Friday, December 09, 2011

The Perfect Place on Earth

This Earth, we are told, is 70% water and 30% land. Out of this 30% land, I guess 70% of it is uninhabitable, what with it being a desert or a forest or a mountain range. That makes this Earth only 9% habitable. In this 9% habitat, I guess 70% of the people live in countries with more than half a year in the cold. Which means, in this Earth, only 2% - 3% are "perfect" places to stay.

What a blessing it must be to stay in places where one doesn't have to think about "" (or equivalent) and then choose the attire - just to grab something from the neighboring store or to throw the garbage out. What a blessing it must be to open the windows everyday all year round to let the fresh air in. However, this 'blessing' is so easily taken for granted that it's true significance comes only when staying in the extreme climate for month after month.

To be fair to the climate, the 'cold' isn't as cold as it was back in 1800s. Thanks to Man (and Global Warming), the average cold temperature during winters are reducing. True that it will melt more and more ice and hence water occupancy on Earth will perhaps increase and a big bane to those near the shore but this is a true boon for those situated in extreme cold climate areas.

If water occupancy increases, then going by the same percentages theory, the "perfect places to stay" percentage will reduce even further. Considering its "perfect", the population density (especially at the rate at which we are going) is more and this automatically leads to several negative points for the non-climatic attributes (such as lack of cleanliness, unemployment, traffic, politics, Governmental apathy, etc) which makes it "Imperfect".

Hence, Man is left to choose between {Weather and Population Density} and compromise on the derivative benefits or drawbacks to make the chosen "place to stay" as perfect to Him as possible. So, in effect, there is no real 100% perfect place on this Earth. And there will never be one either.



Ok. So it was a Friday and we wanted to ensure the grocery shopping was all done on Friday so that the weekend can be kept free. We did our shopping and came home only to realize that we had missed to get diapers.

So I went out again to get the diaper. It just so happened to have a deal. $18 for 2 and $10 for 1. So I took 2. It also said purchase of $30 of specially marked items would lead to a $10 gift card. Since I had come as far as $18, I shopped even more to reach $30 just to get the gift card!

Finally, I came home after almost an hour although all I needed was just a diaper. Next day morning, we realized there is no banana. So off we went again to the market. There we spent even more time and got even more stuff than just banana.

Realized that if diaper and banana was not missed in the first round itself on Friday, then the 'extra consumerism' would not have ensued...


A Pokey Day

From the morning today, I felt I was being poked.

Got a call early in the morning regarding a 'High Impact' issue but it turned out few hours later that it was not an issue at all. Even before this got resolved, another issue cropped up. Few more hours of investigation and it too turned out to be a non issue. Meanwhile another guy mailed about something not being right, and while I was trying to break my head on it, someone else thankfully responded that I wasn't the right person to be contacted. Then, another person sent a big mail to all senior management that my install had broken some other project whereas my install had not yet taken place!

I felt like being poked at from all sides. As if some guy Up There wanted sadistic pleasure out my discomfort.

Anyways, in the end, it was a zero-issue and a successful install. Hopefully, the last one for 2011.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The First 12 Months

The memory of cradling my newborn in my arms just after she came out of the womb is still fresh. When the nurse asked me to hold her and I held her, I could sense her looking at me –although biological facts suggest that newborns cannot see or focus on anything. Its been a whirlwind of a time since then. Time goes so fast and time goes so slow. There were times when we all wanted her to turn over in the bed and there were times when we felt she started walking too early and crawled too less.

But each month and each day has been a great and fun filled experience. Not a day passes without her giving us something to laugh about. Her innocence is so fresh. The other night, I was sitting on the sofa watching her run from one end of the wall to the other end where there is a glass partition that separates the living room and the balcony. She does this stretch about 100 times a day – tirelessly and with great gusto. This particular night as she went near the glass partition, she saw the headlights of a car on the driveway that faces our second floor balcony. Sensing the car to be coming near her, she came running to me in fear with outstretched hands! She used to do the same for a long time when the cooker started to whistle but she has grown out of it. She used to laugh whenever I yawned but she has grown out of that too. Such pure innocence!

I wonder what makes her categorize actions as ‘Something to be scared about’, ‘Something to laugh about’, ‘Something to cry about’. If there are raised voices, it makes her cry. Even if you are telling loving words in a raised angry voice. If you laugh looking at some comic scene on the TV, she looks at you and laughs with you. No one teaches her this – yet she is able to recognize The Good and The Bad. Seeing this itself is such a marvel.

Looking at one’s child grow makes parents realize how they were during their own initial days of life – and of course how much trouble and joy that they would have given to their parents! Its never boring and its never tiresome. Perhaps it is because of the immense love that the child entrusts the parents with. The way she comes running to parents calling with just-learnt syllables “amma”, “papa” filled with such unconditional love – a love that is not based on looks which is common amongst college-goers. Whatever be the physical appearance of mother and father, a child will always love her parents.

In 2005, my first year in an alien country, I saw many new things. Now, I am experiencing some of those things – all thanks to my daughter.
-In Ashland temple, I had seen the priest taking infants inside the sanctum sanctorum to the idol for the Lord’s blessings. Few months ago, the priest took my daughter inside the sanctum sanctorum, and I felt blessed.
-I had seen infants sitting on the shopping carts while the parents shopped. Now I play with my daughter, sitting on the shopping cart, zooming through the aisles while my wife shops.
-I had once sat in a colleague’s car after clearing the colleague’s child’s toys from the passenger seat. The other day, a colleague who sat in my car had to clear my daughter’s toys from the passenger seat!

Always wanting to be tickled, wanting to laugh, wanting to play peekaboo, wanting to run in that tiny legs away from mom’s feeding hands (although hungry and want to eat), wanting to be read books, wanting to be told rhymes, wanting to hear songs, wanting to go outdoors, wanting to know and do so many things in life which adults think is monotonous. She adds such freshness, such a desire of ‘I-want-more’. I realized that all human beings are created with such desire, such "wantingness"! So much is talked about in religious themes about "desire" being a bad thing and to be happy with what one has, but how can this be achieved when the basic DNA of human beings itself is created in such fashion to keep desiring more and more!!

Each action of hers necessitates a snap or a video. The 11th of every month had become a milestone activity for my wife and me to share her development and progress. It was fun to pick amongst thousands of snaps and write captions. It was fun to share the joy and read the comments. Its been a year (and more than a month) already and so much happened – with so much to happen yet in her life.

Here’s wishing a very Happy Birthday to my little one, and best wishes for many, many more fun-filled years to come! Love you, Tontu!



The maximum years I had ever been in any one institution was Good Shepherd School - from LKG to 7th standard: That's 9 years.

On Nov 18th 2011, GSS lost its post.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Candlelight Dinner

For Husband and Wife
A Candlelight Dinner is Romantic.

For Husband, Wife and a Toddler
A Candlelight Dinner is Dangerous!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Snow of 2011!

A sign of good times...
A sign of bad times...

A time for a smile...
A time for a sigh...

First Snow of 2011...
First Snow for Tontu...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Mother: "What do you want?" Voice filled with exasperation, hearing the daughter's continuous wailing.
Daughter: "Ilchik." She pointed a crooked arm at an angle of 100 degrees, pointing sometimes at the main door and sometimes at the shelf. She looked where she was pointing and looked back at the mother hoping mother understood.
Mother thought daughter wanted her (mother) to take her (daughter) outside through the main door. But it was 10 pm.
Mother: "I can't take you out now. It is 10 pm and it is cold outside."
Daughter repeated whatever she had done earlier, and wailed once more laboriously.
Mother: "What do you want?" She then looked at some books on the shelf and asked the daughter, "Do you want me to read you a book?"
Daughter gave a bright smile and started dancing, glad that mom finally understood what she wanted.
Mother: "Oh you wanted me to read you a book?!" She got up to get the book.

For the mother, the baby is literally dumb.
For the baby, the mother is figuratively dumb.
Just goes to show that at some point of time in each of our lives we were all dumb in a way...

6 in 12

In the last 12 months of our stay in US (starting from 2009 May and with a break of 1.5 years), my wife and I have stayed in 6 houses.


Sunday, September 11, 2011


It has been 10 years since the fateful day.
Each year I get to hear a new story.
Each year I get to see a video and feel as if it is the first time I am seeing it.
Each story and each video moves me.
Each year I cry.
It was a day when many, many ordinary men became heroes and then became immortal forever.
I salute them all...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Commonality in Nursery Rhymes

There is one common element between the following four nursery rhymes:

Ring a Ring o' Roses
London Bridge
Humpty Dumpty
Jack and Jill

It all talks about 'Falling Down'!


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Name-Value Pair

In my current project - as in most software projects - we have a robust name-value map configuration. For the lay man, this basically means that if the calling program specifies a name to the configuration, a value is returned back to the program for further processing. Like if a door bell button is pressed, the door bell makes a sound.

Seeing my daughter grow (she is now almost 11 months old), I made a startling discovery that our brain is wired with full of such name-value maps. Majority of our brain is like an enormous configuration which keeps storing information and making an "index" (like yellow pages index), which is akin to "name". When this name is invoked, it responds back with a "value" which is carried out by the nervous system.

For example, the first thing which I remember my daughter learned was reacting to the phrase "Smile, please!" - thanks to my wife's mother who taught her this. When someone said "Smile, please!", my daughter smiled back in response. I was initially perplexed as to how she can understand English at such an age (6th month) and dismissed it as an one-off event. But the fact was that she kept repeating it. Which meant there was some science behind it.

The discovery was simple. She really did not know what "Smile, please!" meant. She was just doing what the person who was asking was doing. Note the exclamation everywhere. "Smile, please!" Each time this phrase was uttered, the person who used to utter this was smiling and, this in turn, made the brain register that "Smile, please!" meant smiling. So, there we have it! Utterance of "Smile, please!" is the name and smiling is the value.

Learning continues for the infants whether it is intentionally taught or not as long as it is oft repeated. For example, my wife keeps talking to the baby explaining what she is doing. She talks about bathing, about putting on the diaper, about food that she is feeding, etc. Such oft-repeated conversations (and even actions) register in the child, even though it was not really meant as a learning. This could be because children at this age have a tremendous amount of grasping power. Think of it as a brand new computer which does everything (like booting!) so fast. It is only with age that worries and thoughts occupy the brain more; add natural wear and tear of the body and we get a PC that takes over 5 mins to boot! :-)

So one fine day, when we simply asked our daughter to get diaper (heretofore she was never explicitly shown what a diaper is), she promptly crawled on all fours to the place where we keep diapers. This shocked us! Her brain had mapped the word "diaper" to diaper automatically. Similarly, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" meant  making an action like twinkling stars using fingers, "Tummy" meant patting her tiny stomach, "Shake hand" meant putting out her hand to be shaken, "High-Five" meant , well, High Five, "Nose" meant showing her nose in her own unique way, "Head" meant patting her head, "Teeth" meant baring her mouth to show the 2 teeth (!), "Kiss" meant opening mouth and coming near the face of the asker(!), "Frock" meant showing her dress, "Hi" ("bye" and "tata" too) meant spreading the palms of her hand and shaking, "Water" meant looking at her water bottle and expecting someone to put it in her mouth, "Poojyaya Raghavendraya" ("Vittala, Vittala, Govinda" too) meant clasping palms together and looking at the idols, "Clap, clap, clap" meant bringing the palms together, "Aeroplane" meant seeing something high up in the air, "Gubbacchi" meant seeing birds, "Moon" meant seeing that bright thing in the sky, "Thaala" means bringing her hand down to her thighs imitating Carnatic Classical music pundits(!), "Dance" meant shaking her body, "Amma" meant seeing mother, "Pappa" meant seeing father, "Paavani" meant seeing herself in the mirror, so on and so forth.

I didn't intend this post to show case Paavani's development but it looks like it has just become just that! So be it. I couldn't stop myself! But coming back to the nub of it, it just goes to show how our brain stores all the information as name-value pairs.

Thinking more on these lines, it becomes slightly complicated later on. Take English for example. The word "Lead" will first mean the pencil-end for school-goers. Then, couple of grades later, this will take another meaning of guiding. Couple of grades later, this will take another meaning of a chemical substance [No, pencil lead and chemical lead are two different things]. This kind of complicates the brain. That is perhaps why it is often said that English is a funny language! Now how can indexing work when we cannot define a primary key?! Once indexing is broken, the brain starts slowing down. So we humans have ourselves to blame for our own brain degeneration! Why couldn't we invent new words instead of overloading same words?!

Well, I have said all that I wished to say in this post. I only wish that my Tontu's brain continues to be as sharp and grasping as ever!


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Cubicle Hang-out

During my first US visit between 2005 and 2006, I did not have an office cubicle of my own. I was sitting in a lab-turned cubicle which hosted from 2 to more than 10 people at one time depending on the projects that came and went. Although I felt 'left-out' of having a cubicle of my own, I grew fond of my lab-like office setting. It was nice to share the place with others - to talk of this and that when work became monotonous, although it sometimes felt congested and difficult to concentrate when you can hear every single syllable of your neighbors despite their efforts to be soft. Apart from this, my place was a 'hangout' for lot of people. Perhaps it was because I was in a lab and not in a cubicle where one has to talk in whispers, people used to stop by and have chit-chat for some time everyday. When one person has stopped by, others used to join and before long, there were a swarm of people gossipping, making plans for the long weekend and yapping in general. I liked this setting although at times it was annoying when I had lot of work to do.

Then in 2007 and 2008, when I was in India, I was amongst a relatively new team of about 20 folks amongst which I was one of the seniors. So most folks used to look up to me for resolutions, for guidance and when they became closer, started stopping by for general passing of time. It was not long before my cubicle became very much akin to my US cubicle. My cubicle became the favorite hang-out place for planning weekend getaways, for parties and for general chit-chat. We spent lot of time talking about getting away from software engineering and taking up other kinds of businesses such as agriculture, mining, schooling and we were all in the same frequency of discussion and hence it was enjoyable taking absolute rot knowing fully well that we were all building castles in the air. But it was fun. I enjoyed the adhoc gatherings.

After being so used to this position of 'center of attention' (literally) for last 4.5 years, it came as a quite a jolt to experience the pre-2005 era when I was all by myself in my own cubicle and immersed completely in work from start of day to end of day. From mid-2009 till date, I have not had the opportunity to experience this bonhomieness. I was in US again for about 7 months in 2009 and my cubicle (again a lab-turned cubicle) was in an isolated location.  When I was back in India in 2010, I got the same cubicle I had in 2007 and 2008 but it was a new team and it did not gel as well as the 2007 team. Now, back in US, my first 'real' cubicle in US (finally) is conveniently located but, again, it is a new team and not many know me well enough nor have time to hang out.

So, just the other day, for the briefest of the periods during the day, when about 4-5 people were over at my cubicle yapping in general, talking of this and that, I had this nostalgia of the good old days between 2005 and 2008. Sigh. How I miss those days...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Missing the Sign-Board

To exit out of the Boston airport’s Terminal E, international passengers ought to cross an inner door, bear slight right to cross an outer door to reach the waiting family members, and from there, the exit is but a few steps. If positioned correctly, waiting family members can see through the outer door up until the inner door, and the steady stream of passengers flowing through the inner and outer doors.

I was so positioned that I had this exact view as detailed above. I was waiting for my mom. This was her third visit to US but it was her first alone. So I was slightly tensed. Plus I was blaming myself for having reached the airport late lest I had missed her and she had gone wandering in search of me.

That being my state of mind, I saw an elderly Indian couple cross the inner door and stand hesitantly wondering what to do next. A few steps to their right was the outer door – the correct one – but if they took left instead of bearing right, there was another exit at the end of the corridor – an infrequently used exit but an exit nevertheless which did not lead to waiting family members.

I started wondering how dumb can one be. I mean there they were standing few feet from a door clearly marked as ‘Exit’, and they were standing there dumbly wondering whether to go right or left. This elderly Indian couple’s decision was crucial because if they took left and took the infrequently used exit, then passengers behind them will blindly follow them. Quite a chump the waiting family members will look if the relatives come up from behind and start thumping on their backs!

Thankfully, few impatient passengers rushed past them, took the right outer door and ran to waiting kith and kin. Seeing this, the couple – now assured of the trodden path – came out too. I was glad that now there was no confusion created.

A few moments later, I saw my mom come out of the exit and after the usual chit-chat of how the security guards in Paris had thrown her home-made masala powders, we made way to the airport exit. Just before we exited, I expressed my desire to visit the rest room. Not to miss the moment of seeing my mater coming through unscathed after a ghastly 24 hour air journey and also to allow her to experience the joy of seeing a waiting son, I had held up the urge to relieve myself however tough it may have been. Now that the goals having been achieved and the rest room being a few feet away, the Nature exerted Herself.

Asking mom to stay put, I entered the nearest rest room entrance. Imagine my surprise when I saw an elderly lady walking in the opposite direction! Such a simple action as a person of the opposite gender walking in the opposite direction while I am entering a supposedly gentleman’s haven fired up a million questions. The brain and nervous system – being as it is – is not used to react heretofore to such a situation in its past 3 decades of operation, and it was at a total loss. Brain said “What’s going on here?!” and Nervous system replied “I am damned if I know!” At a situation like this, when brain and nervous system were looking at one another, the Ego raised its ugly head and started laughing at the lady. It started spreading the message that the lady had inadvertently entered into gentleman’s room and was hence retreating back. But a moment later Reason raised its hand and thumped the Ego’s head and split it into two. I was, in fact, in the lady’s room!

Assuming wrongly that the door nearest to me was Men’s room, I had sauntered in without even seeing the signboard. I murmured to the lady who was seeing me perplexedly that I was sorry I had entered the Lady’s room by mistake and I too retreated along with her. I was not sure if I heard a few folks giggling at me but the thing that was on my mind when I headed towards Men’s room was the incident that had occurred a few minutes ago of me critically thinking of the elderly Indian couple’s hesitation at the outer door:

How dumb can one be.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

B to 6

So, I got on this elevator at the Basement.
There were 2 guys with me.
I pressed the button 6 - the top floor of the building where I stay.
One guy pressed 2 while the other guy pressed 5.
The doors closed and the elevator started.
It stopped at Level 1 and 3 more people got in.
They pressed buttons 3 and 4.
As the elevator made its way towards Level 6, stopping at every level of the floor, one thing dawned to me.
For the first time in my life, and perhaps the only time ever, I traveled in an elevator that stopped at 5 Levels before I could get off.
It is not everyday one sees 5 out of 7 buttons pressed in an elevator and the elevator stopping at the remaining 2 levels too.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Minority Report

I am a Kannadiga in Bangalore.
I am an Indian in United States of America.

Either way, I belong to the minority.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

No Dodds & No Chikks

Father’s elder brother(s) are called Doddappa(s) in Kannada. Figuratively this means Senior Dad(s).
Father’s younger brother(s) are called Chikkappa(s) in Kannada. Figuratively this means Junior Dad(s).

Mother’s elder sister(s) are called Doddamma(s) in Kannada. Figuratively this means Senior Mom(s).
Mother’s younger sister(s) are called Chikkamma(s) in Kannada. Figuratively this means Junior Mom(s).

My father has 3 sisters.
My mother has 3 brothers.

Which means.

I have neither Senior Dad nor Junior Dad.
I have neither Senior Mom nor Junior Mom.

I have only one Main Dad and one Main Mom.

Oh Man.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I got a laceless formal shoes on my wedding in 2008.
I got a laceless strap-on sneakers in 2009.
The 2008 shoes wore out and being now addicted to laceless, got one more in 2010.
Which means, I just realized, for the last 2 years, I have not tied lace!
My! Laceless is such a relief! Why did I not try before!!

PS: This thought occurred when I saw a man tying his lace in the pavement.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


I was walking in the busy tunnel at Downtown Crossing in Boston to catch the Red Line subway train to South Station when I noticed a cockroach on the wall. Such a sight is very uncommon and it attracted a lot of attention. I was amused by its presence but kept walking. At about the same time, I saw an American lady walking in the opposite direction and she too noticed the cockroach. Her reaction was noteworthy.

She stopped in her tracks, pointed to the cockroach and made an ugly face. She said something like ‘Ugh’ and finally, after exhausting all her reactions to the innocent animal, continued on.

I could not help remembering my after-dinner 10 pm walks with my pregnant wife in my hometown in Bangalore. My wife who calls cockroaches as Jondgya (due to which I call them as Jondig, just for fun!) has a very alert eye for such pests and jumps at the very sight of it. Many a time, we had to see twice before stepping to ensure we were not squashing any crawling cockroaches on the road. They were that many in number. Some even used to fly around causing that much more thrill in a simple boring activity like walking.

Anyway, as I saw my Red Line train approaching, I could not decide what was more amusing. The cockroach or the lady’s reactions. Or the lady’s reaction if ever she took an after-dinner 10 pm walk in Bangalore.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shri Venkateshwara Suprabhatam

Late 1980s. Time: 8 am in the morning. Place: Bangalore, India. Summer holidays. Me –a school-going boy - drowsily sleeping in the makeshift mattress placed in the middle of small living room. I could hear my maternal grandma in the kitchen, busy cooking breakfast for the entire household. She would have been already 3 hours into the day. I could hear my grandpa vigorously moving – he would have called it ‘exercising’ - his oiled body before heading to bath. Somebody else in the household would be busy sweeping the house. I knew that I will be woken up soon and the makeshift mattress had to be folded too so as to complete the sweeping process. Amdist all these, M S Subbulakshmi chanted the celebrated Shri Venkateshwara Suprabhatam in the dilapidated tape recorder.

I liked the setting.
I liked Subbulakshmi’s rendition of the Suprabhatam.

Mid 2011. Time: 8 am in the morning. Place: Boston, USA. Summer. Me - a 31-year-old employee in a prestigious firm - walking on Federal Street in crisp blue blazer and Raymonds trouser, amongst hundred other people in equally if not better attire. Some are running to catch the connecting transport - be it bus or train. Some are tourists – carrying in their hands Boston map and tourist guide, drinking in the history all around them. Positive energy all around, strangers smiling at one another and commenting on what a fine day it is. Tall buildings on either side of the street making a canopy of comfortable shadow. The breeze from the Atlantic Ocean causing a tingling but nice chill. In my ears are the headphones from ipod. M S Subbulakshmi chanting the same celebrated Shri Venkateshwara Suprabhatam.

I liked this setting too.
I still liked Subbulakshmi’s rendition of the Suprabhatam.

Some things change so drastically.
Some things never change.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bundle of Joy

‘Bundle of Joy’ is the right phrase for a baby. For they bring much joy and make life an endearing prospect. I guess even at the very end of life, when one has almost renounced all worldly pleasures, a baby brings so much joy into the spectrum of life that one does not want to get out of the life and death cycle.

Paavani is now 7 months old and she is very much a bundle of joy. She spreads happiness everywhere she goes. Her very presence made people walk up the stairs to our house in Bangalore when before not many relatives ventured. Decade long neighbors visited us for the first time just to see her. When we used to take her for walks in the road, people used to stop us and talk to her. Strangers in the road started smiling at her. Some even commented on her cute appearance.

It is fascinating how an infant can change the face of the world. Without Paavani, the world was different altogether. Neighbors were just there to be smiled at, strangers remained strangers, relatives remained far and so on and so forth.

Whenever Paavani is with her great grandparents, there is much joy in their lives. As my grandma points out, she and her hubby will be in a big argument and shouting at one another – which she says is a daily affair after one is married to a person for 70 years – but the moment they see Paavani being brought in, their fight will melt away and both start instantaneously enjoying the precious moment with her by cuddling her and cooing with her to which she responds with grateful bursts of joy much to their delight.

When the time came for me to leave to US, I was feeling a little sorry to be taking the joy out of so many lives. When relatives came to know of the departure, their first reaction was to repent the fact that Paavani will not be amongst them. It was as if the news broke their hearts. I felt like giving a toy (Paavani) to a child (relatives) and taking the toy away. It is amazing what infants can do. It can turn a strict septuagenarian into an imitation elephant (on all fours), it can turn a lethargic octogenarian into an enthusiastic superwoman and a nonagenarian into a dancing doll.

Once in US, the human interactions which Paavani had as compared to before have lessened. She can now only connect to her septua-, octo- and nona-genarian friends only through electronic medium – a microcosm of being physically with the person. Alas, nothing much can be done about that but appreciate technology for allowing at least this microcosmic interaction.

However, a walk in the streets of US brings its own set of joy to fellow pedestrians. People here are far more expressive about their compliments and appreciations than in India. Many a time, we have been stopped and told how beautiful or how pretty or how cute she looks. We have to go through the entire routine of telling her name, her age and thanking on her behalf for all her own compliments.

Our neighbor in US was so full of words upon seeing her that she said she wanted to clone her. She mentioned that Paavani (she pronounced it right) is the cutest person she had ever seen and how much of a doll she resembled. Of course, the ear ring and the anklet add more to the conversation and prettiness.

As a parent, it feels nice to hear this. It feels nice to bring smiles into lives. It feels nice to make this world a better place of smiling individuals. To an extent, this even reduces the guilt of taking the joy out of some Bangaloreans:

After all, even folks in US need some joy! :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Duration in USA

Myth: For some reason, perhaps because I have traveled four times, it is a myth amongst many who know me that I have been in USA for about 4-5 years.

Fact: My total stay in US, as of today, is 2 years and 5 months.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

America: Fourth Innings

Its been 8 working days in US for me, and I was involved in 6 installs - with one of them being an emergency production ticket!

I hope this is not a sign of things to come…

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I was more of a novel writer in the mid 1990s. In fact, I have written 2 novels (the Hardy Boys type) on paper in an unintelligible handwriting so typical of the teenage boy. On the advice of my High School English teacher, I started thinking on the lines of short stories and smaller articles suited for newspaper publications.

It was strangely difficult to adapt to the shorter version after writing 150+ page novels. But once I got the hang of it, I started enjoying it (but I lost the novel-writing skill on the way). Couple of them got published too in the national newspaper. But it was hard work to get it published.

To not see the article after multiple follow-ups was disheartening. And those that did get published had been edited the way I did not want them to. All this was very disappointing. It was very typical of an author on the doorsteps of a publisher. So I ended up writing what came to my head in pieces of paper and stopped bothering about asking newspapers to publish.

Blogspot – which was free! – came like a haven for freedom of thought and penmanship. No more begging, no more follow-ups, no more edits – just pure unadulterated content exactly the way I want it.

The first post on this blog was on March 21st 2006. This is the 500th post which has come after 5 years and a month. On the way, seven more blogs were born under the same banner which specialized in a theme of its own. In all, there are now 1118 posts across all blogs.

The idea of seeing my own words on the internet the way I want it gives me joy. I can reminisce on the years gone by, by going through my posts, by re-living my own life and musings. It gives an outlet for my thoughts and adds meaning to my life. It stays on even when I have departed.

It may not be much, but for me, it is an achievement.

The sad state of human affairs

"I wish I was never born in my parent's house."

The above remark from a female friend of mine caused me to think.

Parents undergo a lot to bring up their children. Initially, the children are totally dependent on the parents and bask in their love. As children grow from tiny tots to teenage, a shift in the love quotient occurs and parents are no longer the favoured best. Job gives a heretofore unknown independence. Money and location of work further distances the parents. Marriage brings in a totally different wave of life-issues - for both parents and the new entrant. Its almost like a tsunami :-)

On the other side of the spectrum, while their children get married and have kids of their own, parents are ageing and would like more to be with children for support and grandchildren for basking in forgotten child's love. Pitfalls occur. Spouses die. Children neither near nor want to be near. Grandchildren do not recognise you. Finally its time to bid adieu.

And then the participants change in this life cycle. Children become parents. Grandchildren become children. And the whole gamut of human emotions come into play once more. And so, life goes on and on and on...

Pretty sad state of human affairs, actually.

A Beautiful Memory

She and I were sitting in the busy Jayanagar 4th block complex.
She was sitting on my lap and I had completely embraced her.
She looked beautiful.

Without a care in the world, I kept kissing her.
And she gave me one cheek after the other, for she too was enjoying.
She looked beautiful.

I sang to her and danced with her.
She too sang with lyrics of her own and enjoyed the gyrations.
She looked beautiful.

Everyone who passed us by, looked at us and smiled.
If they were a part of family, they whispered amongst themselves about us.
We looked beautiful.

Father and daughter.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

31 and 28

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to your wife too!!
Happy Birthday, Dear Harsha and Gouri!!!

Special day today as we celebrated our first birthday with daughter in Sharjah!


Friday, April 08, 2011

Life is Calling

If I am sitting in my room (say, working on the laptop) in Bangalore, I am actually traveling at a speed of 1015 miles per hour. And this is just around Earth’s axis. I am also actually traveling at a speed of 66,676 miles per hour around the Sun. I am not an expert in astrophysics to go further on speed in which my galaxy is traveling, so I will leave it at that but suffice it to say that its like being in a revolve-rotate roller coaster ride that turns around the axis as well as moves this way and that, giving the general feeling that you have no idea where you are at a given point of time. This gives great joy to majority of the population but the feeling I get is one that of nausea because my insides just can’t take it. Don’t get me wrong. The nausea is when I am in the roller coaster ride, not when I am sitting in my room in Bangalore working on the laptop.

Anyway. Add to this Facebook, LinkedIn and Orkut where I get to see multiple updates on the multitude group of friends in each of these networking sites. One friend is traveling from India to Australia for a job, one friend is traveling from Australia to London for studies, one friend is traveling from London to Switzerland for honeymoon, one friend is traveling from Switzerland to India for settling down in life, one friend is traveling from India to US to join husband and many friends traveling within US during the long weekend. It is as if you are in the midst of a huge inter-networking set of cables that are hovering all over you all the time – the way airline industries advertise their routes on a magazines around the world – and you are just a spectator being bewildered by the increasing dynamics of what is happening as we speak in and around you.

My 6 month old daughter, who spends most of her time on her back, pedaling her legs on an imaginative cycle, flapping her hands in utter joy and squeaking away to glory when she has had her night’s sleep and morning milk suddenly stops all of her activities when I take her for my weekend morning walk. Cradled against my shoulder, she looks here and there at the moving vehicles, she looks at the morning walkers and joggers in the park, she looks at the moving branches of the tree, she looks at the birds and she is all agog. She is literally dumb struck. No voice comes from her. She forgets she has hands and legs to flap about. Her eyes capture everything. It is a new world out there for her. Not just the roof and fan which she is accustomed to. So much so that she doesn’t even respond to her name Paavani or her pet name Tontu. She doesn’t want her parents, doesn’t even want her Mother - who is her constant companion since birth – when she is in the open air. Life, in fact, is beckoning her, and she is bewildered by the enormity of it, and the possibilities it beholds. She, who is the queen of the bed and the room, suddenly feels small looking at the magnitude of World beyond her house. The Smirnoff commercial aptly describes the situation:

Life is Calling.

Neonatal Phototherapy

Within the first week of Tontu’s birth, she had jaundice as most newborns do. To treat jaundice for newborns, the infants are kept under a source of blue light. This process is called Neonatal Phototherapy.

The nurse informed that the infant’s eyes should be protected from the blue light. So whenever we placed the baby in the crib under the phototherapy, one of us always had to hold a folded longish cloth (like a shawl) over the eyes to act as a shield.

Now, the baby had to undergo the phototherapy for over 10 hrs. If the baby slept for the entire 10 hr duration, then all is well. But newborns being newborns, they wake up every once in an hour or whenever they feel its time to bother the people around! And if they wake up at a time when no one is around, lo and behold, they start gazing into the Blue World and no parent wants the eyes of their just born to stare into intense wavelength.

So we (whosoever in the ward donning the role of attendants) took turns to provide this shield to the eyes by manually standing over the crib and holding the folded cloth over the eyes. It was on one such occasion, when I was bending over the crib, holding the cloth taut over either sides of the crib, thereby shielding the eyes, that the attending sister saw me. She didn’t say anything but I could see that she was appreciative of the Fatherly Love, of the Father taking pains to protect his daughter.

Almost an hour passed by and relentlessly I stayed put in the same position: bent over the crib, folded cloth taut over sides of the crib, shielding the baby’s eyes. Again, the same sister popped into the ward. She saw me in the same position she had seen me almost an hour ago. She asked me to move aside. She looked around. She found couple of cloths lying hither and thither. She took both of them and neatly folded both into brick like formations. She kept the two brick-like folded cloths on either side of the infant’s head. She took the folded cloth (which I was using as the shield) from me and tucked either ends of it over and underneath the two brick-like folded cloths. This automatically acted as a shield over the infant’s eyes. This done, she walked away.

Imagine my state. I felt stupid. It showed absolute zero ‘Apply Thought’ process from me. I work for one of the esteemed companies who recruits associates testing only keen intelligence and here I was making a mockery of myself in front of attending nurses. The nurse having showed me how to automate a tedious menial task had deflated me completely, and suddenly, with nothing to be done, I sat down. It took a moment for me to digest.

Then I realized that perhaps if the exercise had seemed boring to me, I too would have thought a way out of it. But the fact was, it didn’t seem boring. It didn’t seem tedious. It was nice to be there, near my daughter, sharing her treatment (my hands were undergoing phototherapy too!), being sorry for her to have to feel the emitted heat, staring at her small features, admiring them, being fascinated by them – and it was as if I was enjoying every moment of it and the fact that it had been almost an hour hadn’t even struck me.

That’s what happens when we become parents.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Pet Names

Calling babies by pet names comes naturally to me. I am not sure how it happens or what makes me decide on a particular pet name but I end up with one pet name per baby after spending some time with her (or him, as the case may be).

Some of the pet names I have given to my younger cousins are Koli (mid 1990s), Pammu (late 1990s), Kuttamma (mid 2000s) [yes, there was one new cousin every once in few years!] and most recently, Gundamma (2010) for my neighbour. Now these pet names are despite these little wonders having a name of their own. Somehow, just spending some time with these bundles of joy, leads me to a name which sticks to my mind and I can’t help calling them the same.

When my daughter was born, I hadn’t thought of a pet name for her. My mother-in-law started from day one to call her as Sonu. She informed that Sonu means gold and hence she equated my daughter to the value of gold. But in my case, the pet names did not have meanings. It just was a free expression, a name that had no meaning and yet contained pots of love.

It was only after a month or so that I accidentally hit onto my daughter’s pet name. It just so happens that infants need talking to which mothers and the mothers-in-law are good at but the fathers are not so. Give an infant a silent father and it starts shrieking to glory. But make the father speak and the infant starts getting interested and listens to the strange sound.

On one fine morning in November 2010, when my daughter was about one month old, I was watching the TV and my mother-in-law was handling her and my wife was trying to catch up on lost sleep of the previous night. My MIL got busy and hence deposited the baby on my lap and went to attend her chores. Within a minute or so, the baby started crying (while heretofore she was fine with the MIL). So my MIL asked me to talk to her and keep her engaged.

Now, this is not an easy task – to talk to a person who does not understand a thing you are saying, and also not to expect back a response. So, you got to keep rambling on and kind of speak out loud whatever is in your mind on a real-time basis just so that sound waves get transmitted from your mouth to the person’s ears which stop the person from crying out loud out of pure ennui.

It was at this juncture – when I was babbling some gibberish much to my MIL’s silent laughter - that I looked at her cheeks and uttered the words Tontu Moli (pronounced with a drag of the second ‘o’).

This Tontu Moli ended up being my pet name for my daughter. And now, 5 months later, I can’t help calling her Tontu over a hundred times a day and I love it every time I do!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Old Novels

Way back in mid 1990s when I started reading novels (thanks to Hardy Boys), I noticed that novels can be mainly classified into two categories: Old and New. The differentiation being in print and appearance and style of writing and even in smell! The rummy thing was that Old always won against New in my preference.

There were New novels and Old novels and I invariably enjoyed reading the Old ones more than the New ones. This feeling has not changed even now. There is something about an antique novel, which has withstood the passage of time that makes the novel most cherished and enjoyable.

Just the other day, I chanced upon a couple of Wodehouse novels. While one seemed new with nice paperback, the other had some pages torn. I chose the latter without hesitation. The desire of choosing the Old novels is still afire within me even now. And yes, many a time I have smelt the charm in the old book!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Indian Victories in Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup takes place once in four years and its first edition was in 1975.

I was born on April 16th 1980. My wife was born on April 16th 1983. The first Cricket World Cup that took place after both me and my wife’s birth was held in the year 1983 from June 9 to June 25. As it turned out, India won its first Cricket World Cup in this 1983 tournament.

My daughter was born on October 11th 2010. The first Cricket World Cup that took place after her birth was held in the year 2011 from Feb 19 to Apr 2. As it turned out, India won its second Cricket World Cup in this 2011 tournament (after a 28 year drought).

While me and my wife became the lucky charm and influenced (in our own astral way) a victory for India in 1983, our daughter has become the lucky charm and influenced (in her own astral way) a victory for India in 2011. The three of us feel important to have played a role in India’s World Cup victories ;-)

So, for India to win the 2015 World Cup, me and my wife have to...



Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mysterious Chill

On one winter night of 2010, I was driving from Jalahalli (my in-laws place) to Jayanagar (my place) at about 9 pm in my two wheeler. It was still early for the night and hence I did not expect it to be chilly. Therefore I refused to wear jacket when offered by my wife who was then staying at her mother’s place.

Imagine my surprise when – after about 10 minutes drive - I suddenly felt real chilly. I started regretting having refused the jacket. I was astonished about the ferocity of the winter even at 9 pm and I reflected that I had underestimated the wind factor combined with the wintry cold. However, there was nothing much that I could do and hence I drove on.

Ten minutes later, the chill was gone and it remained so for the rest of the journey. The temperature was normal, average and bearable – something that Bangalore is so famous for. This too surprised me. How can the winter night increase and decrease its temperature in a matter of minutes? Common sense tells that the temperature drops as dusk turns to night and increases as dawn turns to day.

So, while I was still driving, I started thinking that perhaps it was the environment that was causing the temperature fluctuations. The road where I felt most chill was BEL road, the stretch between M S Ramaiah Hospital and C V Raman Road. This particular stretch is one of the best roads in Bangalore. It still has the old Bangalore charm with its arching canopy of massive trees covering the complete road for over a mile. Its like being in the middle of a forest!

Once I passed this stretch, it was pretty much a tree-free zone (thanks to road widening projects which have axed so many trees in Bangalore) and I was amidst the traffic for miles together. So, the chilly effect in BEL Road was accentuated by the trees and the chill in the tree-free zone was offset by the traffic pollution.

Once more, like so many times in the past, I rued trees getting axed in Bangalore due to its burgeoning population. The above episode is a classic example of global warming. More people means more vehicles which mean less space on road which leads to trees getting axed which leads to an overall increase in temperature which melts the ice in Arctic and Antarctic Poles which increases the overall sea water which will then start swallowing coastal cities and the population therein which spells disaster. Sigh. The vicious circle. Hopefully the Metro will stop the tree felling.

I reached Jayanagar and my musings stopped. Well, something to occupy the mind for the hour long drive…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Which is Better?

To drink:

Use a re-usable paper cup (that would mean loss of bamboo trees)?
Use a steel tumbler but wash it with water that will be recycled (that would still reduce the already depleted fresh water) ?

To save electricity:

Remind people to switch off lights by pasting print outs on backs of doors (that would mean loss of bamboo trees)?
Allow the light to be wasted and save trees (that would mean loss of electricity)?

Friday, March 11, 2011


Due to expensive cost of living, many urban families now opt for ‘We Two, Ours One’ policy of having a single kid. Some countries are also popularizing having one child in a family to reduce population explosion by way of giving tax exemptions. If the trend continues, the terms ‘sibling’,‘brother’ and ‘sister’ are in danger of becoming extinct.

To understand how the ‘Single-child’ policy assists in controlling the population explosion, let us take an example:

Say, in 1975, two couples got married. Lets call them Family A and Family B. So we have 4 people in 1975.
Say, in 1980, these two couples bore one child each. Family A bore a boy and Family B bore a girl. So, we have 6 people in 1980.
Say, in 2005, the boy and girl met and married one another. So, Families A and B now got combined and now consist of 6 people.
Say, in 2008, the boy and girl bore a child. Hence, in 2008, Families A and B now are 7 people in total.
Say, in 2010, the boy and the girl’s parents died. So, Families A and B now are 3 people in total.

So, what do we get? In 1975, the total strength of Families A and B combined was 4 and 25 years later, the total strength of Families A and B combined is 3. That’s a reduction of 1 in the population in a span of 25 years from 2 families.

Lets extrapolate this to actual figures. Population of the world in 1960 was 3031720298 and 3071626008 in 1961. So 39905710 took birth between 1960 and 1961.

The male-female ratio tips in favour of both parties across decades. Also, one man does not bear children with only woman and one woman does not bear children with only one man. So, for the sake of a simple argument, lets ignore all that and consider that out of 39905710, half were men and half were women and the former half married the latter half in 1975 and they all lost their parents due to some natural calamity and hence, the total population of the world then would have been 39905710.

Now lets suppose each couple bore one child in the year 1980. So we have 39905710 + 19952855 = 59858565 as the total population off the world in 1980 and 19952855 (which is 39905710/2) new people added in 1980 alone. To continue the argument in the same vein, we need the number to be even, so lets suppose one child died immediately after birth. Hence, the new population added in 1980 now is 19952854 and half of them are boys and half of them are girls who get married to one another in 2005 and bear one child each in 2008. So, the new population added in 2008 is (19952854/2) = 9976427 and the total population in 2008 is 59858565 + 9976427 = 69834992.

In 2010, the folks who were present in 1975 all died and hence the world’s population in 2010 would now be = 69834992 – 39905710 = 29929282. This is a reduction of (39905710 – 29929282) = 9976428 people in the world in a span of 25 years. That’s almost a 10 million people less!

In reality, between 1975 and 2010, the population grew by over 2.5 Billion people!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The 3 Hs

I visit Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt (a place of worship) on Thursdays. I have a habit to thank Him for mainly 3 Hs: House, Health and Harmony.

1. House is for providing shelter and for enabling me to own property of my own.
2. Health is for keeping away the illness and keeping the physical body fit.
3. Harmony is for mental peace and a tensionless “I have all I want” life.

I also have a habit of assessing my current state of affairs in a binary manner:

a. Either I am like an infant comfortably sleeping on Swamy’s lap without a care in the world
b. Or I am falling down a bottomless well and waiting for the inevitable end to hit me.

Most Thursdays, all of the above are satisfied and I thank Him for all the Hs.
-So the position of affairs is that of an infant.

Some Thursdays, one of the above is not satisfied and the grouse against it will be occupying my mind and I thank for the remaining 2 Hs.
-So the position of affairs is that of a bottomless well.

Few Thursdays, two of the above are not satisfied and the grouse against it will be occupying my mind and I thank for the remaining 1 H.
-So the position of affairs is that of a bottomless well.

Last Thursday, for the first time, all of the above were not satisfied…

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Good and Bad

Sometimes if something happens that we think is for good, it might well turn out that it is for bad.
Sometimes if something happens that we think is for bad, it might well turn out that it is for good.

Nature's way of playing a joke.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The (Food) Weekend That Was

Friday Evening snacks: Road-side Capsicum Bhajji and Aloo Bonda; Bhel Puri at Shanti Upahar

Saturday Breakfast: Idly with Sambar at Shanti Upahar.
Saturday Lunch: Veg Dragon Noodles parcel from Chungs.
Saturday Dinner: Pani Puri, Masala Puri, Mirchi, Phulka with ennegai, champakali. All home made. Topped off with Gold Label whisky on the rocks. Get together.

Sunday Morning: Home made coffee at road side on the way to Paaparapatti.
Sunday Lunch: Thali at Ananthalakshmi Hotel in Palacode. Boasts itself as High Class but... :-)
Sunday Dinner: Sambar made of Lady's finger and rice. Topped off with another brand of whisky and Ambode! Another get-together.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I hate debates. These days, there are a lot of debates shown on TV. Pundits of the language and great orators come on stage and battle it out. It is in fact amazing. But the thing I hate about debates is that the guy who is for “pro” can talk equally well when he suddenly finds himself in the “con” team and the “con” guy can bring up equally better points when asked to promote the “pro” debate. The guys are so good in talking that they just need a forum to speak and it doesn’t matter if they are “pro” or they are “con”. Their real feelings are actually masked.

Looks and Skills

Looks and Skills are somehow related. There are occasions when I have made some kind of impression on seeing a new person but this impression undergoes a drastic change a few months later when I realize the person’s potential or lack of it. For instance, there was this new guy in my team who looked like an alien with beaked nose and adam’s apple. But a few months later I realized the guy was really good at his work. I came to realize that I was no longer considering him as an odd looking person but in fact I started respecting him and preferred his company. Ditto with one good looking gal in my team. She seemed nice and looked nice and seemed as a nice company to have in the team but after working with her for a few months, realized that she was not good and not a preferred person to have in the team.

Women and Footwear

There is something about Women and Footwear. I have seen many of my female colleagues and colleagues’ female colleagues being crazy about footwear. There is this person who has a wardrobe full of footwear – enough for her to wear one pair once in a year. There is another person who takes so much care of her feet that she wears socks if there is sunlight to ensure it doesn’t tan! I knew couple of my (gal) friends who would pass their time in a mall looking at men’s footwear and rate their personality! Strange!

Hindus and Muslims and Moon

In 2010, Ganesha festival for Hindus and Ramzan festival for Muslims fell on same day. I guess (I may be wrong here) Muslim folks had to see Moon and (this I know for sure) Hindu folks had to avoid seeing Moon. If the belief is for goodness to prevail on Earth, then Muslim folks would want all Hindus to see Moon too and Hindus would want all Muslim folks to avoid seeing Moon. How exactly opposite!

Job: Bread or Joy

I sometimes wonder what is more important. A job that brings home the bread (or bacon as the case may be) or a job that gives joy? Bread is a necessity; joy is optional. So we have four main classifications: No bread, no joy (unemployed and doing nothing); Only bread, no joy (a grocery shop owner working over 12 hours a day seven days a week to make ends meet); No bread, only joy (unemployed but volunteering); Bread and joy (sportsperson). Of course, the two important variations are “Little Bread; More Joy”, “More Bread; Little Joy” amongst which the majority of the middle class get into.


Sunlight is important to a certain extent. It enriches the human body with Vitamin D. But the current craze of the modern women to be fair depletes the essential vitamin in their body resulting in future complications. Even for a short walk from the office cubicle to the canteen, from the bus to the office cubicle, young women nowadays open up the umbrella. Fairness, after all, is not everything. Health is.

Americans in India

When in America, the pleasant thing to notice is that Americans look you in the eye and say “Hello” or something to that effect and sometimes even go so far as to comment on a topic of mutual interest. But when an American is in India, they act like Indians and act as if you do not even exist. So unfortunate.

The AC Service Boy

In an AC compartment, the service boy – the person who provides the bedspread and the pillows and manages the air conditioner – is made to sleep just outside the AC zone. That is so miserly. How much more AC will another few feet take up.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One Day in a Meeting...

We once had a meeting with some important dignitaries. The dignitaries were in location A and we were in location B. We were about a 100 of us in location B and the dignitaries in location A could see us through videoconference. For almost entire duration of the meeting, the camera in location B was focused on the powerpoint which the dignitaries were referring to and for that duration, the dignitaries never looked at location B’s video.

Just at the very end of the hour’s meeting, a guy in location B pressed the switch corresponding to his seat (there is a switch in everyone’s desk used to enable the microphone so as to ask questions). What happens when the switch is switched on is that the camera starts to focus on the person who pressed the switch because the camera expects him to speak. But the person who pressed the switch had no intention of speaking. He merely pressed the switch out of boredom but was now suddenly shown on big screen visible to everyone in location A and location B instead of the powerpoint.

It just so happened that in the frame that the camera focused on the person, two ladies were also visible who were sitting in the prior row and these two ladies were dozing away to glory. They were dozing in such style that one could easily make out they were sleeping for the entire duration of the meeting. Their near-horizontal orientation in their seats gave evidence to the fact that they had not been hearing a word of what the dignitaries were saying since beginning. Safe in assumption that the location B’s camera was focused on the powerpoint and would not be wandering across the room, these two ladies had compromised on their vigil.

Murphy’s Law. For the duration of the meeting, the dignitaries never even saw location B’s video but at the exact juncture when the camera was focusing on the person (and the two sleeping ladies in the background), the dignitaries turned to location B’s video and asked ‘Any Questions?’ They saw the sleeping ladies on the screen and gave a wry smile while the audience in location A giggled.

Another person in location B had quick presence of mind. He immediately realized the gravity of the situation and pressed his own switch so that the camera shifted its focus onto him although he too had nothing to speak. A non-speaking attentive person is better than two sleeping ladies. Alas, this switch to the new person was not seen by the dignitaries. Someone in location A had asked a question and they got busy answering that question.

The whole incident was profound in several ways.

~ There were 90 odd people really attentive for the entire duration of the meeting in location B but still an impression would have been created in the dignitaries’ minds that attendees in location A were sleeping. What an irony.

~ The two ladies became a laughing stock of location A and a big embarrassment for location B just because some guy near them pressed a small red button out of curiosity and boredom! Butterfly effect.

~ Only one guy out of 100 had the presence of mind to act quickly; to press his own red button to save the entire location B’s reputation although in vain. And this person did not belong to senior management nor was employed as highly skilled. In all probability, his pay scale belonged to the lowest slabs in comparison to everyone in that meeting hall. And yet he did what 100 of us so-called 'skilled employees' never thought of doing.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


On my way back from office today in bus, I was sitting next to a woman who was sitting next to another woman and although I wanted to sleep desperately I couldn’t because these two women were talking in not-so-hushed voice all the way from office to my destination. And it was not just “talk” talk but it was filled with venom against their respective husbands, about how their husbands were spend thrift, how horribly they managed the home, how stupidly they bought groceries, etc. Each person was giving one example after the other and it was as if they were trying to better the previous example.

I reflected the same thing happening to my life and I couldn’t imagine a minute of it. None of the grouse points the women complained I did – so I cannot imagine my wife saying the same against me. And even if I did, I doubt if my wife would rant about them all in an hour’s dialogue with her friend in a public place. Its imperative that husband and wife stand together as a wall in a marriage instead of speaking behind each other’s back negatively else its no longer a happy married life.

To be fair to the women, some of the complaints they had against their men were in some ways valid and the hubbies seemed nutty to behave the way the women said they did. I wonder why some hubbies are so nutty. I guess the ego factor kicks in when they suddenly find themselves married! I pitied the women that they were leading such terrible lives. And perhaps they were talking (in local dialect) so easily assuming the I was not a localite.

Just like software projects, I feel there should be a family auditing process once in a year to ensure that families run smoothly! After all it is important not to pile huge amount of garbage every day, not to waste water, electricity unnecessarily, etc. too. [Some of the grouse points included these!] Have cameras in the house for a week or so to monitor the workings in the house! Like a reality show!

I didn’t have the guts to stand up and ask them not to discuss about their personal grouses in public places but I guess it was etiquette that stopped me. After all, I should mind my own business. There was so much negative energy in that one hour that by the time I got out of the bus, I was feeling sick of it all. If this is what I felt for one hour, imagine their whole lives filled with it! No wonder divorces are on the rise!

I guess I should take cotton to plug my ears shut next time I want to sleep in bus…

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Hope

When I was leaving office to home today, I passed a cubicle where a client interview was going on. The interviewee was telling about himself. He mentioned a product based company from where he had had his previous experience as a Test Lead. In my brisk pace, I moved on and did not hear the rest of it. But it made me wonder why anyone would want to come to a service based company from a product based company especially in the Testing Domain. While I walked on, I mused. The answer came soon enough.

The United States of America. A Hope.

I continued to walk and then wondered why some of my ex-colleagues who were also Test Leads moved to a product based company. Strangely enough, in most cases, the reason was still the same, but twisted.

The United States of America. A Hope Shattered.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back-to-Back 'Never-Before's

Immediately after graduation (more than eight years ago), I searched for a job. I saw an ad in the newspaper for fresher recruitment for a call center job and I attended it. I scraped through the written test and was asked to undergo a second round of interview. This interview was conducted by an external agency which concentrated more on everything that was related to audio - like voice modulation, accent, grammatical correctness, etc. Prior to this interview, there was a brief 10 minute presentation given by one of the members in this external agency for all those who were about to undergo the audio interview.

This presentation was mind blowing. It was like a ‘never-before’ experience for me. From the beginning till the end, the presenter kept us all in rapt attention at the same time cracking sufficient jokes to diffuse our tension. The way he spoke, the way he moved his hands, the way he smiled – it was like a live performance on stage. He was basically giving us the heads-up on the interview and all the necessary instructions. But each such instruction was filled with wit and hence it stayed in the memory. At the end of the presentation, I was in awe of him and admired his profession and the way he was executing it.

It just so happened that I flunked in that second round. But within a week the same call center company visited my college for recruitment. Again I cleared the first round and again I was asked to attend the second “audio” round in the same external agency. Again there was a presentation.

To my shock, the same presenter said the same sentences, the same words, the same jokes with the same body language! It was indeed a stage play! He was like an actor. I initially had presumed that all he was saying was impromptu but in reality it was more like a practiced enactment! Then I figured that he would be giving the same presentation about 20 odd times during the day five days a week all through the year for different batches. That was his job!

Now, how boring can that be! My whole perception of him and his profession underwent a complete turn around! I was no longer in awe of him or his profession! In fact I was feeling a trifle disappointed and even sorry for him.

Funny. What enthralled me in the first time disappointed me the next time. It was something I had not experienced before. So, it was again a ‘never-before’ experience!


PS: This time I cleared the second 'audio' round and after one more round of interview, I got my first job.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Thank You Note

There are multiple theories and stories and names regarding 'Who invented the first diaper?' but whoever it is, bless his/her soul!

What an invention! A BIG thank you!


Home and Work

During childhood "Home Work" is such a dreaded phrase.
During adulthood "Working from home" is such a welcome phrase.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

On "Wings of Fire"

I recently finished reading the celebrated book ‘Wings of Fire’ depicted on the life and works of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

It is a wonderful book that made me think a lot. To imagine that a person who hailed from such a small house (picture depicted in the book) rising to such an extent as to become the President of India is simply unimaginable. After having read that book, I was not sure if I was inspired or demotivated. Inspired because he has brought the country to forefront in Defence Technology; Demotivated because I feel as if I have achieved nothing till date.

The best part about the book is it gives life to many eminent personalities which were but just names in the history. Vikram Sarabhai is someone I had just read about in the books but never gave a thought but after reading this book, I realized what a great personality he was. I was personally very touched when I heard about his death in the book. Ditto with Prof Brahm Prakash. Like wise, the book showcases and appreciates so many great personalities that at one point you feel as if you are reading about the Leading Scientists of India rather than just about Dr APJ Abdul Kalam! (Footnote: Apart from Mrs Indira Gandhi, there is no notable mention of any eminent lady-personalities / female-scientists in the book – a food for thought on it’s own!)

During the post-Independence era, it is possible that one had thoughts of improving one’s country. But somehow I feel that we are now living in an era when we want the world to be a better place and not just country. Look at Earth Hour. Likewise, so many countries are working in harmony to churn out new products in shorter span of time making best use of the daylight across the globe due to the Earth’s rotation. As they say, the world is flat now!

But there were sections in the book which miffed me. At one point, Dr Kalam mentions that professionals going abroad and settling down in foreign countries is not a thing to be proud of (not same words but that’s the gist). Well, I don’t know about that. Doesn’t it speak volumes for Indians to compete in the global arena and not just compete, but come out successful to such an extent that it jitters prominent World Leaders to ask their countries’ younger generation to buck up?! Isn’t that an achievement? To view the fact that one goes abroad and settles down for a comfortable life is just an aesthetic outlook. The effort and struggle that has gone into competing in the Global Workforce is something to be noticed and appreciated.

What about me (and millions like me)? It is not without struggle that I have managed to be what I am. It is not without effort that I have managed to get accolades from professionals across the continents, to work in and amongst professionals across the world and still be appreciated (I am speaking on behalf of millions of Indians here). Isn’t that an achievement? Or is it an achievement only if we get Bharat Ratna?

What about family life? It is not easy to have a family life and a professional life. Each demands a significant section of life and to come out successful in both is an achievement on its own. Again, to view marriage life as a walk in the park holding hands is just an aesthetic outlook. The effort and struggle that goes on to walk the tight rope of family life as well as continue to excel in work is a challenge in itself which perhaps Dr Kalam never experienced.

To think about rockets and missiles 20 hours a day, 365 days a year is indeed laudable. But is that all life is about? We get only one life. Should we not experience every bit of it instead of working up ourselves to such turmoil as to deliver the goods and achieve great heights?

But I guess it is such thoughts as these that differ me from great personalities! If we have people just like me, and we never had people like Dr Kalam, we wouldn’t have been safe from enemies and leading such a peaceful life as we are now.

Frankly, a big Thank You to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for highlighting the progress of Indian Space Research Program and for his efforts in making India what it is. The thought that came to my mind repeatedly when I read the book was the thought that always comes to my mind:

Endaro Mahanubhavulu Andariki Vandanamulu.

PS: Janani, a good friend of mine, after reading the book asked Dr Kalam a question that is common to every reader. The question and Dr Kalam’s answer is reproduced [with permission from Janani] below to stop further readers asking same question to Dr Kalam!

On 7/15/08, Janani Krishnan wrote:
Dear Sir,

I just finished reading the book "Wings of fire". I found it very interesting and inspiring. The thoughts expressed in the book are profound and your personality is very motivating, the characteristic that stands out among many, is your simplicity. However, towards the end of the book a question started taking shape and i could not come up with a convincing reply. At this point, i decided to write to you. I would consider myself very lucky, if you would clarify this nagging doubt of mine.

There is no denying the fact that its the effort of all the scientists working ardently towards the technological advances which has put India on the global map. Like you have said in the book, this proved to the world India's capability and capacity to develop and successfully implement many an indigenous techniques and inventions, to be able to be on par with developed nations. The term "Missile man", as you are fondly known to us, indeed does complete justice to your dedication and devotion to work. Thank you for setting such high standards for us and being the personality whom we can look up to!

The question that is troubling me is this - Missiles, the main objective of one is destruction! If in future there is an outbreak of war (God forbid), then wouldn't these missiles be put into use? Wouldn't millions of people die in the process? Of course, that would be only to defend ourselves, But, ultimately it is used for destruction! I have read somewhere (I am not sure how much of truth is in this piece of information) that Alfred Nobel, was disillusioned and depressed because he felt guilty that his invention - the dynamite - was responsible for the death of numerous lives. The reason for him to have donated his fortune towards the Nobel Foundation was to appease this guilt. Sir, my question to you is, would you also feel the same if a scenario like this should occur? If one devotes one's entire life and energy towards a goal which may ultimately serve the purpose of destruction, is it justified? Can you please give me your view point on this.

I have put down my questions and doubts as they occurred to me. Please do forgive me if there is anything offensive in the content of this email.

Thanking you

On Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 2:52 PM, Abdulkalam APJ wrote:

Dear Janani,

Thank you for your mail. Technology is double edged weapon. It can be used for societal upliftment and also for destruction. Technology basically is innocent. It is how the political system use as the technology. If there is an enlightened user, there is no damage to the society. We always hope, we will have enlightened uses. My association with missile is purely scientific. In that science process I have no regrets.

Greetings and best wishes

Saturday, January 01, 2011

On Track

Start Date : 1-Oct-10
End Date : 31-Dec-10
Number of working days : 64
Number of days worked : 46

The 4-day week still looks tempting for 3 more quarters!