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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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HealthSouth and I Durable Link to this BLOG
HealthSouth and I

In case you didn't know, other than the war, HealthSouth has been the biggest story on Wall Street.

Of course, in Birmingham AL, where it is based, and where I live, it is the biggest story for the last few years.

I first came in contact accidentally with HealthSouth in 1990 when looking for on-campus employment at UAB. I was looking for American Sports Medicine and went to Alabama Sports Medicine by accident (they are on the same block, by the way). The facility was awesome, and in the later years, I learnt that all the famous athletes came here when they got injured. I was so proud of it, because it was just behind my apartment.

In 1992, the CEO of HealthSouth, Richard Scrushy had delivered the valedictory lecture when I got my Masters (I attended the function as a spectator, because I couldn't afford to rent the gown).

Many years later, I attended a gala hosted by Anderson Consulting (known as Accenture now) at the HealthSouth Corporate HQ. Again, I was impressed by the elegance and the ambience of the HealthSouth campus. HealthSouth seemed like a company with deep pockets, and I tried to do some business with them.

A couple of years, an opportunity came. My wife met with a Vice President at HealthSouth, but was appalled at the immature and incompetent  management. They were growing too fast and too haphazard to establish business processes.

The Scrushy era is over now. He has been fired and might even go to prison. What Enron did it to Houston, HealthSouth has done it to Birmingham. The half-finished, state-of-the art Digital Hospital on a prime spot on Highway 280 has been abandoned, and many people have lost their life-time savings. All the roads, university buildings, hospitals, and charities in Birmingham bearing the name of Scrushy and/or HealthSouth are embarrassed and enraged. So am I.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, April 1, 2003
Last Modified: 4/1/2003


Amazon Nickels and Yugadi Durable Link to this BLOG
Poem of the Day

Today is Yugadi festival, and I've been humming this song...

nitya janana
nitya marana
namage eke bardao?!

ele sanatkumara deva,
ele sahasi chiranjeeva,
ninage leele serado?!!


(Like the flowers,) why didn't you give us a daily birth
and a daily death?
Dying at night and being born in the morning...

O the adventurous Creator!
Aren't you fond of Magic anymore?!

- from Kannada, Song of Yugadi by D.R. Bendre (Portrait)

My greetings to all our friends and readers on the occasion of Yugadi.

It is on the Yugadi day that the temple chariot in Honavar is brought out of its garage and is constructed for the Car Festival. I wish I was there today!

Links for the Day

  • Indian Blog Festival (link to this week's event at Ravikiran's) is an interesting development where an individual (volunteers taking turns) compiles the best blog posts on/from India on a weekly basis.
  • Learn why a family in Nelavagilu town doesn't celebrate the Yugadi festival in Stories the Stones Tell

Nickels from Amazon

I don't know if you've seen this, but Amazon is giving away nickels for every click. I've earned fifty cents so far!

Amazon Nickels

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, April 2, 2003
Last Modified: 4/2/2003

' and Arts of Karnataka Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamats' Contribution to Arts of Karnataka

When Bappa was alive, I felt that he should write a book on the Arts of Karnataka, due to his passion for the subject, and his mastery of the field. "Vikas, a book of that nature has a high cost of reproduction, and who's going to lobby the Governmental agencies for it ?", he'd remarked, and the project was never considered.

Dance Meets Mythology

Today, I have been asked to write an article on Kamats' contribution to the arts and culture of Karnataka. I've accepted the assignment, because I feel that although not blessed by the state controlled art academies, my parents have done pioneering work towards the arts and artists of Karnataka. I am going to write about how Bappa is the only researcher to have studied and documented the unique form of Kavi Art (every other story on Kavi Art that I have seen is stolen from his book or website; that is the truth), and how my mother took so much trouble identifying and cataloging the various performing folk-arts.

Where else but on will you find such treasures as Paintings of Mysore Traditional School, collected from wandering house to house in the traditional town of Nanjanagudu? or the treasures of Mysore Maharaja which since Kamat photographed them, have been stolen and smuggled out of India by the same people who were supposed to protect them? or the painted leather puppets and their puppeteers who are so much sought after in the museums all over the world after they appeared on our website?

I think I have plenty of material, but if you have a tip or a suggestion, please write to me at Contact Kamats. I'd appreciate it; I have never written for an Art Magazine before...

See Also:

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, April 3, 2003
Last Modified: 4/3/2003


Clustered Blog Hosting Durable Link to this BLOG
Blogging in a Clustered Environment

One of the sites using SimplyBlog in a clustered environment has a problem. The pictures they upload do not get deployed to all the servers in their cluster (the blog entries are no problem, since they originate from a database). Other than configuring the different servers with FTP, does anyone have an idea how to do this in a Microsoft's Load-balanced (WLBS) environment?

Some Ideas:

  • Perform a POST to each of the servers in the cluster (somebody then has to keep a track of which server is in, and which is out of the cluster)
  • Write a Sync service (like the Unix's rsync)
  • Store pictures in the database

I don't like any one them. There's gotta be an easier way, like xcopy of something that can be called via Active Server Pages. Please send your tips to Contact Kamats. Thank you!

Deepak suggests uploading the image to a nonLB server, and then using FSO to deploy to all LB Servers.


  • The 16th Annual 2003 Purandara Dasa and Thyagaraja Music festival will be held SSVT Auditorium in Lanham, Maryland on April 25-27th 2003.
  • The Fifth North American Konkani Convention will be held in Southern Californa on 4th of July weekend in 2004.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 4, 2003
Last Modified: 4/6/2003


Lessons of Khilafat Movement Durable Link to this BLOG
The Role of Khilafat Movement in Indian History

In an email message, patron Subhash Bhagwat pointed out to me how I have failed to document the importance of Khilafat movement in the History of India's Freedom Struggle. I hereby amend myself, and in the process, I cannot but relate current world events to what happened in post World War I period.

Turn your calendar to 1919, just after the defeat of Germany in the First World War.

The Allied forces dissolved the Ottoman empire based in Turkey, and abolished the post of Khalifa, or the symbolic head of all Muslims.

The Muslims of India, then, as now, had a very strong feeling of identity with the Muslims outside of India. (Please remember that this is much before the creation of Pakistan, or before the creation of Hindu nationalist forces like the Hindu Mahasabha or the RSS. ) They had seen the decline in the political fortunes of Islam as the Europeans powers conquered the Muslim land one after the other. The Anglo-Russian convention of 1908 had reduced India's next door neighbor Iran to a mere dependency. Afghanistan also suffered, as it was a bone of contention between Russia and Great Britain, and was now under the latter’s sphere of influence. (Link to more info at The Story of Pakistan)

The general impression among the Muslims of India was that the Western powers were waging a war against Islam throughout the world to rob it of all its power and influence. The Ottoman Empire was the only Muslim power which had maintained a semblance of authority and the Muslims of India wanted to save the Islamic political power from extinction, and the Indian Muslims revolted against the British to restore the post of Khalifa.

Gandhi saw this rage and anger against the British as an opportunity for courting the Muslim support in the Indian nationalist struggle, and extended the Congress's support for the Khilafat movement, that was started by Maulana Ali brothers, Muhammad and Shaukat.

At the outset it was a brilliant strategy by Gandhi, as the Hindus and Muslims of India were brought together like never before. However, in doing so, he also strengthened the extra-national attitude and the Pan-Islamic agenda of the Muslims and the Muslim League in particular.

Apparently, for India’s Muslims of the time,  the events in Turkey were more important to them than the Freedom of India, so much so that Gandhi was forced to withdraw his support for the Khilafat Movement. Ironically, Turkey itself subsequently saw the rise of Kemal Pasha who effectively de-Islamized his country’s politics.


History bears witness to what extent the after-effects of failure of Khilafat Movement damaged the Hindu-Muslim relationships. They would never be same again, especially after the creation of Pakistan.

Fast Forward to 2003. Most Muslims today feel that the Western forces are waging a war against Islam. Turkey is caught between the Western bully and a Islamic brother. Indian Muslims (as far as I know that is) care more for the events outside of India than the role of Muslims in the Indian Republic. America is pitting Kurds against Shiatites against Turks.

I'd like to read a blog entry in year 2113 on this next page of world history.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 7, 2003
Last Modified: 8/12/2003


Misc. Notes Durable Link to this BLOG
Misc. Notes

  • Kamat's Potpourri was down most of today. I might have to fire our Webmaster ;-- ).... The root of the problem turned out to be a huge file called mod_jk.log.... Perhaps it is time for me to start Amateur Webmaster's Knowledge Log...
  • Baghdad fell today, making it one of the days that we'll remember forever.
  • Sameer has the Indian Blog Roundup. BTW, lots of new Indian blogs added in Kamat Blog Portal, which is refusing to away in spite of its retirement... whatever happened to the HumBlog initiative?
  • I have opened a new section called Congress Archives. This section will never be complete, but it is going to be one great place to find genealogy information to handwriting of famous Indians. This is because Congress Party has played a central role in formation and governance of India in the last 100 or so years (founded 1885).
  • Congratulations to on completing four years. They have done some pioneering work on web content publishing in Indian languages, and they deserve encouragement and support. Now if only they cleaned up the clutter on their site, and made it usable...

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, April 9, 2003
Last Modified: 4/10/2003


Webmaster's Knowledge Base Durable Link to this BLOG

Amateur Webmaster's Knowledge Base
by Vikas Kamat

These are just my notes, specific to my configuration (Linux Apache, PHP, Ensim, ), so I can look them up over and over again. Please use at your own risk.

Restart Apache

service httpd restart

To Find large files

du -h | grep [0-9]G

How to run Weblizer without Waiting


How to zip and unzip files

To zip-up a folder:
tar cf - /Folder | compress >ZipFile

To unzip an archive:
uncompress < ZipFile | tar xf -

• The Amateur Webmaster

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, April 9, 2003
Last Modified: 4/9/2003


Documenting Lost Cultures Durable Link to this BLOG
Documenting Lost Cultures

The Photo Blog entry has some newly found photographs of tribal life.

Tribal Girl of Bastar Headgear Decorated with Flowers & Feathers
Muria Headgear with Feather PlummetTattoos of a Tribal Woman

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 11, 2003
Last Modified: 4/11/2003


Large Format Pictures Durable Link to this BLOG
30 Down, 10 To Go

As the deadline to the Software-to-Firmware contest approaches, I am among the top three to make a cool $1000. I have lost about 30 pounds (16% of my original weight). I hope to lose another 10, to finish at the top.

OK, I said cool thousand bucks; not easy thousand bucks. ;-- )

Size Matters

While building Kamat's Potpourri, I optimize the pictures for fast downloads even on dial-up net connections, and to be visible even on smaller computer screens.

But some pictures are better seen in bigger sizes, because they contain complex visual details.

Hence I have opened a separate section on Large Format Pictures.

I've also added lots of new contents.

SimplyBlog Update

For those who have requested the souce-code of SimplyBlog engine, please be patient with me. I am proof-reading the installation instructions at this time...

Tax Day Notes

Many people consider April 15th as the day the year begins, because they think all the money they earn till April 15th goes away as tax -- depending on your tax bracket, it would vary I guess... but I do get the point.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 14, 2003
Last Modified: 4/14/2003


Kamat Memorial Durable Link to this BLOG
Progress on Bappa Memorial

The editors of Kamat Memorial Volume, have demanded (ägraha) that I write an article about Bappa, although the manuscript has already gone to the press! I must honor their affection and have started writing a few fond memories of my father...

I have also designed the version 2.0 of the coverpage for the volume. Thanks to Amma for pointing out the typos in version 1.0 and for improving the title. She liked my title (meaning a blacksmith, or a person who works at a laboratory) so much, that she has written an essay about the title. If you can read Kannada, here it is. She has taken the title to a whole new spiritual dimension, quoting the famous words of sage Basavanna. Wow!

Cover Page of Kamat Memorial Volume
Cover Page of Kamat Memorial Volume

Kamat Hermitage and Kamat Library

Without much ado, we have established "Kamat Memorial Trust" to advance areas that were dear to Bappa. My family has donated land and material to build a library, where we hope to house Bappa's personal reference collection and photo archive. An adjacent building where Bappa intended to retire, has been commisioned as the Kamat Hermitage (Kamat Kuteer).

Gajanan Kamat
Kamat Hermitage
The Kamat Hermitage

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Last Modified: 4/14/2003


Links to Today's News Durable Link to this BLOG
News Links

Guardian: SARS Comes to India. It was only a matter of time..

UPI: Diet Doctor Atkins Dies -- For those who may not know, Dr. Atkins found a high-protein, no-carbohydrates diet (that is contrary to common wisdom) that has worked wonders for many people.

Link to Dr. Atkin's Book at Amazon (Price: $4.79)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, April 17, 2003
Last Modified: 4/17/2003


Something About My Face... Durable Link to this BLOG
Something About My Face

There must be something about my face.

Portrait of Vikas Kamat

I grew up in a small town where everybody knew everybody. As a result, there was not much room for mischief and misbehaving, because someone would immediately report us to our elders.

One day, the boys had an idea. Why not go to a different school and cause trouble there? Nobody would know us.

So we went to this other school (St. Thomas School, in Honavar for those who must know) on their School Debating Day as audience and started yelling. The assembled parents and pupils looked at us, but we were so sure that we wouldn't be caught.

Then a gentleman in white pyjama-kurta walked to us, sat next to me, and asked "Don't you belong to the Kamat family on car street?". I trembled with fear and started behaving myself. I ordered my friends not to disturb the function. 

"How did you know?" I asked the gentleman.
"He he he." He laughed. "It is written on your face!".


Once I was in a McDonald's in Florida and a bunch of Hispanic customers who didn't speak English sought my help in a resolving a dispute they were having with the manager. They wouldn't understand that I didn't know Spanish and in fact were upset with me that I was unwilling to help a brother.

I cant tell you how many times folks in Texas and Southern Florida speak Spanish to me. I don't even know enough Spanish to say No hablo Espanol (I don't speak Espanol).

Over the years I have been mistaken for an African American ("man of color"), a Greek, a Spaniard, and an Arab.


Last year, I auditioned as a model for an advertisement. There were lots of beautiful people there -- I had gone only on obligation, and today I am pleasantly surprised to see my picture on the cover of thousands of  catalogs!

"Why me?" I asked my contact, and was told that all the marketing managers had thought I had the "most friendly face" among the models.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 18, 2003
Last Modified: 5/2/2003


Turmoil in the Periodicals Industry Durable Link to this BLOG
Turmoil in the Serials Industry

Add the business of Periodicals (industry magazines, and journals) to the list of industries decaying with trouble.

Financial mismanagement and emerging technological innovations are the root causes for this turmoil.

Periodicals, unlike most things we buy --  need to be pre-purchased (see Know Your Library). That is, you pay for subscription for a whole year much before the issue actually arrives. This works great for the vendor, but bad for the consumer. Take the case of now bankrupt RoweCom. Thousands of libraries, especially academic and public libraries (many of them were million dollar accounts) used to buy their subscriptions through this company, which took the money, but did not deliver the merchandise. Oops.

Technological Problems

The widespread availability of electronic journals and willingness of consumers to pay for them is the silver lining in the aftermath of the content and technology driven dot-com bust. But numerous problems are arising -- the publishers are twisting the arms of the buyers into signing these so-called Publisher Agreements before they can subscribe to electronic journals. Some agreements go as far as to limit an electronic-subscription to be read by only one individual (since when a magazine that my wife subscribes cannot be read by me?!)

There's also the problem of archiving. Let us say I subscribe to electronic version of TIME magazine for the year 2003. Then  let's say in year 2028, I wanted to read an old issue. Where am I going to find it? If it was a paper subscription, it would be in my basement.... The most agitating part for me is that these licensing agreements will not allow customers to cache and save the contents, even if they have a subscription.

I foresee a transformation brewing.

Of course, you know what Dave Winer would say. He'd say "Give every researcher and every writer a weblog, and let us dispose off the periodicals business." ;-- )

Actually that suggestion is not far fetched. All that is necessary for websites to reach the respect and prestige the print publications enjoy, is rigourous peer-review, and maturity that comes with time.

See Also: More Entries on Libraries

Links: RoweCom FAQ

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Last Modified: 4/22/2003
Tags: library


Misc Notes Durable Link to this BLOG
Indigenous Education Systems

This week we have added two topics on indigenous educational institutions. One is on Agraharas, a prominent Hindu community education institution like the Gurukulas, Muthas, and Brahmapuris which parted classical education.

The other section is on the Islamic community institution of Madrassahs and Maqtabs.

Of course, y'all do know about the Schools of the Jungle Kamat brought to light....

Don't Drop it on Alabama

I am volunteering today to clean a mile of the highway as part of the Alabama's "Adopt-a-Mile" program. My team, appropriately called "Control-Alt-Debris" will clean a mile of the road today costing us thousands of dollars, so don't even think of dirtying Alabama the Beautiful.

Fresh Blog Feed is now providing the feed of most recently updated entries, and while I have frozen further development of the Blog Portal, waiting for the launch of HumBlog, it was a very small change, and now it is importing the's feed.

Our Biggest Month Yet

April 2003 has been Kamat's Potpourri's busiest month yet. With eight days still left, page views have already exceeded the previous high of 1.7 million.

Tennis Forecast

I have a lot of tennis coming up. I am playing doubles today, singles on Thursday, doubles on Friday, an entire tournament on Saturday and Sunday at the Chace Lake Country Club, and then a mixed-doubles on Sunday afternoon.

So there might not be blog updates for the rest of the week.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Last Modified: 4/23/2003


Blogs are a Renewable Source Durable Link to this BLOG
Blogs are Renewable Source of Energy

No more updates this week, so please enjoy some older entries.

• Call of Cockfight Wager -- PoemBlog
• Revolution Ahead of Time -- Experiences of a tech. missionary
• Eulogy of my Grandmother -- Goodbye Kaki
• Overcoming Blogger's Block

Older Compilation of Even Older Entries
(Renewals in a loop)

• Thinking Outside the Blog
• Recycled Blogs

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, April 25, 2003
Last Modified: 8/1/2003
Tags: recycle


Symbols of Indian Art Durable Link to this BLOG
Symbols of Indian Art

The other day Charubala Annuncio of Outlook asked me a very interesting question, on whether art collectors in the West thought Raja Ravi Varma symbolized Indian art.

There is no doubt that Ravi Varma is a great Indian artist (his critics be damned). As Bappa wrote to me in a letter, "..his depiction of the beauty of the Indian woman is unequalled in Indian art."

However, IMHO the world of Indian art is far more bigger, deeper, and complex than one person or one school of art can symbolize. I told the journalist that Art of Ajanta, Arts of Belur, and the Arts of Sanchi were much more symbols of Indian art in the eyes of a foreigner.

But in the eyes of an Indian, Raja Ravi Varma is perhaps one artist who single-handedly stands for Indian art. After all, he is the one who showed us what Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati actually look like.

Statue of Lord BuddhaA Lady Playing Swarbat
The Lord of KailashDancing Ganapati, Belur Sculpture
Bodhisatva with a Lotus in Hand<br>From a Cave Painting in AjantaBharatesha Vaibhava (the grandeur of king Bharatesha)
Some Samplers of Indian Art.
Notice multiple time periods, art-forms,
multiple religions, and schools

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, April 28, 2003
Last Modified: 4/28/2003


Earthquake Survival Durable Link to this BLOG
Earthquake in Alabama

I woke up to a mild earthquake this morning. Of course we didn't know it was an earthquake, and we were rattled by the unexpected noise in the house.

I checked for unauthorized entry and animal (deer, rabbits, chipmonks, and birds are a common problem in my neighborhood) disturbance. There were sevral aftershocks as well.


The 2003 Konkani Youth Convention will be held in Austin July 4-6, 2003. You can find more info here (pdf) and here (pdf).

My friend calls these NRI (Indians outside of India) conventions as the modern Swayamvaras - the boy meets girl arrangement found in Indian mythologies . So if you are looking, be there!

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Last Modified: 5/1/2003

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