Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

Now since we are in the final hours of the year we have lived and blogged, over hundreds of topics, have shared our views on variety of things that directly and indirectly affected us, in the hinal few minutes of this year that is still going on, I would like to wish the readers of this blog, a very happy and a prosperous new year ahead. Wishing you all the good luck and a happy life ahead for the year and the years to come. Once again, a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tapping the Sun: Progress Sheet-2

Some time back, I had shared with you all, details of a DIY project I am working upon. This project has been in plans and on the drawing boards for quite a long time. After years of planning and dozens of design changes, and of course, not much, but still a couple of thousands in investment [though the biggest chunk of investment is yet to be done], some days back, I have finally installed the tracker assembly on my rooftop. This means that the hardware part is almost over (almost, because I still need to install the Azimuthal rotation mechanism on the vertical shaft, which shouldn't take a lot of time, since I have planned how this will be done.)
Here are a few pictures I took before and after installation.

The part covered inside that black polybag is the gear and motor mechanism that will be driving the zenithal axis. For now I have kept it covered because I will need some time to assemble up the remaining things, on the software and electronics and control front to make it fully functional. The panel mounted is the 40 watt panel I had bought earlier this year, and am using to directly drive 3 arrays of 1 watt x 5 LED's that are currently lighting up the ground floor kitchen in my house, which needs light to be switched on, even in the afternoon.
This setup will help me test and refine the mechanism before the foggy days set in, which, if not done within time, will further delay the project by a month or so. And singlehandedly, (because my brother, who was quite enthusiastic till the prototype phase, didn't really get the idea beyond the drawing board, and has thus mostly abstained in the development of this project, since.) it will be hard to me to work on this for a couple months starting March. So, I want to finish the design, implementation and testing phase over this month (December), and have a new year's present from January 1, 2016.

What's been done: The Tracker platform is ready. Almost all of it has been done with crude tools with hands, and a power drill, except for the small bits of welding that has been outsourced. The electronics control systems have already been worked upon while making the small prototypes that we have been working on for around 2 years now. This means that part of the electronic control systems along with software is already there, all I need to do is to hook it up to this platform. The Altitudinal or the Zenithal tracking has been readied, which means that once I hook up the power cable of that DC motor to the motor driver, it will begin working. The Azimuthal tracking too has been set up, except that this has not yet been attached to the power systems, and the DC motor, and gearing mechanism for this is yet to be attached, but this one shouldn't take too much time, maybe, less than a week, if I work for around 1 hour everyday, in the evening, after getting back home, from office. In the last couple of days, I have also worked over the LDR based sensor assembly, which, I intend to use with this platform to provide inputs for an active tracking of the sun.

What's Left: As described above, most of the complex things have been sorted out. What's left is not much time consuming, but is definitely, money consuming. I still need to set up the Azimuthal tracking mechanism and the gear mechanism so that this could be called a Dual Axis Solar Tracker, as I wanted it to be. After that, I will be working on finetuning the Arduino code that we wrote for the prototypes, to make sure that it works as I want it to. Also, some more securing of the tracker platform needs to be done, to ensure that the really expensive stuff costing around 25K doesn't fall down two floors in the neighbour's empty plot, or even on my own roof, and get damaged. The money consuming part too is left. I am planning to hold a meeting with the guy who will help me get the two 250 watt panels for the initial setup, within this week or the next week. Next will be the Charge controller, which, I need to make sure that it is able to take in the power generated from the remaining two panels I have already planned to add in, to make a 1KW system comprising of 4x250watt panels, maybe, around 2 years from now. Also, I need to keep in mind that the charge controller should be a hybrid one, which accommodates input from both, the Solar array, and the grid mains, which will be charging the inverter battery from which the inverter will provide the power to run the appliances.

Future Goals: Though, it's too early to set up future goals, since, I am yet to set up the system, and make it functional, anyhow, I have something in mind, to expand the system over time, to try and be self reliant in terms of my electricity needs. For now, the system will have two panels 250 watt each, both of which will generate a combined power of 500 watts in an hour, which translates to close to 3-3.5KW through the day, if we take the most conservative figure for a sunny day. Further, I have planned to include two more panels of 250 watts my modifying the panel frame to accommodate two more panels and make the system a 4 panel one. Once this has been done, I will need to upgrade my inverter, and batteries too. The motive is to move as many appliances to solar power as possible. This includes the ones that are currently not running on my inverter, like the heavy wattage appliances.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Conspiracy Theories: The Stalker

You are browsing the internet, as usual. All of a sudden you come across a news article that talks about governments snooping on the citizens of their countries/states. You check and double check whether this news report has anything to do with you? Once you find that the article talks about some other country that has a robust security mechanism in place where almost all public places are being monitored by law enforcement agencies round the clock, throughout the year. This gives you a craving to check out your favourite movie download site or probably imdb to check out sci-fi movies revolving around the theme. You find movies like Eagle Eye, that has an artificial intelligence based system developed for US military that is supposed to track down and take care of terrorist activities around the world autonomously, but then the system somehow finds human beings being incapable of taking the best decision  and takes the matter in it's own hands. There are a lot of other sci-fi movies that have taken this idea of artificial intelligence and government sponsored surveillence to a new level and while the central idea of these movies was not really this AI or surveillence, but a good amount of possibilities revolving around the idea of AI systems going haywire and surveillence systems going in the wrong hands. Movies like those in the famous Transformers franchise, or the ones in the Fast and Furious franchise, particularly Furious 7 that talks about an imaginary surveillence program called God's Eye that can find anyone on the earth using a variety of tricks law enforcement agencies actually use in real life. You find the idea interesting, and the movies too have show the idea larger than life. You download a few of these movies, spend some quality time watching these movies on your home theatre setup o a lazy sunday afternoon, and then reach out to your smartphone to update your facebook status!

Okay, so what's the big deal about this idea, you think. Just to remind you of the depth of the idea of snooping, I would like you to recall the NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Wikileaks, and what all was released in the public domain about the activities of the security agencies of the United States of America! Okay, what's big about that? This relates to governments of different countries snooping and collecting intelligence secretly about each other, you crib. The matter settles down.

You forget the idea of snooping and secret surveillence being done over you in the daily chores of your busy life. Then one fine day, while browsing the internet, you come across another article, in some tech magazine that talks about something that relates directly to you. This in particular, is related to your gadgets, that you so fondly carry with you, all the time, in particular that android smartphone that is one of the most pampered gadgets you have. It gets to travel in one of your pockets most of the times, and stays closer to you than any of your gadgets. Through that article, you come across this link. If you are logged in to your google account on the device you click the link on, I believe you are going to be stunned at what you will see (given that you are among the majority of technically not that sound population, or are not an insider, or a tech blogger, blogging on the very topic of security). In case you still haven't felt the curiosity to check out that link, I will tell you, you will get to see a Google map showing some red dots, a lot in case of frequent travellers. What are these, you ask? Stupid, this is all the details of which all places you have travelled to with your darling android smartphone, and you so fondly updated your facebook status telling your friends and not-so-friends about your whereabouts. One thing that you probably didn't know about was the fact that everytime you turn on internet on your smartphone, because of one small permission that is recommended, and worded so cleverly that possibly dupes the user into believing that this permission is for something that will help you, and indeed it will help you. This smartly devised permission request will also mean that most of the users coming through this small harmless looking permission asked by your smartphone will accept to allow the smartphone to track the smartphone's location. You don't care what all data is being collected and where all that data will be used and where is it all accessible and how to get the same removed in case you want to. Then curiosity kicks in and you click one of the numerous red dots on that map. And bang! You get a more detailed view of your visit to this particular place, along with the date and time you visited there, the time you spent at this place and the route you took going to and coming back to and from this place. This is unbelievable, you think, and then you start clicking the other dots to find out that all your visits have been recorded by Google! Not to say that Google will use this for anything wrong, but the possibility is still there. What if a data like this falls in the wrong hands, afterall no organization is unpenetrable, the NSA of the USA as well wasn't!

Just the places I visited with my android smartphone, with the location history on. Ever since I realized that late last year, I keep it off on my smartphone.
This is when you realize how sinister this could be. Just one small permission on your smarphone resulted in so much data being captured about you. This is akin to a stalker stalking you, keeping a check on what all places you go, what all times you go to at these places, what are the routes you travel by. And this is when you realize how the Google Now App used to surprise you with the notifications at about the time you usually left for office, also showing the route that you usually took to office and the traffic information and alternative routes to your office.

There are ways out too, here. Google does give you option to tell them not to record your location history, and also give you option to delete all the data is already has about the places you visited, by visiting the above link I shared. To do that on your smartphone, just go in Settings, > Location, and turn off the top option, which must have been on, passing on all the details of your whereabouts.

To make this happen on your browser, be logged in your google account, and then visit this link. At the bottom of the page, You could see Location History is on, and a button to Pause location history.

This is not to say that Google will not keep a track of your location, as it has still got a variety of ways to do that, one of them is your search using the Google search engine, and other is the browser on your computer, one of them has the Google trademark too!

Keep your eyes and ears open, I will be back again, with more conspiracy theories!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The girl in the polka dots

Sometimes, some small acts from people you least expected bring in a whole great act of kindness in your lives. Even if it is just a very small act, which, when seen as a whole picture appears just like a small dot in a huge mural, but that small act from an insignificant looking person turns your life upside down.

The winter season was on its onset, and why wouldn't it be? It was almost late November. The weather was usually colder, and in the mornings, particularly, at the time when I used to go out for the morning walk, it used to be pretty cold. Since it felt colder, I now changed my time to go out for the morning walk.

Now this is where my inspiration came in. The sun was around the horizons, and the skies were shining blue above and when I was about to finish my workout in the park and started moving out towards one of the exits, I saw a small girl. The girl in the polka dots. She must be around 7 or 8 years old, and was wearing a white frock with big polka dots in pink colour. She was picking up something from jogging path, and was putting that in the small bag she was holding. As I reached her, I stopped by to see what she was picking up. The girl noticed me stopping, and turned towards me, and gave a smile, and turned back to pick up the next thing. As she reached and bent down, I saw her picking up the scattered pieces of plastic. It didn't look too unusual to me, as I had seen people, including some children too, picking up plastic and such stuff for a living, but in this instance, the girl I saw looked like one from a well to do family. Anyways, I brushed aside the curiosity and proceeded with my workout, came back home, and then went to office after a while.

The next day too, when I finished my workout and was about to leave the park, I saw the girl, again, and she was again picking up the plastic pieces from the path and from the ground nearby. Something struck me again. Maybe, it was my curiosity from yesterday that again cropped up, but I subdued it and moved over. Again the next day, same thing happened and I did what I did the previous two days. Now my curiosity in that small girl had peaked. I decided to ask her the reason for her picking up the junk from the park. Apparently this girl was probably in some situation which forced her to do this, maybe, for a living. The next day, as I reached the park for the workout session, I reached out for her directly. She was, as usual, picking up the plastic litter people had thrown all over the place. Now, I couldn't resist so I asked her - Beta, kya kar rahe ho? (What are you doing, child?). And to that question, I was expecting an answer that would have given a sense of needfulness, or maybe, proud. The answer came in, and it wasn't even the last thing I had expected. She said, Kuch nahi uncle, bas apni duty poori kar rahi hoon! (Nothing, uncle, just doing my duty!) Duty? I was stunned! All of a sudden it felt like someone had employed such a little kid to clean up the park? My tone now changed when I inquired her about who had asked her to do this (as a duty)?

Her answer was something that somewhat ashamed me. She said, - Kisi ne nahi, meri book me likha hai ki apne surroundings ko clean rakhna hamari duty hai. Mai yahaan khelne aati hoon shaam ko, apne friends ke saath. (No one, a lesson in my book teaches that it's our duty to keep our surroundings clean, and I come here to play in the evening with my friends).  Now, I was feeling ashamed. This was astonishing. A small kid learnt a lesson from her book, and she not only remembered it, but was actually acting on it, and we grown ups did a bit too little on the good things we want our children to learn and act on. I still asked her how much she expected to change alone, to which she replied, Kisi ke kuch naa karne se zyaada. (More than no one doing anything). But this was no time to feel ashamed and again do nothing. I saw her going back to her work, picking up the litter, in her small bag. I felt motivated to follow her. In our interaction of just a couple of minutes, she had become my role model, an inspiration big enough to keep me inspired for rest of my life. She was really #madeofgreat. She inspired me a lot, so much so that I was motivated enough to help her out clean the litter from the park, every morning, spending just around 10 more minutes in the process. For weeks, we worked together, but still today, I don't know her name. If I have to, I refer to her as The Girl in the Polka Dots.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Golden Dragonfly

A number of you must be knowing that I love gardening, and thus, have a small container garden on the top floor of my house in Delhi. Actually, this is what I could afford and hence this. Anyways, for all my love for gardening, I have a lot of plants on the top of my house, in earthen pots. Since there are plants, there are frequent visitors too to the plants. One of these frequent visitors was a golden dragonfly which I had captured.

These guys are very good at posing for photographs as it is not very often that they will make you run behind them to get good clicks of them. Also, once they sit on a plant, they like sitting there for a good amount of time to let you click them with your camera. This generous guy was no different. He gave me ample time while sitting on different plants to get shots from every angle possible. And here I present to you, some of the shots that I found out to be the best.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Socially (dis)Connected

It was almost 3pm when my phone rang. Out of lethargy, I was not feeling like waking up from the couch to pick up the phone. However, I stood up to reach the phone which was ringing relentlessly. On the other side was one of the guys whom I was to meet in the evening over a dinner. He's from our group of five friends. We have been friends for around six years now, actually, I was introduced to the group six years ago, otherwise the others have been friends for quite long. a couple of them have been friends since they were in primary. Anyways, he told me that he won't be able to make it up in the evening. All of a sudden I woke up and the slumber went by. I was now brimming with anger. "How can you do this?" I asked him? "It was you because of whom we had to reschedule this get together for today, and again you have this excuse?" The poor guy was now on the receiving corner. For the most part of our journey, I have been the one who incubates plans, and as it happens, it is quite a task to get all the guys on one boat at one time for such get togethers. Someone or the other always gives it a miss for a trivial reasons. I told him that it's been two years since we all met and had a good time. He just couldn't see the reason to meet beyond his "important task", given the new ways our smartphones and all the social networking applications provide us to be "socially connected". Still, I wouldn't give up. I told him that whether he comes up or not, we are meeting. Even if everyone gives it a miss, I will still go there the venue, and anyone who has a change of plans can catch up with me there, and hung up the phone.

Still somewhere down the heart, I still wanted to meet all the friends together, after so much of being socially connected, far far away from our places, homes, and offices. So, I let all the guys, including this guy know about his unavailability, over the social networking app we used to get together, and along with that, I shared this cute video that I had recently stumbled upon.

Minutes passed by, some guys responded, some didn't. Three turned to Four, Four to Five, and Five to Six. I reached the place we had decided to meet at 6:30 in the evening. As usual, being the planner, I almost always reached before anyone else in the group. Usually I gave them all a call asking about their whereabouts, but today, I was disappointed, so chose not to call anyone, and just wait there for an hour, or anyone's call before leaving. It was just about five minutes that a known voice came from behind. "Abe tu ke kar riya tha?" A line we picked up from a conversation of two guys in the washroom in the hostel we overheard while two of us were there. I responded with the reply the second guy in the responded with, and ofcourse, one which I can't put here (for reasons you might have guessed by now owing to conversations of two guys in a hostel washroom). Here was the first guy (or rather the second one) of the group. And the one whom I had least expected to be there. I enquired about the phone call he made earlier in the day. He said, "Yaar, woh video dekh kar apne purane din yaad aa gaye. Let's enjoy this evening together. What about the other guys?"

He was very right, the old days, when we were still studying, and when these "Socially connecting" applications hadn't taken over the feel of the real togetherness. The days when we could just scream our hearts out for no one had any valid reason to be missing from get togethers. Then came these apps which, though connected us with the people we knew, disconnected us from our "FRIENDS"! As usual, the other three came late by around half an hour, and as a norm we had, they had to pay a fine for that.

This post has been written for Kissan's Kissanpur – Discovering Real Togetherness campaign on IndiBlogger.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tapping the Sun: Progress Sheet 1

It's been around quite some time since I posted here. I would like to apologize to readers (if any), who came here looking for something, and finding nothing for almost a month). As you might be knowing blogging is not my mainstream activity. I work for an ITES company, and mid or September to the whole of October and then the month of March is one that is quite busy for us. and this is where I have been busy. What I came here to tell you about is an update on my Five Year Plan (even though, agency which gave birth to five year plans, here in India is dead). The Five Year Plan, because it's been more than five years since the conception of this plan started. I believe I have already discussed in this post, so, I won't be going on again to discuss that and waste your time. Just in case you don't know, I have provided the link to the earlier post, which discusses a prototype of the design, basically, testing the hardware and software that we were about to make operational.

What I wanted was to install a few solar panels on the rooftop of my urban home in Delhi, India. Now everyone who'se been to metropolitan cities must be knowing it very well the cost at which space comes in. The traditional ways of generating harnessing the solar energy and generate electricity are not that efficient since most of these involve placing arrays of tens of hundreds of solar panels (ofcourse, the number depends upon the planned electricity generation capacity, with individual homes like mine, installing one or two or more solar panels to mega solar power generation plants which span dozens of kilometers with Solar Panels mounted in such a way that the sunlight falls directly on the panel for the maximum amount of time. Also, there are some state of the art solar power generation plants which use various kinds of sun tracking mechanisms to try and maximize the output from the solar panels by aligning the panels perpendicular to the sun, which means, designing mechanical systems to move the panels on one or two or even three axis, tracking mechanisms which command the mechanical systems to move the panels in the most optimal positions to maximize the output.

I had wanted to do this for a long time. Just to give impeatus to my plan, and to find an inspiration, I had registered for Mahindra's Rise Prize - Solar Challenge, which asked the participants to do exactly what we were doing - i.e. build an affordable small-sized DIY roof mounted solar kit for household energy needs. While the contest was open to almost everyone living/working in India, from firms to colleges and universities, individuals, we (I and my brother, who is helping me with the project, with his better knowledge of electronics and programming) were kicked out in the selection phase itself. No worries, I was hell bent to do it, as the Rise Prize Solar Challenge was not the reason I planned it. My need to tap into nature for our needs had made me try to particpate in the Rise Prize Solar Challenge. What I guess is the fact that neither me nor my brother is an mechanical or electrical engineer, and we didn't have dedicated sponsor who would sponsor our project through the challenge.

Now, this project of mine, has come out of planning phase and has entered in implementation phase. After doing lots of mind boggling braistorming sessions over the design of the platform, mounting the panels and maximizing the output from them, to make the most of the investment, and a possibility of future scalability, I decided upon a design in my head. It was pretty clear to me but to the other stakeholders, my brother and my father, I had no good way to show them what I had in my mind. I designed a 3D model, but still it couldn't satisfy them with the prospect of the design working. This was when I talked to a cousin of mine, who is a mechanical engineer. He has taken a keen interest in the project since the conception phase, so he readily assured me of help as much as he could. Now what I got was something I had planned, though, not as exactly as what I had thought, but still workable enough to make most of them understand the design and concept of the platform.

Front view of the tracker-platform concept.

Back-side view of the tracker platform concept.
So, moving a few steps ahead I began working on the tracker platform so as to mount the panels on it. The challenge was to do this with the least knowledge of engineering and mechanical designs, a collection of very basic hand tools that, at times make working on these things a lot more challenging a task than it is with proper tools and knowledge/experience. Anyways, I have begun working on it, and the project is now in Fabrication phase. Hopefully, every Sunday, I will take it a few steps ahead, since Sunday is the day when I get some time out to do things like these. For now, I have placed the first bearing on the base. This one will be holding the axis that will be driving the panel through the 12v DC geared motor I am using. I do hope that it holds in there, and is capable enough to move the platform as a whole, since the capacity of the DC motor is not as much to drive the whole platform alone, so, I am using a geared mechanism in the ratio of 3:1 which will drive the platform in its horizontal position. The same will be followed for the vertical movement too.

Top view of the frame with the bearing mounted with axle and the gear mounted in it.
Top view of the frame with the bearing mounted with axle and the gear mounted in it.
I know there's still a long way to go before I am able to build something good enough which will resemble the concepts. I will keep you guys posted with the progress in the coming days.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mr. Modi, please spare our plates!

Respected Sh. Modi, this is the second time I am writing an open letter to you. The last time I wrote one was on the eve of the much touted Legislative Assembly Elections in Delhi. Since then, I have been watching things unfold. The Delhi government led by Sh. Arvind Kejriwal has had a mixed response, and the same is with your government at the center. Both having some good and some bad for me to weigh both the governments. I believe the Delhi legislative assembly elections had become a question of pride for you and your party, so much so that they had to bring in the Prime Minister of the country to do election campaigning for them. Such was the effect of Arvind Kejriwal that even after a lot going against him and his newly formed AAP, that, as much as I can comprehend, Kejriwal singlehandedly defeated all of you political heavyweights, including you, the posterboy of the 2014 Indian General Elections, who singlehandedly got the kind of majority your party got back then.

Cutting across to the present day, today, we are being ruled by you and your party. It's been more than a year since your party, after getting the largest political mandate in quite some time formed the government at the center with the promise to take India to the next level. A slew of announcements did show us some rays of hope, but everything has come back to normal. Nothing moving as was shown to us in your election campaigning during those times. It was as if you were the magical fairy from the fairyland with a magic wand in your hands and once you are united with the Prime Minister's chair, your powers will be complete and you will transform the country overnight. Forget about overnight, it can't even be a tenure of 5 years that will be enough to transform the country, as according to one of your party members, Modi will have to rule us for more than five years to bring 'achche din'. And here I thought, that even if I haven't voted to bring Modi to power, when he comes to power, I too will be able to taste 'achche din'. Appears that the achche din has turned out to be another "chunavi jumla", as was the promise to bring back black money and deposit a share of it in the bank accounts of all Indians.

There have been many incidents which showed increased religious intolerance among cadres of the government and supporting parties. A many of such people, for whatever their reason of voicing such an opinion, are sitting in chairs of ministers, holding important positions, and are regularly engaged in doing badmouthing for something or the other. Since I have already written about all this in the last open letter to you, I think I should now come up with what was my main motive for writing this open letter to you was. This time around, the issue is not just about some illiterates, criminals, foulmouthed fools ruling us. It has gone beyond what I as a citizen of world's largest democracy could ever accept. It's a question about my freedom. A freedom that I have as a human being. A freedom, that is not expressedly imparted to me by the constitution of my country, but one that I guess, no one has the right to impart it to me. A freedom that makes me all powerful to do anything and everything for it. It's the FOOD! Yes, the very food which, has inspired a lot of bollywood movie heroes to become thieves in movies in order to fill the empty stomachs of their hungry brothers and sisters, the very food which, according to one learnt politician turned actor was available for as low as 6 rupees in a metropolitan city like Mumbai.

The nightmare surrounding my food started with the BPJ-Shiv Sena coalition won the Assembly elections in Maharashtra. You put up a ban on sale and consumption of beef. I guess this had something to do with "gaai hamari maata hai". So, entire state of Maharashtra was devoid of beef. Did you or the BJP leadership or the RSS ever cared so much for the cows? I guess no. Had it been the case, we would never have face cows sitting on the roads jamming traffic. We wouldn't see them eating polythene bags which choke their stomachs, killing them, and we wouldn't have seen hordes of animal lovers sweating out there in milk farms of Mumbai, struggling to save cows from drowning in the rains and subsequent flooding in Mumbai this monsoon season. I believe beef is almost a staple meat food item for rest of the world. If I am not wrong, beef in the rest of the world, barring a handful of countries like ours, is just as common as we have chicken or fish. This, I believe was a step inspired and forced by the parent organization Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. I agree that in Hinduism, cow is worshipped, so you put up a ban on sale and consumption of cow meat in an entire state ruled by your party? What about pigs? Did your government ban the sale and consumption of it? Why is it that in the interest of your community, or I should say, to fulfil the motives of some self proclaimed savers of Hinduism did you not consider the natural right of human being? The right to food! The right to eat whatever they please (ofcourse, sans other human beings, since there are laws in place prohibiting it). Why did you not consider that you are beginning a whole big debate, something that would bring in a storm wherein you and your government will be in the eye of it? What gives you the right to control what we would eat? Is it the chair of Prime Minister of the country that you think gives you immense power to make us eat whatever you feel right?

Since that one decision to ban beef in one state, this has become a norm. There have been PIL's and for the first time in my life, to me, it appears that the judiciary too has become biased towards achieveing the nefarious motives of the government and the people who rule the government. There has been a sudden spike in such bans being implemented throughout. Some time back, we had a ban on Maggi, a near staple food for whoever was in a hurry. I miss my Maggi, especially since I have no one to cook for me these days. Maggi has been there for decades altogether, and the FSSAI just woke up to find excessive contents of lead and MSG in samples of it? Good that they woke up. But the question is, why now? And why ban this seemingly harmless thing, when there are dozens and dozens of things available for our consumption which are many times harmful than Maggi? Ever heard of Alcohol? Oh, I forgot. You have heard it. That's why you enacted a law in the state you ruled for so long to prohibit alcohol, making Gujarat a "dry state". But what was the bottomline? Well, I found it out quite late. Alcohol was not banned in Gujarat. It was just made illegal for the common men and poor who couldn't pay the government to get a license to drink it. Great. What a plan! You are selling liquor with the help of vendors who are paying you for license to sell liquor. Then you ask people who want to drink this slow poison to dole out money for them to get a license from the government to kill themselves, and you and your government ban Maggi? Do I need to say anything about cigarettes and gutkha and tobacco and pan masalas (oh, I had forgot this one completely, I don't know if you ever noticed this or not, but ever since there came a ban on gutkha, there's a tremendous increase in advertisements of pan masalas, that don't contain tobacco, and advertisement wise, they contain all the good materials, gulab jal from himachal pradesh, kaththa from somewhere, ruh kewda from somewhere else, elaichi from somewhere else, and something from somewhere else, and oops, I almost missed this one, saffron, which makes you drown in it's taste), pan masalas being sold by bollywood stars and non-stars as well, acting as NRI's who came to India just to have pan masalas and go out of India with their pack of pan masalas, and reach the heights of success and celebrate with pan masalas. And there seems to be some invisible source of money that is being pumped in these products which now have advertisements spanning anything between 20 second to a 40-45 second advertisement running in multiple times during a prime time show on national television channels, with small unseeable text showing a warning that "chewing of pan masala is injurious to health". I guess if Nestle comes out with such a label on the pack stating "eating maggi may be injurious to health", the FSSAI would have no problem with its sales. Nestle, are you listening to my brilliant idea? I believe this idea of mine is worthy of some royalties, isn't it?

Ok, skip it. I was on the meat ban. Well, in case you are wondering why my emotions are flowing out? Am I one of those who, according to one political party, should move out to Pakistan? Am I one of those who are fearful of the meat being snatched away from their plates? Am I one of those who sit in the opposition just to Oppose, just like you did when you were in opposition? The answer is no. Oh, sorry, for the first one, I guess the option to move out to Pakistan is more of a hate based than it has anything to do with my religion. Well, if Pakistan has politicians better than what we have here, I would happily move out to Pakistan, or any other country these fools want me to go. They seem to have forgotten that maybe, the ancestors of the very people whom these morons want to move out to Pakistan today, given the good lifestyle they have achieved, might have slained themselves to save the unthankful arses of their ancestors. They seem to have forgotten the soldiers who laid down their lives to save the country these fools now want to rule, sacrificed themselves for their motherland without even caring once that the ones they will save by getting themselves killed might be from another religion.

What I am afraid of today is, the smart plan that is being implemented. It had always been between Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Christians. The other religions somehow got ignored and thus out of the loop. So why not entangle Jains this time claiming a ban on all non-vegetarian stuff, meat, in the name of Jains? Why not widen the scope of hatred to include the followers of other religions that have traditionally stayed out of this business of hatred? The more divided we are, the more easy we are to rule. So we are here! On the pretext of a Jain festival, enforce a meat ban in an entire state(s). Try to guage the temper of people. This will come as a learning, to how to tackle them?

Sir, we are common men and women of India. We do not have a Parliament Canteen which provides us with a plate of Chicken Biryani for Rs. 51, or a vegetarian thali for Rs. 12.50. For us, even the cost of getting the ingredients for preparing a plate of chicken biryani will cost us atleast 2-3 times more than the cost at which you are having it. And tea is definitely not available for Rs. 1. More than anything else, our plates are already under a lot of pressure from the hordes of blood sucking hoarders and middlemen who choose to bite into our monthly expentidures by selling onions at Rs 60 a kilogram or sugar at Rs 45-50 a kilogram. Please don't ask about the pulses, and milk which, has become a new way to turn rich overnight. Every three months, we see a hike of a rupee or two in the prices of milk for no apparent reason. The milk producers from which, the world's largest co-operative acquires milk are still there only. Nothing has changed for them when compared to what all has changed for the cooperative. Yes, I am talking about Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited). It's Amul which decides to hike prices, which has a domino effect on all others, Mother Dairy in NCR regions, Verka in Punjab, Parag in Uttar Pradesh, Govardhan, and all other milk brands, as if they all are distributors of Amul, and are forced to hike prices because Amul hiked it.

I know this is not going to have an impact on you or your government or the decisions you take, since policy decisions are to be taken by elected representatives like you and your ministers, and I being a powerless, useless, usedless, needless, common man doesn't have a right to tell you, suggest you, or warn you, for what I or my neighbours did on the election day made me all I am today. But I would really like to request - Mr. MODI, PLEASE SPARE OUR PLATES!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Windows 10 Upgrade? Is it worth it?

A great hype has been created around and about the latest offering from Microsoft - Windows 10! So, is it worth upgrading to windows 10, Just now, more importantly while the Redmond giant is offering its latest windows OS as a free upgrade to anyone who is upgrading with a Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Windows 10. Should we? Should we not?
Just like a lot of other techies, I too wanted to have a hands on experience with Windows 10 as soon as I could get my hands on it. Apparently there were a number of ways to upgrade to the new Windows OS, it's worth mentioning that the best one is to do an online upgrade, wherein, the Windows Update downloads the specific files which prompt you to upgrade windows. Once you sign up for an upgrade, it starts installing the upgrade files once it makes sure that your PC is compatible with all the hardware requirements for the new OS to run without any problems. Infact, there's rarely a chance any modern PC's and laptops will not be compatible, hardware wise. Going by the Windows 10 Hardware requirements page, it appears as if an age old PC too will be powerful enough to run Windows 10. Pentium 4 on your mind? Well, I've got an Intel Pentium 4 processor still lying around, which is pretty much powerful to run the OS properly, given the minimum requirements.

Anyways, I got the installation of Windows 10 using a workaround I found at CNet, Thanks for that Matt, since I didn't get that upgrade notification, and as a matter of fact I still haven't got it for any of the other Windows 7 SP1 installations I've got, including Genuine ones. The 4+ Year old laptop I'm using is still powerful enough to run the OS and all the installed applications with all bells and whistles, so, I moved on with the upgrade. Day 7 since the Launch of Windows 10, I turned on my Laptop while in Office, and it started the download process there itself as soon as it connected to the internet over WiFi. The ~2.5GB download took around 2 hours to complete, and the upgrade process started. Now I chose to upgrade a second copy of Windows 7 on my laptop which multiboots with two instances of Windows 7, ofcourse for safety purpose, in the unlikely scenario of one of the OS installations going kaput. Then started the loop of feature installations and restarts and upgrades and restarts. It took another ~2 hours to copy all the files, install all the features and upgrades, after that what I was presented was a rather stunning piece of Software programming and extensive work, for FREE! I was mesmerised with what I was seeing. A newly redesigned UI with the black theme, a new logo, some upgrades here and there. What intrigued me most was the kind of upgrade. Earlier, as far as I remember upgrading instances of Windows XP or Windows Vista with Windows 7, it used to be a clean installation, over the top of the present OS. You could choose to save the files, and all the folders by choosing not to do a clean install, but it wasn't something it happened here. The installation actually worked like an upgrade, which replaced just the system files, to upgrade the system to a new OS. All the other application installations, system settings, and all other things I could think of remained as it is. No change whatsoever. This was a welcome note. The re-introduction of the start menu, will be appreciated by a lot of people, though, frankly speaking, I never had any problems with the Metro UI and the tiles layout on Windows 8.

So, what are actually good with Windows 10? Well, there have been praises all over from all corners of the web, so, I'm guessing there has to be something that MS did to get all the praises. I somewhat agree to this fact. When compared to the not-so-popular Windows 8, I believe Windows was quite a leap ahead. To me, Windows 10 appeared to be somewhat a drastic measure to fix all the things people didn't like in Windows 8 or even in the subsequent service pack releases in the form of Windows 8.1. Personally, I don't have much of an experience with Windows 8 as I never moved beyond the Windows 7 OS that shipped with my laptop. Though, as I described I did participate in the Windows Insider Programme by installing the Developer Preview of Windows 8, and for the time (of 180 days) that I "tested" it, it was a refreshing change to the Windows 7, if one could ignore the drastic learning curve for general public had to go through with the Metro UI, the tiles layout and removal of the start menu. Other than that, personally, I liked all of what was rolled out in Windows 8, but that was not enough for me to upgrade to Windows 8.

This time around, with Windows 10, it's a different story altogether. With MS deciding to give away copies of the latest iteration of Windows free of cost to eligible devices running Windows 7 and 8 with latest service packs. This made the deal much sweeter for anyone looking to upgrade to the new OS, more so, with the support for all flavours of Windows 7 ceasing to exist, which meant no more hotfixes, no security patches, no feature upgrades, which also meant hardware manufacturers would also gradually leave out Windows 7 in future. With the rollout of the Windows 10 Upgrade Notification on eligible systems pushed through Windows Update, MS played a sort of master stroke to reach the masses. Imagine yourself turning on your computer one morning to see a notification which gives you an option to Download and Install Windows 10, that too FREE OF COST. Now who doesn't like free stuff? I do! But here ends the good thing. Microsoft built a good enough hype around its latest offering, with a lot of media coverage for the latest offering. However, I feel the implementation of this was a bit flawed. How? Well, if I cite my own example, I used to use two separate instances of Windows 7 on my laptop, something that I learnt the hard way when I upgraded  my PC to Windows Vista from good ol' Windows XP, which was quite dependable. Since then, I always had my computing devices running in multiboot mode, at times, running three different OS' Two Windows and a third one running Ubuntu. Okay, coming back to Windows 10 upgrade. I was being critical of the implementation strategy. Now the problem, that has happened with me is that None of the Windows installations on my laptop, the PC at home, and infact, no one I know ever got the upgrade notification on their own. As of writing this article, I am yet to get the upgrade notification on my laptop running a Genuine copy of Windows 7, that shipped with my Dell Inspiron notebok, even when Automatic updates are turned on, and I regularly choose to install windows updates. This says tonnes about the implementation strategies chosen by MS. Apart from this, the hundreds of workarounds to get the Upgrade Notification on our PC's also tells the story for rest of the world.

Now, moving forward to what's in Windows 10. I must say, MS did a good job. But that ends there itself. It wasn't something that I'd expected them to build upon beyond Windows 8. The majority of work was already done in Windows 8. Like the ability to pause file copy and paste operations. Some nifty additions like network usage monitoring was already built in Windows 8. With roughly 20 days of usage experience on Windows 10 under my belt, I can say one thing confidently. All MS did was to make the OS seamless throughout different platforms and devices. The fact that Windows 10 now runs on computing devices, notebooks, desktops, as well as tablets and cellphones, makes the experience on a PC running Windows 10 not that good. All I could make out was that my notebook was now just a huge cellphone with a landscape clamshell form factor, a big keyboard, a 14inch screen, and packing some bulky hardware including a defunct optical drive.

All I could experience was too much similarity to Android running on my cellphones. Almost all the interfaces, from connectivity options, bandwidth usage among applications. Even the OS is an 'app' based one. What used to be called application in previous version are now called 'Apps'. The new browser - Microsoft Edge is an app. When I search for something in the search bar of the start menu, it refers to it, if it is an application as an 'App'. I mean what's this fix about the App based ecosystem that you try to erase the line between the OS running on a fullfledged computer and a half baked computer in the form of Smartphones? Frankly speaking, there has to be a sort of delineation when it comes to our devices.

As of writing this, I checked the Windows Update to no avail

As of writing this, I checked the Windows Update to no avail. It still gives me this error that it can't go online. While my other browsers can.

Now, coming down to all that is wrong with my particular installation of Windows 10. Well, I installed it on my notebook. It all went well initially for the first couple of days. Everything was fine until one day I realized that none of the windows services could reach the internet. Other Applications or what MS now likes calling "Apps" could easily reach the internet. My Avast antivirus was updating daily, all my browsers were working fine, except MS Edge. Even Internet Explorer too was working properly. The store app failed with the well known "The Server Stumbled Error." Then the bundled browser "Microsoft Edge" couldn't reach the internet. My Windows last updated on 06-August-2015, probably the day I upgraded to it. Now it too can't find any updates as it "fails to check for updates." A search over Google turns fruitless as the internet is too obsessed over telling people how to upgrade computers running Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10.

Well, you are right, but for now, you are giving me a bad day.
And then when someone offers to help, like in some instances where I searched for the Server Stumbled Error on the Windows Store app, the solutions provided were all useless, atleast in my case, to say the least, and unrealistic for a regular user who doesn't know how to run the Windows Powershell in Administrator mode, more importantly when the search results on the start menu doesn't give you an option to right click and run it in Administrator mode. Now imagine yourself as a regular user of the Windows operating system. Why would you care for app registrations and stuff like that when the app itself came with your OS? There's no reason for you to bother about that, but MS has made us bother about that as well, as a number of "solutions" to problems faces, like the one with the store app, seem to be caused by this service registration corrupted or missing. But none of these have been able to solve my problems.

This is not all. I have been dealing with a lot of this. Start menu suddenly freezes, not responding to anything, which means you can't access the programs from there, no way to do anything from the RUN command too by pressing Win+R keys, no way to shutdown, restart or hibernate your PC when this happens, especially when you don't know where cmd.exe is located. Thankfully enough, you can still access the Windows Explorer, navigate down to C:\Windows\System32 and here you go with cmd.exe. The notification toolbar at times fails to show you wireless networks you could connect to.

Over everything else, there is too little you can do to fix it all. None of the fixes I got my hands on rectified the issue. The individual updates are no longer downloadable like they were in the times on Windows XP of Vista or even Windows 7 as Hotfixes. I believe MS is pushing fixes to most common problems faced by people out there, but then that's not for me, for the time being. The only resolution that appears to me right now is a clean install of Windows 10, that would mean I will have to do away with my windows installation of 3 years and will have to redo it all since I am now past the roll back windows time frame of 30 days, trying to experiment, setting it all right.

So, for anyone, who is looking forward to install Windows 10, I would say, please check out before you do that.

Friday, August 21, 2015

And I almost missed my flight

This is a work of Fiction written for Airtel 4G.

So, this is when I was on an official trip. I was sitting at the airport terminal for my flight. Since I was pretty early in reaching to the airport, to catch the 5:10 am flight, considering the fact that I had to reach the Airport which is about 15 kilometers away from my home, and I had to take up a cab or something to reach there, I left my home early. And luckily or unluckily, I got the cab as soon as hit the road, which in turn dropped me at the airport terminal in flat 25 minutes, pretty fast isn't it? Ofcourse, it was way too early in the morning for wise people to wake up, so, the roads were not clogged up as they are in the peak traffic hours, or even in the non-peak traffic hours and I was lucky here. Now I was in the terminal, through the security checks, in the boarding area, I was waiting for the boarding to begin. Getting bored, I decided to check out some videos on my phone using the Airtel 4G data network I had in my phone. I checked out Youtube, and scrolled and scrolled only to find what I wanted to watch. It was a comedy movie, and I still had around an hour and a half for boarding to start, or so I thought.

I began streaming the movie, in a full HD resolution, since that is quite a norm these days, and thanks to the great network and extremely high speeds provided by Airtel's 4G network, I was pretty much confident of a great movie watching experience before the boarding started, since, I had to kill time, while I waited to take off for my destination. I began watching the movie, half way into the movie, I realised something, and checked for the co-passengers who were all seated around. Time passed on, I again got engrossed in my movie, no distractions whatsoever, since the streaming was such great that there was not a single moment where the movie stopped to buffer the data, and appeared as I was watching from the phone's storage. People continued their movement, and I was busy with my movie. All of a sudden, I had a shocker. I checked out around myself. The faces had changed. No one familiar was there. To top it all, it was my name being announced, since I was the one who checked in but didn't reach the boarding gates yet, for the final clearance. I gathered my senses and came back to reality, out of the fantasy world of the movie. This was the last call. This was when I stood up, picked up all my belongings, and started running hastily towards the boarding gate, only to encounter a long trail of barricades making a snake trail for me to cover before reaching the boarding gate.

I had made it.

You too can experience the awesome network and blazing speeds of Airtel's 4G network . All you have to do is, if you have got a 4G phone, you live in one of these cities, and you are still on a 3G or the snail 2G network, you can reach out to Twitter, tweet with #GetAirtel4G, and a new 4G sim card will be delivered to your doorstep, free of cost. But please take care that you are not caught with a situation like I was in, and please do not use your phone, for whatever reasons, while you are on the road!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Confessions of a Foodie - Three Pepper Pasta

We Indians have been increasingly spending a lot on savouries, from other countries, be it Thai, Italian, Chinese, American, Mexican. It's almost always a delight to try out other cuisines, and for foodies, like me, who crave for good food, the hunt for something or the other to satisfy my taste buds has always been on. I have always been on the forefront to eat things, and if it is something that I cook and then eat, there’s nothing better than that. While I have been trying a lot of things in the Indian cuisine, and I’ve been doing that for a long time. I think if I say that I have been cooking (if it includes doing small things on the cooktop, like making tea), since I was say 12 or 13 years old, it won’t be an exaggeration. Much of the credit goes to my mother for encouraging me to cook, and again, ensuring that I am safe while I am in the kitchen. More or less, it’s been a good experience, though, I am not that good with turmeric powder, other than that, almost all other essential stuff like salt, sugar and chilli etc., almost always turn out to be in perfect proportion (barring a few instances).

Though, it doesn’t always turn out to be a good experience, trying to cook stuff that I don’t know much, by just following a few recipes off the internet or the food programmes, or recipes published somewhere else, so, I tend to add a pinch of my own twist to the recipe, wherever I feel necessary to do so, since many a times, I feel that things like cooking time in these recipes is a way lot less than what it actually needs. More than that, Cooking is more of experience driven than a text driven one. It is more of an art than being a work. You have to be creative and thoughtful when cooking for pleasure, or it will turn out to be a chore, which, almost no one likes.

Pasta, a dish thought to have originated in Italy, has increasingly been making way into the Indian palette, thanks to the fast growth of fast food chains and Pizza joints like Dominos, Pizzahut, Slice of Italy, etc. to name a few.  So, this was one when I decided to cook up something different at home. It had to be Pasta. I prepared the stuff, tasted it, and for whatever reasons, I liked it.

So, guys, lets catch up with the Three Pepper Pasta-My Style


Ingredients (for 4 persons)
Preparation time (1 hour)
Ofcourse, Pasta (Your choice, I chose Chifferi Rigati pasta) - 200 grams
Cheese - 100 grams (I chose to go with Processed Cheese Cubes)
Refined Flour (Maida) - one cup
Milk - 400ml
Water - to cook (boil) the pasta.
     Some veggies like Capsicums (Green, Yellow and Red) - 1 each
     French Beans - 100 grams
     Onions - 2 medium
     Garlic - 2-3 cloves
     Ginger - 1 inch piece
     Tomatoes - 2 medium
     Cabbage - 100 grams (We will need some undamaged (whole) layers for serving, and some more cabbage, finely chopped for pasta)
Salted Butter - 100 grams
Clarified butter (Ghee) - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Seasoning (Oregano, Chilli Flakes, Thai Seasoning)

First and foremost thing, the Pasta. As directed on the packet the pasta is to be boiled in water for a while, around 7-8 minutes. Once you have added the pasta in the boiling water, add half a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water. This enables the pasta to take in the salty taste while it is boiling. Doing this greatly enhances the flavour of your pasta. While your pasta is boiling, you can star chopping down the vegetables.  An important part of pasta is made up of fresh vegetables. Cut all three capsicums into square pieces. Once the capsicums are diced, move it aside and take up the onions. (TipIf you are new to the kitchen, let me warn you in advance, chopping onions will make you cry, quite literally. So, while you are at it and need to chop onions, you can use my trick. Before, you begin chopping the onions, you can peel it off, and cut it into two halves and dip the halves in water for a while, say around 5 minutes. This will make sure that the nasty onion isn't able to make you cry while it is being chopped.)

The three peppers.
All the ingredients at one place.
It's a go!
Cabbages, finely chopped.Onions, halved and dipped in water.
French Beans, cut in 1.5 inch pieces.
Finely chopped onionsTomatoes
All the veggies, ready.
So, now you know what to do with the onions. Dip it in the water, let it cry for a while in the water while you happily cut the French beans into ~1.5 inch pieces. By now, your pasta might have got boiled properly. To make sure, take out a pasta from the pan, and let it cool down for a while, and then try pressing it between your index finger and thumb. If it feels like made of rubber (i.e. bounces back and retains its shape, in case of tubular shaped pastas like macaroni, or penne, or this Chifferi Rigati), it's fine enough. Now, take a bite of your pasta, if it's cooked uniformly, you won't find any dryness inside. If there is dryness, cook for a few more minutes, else take it off the flame, and drain out the water. Congratulations, your pasta is boiled to be cooked further. The only things now remaining are tomatoes, that are to be cut into 8 pieces each, onions, which we had halved is to be finely chopped in long pieces and the piece of ginger, that is to be finely cut into long pieces, that will enhance the taste of the pasta. The garlic cloves are to be grounded well.

Now we've done most of the things, lets move on to preparing the Pasta base (or Pasta Sauce). Take a frying pan, preferably with a heavy base. Add the clarified butter, 1 tbsp. and let it heat up for a while. Once the clarified butter melts, and heats up considerably, add 1 cup refined flour, and now roast it for a while. Make sure that it doesn't turn brown, and doesn't form lumps. After a while, just as it starts turning brown, take it off the flame, and let it cool down for a while. Now your pan is empty. Add the milk, all of it, and let it boil for a while. Once the milk boils add the roasted flour and mix it well, again making sure that lumps don't form. And now add the grounded garlic cloves. Cook for around 5 minutes.  Now add grated cheese. 3 cubes will do pretty well, you can add more if you want.  Each cube is approximately 25 grams. Once you have added the cheese, cook this for a few more minutes, until the cheese melts.  If you somehow feel like the consistency of the sauce has become too thick, add some more milk, and cook it all for a while. Now add some salt. Half a teaspoon would do. Don't add it too much, just a bit less than what you usually like to have. Now add some seasoning, oregano, chilli flakes to the mixture and mix it well, an remove from the flame, into a bowl. You might want to clean up the frying pan, or kadahi you're using, as the next step will need a clean one or the stuff will stick in the pan. (TipIf even after trying too hard to make sure that no lumps form, you find lumps in your pasta sauce, you can take out the mixture, off the pan, let it cool for a while, and then make it go through a food processor or a blender, and everything will be sorted out. However this needs to be done before you have added any spices.)
Checking the PastaGrated Cheese

Roasting the flourChecking consistency of the pasta sauce

Adding the grated cheese to the pasta sauceAdding spices to the pasta sauce (oregano, Thai seasoning, chilli flakes)
In a clean frying pan or kadahi, add 50 grams of salted butter, and let it melt properly. Now start adding vegetables, begin with the finely chopped ginger, then add finely chopped onions, fry both till the onions start turning golden brown. Now start adding the remaining vegetables, French beans, fry it for a while, then add the capsicums, fry it all and finally tomatoes, and then the finely chopped cabbages. Make sure that the veggies are not cooked too much, just cook them enough so that when you have them, it doesn't feel like having raw veggies. Doing this will retain crunchiness in the capsicums and beans, and will taste good. Once all of it is added, fry for around 2 minutes, and then remove all the vegetables from the flame, on to a plate. Again put the frying pan on flame, add another 25 grams of butter (yes, salted butter), let it melt and then add the boiled pastas, and fry it all for a while (doing this for a minute or two will do). This is to provide a salty flavour to the pasta, and frying it in butter gives it a peculiar taste. Now add all the vegetables, some more grated cheese, 2 cubes will be good enough, cook all of it for a while, and then add some more salt to the pasta and vegetables. This one looks way colourful. One it's time to add the white pasta sauce we prepared a while ago. Add all the sauce to the Pasta, and the veggies, and mix all of it well for a while. Take it off the flame and your three pepper pasta is ready.

Crushed garlic clovesFrying the crushed garlic cloves and chopped ginger in melt butter.
Chopped onions added to the butter, to be fried.
Adding rest of the vegetables to be fried.
All the vegetables fried and ready to be taken off the flame.
Fried vegetables off the flame.
Frying the boiled pasta in butter for a while.
Add the fried vegetables to the pasta to be cooked.
Add the pasta sauce to the mixture after cooking the pasta and the vegetables for a while.
The Pasta is ready to be served hot.

You can serve it in traditional way, in plates sprinkled with seasoning like oregano, chilli flakes, Thai seasoning and some more grated cheese, or in a different way, using the cabbage layer as a bowl to contain the pasta, again sprinkled with seasoning, grated cheese and mint leaves. Enjoy it hot.

Plating the pasta, in a plate garnished with sliced capsicums, grated cheese, seasoning, and mint leaves.
Plating the pasta, in a plate garnished with sliced capsicums, grated cheese, seasoning, and mint leaves.
Plating the pasta, in a plate garnished with sliced capsicums, grated cheese, seasoning, and mint leaves.
Serving the pasta, in a whole layer of cabbage garnished with sliced capsicums, grated cheese, seasoning, and mint leaves.

Okay, now since you have spent around an hour and a half in the kitchen, it somewhat appears to be like been hit by a storm. Do make sure that you clean up the mess before your mum or your wife comes and finds out the mess you've created in the kitchen. Don't blame me afterwards! As for the pasta and its ingredients, you are free to experiment with veggies, and other ingredients, like if you could get your hands on olives, black and green, you can add those. Then, you can choose to add other ingredients such as exotic herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, or other exotic veggies like Zuccini among others. Bring in your own twist, afterall cooking is all about experimenting. Do let me know how did you find the recipe, if you prepared it at home.