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The Gujarat Trip - Day 2

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All of us were up and running by 6.15 AM, being told that Dwarkadhish Temple (the flagship temple in Dwaraka) opens for darshan at 6.30 AM.  The Hotel being close to temple, it was a two minute walk.  We could see the Arabian Sea in the horizon.

Besides many other items, cell phones (read mobile cameras) are not allowed inside the temple.  So we had left this in our hotel. There is a counter to leave your belongings but I am not sure if you want to leave expensive phones there (especially when "we are not responsible for your belongings"). The Dvaraka Pitha (also called Sharada Math,) adjoins Dwarakadhish temple.  (This is one of the four mathas that Adi Sankara had established).

The 6.30 AM darshan was quite crowded and there was quite some jostling to have a darshan.  There are separate queues for ladies.  Some of us were asked to take a "short-cut" which led us to the inner sanctum before others.  The darshan was good, though I felt the crowd management could…

The Gujarat Trip - Day 1

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It all started when my parents talked about wanting to visit Dwaraka and Somnath- two temples they had not had a chance to cover in the several religious trips that they had done.  My brother and I thought that this was a good opportunity to do a family trip.  The planning was set in motion four to five months back. The flight tickets were the first to be booked after monitoring the rates for a week.  The hotels followed thereafter based on reviews in TripAdvisor as well as the offers available in various online portals (like ClearTrip and MakeMyTrip).  
Winter gave way to summer and schools closed.  (Did we even have winter?  The days were unusually hot).  As the day of our trip neared, we saw that the temperatures all over India were higher than normal.  Gujarat was sizzling in 40s (degree celsius).  We hoped that it would not affect our trip much, though we realized we needed to have plenty of fluids and take precautions. 
Day 1
The morning of Tuesday, 11th April saw us taking flig…

Zootopia - a delightful watch

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I wasn't sure what to expect when my kid forced me to watch Zootopia.   Though I have had my fair share of good cartoon movies, sometimes they can get into your nerves.

The stage is set early in the movie when Judy, the rabbit, says she wants to become a police woman in Zootopia when she grows big.  Zootopia is the place where all animals - predators and prey co-exist.   Against all odds, Judy clears the tough selection process and takes the train to her place of posting - the first bunny to join police.  
She is assigned parking duties and has a run in with a fox (the sworn enemy of rabbits and much warned by her parents).   She helps nab a thief much to the chagrin of her Chief, who assigns her to a case of missing otter - to be solved in 48 hours.   With the help of the fox, Judy finds clues that lead her to the slow sloths, a gangster rodent, the crazy jaguar and howling wolves.
Is she able to find the missing otter?   Is the Mayor of Zootopia hiding something?   Can the anim…

Dynamic versions in build.gradle and consequence

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"Raghu, I am getting this error from this morning", says our android developer, on a Thursday morning.

Execution failed for task ':app:transformClassesWithJarMergingForDebug'. > com.android.build.api.transform.TransformException: java.util.zip.ZipException: duplicate entry: org/apache/commons/io/CopyUtils.class
"It was working yesterday", added the developer.

"Hmm! what did you change since yesterday?  Did you update Android Studio?  Or build.gradle?"

"Neither", said he.

"I also did a clean build".

"Let me try on my system", said me.  I updated the project and opened Android Studio.  I got the exact same error in my console.

"Are you sure it was working yesterday?", asked I.

"Yes, I checked in the source code.  It also built in jenkins", he said referring to our continuous integration tool, running on a linux server.

"Hmm!  is it possible that it works on linux but not Mac?", wond…

The Secret of the Druids

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The Secret of the Druids is the second book in the trilogy of The Mahabharata Quest by Christopher Doyle.   Having read the previous books of Christopher Doyle, I was curious to know what further secrets was the author trying to reveal.

Interestingly between the first and second book of the trilogy, the author released a mini-sequel.  It is in this that he meets up with his father's friend KS, who hands over to him a prism.  
The Secret of the Druids starts with a group of people trying to dig up a grave somewhere in present day Scotland.  They are frightened by the fire and light that emanate from the area when this happens.
Cut to the present and we have Vijay Singh, who is trying to understand what the prism reveals, along with his friend Alice and her friend, Saul Goldfeld. He travels to England to find its twin in the Museum.  Together they seem to provide inscriptions to some secret about Semiramis, an Assyrian legend.
The Order is behind the secret too, as is revealed when…

24 - the movie

This is not about 24 - the TV show,  the Indian version of which stars Anil Kapoor.  This is about the Tamil movie starring Surya that I got to watch over a  weekend.

The movie starts with Sethuraman (Surya), a watch mechanic discovering (or inventing?) a device that could do time travel.  He is ecstatic and celebrates with his wife (Nithya Menen) and his new-born.  His evil brother Athreya (Surya, in another role) gets to know of this watch and wants it.  In the process, there is a fight, Sethu and his wife are killed and Athreya crippled and in coma.

The child, Mani grows up oblivious of this.  He (Surya in the third role) becomes a watch mechanic.  By providence, he chances upon this time-travelling watch.  Initially he uses it for befriending Sathya (Samantha), who is studying in the City and comes to him to repair her watch.

Athreya comes out of coma. He wants to unearth the time-travelling watch since he believes he can go back and fix his injury with that.  He advertises a r…

Clifton Chronicles Finale - This was a man

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Finally, the last book of the seven book Clifton Chronicles is out.   Jeffrey Archer one of my favourite authors decided to publish both the sixth and seventh book in the same year (2016), perhaps to save users the impatience of waiting!


Cometh the Hour, the 6th book of the series, ended with Giles Barrington's wife Karin and her "father" Pengelley going to the edge of the forest and a shot being fired.  This was a Man starts from there.  Is Karin a Soviet double agent?  And does Pengelly kill her for double-crossing?

Emma decides to step down as Chairman of Barrington Shipping after having decided to sell her company off.   If she thought that that would give her time to spare, it is not to be.  Margaret Thatcher wants her to play the same role for Tories that Giles is doing for Labour. Party - help win marginalized seats in the elections.   Thus, we have siblings in opposing parties trying to get their party to power.

Harry wants to write a different book,  as his mo…