Sunday, January 30, 2011 now available as Nokia ovi store app!

Long time since I’ve done anything remotely geeky. Even this one isn’t, still I can claim I’ve an app of mine in the world of smart phone apps. is now available as an App (short for Application) in Nokia Ovi Store. What does this app do? It fetches latest posts from RSS and lets you read them from within your nokia smart phone. Nothing greater than that.

So if you have a Nokia smartphone, consider downloading this app. You should be able to find it by searching for eNidhi or go directly to
Do give your feedback.

Is the app really useful?
Not sure. It isn’t interactive as many of the apps such as games, stock quotes or social media apps. It only fetches blog’s RSS feed and provides it for the consumption of mobile users.

How to submit one’s blog as an App for Nokia Ovi store?
It is no rocket science. Any RSS feed can be converted into an app and submitted to Ovi store for approval. Each app will be manually reviewed and approved, for its relevance, quality and QA. Mine took close to 3 weeks in approval queue. You can get started here
Takes just a few minutes to convert your blog feed into an app…

Friday, January 28, 2011

Recruitment Frauds: Job Aspirants beware!

Those desperate for a job are easy prey for conmen. Years of education haven’t educated many of us with street smartness and we often get fooled by fraudsters. There were many instances of recruitment related frauds of late and hence this post.

Below: A fake job letter in the name of Hyundai, offering huge salaries and asking for security deposit...

The Modus Operandi of fooling desperate job seekers is simple: Send them a communication (either by email or post) that they’ve been shortlisted for a high paying job in a reputed company and need to attend final round of selection process. The company would pay for travel and accommodation for this final interview, but candidate needs to pay a few thousand rupees towards safety deposit. The mail is nicely crafted to indicate that this money will be refunded after the interview and is necessary to prevent loss to the company due to candidates who do not turn up. Gullible job seekers believe this story and deposit money as indicated and that will be the end of it. No more communication and no air ticket comes their way.

This has been going on for more than a decade-neither the law enforcing agencies have geared up to prevent this, nor the youth have become smart enough to smell such frauds. Way back in 2004-2005, when I was in Final Year, I’d received one such job offer, indicating that I’m selected for the post of Sr Executive in a company in Delhi.  All I had to do was deposit 700 Rs in a specific ICICI bank account. For my qualification I would have only got an entry level job and  hence this was fishy. I went to Charmarajpet branch of ICICI Bank- the then Manager opened the account in his system and confirmed that something is wrong- the account was held with a UP branch of the Bank and was receiving money from all over India. Every 30 mins, amount was being withdrawn from an ATM in UP. The Manager promised to take this up with the branch manager of concerned branch and I’ve no clue what happened after that.

Similar mails are being sent even today. Even if 1% of people believe and deposit money, fraudsters get to pocket a few lakhs in few days.

Be aware of how other legitimate companies operate in their recruitment process. Careful reading of the job offer should hint you that it is fake.
  • First and foremost, no legitimate company will blindly issue a job letter without proper selection process (such as written test/interview/GD etc, as applicable). If you’ve never interacted with the said company before and you suddenly land a job with them, something is indeed fishy.
  • If the mail is sent not from Corporate ID but from Web based email IDs (such as instead of it is likely to be fake.
  • If the offer is not addressed to you (your name is not mentioned) or if the job title/description is very generic (Just mentions senior executive, Sr Manager,  Sr. Engineer etc and NOT Sr Manager-Sales or Sr Engineer-Quality etc) and if your qualification/experience is not ideal for the position offered, then the job offer is likely to be fake.
  • If the language of the letter is bad, if it doesn’t give some contact information like telephone numbers, then it could be fake.
  • If a fresher is being offered Manager's job or unrealistic salaries, it is in all probability fake
  • Check if the names of the executives mentioned in the mail are present in LinkedIn. At times, scamsters will use names of real executives in their fraudulent mails. When in doubt, bring it to the attention of concerned official, if he is present in linkedin.
  • If there’s no mention on concerned company’s website about the current recruitment drive or about the job openings, then offer you have might be fake
  • Companies are supposed to have current account. If the mail asks you to deposit money into a SB (Savings Bank) account, then it is run by individuals and not company.
  • No company issues job appointment letter first and then asks for money (as a deposit for air ticket or otherwise). At the max companies will insist that you arrive for personal interview at your own expense. Any offer which demands security deposit to paid is highly likely to be fake.
  • Many Govt Companies collect some money in the name of application fee, at the very beginning of recruitment process. These recruitment process are well advertised in media and amount will be in few hundreds and often needs to be paid through proper bank drafts. No payment will be asked at subsequent stages. No one will instruct to deposit cash in specific accounts.
What to do if you suspect a fraud?
When you suspect a recruitment fraud that asks you to deposit money in a specified bank account, you can do the following to counter it:

1 Identify in which bank the account (to which money is to be deposited) is created. The mail usually mentions Bank Name along with account number. Approach nearest branch manager of Bank in which the account is held. Branch Managers can open account transaction details and if there’s suspicious activity (such as money being deposited into the account from all over India and money being withdrawn from ATM every 30 mins), your local branch manager can alert Manager of concerned branch where account is created and freeze the account.

2 Alert the company in whose name the mails are being circulated. Since their reputation is being spoiled, the concerned company many consider issuing a press release (asking people not to entertain such mails) at the least and may even file criminal case against those who’re sending job offers

3 You can even approach the police and lodge a complaint, better do it in a group for better impact.

Possibly related: Microfinance related deaths in AP * Being Busy * Road trips by Auto Companies- Pros and Cons * Transfers in IT Companies * dealing with interview delays

New Tata Aria Crossover- Test Drive, Review, Features

Finally test drove the Tata Aria. Had registered for a TD long back-initially I was asked to come to showroom and take a test drive- I didn’t or rather couldn’t and after 2 months, they finally brought it to my office so that I can drive it around a bit.
Aria is a big massive vehicle powered by the same engine that runs Safari Dicor. It has enough space for a large family of 7, boasts of 4x4 abilities and lots of comfort. Pitched in as a crossover- a compromise between serious die-hard off roading machine and a comfortable family wagon, Aria appears like Jack of all and Master of None.

Crossovers do not have a successful history in India. The Fiat Sienna Weekend, Skoda Octavia Combi, Indigo Marina, Maruti Baleno Altura all have failed to click, though they were more spacious and practical than a sedan. Aria goes one step ahead and offers MPV+SUV two in one. In an attempt to compromise between the two, Aria is neither a sporty muscular SUV which is rugged, powerful and fun to drive, nor it is an affordable family wagon to ferry people around.

No doubt Aria has features and characteristics of both. It has enough space for 7, got loads of entertainment, safety and comfort features, a more stable design and not to mention the 4 wheel drive with traction control and cruise control. As a vehicle buyer who’d spend 15-18 lakhs, one needs to ask himself/herself if he/she wants a serious SUV or a 7 seater MPV or a mix of both. That confusion can be left to the buyer and let us evaluate Tata Aria for what it is.

Drive: With a load of 2 people and a short drive in the city, I couldn’t judge much. I had clear view of the road and big rear view mirrors were helpful. Drive was just fine and not as inviting as the Endeavour was. Few auto magazines have termed Aria’s engine as underpowered for its weight, size and load.

4x4 Drive: A few other 4x4 cars I’d driven- such as the ford Ford Endeavour, used to make lot of noise and offer  lot of resistance in 4x4 mode (that was very old first generation endeavour. Won’t be fair to compare it with current day models though) Aria was very smooth in 4x4 mode. Aria also allows toggling between 2 and 4 wheel drives on the go, while some cars need you to stop completely before changing between 2WD and 4WD. Aria doesn’t have finer controls like 4H and 4L, sales executive told me its automatic.

Features: Traction Control and Cruise control are like icing on the cake (is that the expression to use?) in addition to 4WD. Not quite common in entry level SUVs and we won’t get to engage them in day to day life either, but good enough to show off to your friends and defend why you paid 18lakhs for this vehicle. Navigation device was not installed in the vehicle I drove. 6 airbags can give feeling of safety, but can cause mild heart attack when the owner hears about their replacement cost.

Passenger airbag turn off: This is a cost saving feature, but can cost you a life.tata-aria-passenger-airbagcontroltata-aria-side-airbags
When a vehicles meets an accident (collides with an impact) all airbags go off, with the intention of protecting the occupants of the car. However, airbags are very expensive units and once they go off, they are totalled-meaning, they need to be replaced completely, at a huge cost (read close to a lakh). If there were no passengers in the car other than the driver, all non-driver airbags going off during an impact is total waste of money. To prevent this, Aria gives a control to turn off Passenger airbags.

But this feature can have a serious implication: When passengers are present, driver should remember to turn on the airbags. If he doesn’t, then it is as good as NOT having them, when there’s a collision, compromising safety of passengers.

200 mm ground clearance is 20 mm more than many of its rivals such as Scorpio, Xylo (180mm) and Innova (176mm) but less than Endeavour (210mm). Both front and rear disc brakes are good (many rivals have rear drum brakes). Even 17” wheels are a bit bigger than its rivals. So lot of points on paper for Aria, but still it may not win hearts of hardcode off road enthusiasts . Despite the good ground clearance, you won’t feel that you’re climbing into a vehicle-one can get in as easily as getting into a sedan. (That’s the idea behind the crossover)

Interiors: A series of boxes and controls are present at the centre of the roof along the vehicle, providing boxes to keep your stuff, buttons to turn on light and vents to cool the passengers.aria-music-systemaria-overhead-boxes
Downside: A touch of wood would have been nice, as in Innova 2.5V, but wood option is available in mid range Prestige and Not in top end Pride. Brush Metal inserts are provided though.

No bucket seats in 2nd row. Seating combination is 2+3+2. Buckets seats would have been better option when carrying 7 people (4 people get to sit in bucket seats, 2 or 3 can adjust in last row. In its current configuration, only front 2 passengers get bucket seats, others will have to share bench seats.) Point to note: 3rd row seats are at the same level as in 2nd row, and not elevated as in few other rivals. Hence even 3rd row will be comfortable at par with Row 2.

Skyrack and footrest are also missing.

Concorde Motors Chennai has sold about 38 Arias in past 2 months and the vehicle has a nominal waiting period of 4 weeks. When asked about top speed, the lady executive looked at the dash and said 220 kmph. When I insisted “Are you sure?” she said “We’ve crossed 200 in this vehicle”

 aria-on-steering controlsShould one buy Aria? That would depend on how much you like Aria’s competition. If you’d 16-18 lakhs to spare on a SUV/MPV/Corssover, your options will be as below:

Toyota Innova 2.5V- Saves a few lakhs, higher economy, powerful engine, toyota reliability trusted by every tour operator. Sans 4WD option.

Skoda Yeti: Compact 5 seater, but excellent off roader with more cool features than Aria. Fun to drive but Skoda service bills are known to cause nightmares

Ford Endeavour 2.5 4x2: You’ll get only the cheapest variant at 18 lakhs. Well powered, commanding vehicle.

Nissan X-trail, Honda CRV and Suzuki Grant Vitara

Similar posts: Toyota Landcruiser Prado and 200* 2010 Ford Figo review * Mahindra Scorpio mHawk 2.2 Vls review * Wayanad in a Scorpio * Mahindra Xylo vs Innova * Self Drive cars in India * Tata jaguar and Landrover * Brief date with Mercedes benz * 4x4 Himalayan Jeep Safari-mission aborted * Mitsubishi great driving challenge * Toyota Fortuner trapped in Mud * Buying a car vs renting a car

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting it from US- My thoughts

--Stock clearance post--

This post was once accidentally published in an work in progress mode and then saved as draft.  Republishing now after updates.

We often get enquiries from friends asking if any of our friends are returning from US in near future, coz they want to get something from there. Majority among us love to show off that we got a particular gadget from US and paid much lesser than what one would have paid in India. This post is a brief debate about pros and cons of procuring personal goods from abroad, vis-a-vis buying it in domestic market.

As far as the MRP is considered, certainly there might be substantial difference in product pricing, compared to India and USA (this could be due to difference in transportation costs  for the manufacturer or taxation or other factors). For a product like laptop or camera, difference in MRP could be around 10-20% or more. It’s not at all a bad idea to save some money. But what I am concerned about are several other aspects which are often ignored.

Inconvenience to the person:
Getting it from the US means we’ve to trouble someone else to get it for us. They’ll have to take time out to go to nearest shop, select the model, pay, get it packed and carry it all the way to India. Depending on numerous factors, this could cause considerable inconvenience to the other person
  • Those on short visit will usually have very tight schedule. If the shops are not nearby, it’ll be lot inconvenient to go out and buy.
  • If a person has to take time out-say couple of hours-to rent a cab, the time, effort and cost involved can add up to several dollars.
  • Those travelling for first time might have a big shopping list for themselves and their family. Any additional request might be a burden to them in terms of money, permissible weight and so on
Forgotten factors:
  • We always expect them to buy it from their own money, without paying any advance. This may not be fair on them if they're short of cash
  • We often pay them by converting US $ they paid * 45 or current conversion rate. Currency conversion charges, cost due to currency fluctuation etc are often forgotten
  • Not all products come with international warranty. For a laptop bought in US, if you can't get it repaired/replaced in India for free, then you'll be paying extra.
Other Reasons:
  • Chances of miscommunication: Despite best efforts, there might be slight miscommunication between what you wanted and what other person gets (may be communication was not right or may be the exact model was not available n he bought the closest one, which isn't as per your needs). Imagine the disappointment "Oops! this is not what I wanted" after opening the box...
  • Time Delay: If you're buying in India you can go n buy right away, getting from abroad would mean waiting for few weeks to months. Opportunity cost/waiting time needs to be considered.
  • Comfort of buying in person: If you buy from a local shop, you know what exactly you're buying and you can also go back to the shop and get it fixed if there're any issues. You'll not have this privilege while procuring from abroad
Unless the cost difference is too tempting, above risk elements taken care of and one's certain that person returning from US won't find it inconvenient, I'd say better to buy locally.

Disclaimer: Personal experience and observations only. Individual preferences may vary.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Samsung Tweeting Refrigerator: Potential features

Heard about Samsung showcasing a tweeting refrigerator at Consumer Electronic Show (CES), Las Vegas.

Initially I thought this refrigerator will tweet on its own about stuffs like “I’m running out of ice cubes” or “Just got fresh stock of apples” or stuff like that. But then, I realized that the tweeting refrigerator isn’t that smart. Priced at US $3300, Samsung’s Twitter Fridge  just has a smartphone like panel attached to its door using which people (family members) can tweet (subject to availability of WiFi, leave notes or view photos etc).

Below video has visual details of its feature. But we already have a computer, mobile and may be a tablet doing all that work- do you need your refrigerator door to the same set of tasks?

Doubt if the tweeting refrigerator is of any use in its current avatar… Here’re some imaginary ideas for Samsung R& D staff to work on. I know its too early to expect all these, but you never know- some scientists and engineers might be working on it somewhere…

  • Intelligent refrigerators should be able to alert the owners when they run out of stock. Better still, they should interface with stores to know if fresh stock has arrived or if a discount/offer is available.
  • Refrigerators should be able to compare real time prices of various supermarkets nearby and advice their owners  from which shop to buy them from (going a step forward, place an order and charge it to owner’s credit card!)
  • If the owner tweets some instructions, refrigerator should be able to obey the command and act accordingly (like “We might have a party tonight- prepare more ice cubes” or “We’re travelling out of town for a week- Don’t order any fresh stuff” or “Coming home late tonight. Tell my wife not to wait for me”
  • Unit should keep track of its carbon footprint and advice owners on how to reduce it.

May be they can be made to share intel among neighboring refrigerators for benefits like:

  • If a neighbor is going out of town and food in the refrigerator is likely to go waste, the refrigerator can remind them to give it to the user next door
  • If a neighboring refrigerator has got some stuff at very low cost or of excellent quality, your unit can advise you to buy from same store.
And an extreme feature to end the imagination: Intelligent refrigerator can have a self destructing feature-whenever an intruder/thief breaks in into your house and opens fridge to have some food after his robbery, refrigerator can sense the danger and should induct poison into the food, so that the intruder collapses after consuming the food.

Food for thought...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Random Updates: Sony, RangDe & Life In A Cubicle

Just a few Random Updates:

1. Sony DSC H50 goes for repair:
My Primary camera, Sony DSC H50 [review] has been serving me well for over 2.5 years and has now gone for repair. I had accidentally dropped it off on a rock near Cheluvara waterfalls in Coorg during October 2010. Its LCD unit was broken and managed another 3 months using just the viewfinder, but during last week’s Photowalk in Bangalore, even view finder stopped working. Only the camera part is working but I can’t see what it is clicking. Expecting a bill of 4-5k.

There’s a heavy temptation to buy an DSLR in the budget of 30-40k, but I’m repeatedly put off by factors like its weight, the necessity for an entire bag for camera itself, ever increasing spend on lens, not having an ROI and risk of damage and theft. Still inclined towards superzoom digicams. Let me see how 2011 turns out.

2. First debacle in RangDe Social Investment
As you might know, had made some investment in Microfinance Company, RangDe [Details here and here]. Due to recent debacle in Andhra Pradesh [details], RangDe has now asked me to write off the investment made in borrowers from Andhra Pradesh. rangde-logo-betaThat’s 2000 Rs down the drain. The investment was more for a social cause than any profits, but would have been nice to recover the principal at least. If the borrowers really benefited from it I won’t mind, but if they misused it for purposes other than what it was issued for, or not repaying just because political scenario is favouring them is not fair. Writing off the amount like this is equivalent to charity.

3. Review of Unread books
Because I’ve reviewed few books in the past, couple of publishers and authors occasionally approach me asking if I’m interested in reading and reviewing their books. When short of time or if the books are not interesting to read, reading all the books and reviewing them (in positive, expectedly) becomes tough. An author sent me PDF version of his 350+page novel and I’m finding it near impossible to complete reading it (a printed book can be read during a bus or train journey. Reading in pdf demands laptop time, which has other priorities)

I’m not sure when I’ll complete the reading and review in detail. Here’s a short text about the book I’ve read only partially: Title: Life in a Cubicle, Author: Utkarsh Rai

The novel appears to be lifetime story of a person starting from his days of campus placement into a big IT Company and how he climbs up in corporate ladder. If you’re from IT industry, you might find yourself in place of lead character. If you’re not then it might give you good insights into software companies. If this interests you, eBook (pdf version) can be bought for Rs 79 from Infibeam

[Other Book Reviews: Bala takes the plunge * 2 States * 3 Mistakes * Zero Percentile]

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bengaluru Photowalk Photos

About  a dozen of us went on a brief photowalk last Sunday in Bengaluru, organized by Shande and HP Nadig. Photowalk also aimed to collect some landmark photographs to be used for Wikimedia.

Photowalk started from Town Hall area and concluded in Freedom Park some 2 hours later. A few good snaps from that photowalk is being shared below. Not all are about skywatch, but never mind.

Lots of Kannada flags were seen all around. Apparently looked like a function to inaugurate the launch of KSTDC City Taxi service was being planned near town hall. Not far away, hawkers were getting ready for the day with their goods and a subway presented deserted look.
kstdc-city-taxi colour-mobile-pouchSub-way
George's Dake-Corporation-Cricle-blrtownhall
BBMP Office near Corporation Circle and a close up of the window art
BBMP-Office BBMP-office-window-closeup

Karnataka Government’s emblem, called Gandaberunda, could be seen on the gates of many buildings. Consciously avoided clicking photos of sensitive establishments like Police HQ, RBI etc (Remember the Pune cab-police incident I told you about?)

Several historical buildings are located around central area of Bangalore- around Majestic, Gandhi Nagar, Nrupatunga Road, KR Circle etc. Govt Arts & Science College, UVCE building, Mythic Society are just a few to name. Former Central Jail is now made as Freedom Park.
Govt-arts-scients-college Mythic-Society

A plant has grown strong from the window sill of UVCE building and seems to be going strong. Not far away, near KR Circle, a display alerted us about the blasting work in progress. tree-on-UVCE buildingBlasting-work-in-progress
The board was referring to Metro Rail construction work nearby, but would have been more appropriate to put this on the nearby road that leads to Vidhana Soudha, where elected MLAs keep blasting each other (and public)

Had done a photowalk in December 2009 but haven’t done anything with those photos yet. Will publish few photos from it in a future post.

Also read: Earlier Skywatch Post * Skywatch Friday Coorg Special* Chennai Roadies *

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Backlong Post: Transfer in IT Companies!

Admin Announcement: This post is part of Stock Clearance series. I've many posts saved as draft for long time- they were not published for any of the reasons such as feeling need for further research/improvement or a feeling that the post is not useful/interesting etc. Now I'm temporarily out of fresh content, hence sharing some old not-so-good posts. Do read with minimum expectations or feel free to skip it.

Transfer in IT Companies

I often get this question: Your company has office in Bangalore right? Why don’t you take a transfer!

This post is a brief answer to such questions.

IT Companies do not operate like banks. In a Bank, every branch will have same roles- A manager, few officers, lots of clerks, few cashiers, attenders and so on. All over the country, each offers same set of products and services (with minor exceptions like NRI branch, Small Industries Branch etc). Essentially, a clerk or cashier can do the same work in any branch of the bank and transfers are fairly common (often mandated) and easier to adapt. Most of the Govt offices will also have similar setup.

IT companies do not operate that way. Though a company may have offices in all cities in India, office in each city could be serving different industries (verticals) and customers. Officers are usually set up client specific or industry/vertical specific. Each client/industry projects might involve a host of technologies, expertise for which is usually sourced from units focused on specific technologies. Those focused on an industry (business side) often stay put at one place, while those specializing in technology might move from project to project/client to client/city to city on need basis. Because of this kind of setup-programmers can easily find project in another city where their skills might be needed, but those professionals focused on specific industry/client might not be able to move to another unit/city easily.

Disclaimer: Unlike Govt offices where a transfer once in few years is often mandatory (also sometimes Transfer to faraway places is used as punishment and sometimes public servants seek posting at specific places due to its potential to give more additional income-read bribe) Pvt companies usually entertain transfers either because of employee request or due to business demand. Only idea behind this post is to give an overview on how operational setup of IT companies differ from a Bank or Govt Office. Finer operational details might change from company to company and not all companies might be structured in the same way as described.

Related: Satyam: 1 Year later * Joining Day * Trends in Displaying IT Cards * Best of 2006 *

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In to the future... Year 7000 AD

This is just an imagination, how India will be, say 5000 years from now…

1 Real Vegetables will be sold by grams and stored in safe lockers!
Visitors to Hampi are often told about how Gold and Diamonds used to be sold on the street side during Vijayanagara Kingdom. 5000 years from now, I believe food will be in the form of artificial chemicals and tablets and tourists would be shown KR Market Area of Bangalore (or Chennai’s Koyambedu market) and good old days of people trading Real Onions and Tomatos by the kilos on the roadside will be hailed as a sign of prosperity.

2 IT Empires will be known for their outsourcing revolution
Communication in 7000AD might happen at brain to brain level, without needing a physical device. Visualize the way we’re remembering ancient civilization (Harappa and all) or how we look at early 19th century weapons used by the then rulers. In 7000AD, some of the prominent IT parks of today might be declared as monuments of national importance (under Archeological Survey of India) and a tourist guide would be briefing the tourists somewhat as below:

In 2000AD there used to be IT empires like In****S,  W***O and many others. They used to have their own army of Software engineers and often fought among themselves to get US outsourcing contracts. Employees used to jump from one company to other in search of higher pay, better designation and opportunities. They used devices called laptops to do their work, supplemented by Blackberries and CISCO video conferencing facilities…

3 Petroleum is history. Sun and Nuclear might be new energy sources.
Necessity would force innovation on alternate sources of Energy. Nuclear energy, Solar power and anything else that might get invented, would be available commercially.

Insane? Stupid? Have got such thoughts? 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Upcoming events in USA Chennai and Bengaluru (updated)

Below are some events lined up for near future, which might be of some interest to you.

1. North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is Mecca of automobile industry and some of the best events related to automobile industry are held here. Next week North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is scheduled to happen here on Jan 10th 2011.

I was glad to be invited for this event by a leading US automobile company. But the time left was too short to get appropriate VISA, hence had to lose the opportunity. Few people I know are attending, will wait for them to update with details.

2. Cerebrate Silicon Valley
Cerebrate is an event wherein a group of achievers gather together and brainstorm. An initiative of Kiruba Shankar, Cerebrate has seen several editions in India and few abroad. Second Edition of Cerebrate Silicon Valley is planned at the same venue- Mount Madonna in the Bay Area. The dates are Jan 21 to Jan 23, 2011.

If you’re aware of any US based individuals who’ve achieved something unique, do nominate them for Cerebrate More details at Rajesh Setty’s blog

Ok, back home, some more events are lined up:

3. CTC Beach Cleanup on Jan 9th, Chennai
Chennai Trekkers Club, along with few other groups/NGOs occasionally undertakes social initiatives, such as cleaning up the beaches. Few previous editions have been very successful, with several hundred volunteers coming out to clean up the coastline. Next edition of such an event is linedup for 9thJan 2011
5 more days to go.... The green army is steadily growing.... 500+ volunteers are ready to attack Chennai's troubled coastal line on Sunday in the largest clean sweep operation in Chennai recent history. Come on everyone - we need all help we can get - invite your friends, family, colleagues....

4. IAMAI’s 3rd National Conference on Digital Commerce, Jan 25, Mumbai
Ability to do Mobile Payments is said to be the next big thing in telecom in the year 2011. Looks like ecommerce boom hasn’t reached its peak yet. 3rd Digital Commerce Conference from IAMAI is being planned in Mumbai on Jan 25th 2010 to discuss various aspects around Digital Commerce. Costs Rs 5000+taxes to attend as a delegate.

5. Marg Brindavan-Art of Living to present Naada Vaibhavam, Chennai
Marg Properties Chennai are organizing a spiritual event called Naada Vaibhavam on 30th of Jan 2011 at Sri Ram SEZ, Perambadur, in association with Art of Living. More details are yet to be made public. If you’re spiritually inclined, you might wish to attend this. (Saw an ad about the event in The Hindu dated 30th Dec, mode details not available yet)

6. Hampi Photography Trip- Hosakote
Arun Bhat is organizing a 3 day photography trip to Hampi. Priced at about 9k, the event includes photo tour of Hampi, stay at a newly opened Jungle Lodges Resort, Photography tips and other expenses. If you’ve got 3-4 days and 10k to spare during Sankranti festival, this might be an ideal event for you. More details here

7. Colombo Trip: Noticed that Spicejet has launched a Chennai-Colombo service at a rate (Rs 4008 for return trip) cheaper that Chennai-Mumbai or Chennai Delhi. Tempted by the low price and convenient schedule, few of us have planned a weekend trip to Colombo in Feb. Idea is to explore Srilanka as much as possible in 2 days.  Let me see how this goes.

8. Social Media workshops by Sorav Jain:
Sorav Jain's Social Me is planning a series of workshops related to social media... More details at the link below

9. World Samskrit Book Fair @ Bangalore
A Sanskrit Book fair is being organized in Bengaluru... Details below:
Date: January 7 to 10, 2011 , at National High School Grounds, Basavanagudi,
Bangalore, Bharat ( India ) *

Other events:

10. Bangalore loves Wikipedia: Jan 9 2011, Bengaluru

11. Ford Wintage Car Rally-Mahabalipuram-ECR-Chennai, Jan 8 9

12. BIL Chennai: 22nd Jan 2011
BIL is a TED like event, happening at Chennai on Jan 22nd

13. Bangalore Photowalk
Sandeep Srinivas (Shande) is organizing a photowalk from Ravindra Kalakshetra to Freedom Park this Sunday in Bangalore. If you’re interested, check this group

14. Thoughtworks Conference for Business Analysts
Chennai, Jan 29 2011

If there’re any other major events happening around and I’ve missed, do inform