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?
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.
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
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…
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.