Goodbye Snubby

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To my beloved furbaby…

Goodbye Snubby

From the slumber of the night,
I woke up to the heart-wrenching sight,
Of you lying past your last breath,
Foreseen had I not, this moment of death.

I rubbed your chest hard,
Being your rescue lifeguard,
But my efforts were put in vain,
You wouldn’t come back to that pain.

The time had come to bid you farewell,
There were words unspoken for me to tell,
Deep regrets for which I apologize,
For one last time, we couldn’t meet our eyes.

I stayed beside you through your final journey,
Held your paw as you entered the crematory,
With hugs, kisses and unstoppable tears,
Life had made me witness my darkest fears.

As you left us behind, my brave warrior Snubby,
To a place with no pain, I wish you peace for eternity.
Do watch over us, as I keep you close in my thoughts,
Still trying to get over, the agony of your loss.

I really miss you, more than these words can convey,
Lend me your strength, take this misery away.
In reminiscing those days of your smiles and laughter,
I shall find the comfort to move on to life’s next chapter.


My First JLPT

Yesterday, 6th July 2014, is when I took my first attempt at a JLPT test. And since it was more than just a regular exam for me, taking the opportunity to share my experience for fellow aspiring students planning on it ahead.

JLPT-logo1The new Japanese-Language Proficiency Test has 5 levels: N1 to N5, with N5 being easiest, N1 being the toughest. One can take any of the levels at any time, there being no prerequisite criteria for any, with the choice being entirely on you and your ability to comprehend the language at that point of time. So if you are completely a beginner, you might want to go with N5. Or if you feel competent enough, go in for N4 or straightaway N3, or even later. Taking easier levels simply helps you judge yourself, so the choice is yours.

I took the N5, because of it being the simplest, and for the sake of getting a language proficiency certificate without too much effort. The time constraint was also a factor, as I’ve not taken any formal classes for Japanese, and preferred to self-study by digging out resources from the web, in my free time. In spite of it being the easiest comparatively, for a beginner it is still a tough one, especially the grammar and reading comprehension, if you have not put in a considerable amount of time and practice into it. I only seriously began preparing since 3-4 weeks before the test, and not being a regular either, because of getting occupied with other work often.

Day of the test:

The test in Mumbai was held at Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics in Vile Parle. Time to assemble was 8:15 AM, as the test begins at 9. The good thing about the venue is that it is close to the railway station, well connected by the skywalk.

On my way to the venue, I realized there were a few JLPT takers in my train compartment itself, sitting right beside me. Now that’s fascinating to know there are quite a lot of ambitious Japanese learners in the city who probably get motivated towards the language thanks to anime and manga. One of my online friends came down to Mumbai all the way from Ahmedabad just to take the test, and that was our first meeting in real, thanks to JLPT.

After reaching the venue at ~7:45 AM, I could see even more students, of all ages and ethnicity, crowding the college entrance. There were a few East Asian youngsters too, assuming they might be either Korean or Chinese. The chart put up for the seating arrangement showed that my seat number was the starting number for my classroom, hence my seat being on the first bench :’D What joy? Each one of the four of us friends got allotted different classrooms altogether, so we only met during the two breaks.

I wonder how those unfortunate people must have sat all alone in the entire class xD

Inside the classroom, there was the supervisor who gave instructions to the class periodically, as well as to anyone who enters late, about switching off the mobile phones, and how to fill the test sheets, etc. She was the only one who could speak Japanese with a Japanese proctor, also supervising the class and helping with the distribution and collection of answer sheets. Another proctor, Indian, and an assistant were also present in the classroom at all times.

Syllabus for N5:

The N5 level syllabus has:

  • ~110 Kanji (logographic characters borrowed from Chinese that stand for an entire word): These tend to be difficult for most students, but since I’ve been exposed to many of these over time, they are somewhat a piece of cake for me, and I can confidently score quite well in this sub-section.
  • ~800 Vocabulary Words: I was not fully done with these yet, so that is where lies the point of failure in comprehending complex sentences.
  • Grammar: Comprises of different tense forms, particles, etc. Once again, not so great at this yet, and tend to sometimes go wrong in choosing the right particle or form.

The test begins:

The N5 level test is divided into 3 individual papers:

9:00 to 9:20 AM – 25 mins of KANJI & VOCABULARY

9:50 to 10:40 AM – 50 mins of GRAMMAR & READING COMPREHENSION

11:15 to 11:45 AM – 30 mins of LISTENING

At the start of the test, you are given 3 answer sheets, somewhat similar to these:

JLPT N5 answer sheet sample - Courtesy of JLPTBootCamp

There are 3 of these sheets, stuck one below another, for each of the 3 test papers. You are supposed to tear and separate them, to submit each one during the respective paper. Yes in case you weren’t aware of it yet, then the JLPT is entirely based on MCQs, there is no writing involved nor negative marking, which makes easier for luck to favor you in clearing the test.

Test #1:

It began at 9 AM, and it starts with questions on Kanji, which is my favorite section, hence I took it slow assuming 25 minutes is a lot for attempting ~36 questions. BUT I WAS WRONG! :’D My face when I’m around the 28th question and the supervisor alerts 5 minutes left! Totally wasn’t aware I’d need a watch for this test. So please do carry one to time yourself well, as it is easy to get carried away especially if you aren’t fast enough in reading and comprehending Hiragana yet.

I’ve done well in Kanji but cannot say the same about the vocabulary section, so fingers crossed for that.

Test #2:

The second test began after a 20-30 minute break, where I got to meet friends and share our screwed up experience with the first test :’D

You have to face grammar particles at the beginning of this paper, so if you aren’t good at them yet, don’t waste too much time and just choose what you think might have more chances of being the correct answer. Please remember to mark an answer for every question as you are going along, and not leave anything for the end, as I did for a few. This is because you will probably run out of time in the end and then have a hard time randomly choosing an answer or in worst case even not have time to mark them, especially if you’re on the first bench like me :’D and your sheet is collected first.

You will be able to revise your marked answer later as only pencils are allowed in JLPT, so you can erase them anytime, which is better than leaving a question without any answer marked at all in the end.

I guess this second paper also went just fine for me, probably a 40% chance in clearing it. The worst part is that at the end you get large passages for comprehension, and with a slow reading speed you are pretty much screwed.

Test #3:

The last test is Listening skills, wherein the entire class answer the questions together at the same time, so there is no issue of running short of time.

A CD is played in a tape recorder for the whole class, and the questions in the paper are based on the audio conversations on the CD. Please take some practice beforehand with listening (there are samples on YouTube), as you need some amount of concentration with this. The conversations are not repeated so in case you couldn’t grasp a question, get over it and focus on the next one. There is a short break after 15 mins/2 sections of the paper, so rest your mind and prepare yourself to focus again. Keep yourself well hydrated.

Remember that you may use the question paper to scribble rough work, so you may want to at times write down stuff or strike off answers as the audio plays. I even wrote English meanings above certain Japanese words, in the comprehension passages, as it feels easier to come to an answer using them. However, you need to return the question papers after every test, so use them accordingly. 😛

I was able to understand most of the Listening, though not always come to a definite answer, so once again I might say I have a 50-60% of clearing this section.


Overall, I can say I had fun taking the test, and it has certainly improved my comprehending the language quite more than before. In the end, it’s not the result that matters, but your own progress with the language. It’s okay if you fail your first level, you can retake it next time, or you can directly jump to the next level if your preparation is even better. All that matters is using the tests (held twice a year) as a motivation to keep progressing at your own pace. People keep jumping or retaking levels as and how they feel like depending on how qualified they feel at that moment. But of course, getting a certificate upon clearing a level is one great feeling. 🙂

Protip: Do take sample paper tests beforehand, as I believe they help you in answering the questions faster, if you have the practice. As well as there are questions that get repeated at times, just like I saw familiar ones in my own test papers.

If you want any help in preparing for N5, you can contact me for a large collection of resources I’ve gathered over time. 


Get Nexus 5 features KitKat ROM on your Nexus 4

Android 4.4 KitKat is a beautiful and smoother experience from Jellybean. While as of writing this post, it is only officially available for the Nexus 5. Those of us on the Nexus 4, 7 and 10 shall be getting it in “the coming weeks” as announced. However, if you can’t wait long enough to taste the sweetness of KitKat, here’s how you can get it on your Nexus 4. Nexus 7 and 10 should be a similar procedure, just check your XDA for it.

The official KitKat factory image is here. However, Google has excluded the beautiful transparency in the launcher and lock screen on the stock ROM. To get all the features of Nexus 5 on your 4, try this ported ROM that combines official Nexus 4 KitKat binaries with Nexus 5 features.

1. If you’re on a stock ROM like 4.3 and haven’t yet unlocked bootloader or rooted your phone, here’s an easy way. Download Wug’s Nexus Toolkit. Once done, simply connect your phone, and follow the initial steps shown in the toolkit, to grant USB debugging access to your computer (if on 4.3).

Next, unlock your bootloader and root the phone, using the options in the toolkit.

2) Go to Options menu at the top and change Custom Recovery to CWM. By default, the toolkit downloads TWRP for you, however this doesn’t work with certain 4.4 ROMs like the AOKP, so set it to CWM. Then go to the toolkit main dialog and install the CWM recovery.

3) Now download the Nexus 5 KitKat port for Nexus 4 ROM.

4) Either use the toolkit for this, or simply paste the zip you just downloaded into your device, and then boot into CWM recovery to “install the zip”. Make sure to wipe data/factory reset and wipe cache before that.

5) Now boot into your newly installed KitKat! As of now you have lost root access. To regain it, download and flash SuperSU from CWM.

Please note that this is NOT an official update for KitKat, simply something that was ported from another phone, and hence things may or may not work, there may be occasional crashes. However I haven’t faced any kind of issues at all over the last two days that I’ve been using this. Everything seems to be working just fine.

Bon appétit! 😉

Nintendo 3DS – New Super Mario Bros. 2 E3 Trailer

The real sequel to NSMB DS is here, named NSMB 2. However, this time for the 3DS. This is kind of expected since the DS titles have to die in order for the 3DS to gain share. As I shared screenshots for this game 2 blogposts earlier, Nintendo has now released the trailer for the same.

The game isn’t that much of an exciting feel as much as Super Mario 3D Land was, nevertheless, it is quite something to look out for, to every Mario fan out there. If you’ve played NSMB endlessly and need a fresh new set of levels, here’s the game with it. However, fun additions are included, one being the always anticipated P-wing. The mushroom kingdom is also flooded with coins and more coins this time, making it seem like bonus stages all around. In fact collecting the most coins is one of the aims in the game.

EDIT: Co-Op gameplay

Realized this feature after watching the Software Showcase trailer for the game the next day. Now THIS, would probably be one of the big reasons to anticipate the game. I always wished for this feature on NSMB (1), because the multiplayer on it wasn’t part of the main game, instead a rather boring level to simply collect stars.

Look forward to buying the game this August.

E3 trailer:

E3 Solo & Gameplay video:
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Mumbai BEST bus price hike

If you’ve travelled by the bus today, especially at a peak hour, it is likely that you might have rode with a crowd of moaning passengers, ranting over the outrageous hike in ticket fares with effect from today – 27 April 2012. I personally was taken aback as well, when I was asked to buy a Rs. 13 ticket as opposed to the usual Rs. 8. And the Rs. 10 ticket now raised to Rs. 16, which is like 60% of a raise. The Magic bus pass is now Rs. 700 monthly and Rs. 2000 quarterly. Just a year back, the fares rose by Rs. 2, which was acceptable. But the new rise is just another hole, this time a much bigger one, in the common man’s pocket, in Mumbai. image With the sudden rising expenses in Mumbai, the island city as well as its suburbs, seem to be moving at a speedy pace towards a standard of living that only makes lives miserable for the local residents, mainly the middle class. With property rates also soaring sky high, luxury apartments amounting to crores of rupees, Mumbai has turned into the most expensive city in the world for its locals, an average Indian now requiring as long as three centuries of work to afford one of these luxury flats in the city.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS announced!

YAY! A new Mario handheld game, just within a year since the previous one, Super Mario 3D Land released. The sequel to New Super Mario Bros. for the DS, is here, however this time for the 3DS. Announced for release via Nintendo Direct for this August of 2012.

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I’m not sure if I should rejoice or frown at the fact that it is for the 3DS, since I don’t own a 3DS yet at the time of posting this, only a DS Lite. But I welcome the change in the console, if the game, compared to its predecessor, actually has something new that only 3DS can offer. Yeah yeah, the 3D is still there.

More Screenshots:  Continue reading

Music to my ears.. is back

Finally my second pair of EP-630s arrived today evening, from

Ankit had introduced me last year to IEMs (In-Ear Monitors). Well, quite a few others also used it, but he went a step ahead and straight-away gifted them to me. The most popular one of the lot, in the low budget range, the Creative EP-630 in-ears. Got them around September 2011. My first time plugging them into my ears was a bit.. uncomfortable, as I wasn’t used to ears being completely shut off from external noise, plus something being stuck into my ear canals. However, within a few days, I got used to them, and loved the totally new music experience that came along.. with added BASS of course! I began to enjoy BASS, which I didn’t care much about earlier.  Continue reading

Hathway Internet upgrade to 2Mbps

After struggling on the 512Kbps plan, as I earlier posted 2 years back, I finally got a chance to jump directly to 2Mbps. (The struggling part was due to crappy 10GB fair usage policy per month)

Hathway Broadband has been somewhat good at uptime and speed, however what sucked the most was their Fair Usage Policy on ALL plans, ranging from 5 – 20GB per month, after which you are dropped to 256Kbps, which is unbearable, especially for YouTube. But just last month, they came out with a plethora of new plans, probably feeling the heat from other ISPs like MTNL, with minimum speed 600Kbps after FUP.

I applied for the Flash 2 Max plan yesterday, which came in effect from today, with a speed of 2Mbps until 48GB, for 3 months, at a price of Rs. 2405 (incl. taxes). However, as initially it seemed too good to be true for Hathway, it really wasn’t.. that good, as I later realized there was a catch. The 48GB advertised limit was actually 16GB per month, for 3 months, crossing which you are dropped to 600Kbps. Every month, the 16GB cap is reset and speed is restored back.

Review: Pages seem to load almost instantly. On YouTube, up to 720p quality, the playback is smooth.

Cheaper alternative to this plan is the Flash 2 Lite, 26GB for 3 months, in place of 48GB. So per month FUP is 9GB in that case. Priced at Rs. 1800 without taxes.

Higher alternative to this plan is the Flash 2 Ultra, with 70GB for 3 months, priced at Rs. 2800 without taxes. 

More plans:

Sony Xperia Arc launcher for Galaxy Ace

This is the Sony Ericsson home launcher app from the Xperia Arc, ported to Galaxy Ace. While I was initially not so keen on trying out a stock launcher (owing to the fact that I dislike TouchWiz, and not a fan of Sense either), this one feels pretty good, mostly for the fun animations – the bubbles at the corners, the dragging of icons, the trash can giving two vibrates while closing the lid after deleting an app, and more. True, being a stock launcher, it doesn’t have the amount of customization options that ADW or GO or LP offer, but doesn’t hurt to try out.

For Galaxy Ace:


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Trying out Dominos Margherita


I always wondered how the most basic and minimal kind of pizza tasted at Dominos. I’m talking about the Margherita.

I had looked it up and discovered that Margherita was named so for it was made in commemoration of a queen. It also seemed quite yum when seen on YouTube cooking videos. However, just a few nights back I finally got a chance to try it out, when I wasn’t too hungry or in a mood to always go in for the usual topping pizzas. So I ordered it home, the Double Cheese Margherita however, as I knew a topping-less pizza would suck even more without adequate amount of cheese. Costed me Rs. 130 with taxes.

And all I can say is.. it’s not so bad. I give it 2 stars. The extra cheese saved the day. It was okay for a one-time trial. I’m never ordering it again. Because once you are used to pizzas with toppings, this one just feels dull to begin with. I actually felt the urge to throw in my own toppings over it, but then felt lazy to walk to the kitchen and fetch any, so just had it anyhow. I would rather suggest having 2 Dominos Pizza Mania Doubles instead at the same price. Boring experience yet happy to have tried it.

CyanogenMod 7 on Galaxy Ace

Back when my phone was new in the dev scene, around May 2011, there was just 1 custom ROM (VillianROM) which I played around with and ended up screwing up my phone and faced service center woes. Finally gathered up the courage to return to the flashing scene, after having dozens of ROMs out there for my phone now, and having gotten bored of the same old look and feel past few months.

CM 7 Galaxy Ace bootscreen animation

CM 7 Galaxy Ace bootscreen animation

CyanogenMod is one of the most popular ROMs out there for Android phones, and it being currently in RC stage for Galaxy Ace, I decided to try it out. Kind of pleased with the smooth window animations and power features available; however most excited about the Theme Chooser, which is one step ahead of theming simply your launcher, by applying new looks to your status bar/its icons/keyboard/and the rest of the system UI (best part being any MDPI CM 7 theme downloadable out there will work, nothing device specific I suppose). Quite a few bugs around the ROM for now, since it isn’t yet a final version. I’m having to mess around with the system files then and now. But surely try it out if you’re a rooted user.

How to install CM 7 on Galaxy Ace

I don’t intend to make this a detailed walkthrough post, but in case the snapshots tempt you, here’s a little setup in brief, assuming you’re an advanced user.

  1. You must be on a stock or custom Gingerbread ROM. (eg. KPE, DDKQ6, etc.)
  2. Install ClockworkMod Recovery for Galaxy Ace by copying the zip to SD Card and applying it from the stock recovery.
  3. Stock recovery will be replaced by CWM. Download CM 7 and fixes
    New stable version by FrozenAceTeam (Maps working now):
  4. Boot up CWM and backup your current ROM first (Make sure you have enough space on SD card ~300MBs else backup will be broken). Next, clear data/factory reset/cache. Install zip from SD Card and select CyanogenMod. After it is installed, download FM Radio Fix and flash it, if you require FM Radio.
  5. Reboot phone and enjoy CM 7!
UPDATE to CM 7.2

If you’ve already installed the above CM 7.1, here’s the update to it.

  1. Download CWM 5 and flash it in Recovery.
  2. Download  CyanogenMod 7.2-COOPER-KANG-AXEL-RC1 and flash in Recovery. Wipe cache. (Data wipe not needed since upgrading from CM 7.1) Reboot.
  3. In case you have issues with Google apps, flash GAPPS in Recovery. (If apps like GMail still force close, restore the previous working version using Titanium)


Sharing a few awesome snapshots of my CM 7 revamped Galaxy Ace. Themes applied vary.

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Which Bourbon person are you?

No we’re not talking about the Bourbon whiskey. The more familiar Bourbon, which are the sugar-sprinkled, sandwiched chocolate cream biscuits.

Britannia Bourbon

Until a few years back, asking for a Bourbon biscuit at the store didn’t give you much choices as you get today. Bourbon (in India) was, as far as I know, only manufactured by Britannia then.

Parle decided to step in and offer its own Bourbon biscuits, which I suppose was priced lower than Britannia’s. As I’ve read, it was simply Parle Bourbon earlier, and later they shifted it to their Hide n Seek brand and rechristened it to Parle Hide n Seek Bourbon. Parle also has a Bourbon offered in their Kreams range of cream biscuits, the less premium range.

Over the course of time, other players stepped in, such as Priyagold, and Sunfeast with their Dream Cream branded Bourbon. There are probably plenty others having saturated the market with more Bourbons.

However I’ve only tasted Britannia’s, Parle’s and Sunfeast’s offerings. At the time of writing this post, I seem to prefer Sunfeast Dream Cream Bourbon over the others. The inner filling feels creamier and the outer biscuit softer, as compared to the other two. After Sunfeast, I would prefer Parle (Hide n Seek) , for a somewhat better taste than Britannia.

As far as I know, Sunfeast and Parle (Hide n Seek) are both priced at Rs. 10, whereas Britannia has jumped back to its original price of Rs. 12, after staying at Rs. 10 to compete with Parle (Hide n Seek) for a while.

So which Bourbon brand(s) do YOU prefer? Leave your votes below. I’ve allowed multiple voting (upto 3 choices) for I know it could get tough to narrow down on just one option when it comes to food 😛

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The General – A Train War movie

Having summer holidays at the moment, and I considered it would be a nice habit to blog about the stuff I manage to do around in this one month.. well, the ‘productive’ kind of stuff. Actually, anything that doesn’t include just mere surfing and chatting around would be considered productive. Even watching movies or shows and playing games.

As usual I was channel surfing, and I hit upon this movie called ‘The General’, which was based on a train. As I’m already kind of obsessed with trains, I left it running. A few minutes into it, and my mom and me began to quite enjoy the comedic act put together by the brave soldier, jumping in and out around the train, improvising with stuff to overcome hurdles and obstacles in the way thrown by the enemies, to venture into their land to save this kidnapped lady on their train (the enemy’s train). It was kind of a war being made over running trains, however with a pretty humorous approach to it, rather than violence (which I wouldn’t have watched otherwise).

I later google’d up to find it was a very old film from 1926. Well, the black and white scenes along with no vocals and usage of speech cards between the frames for showing conversation, did make it feel like it was pretty classic. I guess I just got to watch it mid-way through the film, however it was entertaining, and also a different experience as it wasn’t a usual current age colorful film with sound and visual effects and stuff. Maybe I’ll watch the entire movie on YouTube sometime to catch up on the beginning.


Johnnie loves his train (“The General”) and Annabelle Lee. When the Civil War begins he is turned down for service because he’s more valuable as an engineer. Annabelle thinks it’s because he’s a coward. Union spies capture The General with Annabelle on board. Johnny must rescue both his loves.

CNN kid grows up with Halo, reviews 3DS

Credits to is the worst and one of the most immature video reviews I’ve ever come across. It’s.. not even close to being biased either, as any of the countless DS vs PSP videos I’ve ever seen. News people like CNN should definitely stick to just news, what they (might be) good at. Or at least hire a real hardcore gamer for review purposes, not someone (some kid rather pretending to be so young so as to have) ‘grown up with Halo’, LOL. That line still gives me the LMFAO lolwut?

Watch the CNN video clip that follows below to make more sense out of my statements:

That person has my sympathy. Seriously, I feel bad for his ignorance and maybe his fate, that had him live under a rock for the past 7 years or so. This is really sad and unfortunate for a news channel to have hired such a wannabe gamer.

Here, I needn’t say much, read one of the several rants that came up on the Internet about this:

Oh and if you’ve gotten this far, do check out all the 100+ comments on that page as well, that would save me time from writing the same out here on this post, lol.

I rather thought someone ought to have initiated a viral Twitter attack on CNN, and also this Halo ‘kid’, so as to make them feel ashamed and humiliated enough to stay away from hitting on real gamers this hard in the future (well except for the devoted Apple and Sony non-Nintendo fanboys who’d rather crave for more like these).

Disclaimer: I respect the guy for whatever tech reviewing he must be upto otherwise on his job. Not entirely bashing him at a personal level.

Link credits: Petey