Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - 2011

Today is the end of a week.
Today is the end of a month.
Today is the end of a year.
Today is the end of a decade.

2010 - what a year it has been!

Here's welcoming 2011.
A year that starts with 1.1.11 should surely be special!

A very happy new year!

:-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being Samaritan Vs Getting Mugged

At about midnight, couple of days ago, I was driving in my car near BEL circle when I noticed a girl in her twenties wearing an exquisite western dress which was very catchy. It was dark and she was standing near a pole. I could not see her face. Anyone could see that she was not a prostitute because Indian prostitutes do not wear dress like that. It was neither the time nor the place for a girl to be out on the streets let alone in such captivating attire.

Just when I was thinking so, I saw her stagger. It became clear to me then that she was drunk. She was hopelessly drunk and on the verge of falling in the ditch. Doubtless, she belonged to the affluent category that could not just afford an expensive dress but also soak oneself in the spirits.

I was speeding and I zoomed away thinking how unfortunate that she was in such a state. Any one can use her at such a night to one’s own means and her life will be virtually smeared forever. Such a pity. Well, to be fair, she would have brought it on herself if she is so senseless as to roam around drunk at midnight.

I then wondered if it was right on my part to speed away instead of assisting her and taking her to a safe place until she regained her senses or at least inform the cops about her. But who knows what her true intentions were? Perhaps she was just acting just to catch some gullible men and then mug them at gun point with the help of a hidden accomplice as soon as the car stopped.

If only this world was devoid of bad elements, it is so easy to decide and offer help. But for this small-but-powerful percentage of criminals, many a needy go helpless even from the large-but-fearful percentage of Samaritans.

Quote of the day

"What man is a man who does not make this world a better place?"

~ Kingdom of Heaven

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Welcome Note

When we went to Paaparapatti (also called Dakshina Manthralaya) in January this year as part of a routine weekend outing, the priest blessed us thus: “Santhaana praapthi rasthu” roughly translating to “May you have an offspring”. Soon after, my wife had to attend a naming ceremony in Haveri. In such ceremonies, elders bless newly married women with a glass of milk to bear children. My wife was the newest married women in the group and hence was asked to drink the glass of milk. A belief perhaps but it definitely made my wife special!

Feb 17th was a special day not just because it was 2 years since me and my wife met but also because we came to know that we were going to become parents. She woke up that day at 5 am puking and we knew the reason even before the pregnancy test showed the ultimatum.

What followed the next couple of weeks was a nightmare. Her nausea worsened to such an extent that even few drops of water would not stay for more than few minutes. Many people scared us saying that it will continue for all the remaining eight months for some women. Needless to say, she became dehydrated and was hospitalized. I had done enough google research to know that she was admitted for “Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” Miraculously, three bottles of IV drops and other medication she received for one full day completely cured her nausea. She then had her first scan and the baby’s heart beat was exciting and exhilarating, going lub-dub lub-dub…

Then came the “Information Gathering” part. We got hooked on to babycenter. This is one of the most useful websites I have ever come across in my life. It also has an Indian version. It has A to Z of information on pregnancy and childbirth. It also has some awesome 3 min videos of how the egg is penetrated, how an embryo is formed, how male and female foetus develop, how the foetus develops through the nine months, how it comes through the birth canal, how the cesarean operation is conducted, etc. It has week by week update and it became a ritual for us to sit in front of the website every Sunday to understand completely what was going on in the womb and how we could make baby’s life easy. Babycenter bridges the common man to the complicated gynecological medical world in a beautiful, seamless manner and makes it enjoyable and entertaining. It definitely was a ‘look-forward-to’ throughout the nine months. It was like driving on a highway looking forward to the milestones that come up every mile! It also made me realize that a woman’s body is biologically mind-blowing!!

The mid trimester (May to Jun) was uneventful and comfortable except that we drove once on a 100 km stretch on a two-wheeler much to many a chagrin! Every last Saturday of the month was booked for Doctor visit and it became a nice pattern, especially checking the weight part. Our gynaecologist Dr. Latha Venkataram was simply amazing. Just her presence was soothing. She was oozing with energy and efficiency. Her words were like a balm. We had couple of ante-natal classes to listen about the dos and donts, and to discuss everything under the sun with our team of reassuring five doctors.

When I mentioned about “Many gave good news”, my wife was one of them! In July, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary (plus “Babymoon”) in Chikmagalur. What was supposed to be a relaxing getaway became adventurous trip because of unprecedented hill-climbing and steep roads. Nevertheless it was worth it. [PS: I didn't post the Chikmagalur trip details until the baby was safely born lest be scolded for undertaking such a dangerous trip at such a time of life!]

Looking at my wives’ “baby bump”, some said “its gonna be a boy” and some said “its gonna be a girl” and each had their own proving evidences but its not a thing to be believed. In the ninth month, a week before delivery, a relative asked if we were in the sixth month! That indicates how much the “bump” was! Keeping track of the bump progress was also interesting! Pregnancy which was ‘normal’ all through suddenly became slightly complicated in the 38th week with amniotic fluid becoming less. With kid being in the ‘breech’ (head up) position, a cesarean was inevitable. Alas, all those exercises and yoga meant for natural delivery went for a toss!

C-section had its pros. We could be prepared, we could give a date and time of our convenience and practically no labour pain. Only flip part was that I was not allowed inside the OT. So, couple of days before the operation, we went to a number of famous eating joints so that the would-be mother could enjoy the best of the best cuisines prior to the months of post-childbirth eating-restrictions. As it occurred, C-section was a blessing in disguise because the doctors found a minor fibroid after removing the baby. So, if the baby had come through the natural birth canal, my wife had to undergo a surgery anyways - after months of excruciating pain - to get the fibroid extracted. So, our daughter, by turning upside down wrongly on the 38th week, assisted us indirectly in identifying and removal of the fibroid!

Finally the baby landed on my arms on Oct 11, 2010 – exactly 2 years and 3 months after we got married. She was born at 1059 hrs and weighed 2.7 kgs. Many people asked me if I felt happy about having become a dad but my only emotion was a huge relief that things had gone well.

But I was happy for another reason: Even before my wife went inside the OT, I had informed her that that day being a special day (because of the birth of our daughter!), Sachin will hit a century (when he was still in 44) and after her delivery, sure enough, I was told that he had hit his 49th Test century! For me, this was almost expected, after the phenomenal 200* he hit a week after the news of conception! Surely our daughter has brought good luck to Sachin! :-)

Next couple of weeks was grueling. The once-in-two-hours feed was very tiring for the mother. Added to that, there is child bath, medicine, diaper-changing. It was a 24 * 7 activity that became slightly better only after a couple of months when the baby could withstand without milk for about 4-5 hrs at night. Right about then, it started smiling and it’s smile, as I already said, melted the annoyance of sleepless nights.

Choosing a name for our daughter was not very difficult. My wife and I didn’t have to pore over books or internet. It was a name that we both liked - since almost a year. Whenever we discussed about having kids, I kind of had a feeling that we were going to have a daughter, and this name was the most preferred. But it got officialized only two months later at the naming ceremony.

The name has a tangential reference in Vishnu Sahasra Naama [which both of us are devoted to] (verse 32). The name is one of the 72 Melakartha Raagas [41st]. The name is part of the pallavi of Paalinthu Kaamaskhi song which we both like. The name means Purifying, or The Great Purifier.

The name is Paavani.

With this, I welcome my daughter to this best of best worlds and sincerely wish all the very best in her life to achieve great heights. I just hope my wife and I can give her the right momentum and platform for her to soar.

Amen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quotes of the day for "Abroad"

A friend: "Why live like an orphan abroad when we can live amongst family in our native land?"

***

Wodehouse's The Coming of Bill: "Why go abroad when you have not yet seen the wonders of your native land?"

***

Hmmm, food for thought...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It is not always what it seems

I could not understand why there are so many ads to World Cup Cricket starting Feb 2011. There are huge hoardings put in most parts of the city highlighting 2011 Cricket World Cup to be broadcast by a few Sports Channels.

I could not imagine why anyone would want to spend lakhs of rupees on advertising an event which will be a mega success anyways even without any advertisement. Then I realized that the real motto of the advertisement is not to woo the already-cricket-frenzy-public to watching cricket on their channels: it is to save tax under the bracket of Advertisements and Marketing.

***

A person is in ground floor. He wants to use the elevator. The display shows that the elevator is currently in Floor 2. He presses the button. The display starts descending: it reads 1 and then 0. As the door opens, he moves forward to enter the elevator only to find that there are people in the elevator who want to exit. So he gives way, a little taken aback to find people in the elevator.

He was taken aback because he was under the impression that the elevator descended because he had pressed the button. But, without his knowledge, there were people filtering into the elevator in Floor 2 at the exact same time and they had pressed the Level 0 button. So the elevator had descended from Level 2 to Level 0 not because he had pressed the button but because the folks at Level 2 inside the elevator had pressed the Level 0 button.

***

Just goes to show there is more to this world than that meets the eye...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Private Work Room

For the last couple of days, my PC in the cubicle has conked out. As an alternative, I am given a PC in a big conference room which is generally used for meetings. Such same conf rooms are also used as work-areas by the big bosses of the industry. Since it is not a common practice to use large conf rooms for project teams to discuss projects on a day-to-day basis at offshore, I am hardly bothered and I get to sit in the conf room without any disturbance.

After being used to the din of the surroundings, it comes as a pleasant surprise to sit in a very quiet place and work. Concentration is easy. With no one to stop by in the cubicle for idle chat, work gets done faster. The fan is all mine and not shared by my cubicle mate. The electrical switch for fan and light is just a few feet away and not across the floor.

I had read in many novels how important men stood in front of the window and gazed out with deep thought. I sometimes feel like doing the same. When in deep thought, I just walk across the conf room and stand looking out the window. The greenery beyond the window is pleasant to stare at intervals. The rush of the winds could be seen in the trees. At times, the howl of the wind could be heard too. The hue of the November sky has always been my favorite color.

There is a big board which I can use to discuss complex logic with my team. There is a phone which can be put on speaker and many more options. There are number of chairs in the room – so everybody in the team can have a seat if all of them come at once, as against being crowded in the small cubicle where my conked out PC resides.

However, it robs me of the laughter and jest that is usually present in the neighboring cubicles or heard in the corridors. I also miss the short unadvertised snacks in the nearby cubicles. But, for a change, it is a nice feeling to sit in a big room and have the whole room to oneself. It is as if living a life of the future, for perhaps such a work place can be obtained in not less than half a decade. A strange feeling of ‘importance’!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The First Smile



She smiled at us for the first time!
The struggle for the last 10 months was completely worth it for just this one second smile!

:-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sleuthing

When I was a teen, I thought Franklin W. Dixon was the greatest author ever. He had churned out truly captivating books by narrating the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, also known as Hardy Boys. To write in such a way that a particular age group of the population laps up the literature is indeed an amazing art. I have read over 100 Hardy Boys books and it always intrigued me how one person can write so many novels at such a rapid pace. The answer came a good decade later. There really was no one called Franklin W. Dixon. It was just a pen name used by many authors! No wonder the writing style differed across books!

Funny, huh?! A fictitious author who writes really good fiction! But then I guess the majority of the success of Hardy Boys should really go to Leslie McFarlane who started the series, and without doubt, it is the first few books in the series that were really fascinating.

I guess teenage is the age when solving puzzles becomes a craze. It is ‘the thing to do’. And why not? It is fun, it is fulfilling and it is exhilarating. Hardy Boys introduced me to nice and simple literature on sleuthing. Just about the same time, I used to see Remington Steele, but being new to the US accent, I couldn’t understand half the cases nor how it was solved. Cluedo was very interesting. So was Kharamchand. And Derrick. And Tehkikaat. But more than the soap, I liked the smell of the book as I flicked page after page of murder mysteries. There was something about “investigation”, of “finding clues”, of “solving a case” that seemed enchanting, like a world of its own.

But I never dreamt of becoming a detective. It was good only in TV and books. Little did I know that I would almost end up becoming like a ‘detective’!

For, most of what I do in my day-to-day life is finding resolutions to issues, which can be roughly translated to ‘detecting’ and ‘investigating’! I rummage through hundreds of thousands of software code to find that problem statement which is causing havoc. True, it is not a matter of life and death, but it sure is a matter of bread and butter!

As the joke goes, 99% of the money is to identify where the fix should be and 1% of the money is for the actual fix. In most cases, the actual fix is very minor in software. Once, after 2 days of struggle, I found the fix for a critical issue was just addition of one single enter character! Such is the nature of the work! So, the crux of the work is in ‘debugging’.

But to think in a broader sense, I guess this is common in all fields of work. In every job lies a problem of sorts, an issue. Be it medical or engineering. And the nature of the job is to find the resolution, to investigate the matter and solve the case. In each job, as I have said before, there shall always lie, temporarily, the feeling of helplessness and the matter of ‘I don’t know’ which is so annoying and frustrating…

…but only until the case is solved and makes one say “Quod Erat Demonstrandum”.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

8

Eight.

I am neither happy nor sad.

Because I am not sure if it is an achievement or if it is a sign of failure.

:-|

It only takes a little to save a lot

There is a gasoline station near my house. Very near to the gasoline station, there was a water leakage a month ago. A pipe underneath the asphalted road had broken and the water was gushing out onto the pavement in great gusto. It was like a mini-stream. The water traversed through the length of the gasoline station and – due to the dip in the road – went all the way to the residential area and stagnated in front of many houses, before getting into drainage.

I am usually very prompt in reporting such issues to the concerned officials – be it in my locality or in my house or in my office. On couple of occasions I have even approached strangers’ houses to inform them of water leakages and overflowing overhead tanks. Somehow I just cannot stand water being wasted. My blood starts boiling if I see water getting wasted.

But this time I wanted to take a back seat and see how the situation unfolded. So on day one when I saw this, I kept quiet. I thought perhaps the BWSSB was aware of it and was working on it. Surely water wastage is of prime importance now, is it not? There are campaigns everywhere of conserving water, of harvesting rain water and of our nearness to the day when there will be no potable water.

On day two, I noticed that water was still gushing out in the same gusto. I went to the folks at the gasoline station and asked them if they had informed the BWSSB officials about it. The folks responded very derogatorily about the BWSSB officials. “This is a common occurrence. In the past, we have complained several times but no one took notice.” Half-resembles the “Wolf! Wolf!” story. Now who is to be blamed? The BWSSB or the gasoline officials? Due to pervious negligence displayed by the former, the latter is discouraged. Discouragement apart, who will suffer if one day there is no water to drink? Both the BWSSB officials and the gasoline officials. I thought I will give it one more day.

On day three, when I came home from office at 10 pm, the water was still leaking. I couldn’t believe that nobody was taking action about it. Hundreds of educated people were walking on this road daily which had now become a stream of sorts and no one bothered to complain. Forget complaining, they were not even bothered to see water getting wasted. The gasoline station folks were not bothered although the stream was right in front of them and causing them and their clients a distress. The people who stayed in the houses in front of whom the water was now stagnating were not doing anything about it. It was good drinking water that could have served hundreds of people for days together that was getting into drainage and no one was bothered about it.

Enough was enough. I went online and googled “BWSSB complaint”. The first link gave the number 22238888 and said it was monitored round the clock. I couldn’t believe Indian government officials working round the clock. Nevertheless, I called at 11 pm. It was answered in the second ring and the voice was not sleepy. He took my complaint, asked the location and land mark and thanked me for the input.

The next day, the water leakage had stopped.

I was dumbfounded. All one had to do was call the BWSSB hotline number. All one had to do get the BWSSB hotline number was to go to google. I couldn’t believe that at an era when communication is at its peak and information is available in fingertips, people are not using it for their betterment.

People are ignorant of the fact that if we don’t help the Government in making this world a better place to live, the Government cannot make this world a better place to live. It is perhaps the Government’s negative track record which stops the common man to approach the Government to fix an issue which only the Government can fix. But having said so, it should not stop the common man from raising the issue to the Government, especially when it is the common man who will be the victim in the long run. When the Government has made strides to open up channels of communication, of various ways of receiving feedback and addressing grievances, it is the duty of the general public to utilize such forums and create a positive impact to the environment.

Conserving water is synonymous to conserving electric energy. The more we save now, the more we can enjoy later and the more our kids can enjoy later. Like switching off our computer before leaving office for the day. Like switching off the fan and electric light of our cubicle before leaving office for the day. Like switching the lights off of vacant water closets even though not switched on by us. Like calling 22238888 to stop water leakages. Like calling 7760991399 to report BMTC buses that are polluting the city. Surely switching off, making a phone call are ‘little’ acts? But these have ‘high’ impact on the world in which we live in.

It only takes a little to save a lot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thought for the day

It is interesting to note that although each of us live through childhood, teen-hood, adulthood and senility, the photo that hangs in our next generation’s residence when we depart is not the photo when we were in our prime but one that has us in wrinkles.

Frozen Moments

Have you ever felt the air or heard something, and remembered a past moment? It has happened to me several times.

My first few days in Engineering way back in October-November 1998 were very exciting. It was filled with joy of being with great pals and fear of being ragged. It was filled with the burden of eight semesters and long vacant hours during many days when there were no classes. Somehow, every time it is October or November, I can still feel it all in my bones. I can sense that same feeling, that same sensation which throws my mind back to 1998. Some years, I get this nostalgia first only to realize later that it is that part of the year (October or November)!

Same thing happens when I hear music. If during a particular phase of life, I hear a song repeatedly, this phase of life comes right back to my mind whenever I hear the same song again irrespective of the time gap. In 2005, when I used to drive my car from home to office, I used to have my radio switched on and in the driving duration of 10 minutes between 0830 hrs and 0840 hrs, a particular radio channel always played Dido’s White Flag. Now, in 2010, if I hear this song again, I can sense my life in 2005, the feel of the Volvo, the drive…

It kind of proves that some moments are forever frozen on the mind and they come right back up at the slightest invocation.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Product-Based Vs Service-Oriented

People who work in specialized domains or product based companies are so restricted to their own domain and products that they will know very less of anything outside. People who work in service based companies mainly work in any one project for a specified period of time and once the project is over, get on with another project which is on a totally different technology and domain. This is somewhat interesting and gives ‘looking-forward-to-the-change’ attitude as against the folks who continue to work on the same technology and domain for their entire lives. But then, since product based employees are working on the same technology and domain for years, it makes them experts in one field rather than employees of service based companies who belong to the category of “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Monday, November 01, 2010

Current Life

Milk, Urine, Sleep.
Milk, Urine, Sleep.
Milk, Urine, Sleep.
...
...
...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clerk

I like having many notebooks on my desk.
I like taking different notebooks from the stack and making corresponding entries in them.
Its like being a clerk who has different account books, each pertaining to a particular transaction.
I guess I would have liked it very much if I had become a clerk.
But for the pay, of course.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Right and Wrong

Long time ago, I remember seeing a scene in a movie (don't remember the name) where a bunch of students get caught for cheating in exam. The students are severely interrogated by cops and during one such interrogation, a cop asks them thus:

"You do know what is right and what is wrong, don't you?"

Somehow, I never forgot this line. It makes so much sense. We all know what is right and what is wrong. All we need to do is just do the right thing always and life will be good. The moment we do anything we know is wrong, then we are in deep trouble.

Of late, I realized one more thing. It is really dangerous if you think what you are doing is right while actually what you are doing is wrong.

Phrase of the day: Dressing Down.

:-(

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Earned Leaves

As of date, I have so many earned leaves that, if I want, I can work for four days a week for one full year.

OMG. It is too tempting!

:-)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Office Campus

The campus in which I work has about 50 odd buildings. All the buildings belong to the same company and same organisation. But, to a large extent, each building is an entity by itself. For e.g., say if I am in building 13 and I am walking near building 18, if there is an event or a social gathering underway in building 18, then I will have no clue about what it is all about. It is as if each building is a company of its own and they are having their own parties.

Thought for the day: So, it really isn’t one company, any more.

Flip-thought: But then, it will be hardly feasible to involve all employees in all 50 buildings for all events held within the campus.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Soda

If Western food is just about bread and butter and toast and egg and pizza and chicken and steak and et cetera, then it is pretty dry stuff all around. With such a diet, the stomach ought to get stuck similar to what happens to the concrete-making machine if enough water is not provided. But water alone is not enough for such food. One needs coke or cola to wash it all down.

Thought for the day: Without coke or cola, the Western world could not survive.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Integration

Wheels. Two wheels. Carriage.

Axle. Steering Wheel. Four wheels.

Rubber. Air. Pressure. Tube. Tyre. Radial.

Sound waves. Bell. Whistle. Honk.

Fuel. Piston. Combustion. Engine. Lever. Acceleration. Cruise.

Friction. Kinetic energy. Brake disc. Brake drum. Brake Shoes. ABS.

Machine. Teeth. Cogs. Torque. Gear. Clutch. Automatic Transmission.

Sand. Heat. High temperature. Glass. Mirror. Windshield. Windows. Moon roof.

Element. Compound. Alloy. Metal. Body.

Rubber blade. Motor. Wiper. Adjustable speed.

Electrons. Light waves. Bulbs. Headlights. Dip. Dim. Yellow. Directional (Indicator).

Cushion. Leather. Luxury. Seats. Power Seats.

Fire. Heat. Cigarette lighter.

Cold. Coolant. Fan. Refrigeration. Air Conditioner.

Safety. Seat belts. Air bags. Door locks. Power locks. Burglar alarms. Sleep detector.

Sound notes. Music. Equalizer. Audio CD. iPod. Radio. Stereo. Speakers.

Pixels. Video. Motion picture. VCD and DVD Player. Reverse-Camera. Reverse-Sensor.

Frequency. Waves. Integrated chips. DVD Player and Stereo Remote Control.


***

Wow. How Man has progressed! Such a marvelous conglomeration of inventions and miracles! Such a wonderful display of human brain’s application of thought! Such a fascinating integration of different fields of engineering! It is truly spectacular to note the exponential growth in Man’s development!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speed

Realized one thing today when I was driving all-alone back from Jalahalli to Jayanagar, a 20 km inter-city once-in-a-week to-and-fro car commute which I have now mastered in an average 45 mins after trying many possible routes:

Sometimes, it doesn't matter if you are driving a Maruti Alto or a Honda Civic. If you don't know when to shift which gear, when to lurch ahead and when to press the brakes, you might as well not participate in a race just because you have a high-powered car.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Compliments from the President of USA

Somehow, reading this felt good.

Snip.

“At a time when other countries are competing with us like never before, when students around the world in Bangalore or Beijing are working harder than ever, and doing better than ever, your success in school is not just going to determine your success, it’s going to determine America’s success in the 21st century,” Obama said.

Snip.

This means, that two decades ago, when we were "children of Bangalore", we worked hard, we toiled hard, we did better than our American counterparts, and have shaped India's growth in our own way to such an extent that we are now competing with world and winning too!

To be openly acknowledged by the President of USA that kids of developing countries are surging much faster than kids of developed countries and running away with jobs, is a great pride, especially for the 'Beijing' and 'Bangalore' kids.

So what if our own President does not compliment us for the hard work we have put in the last couple of decades? The President of USA just complimented us!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Living on the edge

Sitting on the pillion with no helmet.
Zooming at 80 kmph.

Wind whizzes past so fiercely that a mere twist of the head
Will dislocate the spectacles.

Vehicles zooming at 100 kmph – left and right,
Very close to the bike.

Totally depending on the rider
Not to make a single mistake.

For a single mistake, a single skid, a single misjudgment
Is all it takes to end this precious life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Watch

Way back in 1990, my mom gave me a digital watch which cost about Rs 15 then. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. It even had a button to switch on light to see time at night. I would proudly show off the watch to one and all.

Then, in 1992, my dad’s office staff presented me a Titan Aqura watch during my Upanayanam ceremony. I fell in love with that watch at first sight. I stored the watch within its casing and would stare at it for hours together. But I wouldn’t wear it because I didn’t want to spoil it by wearing. So I still wore my digital watch.

About three years later, I realized that if I didn’t wear the Titan Aqura, I would never ever wear it and it will continue to be in its neat Titan case. So, with difficulty, for I liked my digital watch too, I switched on to Titan Aqura and somewhere down the line, I lost (or I threw off because it stopped working – not sure what) the digital watch.

Titan Aqura was my undisputed watch for the next decade. I wore it daily 23 hours and 50 minutes – removing 10 mins only for bath. I never felt the need for any other watch. It didn’t give me any trouble whatsoever. I had to change the strap exactly once in 6 months and the battery perhaps once in 2 years. I liked going to the Titan service center because it was nice and clean and it had AC!

In 2004, I got another digital watch. This Titan watch was presented as a gift to all employees of the company where I work. This was a sophisticated watch. It had time zones across the world – meaning, we could see the time anywhere in the country at any point of time. It had timer, 3 alarm clocks, stop watch and a host of other things. The watch also came with a uniquely shaped CD which had an excellent video about the watch.

Then in 2008, I got 3 watches: a Timex (again from the company where I work but this time from the sub-unit where I belong), another Titan (an official wedding gift from the bride’s side but the watch was chosen together by my bride and myself – although I insisted I didn’t need a watch because I already had 3 then) and a Quartz (from my colleague who had returned from onsite – not a wrist watch but a hanging pop-out watch which I could hardly use because of its very nature).

Then in 2010, I got 2 more watches (as of date): a swashbuckling Cruiser (from my brother-in-law in Dubai) and an MS Dhoni-signed Reebok (an FD got automatically renewed in ICICI bank at a particular time when ICICI bank had promised all its customers an MS Dhoni-signed watch for those who open FD! Imagine my surprise when I got the watch!)

So, now I have all of the above watches except the first Rs 15 digital watch and the 2008 Timex (which I gave to my dad as his watch was in a dilapidated state). That comes up to 6 watches out of which I cannot wear the Quartz. So that’s 5 wrist watches. I can wear one per day to office.

I still love my Titan Aqura and wear it whenever I want. I don’t like the Reebok but its dial is good. I thought the Cruiser was much too big for me but I am beginning to use it more often these days as it looks cool. The wedding Titan wrist watch is stately and elegant and I wear it during important occasions. I like the digital Titan watch too but I liked it better with its original strap. I like the Quartz but I cannot wear it because it is not a wrist watch. I liked the Timex very much and at one point was wearing it daily but I had to give it away to my dad.

Noticed the strangest part?

In my entire life, I have never ever bought a single watch.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coding and Gender

I have had many guys in my team who code and write software programs exceptionally well. They breath and live code day in and day out. They are easily the most sought after in the entire team. They spend more time assisting the not-so-talented software programmers but the tribe of talented-coders really do not mind helping people by churning out a 5-line code that does everything that the not-so-talented-coders want.

But the thought that struck me was, in the last 8 years of being in the software industry, I have never seen such a trait in any female member in my team nor with any of the other teams with whom I have worked, including the team in US when I was in US. I have not seen any female member who churn out code for the needy, who are most sought after in the team, who breath and live code. At most, four girls come to my mind who come close to such a technical competency level but were not really up there. However I have seen couple of female trainers who could write really good code and teach how to code.

Writing code is synonymous to writing logic. A logic can be written only when it is understood and designed. It is not a simple task to design a software system when all the business scenarios are laid down on paper. It needs a huge amount of acumen and mental marbles to write a defect-free code that handles all use-cases and scenarios mixed with sufficient amount of buffering enforced in code for negative test cases.

Does the fact that I have not had the privilege of working with such female folks imply that there are no female folks capable of such a feat? Or is it that I am just plain unlucky to have not crossed roads with such womenfolk?

Just when I was wondering about the above question, a code competition was held in our company in different software languages such as C++, Java, DotNet, etc. After multiple rounds, the winners in each language were finally announced.

They were all men.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Nice Gesture

One day, a Government office in Eastern India received a letter from the Great Britain informing that one of the buildings constructed by East India company in Calcutta had attained 100 years and hence needed re-modeling. This came as a surprise to everyone in the Indian Government office that the Great Britain still had records of the buildings that Great Britain had constructed and, moreover, were monitoring their age to ensure they wont collapse. Such a nice gesture.

PS:

1. No one in the Indian Government paid heed to the notice from Great Britain and the buildings over 100 years old continue to live on as-is.
2. This is a true story as told to me by my friend whose father works in a Government office in Eastern India.

The X chromosome

"Welcome home!"
"Boy, it was a tough day in office today."
"I will get ready in half an hour."
"Oh the wedding reception. I had totally forgotten about it. You know, we do not have to go. He is not a very close friend of mine, and I have hardly spoken to him in the last so many years."
"Oh. But I want to go."
"Eh?! Why? He is my friend and it is his wedding and you will hardly know anyone there. I thought you will get bored in the wedding reception and you wanted to come with me only because I wanted to go."
"All thats true, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to put on make-up and dress myself."

Boink.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Here and There

It seems like one day we are shouting 'Drought! Drought!' and the next day, we are shouting 'Flood! Flood!'
Something doesn't seem right in governance.

I was in a meeting the other day when the Quality Analyst was expressing her concern to some of the project managers about their respective projects' CMM levels (check the random rant section under this post).
I couldn't help feeling that it is indeed a sad life to lead in your mid-30s if you are to be beaten about the bush on things like CMM and Six Sigma.

I have heard so many stories of people cribbing about their jobs (me included) despite hefty pay packets that it came as a surprise one day to me to see the security guard (who is paid less than 10,000 per month) starting off his 12-hour shift at 6 pm by bowing to the floor and entering the building.
The dedication and commitment and respect to his work and his organisation that provides him the bread and butter despite the irritants was commendable and thought-provoking.

When I walk into my office campus in the morning, I hear the birds chirping, I see the mist everywhere and I can't help feeling happy how beautiful the world is.
When I walk back to my house in the evening, I see pollution everywhere, I hear loud blares and I can't help feeling sad how Man has contaminated this beautiful world.

The Weekend That Was

If I had an appointment book like the way doctors have, then my weekend slots would have been booked by Friday noon:

Friday eve: Concert
Friday night: Movie
Saturday morn: H1N1 Vaccination in the office campus and campus visit
Saturday eve: Doctor visit
Saturday night: Movie
Sunday morn: Attend friend's Gruhapravesham function
Sunday noon: Siesta!
Sunday eve: Family get-together

Not that I am complaining. Its always nice to be booked but I would rather prefer to have my weekends free so that I can plan anything I want and execute on-the-fly.

Still, it was a pretty good weekend barring the two bad movies that I saw. The drive to the Gruhapravesham function was nice and scenic. The doctor visit was highly impressive. Played carrom after almost a decade. Played two fast-paced table tennis games.

Sigh. The weekend came in a jiffy and went in a jiffy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nobody is spared

Couple of days back, we had an audit in the office. Not only were we subject to irritating pre-audit checks and made to answer some tough questions but the security guards too had to go through the rigmarole of memorizing the answers to about 50 odd what-if scenarios regarding information security and disaster management and what-not.

It made me realize that there are annoying irritants in every level of occupation. Nobody is spared.

Driving while on cell phone

The other day I was driving alone in car and I had a stiff target (read time) to meet as I was already about half an hour late. So I was driving in quite a bit of speed amidst slow-moving traffic. At times like this, we get caught up in self-centered and egoistic web, and suddenly, before we realize, we are in a race track and all the neighbouring cars and cars coming fast behind us become our competitors and one tends to overcome the other.

It was in one such setting, when I was gaining up on my so-called competitors, I got a call on my cell. I was tempted to ignore it - not because I was a conscientious driver who does not want to drive while on mobile phone but because I did not want to lose my concentration especially when I was on the verge of self-proclaimed victory (road was coming to an end!)! But then, the call was from the office, and I being more of a conscientious worker than a conscientious driver, I picked up the call. Even with the call, I was able to manage my good lead while at the same time ensuring that I was answering the queries on the call.

The thing that fascinated me was the human mind and body. Here I am on a virtual race-track, with shifting gears on left hand, steering the vehicle with my right, pressing on the clutch pedal with my left leg, shifting between brake and accelerator pedals with my right leg, my eyes darting between the road and the main-rear-view mirror and the right-window-rear-view mirror and at the same time, my brain was understanding the questions that I was being asked through my ear, processing the responses and sending the right response to my mouth which was then passed on to the cell phone which was craned between my tilted head and shoulders! Multi-tasking at its very best!

In fact, it was more like I was on auto-pilot and I was concentrating more on the phone. Because, my hands and legs and eyes were working on its own with minimal concentration. It is perhaps because of decades of driving that has gotten so in-built in this body and mind that, even with little relaxation of the mind, the body can handle itself - it knows when to brake automatically, when to change gears, when to accelerate, where to look out for road bumps, etc without really applying the mind and one need not specifically think about all these when driving because it all comes automatically with experience and age.

Agreed, it is not the safest thing to do in the world nor its a matter to boast nor an action to encourage others from doing but the very fact that the human mind and body is capable to handle such a situation in such a manner is just fascinating...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Higher Studies

If there is one thing that I perhaps repent in life, it is that I did not do my higher studies. I graduated with bachelors and then, I thought, I was done with all the education that I ever wanted. But when my peers, my cousins, my colleagues and my juniors went in for higher studies, it touched a nerve. Perhaps I should have done my Masters too.

Its not that its too late. Its just that I end up weighing too many pros and cons and find that I can manage just as well without any further studies. Of course, another major dilemma is that I have no clue on what I need to do Masters on, even if I wanted too! I don’t want to do Masters on what I am working because I know what its like in this industry now. I feel like doing something different, like being a doctor or something, but then life is too short to be a professional in two totally different occupations. Talk about confused mind!

Its not that I abhor studying; its always fun to learn new things. When I learnt the Katapayadi Sankhya, I was fascinated. But when learning has to be metamorphosed into a permanent storage location within the memory, that’s when it gets me. Why memorise when we have Google now! I feel its too much time and effort to get Masters, starting from the entrance exam (be it GMAT or GRE or CAT) itself. Not to mention money, too.

When it comes to money, education suddenly becomes more of an investment option. The higher you pay to get into a famous institution, the higher the returns because of the campus recruitment. But I have heard of various stories that I have become skeptical. Not all get into high profile jobs. Not all want high profile jobs. Some end up being entrepreneurs. Some end up being philanthropists. Some end up thinking: was this all worth it.

I used to think a while ago that just Bachelors is not good because half the time you do not end up working on what you had actually studied. That’s because I saw many who had done their Masters truly worked on what they had studied in their Masters. But then I came across all this IITians and IIMs and PhDs and found that, it’s the same case everywhere. People who did their PhDs in Electrical Engineering are in the Board of Directors for a software company which has got nothing to do with electricity! People who studied in IIMs are in a dotcom business which has got nothing to do with management!

So, how come a guy, who is strong in Electrical Engineering, get into a totally new domain and excel in it? When I pondered more over this, I realized that the Masters and PhDs are perhaps not just to excel in one particular field and to end up in one particular profession. It is perhaps to open up the mind to encompass the numerous things that Man can actually do and enjoy and excel. It is like the gateway to be an all-rounder.

Or is it? I know this maternal grandfather on my wife’s side who has worked in industries ranging from Chemical to Construction, from Mechanical to Railways, so on and so forth without so much having as a formal education in any one field. So, formal education is then just a tag. It’s the adaptability of the human mind to apply to a situation, coupled of course with a bit of luck, to excel and be confident in any given working environment.

And then I have known people who have done Masters only to end up working exactly the way Bachelors do, perhaps with a bit more dough. That’s really sad. That really is demotivating for higher studies. So, in this case, higher studies is not even an investment option.

Be that as it may, it is very important for highly capable students to get into higher studies which can be used as a spring board to invent new things like, for e.g., this laptop on which I am writing, the wordpad which automatically corrects my grammatical mistakes and this blogger where I can share my thoughts. Invention, white papers, patents and what not. Its all awe-inspiring. One needs people like Randy Pausch to be around you to encourage the thinking mind to wander and conquer without thoughts of education loans and family and future.

I somehow feel I might like to be amidst highly intellectual people talking about heavy-duty stuff such as the applicability of Laplace Transformation to daily life or Chaos Theory although I myself might not be able to make any contribution to such interesting and mind-numbing discussions. I get attracted mentally to people who talk in such a way that it just doesn’t make any sense, and yet, there is deep sense in what they are actually talking. They will be talking in such a way because, for them, it is difficult to come down to the plane where normal human beings converse. This, again, might be because of their exposure to higher studies where, no doubt, they have to work hard on assignments and projects and what-not.

Then again, it might not be. It might just be because of what they are. Its all very confusing. At the end of the day, I am what I am.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mallus

Malayalis (people who speak Malayalam) are fondly called as Mallus.

Today, there was Onam celebration in our office campus. People were scurrying around preparing Flower Carpet. There was flora and associated fragrance everywhere. The talent on display was outstanding, the colour combination soothing and the team work exemplary. But the thought that came to my mind was the enthusiastic crowd of Mallus. Malayalam, with its resonant tone - somewhat nice to hear - was heard everywhere! There were - simply put - so many Mallus!

It is perhaps because Kerala, at one point (not sure if it is still), had the maximum literacy rate across all states in India. But Kerala being so small a state, had hardly any employment opportunities, and that might be the reason why people migrated from that small state to all parts of the country and thereon to the world to make best use of their education.

No wonder, Mallus are everywhere! But hey, I ain't the first to say it. In fact, Mallus themselves say so.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thought for the day

If bills, stickers, posters are banned, India will be a significantly cleaner country...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why diseases?

"In the olden days, Man used to hunt for food. There was physical exhaustion but mind was at ease. Nowadays, there is mental stress but physical inactivity. The body is not used to this shift in the balance. Hence the diseases. Reduce the mental stress, increase the physical activity and that will in turn reduce the diseases."

~As told to me by a doctor.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thought for the day

It is easier to fix issues than foresee issues.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Autorickshaw

There is a movement going around Bangalore to boycott autorickshaws on August 12th. Serves them right, if you ask me. I, for one, hate autorickshaws for two reasons: the exorbitant rates they charge and for not agreeing to ply to the required destination. For these two reasons, I prefer to walk even up to 3 km distance instead of begging autorickshaw-wallahs. It is but very rare that you find a rickshaw driver who will agree to the place you want to go to and also turn the untampered meter on. Majority ply only for fixed exorbitant prices.

I have a number and an email id that I got as a forward (in appendix of this post) which commuters can use in case rickshaw drivers refuse to ply to the given destination but I have not yet tried it myself. Even so, I doubt if any action will be taken against the autorickshaw drivers.

There was this one incident where I had to go to Majestic and I had to go in an auto because of many reasons that I won’t bother writing here. I ended up asking 8 auto-wallahs!! The first one said yes but after I boarded, he quoted an amount which was way more than the meter amount. The next two simply said no. The fourth one quoted higher than what the first guy had quoted! Three more said no and drove away, while I hung there like a beggar. Finally, like Almighty, arrived an auto guy who said yes, did not quote any price and just turned the meter on. Experience has taught me that auto wallahs trick their meters to run faster than they are supposed to, so I suspected this guy of the same. But finally when I reached the destination, the amount was reasonable and around the range that I had expected it to be. Out of gratitude, and for being honest, I gave him extra money as tips. The fare plus the extra money actually came out to be the exact same amount which the first auto guy had originally asked but I didn’t mind. If the first guy too had just charged me the meter fare, I would have tipped him off the same amount he had in his mind originally! The money was never the constraint in the first place, it was always the customer service and honesty and integrity towards one’s duty.

I am not ashamed to say that I myself have had several thoughts to drive an auto whenever I am free, like on weekends. I feel driving an autorickshaw is like a humanitarian’s job. Its like a service to humanity – you are helping people go from one place to another, and you are earning at the same time! What more job satisfaction can one get!

PS: I do not know the intricacies of profit margin and the mileage of autorickshaws and the politics that lies in each jurisdiction of the city amongst auto-wallahs (like in Mumbai). Perhaps these factors (and maybe more) cause difficultly for the auto-wallahs to make their ends meet in the growing inflation and hence make them what they are.

Appendix: Note the vehicle number (KA-XX-YY-ZZZZ) and email the details to transcom@kar.nic.in. Based on the prefix XX (for example KA-01), complaint will be sent to one of the ten RTO offices in Bangalore and
adjacent taluk areas. Alternatively, one can also call these offices at the number given below based on the vehicle number prefix and directly lodge a complaint.

Vehicle Prefix (KA-XX) Bangalore location Phone number

* KA-01 Koramangala 080-25533525
* KA-02 Rajajinagar 080-23324104
* KA-03 Indiranagar 080-25254310
* KA-04 Yeshwantpur 080-23376039
* KA-05 Jayanagar 080-26630989
* KA-41 Gyanabharthi 080-28602833
* KA-50 Yelahanka 080-28561366
* KA-51 Electronic City 080-25735522
* KA-52 NeelaMangala 08234-285598
* KA-53 KR Puram 080-25617951

Once the complaint is received at the corresponding office, a notice is issued to the address of the vehicle's registered owner, requiring him/her to turn up at the RTO office within 7 working days. Every RTO has about 10 IMV's (Inspector of Motor Vehicles) who seize the vehicles which don't report to the RTO. The penalty levied from the auto-waalas is rs.100 under section 200.

The various offences among others for which one can lodge a complaint

* Refusal to come to destination (Any destination!!!)
* Demanding excess fare
* Using rough language
* Cheat the public, for e.g. taking longer routes.
* Faulty Meter

There is also a helpline number - 080-22353785 available Monday - Saturday from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm on which one can call to lodge complaints. Koramangala RTO office received only 5 complaints a month.

What's wrong with the system?

* Lack of Awareness among the Bangalore citizens
* The system is inefficient in data gathering- emails or phone calls cannot be stored and processed properly, leading to ineffective use of these complaint data.
* Converting these complaints into notices issued to vehicle owners is still a manual process
* Limited government officials to handle

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Week That Was

Sunday: Sore Throat
Monday: Fever
Tuesday: Cold
Wednesday: Heavy Cough
Thursday: Light Cough
Friday: Normal

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Being "in" the joy

I saw a car loaded with heavy-duty extras. It had a special effect on the underside of the car, which made the road underneath the car turn into a cool blue. The lights on the registration plate had a design of its own. The window-shades had a jazzy shape. The painting on the car seemed realistic. So on and so forth.

But I felt a pity to the driver who must also be the owner. He can never experience the joy of any of the above while he is driving!

It was very much akin to what I had experienced when I was in train recently. The train was moving through bridges and tunnels on its way from Lonavala to Mumbai and there was excellent scenery all around but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I had enjoyed in 2008 when I was sitting on the back yard of a resort in Khandala seeing the far-away lights of moving trains amidst the same deep gorge in which I was now traversing...

The Post Office

The Post Office in my locality is a small dingy looking place but it is set amidst nice trees and greenery and the serenity beckons me. However, recently there has been a change of guard and the current Post Master seems to be a reincarnation of the Lord Yama himself! He snarls, he shouts, is constantly pissed off and is a man with absolutely no peace whatsoever! If ever there is a person you better stay away from, then this is that man! If ever there is a person to whom you should literally mean when you say “Rest in Peace”, then this is that man!!

When I first went in, he was calm enough. I later realized that his sense of anger is directly proportional to the length of the queue awaiting his service! He gave me two forms to fill and as I started filling those forms, the queue started increasing and it gave me an insight to this man’s murderous moods!

It did not matter whether the customer was a small boy or a teenager or a woman in middle age or an aged man, the Post Master treated them with disdain, as if they were present just to irk him and he irked them royally back! An octogenarian came, puffing and panting, walking from God knows where, and asked for his pension. The Post Master rebuffed back at him that he was very busy and ordered the octogenarian to come post-lunch session on the coming Monday. Such was the dignity of the latter that he muttered “Olledagli” (which roughly translates to “Let good happen” or “Let there be good”). That shows the well-mannered-ness of the older generation who bestow goodness in spite of being rebuked by their youngsters.

To almost every customer, the Post Master was telling that he was over-worked and that he was too occupied during first half of the day and ordering them to come after 3 pm. As if he was the only guy in the world with lot of work! I realized that it was because of Government workers like this guy, who make customers visit them again and again to get work done, that the Indian Government has received all the flak over the period of last few decades.

But to the Post Master’s defense, the Post Office was really in a dilapidated state. An Indian PO is unlike a US PO which concentrates only on delivering letters and packages across the country. An Indian PO, because of lack of letters and packages to be delivered across the country as compared to USA, also acts as a bank and hence boasts of savings bank account and deposit schemes for its customers but - this comes as a shock - without a single computer! Imagine an office full of heavy account books whose pages are torn, the binding is almost eaten away, and the account balances are written in pen! Imagination boggles if one lets the mind to ask what happens in case of a fire! To top it, the Post Master does not have any other peer in the post office to assist him, and hence, with the growing queue, comes the growing agitation at the Government’s inability to provide basic amenities to function properly.

And the Government is rejoicing in finding a new symbol for the Indian Rupee. As someone commented on the Times of India, who are we kidding?!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thought for the day

When a person in a developing country visits a developed country, there is much to cheer...
But when a person is born in a developed country and travels around the world, there is nothing much to cheer about...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Typical Us

"Can you switch on the fan?"
"Do you want the fan on?"
"Why? Do you not want it on?"
"Its ok. I will switch on the fan."
"No, its ok. Don't switch on the fan."

The fan is switched on.

:-)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The First Half of 2010

“Change is the only constant thing in this world.”

Today marks the end of the first half of 2010. This has been “the most happening” year in no uncertain terms. There has been a constant change around me in terms of projects, people and personal affairs (related to relatives, friends and self).

After working for 5 years in one project group, 2010 finally ushered in a breath of fresh air and I moved into a new module. It was a pleasant change, especially because some of my old team mates were in this new module and the merge into the new module seemed seamless.

Couple of my friends bought new houses. Many of my friends got married. Many gave birth to their offspring. Many gave good news of being in the pipeline to give births in the latter half of the year. Many who were in onsite returned back. Made many new friends.

But the hardest part was many near and dear ones no longer were ‘near’. A huge number of colleagues - who are close friends too - quit (or went onsite) in the first half of the year and considering how good each one was, not just in terms of skill set but also character-wise, it was considerably a big loss – a void that can never be filled, even though, the clich√© farewell mail typically says “I am just a click away…” I am just thankful that I got to meet such wonderful people who enriched my own life albeit for a short period of time. It is rightly said thus:

Endaro Mahanubhavulu Andariki Vandanamulu…

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Weighing Machine

Whenever my wife stands on the weighing machine and see the scale go higher than she expected, she smiles.

Whenever I stand on the weighing machine and see the scale go higher than I expect, I grimace.

It is strange how one machine can bring about two diametrically opposite emotions.

The Open Fly

Today I saw a fellow lady employee in the campus in Western formals who somewhat seemed inappropriately dressed. I couldn’t place what was wrong with her apparel until my eyes fell on the trousers. Her fly was open! It looked outright odd! Its one thing to have a man’s fly open but it is another thing altogether to have a woman’s fly open!

She passed right by me and I had half a mind to tell her about it. But I wanted to avoid the embarrassing situation. I could have told the lady friend who was with me to inform the lady employee about it but I was embarrassed even to tell my lady friend!

I am not sure if I was right in not telling and avoiding one embarrassing situation than allowing her to walk around all over the campus creating more embarrassing situations.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What the ...?

Seen on a cigarette box in big font, covering almost one side of the box:

SMOKING KILLS. TOBACCO CAUSES CANCER.

Then why are you manufacturing it, dude?!!

The Marital Transaction

Recently I was subject to witness the preliminary discussions being held for a marital occasion. Suffice it to say that it was not pleasant. I sensed negative energy all around me. Suddenly, somewhere, the topic had diverted from the joyous union of a male and female to a completely noncommittal business transaction between the girl’s side and the boy’s side involving money, gold, gifts, etc. There were demands, bargaining, raised voices, etc. It was outright disgusting. It was at times like this when I wish I am the eldest in the group and everyone abides by what I say. Being in the minority (both in age and thought), I was outnumbered by like-minded people who spoke of everything that surrounded ‘Male Chauvinism and Supremacy’ but very much meant that in one way or the other.

I wish I had the guts like Ananya Swaminathan to stand up in front of elders and be counted. I don’t. So I left midway during the discussion.

I choose to ignore what I cannot stand.

Run Vs Walk

I have never seen my 20-something-year-old neighbour walking. I have been seeing him since 2+ years and everytime I see him, he is always running. I see him get out of the house and run, either to shop or to college. I see him come home running. It is as if his thought is ‘Why walk when one can run?’ He is like Forrest Gump. Imagine the amount of time he saves by not walking!

I wonder, just supposing, if he encounters some kind of muscle tear or wear at the age of 40+, his doctor would then ask him ‘Why have you been running all your life when you can walk?’

:-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The UPS

Whenever there is a power shutdown, the UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) kicks on. This is the norm in every other household and commercial establishment nowadays in India.

For me, this indicates that the Government is unable to provide electricity but the citizen is able to afford alternate means of electricity on their own. It shows that the Government is unable to provide basic means of living to it's citizenry 24*7 but the citizenry can take care of itself without Government's assistance for a few hours. Its like a slap on the Government!

If only this was true for water too...Welcome the Rainfall! :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Mehndi Man

Two innocuous looking men sit on the pavement of Jayanagar 4th block and apply magnificent mehndi on girls’ hands. They are experts. They can complete intricate designs from fingertips to elbow for both hands within one hour. Since they are so good, there is always a queue of girls waiting in glee to get their hands all painted, be it weekday or weekend.

The fare charged for fingertips to elbow for both hands is Rs 500. Lesser the distance from the fingertips, lesser the amount, subject to a minimum of Rs 150 (which covers just the palm). If the Rs 500 takes about 1 hr, the Rs 150 takes about 15 minutes for the mehndi man to apply.

They usually start their business by about 10 am and go up to 10 pm. The demand for them is less in the morning and more as the day progresses. Assuming an average income of Rs 300 per hour, the daily income of one mehndi man is Rs 3600. (I am sure this is the bare minimum because every time I have seen them in evenings, they have a huge queue; and almost every girl gets the Rs 500 service) Assuming they work for 6 days of the week (weekends are when they get more customers), this would imply their weekly income is Rs 21600 per person and monthly income per person is close to Rs 1 lakh with almost zero investment on equipment and real estate!

So these simple looking men on the pavement applying mehndi on girls have a gross annual salary of about 12 lakhs per person and completely non taxable because there is no bill provided and transaction is all in cash. They don’t even have a shop. On the contrary, its better not to have a shop and not to expand as having a shop will only eat up their profit in terms of taxation, real estate, shop equipments, etc. And in any case, girls prefer mehndi on pavements (thinking they will be cheaper) than mehndi applied in shops (thinking it will be costly).

So.

My happy-happy mehndi-laden wife finally came to where I was waiting and my hour long wait came to an end. I stopped thinking further on the mind-boggling intricacies of small-time lesser-known Indian economy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My First Interview

Today I participated in my company’s recruitment process by being part of the Interview panel. For the first time in my life, I conducted an interview. It was akin to Man playing God. You suddenly have power to enhance lives or ruin hopes. In other words, you have power for one day to help the organisation grow and make it better. That’s a better and diplomatic way of putting it. I have come a long way since I attended my first interview…

Note: Incidentally, my first interview for employment - about 8 years ago - happened in the same campus where I conducted my own first interview, albeit it was for a different company.

Friday, June 04, 2010

My Two Cents

I have noticed that my wife brings out the humour in me.
I tend to crack more jokes and have more laughs with her than when I am with anyone else.

My wife says I don’t make pals easily.
Although I hate to admit it, its true.

After my friend Adiga informed me, I started noticing the weirdness in Harsha Bhogle’s cricket commentary.
His commentary is full of statistics and numbers revolving around cricket but it is not actually about cricket.

After my dad informed me, I started noticing that Bangalore traffic is filled with ambulances and their blares while it was not so much in yesteryears.
Reminds me of cities like New York and Boston where it is a common occurrence.

We had 9/11 and 26/11 but the dates do not signify a common month.
Life would be so much simpler if we standardize one date format, one metric unit, one method of driving system, etc across the world.

There are so many people playing farming in Facebook.
If even half of them plant real trees and get their hands dirty in the mud instead of playing on the net in the comfort of their homes, this world will become so much better.

When I go on train journeys, I get to see vast farm lands filled with lush greenery.
Somehow this has a soothing effect on me and it makes my travel that much more enjoyable and desirous.

I realized that mornings are never my own and I never get to enjoy the ozonated oxygen early in the day.
Except on weekends, but that’s when I prefer bed than fresh oxygen.

Many soap operas emit heavy negative energy and revolve only around sadistic schemes within the family.
Life will be enriched if happiness of co-existence mixed with humour (remember Dekh Bhai Dekh?!) is shown more than just disappointments mixed with revenge.

I think I will stop here.
I am feeling sleepy.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

16000 Hours

In a year, we have 365 days.
Counting out the weekends, we get 261 days.
Counting out 20 days of leaves and holidays, we get 241 days.
Considering 9 hrs per day, we have 2169 hrs per year.
Approximating my corporate life to 7.5 years,
I have worked for over 16000 hrs as a Software Engineer.
Does that mean I can never make a mistake in my profession on any given day?

PS: No offense meant to the ill-fated pilot but just an observation. It just seems silly to quote a huge number of professional hours against a person to show his infallibility.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Welcome to the cruel world

The maid who comes to our house is aged about 40 and has many daughters and sons and umpteen grandchildren, thanks to a series of child marriages (a phenomenon still ever-so-existing in the below-poverty Indian populace). While sipping coffee after her daily chores, she usually narrates a tale of her life or my mom does the same.

In one such tale-telling-moment, the maid related an event wherein her daughter’s parents-in-law threatened her - while the daughter was in labour in a Government hospital - that she will be welcomed back to the home only if she delivers a baby boy. As it turned out, the daughter delivered a baby girl. In panic, our maid bribed a nurse to replace the new-born daughter with a new-born son. In just Rs 5000, the job was done. Perhaps the mother of the new-born son needed some part of that Rs 5000; or perhaps she never came to know about the switch and wasn’t even aware what child she had given birth to.

Whatever be the case, the maid’s daughter had to forego her own dear daughter – whom she carried in her womb for the last 9 months – to some one else’s son just for the sake of entering back into her in-law’s house and continue staying with her husband. This switch, to this day, is known only to the maid and maid’s daughter. The grand son thinks of the maid’s daughter as his mother while his own mother is somewhere out there and the maid’s real granddaughter is somewhere out there without even knowing who her real mother is. Or perhaps she is already dead in a ditch.

During pregnancy scans, the gender of the child is not to be revealed as per the Rules and Regulations set forth by the Indian Government just so to avoid female genocide. But of what use is this rule if it is manipulated in this manner, that too in a Government Hospital, for a sum of money?

In the above tale, every one has played a criminal act – from the in-laws (threatening) to the husband (meek) to the maid (bribing for the switch) to the daughter (agreeing to do the switch) to the nurse (doing the switch and taking the bribe) to perhaps even the son’s mother (if applicable) (accepting part of bribe).

At the same time, every person had a reason to do what they did - from the in-laws (desperate need for continuation of the family generation) to the husband (ditto) to the maid (future life of her daughter) to the daughter (her own future life) to the nurse (compassion to the daughter and daughter’s future life) to perhaps even the son’s mother (if applicable)(desperate need for money).

The only innocent persons are the new-born-son and the new-born-daughter. What did they do to lose their real mothers? A fitting welcome to the cruel world.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Natural Beauty

She had perfect features, with her eyes, nose, lips and ears the right size and in right places. That is all it takes to make people beautiful - normal body parts - yet why does nature mess it up so many times?

~Chetan Bhagat in "2 States: The Story of my marriage"

Monday, May 24, 2010

After-Life

Suppose there is no such thing called life after death, then it means its always a big get-together after-life! What with no one leaving Heaven or Hell as the case may be, there is no farewell parties - just welcome and get-together parties! Boy, its fun to get back in touch with so many great people with whom we would have lost touch...!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Salesperson at Jayanagar

There is this guy in a tie who sells microwave-able plastic kitchen containers in Jayanagar 4th Block complex everyday. He has a backpack full of such containers and he juggles about 4-5 in both of his hand. He stands near the Bluebell sweets shop and scans each passer-by to check if anyone is gullible enough. Sometimes he even crosses the road and follows some customers in the faint hope of them being interested in his containers.

He has never approached me as yet but I haven’t yet seen anyone even listening to him for more than 5 seconds. As soon as he approaches, people wave him away or shake their head. They not even stop in their stride.

Who would want to buy plastic containers from someone on the road when there are so many shops around wherein customers can exchange a day later if they are not satisfied? What is his profit margin? What is his ROI for the time and energy spent?

What makes this guy go on everyday? Especially, dressed with a tie at 9 pm.

Helpless

I received a forward which had originated from a professor in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research imploring a corporate friend of his to forward the email to ask for funds to sponsor a bunch of high school students who had been selected in a global competition to participate in a related event being held at Texas, USA. The mail went on to talk about the exemplary innovation used by the young minds and the irony of being short of funds to even take part (and possibly win) the competition.

When I read this mail, my heart went out to the professor. He was asking for about 2 Lakh Rupees. That’s peanuts for so many people in this world. If only a few such people come forward and sponsor those bright kids, this world will be a better place.

Some times I feel so helpless, seeing so many such ‘Want Money’ mails. It is at times like this when I feel I should earn more and more and increase my donation budget but there is only so much one person can do…And then again, a catch always lies with earning more.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yummy!

Friday Breakfast: Khara Bhath (Uppit)

Friday Lunch: Chow Chow Bhath (Uppit, Shira/Sajjige)

Friday Evening snack-cum-Dinner: Avalakki, Cucumber-carrot salad, Banana, Mango, Apple, Toblerone chocolate, Basin-Ladu, Ice-Cream, Orange Juice.

Saturday Breakfast: Puri-Saagu.

Saturday Lunch: Curd-Rice.

Saturday Evening snack-cum-Dinner: Churmuri, Veg-Puff, Chips, Gobi Manchuri, Dahi-Puri, Banana.

Sunday Breakfast: Vermicelli

Sunday Lunch: Tomato Cream Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, French Fries

Sunday Evening snack-cum-Dinner: Masala-Bonda, Sambar-Vada, Pani Puri, Sambar-Rice, Curd-Rice.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The case of the Hello Tune

I received an sms from Airtel stating that a Hello Tune (Kannada song) was subscribed to my cell phone and it was charged at Rs 10 for 10 days. This was without any intimation from me. I also received an sms stating what needs to be done if I didn’t want the Tune to continue beyond 10 days. But there was no message to indicate what needs to be done if I wanted to unsubscribe from the Tune right away and get back that Rs 10. Since I didn’t want the Tune even for 1 day, I unsubscribed immediately but I did not get back the Rs 10. Thinking that there might be a batch process that refunds the amount, I waited for one whole day. The money was not refunded.

My wife called up the customer care on my behalf to enquire about the refund. The operator informed her that I should have called up customer care before unsubscribing and the money would have been refunded upon cancellation of the Tune. The unsubscribing option was only for those who stayed with the Tune for 10 days. And since I unsubscribed via sms, the operator mentioned that the refund cannot be processed.

Much has been said about my anger in previous posts. As I overheard this conversation taking place between my wife (who was passively subduing to the fact that Rs 10 was lost because of my hurried unsubscribing action and because of Airtel’s policies) and the operator, my blood pressure shot up and I fumed. I snatched the phone from my wife and lambasted the poor operator like anything. You might even say, I almost bomb-blasted the lady! I outpoured like the famous Eyjafjallaj√∂kull and did not even allow her to get in a single word.

Worse, she knew whatever I was speaking was fair. I did not ask for the Hello Tune. Money was debited from my account without my permission for a feature that I did not want and on top of it I was blamed to have messed it all up by unsubscribing instead of calling customer care. As if I would know that I had to call customer care for unsubscribing. And why would Airtel want to make customers call customer care when they are pleasantly enjoying a concert or a movie?! Oh boy, it sure gets nice to verbally beat someone to death when you know you are in the right side of law! Its like pumping one’s fist after winning a hot duel! I got all fired up and spat fire for about 5 minutes after which the operator meekly gave the phone to her supervisor. I would have axed the CEO of Airtel too if I was asked to. It was not the Rs 10 that mattered, it was the gross injustice of it all.

I didn’t even have to speak to the supervisor for the supervisor just came on the phone and said the money will be refunded. It seemed like an anti-climax to me. I mean, here I was, all powered up to serve a 150 mph ace of a serve when the opponent just walked out on me accepting defeat! Sure enough, I got back my money in a minute’s time.

When I went to office and told my colleague about this, who was a fresher, she informed that she had been one such operator in Airtel's competitor company and the fact of the matter was that the operators were taught to convince the customers about customers’ mistakes and if the customer was meek enough and accepted the rules, the company made profit. But if the customers fought and raised their voice, they were to be immediately refunded.

Boink!

So much has been said about not to be angry and to treat everyone fairly and to always be calm and soft, and lo and behold, people misuse people of such character totally! Bottomline is: if you are weak, you get trodden over!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Social Entrepreneur?!

I often wonder what great human beings CEOs like NRN, Azim Premji, Ratan Tata, etc are. My main flow of thought is that they are great because they have given employment to so many fellow human beings, thanks to them thinking big and taking risks and investing and what not. But my friend Adiga informed, quite rightly, that they might not have had such noble thoughts of giving employment to lakhs of people when they started their companies. Their main idea would have been to maximize the profits. This can only be achieved by recruiting the right people and pay them accordingly. Capitalism, in short. Employment to lakhs of people just happened.

I wish to be an entrepreneur too one day but not for the sake of maximizing the profit. It would be more for empowering employees to be bread winners in their homes. In this regard, I have found one small and simple way to start off. It is as thus:

In India, its very common to see all kinds of activities being performed by cheap labour. For e.g., we have folks on carts on roads who iron the dress. We have vegetable vendors in moving carts shouting out vegetable names on roads of residential localities with the hope of selling their inventory. We have tender coconut salesmen on shabby dresses without slippers cycling on punctured tyres brimming with hundreds of tender coconuts. We have maid servants washing dishes, clothes, cleaning the house, etc. We have teenagers wanting to clean the sump and the overhead tank. We have people to wash the vehicles and dust the windows. And so on and so forth.

My idea is to maximize the usage of such people so as to provide them with daily bread. Even though we can iron our own clothes, give clothes to the local guy on the cart who will iron your shirt for Rs 3. Do not bargain with the vegetable vendor and tender coconut salesman. Instead, give them Rs 25 if they ask for Rs 24. Bring in a maid to wash your clothes, dishes, clean the house etc for Rs 300. Employ the teenagers to clean the sump and the overhead tank and clean the vehicles for Rs 300.

Surely, these are the amounts which we can afford. For most, it takes a lot to just donate Rs 1000 for the needy. But if we get some of our work done for that Rs 1000, then it’s a win-win situation. Not only that, we are in a way supporting their family by employing them to perform tasks which we ourselves can do. A social entrepreneur. A noble thought, huh?

My mom calls me just lazy.

:-)

Calvin on milk

Who was the guy who first looked at a cow and said, "I think I'll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze 'em!"?

ROFL :-)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Punchline

"We have been all the way to Moon and back,
But have trouble crossing the street to meet a needy person."


~ Read on Infosys Foundation website

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bangalore to Chennai to Bangalore

Midnight: 27 degrees : Bangalore Railway Station

3 am: 30 degrees : On the way to Chennai

6 am: 31 degrees : Chennai Railway Station

9 am: 33 degrees : On the way to US Consulate in Chennai

Noon: 35 degrees : On the way back from US Consulate in Chennai

3 pm: 37 degrees : Chennai Railway Station

6 pm: 31 degrees : On the way back from Chennai

9 pm: 25 degrees : Bangalore Railway Station

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spice and Sweet

I like sweets.
Wife likes it spicy.

I am sweet.
Wife is...?

:-)

Four Hundred and Four

This is my 400th post and this blog is 4 years and 1 month old. After achieving 100 in 1 year, 200 in 2 years and 300 in 3 years, I did not really expect to do 400 in 4 years but I came close.

Well, I am 400 and am not out. Thats mimicking Brian Lara. Except that this is simpler :-)

500, here I come...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

C & I


April 17th 2010

Bangalore Vs Bombay. IPL 3. First time in stadium with wife. There was Sachin in Mumbai team and pride of Bangalore in home team. Also, both teams had more or less qualified to semis. And, Bangalore team was very much in form, so much so that it had beaten Mumbai (the top team) in Mumbai earlier in the tournament. If Sachin scored, people were happy. If Bangalore won, people were happy. So, more or less, this was a win-win for spectators.

Alas, neither did Sachin score nor did Bangalore win. Whats more, there were couple of low-intensity blasts and more bombs diffused in and around the stadium, although we weren't much too concerned. And Bangalore lost so badly that there was a threat of not even being in the top four for qualifying into semis. Till date I haven't gone home real happy from Chinnaswamy and the sad saga continues but I ain't dissuaded :-)

After all, one wave from Sachin to the stands to acknowledge the crowd - after the crowd chants, "Sachin, Sachin, Sachin" vociferously over and over again - is more than sufficient to make one's day. As one banner said "Heard that God is in town. Have come to seek his blessings." As I stood there watching this tiny little man on the ground, I wondered how one single man can make over 45,000 people - young and old alike - give him a standing ovation every time he comes into bat, even though he is in the opposition team. To be a part of that standing ovation, is simple priceless.

Friday, April 16, 2010

30

2008 - Sahib Sindh Sultan
2009 - Ivory Tower
2010 - Pier 39

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Expressway Vs Highway

We try to save money now

To spend good quality time with family later.

When we finally end up with saved money later,

Either there is no more a family

Or we ourselves are no more in the family!

Given a choice between the toll expressway and the free highway, which road should man choose? The expressway is costly but its faster. The highway is free but its slower. Faster means more quality time with family. Free means more money in the kitty, because money saved is money earned.

Twist in the tale: Going slowly on a traffic-ridden free highway consumes more gasoline and also leads to more wear and tear of the vehicle in the long run than going smoothly on the toll expressway. So, is money really saved while going on the free highway?!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Vicious Circle

Higher pay packet entails a desire for better life;
Better life leads to liabilities exceeding assets;
Then, sustenance depends on higher pay packet.

:-(

Bloopers

I am making too many mistakes these days.
Sometimes unwillingly; sometimes willingly.
Each of them is costly.

:-(

Thursday, April 01, 2010

"First time" of the day...

..Sat under a fan that actually worked in the BMTC bus!

..Toogire Rayara was not sung in the Mutt on a Thursday after all the preliminary religious activities.
:-(
Incidentally, it is only after one year of marriage that I came to know that my wife liked this song very much and my wife came to know that I liked this song very much! [Same with Indu Enage]

..Saw a lady crying in the Mutt in front of the Lord, with total devotion, as if there was no one else around her...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Experiencing the music!

Cool showers after a long, long time in Bangalore...

I have always liked this song, but today I felt the joyousness that is shown so well in the choreography...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpTCnl36gZI

Alas, the rain-bearing clouds can be compared to actual rain today. The rain vanished - like the rain-bearing clouds in the song - as soon as it came...

:-(

Monday, March 29, 2010

Peer Pressure

Scene (and seen!) in a female boutique shop in US (sometime in Nov 2009):

Three teenage girls checking out the innumerous dresses spread across the different shelves.

The quest for the ‘Right Dress’ made the three friends wander across the shop.

One girl picked up a jazzy top and her jaw literally dropped as if she found gold.

She grabbed it with both hands and made way to the friend nearest to her.

She said to her, with her eyes rolling: “Isn’t this cool? I mean isn’t this is so damn good?!”

The friend looked at the dress, just shrugged and said “Its okay” and continued her own search.

Not convinced if the top was just “okay”, the first girl then took that ‘piece-of-gold(!)’ to the third friend.

She asked her the same question but this time with less enthusiasm.

The third girl frankly said “Naw...” and she too got busy with her own search.

The first girl gave one last look at the jazzy top, gave a shrug and kept it back on the shelf.

Just goes to show how much one value other’s opinion…

Good Deed for the day

I was hungry when I left my office cubicle. By the time, I ran to the bus and got a seat, I was starving. I had a box of rusk with me which I opened and started munching. Etiquette told me that I should offer it to my (unknown) colleague sitting right beside me. But something within me was stopping me. I was not sure if I was embarrassed or if the person listening to iPod was stopping me but I sure wanted to. A part of me was stopping me from even starting the conversation with the unknown person while another part was urging me to the good deed.

Just a few days ago, when I was sitting in the same bus with another (unknown) colleague, I found it so easy to ask if Sachin had got to his momentous 200, but now, when I wanted to do a good deed, it was such a humongous task. Simple words – “Would you like to have some…?” But the words just wouldn’t come, even though I knew the other person would politely refuse! I tried and tried, I mentally spoke but physically it just wouldn’t come out! I finally felt so guilty eating all by myself, that I took the direct approach: I stopped thinking and blurted out the question. As expected, the person politely refused. Phew! What a relief to just ask and be rid of the guilty conscience!

Why is it so difficult to do a good deed? Why do we feel embarrassed?

Then I remembered Trevor McKinney in Pay It Forward. A simple story of doing 3 good deeds, and how the world gets transformed…

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quotes on Life

"It is a disturbing thought that we suffer in this world just as much by being prudent and taking precautions as we do by being rash and impulsive and acting as the spirit moves us."

"Freddie, resplendent in evening dress, bustled in, patting his tie with solicitous fingers. It had been right when he had looked in the glass in his bedroom, but you never know about ties. Sometimes they stay right, sometimes they wiggle up sideways. Life is full of these anxieties."

"Life was like one of those shots at squash which seem so simple till you go to knock the cover off the ball, when the ball sort of edges away from you and you miss it. Life was apt to have a nasty back-spin on it."

"Mankind is divided into two classes, those who do sitting-up exercises before breakfast and those who know they ought to but don't."

By P G Wodehouse in The Little Warrior

Ambitious?

Everybody in the family is happy and excited. But I am a little concerned. I have my reasons. And I have my questions.

Am I being too ambitious? Is this the way I want to lead my life?

Its funny how Life takes you even when you have no clear cut goals and you just flow with the river. And boy, its not boring.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The 3 shoes on the T-shirt

The other day, I saw a girl wearing a black T-shirt
That just had 3 shoes lined up vertically in the middle.

This made me wonder.
What in Heaven’s name was that design supposed to mean?

What could have inspired the designer to imagine such a T-shirt?
What could have inspired the girl to buy and wear such a T-shirt?

Just goes to show, to borrow a Wodehouse phrase,
“It takes all kinds to make this world!”

But hey, wait a minute.
Because the shirt had such a unique design, I noticed it and so would have many others.

Perhaps this was the inspiration behind the designer’s design!
To create a design that does not make any sense but catches the attention of passers-by!

Perhaps this was the inspiration behind the girl’s sense of attire!
To wear a shirt that stands out and makes people look at it!

And me, like many others, fell for it in a flat.
Now, include me when I say “it takes all kinds to make this world!”