Thursday, December 4, 2008

Breakup.

A breakup or a divorce doesn't always have to be between a man and a woman. A break up also happens between friends. 

Sometimes, it turns out to be so difficult to get over the relationship, the friendship, the warmth, the love, the affection, that you once shared for each other. Sometimes, there's guilt, and then there's hate. 

The thoughts don't go away. It keeps haunting you, sometimes, the good memories surface and you smile, but eventually it makes you sad, thinking it had to turn out this way. The bad memories makes it all the more numb. It brings about this I don't care, I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to do anything, I don't want to talk to anyone attitude. 

You know very well, it's not the right feeling, that you have to get over it, move on, you know very well, you have a life to live and want to do exactly that. But somehow, invariably you do otherwise. 

You think, It's sad it had to turn out this way. You try to introspect. You wonder why ? Who was responsible ? Was it me or was it otherwise ? Nothing helps. The numbness comes back.

You come to learn, that the friend has moved on, and seems to be leading a peaceful, normal life, maybe even forgotten you completely. Now should this affect you ? Yes, it does. You wonder why ? Why ? 

It's going to be a good few years now. You have to move on. You think, time will heal, or atleast time will help reduce the pain. But how much more time ? 

The mire of inconsistent feelings and emotions, keep coming back. You try to fight it. You will. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Interesting Problem.

Two colleague's were sitting next to me and were working on launching an app, and they wanted to redirect the logs into a txt file, instead of printing them all on the console.

They were doing all the right things, and still it wasn't working right. They were at it for quite some time, and I was trying to do my bit to help. After a while, we ran out of options, and frustration was setting in.

I realised I had given up, and was getting defeated, when V uttered 'Hmm...Interesting Problem'. 

I was already bogged down with the issue, while he was enjoying tackling the problem. He got up and went away, saying, let's think it over.

Day got over, we went home.

This morning I went into work, thinking, I must do this and that and this and that. I went to my desk to realise that it had already been fixed. V had apparently found out that some buffer had to be flushed. He had applied the fix, and it was working now.

I truly admire these guys, who don't get bogged down with issue, but strive and solve them, no matter what. This might have been a relatively easy issue to tackle. But, the confidence, and his attitude to think about how to solve the problem, rather than getting bogged down with it.

I like that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Story of Stuff

Stuff that we all should know about stuff.

About blogging.

I was a reader and follower of blogs for a long time, before I had one of my own. There were few blogs, that I passionately followed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and spent hours reading their entire archives. Sometimes, it's like I know them in person. 

Some of them are Priyamanaval, Jikku, Sleepless-In-IIMA, Sine-Qua-Non, Gapp, Sudhish and few others. Then there are many others, I discovered recently, such as debum, thamizhachi, english-tamil, niniane and many others. I think these guys are brilliant bloggers, with whom you can strike a chord, in one way or the other. I was able to relate with what they wrote. I could see, how much, I felt similarly too, it was beautiful when you see someone write thoughts, that run in your mind.

There have been times, when I have taken printouts of 'Sleepless-In-IIMA' to read during train journeys. 

Then I created my first blog. My intention was to write, like the ones, I enjoyed reading, and to also be able to write about what I felt, and to get honest opinions from people about what they felt, about what I felt.

I went about writing whatever that came to my mind, and about stuff that was happening in my life. A few friends and fellow bloggers started visiting my blog and became regulars. I started getting few positive comments. As time went by, I started watching the number of hits I was getting, and it felt good, to know that I have some readership. It felt good to know that few people liked what I wrote.

Sometime later, I got my first negative comment, an 'anonymous' friend rubbished whatever, I wrote. It wasn't even logical disagreement to what I had written, doesn't matter, however critical. It was just some silly sarcasm and names calling. That pissed me off a bit. Then, then there were comments, that supported me, and bashed Mr. Anonymous and that felt nice.

But what was actually happening was, a limitation, some kind of a wall had developed in my mind. I knew I had a readership now, which I didn't want to disappoint. I wanted the same kind of positive comments. I didn't feel comfortable writing about stuff, that would bring in negative comments. There were a set restrictions now. I didn't like that. 

People in the real world who knew me, started developing an impression on me, based on what I wrote on my blog. People at work, who barely knew me for couple of months, drew opinions and impressions from what I had written in the past. I was getting uncomfortable with that.

Then, I went through a rough phase, had to part ways with two of my close friends. We shared the same set of friends. It was getting difficult for me to be in the same group, and hang out in social gatherings, where they were present, being in part of the same mailing lists, where they were present. I wanted them to vanish from my life, and similarly I didn't want them to know about anything that was happening in my life, be it good or bad.

Invariably, I stopped blogging.

Life went on, many things happened, I wanted to write, I wanted a space, where I could just be somebody with an online presence, and have no real-life connection, and most important of all, where I could comfortably, and totally be myself. InWantOfBeingMe was born.

Writing or Blogging is driven by many things, to share with the world about something that you are passionate about, be it technical or just a passtime, to entertain people, to gain more readership, to share with the world what you think, and get an opinion about what others think about what you think, etc, etc...

I was just thinking about all this, and trying to be honest with myself and identify with why I really blog. 

I blog for myself, I blog about things which I find real, which I think is humorous, memories that are special to me, all of which I can look back after a few years and smile at how much I have changed, or not changed.

I want to make a sincere effort at that, I will.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calorie burning alcohol.

A friend (who has gained a few extra kilos from alcohol consumption during an extended vacation) and I were having a discussion about how working out and alcohol don't mix and that alcohol actually slows down the BMR.

He's working out, but is finding it hard to lose weight amidst his rich social life. He suggested, 'There are so many medicines, and operations to lose weight. Why can't they invent an alcoholic variant that can burn a lot of calories, so the more you drink, the more weight you lose !, and you get high anyway !'

We laughed a bit and succumbed in agreement that, no way is that going to happen, there's no easy way out. If you have to lose weight, you have to cut the alcohol, eat healthy and work out regularly. There's no other easy way out !

Then he went on to point out, that 'Ecstacy' was originally invented and sold legally as an appetite suppressant. Similarly, Viagra was originally invented to treat cardio-vascular diseases and all folk, who ingested it for treatment, ended up being hard and durable :D

He sincerely hopes, someday there will be an alcoholic variant that'll help burn calories. :D

To smile or not to smile.

Both your eyes meet. A sense of familiariy ensues, you'v seen each other few many times at the gym, have cycled on stationary bicycles next to each other, have ran couple of miles on treadmills  next to each other.

You contemplate between smiling and and mouthing a 'Hi'. A half smile begins to emerges out of doubt, she looks at you for a moment, then turns her glare elsewhere and walks away. You are thinking, "damn !" and walk away, hoping your half smile emerged only after her glare shifted elsewhere.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What I really want to be ?

I envy Sachin Tendulkar, because he does what he's passionate about.
I envy Mani Rathnam, because he does what he's passionate about.
I envy my colleague in my work place, because he does what he's does with so much of passion.
I envy my friend who's in the Indian Airforce, because he is proud of what he is, and is passionate about where he is headed...
I envy the watchman in my aparment, because he is passinate about gardening and takes care of the plants and the apartment so well, he seems to love what he does.

When, I was much younger, I wanted to be a doctor, not because of the realisation that I could save lives, but because, my uncle was one, and he was well-liked and respected by everyone in the family. 

Later, I wanted to become an engineer, because my dad was one and was well-liked and respected by everyone in the family. 

Later, I wanted to become a pilot, join the NDA, because my brother wanted to become one, and he couldn't, becuase he had an accident and was rendered medically unfit, so he wanted to make me one.  The airforce pilot tag, appealed to me. I wrote the screening test, and failed it. I was disappointed, but joined some college anyway. 

College was mighty fun. I never really re-looked at my options of joining the airforce. College got over, even before I knew it, I wanted more of it, so took up post-graduation and joined college again. Sometime in my 1st year, the idea of joining the airforce surfaced, I took up the basic 
screening test for the officers cadre and failed again. 

Later, college got over, I got placed in my first job, reality struck, it took sometime for me to digest and accept reality, but yeah, I got over it and found my job pretty cool. It sounded really cool, to even tell somebody what I was working on, that exited me. I was happy. I was learning, things were going on well. I was passionate about the technology that I was working on.

Time went by, I got another job. My next job was in a different city, I had to move out of home, for the first time, and be on my own. The indenpendence that seemed exiting in the beginning, only increased my dependence on home and mom. However, I was exited about my new job and the technology, so that kept me going.

My new job took me to a new country for a brief stint. I met a friend, through a common friend. He had an admit in Oxford, Stanford, Dale and a few other ivy league universities. He was working for the biggest investment banking firms in the world, and was going to quit and take up college. He was soft spoken and polite. I was impressed yet again, I loved his life, his routine. I wanted that MBA from an Ivy League university.

After a while, monotony creeped in, my work didn't seem to exite me anymore. I was bewildered and became withdrawn, seeing people doing things, not knowing really why they are even doing it ! I was pushed into a shell, just going about doing stuff that I was asked to.

It was during this time, that I started appreciating films and film making. I had evolved from just watching movies for the sake of entertainment, to understand the kind of impact they made on people. I watched with exitement, some films, and was in awe of few film makers. I was impressed at the kind of content they could create, the imagination, the mix of reality, the kind of visuals they were capable of creating, the emotions. It dazzled me. I wanted to be a film maker.

Then, I went through a rough phase, parted ways with someone who was a dear friend & guide. My love for films and film making and all these things that had happened in my life, took me to the next stage of believing I could make a film. I had a script. It was easy, It was my life. I thought I had a beautiful script. I wanted the real-life characters to play their parts in my film. It was easy for everybody, all they had to do was be themselves. I began to talk to them, convince them, train them, to not to be camera shy.

Friends & Family decided that I was crazy. They got worried. I approached a producer to narrate my script and the cast I had in mind. Seeing my background, he wanted to put me on a test. He wanted me to shoot on video camera, a talent search event he was doing for heros and heroins for his new film. He wanted me to bring my own camera crew, equipment, and wanted me to cover the back-stage, the feel, the pulse, the vibes of the participants, the show in general. 

I realised, he was taking me for a ride, he just wanted to cover his show on camera for free. He was interested in the footage. I never returned his phone call.

I then narrated my script to a debutant actress friend, just to get a vibe of what she felt and if I 
sounded sensible enought and if I could go any forward. She did what she could.

At the end of it all, I made some friends, rather aquaintances, which made up for interesting 
conversations & some learning about how the industry worked. It only made me realise, I wasn't getting anywhere. I have to admit, I didn't give it my best shot. I didn't try hard. After a few failures, I gave up. 

It's going to be sometime now, I am going about doing my job, going about my routine, trying to get better at what I do for a living, to learn, to grow, to evolve. I wouldn't say life is bad, but I am still searching.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Post-holiday coping.

Am a little dazed. Everything is in slow motion. After driving around for some 1000  odd, kilometers in the last 4 days, meeting friends and partying, attending a cousings wedding, again meeting up with the same friends and partying, and then having to get back to work today, definitely has had it's toll.

It was great to meet friends, party and then sit down with them to reminise old times, I totally love that, the un-adultrated laughter that ensues. It's beautiful. It's electric.

As, I quickly got home, showered and as I was driving to the destination, knowing I am going to meet them there, the boyish exitement, I could feel running through me, is something I cannot express. 

Now, that it's all over, I am at work, and I feel dazed and slowed down. I think it will be tommorow, when I can get back into a pace, and start racing against myself. I have to, I will.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heights of emotional blackmail.




Surya.


An inspiration -> his interview.

The movie that made me sit back and take notice, was 'Khakka Khakka' ofcourse, both Surya and Gautham Vasudev Menon.

Nanda did make me take notice. I liked the film for it's raw nature and Surya's character in the movie. But it was Khakka Khakka that really made me take the actor and director seriously.

I have started liking him since then, but I am not that ardent a follower, who made it a point to watch each one of his films from then on. I did watch Ghajini, and totally didn't like it. I watched Jillendru oru kadhal and thought it passed of as ok.

Now, I am awaiting Varanam Ayiram, as it's the Gautham - Surya combination again. Expectations are high. But, I hope the movie doesn't get hyped too much, and turn out not to be what is portrayed. 

Surya, has definitely ignited the six pack dream in many minds.

phtoto credit: galatta.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pinocchio


I chanced upon watching this movie the other day on Zee Studio. 

It's like a fable made for everybody, across all ages. A beautiful piece of work with simple lessons for life. The message is simple, hardwork pays and that there is no other easy alternative.

There's humour, fantasy, fairy, blue whale, and loads of lessons learnt. A beautiful story of Pinnochio very simply narrated. It's apparently a film of Italian origin, I saw the dubbed version in English.

I particularly liked the character Leonardo and his vanities. Pinocchio himself is oh so adorable, and scenes where he meets his father in the stomach of the whale which swallows him, where he identifies himself as a tuna, are just way too cute. There's also this scene where he gets caught by a farmer who takes him to serve as a watchdog, and how he goes 'bow-wow' when his friend Leonardo comes to rescue him. How they both savour the 'tangerine' flavoured lolly-pop, everything, shows how gullible they are and where they land up finally. 

It's a brilliant film. Definitely worth watching.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Start Ups.

That what happened...
I met my ex-boss in the office rest room. (He now heads a different vertical altogether)
We did usual small-talk, and he invited me over to his desk sometime for a chat. I dropped in and we got talking, he was generally asking, if I had forgotten the skills on which, I had worked on during the past.(I have shifted domain and working on something else for about 3 years now) I told him, no and that occassionaly, I go through relevant stuff, just so I don't forget or lose my aquired skills of the past (which isn't essentially completely true).

He then told me that he's started a company of his own, and that his wife is currently the director.(he is not directly legally associated yet) It's a small start up with about 15 - 20 people now, he is eventually going to quit here and join there and take charge in a few months. He offered me a Techno-managerial role, a kind of lead role to lead the team technically and also to bridge the gaps commercially. ( I assumed this would be the business analysis part, talking to the customers and gathering requirements et. all.)

I asked him about the clients, he gave me business jargon, much of which I didn't understand. He said we don't have a lot of funding for now, but will eventually get there. I thought he hinted, that I shouldn't be expecting a great hike and all, but he assured me that the role is something that I would like and would take me to a whole new level in my career. He said no pressure, think about it, and get back.

Now the reasoning..
Ok, now why is it so difficult to quit your job at a reasonably well-known company with a commendable percent of market share and brand value and join a startup ?

I'll try to list down the pluses and minuses,

Let's start with the pluses:
- The learning is going to be great. It's a startup, there aren't too many people to do things,
so you might end up doing most of the things, and in turn what happens, you learn, you get equipped, you get stronger, you get better. Now, that's a big plus !

- The role is going to be better. Don't know if you could really count this as a plus, as you'd expect this, even if you were going to join just any other organization.

- The salary is going to be better. Now this again would be the case, if you'd join any other organisation.

- You have more freedom, you have the freedom to be more creative, make your own decisions, a sense of satisfaction, ownership, (add some more terms like, accomplishment, a sense of achievement, blah blah) and all that comes along with being able to do what you like.

- A prospective chance of getting to talk to customers and clients directly, on your own, will be able to understand and interact with customers, because you are probably not going to have individuals assigned to do just business development, business analysis, requirments analysis etc...

Now, the minus'es..
-- The biggest minus, I think is the risk, considering what if the startup is not able to generate revene within the first year, how long is the Venture Capitalist going to be patient and fund the company.

-- How confident will you be, to go through that change of having to undergo pressure of getting yourself into a job, if things don't go well. (Again it's similar to the previous point, are you willing to take the risk ?)

-- Next biggest risk is over-committing, because it's a start-up and is under pressure to generate revenue, you boss, will tend to over-commit to things we don't already have, or don't have the resources and skills to get done. Now, having to deal with that, is going to stress you out a lot. So you should be in a position to deal with that. Making your work-place your primary home, and forgetting about weekends, is something that you'll have to consciously accept.

-- Also, if it's a job you like and are passionate about, beware you will also do a lot of stuff that you also don't like that much, Eg., non-technical managerial documentation, how-to docs, and if you are usually testing, you might also have to develop, if you develop, you might have to test your own product, so it will be a bit of a roller coaster, until the company sits and start breathing (in terms of revenue)

-- Then there's the trivial stuff, like letting go of the luxuries of working for a big company, the perks, the recognition, the discounts, the company transport, 36 days annual vacation, freebies, a swanky mall with a string of food chains,etc.

More reasoning...
Joining a startup and doing great work does come with a cost, also you need to have a back-up plan if things dont' go so well.

Especially now, with the market not looking very good, and newspapers and uncles and aunts talking about how bad the economy is, and how bad the recession is going to be. All this buzz only contribute more to deter you from taking that risk.

Ok, one of the main things that should convince somebody to join a startup is the trust, the trust on the vision of the person / people who are driving the company. If you trust them and share the same passion and vision, that would be an advantage in helping you make that decision to join the startup.

Now, having analyzed all that, coming to the trust factor, he does have a kind of reputation in office as to be dream / talk big, but not get there as much types. But from personal experience of working with him, if you are good at what you do, and get your work done, he takes care of you. He's a little difficult to convince types, if he has seen a point, then usually that is the only point, and if you agree with him, fine, else he's not going to like it.

I have a meeting with him tomorrow, where he wishes to discuss plans in detail. I don't want to sound too interested only to turn him down later. These situations are difficult for me to handle. Have to make the decision and if it's not in his favour, i'll have to put it across in a nice way.

I have time, I'll think it over !

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cab 4 Me.

About 5 years ago, when I joined my first job, during one of the usual boardroom sessions, our boss while explaining technologies such as 3G and IMS, and he went to explain the future...

He said, let's say, it's your first time in Chennai, and you're walking in Mount Road not knowing what the name of that road is, and you'd think, you'd want a taxi, all you'd have to do is sms and say ' I want a cab' and within a few minutes, a cab will find you and pick you up. I thought to myself, this sounds so James Bond types ! He went on to explain, this is really possible, because, your phone will be GPS enabled, the cab, will have a GPS device, so the cabbie will locate you with your unique device identity, something like the IMEI number.

As much exited, fascinated and overwhelmed I was to even to listen and imagine technology like that is really possible, over time, I thought, it's all big talk, but nothing's going to really happen.

Then Google Earth happened. A little later Google Maps happened.

And today, I came across this,

cab4me



cab4me allows Android users to call cabs from anywhere in the world. It combines the Google Maps with GPS/Cell location awareness to allow users to order cabs without even knowing the address they are at.




That said, will have to wait and see, how many of these apps really go on a become that killer app, like the 'sms'. 'Push to Talk' was launched in a big way, with many hopes, it crashed even before it took off. We'll have to wait and watch, time will tell.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Great Quotes.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
-- Benjamin Franklin
If somebody comes up to you and says something like, "How do I make this pony fly to the moon?", the question you need to ask is, "What problem are you trying to solve?" You'll find out that they really need to collect gray rocks. Why they thought they had to fly to the moon, and use a pony to do it, only they know. People do get confused like this.
-- Max Kanat-Alexander
I don't care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine!
-- Vidiu Platon
I'm beginning to wonder if the sum total pain caused by the box-and-arrow crowd has outweighed the occasional usefulness of UML.
-- Carson Gross
You do not have to spend a lot of time and effort on those who strongly resist change. You only have to help and protect those who want to change, so that they are able to succeed. Put another way, your job is not to plant the entire forest, row by row -- it is to plant clumps of seedlings in hospitable places and to nurture them. As they mature, these trees will spread their seeds, and the forest will eventually cover the fertile land. The rocks, will, of course, remain barren regardless. ... once you have figured out who cannot be converted, you should not waste more time trying to persuade them.
-- David Hutton, The Change Agents' Handbook
A nation ... consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation ... Are you really so scared of terrorists that you'll dismantle the structures that made America what it is? ... If you are, you let the terrorist win. Because that is exactly, specifically, his goal, his only goal: to frighten you into surrendering the rule of law ... He uses terrifying threats to induce you to degrade your own society.
-- William Gibson, Spook Country


picked up from here

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

IT Happened in India. - Kishore Biyani with Dipayan Baishya.

The book is all about retail, sales, entrepreneurship, business, understanding the customer, rewriting rules.

Kishore Biyani - The creator of Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Collections I, Home Town, Depot, etc, under the banner of The Future group.

The book has an interesting narrative of Kishore Biyani, himself and his close associates turns in talking about what and how it all happened. When the others are doing the narrative, it is more of praise and respect for the man 'Kishore Biyani'.

Kishore talks about his successes and his failures, his venture into Bollywood and how he failed at it miserably. Supposedly his movies also turned out to be a break for the then not-so-known Rakhi sawant and Himesh Reshammiya.

The book showcases how important it is to trust people and build relationships in. Another important aspect is the importance given to location for the stores and how they aquired large spaces early on to set up shop.

An interesting thing, I came across was that, usually companies, distribute sweets, announce bonuses for occasions like Diwali. kishore once decided to paint the houses of all the employees. The rationale behind was a freshly painted house, feed peace and happiness in the minds of the dwellers, and hence this move keep the employees minds fresh and happy before they came into work everyday, and also that this would create an impact amongst their friends and neighbours.

This book also comes off as targetting a few people to tell them 'see, I made it, inspite of all the discouragement, I got from all of you, I made it'. For some, it would come off as self promotion. It would definitely inspire a few. For some it would be just another book.

For me it was definitely an informative read about the world of retail, It did make an impact on my subconcious mind. It did say, go out and do stuff, don't worry about being ridiculed or being called a fool, atleast you tried.

The book priced at Rs.99 is money well spent. Definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Spectacles.

It was about 11:00 am. The sun was high and dry. Me and my friend had bunked school.

Now on one such day, my friends dad ran us on an errand to drop off a cheque or something in his office which was in Parry's corner, near the famous Burma Bazaar in Chennai. We successfully dropped of the cheque and were window shopping in the Bazaar when suddenly a middle aged man walked up to us.

Man: 'Ennapa, enna venum ?' {So boys, what do you want ?}
Me: ' Illa, onnum venam.' {No, nothing.}
Man: 'Matter book venuma ?' {Do you want porn magazines ?}
Me: 'Illa venam.' {No.}

[But, being the adolescent kids that were, we were curious nonetheless]

Man: 'Matter CD venuma ?' {Do you want porn CDs ?}
Me: 'Illa venam'.
Friend to me: [Nudging me] 'Dei, CD mattum vangikalama ?' {Shall we buy the CD alone ?}
Me to Friend: 'Dei, summa iru, venam' {Keep quite. No.}
Man: [Who had noticed my friend showing interest] 'Enna venum sollungapa, ellamea inga kedaikum.' {Tell me whatever you want, you get everything here}

[I somehow had the strong feeling that he was trying to rip us off, and hence kept saying no to everything he said]

Me: 'Illa, onnum venma' {No, Nothing.}
Man: 'En kita oru special item iruku, venumna try pannunga, pakareengala ?' {Ok, I have something special, you can try it if you want, want to see ?}
Friend: [Totally curious and before I could say anything]: 'Ennadhu ?' {What is it ?}
Man: 'Special kannadi, pottutu yaraiyachum patheenga..naa dress ea illama theriyum' {Special glasses, if you wear them and look at somebody, you can see them without the clothes}
Friend: [Thoroughly interested by now] 'Enga katunga' {Where ? Show us.}
Man: 'Venum na sollunga, kootitu poi katrean, andha madhiri olagathulaiyea 12 dhan iruku. China la irundhu vandhadhu. Ana romba jakaradhaiya irukanum, inga police prachanaai jaasthi' {If you guys are interested, I'll take you and show you. There are only 12 like it in the whole world. But you have to be very careful, there is too much of police problem here}
Friend: 'Seri, evalo andha kannadi ?' {ok, how much for the glasses ?}

[I was getting all the more tensed by now]

Man: 'ayiram rooba' [1000 rupees.]
Friend to me: [Nudging me again] 'Dei, un kita evalo iruku ?' {How much do you have ?}
Me to Friend: 'Dei, sonna kelu, venam da, en kita oru 100 ruba dhan iruku.' {Listen to me. Don't do this. I only have 100 rupees.}

[He had Rs. 200 with him, but he calculated that we still needed money for the movie and all. He was supposedly clever even then]

Friend to man: 'Enga kita 100 rooba dhan iruku' {We only have 100 rupees}

[The next 2 to 3 minutes was all bargaining, with the man saying that it is imported from China, and is expensive and kept reminding us of all the 'things' we could see, once we had the glasses. Finally much to my resistance, my friend did go ahead and settled down for a bargain of Rs.150]

The man, now asked us to follow him. We both cautiously walked behind him, and all the time, I kept telling my friend that he's trying to cheat us. My friend kept reassuring me that we'll test it before paying him the money. The man constantly kept reminding us about police problems and that we must keep it all hush hush and as quick as possible.

He took us to a dimly lit coffee shop in some corner, which was heavily crowded, found a corner table and seated us. He told us to wait there and left. The next 5 minutes seemed like the longest wait for us. My friend had already started making a list of all the well-endowed girls from our class that we could potentially 'see'.

The man was back with a small white polythene cover in his hand and sat right opposite to us. He gave out instructions that we would all place our hands under the table, and he would place the glasses in my friends hand, while at the same time, I should place the money in his other hand. Then, we all would get up quietly and walk out and on our way.

The transaction happened, the money and the glasses changed hands. My only focus was not to get ripped off, so I insisted that we test it.

We walked out of the coffee shop, and my friend more than hurriedly took the object out of the polythene cover, which was further wrapped in a small brown paper cover and as my friend tried to remove it from the brown paper cover, the man started getting all worked up saying, not here, take it away, it's risky and that we could get all of us into trouble.

While I was stubborn that we made sure that it worked before letting the man go, he make a big ruckus saying, you guys are difficult to convince, here, take your money and go. Saying this he gave the money back to me, and grabbed the glasses back from my friends hand.

My friend was thoroughly disappointed. Any amount of further talking, would get us nowhere. He seemed thoroughly annoyed with us. He however demanded we pay him Rs. 20. When asked why ? He said we had wasted his precious time and that we must pay him.

We had to with the 20 and managed to get away and were finally on a bus on our way to Mount road and my friend seemed a bit upset.

Me: 'Dei, paravala vidu da. {It's ok dude, } Imagine if was a fake, we would've lost 150 bucks'
Friend: 'Poda. Adhu mattum vela senjirundhuna, {Get lost. If only it had worked,} I would have seen all the actresses on TV...'
[After a small pause and in a hushed tone]
Friend: '....naked ! '

Friday, July 18, 2008

Adieu to a senior colleague.

A senior colleague bid adieu at work today as it was his last. He is just getting transferred to one of our offices in a different country.

I haven't personally had much of a chance to interact much with him, in fact to think about it, I don't think, I have spoken to him at all, maybe an occasional smile, that was about it.

I have read his blogs. I have seen him go about do his work, a knowledgeable man, should be (from the role that he held), a humble man, something about him, his actions, have brought me to like him.

And today being his last day, there was a small leavings gathering at the center of our office. Few simple words to say thanks from both sides.

Sometimes, there are some people, who talk less, who don't try to prove a point, who just go about doing their work, people just like him, there is that warmth, that good feeling when that person is around. A sense of confidence. There is respect. There is that something!

He is one person, who will definitely be missed !

Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahari.

My initial impressions about the author - nice writing skills, knows how to play around with words.

I started reading this book a couple of days back, and kept reading, chapter by chapter wondering what is the connection. There was an obvious disarray and zero connection between the characters. Each chapter was introducing new characters and comfortably forgotten the ones in the previous chapter.

I was imagining that at some point the author will bring the characters together and point out what the connection was.

What I actually didn't actually realize was that the book was a collection of short stories :D ! If I had known that earlier and read it as only a collection of short stories, I would have liked it better.

Life of Bengal Indians settled in the US, UK are things which are obviously common amongst all of them. Then there's relationships, affairs, partition and life in general.

Sometimes, I felt there was just too much detail, but, I think that was maybe required because they were short stories.

Later, I learnt it had won the pulitzer award. Definitely worth a one time read.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Favourite country.

This happened back in school, when I was maybe in 2nd or 3rd class. Back then, I always wanted to give the best answer, immaterial of whatever the question might be.

Teacher: 'Ok, now I want each one of you to stand up and tell me which is your favourite country'
Boy1: 'Japan'
Boy2: 'America'
Girl1: 'London'
Teacher: 'London is not a country, England is'
Girl2: 'Singapore'
Me: 'Foreign'
Teacher: 'Foreign country is a term used to address a country which is not your own. Tell us which country is your favourite!'
Me: 'Foreign is my favourite country!' [Taking complete pride in the fact that mine was the coolest answer]
...

Later, teacher convinced me that foreign was not a country and sad, I became.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Being Brave.

I was 15 and my best buddy 16.

We were riding on his gear less scooter and taking a turn near my home, when one guy on a cycle looking elsewhere almost crashed into us.

He pointed his arm towards us and used swear words generously and cycled on.

We both were a little upset, coz., it was no fault of ours. My friend tells me "We mustn't let him go like this. We're two and he's one. Let's go teach him a lesson. Besides, we have to get used to situations like these. "

So we turn around and overtake him and signal him to stop. He stops. We also stop. Now both of us don't know what to do. Our hearts are racing.

Him: {Getting off his bicycle, a heavily built burly man with a menacing look on his face}: "What ?"
My Friend: {With a squeaking voice}"Errmmm, Nothing. We were riding properly only"
Him: {Getting annoyed now}"Ok, So ?"
My Friend: "ermm...nothing."
Him: "Ok get lost !"

And we turned around and rode back quietly.

Lunch Box.

I was talking to my friend who married his girlfriend of over a year, a month back.

Me: "So how's married life ?"
Him: "So far so good, it's going be a month tomorrow"
Me: "So are you able to get off home from work earlier these days ?"
Him: "No, not really. In fact, work is hectic, it's almost mid-night when I get home"
Me: "Hmmm, so are you carrying lunch these days ?"
Him: "Yes and something happened at lunch yesterday."
Me: "What happened ? "
Him: "I sat down to lunch, as usual with my team in the cafeteria and opened my lunch box."
Me: "Okay..."
Him: "...and there was rice"
Me: "Okay..."
Him: "There was only rice !"
Me: {Giggling by now} "You mean just plain white rice ?"
Him: "Yes...and stop laughing".
Me: {Controlling my laughter}"Ok, ok. Then what did you do ?"
Him: "What should I do? I borrowed some curd from a colleague, made butter milk and had it with my white rice"
Me: "Ha ha ha, seriously ? She probably forgot to pack the curry. "
Him: "No, she had forgotten to tell me. Apparently, she had only made the rice and packed it and had wanted to tell me to buy some curry to have with it'

I am just giggling imagining his expression, when he opened the lunch box and saw plain rice. He must have poked around to find something to eat it with. :D

Friday, February 22, 2008

Google's gag.

I stumbled upon this job posting by Google.

Like everybody else, I noticed the requirement 'Sense of humor'
Like everybody else, I clicked on humor.

Humored, Impressed and Curious, as always, I did send them an e-mail like this,

------------
From: iwobm@gmail.com
To: lunarjobs@google.com
Date: Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM
Subject: Yes, I have a sense of humour.
Mailed-by: gmail.com


Hello Google,

Am interested and looking forward to discuss my possibilities of taking this further and working out my options of joining Google to work with G.C.H.E.E.S.E.

It excites me to imagine, we would be in sub-zero gravity levels discussing cutting-edge solutions, that will reach out and touch millions of lives.

Looking forward to discuss this further with one of you.

Thanks and Kind Regards,
iwobm.
------------

And, I got an instant reply like this.

------------
From: lunarjobs@google.com
To: iwobm@gmail.com
Date: Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM
Subject: Re: Yes, I have a sense of humour.
Signed-by: google.com


Thank you for contacting Google about our Copernicus Research Center.

We've received an overwhelming response to this opportunity and are not currently accepting additional resumes. We will, however, keep your information on file should we have an opening in the future. At the current staffing levels, we anticipate that we may need additional applicants on or around April Fool's Day in 2104. Until then, we appreciate your interest in Google and your taking the time to write us.


Sincerely,

The Googlunar Recruiting Team
------------

I am now thinking if I am eligible to file a law suite against Google ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Evano Oruvan Moment.

My wife and I took a pre-paid auto from place A to place B. The government generated slip said Rs.140. However, the driver said it's 27 kms from here, so you have to pay 140 + 27 because the gas prices have gone up.

I say fine, then for some reason the auto guy doesn't want to go to location B. So he puts me on the next auto in line and explains to the new auto guy that I be dropped at B and that I will pay him Rs. 170. All agreed, happy and we move on.

As we get closer to location B...

Auto guy: "Is it here ? Should I turn left ?"
Me: "No, It's B, and we still have to go 1 kilometer to get to B."
Auto guy: "What sir...it's too far. This is only B"
Me: "See, the pre-paid slip. It clearly says B and it was agreed initially"
Auto guy: "They don't know anything, I thought it is B, but this is too far, you have to give 10 rupees more"
Me: {thoroughly pissed off, Not that I am stringent about the 10 bucks extra, but I hate this approach of majority of them auto drivers}"Nothing doing, what is agreed is agreed, no 10 rupees extra. Nothing."
Auto guy: {In a mumbling tone}"It's so far, give 10 rupees extra."

Within a few minutes, we reach B. I get off the auto, take our belongings and I hand over Rs. 170 and turn to walk away.

Auto guy: [In a raised tone]"Sir, give 10 rupees sir"
Me: [Turn around and in a raised but firm tone]"No 10 rupees extra nothing, we agreed on 170 initially and that's what you get" [and turn around and start walking away]
Auto guy: [In a mumble fading tone]: "thevdiya paiya {bastard}"

I turned around walked back towards him. I was in rage. I spoke some swear words and was on the edge, just about to get physical. For a moment, I gathered myself, realized that I was standing outside my apartment, my wife with me, the neighbours who might wake up in the wee hours, the scene that had already been created.

I just grabbed my wifes hand, turned around and walked away.

Come to think of it now, I could have averted the whole thing, by paying that 10 rupees extra. But, somehow, something in me wouldn't let me do that.

The practical me agrees 'throw the money, stay away from the unpleasant experience'. Then there's the logical me which feels 'No, that's not right. You can't let them take advantage of you'

I suppose this will never change. It's something we have to live with, come to terms with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Subject.

I tell this peer to send out an e-mail detailing the technical scenarios with which he is facing difficulties currently, just so to keep everybody in loop.

I told him to send it out yesterday, he didn't. So I went to him again this afternoon during the lunch break and said 'It need not be perfect, it's only within the team. That way, it will give time for other to digest and respond. And if they don't, you have an upper hand in the status meetings. So no matter what, send it out.'

He walks up to me in the evening, just before as I was leaving and asks ' What should the subject line be ?'

Grooming at work.

We have a huge balcony at work where people break for coffee and smokes. I notice this one person in one corner, close to one of the huge support railing, (his torso from hip onwards is not visible) leaning outside. There was also this strange sound (click, click) as if he was trying to light a cigarette with a lighter, constantly against the strong wind.

I was looking out for a particular somebody and happened to see this guy from behind and was wondering if it was the same guy that I was looking for, so I walked up close (from the other side of the railing) and took a small peep, only to catch him cutting his finger nails with a nail cutter.

He truns, sees me, smiles, and continues to go 'clip, clip, clip'.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I dropped my IPOD

Some time back, I dropped my new IPOD video 30 gig on the floor. On picking it up, it had a sad smiley with a frown and a link to the apple support center at the bottom.

Whatever, I tried to do, the sad smiley did stay.

Later, I googled 'I dropped my IPOD' and came across numerous solutions. Here's the top three.

Soln 1: [Last resort] Send it to the Apple store and get it fixed.
For which you have to pay exorbitantly.

Soln 2: [Only for the brave hearted] Open the IPOD and fix it yourself.
There was a picture-log of a step by step procedure of how you open your ipod and disconnect and reconnect the wires to your hard disk and supposedly folk who dropped their ipod got it working this way.

Soln 3: [Most widely used] Drop your IPOD again.
Initially I thought, this must be damn stupid. No way me am gonna drop my IPOD again. That's foolishness, I thought. Later, on coming across the large number of testimonials where people did just that, and it worked for them, I thought ok, why not.

So, I went, lifting my ipod up above the air and carefully dropping it on my laptop case. Thud...Thud...Thud....Thud....Thud....to no effect and still looking at the sad smiley, I thought to myself, ok, so soln1 or soln2 it has to be.

Then, before I went to sleep with a heavy heart, I decided to do it one last time. This time, I lifted it to as high as my hand could reach and, THUD. Picked it up, blinked at it a few times, and pressed the play and the select button simultaneously only to notice the bright red apple !

YaY! it worked, it worked !