently serving as his masseuses. He often gave interviews or consulted the leaders of his Congress Party while the girls massaged him. He wore few clothes and urged his disciples, male and female, to do likewise because clothes he said, only encouraged a false sense of modesty...... For Gandhi, secure in his own conscience, there was nothing improper or even remotely sexual in his relations with Manu. Indeed, it is almost inconceivable that the faintest tremor of sexual arousal passed between them. To the Mahatma, the reasoning which had led him to perform what was, for him, a duty to Manu, was sufficient justification for his action. Perhaps, however, deep in his subconscious, other forces he ignored helped propel him to it. 
Boundary division of Punjab and Bengal by Cyril Radcliffe

This is probably the least discussed issue on partition, but is most crucial in a way. When partition was agreed, exact boundary and which princely states will go to which Nation, were not decided. In fact the surprising fact is, even on the day of India's freedom, the India Pakistan boundary lines were not announced. There were two major tasks, deciding on which princely states will go to which nation, and then deciding the boundary of the two nations in Punjab and Bengal. These two areas were very crucial, because they contained a great mix of population and interdependence on one another. For sake of neutrality, Cyril Radcliffe, was invited from Britain, to decide on the exact boundary. In the end, the partition in Bengal didn't cause any issue, but the boundary division announcement in Punjab, led to great bloodshed. Population transfer took place in millions, and there was immense bloodshed.

The riots and situations surrounding them, have been dealt in great detail in the book. The princely states, the lives of their princes too have been described in great detail. Most of the princely states wanted to get total independence, rather than going with Pakistan or India. How they were forced to merge with either of the Nations, is another aspect dealt in great detail. Some of them were convinced, some were blackmailed, and some like Raja Hari Singh of J&K was conditionally convinced under foreign attack pressure. The Pakistani tribal led attack on J&K too has been explained in detail, explaining how it ended up with the agreement with Raja Hari Singh. The book ends up with devoting another great portion on the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. 

If not for anything, one must read the book for the unbelievable real-life love story of Boota Singh and Zenib. A Sikh-Muslim love story leading to marriage, then cross-border run, court cases, suicide and Muslims supporting the Sikh guy's wishes post his death. The story will put even the modern day bollywood Indo-Pak love stories to shame.

In the end, I would like to put two more quotes from the book on two crucial issues:-

When Sardar Patel and Pundit Nehru turned against Gandhi's idea of United India:- 
Patel had been prepared to concede partition even before Mountbatten’s arrival. He was ageing, he’d suffered two heart attacks, and he wanted to get on with it, to end these ceaseless debates and get down to the task of building an independent India. Give Jinnah his state, he argued, it wouldn’t survive anyway. In five years, the Moslem League would be knocking at their door begging for India’s reunification.
Nehru was a torn and anguished man, caught between his deep love for Gandhi and his new admiration and friendship for the Mountbattens. Gandhi spoke to his heart, Mountbatten to his mind. Instinctively, Nehru detested partition, yet his rational spirit told him it was the only answer. Since reaching his own conclusion that there was no other choice, Mountbatten had been employing all the charm and persuasiveness of Operation Seduction to bring Nehru to his viewpoint. One argument was vital. With Jinnah gone, Hindu India could have the strong central government Nehru would need if he was going to build the socialist state of his dreams. Ultimately, he too stood out against the man he’d followed so long. 

When Nehru, Patel lost control of the Nation after partition, and requested Mountbatten to take complete control again! 
For the next quarter of a century the results of the meeting beginning in Louis Mountbatten ’s study on the morning of Saturday, 6 September 1947 would be the most closely guarded secret of the last Viceroy’s life. Had the decisions taken at it become known, the knowledge could have destroyed the career of the charismatic Indian statesman who would emerge in the years to come as one of the world’s major figures.
Three people were present: Mountbatten, Nehru and Patel. The two Indian leaders were sombre, visibly depressed men; they looked to the Governor-General ‘like a pair of chastened schoolboys’. The situation in the Punjab was out of control. The migration was exceeding their worst fears. Now violence in Delhi threatened to bring down the capital itself.
‘We don’t know how to hold it,’ Nehru admitted.
‘You have to grip it,’ Mountbatten told him.
‘How can we grip it?’ Nehru replied. ‘We have no experience. We’ve spent the best years of our lives in your British jails. Our experience is in the art of agitation, not administration. We can barely manage to run a well-organized government in normal circumstances. We’re just not up to facing an absolute collapse of law and order.’
Nehru then made an almost unbelievable request. That he, the proud Indian who’d devoted his life to the independence stmggle could even articulate it was a measure of both his own greatness and the gravity of the situation. He had long admired Mountbatten’s capacity for organization and swift decision. India, he felt, desperately needed those skills now and Nehru was too great a man to let his pride stand in the way of her having them.
‘While you were exercising the highest command in war, we were in a British prison,’ he said. ‘You are a professional, high-level administrator. You’ve commanded millions of men. You have the experience and knowledge colonialism has denied us. You English can’t just turn this country over to us after being here all our lives and simply walk away. We’re in an emergency and we need help. Will you run the country?‘Yes,’ seconded Patel, the tough realist at Nehru’s side, ‘he’s right. You’ve got to take over.’Mountbatten was aghast. ‘My God,’ he said, I ve just got through giving you the country and here you two are asking me to take it back!’
‘You must understand,’ Nehru said. ‘You’ve got to take it. We’ll pledge ourselves to do whatever you say.’
‘But this is terrible,’ Mountbatten said. ‘If anyone ever finds out you’ve turned the country back to my hands, you’ll be finished politically. The Indians keep the British Viceroy and then put him back in charge? Out of the question.’
‘Well,’ said Nehru, ‘we’ll have to find a way to disguise it, but if you don’t do it, we can’t manage.’ Mountbatten thought a moment. He loved a challenge and this was a formidable one. His personal-esteem for Nehru, his affection for India, his sense of responsibility, left him no way of escape.
‘All right,’ he said, the admiral back on his bridge, ‘I’ll do it, and I can pull the thing together because I do know how to do it. But we must agree that nobody finds out about this. Nobody must know you’ve made this request. 

October 12, 2016

But then I thought...

I wanted to write something but then I thought, what good will it do?
I wanted to say something, but then I thought, will my words matter at all ?
I wanted to cry a bit, but then I thought, won't my tears go waste? 
I wanted to scream aloud, but then I thought, who will even notice them at all! 
I wanted to try a bit more, but then I thought, will it even lend any result at all?
I wanted to move a step ahead, but then I thought, will it even get me anywhere at all? 
So here I am, stuck, where I was....

September 18, 2016

What are we making of our Life!

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This blog-post is triggered by a weekly blogging exercise practiced at Indiblogger. The topic of discussion there was- "What is it that we are running after? Isn't it time to step back and enjoy life, nature, family or anything we really love"

Most of us get so busy with our lives that we seldom step back to ponder where is it headed. The world is changing so fast, that our topmost priorities always becomes- how to get on and get moving along, lest we get left out!! Changing dynamics of society, increasing materialism, increasing cost of life, all these things make a significant impact on the way we spend our life.
In my opinion, the motto should be simple- "Live, Love, and Enjoy". Imagine if we start loving every simple thing/person around us. Imagine if we love our friends, family, and a stranger poor all alike. Imagine if we start finding joy in living a harmonious life with our surroundings. In stead, most of our life, we keep struggling improving our career or gathering more and more wealth. In the race of gathering material wealth, we ignore our emotional and mental health. As we keep growing up, we keep losing our natural character- which is of joy, innocence and of pursuing what we love. In stead, we end up getting into a never-ending race of gathering wealth and physical commodities. We associate happiness with wealth , and love with convenience. Seldom do we step back and think what actually makes us happy and joyous.

Life is not only about comfort, and material wealth. It's more about our emotional well being and inner happiness. And this is what we need to think about. What brings inner happiness to us? What energises us, and makes us joyous? What makes us playful, bringing out our childhood and innocence back? These questions are what we need to ask ourselves every once in a while. They are the keys to our happiness and emotional well being. Do I love nature, or a hobby which has ceased to become a "hobby" actually? Can't we take some time out from our busy schedules to pursue what we love to do? I am sure we can, and that's what will bring us real happiness. Career and some minimum wealth is necessary, but let's not go blind for them. So let's promise ourselves, that we will find out what we really love about life, and will make it a point to indulge in them. Let's get out finding them out!!

July 03, 2016

How to remove MPC Cleaner software from Windows PC

I decided to write this blog-post because I never got the solution to this problem on any other blog. 2-3 weeks back this buggy software got installed on my system (Windows 10) while trying to install another software. And I have to confess, this took hell lot of effort for removal. Strangely this was not a standard virus, but more like an adware software which keeps luring you to click some links or perform some action.
Here is what started happening with all my browsers once this adware got installed:-

So two main issues as you can see in above screenshot:-
  1. My browsers will always start with the above default landing page. Later on I could close this specific tab, but there was no way to disable this thing. I tried resetting the browser, no effect. I even uninstalled google chrome, and installed again, still no effect. The reason for this was that it was able to do all this through entries in registry. So all the browsers were being controlled through valid registry entries.
  2. Another issue, with start up of OS, an MPC icon will appear in the right bottom expand bar menu (as shown in above picture). That application used to keep running. I was able to disable it after starting up, but I was not able to block this application from starting up with start of OS.
  3. Third issue was that time to time, it would show a pop-up suggesting optimization of PC using it's interface. I never tried optimizing but I am sure that must lead to more ads or redirect to installation sites. But the pop-ups were irritating like hell.
For two weeks I suffered with this issue-well actually not everyday , but definitely 2-3 days out of the past two weekends. Below are all the unsuccessful steps I took to remove the bugging software:-
  1. Of course the first step I took was try to to uninstall the program from the standard "Uninstall or Change a program" window of control panel. Quite shockingly, the software was not listed there. Some websites had mentioned that it shows to be installed with some other name. But I checked all the installed software, and there was not a single unknown/strange software showing up in the window! So the application was installed but it was not being shown in the list of installed software with any name! This is where Microsoft needs to take action. This is surly a windows OS fault. 
  2. Next step I took was that I installed various recommended softwares specifically meant for it's removal. Some of those were able to detect this application, but they asked for buying of full version in order to remove the MPC adware.
  3. Then I went by another recommended suggestion of deleting all the registry entries related to MPC. And lo and behold, it won't get deleted!! I got this kind of Error pop-up window while trying to delete them.
    I tried a lot to enable deletion, I checked the permission for that key, it showed me having full permission. Then I installed a software from Microsoft website which promised to solve this issue by making all key deleteable, but that too didn't work.
  4. I tried going to the C:\Program files folder and tried deleting the MPC folder or the files lying inside. I was not able to delete!!
  5. The I reached this website page where I saw suggestions by someone named "Jsssssssss". It looked reliable suggestion, so I tried them out. He had suggested to try removal using two of the softwares. Unfortunately that also didn't work. Those softwares were not able to force delete/remove the MPC application.
  6. But in the end, that very page gave me the solution. On the next page, another person with the name - "DIDiligentComputing" had given a solution which worked like a breeze for me! In fact, unlike asked by him, I need not run the computer in the safe mode.
The Solution: Removal of MPC software/adware
  1. Go to the Malwarebytes website. Download and install the anti-malware tool from there.
  2. It has a nice, cool interface. Start a scan using it's easy interface.
  3. It shows the step-by-step progress of the scan, as below:-
  4. After completion, it prompts you for action. It displays the count and list of detected suspicious software, and you can go ahead choose to delete them. And viola, the problem is solved!
    The best thing about this software is that it allows removal of such clever adwares in it's free version itself. It took a bit of time in scanning C drive (in this case above 2 hrs), but then it found more than 200 suspicious programs requiring to be removed! 
My big thanks to the Malwarebytes guys for creating this great anti-malware application and allowing it to be used for free for certain time-period.
Ending it up here. Hope this blog-post helps someone like me out there, troubled with MPC :)

June 05, 2016

Quick way to clear space on iPhone without any external app

I always face space crunch issue in my iPhone, and uptil recent past, I used to clear the space using an external app downloaded from app Store. But recently I came across a much better way of clearing space. It is through the inbuilt iTunes Store app of the iOS. Since this is pre-installed app on iPhones, so there is no need to install any other app. And clearing space  using this app, works more efficiently too. Actually, clearing space is not the purpose of this app, but somehow it works. It works when you try to download some large movie file from iTunes store, and you don't have enough space for that in your iPhone. It then gives a pop-up message and then goes to clear the local temp and cache files taking space in iPhone. Below is the steps I am detailing one by one:-

  1. See the initial screenshot above, which shows my phone having just 63MB space left.
  2. In the next step,  I opened the iTunes Store app. 
  3. In 3rd step (screenshot below), I open any movie of fairly large size, much larger than the suspected empty space eaten up by temp/cache files. In this case I chose a movie of size of about 4GB
  4. And then you have to click to download /buy the movie. Don't worry about the price of movie. It will never be able to download due to it's large size, so no chance of the money getting deducted. In my case though, I have no credit card connected to my account.
  5. After choosing to buy the movie, it will show this pop-up given below, which tells that there is not enough space on the phone, for this movie to be downloaded.
  6. Just click OK, and that's it!! Come out of the app. iPhone automatically starts clearing space taken by all major apps one by one. It removes temporary files stored by most apps. You can see the "cleaning" word written below some apps, while the process is on. After 2-3 min. check back the available space again in the settings page. The space must have increased. In my case, I was able to reclaim over 900MB of space.

 Note: This might be a temporary hack, and with further upgrade of iOS, it may stop working. But with the latest iOS version 9.3.2, it works pretty well.

May 23, 2016

The Mountain Shadow: Book Review

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This novel is a sequel to the earlier novel Shantaram. The earlier novel ended with the protagonist Lin (a.k.a. Shantaram) realizing that his friend Abdullah is alive. Shantaram also parted ways with his girlfriend Karla. Karla had married a rich business tycoon and  Shantaram started living with Lisa. The novel also ended with Sanjay taking place of the head of mafia gang and others unwillingly relenting to his command. 
"Writers never really die, until people stop quoting them."

This novel starts with Shantaram's emotional conflicts with Lisa. Lisa was in two minds about Shantaram , and more so because she knew that deep inside, Shantaram still loved Karla. Also, Lisa didn't want to get stuck at a place or with a person. She was also of bisexual nature. All these things started complicating their relationships. Finally, one day Lisa broke up with Shantaram. What hurt Shantaram was not the break-up, but the high expectations from Lisa, even at the time of break-up (like money, loan, car etc.). After that Shantaram goes on his last salvation mission to Sri Lanka, a mission which will free him from the mafia gangs world of Bombay. In his absence, Lisa was murdered by one of Shantaram's enemy. He gets together with his girlfriend Karla in quest of the murderer. Post this point the novel starts revolving more around the Karla-Shantaram relationship. This is one refreshing aspect of this novel. 

Some time later, his friend Abdullah takes him to Idriss- the wise sage on the mountain, who was the Guru of KhaderBhai. A large part of novel is dedicated to the Karla-Shantaram spending time in Idriss's mountain aashram. Devotees and people loving philosophical conversations keep flocking to the Idriss aashram, and Shantaram-Karla duo starts loving this place. 

The novel also deals with Lin's friends Gemini Gorges winning lottery worth millions (actually it was inheritance property discovered), and how they face hassles facing the new-found limelight.

Another plot involved in the novel is the Shantaram-Sanjay-rival gang equation. Sanjay gang's rivalry with opposition gang keeps increasing and it reaches to a point where KhaderBhai's own cousine child  Tariq who was his coming up heir, was killed along with his protector Nazeer. Both these person were very close to Shantaram. Sanjay's working style was being hated upon by more and more people in his own gang. Abdullah was planning for a revolt against him. So there is a three angled crime scene going in the mafia world of Shantaram .

Shantaram moves out of mafia gang and starts living solo, working freelance. Karla starts spending more and more time with Shantaram. Karla's husband was responsible for Lisa's murder, and they finally were relieved to have him dead indirectly. The novel ends with a sad note of a bloody war between Sanjay gang and Abdullah, where both Sanjay and Abdullah dies. Karla and Shantaram's story ends on a happy note finally.
Truth is the freedom of the soul. We’re very young, in this young universe, and we often fail, and dishonour ourselves, even if only in the caves of the mind

 Unlike its prequel novel "Shantaram", this novel deals more with the abstract things- the relationships, the philosophical talks, the psychological stuffs and how human minds think on various matters. Love and relationships takes a center stage in this novel. Karla's overpowering character and Shantaram's humble nature has been shown brilliantly. The contrast of fast city life and the soothing life in the lap of mountainous nature too has been focussed. All in all, an interesting read.

P.S.- I have collated together some wonderful quotes from the novel. You can read them here. In case you want to know more about the earlier novel in this series- "Shantaram", You can read the book review of Shantaram here.

May 15, 2016

The Mountain Shadow: Some Quotable quotes

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In my next post, I will be posting book review of the novel "The Mountain Shadow". But before that I thought to compile all the nice, quotable quotes from the novel. Here they go:-
  1. "They’re nothing. Just a fringe group. Nobody listens to them." ‘The fringe usually works its way to the centre that ignores or insults it.’
  2. Writers never really die, until people stop quoting them.
  3. I stand for your right to create and present art, but I think that rights come with responsibilities, and that we, as artists, have a responsibility not to cause feelings of hurt and injury in the name of art. In the name of truth, maybe. In the name of justice and freedom. But not in the name of art.’
  4. One of the great mysteries of India, and the greatest of all its joys, is the tender warmth of the lowest paid.
  5. Religion is just a long competition to see who can design the silliest hat.
  6. Fiction is fact, made stranger. The truth about anything is a lie about something else. Come on, step it up, Shantaram.
  7. The way to love, is to love the way.
  8. If you’re not living for something, you’re dying for nothing.
  9. Be prepared for war, the more so if you despise war.
  10. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you, and do not do to others, what you would not have them do to you.
  11. Good is only half the truth, and truth is only half the story.
  12. You know what the difference is, between war and peace?’ the man sitting next to me whispered, a smile in his voice. ‘I’m guessing you’ll tell me,’ I whispered back. ‘In peace time, you sacrifice twenty to save one. In war time, you sacrifice one to save twenty.’
  13. People who abhor crime, as I do, often ask why men who commit crimes, as I did, do such things. One of the big answers is that the low road is always easier, until it crumbles away beneath desire. One of the small answers is that when life and freedom are at stake, the men you meet are often exceptional.
  14. Truth’s a sweet thing, unless someone’s cutting it out of you, and then it’s a very bitter thing.
  15. What is civilisation? Idriss once remarked. It’s a woman, free to live as she wants.
  16. When it means nothing to anybody else, and it means everything to us, isn’t that love?
  17. If you’re thinking about it, you can also put some thought into the fact that you don’t have the right to take your own life. Nobody does.’ ‘Why not?’ Rannveig like the runway asked, her eyes wide, innocent of the cruel, broken question she’d just asked. ‘Think of it this way, Rannveig, does a deranged person have the right to kill a stranger?’ ‘No.’ ‘No. And when suicide is in your head, you’re the deranged person, and you’re also the stranger, in danger of the harm you might do to yourself. No matter how bad things get, you don’t have the right to kill the stranger that you might become, for a while, in your own life. The rest of your life would tell you, at that point, it’s not an option.’
  18. Faith is unconditional love, and love is unconditional faith. Vinson, Naveen and I were men in love, without the women we loved, and faith was a tree without shade.
  19. Corruption is a tax imposed on any society that doesn’t pay people enough to repel it themselves.
  20. Men don’t like to be that honest about love: to put the gun in a woman’s hand, and hold it against their own hearts, and say, Here, this is how you kill me.
  21. Can you define destiny?’ Ambitious demanded. ‘Destiny is the treasure we find in the awareness of death.’- Idriss.
  22. The purpose of life is to express the set of positive characteristics to the most sophisticated degree that you can, by connecting with pure intention to others, and our planet, and to the Divine Source of all things.’
  23. Generosity is the spiritual language of love, humility is the spiritual language of honour, and devotion is the spiritual language of faith.
  24. Teachers, like writers, never die while people still quote them. 
P.S.:- If you haven't read my earlier post on the quotes from this novel's prequel "Shantaram", please catch them here. The corresponding Book review of the Novel 'Shantaram', can be read here.

April 27, 2016

Indian Speed Star Initiative by GAIL

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In India, athletics always lacked attention. Games are a priority and among games too, Cricket takes the major attention. Athletics take the most neglected position in Indian society. And that's why in world sports arena, we don't manage to get good number of medals. We need to think why do we have this situation in our country. Is it because of the neglect of Govt, or is it because of the lack of "a culture of Sports" in our nation. In many rural areas, we have this old Hindi saying- "padhoge-likhoge banoge nawaab. kheloge-kudoge banoge kharab" (English transalation:- "If you study, you will become a great man. If you play too much, you will turn into a spoilt man"). Well, this may not hold relevant in today's times, but it tells a lot about the society's thinking. So we really need to think over this, as to why our society places so much emphasis on study and looks down upon sports and athletics as things which spoil future.

Thankfully, times are slowly changing, and more and more people are taking to sports. In fact, more and more organisations are sponsoring rather unconventional sports in the country. An example is the "pro-kabbadi" league being organized by corporates. Who would have thought there would be a National level kabaddi tournament organized by private sponsors, and organised with so much fanfare!! Same is with the Indian Super League for Football. So things are slowly changing.

It is in this regard that there seems to be another noble initiative, and thankfully so, in the area of athletics. GAIL - Gas Authority of India Ltd. has started a very nice grassroot level initiative for athletics.  It is named "Indian Speed Star", to find out the fastest runners in 100,200 and 800 mtrs track events. They have teamed up with National Yuva Cooperative Society which has further tied up with Anglian Medal Hunt Company as its Technical Partner for The GAIL Indian Speedstar project. The programme is mainly targetted to find talented children beween 11-17 yrs old, and then train them for 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
A panel of eminent sportspersons like P.T Usha, Rachita Mistry, AnuradhaBiswal& Kavita Raut have been appointed in the selection committee to support selections and guide coaching camps. As members of the selection committee their role would include creating the selection criteria or the GAIL-Indian Speedstar program, and developing the training plan and module for the selected athletes at the National Level.
District trials were conducted under the watchful eyes of coaches and selectors, appointed by the selection committee. The selection of the athletes was based on talent identification and selection criteria set by the selection committee.
Initiatory, in its first year, earlier this year with initial trials conducted at 55 districts across 10 states in which more than 25,000 children participated out of which 850 children made it to the State level.

Camp and Selection. The first State level camp and trial was organized on 27-28th of February in SawaiMaan Singh Stadium, Jaipur where 60 boys and girls participated out of which 4 have qualified for the next level. The state trials were held in Odisha (14 Selection), Delhi (28 Selection), Kerala (28 Selection) & Jharkhand(4 Selection)followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat in the last week  of April. The shortlisted children from the State trials will then participate in the National camp and selection which is scheduled to be held in May 2016 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. Shortlisted athletes from state trials will attend an intensive national level camp. At the conclusion of the coaching camp, final trials will be held.

This seems to be a really nice initiative by GAIL and I am sure many talented children of our country will get benefited by it. More details about this noble initiative can be found at the website-'s also hope that more and more organisations come forward to sponsor and support such initiatives focused on athletics and other neglected sports.

April 24, 2016

Shantaram: Book Review

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"So it begins, this story, like everything else—with a woman, and a city, and a little bit of luck.
Quoted from the novel, this gives a bit of idea what the story is all about. Shantaram is a story about Shantaram and his exile life in Bombay. The life involves his role in Bombay mafia, his love for the girl Karla, and his philosophical journey with his Boss-cum-saviour KhaderBhai. 

What is most remarkable about this novel is that it has been written by a convicted Australian criminal who escaped high security prison of Australia and entered India on fake passport. The author, "Gregory David Roberts" has based the novel on his real life, so the initial part of novel is taken from his own life. But after that he surly has mixed it up with lot of fiction. 

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There are three main characters in this novel- Shantaram, Karla and KhaderBhai. The Novel revolves around Bombay mafia headed by KhaderBhai and stories of people working with him. There are a few more highlighted characters like- Prabakar and Abdullah. The chief protagonist, Shantaram enters India on fake passport, reaches Bombay and tries to mingle in there. Initially, he does some petty criminal jobs like currency exchange and drugs selling, but slowly he gets dragged into the KhaderBhai's Bombay mafia gang. In the initial days when he finishes up with his money, he starts living in slums, where he helps people with his basic first aid skills, opening his own small clinic there. Prabakar was the Bombay tour guide he had hired on his first day in Bombay, and Prabakar becomes one of his best friend in Bombay. The slum dwellers love this foreign guy so much for his simplicity and willingness to mix.

A significant portion of novel describes his life in slum, his willingness to mix with poor people, his compassionate and kind nature for people in suffering. He also eagerly learns the Marathi language. Prabakar takes him to his native village in Maharashtra, and there Prabakar's parents give him the name- "Shantaram". Prabakar himself had given him a short name "Lin", and the slum dwellers used to call him "LinBaba" with respect.

Paralally, the story moves in three more dimensions. First is his hangouts at the famous Leopard cafe, where he makes 4-5 great friends. Second is his love relationship with the girl Karla, who happens to be another foreigner on the run in Bombay. And third is his life in the companionship of KhaderBhai.

His life with KhaderBhai, is what takes major part of the novel. KhaderBhai's mafia used to have a council system where all the privileged council members used to meet at regular intervals to discuss mafia things, and more so, to discuss philosophy- which was the favourite hobby of KhaderBhai! So Shantaram, even though not a council members, used to get invited there for philosophical discussions. And slowly, he grew closer to KhaderBhai. They used to have long spiritual, philosophical discussions many times, and those part of books are really fascinating to read. Like this quote by KhaderBhai- 
"In order to know about any act or intention or consequence, we must first ask two questions. One, what would happen if everyone did this thing? Two, would this help or hinder the movement toward complexity?

Even otherwise, the novel is full of philosophical quotes which make you stop and think about the deep meaning intended to be conveyed. Like take this one- 
"One of the ironies of courage, and the reason why we prize it so highly, is that we find it easier to be brave for someone else than we do for ourselves alone."

Things take a sudden turn in story when KhaderBhai prepares to leave for Afghanistan to help Afghans in the war with Russians. He was an Afghan and his villagers were involved in the war with Russians. He was going to smuggle arms and money to Afghanistan. He had contacts in Pakistan and so, he left with his entire gang, for Afghanistan, via Pakistan. Shantaram too left along. Somewhere along the journey, he came to know of a very bitter reality about KhaderBhai which made him fight with him. KhaderBhai was like a father figure for him, but he felt betrayed and broken. 

Things moved on, he came back to India, but KhaderBhai got killed by Russians in the journey. After his death, the story takes a downhill. The equation in KhaderBhai's Bombay mafia changes. It becomes "Sanjay Gang", and the story gets rolling fast. Karla gets married to someone else. Shantaram moves in with another girl Lisa. Life slowly moves on for all... till the next series of novel in the sequel. 

The uniqueness of this novel is in it's style of story telling. The story is such a perfect mix of love, betrayal, suspense, thrill, and philosophy. The story gives such an immersive experience to the reader. You get completely involved with the narrative. You will start wishing that everything happens good between Lin and Karla, that their heart comes out of the pains inflicted by the past. You starts wishing well for all the characters. When Shantaram gets a feeling of betrayal by knowing about the reality of KhaderBhai, you also feels the equal amount of shock and surprise. Even though most part of the novel is fictitious, it appears so real. Even though the novel is just too thick- almost 950 pages- it hardly bores you. This is a perfect novel for someone who likes philosophical discourse, as well a love story full of struggle and mystery. Highly recommended novel, if you haven't already read it. 

P.S.- This novel has several, wonderful quotable quotes, and I have put up another blog-post compiling them all. You can read them here.

Shantaram: Some wonderful Quotable quotes from the Novel

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In continuation with my earlier post on the Review of Shantaram novel, I thought to compile some of the wonderful quotes from the Novel. Some of these are so striking, realistic and philosophical that they make you stop and think over it for a moment. Here they are:- 

1. So it begins, this story, like everything else—with a woman, and a city, and a little bit of luck.
2. The voice, Afghan matchmakers say, is more than half of love. 
3. But wisdom, in one sense, is the opposite of love. Love survives in us precisely because it isn’t wise.
4. Civilisation, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit.
5. The facts of life are very simple. In the beginning we feared everything—animals, the weather, the trees, the night sky—everything except each other. Now we fear each other, and almost nothing else.
6. That’s not wise, Lin. I think wisdom is very over-rated. Wisdom is just cleverness, with all the guts kicked out of it. I’d rather be clever than wise, any day. 
7. One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them.
8. What I am saying is that reality—as you see it, and as most people see it—is nothing more than an illusion. There is another reality, beyond what we see with our eyes. You have to feel your way into that reality with your heart. There is no other way.
9. The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men,’ he said. ‘It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men—it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil.
10. I don’t know what scares me more,’ she declared, ‘the madness that smashes people down, or their ability to endure it.’
11. Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.
12. Nations neglect no men more shamefully than the heroes of their wars.’
13. The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and a hundred million cowards. The rest of us, all six billion of us, do pretty much what we are told!’
14. Some of the worst wrongs, Karla once said, were caused by people who tried to change things.
15. What characterises the human race more, Karla once asked me, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it? I thought the question acutely clever then, when I first heard it, but I’m lonelier and wiser now, and I know it isn’t cruelty or shame that characterises the human race. It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are.
16. One of the ironies of courage, and the reason why we prize it so highly, is that we find it easier to be brave for someone else than we do for ourselves alone.
17. Lovers find their way by such insights and confidences: they’re the stars we use to navigate the ocean of desire. And the brightest of those stars are the heartbreaks and sorrows. The most precious gift you can bring to your lover is your suffering.
18. They were poor, tired, worried men, but they were Indian, and any Indian man will tell you that although love might not have been invented in India, it was certainly perfected there
19. Every virtuous act has some dark secret in its heart, Khaderbhai once told me, and every risk we take contains a mystery that can’t be solved.
20. None of us lie or guard our secrets when we sing, and India is a nation of singers whose first love is the kind of song we turn to when crying just isn’t enough.
21. People say that money is the root of all evil,’ Khaled told me when we met in his apartment. His English was rich with accents of New York and Arabic and the Hindi that he spoke reasonably well. ‘But it’s not true. It’s the other way round. Money isn’t the root of all evil. Evil is the root of all money.
22. That’s how we keep this crazy place together—with the heart. Two hundred fuckin’ languages, and a billion people. India is the heart. It’s the heart that keeps us together. There’s no place with people like my people, Lin. There’s no heart like the Indian heart.’
23. Sooner or later, fate puts us together with all the people, one by one, who show us what we could, and shouldn’t, let ourselves become. 
24. But we are all moving towards it—everything in the universe is moving towards it. And that final complexity, that thing we are all moving to, is what I choose to call God. If you don’t like that word, God, call it the Ultimate Complexity.
25.   Karla says that depression only happens to people who don’t know how to be sad.’ 
26. In order to know about any act or intention or consequence, we must first ask two questions. One, what would happen if everyone did this thing? Two, would this help or hinder the movement toward complexity?’
27. the long run, motive matters more with good deeds than it does with bad.
28. ...because if we all learned what we should learn, the first time round, we wouldn’t need love at all.
29. You can never tell what people have inside them until you start taking it away, one hope at a time.
30. At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us. What we should fear and dread, of course, is that we won’t stop loving them, even after they’re dead and gone.
31. I could’ve loved her. Maybe I already did love her a little. But sometimes the worst thing you can do to a woman is to love her.
32. We know that crying is a good and natural thing. We know that crying isn’t a weakness, but a kind of strength. Still, the weeping rips us root by tangled root from the earth, and we crash like fallen trees when we cry.
33. I told him, she said, that a good man is as strong as the right woman needs him to be.’
34. There are three things that no Indian man can resist: a beautiful face, a beautiful song, and an invitation to dance.
35. It was just that all the hope had been so empty, so meaningless. And if you prove to a man how vain his hope is, how vain his hoping was, you kill the bright, believing part of him that wants to be loved.
36. You can’t kill love. You can’t even kill it with hate. You can kill in-love, and loving, and even loveliness. You can kill them all, or numb them into dense, leaden regret, but you can’t kill love itself. Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever.
37. MEN WAGE WARS for profit and principle, but they fight them for land and women. Sooner or later, the other causes and compelling reasons drown in blood and lose their meaning.
38. Love’s a one-way street. Love, like respect, isn’t something you get; it’s something you give.
39. It’s bad, loving someone you can’t forgive.’ ‘It’s not as bad as loving someone you can’t have,
40. He’d been able to deal with that pain because he’d accepted his own part in causing it.
41. when the loving, honest moment comes it should be seized, and spoken, because it may never come again.
42. There are few things more discomfiting than a spontaneous outburst of genuine decency from someone you’re determined to dislike for no good reason.
43. Luck is what happens to you when fate gets tired of waiting.
44. It is always a fool’s mistake, Didier once said to me, to be alone with someone you shouldn’t have loved.