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Thursday, January 23, 2014

A terrible tragedy on the roads yesterday, yet nothing has changed today..

The news came in at about 8 AM yesterday.I was doing something on my laptop with the radio on and that was where I first heard it. It was said in a cautious tone - almost as if the announcer wasn't entirely sure of all  the facts and in retrospect I realize that it really must have been the case. All that stayed with me was that there had been a terrible accident on Qurum heights and they were awaiting more details.

Later in the day, it became clear, three children from the Pakistan School, Muscat  were dead and two were critically injured. Blood donations were called for and as the word spread, the shock and horror felt by all, slowly moved towards anger. Three children between 9 and 16 years of age had died and I'm sure that as far as parents of school going children were concerned,any of the dead children could have been someone they knew. Or even worse, it could have happened to any of their children.

To read more about this tragedy, please click here-

( Link Courtesy- Times of Oman)

People were very worried and they were also very angry.This feeling was shared across the country and this is where the responsibility of the press came in. All I saw today in the Press  were balanced and accurate reports that reflected all that I've mentioned above. 

This afternoon I drove down to check out the spot for myself, hoping against hope that I might see some change in the driving style and patterns  of people after news of this tragedy.   But I was wrong, because I saw no change at all. Things were as bad , if not worse than yesterday. People talking on the phone while driving, texting without a care in the world,cutting across lanes and tailgating other drivers who were driving at the prescribed limits.

Heading from Qurum towards Darsayt

In the  photograph  just above, you will see how the lanes converge and the rush during lunch hour can be really difficult.

The accident happened at a spot about two mins drive from here

Time will pass and the children will be buried, leaving behind a void that nothing and no one can ever fill. But what about the thousands of children who travel in  overcrowded buses day after day, month after month and year after year? Who will help them? More importantly, does anyone really want to help them?

As I said when I started this blog post, "A terrible tragedy on the roads yesterday, yet nothing has changed today.."

But since I'm a true believer, I will  just conclude by saying, "Where there is a will, there is always a way!"


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Website Hacked on the 31st of Dec, restored on the 1st of Jan- An interesting start to my New Year

On a regular day

It was a lovely end to the New Year and a great morning on the 1st of Jan. As I've done for many years before, I managed to click the last sunset of 2013 and the first sunrise of 2014 as well.

No appointments on the 1st morning meant that I could  actually de-clutter, so I tackled my phone, laptop, I pad and camera, ensuring that only the 'must have' files and pics were retained on those devices and  the rest filed away methodically or deleted entirely.

So far so good. 

Lunch , followed by groceries, stopping at my favourite spot  on a hill overlooking the sea to click the first sunset of the New Year as well.   

Later that evening, I settled down to answer e mails and review a few things that I wanted to add to my  website

which I've had for the last three years.

Dealing with that on the first day of the New Year seemed to be a good thing and so I clicked on the link. To my shock, this is what I found on the page. It had been hacked and the hacker had even left his name on it. A strange, hysterical thought arose in my mind as I recalled a particular scene in the James Bond movie 'Skyfall' where M  played by Judi Dench returns to her office and sees her computer, looking really odd. A hacker had taken over and had left his calling card- a joker's face....

And here's what my website looked like...

The hacked page 
The video with Arabic music playing as a backdrop against a black page

I  thought about it for just over a minute and then 'Whats app'd' Mohit Bhalla of X Pert Net Technologies, New Delhi, who had built this website for me  in 2010 when he was at Webcommerce. 

It was about 8 pm my time which would make it 930 pm IST and he could have been doing anything but he responded within seconds. In fact as soon as he had understood  the situation,  he offered to tackle it with me right away. 

Looking for help and finding it via 'Whats app' in another country, I really couldn't have asked for more!

We then worked on it non stop from our individual locations- Muscat and New Delhi respectively for about 45 minutes and I felt a huge sense of relief when I saw it back up and running. 
Restored after we worked on it for 45 minutes.Thank You Mohit!

So you see, there's really no way one can tell what lies around the very next corner.On that note, here's wishing all of you a very Happy New Year!