Category Archives: Personal

Year 2016 at a Glance: An year of experiences

So Year 2016 proved to be a year I saw snow peaks for the first time in my life, went to a road trip, ascended to PC Master race and also went on to be a gamer, full throttle. This article is an account of things that shaped the year 2016 for me and the places I traveled to.

Rocket League became Life!

Right of the bat in Jan 2016, I was introduced to this game that was about to take my life by storm. I have wrote about Rocket League earlier. The most played game I played was Burnout Paradise which clocked around 137 hours. But as the year ended I reached a bit shy of 1000 hours playing this mother of a game. This game is the single most constant thing that happened to me in the year 2016. This was the game I looked out to play almost every night after I returned from a busy day at work. This was the game that taught me competing. This was the game with a steep learning curve, that made the wins deserving and the losses feel bad. It’s easy to get carried away, but I can’t ignore my experience of around 1000 hours that I poured in this game. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this game ignited the real gamer out of me.

Ascension to PC Master Race with Radeon RX 480 GPU

During the end of year, when I was completely hooked into Rocket League, I realize the one thing that was holding my experience of the game was that I didn’t have a dedicated GPU to handle the video graphic processing that my PC wanted to do. At this time, AMD came up with its new series of Radeon Graphics chips known as Polaris using the new 14 nm FinFET manufacturing process. It blew Nvidia’s technology and gave it a solid competition. It was here that I finally decided to spend my Amazon’s $90 credit to use and ordered the MSI’s rendition of RX 480 which I fall in love when I saw it the first time. I have wrote about my ascension in this blog. With this new GPU, I could now also play games like Quantum Break, with its time bending premise sure got me dazzled when I first played it.

Amazon’s Prime Video Streaming service:

In December, I came to know about the Amazon’s prime video service, which they launched for India. At an introductory offer of Rs 500 for a year I was lured in to try that. First month was even free. I wrote about Amazon Prime in this post and started with the series “Man in High Castle” and boy did it blew me away. What if Russian had won the world war 2 was an interesting premise and with the hint of Sci Fi, this easily got me hooked. It was a great way to end the year.

Tweasure Hunt in March:

On the evening of 11th Marc, when my friend Ankur told me about an activity being happening on weekend in Hauz Khas village, named “Tweasure Hunt”, sponsored by “So Delhi”. On 12th March, we convinced my former colleague Nasir (with whom I went to a trip to Kasauli last year) and Ankur’s friend Rahul to be a part of. What went on 12th of March was a trip I can’t really forget. The name of “Tweasure” hunt isn’t a typo since it was aptly named due to the fact that Twitter and Instagram was involved in the hunt and to score points. Running around in the market of Hauz Khas village, the four of us went on a trip to explore restaurants and shops and to try to complete activities for most scores. You can read more about the Tweasure Hunt in this blog and watch a video, where sadly we didn’t appear despite the fact that we were interviewed at the end of the day. :'(

Manali Trip in May

Then in May, Me, Ankur and Nasir decided to team up again for a trip to Manali. I just wanted to experience one thing that I didn’t do in my sane life before. That was to experience snow fall in first person. Was my dream going to be true? We had the weekends to find out. So out we went on the Manali trip via an AC bus booked by Nasir on a Friday night, and reached Manali the morning of Saturday. That day we booked a room in a hotel, wandered Manali and the market. The Mall road was a pretty busy street where we got to see a lot of crowd from all over India and even outside India. On this day we also went to Beas river, crossing a park.

Rohtang Pass

The next day we went to where I was suppose to go, “Rohtang Pass”. At around 13k feet, we reached there in a local bus and was astounded to see the peaks of snow covered peaks even before we reached the stop for Rohtang Pass. We had forgotten to rent snow boots and snow protective gear thinking we will be able to get that in the Pass. But we were wrong and no gear was available to rent on top of the mountain. There were no snow sports, or eatable stalls either. We learned that those were removed to make the Pass cleaner. But this disappointment didn’t stop us from making our way to the top of a peak. In our sports shows and no gloves, Ankur and me climbed to the top of a mountain, slowly and steadily. We were holding snow and climbing with our bare hands while taking enough breaks to let it warm. I knew the dangers of Hypothermia and didn’t want to be a victim of the same, hence precautions were necessary. While the excitement was trying to get the best of us, still we manged to safely climb to the top and take amazing pictures.

The 3rd and final day of Manali trip we made our way to Solang Valley, which is popular for various activities like Paragliding. We didn’t actually did paragliding since the price was not worth the 5 min flies they were providing. Yet we enjoyed wandering and posing for weird pictures that will be remembered forever. Overall our trip of Manali was a great trip and a good weekend getaway.

Dhampur Road Trip in October

My friend Ankur decided to celebrate his birthday in his hometown Dhampur, where a Ramayan path was also scheduled. So we went to Dhampur on the weekend on Ankur’s Yamaha FZS v2 bike. This was a road trip one of its kind, since I hadn’t traveled on bike with him for such distance of about 173 km. It was a fun trip. I recorded our journey throughout. We ate in dhabbas and took breaks for photography in between. Ankur’s family welcomed this seemingly alien looking me and I participated in reciting Ramayan’s verses. Together with Ankur we also went to wander the streets of Dhampur and visit temples. I got to eat some famous Dhampur food like, “singade ki kachri” and “moong ki daal“. This trip was such a humbling experience that I am glad I took part in. On our return trip we also made our way to Ganga ghat and we did a ride on a boat.

Road Trip to Dhampur

Dalhousie Team outing in November

This time, as part of the team outing at my workplace we went to the team outing of Dalhousie. Traveling together in a Bus we reached Dalhousie in an overnight. And while we stayed in Snow Valley Resort, we didn’t actually was able to experience snow. The place had a cool temperature though, enough to give chills at night. But that didn’t stop us from taking a stroll in the market in evenings. We visited Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary, which was nothing but a fancy park, no sight of animals at all. We also went to Khajjiar Lake and the sight of it was amazing. It was here that we did horse riding. It was my first time feeling like a rodeo. Riding on a horse’s back wasn’t the most comforting things I did while on the trip. Shopping at Gandhi Chowk Shopping Plaza was also a fun experience. I collected some samples of the taste of Dalhousie like pickles and chutney. Our journey back to Delhi was via train, which if you me at all must know that I loved every bit of it.

Khajjiar Lake

Trip to Nani’s village in early December

The year was about to end with a something unforgettable. The journey to my Nani’s home in a remote village of Bihar. (Nani = My mother’s mother). I took a long leave from my workplace to participate in the marriage ceremony of Alok, my cousin from maternal side in early December. My Nani is one of the coolest person on earth, who is still more active  than me and loves to eat and talk. She was a very active participant in all the marriage ceremonies and put everyone to shame when it comes to get their chores done.

My Nani village – Fish Eye Lens

The marriage ceremony lasted for days, where I got to travel to Patna and back and danced to the beats of Dholak and got to eat delicacies enough to make me reach to ninth cloud. I also payed a visit to Darbhanga with my dad to take care of some personal matters. Together it was an amazing experience that lasted a little too long when our return train got cancelled due to unexpected fog, and we had to book another train which also got delayed by a day. Needless to say, the manager at my workplace wasn’t happy.

In the end, not much changed in my life except that I gave my PC a new breath and got myself new experiences and memories that will a part of me for forever.

Kanatal Trip

Kanatal, a city in the state of Uttarakhand is nearly 300 km from Delhi. I made the trip there in mid December 2015 in hopes of experiencing snow. But alas all I got was this spectacular panoramas instead. I am not complaining since I did see snow, albeit it was possibly in far distance, stretching on Horizon.

In this first panorama you can see the sun about to rise. It was freezing at this time and I was waiting impatiently for little sunshine.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Finally the sun rose a little more and illuminated the distant mountains in its captivating sunshine.

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This is just enthralling.

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We also went to Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar on the way back. Ganga river flowing with all its almighty.

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Jaipur Trip

I went to Jaipur last year. And got these amazing Google Spheres. These are not perfect but I love the view.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Lodi Garden

Lodi Garden, a city park situated in New Delhi, India is a prime destination for many joggers, developed and “developing” families for a retreat.

From Wiki:

… It contains, Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad,architectural works of the 15th century by Lodhis, an Afghan dynasty, that ruled parts of northern India and Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of modern-day Pakistan, from 1451 to 1526…

I took these google sphere when I visited it first time. It shows the Bada Gumbad domb.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Recap: My Year in Blogging in 2015

My year in blogging in 2015 was a good one. Specially the start. I posted 2 posts every month for at least half of the year. Total of 27 posts were written in the year.

The first post, “Year 2014 at a Glance” was a good attempt in summarizing my experience gained in the previous year. I hope to write something about the year 2015 too, although not much have changed. I started to post the Google Spheres (panorama in 360 degrees) of the places I uses to visit. I found out that Google Spheres are a great way to look the places and as a evolution to traditional images. Its better than even a video, since Google Sphere is like a moment froze in time that you can view at your leisure. Only thing that supersede this are 360 degree videos that YT recently started to support.

In entertainment section, I wrote about few movies which made me awe. The Theory of Everything was a good movie on Stephen Hawking which I loved. Bajrangi Bhaijaan was a pleasant surprise from Bollywood. While the film Ugly introduced me to the direction of Anurag Kashyap in a good way. Predestination was one mind blowing film too. Since Heroes came out with a new season with Heroes Reborn, I recollected my love for the original Heroes in a blog. I felt pretty good about it too since I shared that on Reddit and got good response. I watched Star Wars in the last days of December so I may write about it soon, but only in 2016.

A lot of stuff happened on the technical side of my life. I migrated to a new host for my site. This year I created a series of posts about Ubuntu and aggregated them under a page “The Ubuntu Guide“. I felt pretty good writing about Open source and my understanding of how Linux works grew considerably. I reviewed the phone YU Yuphoria which my cousin bought. While on the other side, Microsoft also came out with a new version of its OS, Windows 10, which made up for all things wrong with Win 8. I helped my friend Ankur assembling a new desktop PC and I wrote about our experience in buying from Nehru Place and assembling it.

I wasn’t able to write about any new places that I visit, since compared to last time I only went to two places this year. Jaipur in April and Kanatal in December. But I intend to post a few Google Spheres about them soon.

Year 2015 in Blogging: A Report
Year 2015 in Blogging: A Report

Here’s the report from Jetpack summarizing my blogging in 2015. It’s certainly to see Aaruni being one of the top commenters on my blogs. I say thanks to the readers of my small but diverse blog.

Overall, leaving behind the last couple of months, where I became super busy, my year in blogging went good in 2015, and certainly a one notch up from last year. I wish I can write more blogs in the coming year.

Weird thoughts on a Monday night

My dear friends,

When the clock struck 23:23 today on the 2nd last day of March of the 15th year of 21st century since the time we started to measure time in positive numbers, I started to have these weird thoughts. I started to think how I am inside this box made up of concrete and mortar, and sitting on top of an industrial plastic moulded in the shape of a chair.

How am I pushing my fingers on buttons made of plastic which is passing signals to a box built with metal and semiconductors, which is translating electrons to photons on screen and being represented as a character.

I am not really sure why am I here on this 3rd rock orbiting around the sun also rotating around on its own axis, in this milky way of millions of bodies like our own sun, which itself is among millions of similar kind of galaxies, separated only by time.

I am a product of a countless number of impossibilities, few among which are the impossibility of life, impossibility of my parents being met, impossibility of my selection among thousands of sperms, and impossibility of me being conceived successfully in the womb of my mother.

Here am I wondering what is the purpose of such a product of life, which statistically doesn’t even exist in all it’s form, like so many things which doesn’t exist, like straight circle, or colorless red orange, or Mobius road on a 2D plane.

Here am I wondering what is the purpose of Time? Is it really to prevent happening of everything all at once, or for us to make sense of the only constant in our life, the change. Just like it’s hard for an ant to think about 5th dimension, can Humans really think about higher dimensions, dimensions that we can’t even think of? For us, to be a part of a simulation is a highly probable scenario statistically, but can we even think of the possibility of something we can’t even fathom to think of?

With all these thoughts in my mind today I can safely conclude that I haven’t even begin my journey towards understanding the rationale behind trying to understand the fact that I can probably never truly decide whether I have started my journey.

I probably don’t even exist, which begs the question, does my creator feels the same way, that ‘it’ can’t really ever know, whether his creator feels the same way about it’s creator?

What if I have lived this life, sat in this exact box made of exact same concrete and mortar, sat on this exact chair made of this exact industrial plastic, pressing the exact same keyboard buttons, and thinking these exact thoughts before?

What if this continuum of time is repeating itself again, and again and again.. like a pendulum moving to and fro in vacuum so that no single continuum can know what was it’s origin, and when would be it’s end? What if the big bang and big crunch were to be the two ends hanging at the either side of that pendulum motion?

Can we ever escape this reality? Or simulation? Can we ever be ‘free’ in the truest sense? Can we celebrate ‘Independence day’ where we would have achieved the freedom from motion of this cosmic pendulum?

I probably will never know and will probably write these exact things again after the big crunch, and the big bang, and even after that. I don’t know if whatever I said, make sense, but I do know, it must make sense to ‘something’.

Maybe if we can just find a way to pass information during two cosmic pendulum swings, after the end of one ‘period’? I will be searching for a way to do that. Would you?

– Your’s weird, Vineet.

Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple, also called Bahá’í House of Worship is a construction which is famous for its architectural design which is in the shape of a Lotus flower. It’s located near Nehru Place, in South Delhi, which is widely considered as major information technology hub of South Asia.

I have visited Lotus Temple many times before, but this I was able to capture this 360 degree sphere, under cloudy sky. Caution: A few legs would be missing in the panorama. As it turns out I am still a newbie when taking a Google Sphere is considered.

Click here to open this in Full Screen.

Taj Mahal

Yesterday I went to Agra to see Taj Mahal with 4 of my friends. I did go before but then I was a just small kid and didn’t quite recollect how it looked in person. Here are 3 Google Spheres to have an idea how it felt being there.

How the Taj looks just entering the premises, from a distance:

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Up close and personal:

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Relaxing by the sides:

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Pusa Hill Forest

Last weekend my friend Ankur wanted to pay Pusa Hill Forest a visit. This is located at little far from the nearest Metro station of Jhandewalan. The forest is spread along the Vandematram road. Here’s the 360º Panorama taken from Google Camera taken in the forest.

Click here to open this in Full Screen.

Rail Museum

Few days back I went to the Rail Museum in Delhi. It has a collection of many models of the rain engine that use to run on Indian rail platforms. Following are some 360º panorama from Google Camera. (Best enjoyed in Full Screen mode, click the Full Screen icon from within the Panorama).

Model of a platform inside the museum:

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The garden:

Click here to open this in Full Screen. 

The Powerful Engine:

Click here to open this in Full Screen.