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...
...is because he cries...