Monday, October 23, 2017

For Venugopalan, Age is No Bar

The man who wrote Age No Bar for The Hindu is no more.  I connected with Mr. Venugopalan for a story for The Hindu - Road Runner column.  As we were discussing various topics, he zoomed in on this story for which he was eminently qualified.

We all know, we all have to go at some point in our life.  But when it strikes someone out of the blue and that someone is a person you know and respect, it hurts.  I have known Mr. Venugopalan for about 8 years now and have fond memories of running with him.  He was a man of few words but was ever willing to coach/guide others.

I remember meeting Mr. Venugopalan in 2009 at ECR 11.  He ran 30K in that event.  Since then, I have seen him in several running events and have engaged in several wonderful conversations.  His measured running and thoughtful tips to fellow runners were always welcome.

Mr. Venugopalan sent me this photo for The Hindu 2015 story.  Though it didn't get published then, would like to publish it now in memory.  Thank you, sir, for being the spark that ignited several minds to the path of fitness.  Though I don't like your departure, I like the way you left us.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Three Suggestions to Make Google Photos even better

Google Photos is one of best Apps for managing photos online.  I started liking it more after they allowed 'unlimited' storage of high-quality photos.  I also like many of the enhancements to the App rolled out in the last year.

But, one of the key functionality I liked in the earlier version is missing in the newer versions.  I like to move photos to Albums and keep the 'inbox' view empty.  However, in the new version, Google took out that view and instead shows all photos in a chronological view regardless of if they were tagged to any album/s or not.

I sent the following feedback to Google today and hoping to hear back in a few days.

(This message was sent on Sep 9, 2017)
Dear Google

I like Google Photos and particularly the ability house ALL my photos.  However, I find the usability is not optimal.  I would like to see three improvements done to Google Photos.

1. Ability to 'search' for the album name when adding photos to Album.

2. A view with only photos that are NOT added to any album.  (I want ALL my photos to be part of some album and presently there is no way to figure out which one isn't.  This functionality was present earlier, but no longer available.)

3. Enhance the existing 'chronological' photo view to also include the album in which a particular photo has been added.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Receding Green Cover of IITM

It has been a while since I ran inside IIT Madras so I have been wishing to get a run there for some time and the opportunity came yesterday.  I was on the last day of my 10x10 and wanted to squeeze it in somehow in the evening.  Since I hadn't run in the morning, I forced myself to fight the traffic and head to IITM instead of running around Boat Club fighting traffic.
I always enjoyed running in IITM and I still do.  I like the relatively traffic free roads and the green cover.  But yesterday, I saw lot of 'fallen' trees.  Some due to nature and many others 'felled' by humans.  It would tragic to reduce the forest cover in the name of 'development' and I sincerely hope IITM is able to strike a balance between 'development' and retaining its green cover.

That said, my run inside IITM was otherwise good and I was doubly happy having managed to complete my 10x10.  Along the way, I met these third year students who were waiting for the shuttle bus near IITM Research park entrance.  I 'coaxed' them to run / walk with me till their Hostel.  They reluctantly obliged, but that set the stage for interesting conversations.  We talked about many things ranging from technology to 'what after graduation'.  Good Luck Nikhil, Karthik & Sadhvik.

ps: This 'tip' merits to be in Senthil's diary (in Boys movie).  So, if you wonder about the 'tip'.. it is.. Sivan temple in IITM gives 'pongal prasadam' at around 6:30 PM everyday.  Made a 'note to self' to 'time' my future runs around that time... :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Kahaani 2 - Could Have Been Sharper

Went to Kahaani 2 with lots of expectation but returned with a feeling that the movie could have been sharper and shorter.  Like in earlier Kahaani, Vidya Balan is in almost every frame and has carried the movie single handedly.

Movie starts off showing the strong bond between Vidya Balan and her teenage kid who is confined to wheelchair.  All of a sudden, child goes missing and in ensuing panic Vidya Balan gets hit by a car and goes into Coma.  Then comes the dramatic twist about Vidya's past in a Kalimpong school.  All these does keep the momentum of the movie, but after a while scenes become predictable and one could also predict the next scene.  

Also,  I wish the story kept the focus and not branch out into to subplots.  Storyline should have just focussed on Vidya and the kid.  Instead, it starts veering into the first marriage of Vidya and the police officer, an unnecessary twist which just 'slows' down the story telling and doesn't contribute to the main thread.

But, I liked 'realistic' cinematography.  Art department hasn't tried to create perfect visuals, but has let the narrow streets of Kolkata and Kalimpong speak for itself.

Overall, enjoyed the movie and would give 4 stars out of 5. See it for Vidya Balan. (Rating - ****)

ps: For the first time, went to INOX theaters in Chennai Citi Center.  While getting in and out of the movies was relatively easy (unlike Satyam complex), sound system left much to be desired and definitely needs an upgrade.

Also, got to experience the playing of national anthem after the recent Supreme Court order.  My only gripe is that anthem version played was too fast.  It should have been slower.. lot slower.

#Kahaani2 #Movies