View of the outside world from inside a fishbowl

March 30, 2010

Chick is smart

Filed under: insights — coolantz @ 9:56 am

For those who do not already know, my room tends to become a blast furnace during the summers. I still believe that the engineering marvel that it is, it can be hotter than what the out-door temperature is. I just don’t say that, I have many people, who have personally been subjected to “a power cut” in that room during the night. 🙂

So, to counter the unbearable heat of the summer sun, I’ve launched an initiative to use best practices and principles, to cool my “over the top” room.

First change. Putting a bamboo “chick” in front. For the unaware, that would be like a sheet made up of bamboo sticks,  and supported by layers of water proofing material. Now the main window in my  room gets a lot of sun, and I always suspected that to be the cause of my problems.

It has helped. Wonders. Now my room has a dark appearance. It used to be so bright, that I used to put sun film, in summers to achieve the same effect. It is also a little cooler now.

The idea I suppose here is that the chick has created a buffer column of air which is much cooler than the hot air blasts directly out side. So that column of air in front of a small balcony is keeping temperature in check. As auxiliary benefits,   I get lesser dust, and lesser sunlight, and yes, a little bit of sound proofing from what’s happening on the street down below.

I hereby declare it a good investment this summer.

People struggling to have their houses passive cooled, try having such columns of air around the sun facing walls in the house. If you’re designing the house still, it might be a good idea to have that extra room in front and over the main bed room. If you’re pressed for space, there are doors made of aluminum, which slide and open. They are used to get the same effect, as they, along with the regular wooden doors are separated by a distance of a couple of feet to create the same kind of pocket of air. Not only will it keep things cool in summers, it will also make the inner room snug, if you happen to exist in chillier places.

Next up, I’ll be investigating on which appliances of mine contribute to the heat in my room.


March 27, 2010

Shmearth hour.

Filed under: humor,insights,rants — coolantz @ 9:51 pm

It is amazing, really how media does transform something which is a simple concept to something probably larger than life. Such as the concept “earth hour”,  in India. It is funny, jarring, disappointing how people are having says and intents about the earth hour. I mean seriously, how relevant is it. And why should politicians/actors be so interested?

Again I’m not the one who has done the research on figures and facts, but I’ve seen the kind of emissions one has on roads these days. Why doesn’t government put a serious check on the number of vehicles running on the road? Not only does it clog up the flow of traffic, causing inconvenience to many a people, and also, with each extra minute a vehicle spends running, amounting to addition to harmful chemicals in the “pure” atmosphere.

I mean I haven’t seen Shiela Dixit come up and say … “Delhiites …. carpool benefits by government agenda”. Why not tax the  people who have in excess of a certain number of cars.

Then I’ve seen people crib a lot about lack of public transport here as opposed to other cities. I think whatever the government does, where Delhi would fall flat on its face is scalability issues. I guess the sheer number of takers is so huge, that whatever they decide to pitch in, would be insufficient, and inefficient. Like the ordering of fleet of buses. I still see them loaded, and crammed with people. And more the number, bigger the original traffic problem. sigh….

I think the new revolutionary idea would be something on the lines of pooling the resources, and utilizing from the pool. Like people pitch in to have a fleet of cars, and they can raise requests, to use a car from that fleet. When a bunch of them need it to travel in the same route, we have a cheap run. When someone wishes for an exotic run, that’s an expensive run. One necessary requirement to accomplish this would be the real-time communication of a persons whereabouts and their plan of travels.

Anyways,  ideas galore, but Shiela Dixit can only think of raising the numbers. More busses = solving immediate problems. And when she appears on-screen with SRK or someone suggesting you to switch lights for the earth hour, remember, it’s just a gimmick. And if your friends call up how they are doing their bit by turning off their own lights …. they’ve just been roped in.

Did I turn off lights during the earth hour? I didn’t have to. there was no electricity.

March 21, 2010

Quite a day.

Filed under: humor,insights — coolantz @ 5:49 pm

Sometimes, life forces you to play by its rules and not your own. Many a times, as it turns out, it’s not necessarily bad. Just different. Plain, and simple different.

So, if I were to give you a gist of how my day has been so far, I’m pretty sure there would be this unanimous opinion, maybe sympathetic offerings or two as well.

So, here’s how my day went by.

  1. Was driving at 12:00 AM, got unfortunate enough to get stuck in a kind of traffic held up near Mehrauli. Some hooligans had taken over the road, and I swear I saw at least 50 bikes whizz past me, as I was about to take a U-turn. All of them had this peculiar characteristics. All of them had at least one pillion rider. Some had even two. None of these passengers had any sort of protective helmets on. Many of them had this Red and Golden (often seen in Hindu temples), stole worn like a bandana, on the head. They seemed up to no good.
  2. Got back by, 1AM, did not sleep till 2. Do not really know why, but just didn’t feel like. To compound my problems, the next morning was Tennis morning, and I was hoping for an early slot.
  3. Got up, by 6:30 AM, decided, to go play tennis, I usually would have declined, for such shortage of sleep really kills me. But I do not like playing in the scorching sun, so I did stipulate, that I will play if I get a time slot before 9 AM. (We have a 1 hour slot system in out tennis compound, can only play till the hour).
  4. Played Tennis even after 9AM. Wow it was pinching hot. and seriously, I would have loved to stay indoors. More to this one, Played 2 sets, lost them both and how !!! (6-2,6-2).
  5. Friends decided, to have breakfast at All American Diners,  I have a thing for that place, and as my day would have had it, I had already eaten breakfast. Decided to tag along any ways. But did not get a chance to exploit my awesome appetite.

So, there. I should be cribbing about things. And I say “Quite a day” !! Surprised ?? Here is some annexure with the key points I mentioned.

  1. That was after a nice date :). I discovered, and was handed off with some nice music to listen to. Naturally, I was keenly tuned in to the new fix in my mp3 player. Thrilled as a 3-year-old would be, driving wasn’t so bad.
  2. Still the music. Also, I decided to watch some videos. was hooked up till late.
  3. Yep, but was lucky to get a ride (I hate driving!). Decided to do some wall practice. Lucky to get a 8-9AM slot (in addition to 9-10AM) slot at the tennis court. Lucky that my tennis playing buddy turned up in the nick of time so that I could think of playing. How I used this extra slot, is a theme for another post. I’ll be composing it and putting that up in a while. Yes, I did lose the game, but I did gain in the game. (Go figure) Trust me. I feel a better player now.
  4. My losing streak did continue, but overall, I feel much more sure about my shots now.
  5. Me losing appetite for brunch, just cause I’ve had breakfast. Yeah sure!

But yea, I’m still not playing in 9-10AM slot again. It’s just too freaking hot. And I’m getting old here.


March 16, 2010

Shipping problem solved.

Filed under: Uncategorized — coolantz @ 9:29 am

Imagine this:

Seller is willing to sell, consumer is more than happy to pay. Still, it’s a no deal. Loses for both, and why ? Because geographically speaking, the two endpoints are really far away.

People come up with wacky/intuitive ideas to offer the logistics for the problem, but it still exists, and raises its ugly head time and again. Like, often I want something, that’s available in the US, so I ask a friend of mine to carry it back to India when they plan to come.

Yesterday, my sister ordered some clothes to be shipped in a similar arrangement.

I had my dinner shipped.

I had a good dinner yesterday, because I asked my friend to pack it along and bring it over. From Lucknow. For those unfamiliar, Lucknow is like a Mughal food (Kebabs, Biryani, etc.) paradise. In fact, it adds a special taste to such dishes, which is not available elsewhere. So kebabs from that city won’t be like the typical kebabs available in delhi, gurgaon. Biryani would also be different.

I had once gotten a chance to eat all this because I was there for a wedding, and needless to say, I was hooked. So I had craved for all these delicacies, for some time now, when my friend RC declared (all out of nowhere), that he intends to make a quick weekend trip to Lucknow.

I asked him to get some kebabs back for me. He agreed.

He is the one to go one step beyond, in most of the things he seriously tries.

So, yesterday, when I got a call from him, I was hoping to get some frozen/half done kebabs from Lucknow.

But I got an entire spread. No kidding. There were kebabs, Biryani, some thing called “Sheermal”, and curd to go along with the biryani.

The glutton in me took charge, and I gobbled up all those dishes, at a tremendous rate. So much so, that I thought I’ll hurt my stomach by the end of it. 🙂 But I didn’t. All is well.

Thank you RC. you made my day.

March 11, 2010

A great artist .

Filed under: Uncategorized — coolantz @ 8:34 am

Sometimes I surprise myself with my varying tastes in music. But this time, I guess it’s really over the top. 🙂 pun intended. There’s a new artist I absolutely adore. Her name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

Behold, I have a new favorite.  I certainly agree that she has those on stage antics, and a style that screams out loud, but the music is very fresh. I enjoy her music more when there is a Visual disconnect, i.e, on a radio, mp3 player.

Maybe it’s a persona she has created, but now got to live up to. Even legendary musicians (Freddy Mercury, Prince) had a style that left (and probably still does) much to be desired. But they were great people. Anyways, as they say beauty lies in the eye of beholder, maybe there is someone out there who likes it.

I sure hope the Fame ball keeps keep rolling for her.

For those who still haven’t figured it out, I’ve been talking and praising Lady Gaga.

March 10, 2010

In the summertime … we study interior design

Filed under: insights — coolantz @ 10:12 am

Cut to Delhi …

The weather’s not fine, and you got AC, you got AC on your mind.

I guess it’s a universally acceptable fact for people in Northern part of India, that summer is a time to be dealt with. It certainly doesn’t pass you by, but has to be tackled with. It also manages to take along a certain unfortunate set of people. The ingenuity of people and the contraptions that people do come with does give a sort of silver line (The spirit of innovation) to the otherwise grim situation.

If summer in Delhi is like a villain, it is served by “dust” as a trusty sidekick. My battle with dust is ongoing one, and time after time, I try to come up with something that makes my place a little free of it.

Even I play a soldier in sustaining self through the time of the year.

So this time, in my trials to be in a relatively cooler place, I have given my room a darkish appearance, and also created around an open side of it, a dark column of air, By having those heavy sheets made of bamboo, covering the front facing balcony in my room.

Other than day, the basics are already covered, like the fan, and the AC has been cleaned and serviced up to give me the ideal performance.But AC, cooler, etc. seem like patches. As much as India is famous for patchwork, visit an old heritage building, take any example … NeemRana fort, Hawa Mehal … these places seem to be cool, despite having no fans, ACs, etc.

So I decided to do a bit of reading, about what passive cooling is. It’s a vast area, and I’m on it. Certainly very interesting. But it requires work from ground up.

In my case, I have been already presented with a situation. So my work is cut out.

According to passive cooling design, my room has a remarkably bad position in terms of the side it faces, and the area which is directly exposed to the sun.

I am going to study some of the theories and try to put them to good use this year.

I’m gonna post my findings under the tag “Home Improvement”.

Let’s see how it goes.

March 6, 2010

You can cook, but should you …

Filed under: humor — coolantz @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

I consider myself a rather decent cook. So much so, that I can try out new things, and don’t mind coming up with innovative fillers when the situation demands.

Novice would be a good word to describe me, definitely not in the league of chefs such as my dad,  and those professional people.

Anyways, so for I party I  hosted on my birthday, I pitched in with my idea of “pineapple raita” . For people unfamiliar with the dish, a riata is an indian dish, made by mixing a variety of things (which range from fried crunchies, diced up vegetables to exotic fruits), and is consumed along with something in the main course, which otherwise might be dry.

So there was this unused pineapple lying in my kitchen, which I thought I’d put to good use, and so I was inspired to dish out the pineapple raita.

There were certain hindrances to what seems like a trivial thing to do, but I was a man with resolve.

One of these days, I'm gonna cut you into little pieces.


I could not cut a pineapple on my own.

I really does not occur to you until you actually get to doing it, but seriously how does one cut a pineapple. It is such a thing with hard and scaly exterior. My knives simply gave up, and even if I forced cut the fruit, I would have wasted a lot of that juicy part. (A pineapple is like hard from the outside, with sort of cylindrical shell which is sweet, and an interior which is more sour than that shell part).

There was no taker for the job.

So, I decided I’ll get the pineapple cut from a professional fruit seller. I was wrong in assuming that just any fruit seller would slice it up for me. For those unaware, the ones who sell pineapple, only sell pineapple. Like fruit specialists. So, I had to find a pineapple seller in gurgaon. Another task.

The pineapple I had, turned out bad.

Luckily, (oh really) I managed to find one, while roaming in a sabzi mandi. But when the guy did get to chopping off my pineapple, it was bad from inside.Like really rotten or something. He showed it to me, and I told him to discard the piece. By now, I was convinced that maybe some unseen force is trying to stop me from having the raita made. But I did not lose any determination. I told the guy to cut up a new pineapple from his stock, and give it to me. I specifically asked him to give a sweet one.

The Raita was a complete disaster.

Towards the end of my party, I decided to sample the raita myself. Unfortunately,  I had already bragged about it before tasting it myself. So the foot in the mouth situation was already imminent. :). I tried it, and I must say it was the worst tasting raita I’ve had in my life. I mean a curd gone sour, because of the over activity of   lactobacillus bacteria probably tastes better.

I’ll analyze the reasons that might have affected my raita in another post. Needless to say, a thorough investigation would be initiated. Results shall be published on a later date in a separate post.

To the people who had to eat it (out of good manners, I’m sure) … Sorry for the bad taste. I’ll make it up to you.

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