Category Archives: india

Eating jalebis, one bad driver at a time

While driving back home last evening I found myself constantly criticizing the driving sense (or lack thereof) of my fellow drivers. I blamed the drivers, the “mixed“ traffic pattern, and the authorities for issuing driving license to one and all, for the mess that is our roads. With these thoughts in mind, I was almost home, when I took a left turn and found myself “face to face“ with a sedan.

Now this guy was clearly in the wrong, but he didn’t even think twice before gesturing me to back up and let him go. I was in no mood to budge, not to mention I was right, and refused (at which point I may have used a certain finger to tell him to back up himself). After 5 minutes (kid you not!) of both of us sitting in our respective cars (did I mention I ate jalebis to show him I was in no hurry and would see this through?), he decides to get off and talk. He says that he uses this (wrong) route everyday while coming back from his office, so why don’t I just back off and let him go. I told him that I don’t care, you are in the wrong lane, and if anyone should be backing up, it’s you. Unimpressed, he goes back to his car.

We sit in our cars for another 5, maybe 10, minutes before he decides to back up and let me go & told you I wouldn’t budge. During that time, I had cycle-wallahs telling me “peeche kar lo na sir, kya jaayega“, another car lining behind the other car (again on the wrong side, needless to say), trying to honk his way out of trouble, realizing I won’t move, backing up, and taking another (wrong) route to escape our tamasha. I also tried calling cops, since I couldn’t find any around & I am still waiting for the response to my 100 call, Delhi Police!

In case you are wondering how our “shenanigans“ didn’t create a traffic snarl, it’s because instead of taking the designated left turn, people kept going straight and taking the 90-degree left as it’s the “done thing“ at that turn, perhaps the reason why our friend has made this his “regular route“.

Why did I do it? Let’s just say I had enough of people breaking traffic rules without giving it any thought. I wanted to teach him a lesson, though I am under no illusions that the lesson would last a lifetime, if he’s “learnt“ anything at all & he probably thinks I was someone with too much free time on my hand, and that he was a “bigger person“ for backing off. Would I do it again? Absolutely & unless I was in UP of course, where I would happily back off rather than risk getting shot!

Delhi Metro Airport Express

I remember reading something about the baggage handling at respective stations a few years ago. Found confirmation of the same. Sounds even more high-tech than what I had imagined!

The Sibag Train baggage handling system from Siemens Mobility will offer passengers an added convenience: travelers to the airport will be able to check their baggage in at the metro stations at New Delhi City Airport Terminal Station and Shivaji Stadium City Airport Terminal Station. There they will be able to pick up their boarding cards, get on the Airport Express and ride to the international airport. Upon arriving, they can then go straight to the security check and proceed to their departure gate. Independently of this, the baggage which they checked in at the metro station will arrive at the airport, where it will be fed into the existing baggage handling system, taken through the automatic security check and loaded onto planes according to their respective flight destinations. To ensure seamless baggage transport from the station to the airport, the baggage car of the train will also be equipped with a conveyor system. An automatic container loading mechanism located on the station platform will automatically load the containerized baggage through the door and onto the conveyor in the car. When the train enters the metro station, the container system will be aligned precisely to the loading door of the baggage car. Passenger boarding and container loading happen simultaneously and very quickly to shorten station dwell time for the train. The whole process will be controlled fully automatically and accurately by Sibag Train.

Source

Let’s see what is actually implemented 🙂

Reliance Wireless broadband auto-login (and logout) script(s)

The old “curl” based method stopped working yesterday when Reliance got a new login page as well as a new backend. It seems Reliance is now also looking at Cookies during authentication. Here’s a little Python script that you can execute to automate the process.

If you don’t know what Python is, you better stick to browser based authentication 🙂

Needless to say, you can schedule this script as a cron/ launchd job to run periodically and keep you logged in. That’s how I use it, which is why the script doesn’t output anything to prevent unnecessary log “pollution”.

Login Script for Python 2.x

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
#!/usr/bin/env python
# encoding: utf-8
"""
Reliance Login Script for Python 2.x v1.0
 
Created by Kunal Dua on 2009-12-18
http://www.kunaldua.com/blog/?p=330
 
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Python itself.
"""
 
import urllib2, urllib, cookielib
 
username = '1111111111111111' #replace the text within quotes with your username
password = 'password'	#replace the text within quotes with your password
 
jar = cookielib.FileCookieJar("cookies")
opener = urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.HTTPCookieProcessor(jar))
 
response = opener.open("http://10.239.89.15/reliance/startportal_isg.do")
 
login_data = urllib.urlencode({'userId' : username, 'password' : password, 'action' : 'doLoginSubmit'})
resp = opener.open('http://10.239.89.15/reliance/login.do', login_data)

Update: Logout Script for Python 2.x

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
#!/usr/bin/env python
# encoding: utf-8
"""
Reliance Logout Script v1.0
 
Created by Kunal Dua on 2009-12-22
http://www.kunaldua.com/blog/?p=323
 
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Python itself.
"""
 
import urllib2, cookielib
 
jar = cookielib.FileCookieJar("cookies")
opener = urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.HTTPCookieProcessor(jar))
 
response = opener.open("http://10.239.89.15/reliance/login.do", timeout=2)
 
resp = opener.open('http://10.239.89.15/reliance/logout.do')

Update: Login Script for Python 3.x

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
#!/usr/bin/env python
# encoding: utf-8
"""
Reliance Login Script for Python 3.0 v1.0
 
Created by Kunal Dua on 2009-12-30
http://www.kunaldua.com/blog/?p=323
 
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Python itself.
"""
 
import urllib, http.cookiejar
 
username = '1111111111111111' #replace the text within quotes with your username
password = 'password'	#replace the text within quotes with your password
 
jar = http.cookiejar.FileCookieJar("cookies")
opener = urllib.request.build_opener(urllib.request.HTTPCookieProcessor(jar))
 
response = opener.open("http://10.239.89.15/reliance/startportal_isg.do")
 
login_data = urllib.parse.urlencode({'userId' : username, 'password' : password, 'action' : 'doLoginSubmit'})
resp = opener.open('http://10.239.89.15/reliance/login.do', login_data)

The great Indian price hike tamaasha

Fresh from writing a score “thank-you” mails, here are some more things that have been on my mind.

First, a tip for the Indian Government. Next time you want to hike the price of petroleum products – or any thing for that matter – do NOT pre-announce 8 days in advance that “a price hike is inevitable” and then go about having a fake debate over the issue. Hold your discussions about who is going to take the “hit” for the decision behind close doors and come out in the public, with the final decision – THIS is how we are going to do it. Don’t come out and say “we HAVE to do this, but don’t know HOW to do this” – it just makes you look like meek, stupid and ignorant. This will save the “aam aadmi” (or kharbuja aadmi, for mango haters) from the hoarding/ rationing chaos that inevitably ensues with such pre-announcements. And what’s the deal with the “new prices will be effective from midnight”? Leads to queues at the pumps with the “look at me, I saved 100 bucks” brigade making those who genuinely need petrol at that hour suffer in waiting. Why can’t you say the prices will be “effective immediately”. Has a more authoritative feel to it as well – try saying that out loud – “effective immediately!”, Aah, thand pai gai.

Nadal’s gonna start the Federer’s ass kicking session in 15 minutes, so I’ll keep this short, but there are two things I absolutely must link to.

The first, is this great satirical piece by Kumar Ketkar. You know you’ve written a masterpiece, when it forces some buggers to attack your house, even though you didn’t directly criticize anybody. In case I haven’t said it already – brilliant article Sir. A must read.

Second is from an interview of Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif, whose book I look forward to reading:

I did try some serious research once: I registered with an open forum run by retired US air force types to get some technical details about aviation procedures. Within minutes I was the target of so much abuse that I felt like the son of Osama. I hadn’t realised that I had registered under my first name. I gave up on research after that.

Not sure why those lines stood out in my memory from an interview about what sounds like a delightful book:

Q) Your book (A Case of Exploding Mangoes) has been compared to Catch-22. But one also feels the presence of Llosa and his The Feast of the Goat.
A) You are spot on. I am almost certain that if Llosa hadn’t written that novel, I would have probably written a different book. I think I learnt from The Feast that it’s okay to write a book about killing a dictator. We had Catch-22 in our library in the Pakistan Air Force Academy and it stayed by my bedside when I was in my early twenties. I could quote passages. But lately, I have also watched a lot of M*A*S*H.

Comparisons to Catch-22? No pressure then.

I had a dream

Two dreams actually. First, the Liverpool Board went behind my back and installed Juande Ramos as my replacement after I won the League + FA Cup double in Football Manager. Second, Oil touched 145 USD a barrel.

Have to say that both dreams worry me a great deal. By the time you read this, the second one might actually have come true. I am not going to start up FM for a while to ensure that the first one doesn’t come true – atleast for a while – because it sounds exactly the kind of thing the men assholes presently in charge of the great institution would do.

Dreams? More like nightmares!

It’s official

Before you say, I know you can buy it in the grey market for a minor premium over the dollar price, but it’s good to know that the iPhone is finally coming to India officially.

So the “coming to Asia in second half of 2008” bit was right after all. At that time I thought by Asia, Apple perhaps means Singapore, but looks like India will be the first Asian country to get the iPhone! Unless some operators have deals ready to be announced for other countries, which can’t be ruled out.

Indian Virals

Ok, one of these links has been sitting in the Drafts folder for close to an year. The other for around 6 months. Old news? About time you checked them out I say!

This video was originally released at www.thebirthofdon.com, but that site seems to be down now. Thank God (Google?) *pun, nudge-wink* for YouTube, which has helped preserve this little gem. It’s worth the 1 min 25 sec of your time, trust me.

This is the more recent one, still available on the original site. Here’s the 1 min 50 sec video, again via YouTube.

Good to see Indian companies embracing viral marketing and combining it effectively with the more traditional methods. Case in point, I received link to the first time in an “official” mail from the company concerned.