Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat
I have two milestones to mark today.
First, the number of digitized pictures on Kamat's Potpourri have reached 8000.
Second, the number of monthly page-views on Kamat's Potpourri exceeded 2 million (was 2,300,000 actually for April)
for the first time.
Tomorrow is Weigh-in Day
In the Weight-loss contest that I am playing, I have crossed 25% of my original weight. It ends tomorrow, with the winner set to take most of the $1200 pot.
Tomorrow: How to lose 25% of your weight in four months. (Hint: I did it the old-fashioned way)
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, May 1, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/2/2003
|Tips for Losing Weight|| |
| Weight Loss Tips
I participated in a peer-to-peer
weight loss contest (I came in third after losing 45 pounds or 25% of my
weight) and am compiling some first person tips. These suggestions are not
revolutionary or new, because they are based on age old wisdom. They surely
worked for me - I went from 178.8 lbs (80 Kgs) to 133.2 (60 Kgs) in four
months. Also from a waist size of 36 inches to a size of 30 inches.
- Do not skip breakfast. This is important. If you want to skip a meal, skip
lunch or dinner, but not breakfast. I recommend bagels (with cream cheese),
cereals, eggs, and fruit. Avoid pan cakes, biscuits, and especially sausage
- Reduce food intake. I wanted to lose 20% of my weight, so I started eating 20% less. If
you usually eat five slices of Pizza, just eat four. If you drink four sodas
per day, drink only three.
- Avoid specific items that has high-persistence (read fat) value. I
ate Pizza and Hamburgers during the four months, but not fried chicken or
steaks. Eat no fried food.
- Consume at least one serving of a vegetable and/or fruit per day. Eat more
carbohydrates (like oats, wheat), grains (beans, pulses), and low calorie
meats (fish, turkey). Avoid butter, ice-cream, alcohol, and sweets as much
- Perform thirty minutes of physical exercise everyday. This can include
walking, jogging, working out, or sports (I played tennis four to five times
a week during the four months).
- Measure your weight daily, and note it down on a paper. This is very important because it is a daily reminder of your goals.
Some other contestants tried Protein focused Atkins Diet, Donating
Blood often, and Diet Pills. I don't endorse them, not only because I
didn't try them, but also because my way is the healthiest way to lose weight.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Friday, May 2, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/2/2003
|Charity Dinner Notes|| |
| Fundraiser for Head Injury Survivors|
I attended a fund-raiser for Alabama Head
Injury Foundation last evening and admired a segment of what-makes
America-great, that I had not seen before.
If I can use the term, it was an upper-society event with "cocktail-dress"
code (I didn't know what that was, but guessed correctly), exotic food (catered
by Culinard), and a lot of peer
networking. We met CEOs and CFOs who control Birmingham's economy, the attorneys
and FBI agents who prosecute them, and then run for public office, and the
lawyers who defend them. We met surgeons, administrators, ex-sports stars, and
many other rich people. The dinner itself was held in a castle-like house --
imagine a house where two hundred people can sit and have formal dinner, and
where the guests had to be driven to the house in a taxi from the lawns.
I know that many people would frown upon partying in the name of
charity. In fact my own upbringing taught me to treat charity as a duty and a
sacrifice, rather than as merriment. But my new opinion is that having a grand
party for worthy cause is wonderful. Because I feel that complex problems are
not merely solved by money, but by meeting of leading minds.
A Hilarious Side Story
Apparently, this fund-raiser is an yearly event and this year there had been
a change of the venue. A donor at the party told us that she assumed that
it was in the same castle-like house where it had always been and went there.
There was yet another fundraiser going on there for Miss Alabama Pageant, also a
formal-wear, rich people's event. Of course, she didn't know that and was
welcomed to the party. Soon she realized that she couldn't find any of her
friends and called a friend on the cell-phone (these houses are that big, you
really need cell-phones to talk to others in the same house) to mingle, and
realized that she was in the wrong location when there was "no kissing
frogs sculpture at the swimming pool".
So, got a black tie? You can party with the wealthy. Apparently it is very simple. Just show up!
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Sunday, May 4, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/4/2003
|What's New|| |
| What's New |
There was a SimplyBlog customer who wanted one blog authored by many authors, but the authors shouldn't be able to over-write/edit each other. Done.
It is implemented via merged blog feature. See an example of merged blog at Kamat's Potpourri.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Tuesday, May 6, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/6/2003
|Get TiVO/ Replay TV|| |
| Upgrade to 21st Century Home
If you have been waiting to upgrade your home to a 21st
century home, the deal you've waiting for, is here.
TV 5040 is only $199 (till May 11th. So Hurry)
They are about to raise the monthly fee for the program guide from $9.95 to $12.95 per month, like TiVO (and they're going from $250 to $300 on the one-time fee). But if you buy the box and register it before May 31st, you'll be "grandfathered in" to the $9.95 rate (or the $250 one-time fee).
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Wednesday, May 7, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/7/2003
|Kannada Blog|| |
| Kannada Language Weblog ?|
Recently I wrote an article for my father's memorial volume in Kannada language. I enjoyed writing in Kannada (although it is not my mother-tongue, it is the language I am most proficient with) and since then have been contemplating starting a Kannada blog, and rejuvenating our discontinued Kannada section.
I think I am going to to forego technological innovations, and adhere to our low-tech motif. So the entries won't be search-able, but you wouldn't need any fonts or software to read them either.
Why low-tech? Because I want people to read my blog. See what I get when I try to to read the high-tech Tamil blog.
Rediff: How to Create Blogs in native languages
Bollywood on TCM
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) pays tribute to the largest movie industry in the world by playing tweleve Bollywood movies in June. (See Complete List)
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, May 8, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/14/2003
|Mother's Day|| |
| Mother's Day|
Amma's Column: Everyday should be Mother's Day. I agree.
Mother and Child - Pictures honoring the motherhood.
Award for Kamat's Konkani Book
Kamat's 2000 book in Konkani language "Konkanyangele Kavikala"
has been chosen for Dr. T. M.A. Pai Foundation for an Appreciation
"...The foundation greatly appreciates Kamat’s rich contribution
through this well researched and well written book on the unique subject of Konkani Art which is a source of valuable and useful information to the Konkani community on their art heritage. " -- the communication said.
After hearing the news, I once again browsed through the book (Cover Page). The painstaking research and the efforts behind the book are truly heartwarming. Bappa has cataloged many of the temples on the Konkan coast, determining their date of building. His commentary on the murals is very intersting. Example: how can you tell the woman pictured is the wife of the donor building the temple, or that of Draupadi?!
Konkani Language Book in Kannada Language
How do you write a book in a language that has no script?!
For the aforementioned book, Bappa has used the Kannada script for the text, and you do run into the problem the linguists call impedence mismatch.
However, of the 136 pages in the book, 79 are full-page illustrations.
Once an Australian professor complimented Kamat's Potpourri website for "..breaking the linguistic barriers of India by using pictures". I guess, I can say that about the books Bappa wrote too!
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Sunday, May 11, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/12/2003
|Surf Log|| |
| Surf Log|
- Outlook India: The Princely Painter who showed
us what Hindu gods ought to look like.
- TopSpring Tennis Blog: Know Your Rules
- What happens after you drown the Ganapati idol? Prashant Kadkol provides a visual animation in
pudchya varshi lavkar ya animation. (link?)
- Detailed List of Bollywood movies to be shown on TCM in June 2003.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Monday, May 12, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/14/2003
|Indian Movie Festival at TCM|| |
| List of Indian Movies on Turner Classic Movies During June 2003|
June 5, 2003
||Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) A young man
follows the woman he loves to India to stop her arranged marriage.
Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri. D: Aditya Chopra. C 181m. LBX|
||Bombay (1995) Religious unrest threatens the marriage
of a Hindu man and a Muslim woman. Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala, Nasser.
D: Mani Rathnam. C 135m. LBX|
||Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) Three brothers separated at
birth come together to track a kidnapper. Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor,
Amitabh Bachchan. D: Mammohan Dasai. C 162m.
June 12, 2003
||Rangeela (1995) A young actress' rise to stardom is
complicated by conflicting affections for her co-star and her childhood
sweetheart. Jackie Shroff, Aamir Khan, Urmila Matondkar. D: Ram Gopal
Varma. C 143m.|
||Dil Chahta Hai (2001) Three friends have their lives
transformed by love during one marvelous summer. Aamar Khan, Saif Ali
Khan, Akshaye Khanna. D: Farhan Akhtar. C 185m. LBX|
||Sholay (1975) A vengeful police chief forces two
small-time crooks to hunt down the bandit who destroyed his family.
Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar. D: Ramesh Sippy. C 162m.|
June 19 2003
||Pakeezah (1971) A free-spirited young woman refuses a
prince's proposal for love of a man she only met once. Ashok Kumar, Meena
Kumari, Raaj Kumar. D: Kamal Amrohi. 146m. LBX|
||Junglee (1961) Young lovers defy the caste system to
fight for happiness. Shammi Kapoor, Saira Banu, Helen. D: Subodh Mukherji.
||Awaara (1951) A bitter young man vows revenge on the
two men who destroyed his mother's life. Raj Kapoor, Prithvari Kapoor,
Nargis. D: Raj Kapoor. BW 168m.|
June 26, 2003
||Mother India (1957) A family struggles to survive the
machinations of an evil moneylender. Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar. D:
Mehboob Khan. C 174m.|
||Do Bigha Zamin (1953) Family members risk all in a
move to Calcutta to raise money and save their land. Balraj Sahni, Nirupa
Roy, Ratan Kumar. D: Bimal Roy. BW 125m.|
||Pyaasa (1957) A young poet searches the world for
pure love. Guru Dutt, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman. D: Guru Dutt. 141m.
Source: Turner Classic Movies
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Wednesday, May 14, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/14/2003
|Interview with Vikas|| |
| Meet Vikas Kamat|
That's Kannada : Interview with Vikas Kamat (Kannada Language Content)
In the interview, Pradeep asks me many questions that many people ask me, and I have provided some answers.
My favorite one is:
Q: What are the inspirations or guiding spirits of Kamat's Potpourri?
A: I can't think of anyone other than my parents. Perhaps it was the will of providence. One of the pictures on our site has the caption "If the
Kamats don't do it, who will ?" In some way, this has been my guiding principle.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, May 15, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/15/2003
|XML Feeds for Blog Portal|| |
XML Feeds of Blog Portal
Instead of retiring and going away, the Indian Blog Portal just gets
better and better! There are a lot more new listings, I have fixed some bugs
have added the familiar orange button.
Although I have criticized
public XML feeds, I honor desires of our readers and am providing the XML
and RSS feeds.
I also hereby announce the first Kannada Blog "Eno Kamti, Helo
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Friday, May 16, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/16/2003
|Smelling the Flowers|| |
| Smelling the Flowers|
I have been taking time off to slow down and smell the flowers. Last weekend we hiked to the Peavine Falls at the Oak Mountain and this weekend, I will be on the Appalachian trail at the Great Smoky Mountains.
© Vikas Kamat
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Tuesday, May 20, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/20/2003
|History of Butter and Cheese|| |
| History of Butter and Cheese Making|
When Sister Noella Marcellino, a Fullbright scholar who is pursuing a doctorate in Microbiology and has been working with naturally ripened cheeses at the University of Connecticut asked me about the above pictures, I was also fascinated by the topic and since been
digging our archives for any hints and evidences. I have found a number pictures of milk products depicted in medieval and ancient monuments. Some student of
history must go through the period literature to find the ancient methods and techniques, although I believe that most of those practices have been embedded
in modern techniques through empirical knowledge passed on to the generations.
FYI: There are several communities (example: Goulis) in India whose only profession is making and vending milk-products. In some cities like Dharwad,
there are these Butter Bazars where milk and cheese is sold on the streets in heaps. These communities have maintained this profession for centuries, sometimes with very little change in their techniques.
Making Butter - Now and Then
On This Day...
Interesting Guest-book Entries
I have two amusing entries in our guest-book today -- one is thanking us
for a sexual liberation experienced (I have truncated the entry due to some
parts which might not have been appropriate for children). The other one,
perhaps by a young student simply asks: "if elephant is a god, why did
they chain it to the building?"
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Wednesday, May 21, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/21/2003
|Hometown Idol|| |
| Hometown Idol|
Ruben Studdard, the "American Idol" is from Birmingham, where I
I've never seen the show, but I do know the buzz
that's going around. The clothes he wears (with 205 which is the area code for
Birmingham) to the music he makes has sparked quite a few industries. I think
Ruben will be good for Alabama. Goody!
Another man from the city where I was born is in news today as well. This gentleman is atleast 125 years old!
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, May 22, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/22/2003
|Smoky Mountains || |
| Back from Mountains|
I am back from my enjoyable trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Still recuperating, and yet to go through my InBox...
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Tuesday, May 27, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/27/2003
|Keeping Kamat.com Alive|| |
| I'm Overwhelmed and Humbled|
One of the first questions when my father passed away was "What's going
to happen to Kamat's Potpourri now?" -- as he was the primary content
provider. I didn't know the answer then, and I don't know the answer now. But I
must share with you some of the most unexpected things that have occurred the
last few weeks.
First, Amma has taken the task of filling in Bappa's shoes and has been sending me the weekly
content updates, just like Bappa used to. The efforts taken by her to prepare these
contents are almost painful for me to bear. She's no artist or photographer, and
she doesn't have an able assistant like Bappa had her.
My auntie Dr. Sushama Arur also has been sending me content.
D.G. Mallikarjuna, an friend (and a disciple of Bappa, as he
has called himself in "My guru that I never met" to be published in
the Kamat Memorial Volume) sent me a catalog of birds from India that he himself
documented in the remote areas of Karnataka and Orissa. The articles and
pictures were specifically prepared for my use, and for possible use in Kamat's
Potpourri. He also sent me a fantastic stamp collection from which I can gather
so many ideas for new content development.
Today, another friend, Sudhama Shastri (we have never met, all our
contacts have been through electronic medium) sent me a carefully compiled list
of information, pictures, and ideas for adding to the website. The postage on
the packet alone was more than most people can afford. Another friend, Nainil Chheda of Directi.com, has sent an offer of web-hosting. I can't believe folks love us that much!
I am overwhelmed, humbled, and deeply touched by these gestures to keep
Kamat's Potpourri website running and updated.
Yet, I simply do not have the
editorial resources or time to live up to the expectations of family and
friends, so I am going to do what I can, while thanking them for the support and
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Wednesday, May 28, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/28/2003
|Calling SCO Bull|| |
| Calling SCO Bull|
I call upon the customers and users of SCO to protest SCO's recent maneuvers.
Their claim (that they own ideas of parts of Unix kernel) is without merit.
I have read the source code for Unix kernel. The critical and essential ideas of Unix kernel management created by Kernighan and Thompson have been in public domain for a long time, have been the subject of dispute and criticism among scholars and students of computer science for decades, and anybody who claims that they own those ideas are lying.
Things you can do to show SCO their place in the world:
Sell your SCO Stock
Buy one (just one) stock of SCO (here's why)
Switch your operating system from SCO to Linux
Stop testing your products against SCO's versions
Advise your customers the evils of doing business with a dishonest vendor.
When a company lets their lawyers dictate their strategies, and doesn't listen when the customers complain, it is destined for trouble. Just ask Unisys what hit them after their GIF patent strategy...
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, May 29, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/30/2003
|Blog Reality Check|| |
| Amma's Reality Check|
RealWomenOnline.com: Mom, Historian,
Writer, Intellectual -- features my mother this week.
Answering questions on India and weblogs, Amma says:
"India is a country of illiterates, of poor people, and of lack of
infrastructure. Talking about weblogs and relating them to nation building is a
"Weblogs are the fancy of a few people and in my opinion, they have no
role to play in India at this time."
The interviewer, Ashwini probably was as stunned and surprised as I was upon
this declaration. I've thought a lot about it since, and I must say I agree with
the opinion. It's not that India doesn't need blogs -- it does, like it needs
nuclear weapons, communication satellites, and computers [see
why], but their role must be seen with the overall scheme of nation
On a Related Matter...
"I found it distressing that to cater for the fancy of the few, the
rest of society was put to so much inconvenience and turmoil." --
that's what my father wrote in 2001 after noticing illiterate refugees
laying fiber-optic cables to build the Silicon Valley of India. "These
people have never made or received a telephone call in their lifetime!"
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Friday, May 30, 2003|
Last Modified: 5/31/2003
|Link Recommendations|| |
| Link Recommendations
I am busy with tennis (one of the teams I play has made it to the finals;
although I am not winning my singles matches, it's great to be part of the
winning team), so no blogging for while... but here are some links for your
- The latest issue of National Geographic has a feature on the untouchables
of India. Includes some graphic pictures.
- My wife's blog on
French Open Freedom Open
Roland Garros created for her tennis
buddies has become quite popular.
- CNN: A
terrorist is caught -- I was on the same block the day be bombed
that clinic in Birmingham....
The Lesser Humans
The National Geographic's feature is absolutely shocking and deeply disturbing. As the editor Bill Allen says, "The time has come for the denial and ignorance to end".
He goes on to narrate how graphic pictures of prejudice against Blacks in America aided the civil rights movement and brought about social change.
The defenders of the caste system will be quick to digress into the quota system (India's affirmative action), and customs like food habits. The debate is not whether or not the caste system is necessary or good; the debate is why fellow human beings are discriminated based on their birth.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Saturday, May 31, 2003|
Last Modified: 6/1/2003
|This is how I surf the web. Turns out
creating your own start page beats all portals, back-flipping,
personalized corporate pages, and book-marking tools.