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June 1, 2009

Your Monday morning cuppa HFI buzz!

What they do when they don’t do UX sense of freedom that movement in water affords is comparable to the experience of flying. He also notes the

HFI ke baahar, life ke andar - there’s a whole lot happening

health benefits – “it’s a good form of exercise and corrects

with HFIers outside of usability.

your breathing patterns.”

From music to gardening to traveling to theater and more –

Blogging is a hit with several HFIers. Sonal Waikul has been

the interests are varied and the pursuits many. Somras asked

blogging for the past 7 months. She has two blogs – one for

HFI staff to take a moment to share their interests and

poems and the other for prose

hobbies and tell us why they do what they do and how it

( She posts at least thrice

makes them feel.

a week, deriving satisfaction from expressing herself. She

Read on – the articles are as interesting as the interests

reads other blogs to get

themselves! And by the way, after reading this issue, if anybody is inspired to take up a new interest or write anew

“different perspectives of the same issue.” Charvi Sarfare

about an old one, Somras will be most delighted to publish

enjoys maintaining three blogs:

your piece.

a picture blog of her Charvi’s blog sketch



ake the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a

(, a design blog (http://

hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep and one about the “little life in

through you.”

everyday things” ( – Dale Carnegie

Taking Mr. Carnegie’s advice to heart, many people in HFI,

HFI has a lot of musical talent too. Vir Dasmahapatra has

Mumbai, have developed a variety of interests to keep

been learning Hindustani

themselves occupied.

vocal music since the past 5 A few people like adding color to their lives (literally!). Piyush Gopi,

years from stalwarts of the Jaipur and Banaras Gharanas. He also enjoys

inspired by his grandfather, started

writing bandishes (lyrical

painting when he was about 6

compositions) in the Braj

years old. He says that “it relaxes

bhaasha. To Vir, “each raaga

me and leaves me satisfied.”

is like a language with its own grammar and distinctive

Vir at his tanpura

personality.” Amit Gadkari likes participating in

Piyush’s work of art

art camps, which give him, “peace

Nikitesh Joshi is passionate about music and learnt to play

of mind” and an opportunity to

the guitar when he was in the 10th grade. Not only is playing the guitar exhilarating, he has also used it to “patao a lot of

think creatively outside of work.

girls!” He used to be part of a band, and jammed at his Others engage in athletic pursuits. Shimolee Nahar has been

friends’ places.

practicing karate for the past two years. She likes how “the art uses the body as a weapon of self defense.” She is now a blue belt and attends classes thrice a week. Chaitr Hiremath

Gaurav Lal is hooked

is a tennis enthusiast. She learnt to play when she was in

likes shooting the scenic

on to photography. He

school, and kept at it while at university in Phoenix. She finds

landscapes he

it, “energetic and refreshing; a good way to balance work and play.” Over the past four months, Ankit Shekhawat has been

encounters on his

experiencing the daily delights of swimming. He says that the

travels, but would also Through Gaurav’s lens

like to do a “model


June 1, 2009

shoot” sometime. He likes photography because one can

she moved to Mumbai

“capture the moment and frame a story with it. After a few

about 2 ½ years ago. She

years when you look at it, the stories come to mind.”

loves inventing recipes, “everything I cook is an

Some are bitten by the travel bug, like Sukanya Sanyal.

experiment. I learn that way.”

She visits new places at least Shikha’s baked delight

once a month. Her interest developed out of spending many a long, boring weekend

By Urvashi Rustomfram, Chaitali Desai and Caroline

with nothing to do. Her

D’souza, Mumbai

favorite trip so far was to Lord McLeod Gunj, near


Dharamsala, which she found very peaceful. There she witnessed a candlelight protest – “a river of light” -

ui likes traveling. She prefers the free travel with family or 2-3 friends

rather than follow the tour, since it

being held against China

Sukanya witnesses protest at

offers more freedom and she can

hosting the Olympics.

McLeod Gunj

have different experiences and fun. Rui’s parents also like to

A few HFIers have green thumbs. Geetaa

travel. They work at the university

Bhatt has a window

vacations. Since Rui was 10 years

garden, which she takes

old, there has been at least one

care of diligently. She

family travel every year. Recently, Bon voyage, Rui

likes talking and singing

her travels have been with friends and classmates.

and have summer and winter

to what she calls her babies, who are very dear to her. Anu Gupta Blooms from Renuka’s window

too has a few flowerpots

For Rui, the most important significance of travel is that she gets to share much happy times with her loved ones. Now with work, she gets to travel less frequently than before. But

that she tends to and enjoys watering and fertilizing. Renuka Pinto has a flourishing window garden. She loves to

this year is her parents’ 30th wedding anniversary, and so

“see them bloom and know I was a part of that.”

for her and her family that they can fulfill this wish soon!

Rui wants to gift them a family travel. Let’s cross our fingers

Renuka also loves reading historical epics. She is a part of Shelfari (a social networking site for book-lovers), where she

Jia, our project

gives online reviews about books she reads and recommends

manager, is also

books to other users.

fond of travel and photography. One

Prachi Mane has been involved in the activities of her local

month ago, she

Rotary Club for the past 10 years. She started out by

became a

participating in dances and now helps in organizing and

teaching assistant

conceptualizing events and dances. She says that it makes

for a photography

“me feel like I am using my free time productively.”

course. She goes Jia – shutterbug savvy to a primary school every Saturday morning to teach

Nitika Sood is famous for appearing in her custom-made

photography. The majority of the students in this school are

outfits, tailored and designed completely to suit her tastes. Her interest grew from helping her mother stitch salwar suits.

children of migrant workers in Shanghai, who cannot afford

Shikha Daga prefers to dabble in the kitchen. Her interest

This is a project organized by NYIP (New York Institution of

grew from a need for tasty food (dabbas are horrible!) when

Photography) and “Hands on Shanghai” (an NGO). Jia

high education cost for their children.


June 1, 2009

joined NYIP last November to pursue her interest in

different cultures, taste their

photography. Jia says that learning photography and getting

foods and see how other

to know friends with the same interest brings lots of fun in her

people live. I have travelled


almost all parts of India, experienced all kinds of

And I, Fang, am a

cultural styles, and some

Tae Kwon Do

places have really inspired

learner – nobody


can guess that from my

History is another great

appearance! But

interest, and I love to read

Tae Kwon Do has

about the past. I also like to

been a part of my

see the past in the form of

life since the winter of 2001, the first

Antiques – Rose’s passion

antiques, visiting old buildings, Fang – body and mind perfect

national and local museum and city memorials. I feel a sense

year of my university

of nostalgic pleasure while seeing such beautiful old

time. There was a famous Tea Kwon Do community named

monuments & buildings.

“Guantong” in our university with some Korean instructors who were extremely professional and experienced. I signed

From my mother, I have got an interest in gardening. Many

up because I wanted to learn self-defense and also because I

people take up gardening as it helps green the place around

wanted to train my body and mind to become strong.

us, and allows us to get in touch with the earth, a chance to create and get out into fresh air and sunshine.

Tae Kwon Do is “the art of foot and hand fighting.” As with other martial arts such as Chinese Kung Fu, Japanese Aikido

Gardening is not an expensive hobby and doesn’t require vast

and Kendo, the learner first receives instructions in ways of

tracts of land. I have a small area attached to my house that I

life such as courtesy, integrity, perseverance and self-control.

have developed into a beautiful garden. I make it a point to

Participants wear white uniform with a belt in different colors,

start my day with few small activities in the garden like

indicating the rank of the person.

watering plants, looking up for the day’s fresh blossom. This refreshes my mind and also serves as a good workout.

I practised Tae Kwon Do for about 3 years and got my blue belt. But because my right leg got hurt badly from kicks during

My hobbies give me what I need to cope with life. I discovered

a practice session, I didn’t continue my Tae Kwon Do journey

long ago that I could re-claim inner peace and achieve a level

in university. But I still practice some simple kicks and

of total relaxation through my hobbies.

punches in my spare time just to relax; it also keeps my body flexible and in good shape.

I spoke with Josh Levine and Mathivanan and discovered their interesting hobbies.

By Fang Liu, China Josh says, “I've recently joined, a writer's website created by Kevin Spacey. The site allows aspiring


obbies are a brilliant way of escaping the everyday

writers to upload their writing (screenplays, short stories,

world and taking time out for ourselves. Whether we

plays, novels, etc) for review by other members. Currently, I

enjoy gardening, traveling, bird watching, or

don't have a screenplay ready for review but I read other

something simple and quieter such as stamp collecting,

member submissions and comment on them.”

reading romance novels – what we do does not matter as long as we enjoy it. How we relax, reflects on how we cope with

Mathivanan catches the bus to Chennai on Friday night and


heads out for a late night play rehearsal followed by some late night festivities. “Needless to say, Friday and Saturday nights

To start off with my (Rose) hobbies, traveling is my passion.

are spent in 'high spirits',” he chuckles. “I work on play

Mostly I travel with family and friends. I like to observe

rehearsals on both Saturday and Sunday evenings besides

We welcome HFI buzz / project-related articles / technology & design news / reviews / creative writings / any other fun stuff at Please send in your feedback, suggestions and comments too.

somras which I also help out at a radio station and give voice overs whenever I can. I recently picked up a guitar and spend whatever time I get messing around with it. ”Of course squeezing in family time is important and being a bachelor cooking for myself in Pondicherry. I really love being spoilt with some home cooked food! If I do regret anything about my weekends it’s

Mathi in the limelight

probably that I don't really get enough

Sarit’s Photographs (To check out more of his photography,


go to:

By Rose George, Pondicherry


or the past two weeks, our detectives have been shadowing every member of the HFI Bangalore team. Their mission – to find out what the HFI Bangalore

folks are up to when they’re not working and what their passions are. A few questions needed answers. The detectives did find a few Chuppa Rustoms in our midst. The passions these Rustoms indulged in ranged from photography to theatre to sports to bikes. While some are so passionate about these activities, it could as well have been

Praneet’s Photographs: (To check out more of his photogra-

their alternate professions; others pursue them just to ensure

phy, go to:

they find comfort in being Couch Potatoes. So, without further ado, here is the detectives’ report… The Shutterbugs Photography is a passion for most Bangaloreans. Sarit, Atul, Narayan, Praneet, Iqbal and Vivek form the group that’s constantly talking about apertures, shutter speeds and so on. They are so passionate about it that one of them actually

Iqbal’s Photographs: (To

carries a camera with him all the time and is working towards

check out more of his pho-

having his own exhibition.

tography, go to: http:// photos/7273175@N05/)

Narayan’s Photographs Atul’s Photographs

somras It’s been close to a year since Pratap joined the Bangalore office and the most everyone hears from him is Cricket. But he is not just a mere audience to cricket matches like most obsessive fans. According to him, “I found myself with a bat in hand playing imaginary shots, scoring imaginary centuries in front of the mirror at age of 4 or 5.” (Luckily he survived that phase without someone classifying him as schizophrenic). He has been playing serious cricket through school and college years and continues to play for in the local league over weekends. In fact, he was instrumental in setting up the HFI cricket team in Bangalore. The Bawarchis Vivek’s Photographs: (To check out more of his photogra-

“Difficult times help discover great skills”. Yeah we know the

phy, go to:

world is talking about the economic conditions, everyone is affected by the recession. But HFI Bangalore made some

The Drama King

great discoveries in these trying times. These discoveries Pravin Roberts has

were about the culinary skills of many of the Bangalore folks.

been pursuing his passion for

So in difficult times, when they didn’t want to spend too much

choreographing as well

on ordering cakes for birthdays and farewells, or ordering food

as acting in plays like “My

for get-togethers; HFI Bangalore had people rise to the

Fair Lady,” “All Shook

occasion. Like Sarit who brought out his barbecue grill and

Up” “Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat”

cooked some great food during the Christmas party. Or Archana who helped cut cost (though it increased her cost)

and many more. Part of a

and continues to bake amazing cakes for the get-togethers.

well know troupe in Bangalore, they hold

Raising the Bar

shows in and around

The good thing about parties is that people’s hidden sides are

Bangalore for the CAUSE

revealed, especially when there is alcohol flowing and there is


nothing better if it is sponsored drinks. But then again difficult times make it difficult to go to the bars. Will that stop HFI

The spotlight's on Pravin

Not many from the

Bangalore? Not, if they can bring the bar to their doorstep!

Bangalore office have yet had an opportunity to watch Pravin’s performance, but after Tabita’s rave reviews of his last performance, all are eagerly

So when Sarit’s barbecuing skills came to the fore during the Christmas party, Anirudh was not far behind. He revealed his

waiting for his next opus.

bartending skills (which continues to be his passion) by making some heady concoctions and wicked cocktails which

The Sporty Kind

left even the sober ones in a tizzy. This then is the other side of HFI Bangalore. And they do plead guilty for sticking to their formula of WORK + LIFE = LIFE! By Vivek Dhage and Juhi, with inputs from Tabita Kurien, Bangalore

Pratap bowling… Pic credit: Sarit

We welcome HFI buzz / project-related articles / technology & design news / reviews / creative writings / any other fun stuff at Please send in your feedback, suggestions and comments too.

Somras 2009-06-01  

Somras 01 June 2009