for Aavani

Avani, Our friend Suresh’s seven year daughter is suffering from an illness called Medullo Blastoma (highly malignant Brain Tumor). She had undergone a surgery in Baby Memorial Hospital, Calicut, Kerala. She has to be taken to HCG hospital, Bangalore for further diagnosis and treatment within next few days. The financial requirements for the further treatment is estimated at 4 – 5 Lakh Indian Rupees (10,000 USD) & we are trying to help in emergency. As its difficult to raise such a large sum immediately, we are requesting help from the community.

We have opened an account for the solely for the purpose and requesting everyone to contribute whatever little you can.

Hareesh who is Aavani’s neighbor can be reached at  +919656223338 for more information about Avani or Visit – http://helpaavani.blogspot.com​ where we will post updates.

Requesting everyone to help and share the news among your immedeate friends. If you are working in a office may be something like collecting from your friends and depositing to the account will help out.

If you think you help the little violinist, here is further details:

Account Name :    Aavani Suresh treatment Fund
Bank & Branch :   State bank of India, Calicut Govt medical College Branch
Savings Account Number : 318 6628 2581
IFSC Code : SBIN0002206
Swift Code : SBININBB392

Detailed information:

Aavani Suresh, 7 year old girl child, was having a history of vomiting and consulted paediatrician (Dr Rosely Kurian, Near Presentation School, Chevayur, Calicut). The child was also having mild fever. The paediatrician prescribed antibiotic, and paracetamol and the vomiting subsided during the course of medicine. Two days after the completion of the course of medicine, the vomiting in the morning started again. The paediatrician found some problem and advised Mr Suresh (Father of Aavani) that an ENT consultation is required for the child. Mr Suresh took the child to Baby Memorial Hospital, Calicut and consulted Dr Gopakumar(ENT specialist, Baby memorial Hospital). Dr Gopakumar also found out that the child is having balancing problem when closing her eyes and recommended to do MRI scan of brain.

They have done MRI plain and MRI with Medicine. In MRI scan, the radiologist reported likewise “possibly Ependymoma, differential diagnosis includes Medullo Blastoma”. The MRI result was shocking. There was a
large tumour of 3 cm diameter in the fourth ventricle of the brain near the brain stem. After seeing the MRI, Dr Gopakumar recommended to meet Neurosurgeon Dr Shivakumar(Baby memorial Hospital) for further
treatment.

Dr Shivakumar told that this is a case of Medullo Blastoma and needs surgical removal. Better to do it as early as possible because the tumour is growing rapidly and it is obstructing the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in
the brain. He also told Mr Suresh that he could go for a second opinion with any other neurosurgeon of his choice. Mr Suresh met two neuro specialists and they also told him that there is no option other than surgical removal of the tumour. Mr Suresh met Dr Shivakumar to discuss about chances of complication, cost of surgery etc. Dr Shivakumar told that there are so many complications in every neurosurgery, but there is no other option. The surgery will take about eight hours and the approximate cost will be around ninety thousand rupees. He also told that, after the surgery, the tumour cells have to be sent for a Biopsy to see whether the cells are malignant (cancerous) or not.

Mr Suresh and his friends gave consent for Neurosurgical removal of the tumour and the surgery was done on 20th July 2011 by Dr Shivakumar at Baby memorial Hospital, Calicut. The surgery was successfully completed without much complications and the sample of the tumour was sent for Biopsy. Dr Shivakumar told that the surgery was successful and the biopsy report will come in a week’s time. On 26th, the biopsy report came with a very sad news that the tumour cells are highly malignant and suggested craniospinal radiation. Dr Shivakumar told that the child requires radiation therapy after fifteen days (usually it takes about 15 days for the brain to stabilise after the surgery). Dr Shivakumar also suggested that it is better to go to a paediatric oncology specialised centre with latest equipments which helps to reduce the after effects of radiation.

As per the suggestion from some of the well experienced nuclear medicine specialists who deal with radiation therapy, we decided to go to HCG oncology centre, Bangalore, for further treatment. (Hospital website: http://www.hcgoncology.com/). This hospital is selected because of their very latest equipments and highly experienced team in paediatric radiation oncology. We have already submitted all relevant medical documents to the Doctor’s panel at HCG oncology hospital and we are waiting for their reply in order to get admitted. As per the initial discussion they informed us that the average treatment cost will be around 5 lakhs. We are expecting the admission in the hospital within two to four days for further treatment.

Update: 4th August, 2011

Aavani has left to Bangalore with her parents in a car from Calicut via Palakkad-Selam-Hosur & few friends are trying to arrange accommodation in Bangalore. She will reach Bangalore tomorrow morning.

Aavani about to leave for Bangalore ...

Pigeons in the hostel and Google+

Now that Google has re-realized the potential of social networking or cashing on human relationships I am writing down my ramblings on the phenomenon called “everyone needs to satisfy their ego or attention” aka Facebook effect.

Somehow I was lured into the social networking arena long back I remember signing up with a alternate mail address in Orkut and filling in minimal information because of  privacy concerns. Irony was when in 2005 I became one of the first cloned human beings and had trouble chasing down the culprits. (Finally decided not take legal action as two of the involved parties will face deporting from Gulf and permanent ban). The positive side of the incident was I became increasingly aware of the potential and dangers of the medium, read about anything and everything in the topic including the definite papers from Orkut. One of the most interesting communities I found on Orkut was “I hate pigeons in the hostel” This was a perfect example the ideas explained in the paper “Exploiting geographical location information of web pages” but here, not just location information was shared, but a person’s innermost feelings and opinions about pigeons were available at the disposal for exploitation / targeting. Eventually I had moved out of social networks and tried to build a real world network called Koottam.org along the lines of certain couch sharing projects and is still pretty much active.

 

Let’s take deviation and take a look at Google’s revenue stream. Most of it comes from display advertisement even though the company is fighting Apple in the handheld market and Microsoft in the enterprise market by providing office clones via browsers. To complete the eco-system Google Appengine and enterprise market place also is being established. But all these businesses are still in pre-alpha mode compared to the display advertiment market which it effectively does by  making use of content partners aka Google Display Network, various frontends like Gmail, Google groups, Orkut, AdSense etc. Though poineers in social networking Google never seemed to be interested in the business until Facebook started pushing Like buttons and various share options aggressively. At the time of writing major tech portals only allow one to post comments after signing in via Facebook or Twitter and of the 5 random display partners from the Google display network I verified talks nothing about Google but has either Facbook Like or Share enabled and some even have a facebook fan page occupying half the home page. In short Facebook was slowly eating into the core business of Google and sharing this information with a new search engine called Bing. This new search engine had recently established a praetorship with Yahoo! another not so big search engine. Along with this, the internet killer, sorry, Facebook slowly started replacing content with Facebook pages and presents not so cool, but easy statics about their pages to every one  500 million people who was unware of online advertising or tools like Urchin (Google Analytics) or Google Adwords.

 

I am not sure how many of the google display partnersites are integrated with Facebook but considering the large number of penetration, including Youtube its pretty much evident that Facebook/Bing tracking systems gets updated about activity in Google’s vast display business simultaneously. And there was a big catch Facebook and thus Bing always knew whether the visitor likes pigoens or not but Google has completely missed the point and employed the pigeons for ranking pages. This information about pigeons which Google ignore is a big threat to the core business as it depends on CPC / CPA. With the massive amount of data available to Facebook and the possible integrations with Bing, it will not take them much longer to come up with Adworks competition with better targeting. I will be surprised if Facebook doesn’t launch advertising outside of their massive platform via facebook share like widgets.

 

I am not impressed about Google+ expect for the added privacy features but that comes with a price called circles which are extremely difficult to create and manage even using a 22″ monitor. Also until today, I mainted different email ids and accounts for managing social networks and communication. Suddenly, combining social network to my primary e-mail id itself is the biggest privacy issuse as far as I am concerned.

But  Google will eventually learn about what we think about pigeons and over come the competition. Reason being the new doors which google has opened with the new product and upgrades to google adwords, Google apps etc. Its common knowledge that the social networks are the biggest consumers of content on portals like YouTube. With the recent announcement of DRM based YouTube rentals and availability of Social Gold reward coins I am assuming Google will be able to do some crazy things. Google Offers another very promising new launch which can be piggy backed on G+. A very cool idea Google Offers can try is ability to exchange Google’s virtual currency for offers via the new service. Game developers will be very soon opened doors to develop games on G+ & armed with the virtual currency Google has finally a weapon against Facebook’s plans to become world’s biggest bank. I am looking forward to see the roll out of location aware offers via G+ which can be further incentives by SocialGold and tieup all this with Google’s primary business of display advertisements. I am not forgetting about Google TV and building an extension to adwords which can show ads on TV and make people share it on G+ and much more. Groups is another massive amount of untapped data which G+ could make use of and from what I have read, the Google groups team is already sitting in the same building as that of the Emerald Sea building and cooking things. Looks like G+ is the technology giants attempt, a well rehearsed and executed attempt against threats from Bing+Yahoo & all knowing Facebook. Hope it works out and internet remains a free place rather than limited as pages within someone’s data center.

Existing customers Vs New customers.

The usual way to start this topic will be “for any organization at some point of time they will have to decide how to deal with growing demands from existing clients and the need to expand and acquire new clients”  Anyways, we are also facing it. I thought of writing down what we decided about it.

Its so happening that we are putting all our might after fine tuning an e-commerce portal we are working on but now we are facing page load time issue, and on a dead-end on the SEM platform we are developing for a client due to technical glitches from the APIs of the 2 search engines competing for second position & the third project from our first client – angel – need more resources. At the same time our cloud IaaS team is starting to work on couple of exciting assignments. To make things worse we are on an aggressive marketing mode which is bringing in new enquirers every-other day which needs a lot of attention.

What we do ?

Before things getting into such a situation, we had a discussion. We wanted to win new projects & increase revenue stream, hire new people & achieve the dream of becoming a 100 member team providing the best in the class solutions by 2011. But, wait. I thought about the angel who got hooked with us more than an year ago and waited for us to increase capacity, the other client who sang happy birthday for me from other side of planet earth over a cranky phone connection we had then, and various other things happening around us.

During the discussion I had  2 examples in mind which is given below.

We have a place where they sell chicken dishes which resembles  Arabian dishes. The outlet is in a prime spot on the highway, there is enough parking space, its near a college with may be 2000 students etc. I used to go there occasionally as they used to open till mid night when I finally find myself thinking about dinner. Besides all the good things like a prime location and all other favorable conditions, they never had customers. The quality of the food was bad, the customer service and focus was not existing. I still keep going as I had no choice and the last I went was few months back when they kept me waiting for nearly ten minutes just to collect the bill.

I can’t really write about the second case, but its something like this. The provider is a monopoly and nearly everyone uses them. But whenever people need proactive service, they choose a new generation alternative. So people keep two service providers and the old provider is slowly loosing business and it will be loose its business in few years and the restaurant in case one will be closed in few months.

I sounded bit affirmative than usual in the discussion and finally decided that we will not be spending even a second of attention on new clients unless the existing requirements are met. The existing clients have not only made us what we are now but they trust their future with us. We are 100% confident that we will deliver our best & come out of this. Let this post act as a record.

I send a mail to the angel to hear his opinion on resource allocation & ended it as follows:

You are an angel for us & angels/existing-clients gets the best attention than new clients !

everything else will follow.

trekking to Agasthyakoodam – day two.

Due to issues ranging from global warming & Mallan yet again finding a Kallana ( a pigmi elephant found in Agastyakoodam area) I couldn’t post the second part for so long ! well well. This is yet another March and this year also it seems I am not in a position to complain about a bad hike. I have no hike. The world is still flat and the life is going on. Oh, yea we made sure that 33% of the seats in our democratic temples are reserved for woman, we are about to make sure that the radio active rays from nuclear reactors exploding due to manufacturing defects etc by the companies who provides the equipment will not cause damage more than 500 crores, we had something called budget and as usual opposition were unhappy and in my little state – Keralam – certain political parties took all possible measure to make sure that in the next elections they don’t stand a chance to ‘serve’ us.

Ok, The trip to Agastyakoodam happened long ago, before  any of this happened. The world was still flat then and the date was 29th Jan 2010. We were at the base camp and made plans to start bit early the next day. I was was sure that not going to work and slept peacefully inside my sleeping bag. We woke up around 6:30 AM, got our breakfast packed and after few cups of tea started our trek to the peak nearly 8 O’ clock.

to be or not be ?

to be or not be ? (photo removed )

From the base camp the peak looked challenging and we were aware that the climate dramatically changes at the top. But today it seems its a pleasant day and we will not face much difficulty. I had all geared up and assortment of stuff including lenses, additional battery and first aid kit packed inside a photographer’s jacket and a wind sheeter to protect all this from rain and few plastic covers.

sun rays playing hide and seek

sun rays playing hide and seek

The initial trek was easy but seemed to be a terrain where we find elephants a lot which was bit scary. But the possibility of seeing a pigmy elephant was nice too 😉

dare to conquer – swami thiruvadikal enjoying the view

Once we were out of thick forest the steep climbs started and mist started arriving from nowhere. Four of us had visited the peak earlier and they started explaining about their earlier journey and how they crossed a dangerous stream which is just ahead of us.

mist starts appearing

mist starts appearing

The atmosphere started getting colder and windy. Mist was coming with the wind and the wind was strong enough that we started feeling it agiainst us. I found it was a good decision to leave the camera bag behind.

mist starts flooding with the wind. We can see it spreading in this photo. In ten minutes we were immersed in it.

the stream which 3 of our team had crossed with much difficulty during their previous expedition. I must It was a real dangerous attempt from their side. Something too far from adventure ..

the stream which 3 of our team had crossed with much difficulty during their previous expedition. I must It was a real dangerous attempt from their side. Something which others should not try at home.

edge

edge

its a good idea to be careful here.

its a good idea to be careful here. Travels give us a time to contemplate about life. It sometimes leaves us with nothing to hold on to. All that can take us forward is how carefully we plan our next step.

Last 5 photos were taken in 10 minutes and the place was suddenly misty and we couldn’t see anything beyond 5 meters or so now. We started climbing up decided to have our break fast near Ponkalappara.

mist everywhere

mist everywhere

After the steep climb we reached a clearing. The place had suddenly became extremely cold and wet. If the same climate is going to continue it is going to difficult to climb the remaining path and that was not a pleasant thought at all.

mist, windchill

mist, windchill

We sat down near a small stream for breakfast. I had poori with me and some had uppumaavu. By the time the whole place was covered with mist and all that was remaining now was rain. It looked like we must expect heavy rain any moment now. The sudden change in climate was very strange and quite unexpected.

break fast time.

breakfast time.

The climate soon started getting better. Yea, as I was told a 100 times this place is different !

One life. We all have a life to leave marks behind. Here is how someone to choose to leave a mark behind. This was created by someone so that whoever climbs the mighty mountain remembers him. (there is no myth behind this. its very recent - modern)

One life. We all have a life to leave marks behind. Here is how someone to choose to leave a mark behind. This was created by someone so that whoever climbs the mighty mountain remembers him. (there is no myth behind this. its very recent – modern)

Man is always keen to worship what he doesn’t understand. It seems a recent example will be film stars whom we don’t understand. We build temples for them when we find it difficult to understand how a feeble man can fight hundreds and cause “Neo Effect” on bullets. The earthly mark in the previous photo may became a similar one in next 100 years.

if we dont understand, we will worship. If we understand we will destroy. We are humans.

if we don’t understand, we will worship. If we understand we will destroy. We are humans.

where the mystery forest starts

where the mystery forest starts

The climate had become normal again and the visibility was good too. We started climbing up through a narrow slippery stream. The terrain again looked promising but I never expected it will make me realize that being alive is such a great thing and life is so beautiful.

Part1 is here: Trekking to Agasthyakoodam day one

Note: Agasthyakoodam is also called as Agasthyarkoodam

trekking to Agasthyakoodam – day one.

On 27th I got a call from a friend asking are you ready for the trip ? Oh, I had completely forgotten about the whole thing and had a most productive day ahead with numerous calls and emails and finally packed up and reached the Cochin KSRTC bus stand by midnight. Had a packet of biscuit and cashew nuts as dinner and me and Rejish started our  5 hour bus journey to Trivandrum from where have to start by 6 AM. Surprisingly the bus managed to reach the destination in less than 5 hours and we could sleep for  another 1 hour at friend’s place. Finally we managed to start at 7 AM and reached Banacaud by 9:30 AM. Completed the formalities with the forest officials, packed our lunch and yes we are ready for 3 day wanderlust.

The area is kept clean and well preserved by the forest department and the EDC – In  a land where government departments functioning the way it is supposed to be is quite unheard of, this is something we must appreciate. The officials were friendly and I could drag them to a small talk about my sleeping bag which is quite small compared to the ones they use.

As per our plan the journey ends at Athirumala which is 17 kms from the base camp at Bonacud. And most of it is through dense forest and atleast 5 kms of the path is difficult terrain. And with a bag weighing too much with equipments it was not fun. From the camp at Athirumala its 6 kms to the Agastyakoodam peak. And we plan to climb the peak on the second day. I must say that splitting the journey to 3 days was an excellent idea as we got ample time to enjoy the wilderness.

enroute Agastyakoodam

en-route Agastyakoodam

swami thirivadikal enroute Agastyakoodam

swami ‘thirivadikal’ enroute Agastyakoodam

This part of western ghats is called the “abode of biodiversity”. The green virgin forest filled with herbal plants gives one the impression that we are in a huge herbal  garden. The Agastyakoodam is related with Buddhism and to the wise man Agastya who formulated grammar  to Tamil and he is believed to be an Ayurvedic expert too.

cauliflorous tree enroute Agastyakoodam

cauliflorous tree enroute Agastyakoodam

cauliflorous tree - closeup

cauliflorous tree – closeup

strong winds are a peculiarity of the area. Here we can see the grass dancing in the wind. But this is nothing compared to the wind at the peak.

strong winds are a peculiarity of the area. Here we can see the grass dancing in the wind. But this is nothing compared to the wind at the peak.

Oh yea, we were a team of seven backpackers. see them below:

backpackers

backpackers

in harmony with nature ?

in harmony with nature ?

we had our lunch here. Under a sky that looked like this !

we had our lunch here. Under a sky that looked like this.

the camp at attayaar. The difficult terrain starts here. The board that says Athirumala was kept here and in one of the next photos we can see it being carried to the final camp.

the camp at attayaar. The difficult terrain starts here. The board that says Athirumala was kept here and in one of the next photos we can see it being carried to the final camp.

The terrain that followed Attayar was bit difficult but compensated by breath taking landscape.

the path ahead - less traveled, difficult and beautiful

the path ahead – less traveled, difficult and beautiful

the Athirumala board which traveled with us :-)

the Athirumala board which traveled with us 🙂

landscape between attayar and athirumala - one can even see the historic dust on my lens. Well, I am goving to clean every piece of equipment this time. All has years of dust on them and water. Yea, my D80 still works fine with all the water and dust. My next cameras will be Nikon too. I dont need reviews anymore on brand wars.

landscape between attayar and athirumala – one can even see the historic dust on my lens. Well, I am going to clean every piece of equipment this time. All has years of dust on them and water inside. Yea, my D80 still works fine with all the water and dust. My next cameras will be Nikon too. I don’t need reviews anymore on brand wars.

a variety of Thulasi found in the area. This is just a sample from the mysterious collection of herbs starting from Arogyapacha, Vathamparathi etc

a variety of Thulasi found in the area. This is just a sample from the mysterious collection of herbs starting from Arogyapacha, Vathamparathi etc

The above photo is taken from an area of where the forest is thick and dark. We can find small holes in the rocks along the path which was used to grind herbs. The area also has peculiar stones which looks like remains of some ancient life forms.

fossil ?

fossils ?

a stone resembling bone. Passerby has left turmeric powder on it and it turned yellow now.

Passerby has left turmeric powder on it and it turned yellow now.

The final camp at the bottom of the peak follows this dense forest area and we got the majestic view of the peak from here.

the first glance of Agastyakoodam

the first glance of Agastyakoodam

We reached the final camp around 4 PM. We were tired but not really exhausted because we were walking at an average speed. Soon after tea and a leisurely bath at the nearby stream we came back and settled at the camp. And we were all set for the climb early morning next day. And the destination was a 1886 meter, heritage mountain with its lush  green herbal garden and myths.

Agastyakoodam aka Agastyarkoodam - the majestic peak with its lores, herbs and wonders of mother nature which makes us understand how silly we humans are.

Agastyakoodam aka Agastyarkoodam – the majestic peak with its lores, herbs and wonders of mother nature which makes us understand how silly we humans are.

A year of Entrepreneurship.

DSC_7074_1

After 1 year and 3 months of quitting a cosy-big-MNC-much-loved-dream-job (removed a link from here as it creates confusion.) and just turning 28 I found myself asking the question what is this Entrepreneurship is all about ?

Is it the money ?

No !  I am broke and I can’t buy stuff  like a crazy over priced bicycle (my friend has one) or an iPod which I had bought in the past  and still using as an hard disk. I still remember paying advance for Onakkazhcha exhibition with the last pennies in my account and coming back with some 110 rupees (2.5 USD) in my wallet.

Is it the comfort and no need to much work ?

Comfort ? I haven’t gone to Bangalore PVR or gone to one of those over priced restaurants on birthday treats or even there was not much time to sleep. I used to shiver under the A/C and last year I was sweating !

Is it all the fun, glamour ?

heck ! no. I had to switch to T-shirts and Jeans because I no longer able to iron the clothes for that matter.  Fun, well, I find miss calls in mobile from various people of which few are the most cute girls one encounters in life but I’ve no way but see those calls hours late and do nothing about it.

Is it the freedom and do whatever you want to do ?

no way ! you can’t even fall sick because that is when all the world turns against you. You can’t go on a trip because that is when your client wants an immediate whatever call with you.

oh, since you have so many people working under you can work less, that it ?

well, absolutely wrong. Earlier one had a boss and only person was waiting to hear for answer, a reply or whatever. Now you end up with a lot of people waiting for replies you end up following up, working, researching thinking the whole day.

No its not money, power, glamour, less work, freedom that defines entrepreneurship. When you become an entrepreneur, you get the freedom to choose what you have to work on, you come to office and see the people sitting in there and you realize you are able to reach not just a family but the lifes of all their families, You feel happy when a client who lives on the other side of the planet which is believed to be spherical in shape asks you to take a break, pack your bags, go to the mountains or he trusts you and offers to help in a charity photography exhibition you are involved in, or someone says he had a “blink” moment when he met us and he trusts us with the most important project of  his life or you feel proud when a movie director gives you the freedom to decide on how to make the teaser for his most challenging work, or you feel really cared and loved when one of your best friends comes to your office and says you have got a nice setup and I entrust you with my upcoming  project.

What is all above means ?

Entrepreneurship is all about blood and sweat one puts to whatever one likes and in turn he becomes trust worthy, ethical, transparent and capable of delivering the most challenging tasks to the people who trusts him. He influences and changes the lifes of the people around him or her. He may have to make personal sacrifices which has long term postive impact on not just him but on the people who trusts him – the ones the world calls clients or employees.

I think now I am able to do only those things I like to do.  I remember myself telling my superior when I joined for cosy-big-MNC-much-love-dream-job that I hate GUIs and I am most comfortable with a text terminal, code but then there were times when I looked at GUIs with an already upset mind, I tried to keep the monitor upside down, looked at it, no the GUI still looked like a ugly-alien or something. Now I am no longer tormented by such things, but we get the freedom to choose what we need to work with,  its no longer a legacy technology, same old repeating stuff, one get the freedom to implement what you use to read only in slashdot and feel satisfied. Life remains the same, you have same old things which upsets you, same old stuff around you but then there is something new everyday.

If the defintion of an Entrepreneur is one who has stopped making compromises in his life and by so becomes a confident, proactive, trustworthy individual able to change the lifes of the people around him, then yes I am one.

And yea, He has the best friends one can think of. Shijil, Sai, Prince are just three of them in the list in which other names will be a bloody cool Mohan, Smevin, Jithesh, one person whom I call messenger, Alexy, Aswathy, Cibin, Lijo, Adarsh, Vikas, Shyam, Muraliyettan, Krish, Oam, Sunil, Deepa and yes the list goes on … Well yea, Entrepreneurs are not supposed to become emotional etc so I am not writing more names and how they have helped me !

Malayalam Google suggestions.

Today I happened to test how Malayalam Google suggest works and almost NSFW ! I wonder how Google decides which suggestion should come first – especially when the suggestion that comes first has highest priority of being clicked by a visitor. Its clear from the suggestions that the ones appear at the top are not the results with highest number of matches.

Here is a capture of my desktop

environment:

flock 2.5.2, GNU/Linux Debian, Not logged in to Google, Search Preferences at default (which was use moderate filtering).

(My be everything is self explanatory ! Certain results like Orkut shows why we use internet the most.)