Sunday, December 21, 2008

F***

I met two friends this weekend.
It had been quite some time since I saw them.
Both had come down from US to India on vacation.

I noticed both of them using a four lettered F word very frequently.
When I knew them before, the word was not so common in their dialect.

It was not the same word used by both though; they were two different words.
One of the four lettered F word was 'Fish'.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Improper Initial Perceptions

A florist shop in front of a wedding hall made me think “Wow! What a strategic place to open a florist shop. Wedding guests can buy bouquet in front of the wedding hall and present it to the hosts.”

But then I realized that not many wedding guests would know about the florist shop in front of the wedding hall and hence they would have already brought wedding gifts along with them to the wedding.

So its not such a strategic place after all…!

* * *

I noticed a water tanker ahead of me, while driving my car, spilling bucketful of water every minute onto the median through the outlet hose, as the tanker chugged along the bumpy road. It made me think what a waste it is to the owner of the water tanker or the company that owns it to have lost so much water in every transit.

But then I realized that the real loss is not to the water tanker or the company that owns it but to the customer - to whom the tanker is heading - who has actually paid for the tanker full of water! So if a customer pays Rs 500 for a tanker full of water, by the time the tanker comes to the customer’s place, the tanker will be about three-fourths full of water and the customer wont even now it!

So all that water onto the median was actually paid by the customer of the company that owns the water tanker…!

* * *

There is a shop at the end of our road which is a part of a 3-storey building, and time and again the shopkeepers need to switch on the water pump to pump water from the basement sump all the way to the tank three floors above. Extremely irresponsible citizens that they are, not a day passes without them switching the pump off before water overflows from the overhead tank. The ingenious architect of the building has so placed the overhead tank that whenever the water overflows from the tank, the water spills directly onto the pavement - where the shop customers are standing - and also a little bit onto the road. The ingenious architect along with the irresponsible shopkeepers thereby has created occasionally an artificial water falls for all passers-by to see and feel!

So, there I am again, thinking what a waste, to see all that good potable water getting spilt onto the road for no reason.

But then I realized that although the water from the tank is spilling onto the road, it is actually not joining the drainage water of the gutter. Due to the slope of the road – should I say architected by another ingenious engineer? – the water just stays there at the edge of the pavement, stagnant. This puddle of water either evaporates by itself or gets absorbed by the earth to add onto the ground water.

So, although it seemed that overflow of the tank was causing wastage of water, it, in fact, was a boon to the ground water table, financed by the shopkeepers!

* * *

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thought on the Mumbai Siege

How can anyone be convinced that killing people is for the good...?
Isnt it common sense that making people suffer is a bad thing to do...?
Arent we all aware of what is right and what is wrong, and that that is wrong is not to be done nor followed...?
Do not we have enough issues to battle as it is, of survival amidst depleting resources, amidst irrational weather behaviors, amidst hunger and unknown diseases instead of killing fellow human beings for two-pence attention and two-day glory...?

There have been many blog posts on the Mumbai Siege, but I liked Krish Ashok's the best. Read them here and here.

The night when the Universe smiled...






Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Terrace

The terrace is the best place in the house for me. A decade ago, the view was either the sky or magnificent trees. Now, the majority is either buildings or light spilt over and onto the sky. The green trees are minimal and although sky is still there, the bright lights of the advertisement hoardings and the mall nearby eclipse the beautiful twinkling light of the stars.

The stars always remind me of what Yann Martel said in Life of Pi. God has made this world so beautiful in just two colours. The white twinkling light of the stars against this vast blackness of the sky. It is such a wonderful, wonderful sight.

Add silence to this and it’s a beautiful world of its own, shunned from the constant motoring noises. Add the perfect sphere of the Moon and subtract all the clouds and you are awestruck. Just cant help gazing and staring at the tranquility. There is a divinity, spirituality and universality about it all that cannot be explained.

Back in the days when Bangalore’s HAL airport was functional for commercial purposes, we used to have flights preparing for landing over our locality. Some flights waiting for their turn and hence circling, some in the queue and some opening up their wheels, ready for descent. Between 9 pm and 10 pm, there were at least about 10 to 12 flights landing. Apart from the natural beauty all around, this man made bird was another thing of joy!

I don’t know what is it about an airplane that fascinates me but it sure does make me stop my after-dinner-walk and see every time a plane hovers over my house. Perhaps it’s the magnificence of the human mind that has thought of such an engineering marvel to simulate a bird! But alas, now that the new airport is 40 miles away from my house, hardly any plane can be seen.

Well, I wanted to write about something else and instead the prologue itself became the content, although a trifle repeated! But I guess that suffices for now…!

Struggle?

Back in the days of me reading Tinkle, there was one short moral story which till date I haven’t forgotten. It went like this:

A king on his way to palace sees a poor man toiling away hard, hitting rocks with hammer, day in and day out, amidst bushes and thorns and sharp stones. Overcome by the poor man’s dedication and commitment to work, the king gave him lots of jewels as a token of appreciation. Overnight the poor man became a rich man.

The now rich man buys himself the best clothes and starts living a lavish life. Soon after, when the king was again going on the same way, he sees the now rich man, dressed royally, sitting on the rock, nursing his finger and apparently resting. When the king asks what happened, the now rich man says he was prick by a thorn and there was a small dot of blood on his fingers due to which he cannot work.

The king then realizes what ill effects money has on man. While the poor man used to toil hard amidst the same thorns for the sake of earning bread, the same man starts complaining of minor things when he attains the next stage of life and is uplifted monetarily.


This made me realize - apart from whatever the king realized - that the intensity and vagaries of a struggle become evident only when it is past and when the next level of comfort is achieved. Till then, it does not even occur that one is struggling, because such kind of toil is accepted as a way of leading life and taken easily for granted.

There are many instances that can be quoted. Nowadays, almost everyone has a mobile phone. To think of a life without cell phone suddenly seems so difficult and so unimaginable. And yet, men lived without it for centuries. The future generation – who are born with laptops and cell phones as toys – will soon be remarking how the olden generation were struggling in life without cell phones in the then era!

We all used to go to school or college by walk or cycle or public transport. Day after day after day after day. Monotonously. A long 30 minute haste walk, an uphill cycle ride, an overcrowded bus – all that seems so much of struggle as compared to driving to office in an AC car now or even going in the plush company bus with added cushion for extra comfort.

Similarly, carrying the backpacks to school seems such a struggle as against taking one notebook to college. Cramming for studies for monthly internal college exams seems such a struggle when going to office. Retirement seems such a pleasure after decades of office going struggle. So on and so forth…

Most of our older generations, immediately after independence, have really struggled to set up and sustain a family. People have fled villages and come to major towns in search of a job. There have been instances also of starving because of lack of money, of walking miles together and of cycling from one part of the town to another instead of commuting in bus due to lack of money.

Our own parents have gone through these hardships at one point of time. All of this seems so much of a struggle, and yet, at that point of time in their life, they wouldn’t have thought of it as a struggle. It was just a mere way of life, of existence. Question of whether it was hard or struggle or not just wouldn’t have occurred to them as there really was no other option. But on hindsight when life is being good, one remembers all of those instances and wonders how one ‘struggled’ so much!

Ditto will be the case with us. The simple tasks we are doing now will be even simplified so much more in the coming generations that a time will come when the next generations will be wondering how much we oldies struggled!

So. Are we struggling? Or are we not?!

Monday, November 17, 2008

8 to 5

It was a very long time since this had happened!

Same thoughts as expressed here...

If only there were no certifications to complete...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Titanic?

There is this scene in the movie Titanic when for a split second, half of the broken ship is exactly perpendicular to the ocean. Everybody is hanging on to dear life, holding whatever they can. But the gravitational pull is too much and everyone is slipping...

There is this situation currently in the world now where every other day we are hearing news of people getting sacked, companies going down, hikes and promotions being cut. The scene is almost reminiscent of the perpendicular Titanic with people falling down, one after the other, trying desperately to hold but not able to do so...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Goodbye Ganguly...

8 years ago exactly on this day Ganguly had made his debut as the captain of India .... and Dhoni is again letting Ganguly leave as a captain ... fabulous spirit

Farewell salutations to the game's one of finest players...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thought for the day

Another night dawns into a day...
Another day dusks into a night...

Monday, November 03, 2008

40k. More or less.

- Wanted to buy a new two-wheeler.
40k. More or less.

- Wanted to install solar heater.
40k. More or less.

- Bangalore to New York air fare.
40k. More or less.

- Mom went to Singapore.
40k. More or less.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Silence

As the bus approached the traffic signal, the light turned red. The bus gradually came to a stop. It would be a long wait. Most traffic signals these days in Bangalore do not change lights up to 3 full minutes. The driver cut the engine. The noise now was one that of the neighbouring oncoming traffic who got the green.

I looked inside the bus at my co-passengers. We all were heading towards office. It was about 8ish and I knew many would have boarded the bus at about 7. It was still an hour’s journey, and hence more than half of the people were dozing. To catch up on the lost sleep; to be fresh to tackle the day’s work when they reach the office; to just avoid being a part of the annoying traffic.

Strangely, like a vacuum, or like being within a sound-proof bus, the noise within the bus itself was next to nothing. Pin-drop silence, as they say. Not a single person was talking on the phone, not a single cell was ringing, not one person talking. Everyone was immersed and involved in his or her own world. Sleeping, or listening to radio or reading a novel or just blindly staring at the traffic. Although we all worked for the same company, at that instant, none knew their neighbour. For all practical purposes, each one was a stranger to the other. This is what big companies do. One’s identity gets restricted to one’s project team.

For some reason, this scene reminded me of a number of instances which I had experienced in my life. There was this first week of my engineering college, when we used to travel in college bus. None knew one another and awkward, pregnant silence prevailed everywhere. Each wanted to do better in the course. There is always the desire to do better during studies.

There was this time when I was sitting in an interview room with my peers – all unknown to me. Each one wanted to do the interview well to get a job. We were all strangers. There was an expectant silence. Expecting to get their name called for the dreaded interview. There is always is an expectant silence in the waiting room prior to undergoing interviews.

There is the hospital waiting room. All are strangers with their near and dear one’s struggling for life in the ward. There is nothing to talk, but there is hope that things will get well. There is always hope in a hospital waiting room.

And then there is this bus. They are all my colleagues. But I know none of them. Hence there is no conversation. No idle talk. Just people. I am just one among the crowd. All hoping to have a good day at office. All wanting to do better. All wanting to achieve something.

The light turned green. The driver started the engine. The bus filled with the noise of the engine. It was like oxygen filling the vacuum. People almost sighed with thankfulness. Perhaps because it was our turn to go.

But I felt the thankfulness because it evaporated the silence. Silence was weird. Uncanny. Uncomfortable. Lonely. Noise was so much better...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thought for the day

No one will be happy if they are told that they are not doing a good job, right?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Neutral Vision

"What is neutral?" My wife asked. We were discussing about the gears in the car.
"Neutral means neither here nor there." I replied, referring to neutral not being any gear per se. And added spontaneously, "Neutral is Narada." Then we both burst out laughing. What I said was so true! I mean, with so many mythiological references to English words, who knows, the word 'Neuter' came out of Narada's character!!

It wasnt long after that that I suspected 'Vision' to be borne out of the Hindu God 'Vishnu'. Vision for organisations in most cases remain asymptotic; always tending to reach its destination or goal but never doing so eventually - which is the same in an orthodox Hindu life, trying to follow the norms set forth by Vishnu so as to attain Him in the form of Moksha but never really being able to do so in reality...

Phew. Me and my thoughts...!
:-)

"munde daari kaaNade..."

One sack o'er my left shoulder...
One sack o'er my right shoulder...

Trodding on the mud road...
In the middle of the dense forest...

Not knowing where I am...
Not knowing where I am going...

I chance upon these three roads...
Forking away from the road I am on...

One on the left, one straight on and one on the right...
Each being the same muddy road as the one I am on...

Each lacking in knowledge as to its destination...
Just as the same road I am on...

With two heavy sacks on my back...
I know not which one to choose...

Should I choose the right...
Or should I choose the left...

Should I go straight on...
Or is there some other path that I am not seeing...

I am reminded of Lowell's words-
"Once to every man and nation there comes a moment to decide..."

I am reminded of Sri Raghavendra Swamy's words-
"munde daari kaaNade kundide jagadoLu..."

Friday, October 17, 2008

12000 and counting...

"It is perhaps the first time in the history of cricket that a batsman waved to the crowd thrice in an innings and raised his bat in acknowledgement to the standing ovation each time, and still had not completed a century..."

Sachin's became the highest run getter in Test Cricket.
Sachin got his fiftieth fifty in Test Cricket.
Sachin crossed 12000 runs in Test Cricket Cricket.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

French Beard!

Well, I guess there is a first time for everything!

:-)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Contentment

In this everlasting universe of turbulence and high seas, there are occasions when all is at peace and there is absolute contentment and bliss. Its like those good ole golden days which most of us would have experienced when we were aged one month or so, comfortably snuggled in mother's lap, with stomach filled to the brim and our legs pedalling an imaginary cycle and enjoying the virtual ride of our life...

The day is just perfect after a fitful good night's sleep. The weather is not too hot nor too chilly. The sky is blue. The children are playing cricket on the road. Its a holiday. People are relaxed and in a festive mood. There are no planned agenda. No tension whatsoever. No deadlines to meet. Nothing bothering the mind. The mind is just plain empty, free of all worries. Nothing to think of. Not bored either. One needs such days where you just wind up and rejuvenate yourself. Just take it easy...!

I am reminded of the novel Swami and Friends by R K Narayan. So refreshingly plain and innocent.

Life, too, is so simple.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sleep!

Monday: Got up just before my stop...

Tuesday: Got up at my stop...

Wednesday: Got up one stop after my stop!

Thursday: Got up two stops after my stop!!

Friday: The conductor woke me up!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Unconditional Love

Today while I was sitting in the balcony, enjoying the Saturday evening coffee, I noticed my neighbour return from factory (note that the job was 6 days a week and it was ‘factory’, not ‘office’), and climb the stairs to his house. His face lit up with a huge smile and broad grin to see his two-year old come running towards him with outstretched arms. It was such a nice happy scene to behold!

It reminded me of something. Immediately after the accident episode last year, my two-year old cousin was made to stay in our home so that my mother could take of her while her own mother recuperated from the leg injury sustained due to the accident. My cousin stayed with us for about a week. It was during those times that I really used to look forward to coming home and seeing her, however worse the day was. It was like being a school child all over again, eager to come home and start playing, despite home-works and punishments at school. There is no love comparable to a kid who comes running to you with outstretched arms and a wide smile…

The other side of the coin, huh?

Its all about stories...

I just finished seeing a wonderful documentary about how Jim and Jennifer got stuck in the middle of snow and cold and went without automobile and food for close to ten days and still finally made it. Along with that small kid that they had with them!

I then took up the novel which I am currently reading: Life of Pi. It seems to be a true story of a small boy who finds himself in a life boat with a zebra, orangutan and hyena in the middle of Pacific Ocean. And yes, there was a Bengal tiger too!

Some time later I started blogging about the day that was and the phase of life I was undergoing. To do so, I had to think about what to express and what to mask and yet ensure that when I look back at the post some couple of years later, I know exactly what I was enduring. This was my story.

When we watch movies, we are seeing different stories picturised. When we read books, we see the world through the author's stories. When we read blogs, we are catching up on stories of our friends. When we meet up with old pals or call them up, we catch up on each others' stories. We see social networking sites and check out friends' albums to update ourselves of their stories.

I realized then that life is all about sum total of individual stories that sometimes intertwine with others, sometimes made public but most times die out without real publicity. And needless to say, all stories are fascinating in its own way.

And that’s how it all ends eventually. Just a story in which each one of us has played a part unknowingly…

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Month for the Departed

I was walking on the road when I saw this car that made me go ‘Wow! This car is amazing’. What style, what grace. I aint so good with cars and their models so I waited till it passed me so as to see its back where the name was mentioned. Gosh! It was Hyundai Verna.

That’s the car which killed my grand parents.

Isn’t it so convenient to blame what happened on an inanimate object as a car? But why to blame in the first place? Isnt it said that we all deserve what we get? The so-called Karma. Is it really true that a counter is kept to count the right things and count the wrong things and be punished for the wrong things?

At the time of funeral, so many nice things were said about my grandmother, as to how she used to donate sacks of rice to so many people without telling anyone. And few can beat her devotion to the Lord of the Seven Hills. And yet such a gruesome death she faced with that sharp-edged rod having pierced her forehead and her blood having gushed out of the mouth onto the Tirumala-Srikalahasthi highway.

Why do I keep thinking of death? Why do I keep thinking about my grandparents? Why do I keep blogging about them even after 1.5 years? So much so that my first conversation and even my first chat with my wife involved this topic. Is it because it was the first time Death was so near me, just 3 generations away? Or is it because they meant a lot to me? The more you hear of Deaths, the more it is near you. All my grandmother’s sisters had passed away, and most of her friends. When that happens, I am sure, you would be feeling ‘I am next.’ So much so that you are anxious to get over it instead of suffering common man’s life’s miseries which comes with old age. You crave for it.

Couple of my batch mates have succumbed to natural death already. Its really sad to die at an age of twenties when you are supposed to enjoy the most and live life to the fullest. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my turn is nearing too as my aged folks are dying already but it really makes one think that one moment you are there and another you are gone. Pooof!! And that’s it. Death is nothing but absence of life. I am reminded of Lynds* every time I think about Death.

This month for Hindus is a month in which all the departed souls – not just the near and dear ones - are honoured by offering rice. Invitation to 3 such Rice-Offering ceremonies in consecutive weekends for me.

No wonder I am thinking so much…

*Lynds: Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body all worn and used, screaming “Whoo hooo!! What a ride!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

At last...

Phew. This one was a long time due. I can almost sense myself sighing that I have got it out of my system...

Well, literally. Out of my laptop system onto the world wide web, for everyone to see...

Happy Birthday to my youngest and dearest "Celluloid"!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy Birthday!



How grand it all looks,

How absolutely rich,

In culture, in colour and in splendour,

Like a fullness of its own.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thought for the day

Before college, you play with life...
After college, life plays with you...

Source: Rang De Basanti

Monday, August 25, 2008

While the pendulum swings, the clock ticks...

Human beings with their tamperings do something wrong, leave the damage unrepaired and when the adverse results accumulate, work with all their might to correct them. When the corrective actions appear to be successful, they come to view these measures as splendid accomplishment.
~ The one-straw revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

One of the most fascinating things I find is how a job is created or money is earned out of a system that is actually not working the way it should. I mean if the system was working fine and there were no issues, then the opportunity would not have even existed. While most crib about the system not being well, and blame the higher authorities, some take it up as a silver lining and create it into a business opportunity.

Take for instance, the power cuts. A country, ideally, ought not to have power cuts. It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that there is electric power supplied to all consumers 24 * 7. Yet, in reality, at least in under developed and developing countries, there is no constant supply of power. Come to think of it, there are a number of rural communities who aren’t even aware of something called electricity. So, this is a system that is actually not working the way it should.

Most of us blame the Government. I mean that’s the easy way out of the frustration. But not so, for many entrepreneurs. They are the ones who milk the system to their benefit. Many factories hence have opened to cater to the millions to provide 24 * 7 power supply by manufacturing UPS boxes. Many organizations excel in solar power electricity generation and cater to the rural millions.

And there we are, all happy, proudly displaying our UPS boxes to our relatives while actually we are displaying our own system’s inefficiency. So, yes, the system is bad, but nevertheless, employment has got generated to many who have made use of the inefficient system, which is actually good.

***


Ditto is the case with water. Not just the sheer availability of it but the purity too. There are many areas in the under developed and developing countries where water, potable or not, do not reach the common man. Which is bad, because, again, it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that everyone has easy and complete access to water, the basic essentiality for a human being.

However, many “private water suppliers” took birth. They supply the water to waterless localities by transporting water available from other localities at a nominal sum as fee. And not just that, a number of quality organizations have come up to ensure purified water who cater not only to those waterless localities who obtain water from private water suppliers but also to localities where Government supplies water. Now, it is the Government’s role to ensure potable water is supplied to one and all, and they may be doing so indeed for all you know, but so much insecurity has got built-in into the local consumers’ mind about the Government’s inefficiency and inability, that it is not hard for a marketing executive of a water purifying company to convince the consumer about the hazards of Government’s water, and the common man, gullible that he is, purchases such water purifiers especially because water is such an essential part of day to day life with so much added significance for it to be pure.

And there we are, all happy, proudly displaying our water purifiers to our relatives and boasting how good the water tastes and all that, while actually we are displaying our own system’s inefficiency. So, yes, the system is bad, but nevertheless, employment has got generated to many who have made use of the inefficient system, which is actually good.

***


One more glaring instance is the road transportation. How did private transportation system come into the picture? The very basic reason being the Government was unable to cater to the millions, there was a huge gap in the supply and demand, and the system just couldn’t perform effectively. Which is bad, because, again, it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that the common man can travel from one place to another reasonably and with comfort.

However, many “private road transportation” companies opened up. Some have big popular banners which cater to overnight journeys but many are those who cater to short term transits where the local transportation doesn’t or are very few in number. Not only does this private transportation assist in meeting the demand with the supply, but also assist the common man by innovation. Such as, water bottles, fancy curtains and light, movies, near-by drop points, easy pick-up points, transits between locations never catered to before, etc. I mean this is business at its very best where an organization (private) came up because of some points lacking with some other organization (Government) but the former beating the latter at its own game by sheer innovation, advertising and popularity.

And there we are, all happy, boasting how good the private road transportation is and all that, while actually we are displaying our own system’s inefficiency. So, yes, the system is bad, but nevertheless, employment has got generated to many who have made use of the inefficient system, which is actually good.

***


Another case that comes to mind is the train coaches. Many localites, few urbanites but mostly ruralites, have this really annoying habit of eating junk food in train compartment and scattering the remains on the floor, making it really dirty, and then alighting, much to the chagrin of those who then take up those same dirty compartments. Which is really bad, because, it is the common man’s responsibility to ensure that cleanliness is maintained not just for oneself but for others too.

However, now comes our rag picker with his rag shirt and dirty little cloth, yet clearing all that junk in few swift motions. In few seconds, the floor is all clean again and the rag picker asks for money which you will be glad to part with. I mean, anything to have a clean floor!

And there we are, all happy, boasting how clean the floor looks and all that, while actually we are displaying our own system’s (or should I say people’s) inefficiency. So, yes, the system is bad, but nevertheless, money is being parted to the deprived who have made use of the inefficient system, which is actually good.

***


Even the much talked about concept of outsourcing comes inline within this debate of good and bad. Outsourcing, for the uninitiated, simply means that tasks that are to be done in place A is done at place B. Now if that task was indeed done in place A, amount X would have to be paid but if the same task is done in place B, then amount X/2 or even X/3 would have to be paid. On top of this, there are jobs which need overnight support and the jobs also involve high pressure and tension. Of course, this doesn’t seem reasonable for folks at place B, right? Something bad huh? Folks who work in software outsourcing industry are often called as software coolies.

But in reality its not actually a bane but a boon. X/2 or X/3 is sufficient amount of salary after the currency conversion. Overnight support and high pressure during work is not a reason to crib. It exists in all occupations. Doctors, truck drivers, airline officials, to name a few. But not just that. There has been a huge boom in employment. Unemployment percentage has reduced drastically not just in skilled labour but also in unskilled labour. Engineering students who cannot higher education get jobs soon after graduation. Millions who flocked the urban areas from rural areas found employment in terms of drivers for night shuttle cabs, some autorickshaw drivers got permanent clients, catering industry boomed, so did tourism, states earned huge tax. It gave an opportunity for the developing nations to become developed nations thereby reducing the economic gap.

The amount of ‘Good’ actually surpasses the ‘Bad’ when it comes to outsourcing. The folks in place A are happy that job is getting done for a lesser rate. Folks in place B are happy that they got job. So one really ought to appreciate and applaud the pioneers who got jobs to developing nations and also to those pioneers in developed nations who approved of it and were willing to take the risk and thus started the whole business of outsourcing - a classic case of creating a job opportunity when it didnt seem to exist! But it gets bad when folks in place A are fired to outsource more and more jobs to place B just because job is getting done cheaper. Somewhere a line has to be drawn.

***


Couple more instances where I found this good-bad ratio was when once I had been to BIAL (Bangalore International Airport) and once when I went to pay the Vodafone bill. In the former case, when I drove in my car to the parking lot, there was a machine which when pressed outputs the parking ticket. Now that is an automated machine designed such that the driver can drive close to the machine and hence press the button to retrieve the ticket so that the toll gate opens up. Everything is supposed to be automated, right? But no! There is an attendant standing beside that machine 24 * 7 just to press that button as and when a car comes and take that ticket out of the slot and give to the driver! I mean, what a boring and absolutely useless job! Ditto was the case in the automated Vodafone Bill Pay machine. It is an ATM like machine, where you have to punch in your cell number and it will give the amount due and you plug in your card or pay cash and the transaction is done. But no, there is an attendant who stands beside you, guides you, although there is sufficient information on the screen and just whiles away his time while those educated enough to know what to do complete the transaction without his help. All this, while there is also a manual counter just beside this machine for those traditional, unmodernistic, standard, stand-in-line-and-pay folks!

I mean, the whole system is meant for automation and yet we have manual intervention and tedious jobs. Which implies that there is something wrong with the system. Yet, it is good, because it has generated employment! Still, the fact that some part of my money (be it in the form of BIAL parking or Vodafone’s rental) is perhaps unnecessarily going as salary to an employee whose task is useless is a thing that wouldn’t give a good feeling! However, if this is a case of bridging the socio-economy gap, then, yes, it is a good thing! Such a see-saw of Good and Bad!

***


It is a common observation in a country like India that many motorists take short cuts. So much so that they defiantly break the rules of the Law and take the best possible route irrespective of one-ways and medians and jumping red lights. This is bad right? Of course that is one perspective. But it would be a good thing if it is considered in the light of savings that is effected in terms of fuel consumption. So, short cuts when seen in whole and effected by millions would indeed be saving the nation barrels and barrels!

***


Ditto is the debate about bribing. Suppose I were to be caught by the cops for overspeeding and suppose the fine for overspeeding was Rs 200. Now, if I were to pay Rs 100 to the cop and get away without a Government receipt, as if nothing had happened, it would be beneficial for me, because I saved Rs 100 and no black mark on my driving, and it would be beneficial for the cop because he just became Rs 100 richer. Of course overspeeding is just one reason. Any transaction involving Government official is a case in example. Both the parties are happy and it’s a win-win situation. But ethically this is bad.

However, considering the pathetic state of the economic and financial stability of a Government official and also considering the meager wages that one earns in a Government job, it does feel good once in a while to be again that agent in bridging the financial gap. Of course, it is indeed true that a Government official at times earns more during the under-the-table dealings than through his own salary. So that’s when the amount of the bribe is crucial. If the amount of the bribe is helping the poor become richer, then its ethically acceptable compared to a case wherein the amount of the bribe making the poor poorer.

***


And there, I will end this ethically long debate of the good and the bad but just like the Grandfather clock of the good old days, the pendulum keeps on swinging between the right and the wrong, and the clock makes best use of it by ticking along…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just pondering...

Is there an international etiquette of when to pull the door and when to push the door? I am very interested in this question especially because, all the buildings in my office campus follow the rule of pulling the door when going out of the building and pushing the door when entering the building, and this rule has ingrained so much in me that subconsciously if I am going out of any building anywhere in the world, it has become a tendency for me to pull and if I am entering any building anywhere in the world, it has become a tendency for me to push irrespective of the sign on the door which might indicate to perform otherwise. It was one such occasion recently when the door sign in a shop I visited indicated ‘Push’ when I pulled on my way out of the building that this question popped up and also made me realize how deep the habit has grown. But yes, the question remains - Is there an international etiquette of when to pull the door and when to push the door?

***

It was almost 7-8 years ago when I was getting down from my college bus that my lady friend beside me pointed to another person of her gender outside the bus wearing shirt and trousers with shirt neatly tucked in, and remarked ‘No girl ever tucks her shirt in. It looks so disgusting. Cannot she realize that?’ Although I did not whole heartedly agree to this vehemently expressed opinion nor had I noticed till that point of time anything amiss in girls wearing western formals with shirt tucked in – not that I am a keen observer and purist in terms of dress etiquette in the first place, far from it actually – it really hit home the point then that girls ought not to wear shirts tucked in, for my friend was indeed a purist in terms of dressing and what-not. Since that day, I confess, I haven’t noticed a single girl wearing Western formals or any combination of shirt and trousers with the shirt tucked in. Until today. Imagine my surprise when I saw not one but four girls wearing Western formals with their shirts tucked in! Not that they were looking disgusting as my friend felt, but it sort of rekindled the thought about dos and donts of female dressing. But this shirt tucking in – is this a new wave of female fashion statement starting?

***

The toughest question to answer these days is ‘How is married life?’ Everyone and anyone who knew you just got married ask this question and there really is no proper answer to this. I mean there you are just having lost that golden freedom of independence, of being care-free, of doing what you felt like doing without asking permission, of going where you want to go without telling anyone, of sitting hours together in front of laptop without being asked why, of being irresponsible, of not caring a damn about anyone else other than you and yet, at the same time, of having obtained a new sense of belongingness with somebody else, of having cared to, of having the joy of caring for someone, of being pampered, of being told what to do and what not to do, of sharing the sorrow with, of sharing the joy with, of doing things specially to see the joy in that person, of missing the person, of feeling responsible for that person, its really a mixed feeling of having gained something precious at the cost of having lost something precious too, for both of them are equally important at their respective phases in age and life. Well, I have time to think and write like I did now, but I cant think and say in so many words when I am asked that question, and hence I just say ‘Married life is nice’ inwardly thinking “Get married and you will know!” if the person is unmarried yet and “You know how it is after marriage and yet you ask!” if the person is married. I confess I have asked this question too but more as a conversation-starter rather than really getting down to reality and brass tacks. Come to think of it, I guess even I am asked for a conversation-starter and hence my reply is good enough without really taking to heart the question or the answer…

***

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thought for the day

People who take to gardening are generally people with fine qualities...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thought for the day

Whatever happens...

There are books.
There is God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Month That Was

After more than a month, I am back! Well, at least a valiant effort to be back, for I might be gone again indefinitely, for all I know. The thing that comes to mind when I say this is one of the email wishes that I received after I sent the wedding invite:

“Wish you and Gouri a very happy married life ahead. Of course that comes with a fine print. You lose 75% of your freedom :)”

Well, that explains my long hiatus in a nutshell (although I have been active in my other blogs). Speaking of the marriage, here are the snaps.

Marriage is a day when the bride and groom are equated to the God and Goddess and the matrimony is made all the more holy. A number of rituals are to be followed. Some which make sense and some that do not but yet you do as you are told. You are asked to go to Kashi metaphorically and you go. You are asked to jump in joy because of a girl and you jump. You are asked to come back home metaphorically and you come back. You are asked to tie knot to the bride and you tie. You are asked to keep a sweet in your wife’s mouth and take a bite and you do it. You are asked to point your wife’s eyes to Arundhati and you do it. You are asked to fight with your wife and you do it. Suddenly out of nowhere you have doll twins as your kids and you are asked to name them and you name them. That just about sums it all up. Snap! You are back as human beings, and lo and behold, you are married! Hows that for hypnosis!

A quick make up, and its time for reception. Friends and colleagues and college mates and school mates are all flocking into the wedding hall. One feels so glad to see them all. Yet, the irony is palpable. When in college, I used to have about a hundred friends. But the attendance at my wedding was in single digits. During the course of life, how far we all depart from our dear ones and how the significance fades. I had invited hundreds and only few tens had attended. Of course, many are geographically challenged and life nowadays is just electronic. Hence, I guess, I ought to count the e-attendance too!

But I guess it’s the current phase of life that always matter to everyone. Like how almost all of my colleagues had come. If they were my ex-colleagues, I couldn’t have expected the same number. Similar was the case with one of my colleague who had got married immediately after college. The whole class had attended her wedding. I guess that’s the reason why we have coined the phrase ‘near and dear ones.’

My travelogue blog has details about my week-long honeymoon. Then started a series of religious rituals. There was Pavamana Homa, Kanaka Abhisheka, Satyanarayana Pooja and Kalyana Utsava (Tirumala) in quick succession. Never before I have attended, rather, subjected to perform so many Poojas in so short a time!

Joined office early just so to see off my dear friend Preetham. Many a glorious moment have been spent with him in office during the last one and a half years, coupled with intellectually stimulating and humorously sprinkled conversations. I wish him the very best for his MBA. Well, he knows what I really wish for!

Life after that has been pretty moderate. A picnic here, a dinner treat there, and such things to keep me away from blogging! And before I know it, we are celebrating one month wedding anniversary!

One would think that after marriage, one is pretty much ‘settled’, but in my case, suffice it to say that there is a restlessness which is yet to be satisfied...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Wedding Invitation!

I am getting married this Friday, July 11th, 2008!

Kindly refer the blog-invite and grace the holy occasion!

PS: For those who are interested in the prologue....

Wimbledon 2008 Men's Singles Finals

Well, what can I say. As the commentators themselves said, 'How can we describe this? There are just no words'.

If a match even when seen in highlights can generate so much adrenalin, passion and emotion, what else can one say....Simply stupefying.

Hats off to Rafael and Roger. It was just anybody's game...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Progress or Regress?

I received a forward recently about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One set of pictures immediately after the bomb exploded, and one set of pictures now in the year 2008. While the former showed absolute devastation, and complete debris where everything and anything seemed to have mowed down, the other was awe-inspiring.


‘How is it possible?’ is the first question that props up in the mind. Lights and buildings seemed to be everywhere, and development in full swing. Urban planning at its very best. The progress seemed remarkable. Man-made beauty at its very best.

While India, with richness surrounded everywhere, could not reach such echelons even after independence, how could a city that was absolutely devastated and reduced to rubble, raise to such heights. It seemed simply remarkable.

Such was my line of thought. I then forwarded this mail to my friends, and I got a jolt when my good friend Mahesh, intelligent that he is, responded back with a line of thought that I had never thought of:

There is no doubt that Japan and Germany have come up from nothing but without trees and plants and greenery, can one really say that the city has come up? That it has progressed and made huge developmental strides? City looks colourful in lights at nights. But during day time, we will find only concrete structures....Shouldnt there be trees also in the city? Greenery?

Very valid point. Whole of Bangalore's beautiful trees are being axed down every other day in the wake of development, for widening the roads, for mass transport train system. Bangalore-Hassan highway which was once lined with one of the finest trees, almost like a green archway for miles together, have been axed down to make the highway a 4-lane expressway.

That brings us to the questions:

1. Does development of cities happen at the cost of this beautiful world?
2. Is the modern city really progressing or regressing?
3. Is the expressway for faster commute actually destined for faster mortality?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Doogie-ing

The time is 12.45 am. Its usually that time of the night when I would have just completed my first dream and getting onto the next. The only connection to the two being a regular and rhythmic snoring drone. And yet, here I am, like Doogie Howser, typing away on my laptop the thoughts that are incessantly coming to my head. As they say, for an author - if I can be so rash as to call myself one - when words come to the head, they have to be channelised onto the paper, or the e-paper.

The last couple of days have been really hectic at office. So much so that I had to skip my violin classes. Clocking more than 12 hours a day has become a daily routine. The project in which I am working since 10 months is about to go into production (the date and time of production install is the day of my marriage – how’s that for coincidence?!!) and a number of defects are being raised at the nth moment, causing the whole project to go into haywire, and along with it went our daily routine! No swimming, no sauna and none of those pleasures I was describing in my previous few blogs.

But this working long hours and on weekends, much to my surprise, did not bring any disappointment to me. I wasn’t wary of going to the office early in the morning to another hard day’s – and night’s – work. I was rather looking forward to it. I thought about it and asked myself as to why that I wasn’t repenting such hard hours in office with no personal life whatsoever.

The answer was pretty obvious. It was because I was in the project since its inception and since I was working on it for 10 months now, it was almost like my baby. And with baby, comes affection and love, and you want it – the project, in my case – to be as good as possible, defect-free! Such is the power of love, that one’s toil doesn’t really affect one’s pleasures. It is that time when you don’t think about how much you are being paid, how much it is worth it all, but you just go there and give your best, just for the sake of your project, for your baby. And at the end of a hard days work, be it a weekday or a weekend, you will feel satisfied, you will feel deserved for the money that you are being paid, you wouldn’t really think about the lost weekend or the lost time in personal life, you will be remorse and guilt free for doing your best, and that’s what counts most. To deserve what you get. And when such a thought comes, along comes satisfaction. And with satisfaction comes that happiness, which is what everyone craves for. It was quite a realization!

So, there I was, basking with this realization, when along came some relatives to the house. As is often the case with relatives, the conversation starts of with ‘How is so-and-so?’, ‘Did she-and-she come back?’, ‘Is he-and-he doing well now?’ etc. The talk is mostly on other relatives. Invariably, the conversation somehow leads to two people in our huge family tree who are suffering from some rare diseases that no doctor on earth has been able to cure. Such is the type of diseases that it will occur in 1 out of a million cases. Absolutely bed-ridden. One of them is in her early fifties. And it is said that the only cure out of this tremendous pain that they are suffering is death itself.

It’s the most heartening for me to see such people. Really rattles the heart to think that in this era of great innovations and inventions, such diseases still prevail where Man is just a onlooking passerby with his insurmountable knowledge and wisdom. Really a pity.

When topic about disease and the victim comes up, it leads to the question of ‘Why him?’ or ‘Why her?’ Then comes the long list of good deeds that the person has done in his or her life, and one really wonders, what the person really ever do to get such a treatment at the hands of Providence. As one of my elderly guest relative put it, “Is there really anything called Divine Justice?” Very true words. Food for thought indeed.

One thing I have noticed about this elderly set of people, the people who ruled the world in seventies and eighties, is that they are really very dignified. Very composed and dressed very well. Very eloquent in their conversations. Very gentlemanly and courteous and it’s a real pleasure to talk to people like that. Sort of old-world charm, one might say, but there it is. “The real juice”, as Wodehouse would have said.

Well that’s about it. Doogie would have done a better job, I guess, to surmise this whole thing into one beautiful sentence, as he always does. I liked that part in every episode. But then, he was a child prodigy…

:)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Funda of the day

I was walking in the office campus today when I overheard one guy say to the other:

"One should never join a company which has a half-page or full-page recruitment ad."

:)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A sad day for Jayanagar

Being in a place affects you in a way of its own. It becomes part of you, of your life. You depend on it with totality, with surity that as long as you are there, the place remains; with its shops, trade, restaurants and even filth. The place around you, the environment, fills up this unknown place in your heart even without you knowing it.

On Friday night at 11 pm, fire broke out in the Jayanagar Shopping Complex area and it lasted for more than 8 hours. It burned out every shop inside the complex to black rubble. Day traders' brand new sale clothes, stationery, groceries, and other exenpsive items of sale were blackened to death. These were their sole investments. The shop was their life. Their sole path of sustenance. And by Saturday morning, everything was gone. Just like that. The heart goes out to them all.

And as for the shopping complex itself, that void in the heart can be almsot felt. It was always there since I was born. In fact, 32 years now, and suddenly seeing that it was all charred out, brings out that emotion within which cannot be expressed. One sees mortality in human beings but not in places, not in markets, not in buildings, not in inanimate worldly items. They are meant to be there, forever. But then, comes this crashing thought, that Hand of Fate, that indeed, even inanimate worldly things, including buildings, places have mortality written all over them. And it is then when such mortality occurs, that one starts feeling the love, and its subsequent loss, even for landmarks such as the Jayanagar Shopping Complex.

A sad, sad day indeed...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ironicity

Bangalore’s Electronics City hosts of many companies like Infosys, HP, Wipro, etc. The other day, when I was just about to reach the office, I happened to notice a board that was always there. But this time, the words ‘Electronics City’ at the top of the board sort of reminded me of an irony:

The only purpose served after I studied six years of electronics has been to work in Electronics City!

***

The guy from Aquaguard had come to clean the water filter today. I was interested to see what he was really going to do. So, there I was, watching him open the filter, remove the tubes, the pipes and the works. Sure enough, the filter - and all its related contents included - was all brownish-ugh! But when I saw him how he really cleaned the filter, the ironicity, if there is such a word, hit me hard:

The water filter's filter, filled with water's impurity, was actually cleaned by water itself!

***

I went to an eye clinic today for a routine check up. They checked my eye power and dilated it so as to check the nerves. Now, dilation will result in blurriness of the eyes for a couple of hours. So an ironic thought passed my mind:

I went to an eye clinic with my eyes at its supreme best, and came out of it with all blurriness!

***

Wedding shopping has begun. The search for the perfect suit was one such shopping expedition. We were browsing though the innumerable collection, deciding on texture and color when the salesman said something about color which was, in a way, very ironic:

“Blue is evergreen.”

***

:)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Little incidents...

It was good to come home to watch an IPL T20 cricket match just getting started...
It was always a good topic at lunch to talk about the status of T20 matches...
I miss it...
:-(

***

"Ma'am, when do I learn this song and raga?"
"It comes with time and practice"

"Coach, when do I learn to breathe during swimming?"
"It comes with time and practice"

:-(

***

"Harsha, can you proof-read this invitation card?"
"Yes, dad."
I start reading....more to myself than anybody else...."C Gururaja Rao and C G Susheela's grandson request the gracious presence of you and your family on the auspicious occasion of the wedding of their grandson Harsha with..."
That is when realization hits me and my eyes bulge. "Oh, my God! I am getting married?!!!"
:-)

***

Friday, May 30, 2008

Life's mistakes

Of course, you only live one life, and you make all your mistakes, and learn what not to do, and thats the end of you.

~Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman.

Anger

Anger, they say, is a temporary madness.

About half a decade ago, I just couldn't scold anyone. A vehicle honks and cuts in my way, I am passive. Someone jumps the queue, I am a mute spectator. I see an injustice happening and I sit mum. A colleague doesn't show professionalism in his work and I just make a ball of fist and blame the Fate. I used to blame the system, the mindset of people, India, etc and just live on.

But now, boy do I shout. I stand up for what is right. I do not see "left or right", as they say, and blast a person if I find him on the wrong side of justice. My adrenalin gets all pumped up and unprintable words start coming out of my mouth. I can almost feel the mercurial rise in temper. I do not hesitate to escalate matter. I do not hesitate to talk to anyone superior. I just rip the person apart if I find him guilty. Twice in the last couple of months I have made the other person almost stop talking during the argument because of my powerful tirade.

This phenomenal change in me is scary. Half a decade ago, this is the way I wanted to be. But now that I can indeed stand up for myself and for what is right, I am not sure if this is the right way to stand up for oneself. True, in both the cases, things got done when it seemed almost impossible to get it done, because of my wrath, and I felt the success for having not been meek and submissive but yet, surely, there must be some other way?

At the end of the conversation, I am fuming and taking a break and drinking water and trying to get back to normalcy. Jeez, I think, I was fine a few minutes ago, but what made me go off the top like that?!

Moral of the day: I am getting pissed off very easily. I need to calm myself and work on my anger. I need to put the point across in a soothing manner and still get the right job done.

Question of the day: Or am I fine the way I am, because I am able to get things done right in the right time?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just

It is nice to discuss about the project amongst team members in a swimming pool. It really irks me when people do not carry an umbrella when its raining daily and want to share with me, making me half wet in the process. I saw this huge number of crows on the road, flying here and there, making pedestrians to stoop now and then to avoid being hit, and made me wonder why the birds do not fly above earth where there is so much space instead of crowding in an already overflowing place. Feynman really hit me hard in his Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman! when he pinpointed the absolute uselessness of the education system in which I had studied for 18 years straight. There was a faint hope after I liked Pirates of the Caribbean but Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian is definitely not my type. It feels good to get a salary hike howsoever infinitesimal the hike might actual be. I had seen many mind-reading reality shows but today was the first time I was in one, when a performer was invited to the company campus. I am all excited about my new found knowledge of the Katapayadi Sankhya – the formula to identify the scale of any of the 72 melakarta ragas. I realized that my ideologies and thoughts almost half a decade ago were not exactly right and it came as a surprise, how as one ages ones thoughts and actions vary. The human mind has an amazing capability to adapt to its current situation as well as to the upcoming event in life in such a way that not only do you enjoy the current situation but also be ready and anticipate the future so as to get done with the current situation, as in the cases of just finishing education, of just about to get into a company, of going to a foreign country, of going back to home, of getting engaged, of getting married and life after. Its amazing how songs that one hear correlate to a person or a group of persons with whom the song was once heard, like for me, whenever I hear Bhool Bhulayya, I am reminded of Mithu and the trip to Goa; whenever I hear Fanaa songs, I am reminded to Soumik and the trip from Chicago to Boston; whenever I hear Rang De Basanti songs, I am reminded of Mithun and Ashwini when we went to the movie and Mithun drove for 45 miles at 2 am in the night without any sense of purpose; whenever I hear of Smack That, I am reminded of Mayur who gives me any song I like; whenever I hear of Zara Zara, I am reminded of my initial days in Infy Mysore with Sandhya and others; whenever I hear of Hips dont lie, I am reminded of Abhi and Archie in whose house we saw the video; whenever I hear of ….well, the list goes on. I think I will stop now.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Deflation

There are days when one is flying like a balloon
Full of josh and enthusiasm
Of liveliness and gaiety
Brimful of life and color

And then comes this one small statement
Which is indeed full of truth
But feels like the prick of a needle
And thus starts the deflation

No more the flying; no more the josh and liveliness.
Balloon is out of air
And it lies on the floor
Just a piece of shrunk rubber

Saturday, May 24, 2008

People's expectations

You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. Its their mistake, not my failing. I am what I am, and if they expected me to be good and they're offering me some money for it, it's their hard luck.

-Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A stinker of a day

Some days just rot. It is almost tangible from the start. And once it starts, Fate plays along with you all the way till the end, mocking at your absolute helplessness…

Like how you get up late on a time crunched day…
Like how you have to miss the morning jog because you got up late…
Like how you miss your usual bus in the morning…
Like how you get a seat which is splashed with bright sunlight all through the journey to office…
Like how you cannot sleep in the bus as you usually do because you are actually sweating in the morning…
Like how you get stuck in a long line of security check and swipe in queue…
Like how you see a cycle being whisked away by someone else when you just thought you could get to it…
Like how the elevator door closes on your face as you desperately press the button…
Like how you are loaded and loaded with work all through the day and it just keeps on coming…
Like how you have to miss the evening swim and sauna because of work…
Like how you miss your stop on your way back in bus because you overslept…
Like how you have to still honor a prior appointment but it is raining…

Boy. What a stinker of a day…

Monday, May 19, 2008

Its Hot! Its Cold!

Commencing Shower.
Its hot!

Swimming pool.
Its cold!

Jacuzzi.
Its hot!

Rain.
Its cold!

Sauna and steam bath.
Its hot!

Final Shower.
Its cold!

Friday, May 16, 2008

fia...

Extract from Collins Gem English Dictionary Copyright 1990.
Order of words is slightly amusing.

...
fiance : man engaged to be married
fiancee : woman engaged to be married
fiasco : total failure
...

:)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just a matter of few seconds, actually

I witnessed 3 incidents in succession to realize that Man cannot even wait for a few seconds.

Incident # 1: Vehicles were bumper-to-bumper. It was a huge traffic jam and vehicles could be seen moving inch by inch for almost a kilometer ahead. I saw a local worker carrying a huge load on his shoulder trying to cross the road. But none of the vehicles were stopping to allow him to cross the road. In spite of the fact that there was no more than 3 feet to move on the road for the vehicle. If only they could just wait for a few seconds…

Incident # 2: The signal was red. The countdown was in single digits. By the time the number had come down to 5, vehicles could be seen honking, moving as if by pressure, like how the liquid wants to come out of a soda bottle. One feels like shouting ‘JUST SHUT UP! ALL OF YOU!!’ If only they could just wait for a few seconds…

Incident # 3: Vehicles that get stuck behind a BMTC bus or a company bus usually have to wait till the bus off-loads or loads passengers. But hardly does anyone wait. Either they honk and keep honking or they keep honking and try to cross the bus by moving onto another lane. If latter is followed, they will not only be unsuccessful but also block other vehicles moving freely in that other lane resulting in more honks. When all this brouhaha is in progress, that BMTC bus or the company bus will start moving and for a minute or two, there will be no shrill honks until another such bus stops at the same place! If only they could just wait for a few seconds…

And then, one fine day, when Preetham and I were walking back to the office, in the middle of another of our intellectual conversations or simple ‘babe talk’ (!), we entered the elevator and I pressed the floor button. Immediately later, out of habit, I pressed the button which closes the door. And Preetham said:

“Do you realize, Harsha, that Man cannot wait for even a few seconds that he invented a button on the elevator to close the door sooner than the time it would have taken to close automatically? Just a matter of few seconds, actually.”

:)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Chinnaswamy and I

March 18 2001

The time was 3 am. I woke up groggily. Brushed my teeth, left the house, closing the door softly behind me, took the bike and made my way to Chinnaswamy stadium. It was a chilly night and I knew it was going to be a long wait. The ticket counter was going to open only at 8 am. The match was India Vs Australia scheduled a week later. When I neared M G Road, my heart sank. The queue had started from Rs 100 counter way way ahead and had already neared St marks Road. Also, it wasn’t in single file. It was more like a kilometer long set of rows and each row consisting of 3-4 people. Nevertheless, I parked my Kinetic and joined the queue. Fortunately I had a Robin Cook novel with me to pass the time till the counters opened. Everyone was sitting on the pavement beside the gutter and I too did the same. Its much too painful to stand all those hours. I was amazed at people’s passion for the game. Most folks would have stood in the queue from previous night. Only that could explain such a long queue at 3 am. The guy in front of me had his shirt torn. I was wondering how he could afford to spend 100 bucks on a cricket match while he couldn’t afford a shirt. Is that how the passion is for this game? But then I could be mistaken. Most folks get the ticket and sell it in black on the day of the game. Perhaps this guy standing in queue is just his means of earning money and ensuring to get rid of that torn shirt. Strange are the ways of this world. In spite of studying people around me, I was able to complete the novel by 9 am and I hadn’t moved an inch. It wasn’t too difficult to understand what was happening. While we all stood in the queue religiously, the counters had opened at 8 am and new people were just jumping the queue and joining near the counter itself instead of coming in line. Also, some who had come after me and were standing behind me also jumped the queue by joining ahead despite brawl and foul language all around. But I stood ground with high-but-waning hopes that I will get gallery ticket. At 10, with no breakfast and nothing whatsoever to eat, I started getting a headache and felt like puking. I thought enough is enough, and went to my bike and started my way back to home. I never realized it was so tough to get a ticket to a cricket match. I passed through the Rs 100 counter and could see how jam packed the queue was. No wonder why the queue was never moving. I then passed the Rs 500 counter. About 10 people were standing in the queue, and it was oh-so-easy to get the ticket but it was beyond my budget. I couldn’t afford Rs 500 for a cricket match. That day, I told myself ‘Next time, I will take a Rs 500 ticket...’

Sep 29 2007

Passion remained as it is. But laziness grew with pay packets. The match was scheduled to start at 2.30 pm. It was again India Vs Australia. I hadn’t stood in the queue this time a week ago. Nor could the ticket be obtained over internet. But I went by myself to the stadium at 12 noon just to soak in the atmosphere. I saw some guy selling tickets in black, shadily. My budget was Rs 3000 this time, 30 times more than my budget 6 years ago. He was selling at Rs 200 ticket for Rs 1500. I smiled at Heaven and took it without hesitation. I entered the stadium to a rising crescendo. This is what its all about. A television set just dilutes it all. To sit in a stadium, in an arena filled with thousands of other people, to watch thirteen men on the ground, two of them battling out the rest eleven. It is an honor to stand on that pitch. It is just the tops to get a standing ovation from thousands of people for performing well in the midst of such a humongous gathering where the expectation and pressure will always be exponentially increasing. This is what heroes are made of. True, the match got abandoned due to rain midway through. True, Sachin got out for a duck. But I enjoyed it thoroughly.

May 5 2008

‘I have an extra ticket. Wanna come?’ A colleague asked me at 10 am. The T20 match was at 8 pm. I said yes. This one was just Rs 235. We reached the stadium at 5. Again that crescendo. It is painful to sit in a gallery because there are no seats and it is just a set of concrete steps but it is in gallery that there is much fun, much brotherhood, full of lively people and here is where the Mexican Wave starts, where creativity oozes and the party never ends. However this time around it was even wonderful. T20 comes with music, loud, blaring music and jaw-dropping cheerleaders and music performances and dance sequences and, to top it off, there was also laser show with Mission Impossible theme music. It was rupees’ worth even before the match started. Of course, the match Bangalore Vs Mohali was a disappointment as Bangalore practically lost in the first over but nevertheless the cheerleaders really gave a reason to cheer especially because they were right in front of us! When match got real boring as Bangalore were sure to lose, people stopped watching the cricket and started conversing with the cheerleaders! Its true that its no longer a gentleman’s game, but then the aura of a cricket stadium just got bigger and better as it reduced from a day long affair to compete with a 3 hour Bollywood flick, enjoyable by everyone in the family.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Booklog Enhanced!

Since almost an year I had this urge to let the World know what book I was reading. I guess this is a common feeling amongst book lovers. Hence I came up with the Booklog link on the right which primarily used the publish option of googledocs to portray the books I have read in a HTML format. But the UI was ghastly while the content, for me, mattered most. Above all, the biggest disadvantage was that I still could not showcase the much publicised 'Current Read' which in fact I was tracking locally since 2001...

Simple and easy solution was to come up with a blogspot link of its own (which will henceforth have 'Current Read') and from there, navigate to the Googledocs link (which contains the master list of books read along with the rating I provide).

Happy Birthday, Chronicle!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Catch line of the day!

You know, the more I see of women, the more I think that there ought to be a law. Something has got to be done about this sex, or the whole fabric of Society will collapse, and then what silly asses we shall all look.

:)

The Code of the Woosters by P G Wodehouse

The Mind

How does the mind work? In a recent preaching that I attended, it was told that the mind is a computer that God invented, and instead of using that computer to the fullest, we use an external computer and worry about its well-being. That may be so, but it still is fascinating how those grey cells work up there!

One of my previous posts was named Random. The other day, I was eating Idly-wada in a fast food with 1 bowl of chutney and 2 bowls of sambar. The mind was processing randomly and I was dipping idly and wada, one after the other, in one of those 3 bowls in no particular order. The hand was just going from one bowl to the other, sometimes using logic (the preferred bowl had more content than the other 2) but most times with no real logic. It sort of reminded me of a function commonly called random() which many software languages support. Perhaps the mind too has this kind of a function!

The other day, I was seeing a TV show called The Mentalist on AXN. The host of the show, I forgot his name, was an ace in reading people’s minds. And not just that, he was making one person from the audience to read another person in the audience’s mind as well! It really was mind blowing in fact. The icing was when he got onto the stage a single (marital-ly speaking) girl and asked all single guys to stand up. The girl was asked to choose one among those single guys standing and mentally think about his features like hair, height, build, etc. She was asked to choose the one whom she felt most attracted to. Once this was done, she was asked to face the Mentalist while he started reading her mind. He knocked off the single guys one by one by asking them gracefully to ‘Please take your seat’ and finally chose one guy and asked him to come and stand behind her. This the guy did and when the girl was asked to turn around, she was stunned to see that the guy whom she had mentally selected was the one standing in front of her. The guy and the girl hugged one another and one does not know what happened next but it was nice to hear when the Mentalist said, “What other shows take weeks to achieve, we did it in 3 minutes!”

It really is quite a thing, our mind! The more fuel you add to it, the more it stores! There really is no end to the amount of storage capacity that it has, if we really test it out. Like in olden days, we used to memorize so many of our friends and relatives telephone numbers. But with the advent of mobile phones which act as a telephone diary as well, hardly any number is memorized.

The same with the calculator. Even when a simple math is done in the mind, to double check the mind’s efficiency, either the mobile phone’s calculator is used or a physical calculator or the calculator on the computer. Or worse, the simple math is done on either of those without even using the mind!

So what does this mean? While the technology has eased Man in using his brains, it also has made Man lazy and incompetent enough to think. And ‘thinking’ was what Man was credited for in the first place, when compared to animals. Which brings to the point:

Has technology which was invented primarily due to Man’s intelligence now making Man less intelligent? Are we humans, who are said to have evolved from animals, evolving back into animals again?!

But then thats just a negative way of thinking. For Man continues to churn out one new technology after the other. Couple of decades ago, a 1 GB hard disk had to be carried in an airplane. Now it can be kept in a wallet. While the earlier man thought of fossil fuels for energy generation, the later years saw solar cells to generate energy using Solar energy. The current man is now thinking of going one step ahead with artifical photosynthesis and electricity generation.

The mobile phones are getting shorter and smarter. Communication from one place to another has become as easy as learning A,B,C. Mode and speed of transportation is changing gears so often that the day is not far when package trips to Moon are organised with add-ons of nearby planets! The slimness of the Television and laptops is remarkable. The mobile banking and shopping has made life even more safer and easier. And so on and so forth.

Technology is growing at such a rapid pace that although lives are getting easier, the only thing thats getting tougher is to be continuously abreast and aware of the technology thats now surrounding us!

Theory of Relativity

Of late, I am noticing small things in day-to-day life which when seen in one perspective seem so ordinary. But then suddenly I see it in a totally different perspective, and the whole thing transforms into an absorbing observation.

***

Example 1: The automated doors (opens and closes without manual intervention) of an elevator.

Perspective 1: The door closes and opens all by itself when a person enters on one floor and leaves the elevator on another floor.

Perspective 2: An elevator basically needs 2 automated doors at any point of time to function. It is actually a set of doors that are opening and closing simultaneously. One is the door on the floor and one is the elevator door itself. So while the floor door just opens and closes, the elevator door travels along with the person and opens and closes in tandem with the subsequent floor door.

Perspective difference: While in former, it seemed the whole event needed only one set of doors, in reality, it had taken 3 set of doors (the floor door in which the person entered, the elevator door and the floor door in which the person departed).

Quite fascinating.

***

Example 2: Billing by a service representative in a retail shop for a long queue of customers.

Perspective 1: Customer C sees two other customers (A,B) in front and 2 other customers (D,E) behind. When the C’s turn comes up, the service representative picks each item, scans it and moves it onto the conveyor to be ultimately put in a cart. When its all done, he tells the amount to be paid, collects the amount and says ‘Thank You! Have a nice day!’ For all practical purposes, C thinks that once billing for D and E is done, the rep is pretty much done with his task.

Perspective 2: If one stands beside the service rep, one can see the rep repeating the same thing over and over again to a never-ending queue of customers. By the time C is at the counter, customers F and G have added onto the queue. By the time G is serviced, H and I have added onto the queue. By the time I is serviced, J and K have added onto the queue, and so it goes on and on. The items keep coming and coming in a never ending flow, much like going on a cruise where the Earth’s horizon is always there but never unreachable.

Perspective difference: While in former, to any current customer it seemed the rep serviced just 3-5 customers (customers in horizon), in reality, it’s a whole gamut of customers for the duration of the rep’s hours at the counter.

Quite intriguing.

***

Example 3: The common example of two vehicles moving at the same speed.

Perspective 1: Two passengers in two respective vehicles (which are moving at the same speed) would feel that they are immobile if they stare at one another.

Perspective 2: To a pedestrian, the scene comprises of two vehicles which are very much mobile (and containing two respective passengers).

Perspective difference: While in former, there seemed an element of immobility in the scene depicted, in reality, it was a completely mobile setting.

Quite captivating.

***

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Random

Its been hectic, hectic days at office. At least, compared to what it was couple of months ago. Speaking of office, 2 colleagues quit within a span of a week. Its quite saddening, but I have got used to this routine of once-in-a-month event. That final look and smile you share with one another knowing pretty well the odds that you will not meet the person ever again in your life. The nostalgia of all those good moments spent together come flooding back in moments such as those and you can but just smile and bid adieu.

Among the two who quit, one quit joining another company and another quit to join MBA. I myself did not pursue higher studies after my graduation, and that perhaps is the reason why I am in always awe of people who do their Masters. But the real sad thing I see nowadays is that even some Masters candidate is pretty much doing the same thing as what I am doing, which is being a software professional, although they haven’t done their Masters in anything related to Computers! Now that’s really a shame. I really would like to see people who have done their Masters to join a profession which will give credit to their field of study, and excel in that occupation instead of joining the bandwagon of software professionals.

Well, nothing great about me either, which I think is why I feel so. Me, coming from an Electronic background joined an industry which really does not give credit to my education. I really feel that it’s a lot of waste of time. But the past is the past and one has to get on with the flow.

In a mindset like this the info about Harish Hande came as a whiff of fresh air. He did his Energy Engineering in IIT, then Masters, then PHD and finally opened a company called SELCO which has the main objective of supplying electricity to the rural India which in itself is a noble cause. A perfect education fuelling a social obligation. What else can one do better in life than bettering millions of others’ lives. I had the pleasure of hearing him out in our company campus where he was invited as a guest to speak on his company. He started off saying ‘I was surprised to know that Infosys has 6 entrance gates. My office has about 6 doors’ or something to that effect!

Well, to each his own. Everybody works at one point of time or the other. Some for themselves and some for others. For some, it is just a daily space and time filler, to be occupied by mundane activities in an AC room instead of whiling away at home under the fan. And for some it is a sort of commerce wherein the member belongs to a class of public service.

I remember one incident when I was on my way to Chippagiri from Manthralaya. We were going in an APSRTC bus when the driver suddenly stopped and said something in Telugu over his back towards the lady conductor. Apparently the squad had stopped the bus and couple of officers boarded the bus. One started asking customers for the ticket and the other took notes from the conductor’s tickets. At the end of about half hour, the conductor was crying. Her heart was filled with extreme desperation. She didn’t seem to be the type who would cheat the Government by taking money from passengers but not giving them tickets. Perhaps she didn’t yet have time to give tickets to all who had boarded and who were at the back of the bus. But the officer seemed to be a very strict no-nonsense kind of guy who didn’t agree with her when she said the passengers who didn’t have ticket had just got on the bus.

Imagine that. I mean, a bus filled with anywhere from 50 to 70 passengers with varying pickup points and varying destinations and the conductor, a lady conductor, has to walk all the way till the end of a crowded bus to give tickets to all kinds of egoistic male morons, some of who consider it a joy to see her in tears. And she was penalized, asked to sign a paper in front of all 70 of us that she was not performing her duty. My heart went out to her. Whether she was performing her duty to the best of her ability, I did not know, but the whole scene was just too depressing. To think what will happen to her salary was just beyond me. Obviously the process has to be corrected of issuing tickets, of the way people board the bus, to standardize it and ensure it is cheat-less, instead of blaming the person responsible.

We too have audits in our office. Audits are informed about a day in advance such that we have sufficient time to clean our defiled history, make proper documentation and ensure all is in place. Some of them just don’t bother because the salary is not directly proportional if not majorly impacted by the audit. What a huge difference in scenario although the underlying topic is the same…

When we finally reached Chippagiri, a small village famed after the great saint Vijayadasa’s temple, I saw a family consisting of a husband, wife, their small kid child and the hubby’s parents. They had come for the child’s Aksharabhyaasa, the auspicious occasion marking the child’s start of education. My initial impression was that the family was from a nearby town and this temple was the place of worship for all their family’s celebrations.

The family seemed very respectable and very cultured. The husband was enchanting. He sang slokas from his heart in a soulful tune. He sang devotional songs in a wonderful passion. His wife joined him in chorus. Overall the family seemed extremely religious and very much in touch with the Vedas and spirituality. He sang more songs during lunch time and by now, pretty much everyone in the temple noticed the whole family and started flocking them to know more about their whereabouts and how cultured they were. They wanted to know where he was working, staying, etc.

It came as quite shock to me when he said that he was working in Ebay in California, USA. Especially because I had marked them as a local family from a nearby town. Apparently such activities as sloka-chanting, voice conferenced pravachanas, devotional songs, etc are very much active near his house in US. So much so that it is not so much in India! It was really a culture shock that an Indian in US had retained so much of traditional family customs and traditions that he had come all the way to Chippagiri for his son’s Aksharabhyaasa! It truly was mind boggling.

But then this is an era when it no longer comes as a surprise when you hear Mr X or Ms Y shuttling between US, or any other country for that matter, and India. People have started frequenting other countries so regularly that they wouldn’t have visited parts of their own city in India in the same fashion. Like a guy from Bangalore would have visited The White House in US twice within a year with his friends and again 6 months later with his wife but would not have seen resplendent Vidhana Soudha or the beautiful Sankey Tank in the same time frame!

Another thing to note about that guy in Chippagiri was his absolute devotion. I am kind of a mediocre guy and although I visit lot of religious places, I have my own perceptions of God and the Infinite, of devotion and of aloofness, of theism and atheism. I am neither here nor there, but yeah, I am somewhere!! But I read 2 interesting posts recently. Of course, no comments for both of them as I am in DMZ, so to speak, but yes, they were very interesting. One said that the concept of God is one of the biggest jokes ever told and the other said atheists don’t exist. The two blogs which I read within a span of few days of one another in itself was quite a thing!

Well, I think I will log off now. Sleepy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

7.15 to 7.45

I went to a web site today at 7.26 pm and the web site was under maintenance. It said that the web site would be under maintenance from 7.15 pm to 7.45 pm. I mean, what the.....of all the time in the world...!!

Whats the idea behind this? Whats the cosmic importance of it all? Is there any significance attached to it? As people say, 'All for good'...what was good about it anyway? Apart from, of course, me blogging this in the interim between 7.26 and 7.45?!! But, alas, it is still just 7.39!

:)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

'Steep decline in blogs'

#1 Reason: BSNL Broadband DataOne Internet not working since 3-4 days and customer care sucks. However, their self-help doc helped me fix the issue myself.

#2 Reason: Hectic work :(

#3 Reason: Out of station during weekends. :)

#4 Reason: Courtship ;)

'Happy Birthday to you too!'

Couple of years ago,
I had to remind people around me
That it was my birthday
And get myself wished.

Although its no big deal
It still hits you
When the clock turns 12
And no one realises the special moment but you.

On this special day,
You would want to feel important
For, if no one makes you feel special
Your very existence would seem so trivial.

But at the same time,
Its funny how the closest of chummies
Fail to make you happy
While a mere acquaintance can remember to wish!

But now, for the rest of my life
One person will always wish me on my birthday without fail
And I will convey the same to her too
For its her birthday as well!

'Happy Birthday!'
'Happy Birthday to you too!'
'I love you!'
'I love you too!'

:)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

TV News

Item # 1: Hogenekal Issue. Cauvery water crisis amongst Karnataka and Tamil nadu states once again creates havoc. Kannadigas are targeted in TN; Tamil movie theatres stoned in Karnataka; Kannada channels not aired in TN; A Kannada activist from Hassan who is an SSLC pass out urges Kannadigas to stop being warm hearted and encourages Raj Thackeray's modus operandi of kicking off violence across all parts of the state. Mobs, stones pelted, police lathi charge.

Item # 2: CPM and RSS political parties clash in Pune. Local goondas are shown with hockey sticks bashing one another away to glory. More mobs, more stones pelted, more police lathi charge.

Item # 3: (BKU) Mahendra Singh Tikait makes casteist comments on (BSP) Mayawati in Lucknow and is arrested and bailed out too. Supporters of Tikait are saying they wont let anyone touch Tikait. More mobs, more stones pelted, more police lathi charge.

Sigh. Should I feel sad or should I feel angry?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An year to Heaven



Its been exactly an year since my maternal grands passed away. But the event still shakes me to the core. When a relative talks about it in passing, it still gives me goose bumps. When people talk about it in family gathering, I wither away like a flower. The energy drains out of me and I just become a mute spectator. I do not add any fuel to an engulfing and evergreen topic. There is something about the whole thing that is so tragic, that makes you shout out ‘oh no, oh no, this isn’t the way its supposed to end’ if you are watching it all happening on a movie screen. Too much sadness just shuts my mouth.

When I visited the accident spot in Dec last year, my whole being transported itself to that fateful day, in that stifling afternoon heat. The huge screeching sound that the car would have made, and the thunderous somersault with a deafening, heart-stopping thud. Ajji’s body ripped out of the car with a knife-like-steel rod pierced deep into her forehead, blood gushing out from her in buckets, glass pieces everywhere, people shouting, baby crying, my uncle dazed with bruised head, thatha collapsing on the road, aunty shouting for help with broken leg. Aaaaahhh…its too painful, much too painful even to collage the scene after an year.

A Telugu newspaper had carried a snap of the upturned car on the road. In front of the car, there was a huge idol of God with clasped hands. It was as if He approved of whatever happened in front of him, albeit the unnatural setting, and saluted them off.

I had written a post on driving. But nothing beats the just-learned driving skills of my cousin Madhwesh who had to drive 30 odd kilometers in the other car to Tirupati immediately after the accident to take thatha to a hospital possibly to save his life. With no learned driver to guide him, with mind in absolute tatters what with having seen ajji’s gory dead body, with tearful eyes and leaden heart, and with a faint hope of saving thatha’s life, 30 odd kms would have seemed like an eternity, and one cannot imagine the amount of concentration that would have gone into such a simple task as driving a car. My hats off to him…to me, it is one of the toughest drives ever. But alas, thatha had passed away even before he was laid to rest inside the car.

We stayed there on the accident spot for as long as we could, sucking in each moment of the event, to be as near to the departed as possible. But then, the fact always hit the gut that it was all indeed over. Death comes as the end. Naturally or unnaturally.

It is said that the soul takes an year to reach heaven. I hope the journey was smoother than the start…