Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vishnuvardhan is no more...

Everyone informed that he was one of the finest human beings on Earth and a wonderful, wonderful man. What a great honor to be said thus as just makes his whole life worthy.

But there was a peculiarity in this natural death: Just a few years ago, actress Soundarya died before the release of Apthamithra film in which Vishnu had acted. This was a film based on paranormal theme. Vishnu died before the release of Aptharakshaka film in which he was taking part when he died. This was supposed to be his 200th film, and a sequel to Apthamithra. This film also was based on a paranormal theme. It was also said that there were 'peculiar' incidents happening to the film crew during the shooting of Aptharakshaka. Like the actress of this film feeling someone was sleeping in her hotel room, seeing shadows, etc. Whats with this 'Aptha..' and 'Paranormal' theme thats haunting the Kannada film industry?

Whatever be the case, Vishnuvardhan is no more with us. There were many films of his that I liked. I especially remember Rayaru Bandaru Maavana Manege. May his soul rest in peace...


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 'Treasure-Hunt' feeling!

I vividly remember one Friday in September when I left office at 4.30 pm to get AAA maps of New York City [AAA closes at 5 pm]. If you have noticed a AAA map, it is HUGE! It spans across almost a 3*3 table top and the street names are tiny. As I was driving home (and thence on to NY with wife), I had this strange sense of excitement and anxiety within me and I could not understand why.

It struck me a while later that it was because of those AAA maps! Apart from the mapquest printout from and to my sole destination point in NY city [I did not have a GPS], I had not taken any further mapquest printouts and I was totally relying on the AAA map. This feeling of finding out driving directions from a paper map was alien to me and feeling was almost akin to a treasure hunt! Hence the excitement! I was totally looking forward to it! Just goes to show how a device like GPS can kill or mute an innate human feeling of excitement.

Manhattan, with its streets and avenues and traffic jams, is a pain to drive as it is but with no clear sense of direction, it is even more difficult. But I was able to manage it with ease and learnt a lot more about Manhattan than I would have if I had used GPS [A related post]. Not just that, it was plain fun to find roads by myself through paper maps and navigate through the NYC traffic.

PS: I finally fell to the charm and versatility of the GPS and bought one last month.

Quote of the Day

Wealth is relative to the amount of time one has to enjoy it.

~Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity

People and Work

There are some people
Wanting to do the same work
At the same office
Day in and day out
For years together
And yet be very content.

And then there are some people
Wanting to do different work
In different offices
Because they get bored and discontent
With a particular stream of work and location
Within a short span of time.

Why that passivity?
Why this restlessness?

Lingua Franca

It will be reasonable to say that Man came on Earth a very long time ago. Based on Continental Drift hypothesis, it is also reasonable to say that a very long time ago, Earth was just one land mass. Might not exactly be correct to deduce (as cited in the website) but as per Transitive Property of Equality, it is possible that when Man came on Earth very long time ago, Earth was just one land mass.

Continuing thereon, Man would have led to Men (due respect to Woman!) and Men to Community and Communities. Supposing that we had Communities of Men on Earth when Earth was still one land mass, it is possible that the Native Man started some form of communication to communicate with one another. This would have led to the creation of alphabet and sentences and grammar and what not. Its all hypothesis because no one can really say how it all really evolved over period of time.

Now my thought is this: when Earth was just one land mass and Men lived in one community or neighbouring communities, then how did so many languages evolve on this planet? Should not there have been just one language in this whole Earth?!

Since there are more than one languages, it implies that when Man came on this Earth, the Earth was not just one land mass. But then this means that Men came on Earth simultaneously in different parts of the continent at the same time and Continental Communities created their own languages. Of course, this discredits Adam because we are now saying that Men came simultaneously at different parts of Earth. Of course, another explanation is that this implies that Men got separated by continental drift before a form of communication was developed and this resulted in different languages across continents and regions. Possible.

But its surprising and fascinating that there are so many languages on this planet. Its understandable if a huge land area talks one language (like countries having their own languages) but its unthinkable to have neighbouring people (like states within a country) talk different languages. Its almost as if there was a time when people hated one another so much that they thought they should have a language of their own so that they can converse secretly without being understood!

In this one planet, we have 6909 languages and in India alone, there are 452 listed languages! I mean, why take all the pain to create alphabet, create grammar, create sentences, meanings, synonyms, antonyms, etc to create a new language when someone has already created a language? Was the hatred so much that the pain of creation of a new language was absolutely worth it?!!

Or was creating a new language the order of the day for regions, just like how states and countries got created and are being created? Like, as if its an achievement to have a state of one’s own with national language and national flag and national animal and national bird! Did it not strike then that the wheel was being reinvented, so to speak?

One reasoning is that perhaps there was one main language, but it got broken down over the ages to something simpler and easier. For example, if you consider Sanskrit as a parent language, Hindi came out as a child language. The script is the same but content was simplified. Again, its all my hypothesis.

I guess it is too vast a topic to write about and I know too little about evolution of Man and languages. All I know is that when I travel 6 hours from my place, I cannot talk nor read nor understand what people are talking, and I will be left wondering – again – why was there a need to come up with so many languages in this world!!!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Thought for the day

Sometimes change is all what we crave for...
Sometimes constancy is all what we crave for...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sick Leaves

In my organization, employees at onsite are entitled for 10 sick leaves per year. If they are not taken, they get lapsed at the end of the calendar year. I had not taken a sick leave as long as I was in onsite just for the sake of utilizing the sick leaves. But one day I really fell ill and I took the sick leave.

At the back of mind, there was a sense of satisfaction that I was utilizing the sick leave. I was staying at home, taking rest, being leisurely on a working day. Completely away from work and tension. And yet, I got to keep my earned leave balance the same. Happy-happy!

Then I realized that, due to me not going to office, the client would not be billed for my 8 hours of work by my organization that day. So, my organization would not receive pay for the 8 hours that I was supposed to work that day. In effect, the overall profit would have got hit however infinitesimal this hit might be. But if the organization is over 100,000 people strong and if a considerable number of this population are in onsite and take sick leaves during that quarter, then it is no longer an infinitesimal hit. When the profit hit is significant, then it gets reflected in my own pay slip because my variable pay reduces. So, the sick leave I had taken was essentially back firing me monetarily. Not so happy-happy now!!

Another classic case for Improper Initial Perception.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life in a suit case...

After 6 months in Heights,

12 days in Royal Crest,

10 days in Raleigh and

15 days in Homestead.

At least now, for some time,

We do not have to live out of the suit case...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Geography and Electronic Communication

When me and my wife were in Jayanagar-Bangalore-India, my wife’s mom was in Jalahalli-Bangalore-India and their daily communication was through cell phone.

When me and my wife moved to Marlborough-MA-USA, my wife’s mom continued to stay in Jalahalli-Bangalore-India but now their daily communication was through video –chat!

Geographically farther though we went, their communication became much more audio-visually closer and clearer!

Hail Technology! :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why does the queue not move?!!

When you are driving from New York to Boston, during one particular stretch, you will have to exit I 91N, merge onto CT 15N which becomes I 84E. Now, generally, the traffic from New York to Boston (or MA state) and vice versa during weekends is heavy. This particular exit from I 91N to CT 15N is a one-lane exit and hence, very often, there will be a huge queue – about a mile, mile and a half – on the right most lane even before this exit.

Now, those who are not aware of this traffic condition at the exit, usually - innocently - drive right to the exit and then realize that there is actually a queue. Upon realization, they humbly, meekly slide onto the queue and become a part of it. If there are a huge number of such innocent humble drivers, the guys who are in the queue get delayed and the queue at the very end doesn’t move at all.

Now, those who are aware of this traffic condition at the exit, are also aware that the queue at the very end doesn’t move at all and hence, usually – deliberately – drive right to the exit and then smartly, savagely get into the queue and become part of it. If there are a huge number of such deliberate smart drivers, the guys who are in the queue get even more delayed and the queue at the very end doesn’t move at all.

So, those who are aware of this traffic condition at the exit but are neither smart nor savage join the queue at the very end and stay there for a long time…

Quod Erat Demonstrandum

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sandhyavandanam and Science

The crux of Hindu practice of Sandhyavandanam lies in the repeated chanting - with utmost concentration - of the sacred ‘Gayatri Mantra’. The repetition range is anywhere from 11 to 101 to 1001. At a highly superficial level, this is what you are told to do when you are 7-year old and this is what you do in the initial stages after the sacred thread ceremony [also called Upanayanam]. But this manual chanting of the Gayatri Mantra - repeated chanting of anything, come to think of it - is more often than not associated with the wanderings of the mental state to the oh-so-wonderful materialistic tastes that go with the modern life, and this defeats the very purpose of Sandhyavandanam [SV]. And so, after some years of blindly following the ritual, you feel that it is not really enhancing the spiritual in you and so, the 1001 comes down to 101 to 11 and then even 1 and finally – if you come abroad, especially – you stop performing the Sandhyavandanam ritual completely. This is exactly what happened to me.

As I grew older, the science around me tried to tell me that SV is not just about repeating a sloka x number of times. It is about trying to “connect” to an almighty through your mental faculties. If you can do this, then the sloka is irrelevant and the x is irrelevant. But it is easier said than done, to get through this “connection”. It needs high amount of concentration and an absolute removal of yourself from everyone and everything around you. Like being “amidst the clouds” all by yourself. [It helps to picturise being “amidst the clouds” feeling if you travel abroad in an airplane. It is such a wonderful sight!]

Then I read this book called ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda. Concept encouraged in this book is that if you want something, act as if you already have it and feel it in you so much that you will eventually get it. Personally I didn’t like it so much and this is what I thought about it. Perhaps it was the way it was written. But the concept seemed interesting and almost believable. The missing thing in this book was of course exact science. And then, when I read Akbar’s blog, the science blended in beautifully.

Akbar wrote two blog posts: This concept of Manifestation and 15 minutes of meditation. He has written both extremely well. It all makes so much sense when you read them both.

To put it concisely, this is what the first blog post says: [refer to the pictorial graph in the first blog post link]: When you think of something and something alone hard in your mental state, you cause such a high amount of vibration within you that it breaks through your own negative barriers and belief system and eventually outputs the desired goal. The human mind has the power to create just by thinking! And how do you achieve this level of thinking? Normal thinking will not give desired goals because normal thinking wanders from one topic to another!

Akbar mentions that this level of thinking can be achieved by meditation. And, in the second blog post, he mentions how to meditate. And, if you think about it, the whole point of SV was about meditation. Concentrating on the Gayatri Mantra for a definite or indefinite period of time is actually nothing but meditation. Meditation, in its purest form, means not to “connect” to any God, but to improve the thinking process, to negate the belief system, to know that a human mind can create wonders just by thinking. Akbar himself talks about the advantages of meditation in his blog post. [Going one step further: yoga, meditation, vocal music and SV are all concentrated on the human breath. The more you can control your breath, the better control you have on your own life]

So, coming back to the multiple chanting of the Gayatri Mantra in the Sandhyavandanam:

Was the real intention of multiple chanting of Gayatri Mantra in Sandhyavandanam to get a better control of one’s own life by a strong mental state, to channelize the thought process to create what one wants in life and achieve one’s own goals?

It is a question to be pondered about...

1. Saw this video recently. Isnt this what we do (or we see people do) in temples?! Super Brain Yoga, indeed!!
2. The meaning of Namasthe. Courtesy: Nikhil's blog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

7 Blankets

Its been 7 years since I am in employment in my current organisation.
Each year of employment in any one organisation, I feel, is like a blanket wrapped around you.
The more years you are in any one organisation, more the blankets wrapped around you.
More the blankets wrapped around you, more you get stifled and constricted. And sometimes, comfortable.

Of course, it gets more difficult to free yourself from all the blankets wrapped around you with each passing year!


Monday, November 16, 2009

The 1%

There is a park near my house in Bangalore which I used to often visit. The park is a square shaped garden and the entrance is in the middle of the west side. As soon as we enter, there is a walking/jogging track leading to the left and right. The left and right tracks form the periphery of the park. There are also 2 center tracks which cut through the park and divides the park into 4 equal parts. One such center track starts from the entry point too. Benches are strewn all along the walking/jogging tracks. It was on such benches that I often used to sit leisurely and gaze lazily at the walkers and listen to the humming of the birds. Aaah, what pleasure!

A thing that I noticed was that most walkers and joggers, as soon as they enter the park, tend to follow the clockwise direction of the path, me included. Only 1% (a layman approximation) used to follow the anti-clockwise direction. I used to muse on this a lot and somehow find it very amusing and fascinating.

How does the mind decide which path to go when it is faced with 3 paths [left (anti clockwise), straight (straight), right (clockwise)] and there is no aim in particular other than just walking or jogging nor is there any level of difficulty defined (all the paths were even)? What makes that 1% of the populace to go the other direction?!!

The reason I bring this up now is that in the apartment community in which I stay now, there is a parking lot with about 20 parking lots, all at the same angle to the curb. All residents park their car facing the curb. Except me. I park the car reverse, facing the road.

So, in this case, I am that 1%.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

5800 in 6 months

3000 in 3 months.
I very nearly came to 6000 in 6 months.

Now that winter has started,
I guess the pace reduces....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Floods at Mantralayam

If the Saviours themselves get drowned...
Then what of us...?

Marriage and Responsibility

You are responsible for your spouse...
You are responsible for your parents...
You are responsible for your offspring...
You are responsible for your yourself...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

17000, but 3 runs short!!!

Sports can make one so sad....and so happy!
Felt happy for Sachin...but was so dejected about the outcome.

When 1 person gets half the required runs [175],
It is disappointing that the remaining 10 cannot even get the other half of the required runs...

Mathematically representing today,
Sachin > 10 fellow-mates.

"Anmol" Moles!

A mole on left arm.
A mole on right shoulder.
A mole on left middle finger.
A mole on right elbow.
A mole on left thigh.
Two moles on back.
And all of them in the exact spots respectively...

These are the things I share with my wife apart from Birthday!!!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Temperature and Population

Noticed a strange thing last week. When just me and my wife were at home, the room temp hovered around 70s. My parents and sister-in-law came and the room temp climbed to 73s. Brother joined, and room temp further climbed to 76s. It could be coincidental that the outside temp too increased, but…it was food for weird thought. Just to bring down the fundamental laws of Geography, lets look at the facts...(!)

Average population density in US is less than average population density in India => Average temperature in US is less than average temperate in India.

So, is temperature directly proportional to population? There is hardly anyone living in Arctic and Antarctic. Hence climate is so cold out there. But if the entire world’s population was distributed evenly across all parts of the globe, perhaps we will have uniform temperature everywhere!

Its like people on a sinking ship. If one part of the ship is sinking, tendency is to move towards the safe part. But the safe part becomes unsafe if all of the passengers move to one side of the ship.

People move away from colder part of the world because it is cold but it could be that that part of the world is getting cold because there is no people living there; People move towards warmer part of the world because it is warm but it could be that this part of the world is getting warmer, and if not hotter, because there are lot of people moving into this part of the world!

Well, as I said. Its just a weird thought.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Books and Friendship

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

~The World of Mr Mulliner by P G Wodehouse.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Over 3000 in 3 months

Oil change for a car needs to be done within 3000 miles or 3 months of the previous oil change, whichever is earlier.

All these years I used to fall into the latter category.

For the first time, I crossed 3000 miles within 3 months of oil change.

Just shows how much I am traveling in own car.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Angels and Demons

Once upon a time
An ex-Demon gave birth to a Demon
And thought it was an Angel
But then this Angel turned out to be a Demon

And then the ex-Demon wished it was not a Demon before
For, this thought-to-be-Angel would not have been a Demon
If the ex-Demon was not a Demon before
And for this, the ex-Demon bemoaned...

Why does God make Demons?
Why do Angels have to suffer due to Demons?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Work and Pay

Most of us at work, are trying to figure out something, that is not working;
Trying to find a solution that is elusive, which makes you tear your hair out.

The more it is elusive, the more you want to tear your hair out, the better the pay is.


The Wait

Couple of decades ago,
I used to wait for my father to get back home from office.
And today, the roles have reversed.

Well, I guess,
It’s the same since years now.
But its more pronounced in US.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"Worry is interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due."

The Spanish prisoner

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The office telephone number

The office telephone number that is assigned to me
Since I assumed US office in May 2009
Is exactly the same when I was here in US from 2006 to 2007!
What a coincidence!


PS: One more thing that hasnt changed, eh?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Question of the day

My wife and I were playing badminton for the first time in our lives, in United States of America, just in front of our house, in the lush garden that spans across our community. We had asked our parents to get the rackets and the shuttle cock from India and it seemed a nice game to play in the evenings.

Apparently, it is not a well known game here. Soon after we started playing, some kids came and started watching us. One of them ventured to ask what the name of the game was. But another one had an even more interesting question:

“Are you adults?”


The joy of self discovery

Today, we were driving to the temple from a different starting point (not home), and I was trying to catch up to the road that ultimately leads to the temple. Perhaps I was going to meet that road in a roundabout manner but at least I was sure that it was the right way. Without GPS, one has to compromise. But then, on the way, I found a road whose name seemed familiar. On an impulse, I took the turn and went in that road. Within minutes, I was in the temple premises! My joy of finding this new road was immense!

True, if I had GPS, it would have led me on this same route but the joy of finding a shorter route on my own is inexplicable. And not just that, since I found this on my own, I shall always remember. It is not to be easily forgotten because the impression would have been made on the brain. However, if I did have GPS, I would have blindly followed whatever I was told to and next time on my way to temple, I would have again asked GPS to guide me instead of relying on my own human power. Not that GPS is bad and I advocate against it; it really is a remarkable invention and a life-saver at times.

But this is not just about GPS. Alarm clock (farmers don’t use alarm clocks, do they?), calculators (yes, the calculation is right! No need to confirm with the calculator!), writing down things to do (have you noticed how brain stops remembering the moment you put down things to do in a paper?), remembering phone numbers (thanks to cell phone, we remember none), etc.

Well, this post is more about how man has become so dependent on electronic gadgets than utilizing his own self to the best ability. I have already written on the same theory but wanted to write once more on the joy of self discovery and realize how potential (and beautiful) the human mind is!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Month That Was

July has been a whirlwind of a month. It was the same last year too and this post is more like a Part Two! It swept through under our feet so quickly that we didn’t even realize it. Well, I guess I can say the same to the last one year too, considering that we just completed our first year wedding anniversary.

Parents came from India on the second week of July and I had to chart out the itinerary for their month long stay. We ended up going to Mount Greylock and Lake George on July 12th, Cape Cod on July 18th, Boston (Quincy Market and Bunker Hill monument) on July 19th, Orlando the weekend after and then it was time for them to head back!

Apart from the trip, whose photos can be seen in links provided above, here are some snaps from the month that was.
And here are some videos (Gouri skipping and mom singing – no, not related!) from the month that was.

First Year Wedding Anniversary

Prologue: This post is delayed by almost a month due to heightened activities in July.

It seems we got married recently, and me and my wife still act as newly-weds, but the fact is, it’s already been a year since we married. To celebrate the anniversary – well, considering that July 4th is a holiday and we get a long weekend, it was a week before the actual date of anniversary - we went to Canada and enjoyed each and every moment of the 4 day trip.

On July 11th, to celebrate our actual wedding anniversary, we went to temple in the morning and had a romantic dinner at Top of the Hub – a restaurant on the top of Prudential Building in Boston which gives an excellent view of the Boston skyline especially at night. The restaurant has nothing much to offer for vegetarians but the setting and hospitality and service is really amazing. Had a gala time!

Here’s wishing us a Happy Wedding Anniversary!!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Got this as a forward:

Life can be categorised into 3 phases - MTE.

Till employment - We have time and energy, but there is no money
During employment - We have energy and money, but there is no time
Retirement - We have time and money, but there is no energy


Thought for the day

“Chumps always make the best husbands. When you marry, Sally, grab a chump. Tap his forehead first, and if it rings solid, don’t hesitate. All the unhappy marriages come from the husband having brains. What good are brains to a man? They only unsettle him.”
“There was too much in New York to remind me. That’s the worst of being happy in a place. When things go wrong you find there are too many ghosts about. Don’t ever be happy anywhere, Ginger. It’s too big a risk, much too big a risk.”

~ Excerpts from P G Wodehouse's Mostly Sally.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The World Is Flat

Some professions are satisfying and some are not. What is it that differentiates a satisfying profession and dissatisfying profession? Simple. The end result. If you sweat out for for days together, you want to see the end result and the end result should make you happy, should inform you that what you did, the hours you sweat all those days were really worth it.

A doctor would like to see a patient walking out of the hospital free from pain with which he was writhing when he entered the hospital. A teacher would like to see his disciples doing well in life. A mechanic would like to see the problem in the vehicle solved. An editor would like his readers to enjoy the publication. A retired civil engineer would like to stand and admire his bridge after years of designing and construction. An architect would like to appreciate the beauty of the construction he just completed. A driver would like to deposit his passengers from station A to station B on time and safely. A chef needs to see the patrons enjoying his recipe.

In most professions, the end result is directly visible. Its almost physically visible, like the bridge, the taste of the food, the cured patient, the beauty of the building, the article in the newspaper, etc. Outputs of some professions are meta physical. Its not really there, yet its there.

The professions with meta physical end results can be generally classified as dissatisfying professions. Basically its because the end result is not seen, and if seen, is not enjoyed, or even if enjoyed, cannot be enjoyed as one’s own creation because there were so many participants involved.

Lets say, someone comes to you and charts out a problem. You think about the problem and provide a solution. The solution works, the customer is happy. This gives joy to you. The profession as such gives joy to you.

Lets say now, some group of people, say GOP, go to someone else, say SE1, and tell a problem. SE1 discusses pros and cons and whats in scope and whats out of scope with GOP. SE1 then breaks down the architecture into different modules and goes to groups of someone elses SE2, SE3, SE4 and assigns tasks to each sub group. Lets say you are a part of SE4 group and your task is this and that. You do this and that. A number of people in SE4 also do their parts, and the number of people in each of the sub groups do their parts and finally, its one whole nice part that integrates perfectly. SE1 reviews this final part with GOP and GOP likes it and starts using it and the work for GOP has become a little bit easier.

You, being a part of SE4, never saw GOP. Never saw GOP using the small module that you created. Never saw the GOP’s smiling faces as GOP’s trouble got solved. Never realized that GOP’s life became easier. You perhaps just got impersonal mail stating ‘Thanks for a wonderful job!’ that meant nothing to you. Somewhere, that happiness didn’t flow down to you, and you felt you just did what was asked of you and you are not even sure if its being used or not and to what it was worth. Worse, you are out of that project and put in some other project midway during project execution, and here you are doing something else.

This happens in many professions. Nothing can be done about it. That’s how the system works. That’s why there are so many people cribbing about their professions. Me, included.

I am in software engineering profession. The profession involving computers. I am just a guy in that SE4 or some such sub-sub-group who don’t end up seeing the folks using the end result which I created. Who didn’t see the trouble suffered by the users in the first place, nor did see the solution being implemented.

That’s why open source and freelancing is so popular in computers. If someone has a problem and poses a problem, there will be innumerous people wanting to help. Come to think of it, many a time, people have come to me asking for help in computers like writing a small program, designing an excel spreadsheet with multiple requirements. When I get down to it and give this final result to the person who asked, after working on it for hours together, I feel happy because someone wants to use it, someone is happy to use it, because I made someone’s life easier and happier. This gives me joy. This gives joy to the freelancer.

Technology has bridged the continents and made this world a smaller place. A person in India codes a software program that interacts with a hardware device written in China and the whole thing is integrated in America to be used in Australia. Who’s happy, who’s smiling, who’s trouble is solved, we will never get to know.

I have never read it but I guess this is what Thomas Friedman meant when he said ‘The World is Flat’: Putting a piece of electronic information in a digital file across the globe whose real result you will never see but assume that it has made life for someone a little bit easier.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The cc

I goofed up at office today…
I got a mail to fix it ASAP..
The mail had over 300 people in cc.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Law of Balances

There has been another demise in the family. My father’s cousin. In other words, my second cousin's dad. My second cousin was my batch mate in Engineering. Thats sounds ominous, isn't it?

I guess yearly there is roughly about 2-3 deaths in every large family. Generally, when you are kids, you tend to lose the great grandparents or grandparents. As you grow older, the age of the deceased nears your age. Then, there is the age when people of your own age start dying. And then when newborns are born in the family, its about time for you to depart. Its like a balance. That’s when you start thinking it can be you anytime.

So, as you grow older, people who grew along with you, such as your parents, your uncles, your aunts, your cousins, your spouse, your friends, start deserting you and there starts the panic, the “risk” of you being left alone in this world. All of the above loved ones are either people who were born before you or were born in your generation. And soon, its just a matter of time and turn. Its either your turn or someone else’s. So, there is always this chance of being left all alone in this world.

Hence, to keep the Law of Balances alive and going, you gotta have kids, and they gotta have kids, and you have thus created an environment wherein, even if the loved ones of your generation or of the past generation have passed by, there is another new wave of fresh loved ones, which you have created, who will still remain with you, in all probability till you die. That’s what, in project management verbiage, is called “risk mitigation”.

So, more the kids, more the happy environment, more the likelihood of being with loved and dear ones, more the likelihood of offsetting the sadness that’s caused due to the demise of folks of your generation. Its like padding yourself up with as many layers of generation as possible so that the hands of loneliness and sadness do not touch you till its your time to depart.

At the end of one’s life, its rare to find, beside the deathbed, one’s close friend or one’s relative (who’s born before one). Most likely it will be one’s own child.

We cannot all be Benjamin Buttons, right?

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I have noticed that there are three things in US that must go hand in hand: Car + Cell Phone + AAA Membership. Even if one of them is not present, life is tough. So, when I landed in US on May 1st, I ensured that I got my cell phone on 4th and AAA membership on 5th. When I finally got car on 9th, I had all three.

Since I got the car in Pittsburgh, I had to drive all the way to Boston and that’s 500 odd miles. So, I wouldn’t blame the car when, for the first time in my life, on May 10th 2009 at about 3.30 pm, I got a flat tire on the expressway, when I was just 50 miles from my destination. 50 or 500, it doesn’t matter. Stranded is stranded.

So I took my cell phone, called up AAA and told them my problem and where I was. In 15 minutes, I had a AAA guy with me and in 5 minutes he fixed my car. He replaced my tire with a temporary usable tire that I had. That was where his task ended, right? Wrong. He went beyond that. He asked me how long I had to go, advised me that it was not safe to travel that distance in the temp tire, told me where to find the nearest tire shop and asked me to get myself a new one. I thanked him profusely and made my way to the nearest tire shop that the AAA guy told me to.

The Firestone shop was open on Sunday till 5 pm and it was 4.15 pm. I dreaded them saying it was too late. But when I went there, the guy at the counter was all inviting. He looked at the tire that had gone flat, checked first whether he could fix it, instead of making me buy a new tire. He realized that he couldn’t fix it and a new tire had to be bought. As with most cars here in US, if one tire is replaced, all tires need to be replaced. So he checked if other tires need to be replaced too and informed one of them was new but two others had to be replaced too. However, he said, I can consult my mechanic and get new ones whenever I want and not necessarily with him nor that day.

Then he gave me three options for the new tire that I had to buy and gave honest opinion for each one of them. He didn’t recommend the costliest as most mean people do. Finally I choose the one in between costliest and cheapest and I had my car all set and I was back to business at 5 pm.

Between 3.30 and 5 pm on a Sunday, I realized how professional the two guys were: the AAA and the Firestone mechanic. As long as I dealt with them, I knew I was in safe hands. I had the confidence that I was not being cheated. That’s what humanity is about. Its about trust and being fair to one another.

PS: Recently, I read two more instances of such professionalism. One was in Germany when my friend lost his digicam. He had to head back to India and he even came back to India, but upon enquiring with the Lost and Found department, he was able to get back his digicam even after 30 days after he came back to India. The article was written in Kannada and its not a blog and hence I cannot link it. The other one is here. This one’s really inspiring. And very touching.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Breaking the head. Then and Now.

It was rough seas last week at office. Came home late almost all days of the week and clocked more than 60 hours. It is no big deal back in offshore but at client site, it is very pronounced. Especially because the office is deserted at 5 pm and you are all alone breaking your head. The lights are sensor operated and if there is no human movement in the room or the hallway, it will automatically switch off. So if you are sitting continuously at your desk for quite an amount of time, the lights too desert you and you are too occupied – or is it too lazy?! - to stand up and walk around to get the lights back on.

My thoughts compared this life to the life a decade ago when I was in college. Then too I was breaking my head in the computer lab, but I wasn’t alone. There was the whole batch breaking their heads in a brightly lit lab during day time and it was time limited. Either we got the program right or we didn’t in the stipulated time. It was all over either way in 3 hours. So you are liberated and you are either happy or sad in 3 hours, once the exam is over. You move on.

But that isn’t the case here. We have a task and its got to be solved or resolved as soon as possible. Sooner the better. But it is not time bound. Its result bound. So you have to be at it till it’s solved. Day in and day out. If it isn’t solved today, you go home thinking about it and breaking your head at house too. And you dread going to office the next day because it’s the same nasty thing to meddle about. And there are people above you asking how it’s going and checking if there are any results.

And then there are groups that are waiting for you to resolve so that they can continue from where you have left off. It’s like a relay game. You need to reach a point in the track where you can pass the stick - or whatever they call that thing you carry in your hand in the relay game - to the other member of the team who will then start running. So if you don’t reach that point sooner, the other members in the team are left idle and people ought not to be left idle in office, especially when they are being paid to work, right?!

So, then. That’s an example of how life gets complicated in a decade.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Can you beat that?!

Although I am not a teetotaler, today was the first time in my life that I went to a liquor store to buy alcohol for myself. In 29 years of my life. Can you non-teetotalers beat that?!!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finally found it!

I have been seeing and seeing if there has been any difference in Marlborough since I was last here 2.5 years ago, and confound it, if I can find anything or anyone different! I recognised even the tellers in the insurance company, the librarians, as old as they were before! The same roads, the same yield signs, the same lifestyles...

But today I found one gas station which was Exxon before and has now become Gulf!


Saturday, May 02, 2009

For the first time...

Was awake for the whole 24 hours (Apr 30th 6.30 am to May 1st 6.30 am).
Except for a disturbed half hour sleep while waiting for the pick up cab to come...


Back in USA. Third time. Zillions of thought processes going on. Perhaps will write about it sometime later...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quote of the day

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

by Henry David Thoreau

Monday, April 27, 2009

Quote of the day

It’s very simple to be happy, but difficult to be simple!

Quote of the day

‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go’

by T S Elliot

Did you know?

If the earth had no atmosphere, the sky wouldnt be blue at all but a pitch-black sea and the sun a big bright star in the dark.

Excerpt from A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Outplaced Vs Ousted

Large companies, thanks to recession, are resorting to 'Outplacing' as compared to 'Ousting' their bench employees, provided they clear the interview and have the right skill set and are agreeable to work in shifts. 'Outplacing' - a new word coined due to recession - means placing an employee, who is on bench, into a sister concern which is less attractive because of the menial tasks involved and comparitively lower pay.

Now, it is not easy getting into the sister concern either. It needs its own particular set of skills and the employee should be fine working odd hours on tight schedules with lower pay. But, any day, 'Outplaced' is better than 'Ousted'.

Now, there are two types of people who get on bench. (For the uninitiated, 'bench' refers to people with no work but on pay roll of a company, waiting for a project to which they will get allocated.) Either an employee is a poor performer due to which he has been ousted from his project or the project in which he was working closed down and hence he has nothing to work on.

Now, projects generally do not close down in one go. Work associated in a project gradually reduce and subsequently, employees working in a project too get gradually reduced. And when that happens, obviously, the manager chooses to get rid of less efficient / poor performers first to retain the cream of the team till the end, in the hope of a renewal of the project contract or to at least ensure the brainer of the lot do not get on to the bench strength. So, logically thinking, the first-comers to the bench strength are less efficent and poor performers of the company.

Now, a company cannot keep lots of people on bench for a long period of time. Hence, they start placing them in their sister concerns which does neither has attractive work nor has a decent pay. But, since outplaced is better than ousted, bench folks are more than glad to accept the offer.

Of course, sister concerns also have a limit on how many people they can take, for they too have fixed amount of work and, in all probability, work that is reducing by the day too. So, just as the lot of poor performers and lesser efficient trickle down from bench to sister concerns, the brainer lot and efficent people start filling up the bench as the projects get closed down and renewals do not come through. At the same time, sister concerns are full too and they do not need any more people. So, now, there is not even an avenue called 'Outplaced.'

So, does this mean that its better to get onto bench as quickly as possible so as to keep hopes of being outplaced than ousted?!

Election Day

Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

15th March 2009 to 2nd May 2009

March 15th-21st:
6 day week.
21st working day.

March 22nd-28th:
3 day week.
On Duty travel on 23rd and holiday on 27th.

March 29th-April 4th:
4 day week.
April 3rd holiday.

April 5th-11th:
4 day week.
Took leave on 8th.

April 12th-18th:
5 day week.
Normal week but 16th was birthday and hence could hardly work.

April 19th-25th:
4 day week.
23rd holiday.

April 26th-May 2nd:
4 day week.
1st holiday.

Cant get better than that, eh?!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birthday 2009

Happy Birthday to Us!!

Romantic dinner on top of Bangalore!!


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Policy Vs Humanity

“When things start going wrong, every company starts cutting corners.”

That’s one of the beautiful lines that one of my managers quoted regarding the company making stricter and stricter policies day by day.

So, there I was, sitting in the company bus one day, minding my own business, when I overheard a row between fellow colleagues. Apparently, one guy had kept a note book on a seat and a lady had sat on the seat ignoring the note book’s significance (read ‘reservation’). So when the guy came back to his seat, he was given his note book but not the seat because the lady steadfastly refused to move from the seat as she justified that the seat rightly belonged to her and not to the guy who had just kept a note book. But the guy argued that he had come first and since he had a pressing job, he had to go out for a few minutes but he didn’t want to relinquish his seat and so he had kept the note book so that others wouldn’t occupy it. Then, the girl informed him that as per the company policy, nobody is supposed to reserve seats in the company bus. Now, the guy cant talk back on her because she quoted the policy, so he just said that what she had done was not right and finally got down the bus as there were no empty seats for him to occupy.

My thoughts on this interchange: I agree with the guy. What she did was not right. All policies do not make sense and some of them have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Of course, it depends from person to person. If I were in that girl’s position, I would have seen that note book and dutifully left that seat alone instead of occupying it. After all, there is policy, and then, above all, there is humanity.

Multi cultured India

As I was heading to Chennai recently, I thought, in India, if you travel for about 10-12 hours on road or train, you are most likely to encounter a place with different language. [I thought about this specifically because I do not know Tamil and Chennai being in Tamil Nadu is renowned for its legendary Tamil signboards everywhere]

But with language comes so much more, such as different art forms, like poetry, novels, movies, songs, etc. A language has a culture associated with it. A culture that exists for centuries together, and has enriched the literature and made man achieve more in each form of art. It has sustained all these years and there is so much depth in each language, so much thought that has gone into it and people have been part of such cultures for ages.

And hence, India with its umpteen hetero-lingual states has so many such rich cultures associated with it, unlike popular countries like US, UK, Australia who have the same language but with different accents spoken in different states. Its truly fascinating.

PS: Just as I was departing Chennai, I saw a bank’s advertisement on the train: “In India, there is a different language every 400 kms.” The ad continued something like “Bank on us for banking” or some such thing, but it was quite a coincidence that my exact thought was out there on the train as an advertisement!


I keep traveling a lot. In this year itself, I have traveled to Udupi, Dandeli, Chennai, Ooty, to name a few. In each place I go, I feel the serenity of life. Of peacefulness and tranquility. How nice it is when there is peace all around, isn’t it? I tried to imagine places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, where every other day, there is terror. Terror while walking on the streets, terror at hotels, terror everywhere.

Why cant people live in peace and harmony? It is so nice and good and easy!!



“Whats the time?” she asked.
“9:30,” I replied
She saw the time on the car dash board.
“No. It is just 9:17,” she replied.
“While the whole country is still at 9:17, I am already at 9:30. I am living my future!”
And we both laughed.
Now, that’s what I call “Fundu Funda.”
But she prefers to call it “Fundu’s Funda.”



My wife, my 3 year-old cousin and I were walking on a road full of pot-holes.
My cousin had her one hand held by my wife and one hand held by me.
As we walked on the road, my cousin used to guide us happily to the pot-holes.
The idea was for her to use the pot-holes as jumping grounds, supported by my wife and me, as we air-lifted her.
So, as each pot-hole arrived, she used to jump in joy, and look forward for another.
Each pot-hole in the road gave her so much joy and gaiety that for the first time in my life I realized pot-holes on the road too have a usefulness!


Boarding School

I recently had been to Ooty. I was told that that my aunt had studied in Lawrence School, Lovedale which is about 6 kms away from Ooty. Needless to say, it was a boarding school and it is nothing like those that we see in urban areas. It is a school afforded only by NRIs and those who are extremely affluent. Not that my aunt got into the school because of either of those reasons but she got into the school because of merit.

Anyways, we asked for directions to the school and finally reached it. But to our surprise, we weren’t allowed inside, nor were we allowed to take a snap of the school. No visitors are allowed inside unless prior intimation is provided and permission obtained or if any of the ‘wards’ (that’s the word used by the security guard) belongs to us. Now what does this resemble?

Exactly. A prison. True, a boarding school, especially in the mountains, makes students into great human beings, and all that, but stuck inside the walls of the school for an entire term, year after year, with school’s own strict rules, doesn’t it make the student unaware of the true life outside? Doesn’t it seem too harsh to enforce upon a child a prison-like environment? Doesn’t it remind us of The Truman Show?

I rather felt a child learns more out in the wide vast world during the formative years - and there is more scope of becoming even greater human beings - rather than being confined within the premises of the school.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mom and Dad

My dear friend Mayur has 2 posts in his blog which is simply beautiful. At least, I havent been able to forget those. A rich tribute to those who created us...


Girls Habits

For quite some time now, I have been wondering about some of the habits of girls - girls who are in their teens or even beyond their teens - such as keeping their childhood dolls, playing with balloons, gossiping, fussing about their hair, about their dress and the actual attire itself.

The attire itself is such a complex, mystic feature that I just couldn’t figure out why girls liked to wear skirts, the shorter the better, wear pretty low-cut neck-lined tops, and the emphasis was always on ‘more-skin and less-clothes’. The fashion industry too has understood this and hence, skimpier the dress, that much more expensive it is. I have also observed girls adoring the attire of heroines - which expose quite a lot – and wanting to try the same attire.

Not that its bad or anything, especially because ‘more-skin and less-clothes’ is a concept that girls like to try on and is a concept that boys like when more and more girls do try on! But, for me, it opened up a new line of psychological thought.

Did girls prefer to wear skimpier dresses to impress guys around or more for their own joy? Although there have been instances of gals trying to impress guys around in parties and hang-outs by wearing thundering dresses, I rather feel, as a first preference, the dress is meant for themselves and for their own joy and happiness.

But such dresses are not called as ‘provocative dresses’ for nothing. Not only does the guy get impressed but the bad lot use it as an opening and provoke the gals. Tragedy has stuck at many a place just because of the women’s attire.

So, getting back to the point, there I was, unable to decipher the habits of the girls. Why? I asked myself and I had no answer.

Interestingly, the answer came to me in an Agatha Christie novel (Nemesis, 1971, pg 201, Harper Collins publications). And the answer seemed perfectly plausible. Below is the extract of Christie’s portrait of a typical girl through a character in the novel:

Girls are said to mature earlier. That is physically true, though in a deeper sense of the word, they mature late. They remain childish longer. Childish in the clothes they like to wear, childish with their floating hair. Even their mini skirts represent a worship of childishness. Their Baby Doll nightdresses, their gymslips and shorts – all children’s fashions. They wish not to become adult – not to have to accept responsibility. And yet like all children, they want to be thought grown up, and free to do what they think are grown up things.

Ah. Enlightenment comes in many ways. Novel, too, is one such way.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quote for the day

"If you just keep doing things, you spend all your time justifying what you have done.
But if you dream and deliberate, you only do what you can justify."

~ Colleague who quoted from an article he had recently read

Monday, March 23, 2009

Three Hundred And Three

Well, well, well!

Third year anniversary of Kaleidoscope and this is the 300th post, following 200th post on 2nd year anniversary and 100th post on 1st year anniversary. Now, isnt that something, or what?!

To be honest, I really had no intention to hit 300 on 3, but the comments on the 200th post really made me go for it.
~ I wanted Guru's 3 cheers for the 2nd anniversary to really be 3 cheers for the 3rd anniversary.
~ I 'kept going' as Deepti advised me to, and indeed posted many 'Hubballi' related (read 'wife') posts, and yes, the small pleasures is what I really cherish in my life and post them as blogs.
~ Nikhil's comment really inspired me to go for it, come what may, and yes sir, it was difficult, with the partner of my new innings urging me always to 'Sleep! Its getting late!'.
~ And, last but not least, I have tried my best to paint that Dark land which is far far away from Mayur into a beautiful palette of colours that forms the real Kaleidoscope....!

Anyways, Happy Birthday to Dear Kaleidoscope!! I am happy!


Friday, March 20, 2009

I-Like-It I-Dont-Like-It

There is no one field which is completely likeable, is there? I mean, I was just thinking, if there is any field of life which is completely and wholly acceptable in its entirety. There always seem to be one tiny thing or the other which is kinda nagging and rather boring and somewhat unlikeable.

Take for example, Software Engineering in its simplest form. Sure, coding is great but testing is kind of not so interesting for some. It is the exact opposite for some others too. Yet, as a software engineer, one needs to be proficient in both.

Take Classical Music. There are some Ragas which is enjoyable and pure pleasure. Some are downright unhearable! Yet, to be a true professional musician, one must be versatile in all Ragas and styles of singing.

Studies and education in general. There are some subjects which are boring and some are very interesting. Entrance exams. Logic-based questions are very interesting but English-related questions belong to ‘I-hate-it’ category!

An author. Story-telling is fun and enjoyable if it is stuck to the point. But, a good novel is one that describes in detail about the character of the person, about the places and about nitty-gritties that go on skirting the main theme, the sum total of which actually adds to the overall picturisation of the novel.

A shop-keeper. The security guard. Waiters in the hotel. Tension-less jobs for the most part, yes, but it is oh-so-boring when there is no one around, isn’t it?

Doctors. Operating is challenging and interesting. But along with it comes the boring part of documentation. As in so many other tasks, such as investigation, police-ing, etc.

Building a real bridge, a fly-over is so much fun. Doing the same thing first as a model using cardboard is such a turn-off!

Batting or bowling is so much fun but fielding is so tedious. Serving the tennis ball is amazing but receiving is not so.

And so, it goes on and on. Every field of life has its own set of positives and negatives, its own set of pros and cons, ‘i-like-it’s and ‘i-don’t-like-it’s.

But then, there are always a set of people who like every thing about a chosen field, and nothing in their field is a turn-off. Its like they are born for that field of life. No avenue is a ‘stay-away’ zone. Every bit of it is wholly enjoyable and so, they would easily be the “experts”.

What am I born for?!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thought for the day

Practice doesnt make Man perfect.
It just tries to make Man almost perfect.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What makes it all better?!

My wife and I were sitting lazily in Jayanagar 4th block complex this weekend as dusk fell, in one of those innumerous benches that are generally occupied by the elderly during the weekdays. It felt nice to be there, the environment somewhat comforting. A popcorn in hand, idly chatting on the week that was, passing humorous comments on passers-by - it was all just perfect. The nice cool breeze under the huge arms of the huge trees, the blazing lights of the shops, the kids playing around and the general charm of life at its supreme best and simplicity.

What, I wondered, has made this setting so good? What if something in this setting was not there? I tried to imagine the environment subtracting the environment's crucial elements. What amongst those that constituted the setting so crucial to add charm? What makes one sit there for hours and hours together and yet not get bored?

The trees? The lights of the shops? The street vendors? The kids? The people?

Sure, its a combination of all, but the most crucial of all the above is 'People'. If people exists, so does kids. So does street vendors. So does shops and their lights. Trees exist by themselves, but places with just trees and no people do not have the same setting as a place that has people.

New York's Manhattan suddenly looks great after days of living in a small town in US because it is crowded with people. People love Mumbai because of the human population. A beautiful looking place will have its charm added if there are people milling about.

I recently got a photo album shared by a friend of mine from some US place. It was a beautiful garden, excellently flowered and nice bridges over small streams. My friend was in most of the snaps but there was none other for miles together. The whole park was empty but for my friend and her gang. It seemed so depressing!

Thats when I felt, its the people who actually add charm. Add soulfulness.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


As India piled up 201/0 against New Zealand today and won the series, I had this sense of dejavu. While this victory for no loss was scripted by the right-hand, left-hand opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir, some time ago we had a similar deadly right-hand left-hand opening pair in the form of Sachin and Ganguly who used to win matches for India in the same no-loss fashion.

Below is a synopsis of the similarities:
1) Sachin:Ganguly :: Sehwag:Gambhir.
2) 6 letter word : 7 letter word
3) Starts with S : Starts with G
4) Right Hand bat : Left Hand bat
5) Goes Great Guns while batting : Finesse and Timing while batting

History repeats, huh?!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mineral Water

"Is the water in the drinking glass mineral water?"
"Is the plate washed in mineral water?"

The consolation statement

Almost a decade ago when we visited Kalhalli, some 50 odd kms on Kanakapura Road from Bangalore, our car – which was recently serviced - broke down and it had to be towed all the way back to our home. I would not want to emphasize on the drive back in a towed car – easily one of my toughest ever – nor do I want to elaborate on the place Kalhalli.

But, after we reached home, and handed the promised Rs 800 to the driver who helped us tow in his tempo, the villager said something which to this day I have not forgotten. He said it when we spoke to him in bereavement of what Fate had done to us on a recently serviced car:

“This money that you are giving us today won’t last with me forever, sir. One day, my vehicle too will break down and I will have to hand over the same amount to some one else. It’s the destiny. We are just a part of it.”

It was a great consolation statement. It really touched a chord within me. And I was never able to forget what he said.

One day at Tanjore railway station

I was sitting on the Tanjore (aka Thanjavur) railway station, happy to oblige to a swarm of mosquitoes feeding on me, reading a novel, when I saw a well-dressed and educated man throw an empty container onto the railway track. He had just finished the can of fruit juice and it rattled me to think that a man of his culture resorted to throwing things at a convenient location as against basic human habits of throwing things in the dustbin. I mean it is so easy to throw wherever one wants to throw, isn’t it, but if the same person was in US or UK or Australia, he would ensure to throw only in the dustbin.

In any case, I didn’t say anything. I kept on reading. Until he threw again! That was too much for me to control! With a restraint on myself, lest I blasted him, I kept myself to myself. Thankfully, he opened up the conversation. He spoke to me asking if I was waiting for the same train as he. I said yes, and grateful that an opening had been provided, I asked him,

“I noticed that you threw two cans on the railway track. The dustbin is just a few feet away, there,” I said respectfully and pointed it out to him, wondering if he had any genuine reason to act the way he had done.

He was suddenly all remorse, and ashamed. He apologized profusely for the mistake he had done and said he won’t ever do it again.

I felt glad that I had told him. I felt good that he felt sorry. I felt happy that I had changed one person. I remembered something that I had read:

Many starfish washed up on shore. A saintly man started picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean. Someone saw what he was doing and told him that it was pointless, that there were too many to save, that it wouldn't make a difference. Throwing another starfish into the sea, the saintly man responded, "It makes a difference to this one".

The hound of Padmanabhanagar

The time was 11 pm. There was no one on the road. For reasons better off not delving into, I was barefoot, I had no cell phone and I smelt of food. I was walking on the mud road carefully, avoiding the stones, and was just fifty steps away from my destination. I could see the light and the merry-making in the house that I was supposed to go to. Just a few strides, I thought.

Suddenly, a street dog, which was lying on the side of the road in between where I was and where I had to go, woke up. It had either heard me or smelt me or smelt the food in my hands. I was a foreigner on the road, and for all it knew, I was a thief and he was the cop. Or, it was an intelligent dog knowing where and how to get easy food. It stood up.

I quickened my pace, hoping to beat it before it blocked my way. Alas, the beast was faster. It fixed its eyes steadily on me and stood at the center of the road. I had nowhere to go, and I stood too. Both of us stood there, staring at one another. If we had rifles, we might as well have been the actors in a Wild West movie!

I looked beyond the hound and saw agonizingly how close the house was. I wished I had the cell phone to call for help. I wished my hands didn’t emanate the smell of food. I walked a few steps more towards the house, and the dog started growling. I stood standstill. So did the dog.

I then walked to the side of the road. So did the dog. I walked to the other side. So did the dog. And then, like a prey, the dog started walking towards me. As if saying enough is enough.

It was absolute terror. I felt the sweat on my brows. I had no idea what to do. For all I knew this hound would lunge at me and rip me apart. Just a bite wouldn’t suffice it.

Its amazing how a human being can think on the spot when his life is at danger despite the panic. I picked up a stone from the mud road and raised it high over my head, with a fiery face to go with it. The dog, which was coming towards me, suddenly realized that I wasn’t such an easy prey after all, and backed away to the side of the road.

Finding the path nice and clear again, I briskly walked on, with the stone still in my raised hands and the fiery face still blazing on the dog. I continued looking over my shoulder at the dog and found it again lying down on the side of the road. Within a few seconds, I reached my destination and relief enveloped me like never before.

It was the most terrorizing experience of my life.

The country

Visited a few country houses and traveled through villages this weekend. Observed several interesting things. Jotting down a few:


Before the three year old could have his breakfast, he was asked by his mother to give a banana to the cow that was in the house’s back yard, which also was the cow-shed, and genuflect in front of it.

Realized how sacred the cow still is, especially in remote places of India.


My mother asked the lady the name of the lady’s husband who had passed away. The lady just smiled. It wasn’t that she was dumb nor was it that she got annoyed at such a question being asked. She just sat there, smiling. Then, the son, who had heard the question across the room, answered on her behalf.

Realized how sacred the husband is, especially in remote places of India and even more especially in orthodox household, that a wife is not expected to utter his name, even after his death.


While I was passing through a small hamlet of 3-4 houses on the main road, with the streetlight lit only by a few bulbs, dirt everywhere to be seen, pigs scattered around a few feet from playing children and the stench of the stagnant drainage, I saw people sitting on the doorstep, talking away to glory, with mobile phones…

Realized how the web of mobile phones has caught onto villages which do not even have the basic hygiene!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Moment of the day

When I presented my wife,
For the first time,
In typical old Kannada movie style,
A Mallige Hoova!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Subconscious

My brow was tensed. My eyes were fixed on the monitor. My mind was furiously concentrating on the job that I was assigned to me. It was just another day at office, just another moment when the wheels of commerce are churning slowly but surely.

And then, there was a ‘ting’ sound, somewhere in the background, barely audible, but very distinct. Some 3-4 cubicles down the corridor. Perhaps an ‘incoming message’ tone on someone’s mobile.

Albeit my concentration, albeit my thoughts, which were primarily on what I was doing, something within me woke up. The subconscious. With it, came a host of other thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

It didn’t take me long to understand the shift, to comprehend what the subconscious was all about, even though it has been over two years now.

From March 2005 to December 2006 (forgoing October 2005), my office cubicle in Marlborough, USA was so placed that it was just a few steps away from the elevator. And the elevator always made a ‘ting’ sound just prior to opening the door. This ‘ting’ happened all through the day, all through the time I sat in that cubicle, for almost 21 months. It was never irritating, but it became a part of my cubicle, part of my life. So much so that when I was there, I was never aware of it, and when I shifted away, I never missed it. Until today!

And the ‘ting’ that I heard today was exactly like the ‘ting’ that I had kept hearing for 21 months, and I could remember this even to this day, although, its February 2009 now. The intensity, the tone, the frequency, even the distance of this ‘ting’ was exactly like the elevator’s ‘ting’. Its fascinating how the human subconscious stores the tiniest detail and can open up any time with the minutest command along with its related paraphernalia!!

Once the subconscious wakes up, there is no stopping to the thoughts, emotions and feelings that follow. For a moment, you are transported to the life that was, of the habits, of the kind of lifestyle that was led, of the joys, of the sorrows, of a life that never shall be experienced again, of something very precious and dear to the heart…Its really amazing how the subconscious works!

Post Script:

1. I guess it’s the same with songs. Some songs are associated with certain events in life and when those songs are heard, the related scenes come very easily to the mind and heart. For a long time, when I used to drive from house to office in Marlborough in the mornings, Dido’s Thank You and White Flag used to be aired on radio at exactly the same time every day, and to this day, if I hear those songs, I am reminded of my drive from home to office in my Volvo…

2. This post was more on the lighter side. Unfortunately, the same is true on the darker side too. When I was in fifth grade or so, I saw an apartment filled with fire and fire engines were everywhere, shrieking the well-known siren. There were ambulances all around too, shrieking the similar sounding siren. Since that day, whenever I hear the ambulance or the fire engine’s siren, my heart beat goes up. Its because of the gory scenes I saw on that fateful day. This just shows how tender a human mind is. If, as a kid, something terrible happens, or if the kid is subjected to something unimaginable, or if the environment in which the kid stays is harrowing, it shall stay forever in the mind…

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Laying of the roof

There is a construction going on in our road. Primitive style of construction with no technology being used. Affordability issues actually. Pure manpower what now in modern construction sites is replaced by machines.

This is especially apparent when the roof is being laid. In a modern construction site, if one has noticed, a huge truck, which mixes the concrete, is seen during the laying of the roof. This truck has an enormous drum which keeps revolving to mix the ingredients that ultimately constitute the roof. It also has a large drain pipe which can extend to n number of storeys so that the concrete goes right onto the floor which needs the laying of the roof. Pretty remarkable invention, one should admit.

But even more remarkable, I felt, is the manpower which does this same thing. During the laying of the roof, many construction workers come to the site and build temporary ladders using wooden poles - and strings to bind them together - that go all the way up to the storey where roof has to be laid. A small electric revolving drum is kept on the road onto which is fed the stones, the sand, the cement and water in right mixture so as to form concrete. The drum mixes them for quite some time, after which, it is rotated to the other end and the hot concrete is poured onto the road from the drum and the drum is rotated back to be fed the same ingredients to churn out more concrete again.

This hot concrete dump that is now on the road is put onto a number of medium-sized, oval-shaped, basins which are then passed, sequentially, from one person to another – each wearing gloves to shield from the hot concrete. This passing from one to another is the most fascinating thing to see. Especially because it goes from one storey to another, with men and women, throwing and catching the basin in a perfect synchrony, just like machines, for hours and hours until the whole roof is laid with concrete. Just as how the concrete-filled basins are passed up from the road till the topmost storey where roof is being laid, the same empty basins have to be thrown back in the same order for refill, all the way from top to the bottom. This perfect harmony, perfect manual automation, almost rivals the industriousness of the ants!

This whole process takes about 3-4 hours for one roof. Once it is done, the owner of the house has to provide meals to the hard-earned workers. And at the end of it, each of the worker gets the fees for the work that one does. In currency notes.

Somehow, this last gesture of getting money in hand, of feeling the crispiness of the currency after a day’s hard work, seems most satisfying as compared to getting the monthly salary deposited electronically into the bank with an sms that confirms the same.

The world has advanced technologically, but somewhere, the life’s charm is lost…

Taking Bath

Taking bath, like so many other things, has become so complex these days, hasn’t it?

I mean, in the olden era, people – I am guessing here – used to stay near streams and a dip in the stream constituted a bath. Gradually, as population increased, and many streams dried up, and Government pitched in to transport water from mainstream rivers to taps of all homes, bath constituted of a bucketful of water into which a mug is dipped in and poured over body.

Then came the varieties of buckets, the biggest one being the bath tub wherein water is poured in to the brim and one immerses completely inside it so to get back that feeling of having a bath in the stream. Of course, this water is stagnant and one has to empty and re-fill the tub multiple times to really cleanse oneself.

There was also the ingenious and most popular shower bath which doesn’t create this stagnancy but instead propels the water in jets at the body so as to have the dual effect of relaxation as well as cleansing. It is extremely addictive.

In parallel, the chemical industry boomed. First to market them were the Soap industry. Apparently, water isn’t sufficient to cleanse the dirt out of the body. So, soap was a must. Variety of soap came into market. Somewhere, it seemed, its objective was lost and ‘fragrance after bath’ became the order of the day and the soap which permeated the best fragrance became the best soap, the soap to be boasted of!

Suddenly, not to be outdone, came a myriad of other chemical products – each a must in bath. Shampoo for the hair. After shampoo, a conditioner was a must. Body Lotion. Liquid soap. Face (only) Wash Soap. Hand (only) Wash Soap.

Then, specifics to the type of bath (shower, bath tub, etc), more products came. Shower cap, bubble bath, candles – Jeez, man!! – and finally, shops for bath! Suddenly, taking a bath was the most complex thing! One had to shop for hours together to get the right material and the right color of the bathroom products befitting the color of the bathroom to take a simple bath. Its really mind blogging, er, I mean, mind boggling!

As I always say, the world has over-complicated itself!

Problems and Resolutions

This whole world can be viewed as a sum total of problems and its resolutions.
People thrive in life because there are problems and it has to be resolved.

Agriculture industry can be construed as a resolution to the problem of hunger.
Banking industry can be construed as a resolution to the problem of handling money.
Construction industry can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of having a roof over head.
Dentistry can be viewed as a resolution to helping out the problems with teeth.
Education industry can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of illiteracy.
Festivals can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of daily monotony.
Gymnasium can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of physical unfitness!
Hotel industry can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of eating out.
Irrigation can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of saving river water going out to the oceans.
Judiciary can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of bringing criminals to justice.
King can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of having a single representative for a body of people.
Law can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of having a common set of dos and donts.
Mining industry can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of utilizing immense amount of metals available in earth for the benefit of humanity.
News industry can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of keeping everyone aware of whats going on.
Operation (medical) can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of a suffering human being.
Pharmaceutical industry can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of providing drugs of medicinal value to ease the suffering human being.
Queue System can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of chaos.
Road can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of commuting from point A to point B.
Science can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of understanding natural or physical phenomena concerned with observed material facts.
Tax can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of providing Government sufficient revenues to make the Society a better place.
Umpiring can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of having a neutral judge during a game between opponents.
Vehicle can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of means of transportation.
Weapons can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of having to deal with enemies.
X-Rays can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of understanding the structure of the insides of the physical solid bodies to cure diseases.
Yeast can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of fermentation of bread.
Zoology can be viewed as a resolution to the problem of understanding the behavior of anumals.

PS: An attempt is made above to categorize the whole world and its cogs into an alphabetic order of industries and items but it is just a perception of the Whole into a Subset.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Definitions of ‘Struggle’ are various. I have picked the 4 best that I liked:

1. to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition
2. to contend resolutely with a task, problem, etc.; strive: to struggle for existence.
3. to make (one's way) with violent effort.
4. a task or goal requiring much effort to accomplish or achieve.

Lets face it. Life, for most of us, is a struggle. Existence doesn’t come easy unless you had a huge grant from a dad or a grand dad who left you a fortune or you married a spouse with a bulging wallet.

Every walk in our life is a struggle whether we realize it or not. As stated in one of my earlier blogs, during the time, we might not realize it as ‘struggling’, but later we definitely would if the walk of life eases. Its like climbing a mountain, panting and puffing, and once you reach the top, you look down and wonder ‘How the hell did I climb that?!!’

But, given a ‘struggling situation’ and a ‘non struggling situation’, I confess I would rather opt for the latter. I mean, really, why bother the panting and puffing?! Take it easy, chap, is what I would say to myself! But that’s being me.

However, a little introspection leads to the conclusion that it’s the sum total of struggle in life that actually enriches one’s life. Yes, it’s the hard way but it’s the best way and it’s the way a life ought to be led. It’s the way where the true knowledge exists.

To emphasise the point in a rather technical manner, ask a man to code a software program on a PC enabled with all the IDEs and softwares (like Visual Studio, Eclipse, Net beans, etc), he just right clicks and boom! Everything is done. But ask the same thing to be done on a PC with no IDE on it, the modern day developer stands confused because, the basics are missing. Its like learning to make sentences without knowing the alphabet. So, the beauty of it all is somewhere lost in translation.

Yes, the newer way is faster, advanced and highly efficient but at the same time, a huge amount of knowledge is never understood and learnt. By not learning, by not allowing to learn, the mindset adjusts to ‘Right click’ rather than learn the hard way.

To give a more generic instance, getting a first pay packet of five digits is the order of the day now. However, if one has struggled through the times, if one has earned one’s initial bread by really struggling, one can appreciate the value of money as compared to a person who had a lot of dough as his first salary. Similarly, the joy of coding from a blank textpad to a complete program is completely and enormously different from coding using an IDE or a software which does half your job.

Anyways, that was just a thought. That’s the thought I get when I think about my peers struggling to do their Masters, struggling to do their Post-Grads, struggling to get into an MNC. That’s the thought that I get when I think about climbing a mountain, about doing a hard trek, about doing tougher projects, about spending more time in office, etc. One always remembers the night-outs during studies or the night-outs spent in office rather than the ‘just-another-day-in-college’ or the routine 9 to 6 days in office respectively, right? Yes, we are all struggling, in one way or the other.

And, the best part is, its worth the experience. Its definitely worth the experience because it is the struggle that enriches one’s experiences.

So struggle more and struggle harder…


PS: Of course, draw a line somewhere!! One shouldnt overdo anything, right?!! :-)

Thought for the day

Why is the grass so damn greener on the other side?!!


The Session That Was

So I attended this session today, solely because I was asked to and I had no intention of going. But it was nice, as it always is post-session, to have attended a course on soft skills. It isn’t always correct what is taught and it is never so if it is pure theory based on books but the facilitator in today’s session was top-notch. She emphasized that same point and in fact even conceded that the session was more for interaction and mind-set preparation rather than strict Dos and Donts. So there was a lot of stories told about true experiences that people had faced and pondering about the same and very very few slides that made the training very interesting! Of course, she resembled a very dear old friend of mine and I won the game first up which she asked us to play to rather kind of break the ice and the two factors really helped setting the afternoon in high spirits!

Couple of the things that she said made me ponder:

“Data shows that over 60% of the time, it is the ‘environment’ and ‘what others think’ is what stops a person from saying out what he truly wishes to say.”

Well, if that was interesting, then, at the end, she said this:

“Clarity and in-depth knowledge of the topic in question makes a man so powerful that he doesn’t care a damn to either ‘environment’ or ‘others’ and brings about an attitude of ‘What do I care? I have nothing to lose!’ and hence enables him to say what he truly wants to say.”

Hmmm. Very interesting…

PS: On a side note, I was the oldest member in the whole classroom. I did not expect this so early!! :-(

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eating Out...

Sunday: Upahara Sagar (Fast Food)
Monday: Ragoos (Continental)
Tuesday: Vidyarthi Bhavan (Dosa and Vada)
Wednesday: Wedding Reception (Multi-Cuisine)
Thursday: Home Sweet Home (South Indian)
Friday: Home Sweet Home (South Indian)
Saturday: Canopy (Multi-Cuisine)
Sunday: Anna Kuteera (North Indian / South Indian)

Moment of the day

A lush green garden...
A robust water fountain in the middle of it...
A huge multi-storeyed building on the background that extends to the night sky...
Orion right on top of the building...

And to top it all,
My Valentine beside me...


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Certificate of Recognition

Is it really now? A Certificate of Recognition.

In the IT sector, it is hard to distinguish if an appreciation is really meant to recognise the effort put in or if it is just a device used as a motivating factor to keep going and going. Especially if the appreciation goes from one person to another, quarter-on-quarter in a round-robin basis. Or perhaps both.

Well, I guess I should be happy.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Thought for the day

Excerpt from a blog by Ashok Vemmuri (my boss's boss's boss's...boss!), who is attending World Economic Forum in Davos:

In addition to collaboration, there was a strong theme running through today’s discussions that we need to go back to basics. The world has over-complicated itself; we need to scale back and slow everything down so that the world can be stabilized again. This isn’t just for the banking industry, but also organizational management, and the relationship between the state and the private sector.

The world has over-complicated itself. This line made me chuckle. Its what I always keep thinking! Its so true! Masanobu Fukuoka always said 'How about not doing this? How about not doing that?' We indeed have over-complicated our lives...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Power of a mole!

In a casual discussion with relatives today, my aunt mentioned that if a person has a mole on his feet, he tends to travel a lot. Instinctively, I looked down at my feet.

I did not have just one mole. I had one mole on my left foot and one mole on my right foot! No wonder I like to travel so much!!


Thursday, February 05, 2009

V-Day Wedding?

Sri Rama Sene group, recently infamous for their beating of young girls in a Mangalore pub for following Western Culture, are once again in the news. SRS has decided to arrange marriage between dating couples on V-Day. Guys and gals exhibiting public display of affection on Valentine's Day will be caught by SRS team and taken to a sub-registrar's office to solemnize the marriage.

But then, I thought, Feb 14th is a second Saturday! All Government offices, including sub-registrar's offices will be closed on Feb 14th!


I guess me and Gouri just lost a golden chance to get freely married a second time in less than a year...


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

0730 hrs

As I was waiting for my company bus today at 0730 hrs,
Amidst the myriad of vehicles plying about,
Some school vans, some college vans, some company vehicles,
Some autorickshaws, some public buses,

And amidst people at various stages of getting ready for the day,
Some returning from morning walk, some starting off,
Some dropping children to school, some heading to office,
Some getting milk from the shop, some fuelling up their vehicles,

I had this random thought:

How many people would be awake, up and about by 0730 hrs?!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

2009 Australian Open Tennis Championship

....aaaaah. It really hurts to see a champion crying...
But then, he is no longer a champion...

And, the reason, perhaps, he has lost the championship... because he cries...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Phrase of the day

Higher up the ladder one climbs
The more one becomes a Devil's Advocate.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


How lucky can one get...
How unlucky can one get...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote of the day

"Health can buy Wealth;
But Wealth cannot buy Health"

Observed at Pulse Diagnostics after I had been there for Total Wellness Check c/o Artha.
On a side note, I am Totally Well :-)
Apart from the 76, of course :-(

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"First Time In Life" of the day

* Booked Tatkal ticket on IRCTC.

* Blew air bubbles on road from balcony using soapy water. Courtesy: Wife.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Me and Bargaining!

I aint the type to bargain during shopping with street vendors. I only do it sometimes - half-heartedly and hence unsuccessfully - if I am asked to do so by parents. My idea is that: not much money is given to charity or the needy deliberately, and this way of 'not-bargaining' during shopping with street vendors would, if not wholly, at least to an extent, act as an alternate for charity. After all, its a matter of few Rupees.

So I was out there on the streets today trying to shop something for Rs 50, asked by parents over phone to get the value down to Rs 40. So when the shop keeper said "50", I said simply, without even adding meaning to it, purely on the orders of the parents, "Make it 40" and gave him a 100 Rupee note.

I had every intention to give Rs 50 in any case if the shopkeeper so much as even whined a little. I mean thats what I expected, dont we all? When customer bargains, the shopkeeper whines and says how much prices have increased and how helpless he is and blah-blah.

On the contrary, to my statement of "Make it 40", the shopkeeper blinked back at me, put on a face of incredulity and demanded "Why?"

Inwardly, I laughed out loud! No one had asked me this ever before! Why would one bargain?! Anyway, I mumbled something about its value being 40 or something - again, not at all putting feeling into what I was saying - and took my leave, taking back with me the change of Rs 50 which the shopkeeper had returned...


And the elevator moved on its own...

There is something about 'things happening on their own without my intervention' that gives me a great kick!

Such as being on a bicycle on a slopy road when I do not have to pedal...
Such as enjoying the warmth of a hot water bath coming from a solar heater and not due to the electric geyser that I had to switch on...
Such as door opening on its own as I near it...

One such desire I had since a very long time was :
1. to stand in front of an elevator
2. elevator doors to open on its own
3. I enter the unmanned elevator
4. elevator to move on its own to the floor I want it to go
5. elevator to reach the desired floor and open the doors on its own
6. and I get off the elevator
As can be seen, I get from one floor to another without so much as even a press of a button. Perhaps the fact I am paranoid about carpal tunnel syndrome or perhaps this kick of 'things happening on their own', but in any case, the above desire to be fulfilled had been going on for a very long time now - almost years altogether.

And, at last, today, the desire was fulfilled!

I was at Floor 2 and I had to go to Floor 0. As I neared the elevator on Floor 2, it was coming up from Floor 0 on its own. So I just waited for the doors to open. Once it opened, I entered in and just waited there. The doors closed and for a moment, the elevator didnt move. It just stood there. Within a minute, someone at Floor 0 pressed the button and the elevator started moving down to Floor 0. Once Floor 0 was reached, I just stepped out, and finally, I had achieved my small ambition of moving from one floor to another floor in an unmanned elevator without even pressing a single button!

And I wasnt alone in this event. I had been discussing about this desire of mine to many of my friends over a period of time. This time, I was with 5 friends and persuaded them also not to press any button throughout the ordeal. It brought even more joy when they too whooped in happiness along with me as the elevator moved down towards Floor 0!

Its a very tiny thing, I know, but it gave me immense joy!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Moments of the day

* The drama 'All the best' was hilariously magnificent. As were the dance sequences that followed. The setting - Infosys Amphitheatre - was exemplary. The mood was (Sankranthi) festive. The crowd was multilingual although the drama and songs were in Kannada. Suffice it to say that it was jam packed. The MC looked fabulous, and to top it all, when she threw the Dairy Milk at the audience, who would have thought that I can reach out and catch it?! Boy, that made me really a happy!

* There I am riding slowly on the new TVS Streak scooterette, making sure I do not cross 40 kmph (at least till I reach 600 kms), and what do I see but other scooters going at the same slow speed as me! In reality, they are checking the scooterette out in totality - from back to front and from right to left! Talk about advantages of being amongst the first few to own a new vehicle that just got released! Boy, it made me feel as if I was in an ad show!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where are all the women?!

For the nth time in my life, I attended a meeting of over 20 people but with just 1 female member.

My first project had several meetings consisting of several male members but just one female member. But then, the whole team consisted of only one female member!! And today again, there was a meeting with just one female member in a room full of male associates. It made me wonder what it always make me wonder.

Either its a male dominated society or I am in a female-deprived projects' area!

In each of these meetings, I truly like the way each of these female associates respond to and articulate their thoughts and opinions clearly, albeit outnumbered in gender. Its really good to see that they do not get outweighed by the situation and feel complex about it, because, in reality, they are the ones who are really admired and respected by the male counterparts.

Question: How would I feel if I were to be in a meeting consisting of only female associates?!


Thought for the day

When you resign yourself to your fate, you rather start getting to like it....

Thought for the day

"Speed thrills but kills. "

But speed saves lot of time!!


Thought for the day

34 going on to 36
72 going on to 76