To Blog or not – that is the question

Just kidding…the answer is obviously “To Blog !” else I wouldn’t be here :)

Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.
-
John Archibald Wheeler

It has been 634 days since my last post (thanks to this site for the calculation !).

There have been a lot of changes for me the past year. Additional responsibilities @ work is the primary change around which I lost track of time. I love my line of work (I am a software guy!) so it was natural for me to immerse myself in it.

Unfortunately it made me lose touch with some of the other things I like – blogging, reading, working out etc.

But after a big change in my daily life (more on that in my next post), I have been able to turn things around & organize life to be able to devote time to all the activities I love.

So I am back !

How it should have ended

ps : Go ahead & click on the image – Its hilarious !

I have learnt a lot in this time – my quest for knowledge has just gotten better.
There is an urgent need to jot it down for myself as well as others who might like it.

So more on that starting this week !

By Rohit Posted in Life

RTO Drivers License Test Experience

Writing this post as a follow up to my earlier post – RTO Learner’s License Test Experience.

One has to give the test for the Driving License between the period of 1 month – 6 months of receiving the Learner’s License.
I guess one can give this test any number of times but at a gap of 1 week between each failed attempt.

I went for the DL test sometime in March without much preparation. I had practiced driving my bike for the past month but I didn’t expect to pass in the 1st attempt for sure since I had read numerous stories about corruption at the RTO.

After filling in some documents & having your pic taken by a webcam @ the RTO office , I was told to give the test @ the driving track between 1pm – 3pm.

Apparently the RTO tests here in India haven’t been standardized. I think its due to the fact that not all RTO centers here have suitable driving tracks.
Depending on the location of your RTO, the test can be :

  1. Drive the bike on a road amongst the traffic along a certain route (circular/8 shaped etc).
  2. Drive the bike around a ground or/& perform a 8 shaped curve.
  3. Drive along the constructed track which will surely have a 8 shape in it somewhere.

Note : (2) & (3) have to be performed while giving proper hand/light signals & without placing your foot down !

I didn’t know what to expect since there were barely any pics of the driving track on the net. A google map ariel view gave me some idea about it.

As luck would have it, my RTO test turned out to be (3). Its actually a good test to determine your driving skills. But since I wasn’t confident of my skills, I was actually quite terrified of it.


Attempt 1 :


I think I was the first person to be called. The Inspector told me to go around the track once then go along the spiral road followed by the 8 & return – all while ensuring the foot isn’t placed on the ground even once.

I screwed up at the spiral road – placed a foot down to balance myself since my ’1st gear’ jerky driving almost nicked the surrounding bricks. But I continued driving along the rest of the road & the 8 too. Surprisingly the ’8′ didn’t trouble me a bit. So atleast I had something +ve to take from this !

I was told to take the test again after a week.
I didn’t though. I felt I needed more practice. So I tried tried driving a ’8′ along empty routes on the 1st gear using a half clutch approach. (I did try 2nd gear too since its smoother but then you have to focus additionally on ensuring the engine doesn’t die down at your speed using the clutch).


Attempt 2 :


I gave the test some 2 months later. I practiced only a week …but avoided the test since the location was quite far & work kept me busy. I had to fill in the papers again (minus the pic clicking).

This time too I had little hopes. I was actually searching for an agent to bribe…since the other aspirants from driving schools had it very easy – they just had to go around the track once. But I wasn’t able to find a single agent….besides that it doesn’t help when you are the 1st person to be called for again…Just my luck :-|

The Inspector asked me for my papers. Being nervous, I didn’t realize I had the insurance papers beneath the seat & told her that I didn’t get it. Thankfully she told me get the papers IF I pass the test. I silently told myself – “Hehe so I won’t need the papers today” :P

So I began driving. For some reason I became very calm after starting the bike. Things fell into line & I was able to navigate through the whole track without any issues. But I still didn’t expect to be passed since I really believed in what my friend had told me – “No bribe -> failure”. I had read tales of how people were failed for trivial matters like using light signals instead of hand signals…of coming in casual shorts rather than formal attire (I was in jeans….so that should be ok :P).
Surprisingly the Inspector informed me I had passed !

My mind shouted out “Woohoo ! Party time !”. I grinned & thanked the Inspector & left to get the papers.

It took a month for the license to reach me. Ideally it takes 2 weeks but it was stuck @ some bureaucratic point between the department which prints the license & the dept which posts it.
Had to visit the RTO again to get that cleared. But no complaints …I can finally drive around without hiding from the cops :D


Conclusion : Its actually good to take the hard ‘non bribe’ route. Makes you feel like you deserve the license !

Travelling

Its a 3 day weekend here so am currently on a little trip to the country side. I won’t be writing about my time here since I have already done that on a previous occassion here.

I love travelling on the road…especially when I have a say in the flow of places to stop over…visit…ie move at our own comfortable pace. But when it comes down to travelling on a service provided by others – I hate it !
On such trips, one has to control one’s schedule…one’s intake..maybe even adjust on your standards of hygiene :-/ .
Which is why when long distances are to be covered , you will usually find me on planes rather than the cheaper alternatives of trains & buses.

However there are times when you don’t have much of a choice. To visit my ancestoral place, commutting via bus is the most convenient way as far as time goes (abt 6hrs or so). The thing is – I like travelling on the bus here :). Why ?

Its a Sleeper bus ! I think they came out 10 yrs ago in these parts of the world…& they are defintely a boon for travellors who need to spend around 10 hrs or less on the road.
Comfy space for your whole body….spending the whole journey sleeping in the natural position…..compare that to the rigid seating posture which most passengers opt for :-/

I usually cannot sleep on buses….though a sleeper bus defintely gets me a few hours of rest for which I am thankful for. Besides it gives me the ideal activity for times when I am not able to get some shut eye – star gazing :)

Nothing like viewing the night sky far away from the glamour of the city….the same stars & planets that existed long before you did…& will probably remain long after you are gone too (sigh…)

Empire Avenue

There are times (post the online gaming, wikipedia, gmail, facebook era) when I feel that everything new that could be created/developed on the net has been done already….& then something new hits you !
Actually this is something which happens often in life….but didn’t expect it to happen frequently on the net…

The spotlight in this post is on Empire Avenue – a social stock market game which runs on people rather than the business world…or you can think of it as the social network which combines all the others out there…or in Tolkein’s words – “One ring to bind them all” (ok …I rearranged some words of his famous lore…but you get it!)

Basically, once you register on their site, you become an entity in which people can invest in. The price of your stock fluctuates depending on your social activity which is why its a good idea to link your other social network accounts with this site.
Unlike the others, Empire Avenue encourages you to be active on the other social networks like Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, WordPress, FourSquare, Instagram, youtube etc.
(Note : For those worried about the privacy of lets say your fb messages, you don’t have to worry. Only your public messages show up here. The private ones add to your social activity & are thus responsible for your stock price but they remain private.)

You can invest in other people or companies (like WWE) too. The virtual currency here are Eaves. You earn via completion of missions (if you wish to take them up) or via dividends of your investments. The usual tools used in stock markets also exist here (like stock price alerts).

Once you invest in others, you can follow their social activities (eg: you get an intimation of their recent blog entry) & thus expand your online social network.

The best thing about it is that its so complex (which is why I like the whole system of the original Financial Stock Market) & we can use it in a number of ways :

  • You can use it to connect with people of similar interests
  • You can play it to compete with others by leveling up since its after all an online game.
  • Brand managers (or even us normal bloggers) can use the ‘mission’ functionality (rewarding people with Eaves) to gain more hits on their online campaigns/posts.

The only problem it has is that it lacks help pointers which should be sprayed all through the site….kinda like ‘bubble notes’ which should appear with helpful tips when we click on some uncharted part of the site. So the initial learning curving is quite high. But once you understand it its fun.

The good thing about it is that it kinda gels with my new year resolution – To be more active on the blgoging world :P

As a parting shot, I will leave you with the following links :

  1. Empire Avenue Tutorial
  2. A registration link : Register here (I think we get some Eaves as reward if you join via this link)

Forced to Post :P

Its been a month or so since my last post…That either means I have been too lazy or I have too many things keeping me busy in life. Well thankfully, its been the latter case.

The new bike is taking a lot of my time. Getting confident to drive in public + trying to reach a decent milestone (as far as distance covered goes) before handing over the bike for its 1st service has kept me on my toes all month !
Now that its done, I can come back to my usual routine…or new ones !

Some of the things I am contemplating :
-> Finish some of my blog drafts :D
-> Alter my daily routine to spend some serious time on fitness (After effects of watching ‘Rocky’ [1+2] after such a long time :D)
-> Write up a ‘Newbie Biker’ mini series on my blog….something to laugh back on for the future :P

Oh..almost forgot ! What forced me back to write a hurried post? Well a fellow blogger has nominated me for 2 Blogging Awards – ‘The Sunshine Award’ & ‘The Inspirational Blogger Award’.
Tradition dictates that I follow the protocols laid down to honour this kind gesture.


Some Background :
As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:

  1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
  2. Answer questions which give an insightful view of you (7 for the Sunshine award & 5 for the Inspiration blogger award) .
  3. Pass on the award to other fabulous bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.


Acknowledgement
I have been nominated by Ned from the blog – http://gigoid.me.
Ned’s blog is 1 of the first few blogs I followed. Reading a single post from his blog makes you feel like you are reading many other blogs….he jumps from 1 topic to the other…definitely not my style…maybe thats why I follow his blog keenly !
His blog definitely adds a whole lot of meaning to my own quest which is also the name of my own blog – Quest 4 Knowledge :)

Insightful Answers

  1. I love visiting new places.
  2. I love reading stories of Good vs Evil…like mythological stories…love rooting for the underdog (the ‘good’ as usual).
  3. I love watching TV shows which belong to the genres of : humour, mystery.
  4. I stay away from romantic songs/movies cause they actually work on me :-|
  5. Since I am a chess player, I always think of possible outcomes to every move….which is why you won’t see me wading deep in the ocean/sea…too many unknown parameters there :P
  6. Its very difficult to make me lose my temper (maybe due to the above reason?)
  7. I have a great long term memory….I love remembering tiny things about the past …about my childhood etc…which is why I really fear Alzheimer’s disease.

Pass on the SunShine Award
I can’t pass on the award to the few blogs I follow…simply cause its only been a couple of weeks or so since I followed them…while others have stopped updating their blog for the past few months….it won’t be fair to the award nor to them. I can think of only a single blog which had a significant impact on me in such a short time :

Pass on the Inspirational Blog Award
I am beat here…lessons on life…thats something few blogs have…& I haven’t found those blogs yet except 1…Ned’s blog is the only blog I can mention here…if it was allowed to nominate him again :(