Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Private Work Room

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The First Smile

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


Thursday, November 18, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010



I am neither happy nor sad.

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


It only takes a little to save a lot

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next day, the water leakage had stopped.

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

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

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

It only takes a little to save a lot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thought for the day

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

Frozen Moments

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Product-Based Vs Service-Oriented

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

Monday, November 01, 2010

Current Life

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