Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We are the Nuts n Bolts!!!

After spending almost three years in this company, finally I am witnessing some efforts by our HR team to make the employees happy or I may have been at wrong locations earlier where there were no such activity.
As the year end is approaching with just one week left, we have different dress codes for each day. Yesterday it was Tie and Pearl day, which majority of us were not aware of because of the late announcement. All 450 employees are divided into 5 teams and there would be team events every Wednesday. Teams would get points based on the performance and at the end of Jan/Feb, the winners would be announced. That's something to look forward to.
Our team met yesterday and gave introduction. Though it was sad that out of 89 members, hardly 25 people turned up. Rest were either busy, or absent or not interested. Everyone of us suggested one name for the team and we finally zeroed on at Nuts 'n' Bolts and it gives me immense pleasure to inform you that this name was suggested by me J Nut and Bolts make a fine machinery… That's the logic behind the name.
Anyways, today 's dress code was Mix n Match and again, most of the people have decided to ignore this and wear traditional office clothes. I thought that once I reach office I will put on the additional things which I have brought with me (I can't wear them and travel in bus, entire Bangalore is not aware of our dress code for the week) but I couldn't find apart from 2 souls in the office following this code. So, the things would be put on at the time of photo session J
I don't know how things would turn out but I am as excited as a college student to see all the teams gearing up to promote their team names and marching in the office with their teams and I can see the commencement of the war between the teams… Lets go…!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

What you s(h)ow is what you get…

Yesterday I momentarily got something to ponder about. I realized it later though. My colleague wanted me to prepare test cases for one of the modules. For those who don't know what Test cases are, it's like a testing methodology. You make all sorts of scenarios to test the functionalities of a module developed. Like, if you enter this and click on this button, these are the front end and back end processes and output. But they include both positive and negative cases. As in, how actually the module would behave and how it will react to any wrong input or in case of any exception. Since I had not prepared test cases earlier, so he gave me some examples.
"If you enter some wrong value, this is the error message which should appear"; "if the user selects this and the mapping is not available, this is the warning message which should appear"; "if the transaction is not completed, the database won't store the details of the incomplete transactions" etc etc…
So, I prepared further and sent the file to him and he politely calls me and appreciates me of doing this task BUT with a word of advice and observation. I had mentioned only the cases where any wrong value is entered as input or in case of exceptions how the module would behave but I had completely missed out the cases where the module would behave with positive values and in normal flow. But he said that it was not my fault. It was because he had shown all negative examples to me so I perceived that preparing test cases mean listing all negative cases. It was like, I co-related the word testing and the negative examples and made out that for testing a module, I should look how the module would react to wrong input. Had he given me positive examples also, my perception would have been totally different.
Moral of the story:
Make sure of how you want the person to perceive any situation and show him the complete picture. One sided picture is incomplete and may have permanent impact which may become difficult to modify later. People rarely use their minds to probe further to get the complete image. What you show makes more prominent impact. Imagine, if I would not have sent him the first file of the test cases and would have gone ahead to prepare cases for another 6-7 modules and given all of them to him. I would have been irritated on learning the actual functionality of the test cases after so many of them and my effort in rectifying all of them later.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Go Maldives!!!!!!

Warning: This may turn out to be a very lengthy post. Read it on your own risk…
"Oh… Thank you for getting me stamped for the first time after six years of my birth"
J That was my passport. My first International visit and we went to Maldives… I don't know if any one of you reading this have been to any such beautiful place but for me it turned out to be the best holiday destination ever (Andaman and Nicobar now hold the 2nd position in my list). The first look at the green-blue water and white sand of Maldives from the aircraft and I could not stop clicking pictures non-stop. Every green spot was making me forget the tensed routine life. 
The airport is Male International Airport (called as Hulhule airport until 1981) and is situated on an island (Male city). It looked very small as compared to my perception of International airports. It was quiet and no hassle to pass through the immigration. The flight duration was 1 hour and 40 minutes. Once you step out of the airport, there are kiosks of almost all the resorts and the escorts would be standing there to transfer you from the airport to the respective resort. As a practice, one island holds one resort. There are roughly 1100 islands which constitutes Maldives with the capital city being Male. The airport transfers are usually done by the speed boats of the respective resort. Once you reach the resort, you may go through various excursion activities which your resort may conduct. We stayed at the Bandos Island Resort and there we could opt for snorkeling, water sports, dolphin watching tours, night fishing and bar-be-que, half or full day island hoping, romantic dinners etc etc. Apart from that, the resorts also offer spa, club activities, swimming pools etc. It's advisable to take the full board plan (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) since it may turn out to be costly affair otherwise. If you don't want to do anything, take your novel and have a sun bath (which is very much preferred by the foreigners).
On arrival at the resort, some formalities were done and we were given a welcome drink. We were made very clear to reach the dining area on time to take the meals, for once missed, the buffet would be closed. The staff was very friendly. From there we were taken to our room by a battery operated car (I don't know what it is called actually). And I was almost zapped to see our room or I should say the Jacuzzi Beach Villa. It was almost at the beach and double story villa with bedroom on the 1st floor and on the ground floor were the living area, bathroom and the Jacuzzi. For almost 6 villas/rooms, there was an open air shower and a tap outside each of the rooms, so that we can take a shower and wash our feet and get rid of the beach sand before we enter the rooms. It was the white sand beach and the water was crystal clear.
The chefs and waiters were also very friendly. You pass anyone and just give a simple smile and you will definitely get it back. Found out some staff members of Bangladesh as well and they knew India means Mumbai and Delhi J I had actually got addicted to the homemade breads, cup cakes and the cakes that they made. Every meal would consist of some variety of potato, chicken and fish. The vegetarian folks may not worry of getting only the sea food since there was a balance of veg and non-veg dishes. We had opted for Dolphin show for that day which was to start at 4:30 p.m. By the way, Maldivian time is 30 minutes behind our time. In the meantime, we decided to go at the beach and do some photo session and atleast get ourselves wet J

Then we started on for the dolphin show. We were told to sit at the front or I must say the bonnet of the steamer (with an assurance that we won't be thrown into the sea in case of high speed). We cruised for some 20 minutes to reach the area where lots of dolphins were expected. When we reached there, we saw two boats racing with each other, only to realize that they were racing with a dolphin in between their boats. Initially, it was hard to spot them but later on we kept looking down and around our steamer to spot them. Whenever someone could spot the dolphin, the crew and other people would start clapping and whistling to attract them and make them jump. For about 1 hour we spotted them, cheered for them and clicked them. After that, it was as if we have tired ourselves and so everyone settled down and the crew served us drinks- orange juice or Malibu cocktail. Once back, we decided to roam about the island. We checked out the souvenir shops. There were three of them. One of them was called Brush. There were three artists who would do oil painting on articles like, t-shirts, wood, key chains, cups, chart paper etc. Of course of sea beaches and then put them on sale. It was very impressive. There was a club lounge as well, where you can play TT, pool, tennis, work out in gym, take steam bath and sauna. Not to forget, the swimming pool. We would normally go to another restaurant area (Harbour) and stand there and watch fishes. We spotted 5-6 sharks and 1 baby shark as well.


We also checked out the water sports area and enquired about what all we can do since we don't know swimming. He suggested that we can do Fun Toy and Kayaking. He also told us that though snorkeling here was suggested only for the strong swimmers, still we can get the kit on the rent for the day and he would take us in deep water to see corals and fishes. Anyways, for that day we booked fun toy and kayak. Then we went for the fun toy. We were made to sit in an inflated boat and tied with the speed boat. It was scary initially but then we started enjoying it later on. After lunch, we went for the kayaking and we were instructed to remain in the shallow water. It was fun then but very tiring, which we realized when we went back home and took hot water bath. After that we realized that it was indeed tiring. Then we went to the club in the evening, played TT and tried other things.

On the third day, we decided to just relax and be at the beach and the swimming pool only. Before that we went to the Angerrik Spa. It was such a quiet and calm place. No noise at all. Then we went to the swimming pool and jumped in the Kids' pool. Then some sun bath and then to the beach, along-with the photo session.
Maldives is a place to relax completely. No noise, apart from that of small kids enjoying in water. No need to exert yourself. Every corner looked soothing to eyes. I would say, full paisa vasool J

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DEAD(ly) SEA....

Okay, enough… That's the end of everything. I can't take it anymore… that's the end. I swear…
Where can I go? Can I hang myself? But that would hurt badly. Should I drink poison? But what if it does not work quickly? I would have to die terribly. No. I don't want to die like that. I will drown myself in the sea. That won't hurt; I will quickly choke to death once I am completely immersed in the water. Besides, two more people have died in this vicinity recently. It may look like a criminally planned attack till they find my note. Perfect. Tonight is the night.
I wrote my suicide note, blaming no one in particular but everyone actually. I wore my favorite black trousers and black tee. Do I need shoes?? No, I don't need them. It was a bit cooler compared to other days and windy. I should go at the far end to drown. No particular reason but just being smart, unnecessarily. People will look around for me before finding my note or my body, if at all they find it out. I walked some five hundred meters but decided to go farther. After walking for almost half an hour in that dark night with sky illuminated with sparkling stars and full moon against the background rhythmic music of waves, I decided to end my journey at that point. I recalled my parents, my closest friends, my teachers and my enemies and moved forward to get immersed.
"Hey watch out… What are you doing?", someone called for me from behind.
I decided not to turn and make my face visible to him; let them search for me.
"None of your business mister. I am going for a small swim. Is that a problem for you?", and I again moved forward
"Yes, that's a problem for me. I am supposed to guard this place. If you won't stop, I will have to get up and pull you aside"
Damn… I should have rather drowned nearer to my quarters.
I decided to go back, out of his guarded area.
"Hey miss. If you don't mind, you can come and sit with me. I have lot of stories to tell, if you are interested", I still didn't turn around and started walking quickly
"I suppose you are free and have nothing to do that's why you thought of swimming at this hour of day. Why don't you join me to kill my time? It's anyways not safe to swim at this time…", he started following me. Enough of this non-sense. I decided to turn around and shout at him to leave me alone.
"Look man, I am here not for some picnic or leisure. I had come here to commit suicide. Did you hear me right? TO COMMIT SUICIDE. If you don't want to get tangled in police case, let me go and leave me alone. Do you understand??", I was almost shouting on his face.
He was a young man in his mid twenties. Clean shaven and wearing nice clothes. He can't be a guard.
"Oh, you have come to commit suicide. Amazing. But you can jump in there after 5 a.m., that's when I get off duty and someone else comes in"
"I am not going to schedule my suicide according to your working hours. Now, will you let me do what I have come here for?"
"Sure. By the way, do you know how to swim?"
"If I would have known, why would I decide to end my life by drowning?"
"Oh, I must tell you even if you would have known swimming; it was no guarantee of saving you once you decide to end your life. It's very wild; the ocean. By the time you decide to abandon the idea of suicide and help yourself get out of that monster, you would have already lost the battle. It's very scary to die by drowning yourself in that vast sea"
"Thanks for your information. Suicide, in any way, is always scary. I know that"
"No seriously. Just look at it. It's dark, it's wild and it's making some noise. The moment you put your first step in that water, you will get a chilling feeling going up your spine, it's cold, damn cold. Then as you will go inside it, the noise would be thunderous. It's not as quiet as it looks. You would want to shut your ears but you won't be able to. You think the water will immerse you in it quickly? You are gravely mistaken. It will soak you slowly and slowly. Initially you will feel that you actually are swimming but when it starts gulping you in, you would want to release yourself desperately. That's when it will start eating you in at terrible speed. Tell me, which is the worst drink that you have had ever?"
"Well, I don't like milk, so I guess that's the one". Why am I even listening and talking to him? I am answering him. But there is some shine in his eyes and some sharpness in his voice, which are compelling me to listen to him and talk to him
"Okay. Imagine your mother running after you to drink that milk… yuck… and suddenly she grabs your mouth and starts pouring that big glass of milk into your mouth and you are desperately try to run away from her clutches. And you are chocking", he has become animated now. Using his hands and eyes a lot
"Errrrrrr…… that hurts. I have chocked myself many a times like that in my childhood. Even when I would get out of her clutch, I would feel that someone is blocking my breathe"
"That's exactly how it feels once you start drowning. The salt water will overfill your body and you would have no place to puke it out"
"Wait. Why are you telling me all this? Are you trying to trick me into quitting my plan? If that is the case, you are mistaken. I am not quitting", I regained my conscious.
"Oh, but I thought you are quitting. You are quitting life. I just thought to warn you with my experience, that's it"
"Your experience?"
"Yes. I experienced all this when I was at your place 10 years back. It did hurt badly. Even I was a swimmer. It didn't help much. I did commit suicide the same way"
I am talking to a ghost who committed suicide by drowning in these waters 10 years back!!!! Everything is quickly turning into small black dot…
THAAAAACK….. My head hit that heavy rock…. Strange wire like images… Blue…. Green…. Red…. Black…. Everything is turning black….
"Oh, miss… get up please. Let me complete my story… I tried to commit suicide but the owner of this villa saved me and that's why he gave me the job to guard it. Get up miss… Oh, I guess, she also has died of shock… I never meant to scare her away… She is the third one to die like this. Shit… I decided to tell first that I am not a ghost and I tried committing suicide and yet again, I told her that at the end. Oh, I am such a bad pacifier; I am such a fool. I promised to keep people away from committing suicide but I am killing them. OH GOD!!!!!"


What if you wake up someday and gradually find out that everyone is fast asleep and not willing to wake up?? Roads are deserted, no policemen, no criminals, no doctors, no one to turn to take help of… Initially, you may just smile at your freedom. That you can buy whatever you wish to without paying, you may not have to work, and you can do whatever you wanted to. But when you realize that only humans are the ones who have fallen asleep and not the animals and that they are marching towards your city, what will you do? Oh, on top of that, the animals start talking to you in your language…
That's what Awake-by Egan Yip is all about. While searching randomly for some e-book to download, I came across this novel. Found the preface exciting so downloaded it. For grownups, who likes to read thriller or biographies, this novel may look kiddish (it actually may be for children below 15 years of age, but I enjoy being in this category at times J ). While reading this novel, I was constantly imagining that an animation movie is going on in front of my eyes. I wonder if any animation movie has been made on this, if not, it's a good plot.
Anyways, it's a story of two teen boys (Kevin and Andrew) who realize on a morning that everyone around them has fallen asleep mysteriously and not waking up. On top of that, the cats and dogs reveal that the animals understand human language and they can talk also but only in case of emergency like this. Normally, they pretend not to understand or speak human language for various reasons (to avoid becoming witnesses in criminal cases, for example). They tell these kids that there is an organization of animals (HPC) to take charge of the situation and know the reason for this sleeping epidemic. They decide to go to the nearest town to understand the situation and on their quest, they meet few more humans, many other animals (friendly animals). All of them try to keep themselves awake to avoid falling prey to this epidemic. Meanwhile, wild animals, who hate humans to the core, have started pouring in the city to take back their land. Kevin and team lands up in an underground lab to find that a scientist was doing experiment on whether people can connect with each other in their dreams while sleeping. The experiment turned wrong and the result outspread throughout the world leading to this epidemic. But now the scientist has also gone to sleep and so he cannot suggest any remedy to the problem.
When the kids and HPC are searching for a possible solution, they are continuously attacked by forest animals, who are controlled by a dragon who wants to kill all humans to take revenge against them for killing his bread to extinction. At this point, initially the fight between forest animals and kids was going good but it was over stretched. They were confronted over and over again. At one point, I thought that the fight is over and they will get back to reveal the solution to this sleeping epidemic but they were again attacked. In case, someone decides to make a movie out of this novel, please cut short this part…
On going back to the lab, a robot has designed a machine to let Kevin go into Dreamland and urge other people to wake up and come out of their dream (the ideal life that they want to lead and that they can do only in their dreams so, no one wants to wake up and Kevin got to make them realize that they cannot forever live in dreams). They finally succeed in waking up everyone and everything comes back to normal, without others knowing about the adventurous and horrible endeavor of these kids. The wild animals are back in forest, the dragon is dead and other animals are back to using their animal language, except with these kids. I enjoyed reading it, except the over stretched part of animals fighting with the kids. CHEERS!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Hey All,
While browsing on the Internet, I came across this short yet beautiful article by Sudha Murty, so thought to share it with you... Some of you might have already read this... Enjoy....
Honesty comes from the heart

One bright June morning three years ago, I was reading my Kannada newspaper as usual. It was the day the SSLC results had been published. While columns of roll numbers filled the inside pages, the list of rank holders with their photographs took up almost the entire front page.
I have a great fascination for rank holders. Rank is not merely an index of one's intelligence, it also indicates the hard work and perseverance that students have put in to reach their goal. My background – I was brought up in a professor's family – and my own experience as a teacher have led me to believe this.
Of all the photographs in that morning's newspaper, one boy's photo caught my attention. I could not take my eyes of him. He was frail and pale, but there was an endearing sparkle in his eyes. I wanted to know more about him. I read that his name was Hanumanthappa and that he had secured the 8th rank. That was all the information I could gather.
The next day, to my surprise, his photograph was published again, this time with an interview. With growing interest I learned that he was a coolie's son. He was unable to study further, he said in the interview, because he lived in a village and his father earned only Rs 40 a day. Hanumanthappa was the oldest of five children. His father was the only breadwinner. They belonged to a tribal group.
I felt sorry for this bright boy. Most of us send our children to tuitions, to coaching classes, buy them reference books and guides, and provide the best possible facilities for them without considering the cost. But it was different for Hanumanthappa of Rampura. He had excelled in spite of being denied some of the basic necessities of life. While I was thinking about him with the newspaper still in my hands, I gazed at a mango tree in my neighbour's compound. It looked its best with its fresh bark, tender green leaves glistening with dewdrops and mangoes that were about to ripen in a few days. Beyond the tree was a small potted plant which, I noticed, had remained almost the same ever since it was potted.
It was a calm morning. The air was cool and fresh. My thoughts were running free. The continuous whistle of our pressure cooker broke the silence, reminding me that half an hour had passed.
Hanumanthappa's postal address was provided in the interview. Without wasting much time, I took a postcard and wrote a letter to him. I wrote only two lines saying that I was interested in meeting him and asking whether he could come to Bangalore. Just then my father, ever a practical man, returned from his morning walk. He read the letter and said, "Where will he have the money to come so far? If you want him to come here, send some money for his bus fare plus a little extra to buy himself a decent set of clothes."
So I added a third line to say that I would pay for his travel and clothes. Within four days I received a similar postcard in reply. Two sentences. In the first he thanked me for the letter. In the second he expressed his willingness to come to Bangalore and meet me.
Immediately, I sent him some money and details of my office address. When he finally arrived in our office, he looked like a frightened calf that had lost its way. Probably, it was his first trip to Bangalore. He was humble. He wore a clean shirt and trousers. His hair was neatly parted and combed. The sparkle was still there in his eyes.
I got straight to the point. "We are happy about your academic performance. Do you want to study further? We would like to sponsor you. This means we will pay your fees for any course of study you wish to take up – wherever it may be."
He did not answer.
My senior colleague, who was present with me, interrupted with a smile, "Don't go at the speed of bits and bytes. Let the boy understand what you are suggesting and give us his answer at the end of the day."
When Hanumanthappa was ready to return home, he said in a low and steady tone, "Madam, I want to pursue my studies at the Teachers Training College in Bellary. That is the one nearest to my village."
I agreed instantly but spoke to him a little more to find out whether there was any other course he preferred. I was trying to make it clear to him that we would pay the fees for any course he chose. The boy, however, seemed to know his own mind and knew exactly what he wanted.
"How much money should I send you per month? Does the college have a hostel facility?" I asked.
He said he would get back to me after collecting the correct details.
Two days later, he wrote to us in his beautiful handwriting that he would require approximately Rs 300 per month. He had planned to take a room on rent and share it with his friend. The two boys planned to cook for themselves in order to keep their expenses down.
I sent him Rs. 1,800 to cover his expenses for six months. He acknowledged my draft without any delay and expressed his gratitude.
Time passed. One day, I suddenly remembered that I had to pay Hanumanthappa for the next six months. I sent him another draft for Rs 1,800.
This too was duly acknowledged but I was surprised to find some currency notes in the envelope along with his letter. "Madam," he had written, "It is kind of you to have sent me money for the next six months. But I was not in Bellary for the last two months. One month, our college was on holiday and during the next month, there was a strike. So I stayed at home for those two months. My expenditure during these months was less than Rs 300 per month. Therefore, I am sending you the Rs 300 that I have not used for the last two months. Kindly accept this amount."
I was taken aback. Such poverty and yet such honesty.
Hanumanthappa knew I expected no account of the money sent to him for his monthly expenditure. Yet he made it a point to return the balance money. Unbelievable but true!
Experience has taught me that honesty is not the mark of any particular class nor is it related to education or wealth. It cannot be taught at any university. In most people, it springs naturally from the heart.
I did not know how to react to this simple village boy's honesty. I just prayed that God would continue to bestow the best on Hanumanthappa and his family.

A Salute to Life
By Sudha Murty
EastWest Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd.

Friday, November 26, 2010

OH GOD !!!!

It was a tiring day at office. It's almost 10 p.m. and thanks to one hour journey from my office to home, I could take a nap in my cab. But the bumpy roads guaranteed that it's not a sound sleep, just a small nap or a series of small naps.
I struggled to open the lock of my room. It is an old lock and the key had switched many hands and has lost its original shape. Old lock and twisted key made my life miserable each day. Right now, I could not think of anything but to lie down on my creaky bed as soon as possible. Every inch of my body is aching.
As soon as I managed to open the door to my almost empty apartment, I felt proud to have managed to keep it clean, specially the bed. I closed the door and crash landed on the bed. This bed also had switched many owners. My landlord decided to give it to me instead of giving it to the kabaadi-wala.
"Why do you want to throw money on a new bed? I have a spare one with me. Keep it. Young people like you won't settle down with any second hand thing. Look at us. Life is all about saving money. You need to compromise sometimes…", he had said.
That time I also thought that there is nothing wrong in taking a second hand bed only to realize later that it was not the second but close to 5-6 hands old bed. But I compromised.
As I lay on it staring at the ceiling, I didn't realize that I have not even put off my shoes and belt. My body won't move anymore. It needs rest. Desperately needs rest.
Suddenly, I felt suffocated and a thin drop of sweat trickled down from the back of my head and landed on the bed sheet. Though the street was usually empty at this time everyday but still I could hear some racing bikes and occasional trucks. But after the drop of sweat, I could feel the vacuum. No voice, no noise, no air, no oxygen. Do I need to open some windows? The apartment has been closed since last 16 hours. I had been in office since then.
Reluctant to move, I struggled to get up to open some windows. My body is not moving.
I have to get up or else I will choke myself to death…
But it won't budge. The ceiling is turning black. Suddenly, my left arm starts to pain and I start sweating profusely.
What's going on? I can't hear anything or see anything. Gosh, my arm… The pain is terrible… I need to get out of here…
I start searching for my mobile in space. I needed to call my friend-cum-local guardian immediately. I need hospital. I need a doctor…
Wait a minute… Where am I? I can see light. I can move now…
But this is not my apartment. Oh My God!!! Where is the floor? Where is the roof? I am standing on the clouds… What has happened to me??
"Relax dear. You are safe here… "
I turn to see an old man, real old man with long beard and wearing strange clothes. I have seen such costumes in mythological serials.
"Who are you? Where am I?"
"I am GOD…. You have reached heaven"
"WHAT???!!!! Ha ha ha, yes, GOD… You are God and I am dead, right?"
"Right. You died of a heart-attack"
"Listen uncle. I don't know if Ramleela auditions are going on in my area but you have failed in this audition. I am just 26 years old. How can I get a heart-attack?"
"Long working hours, no exercise, junk food, no rest, computers, stress… What else do you need for a heart-attack? You don't need the age but an unhealthy heart and life style to get one. Don't worry, you no longer have to work. You are in heaven now. Wait for some time and I will send you back to earth after a re-birth"
"But you can't kill me. I was doing my job. If my work demands me to work non-stop for 20 hours at a stretch, I have to, else I would be kicked out of my company. Why did you do this to me? I have so much to do… I did not even meet my parents, my family, my friends… How will they come to know that I m dead? You did not give me time to even call them…", I cried
"I have taken care of that. Your parents will call you and you won't respond till morning. They will send your friend to check you out. He will find you dead"
"DEAD… it looks so easy to you, as if a routine affair for my friend to find people dead in their apartments?"
"Calm down. I gave you enough time to speak to your family and meet your friends. But I guess, your job took priority over them"
"If you are God and you had given me enough time to spend with my family and friends, you only must have put my job on priority. Because you are the GOD…"
"Don't blame it on me. I don't decide your priority list and how exactly you are going to spend each minute of your life. I just make a path for you when you are born"
"Oh, in that case, why at this moment did you decide to make me suffer the heart attack and take my life?"

"But that's my job. Your life had to end at this moment. I had to call you up here"
"Who wrote my life?"
"I did"
"So, why didn't you write it properly? It should have been crisp, clear, detailed and step-by-step process should have been defined for me to follow. I never knew that my life will end at this moment like this and that I have such little time to spend with my family and friends"
"We cannot write it with such details else all of you will know when you will die and so will manage accordingly"
"What's the problem in that? After all, the bottom line is to live a good life. If I know that I am going to die at xyz time on abc day, I would have paid my loans, or not taken them at the first place, I would have stayed with my family rather than moving out for job, everyone would have been happy"
"But if everyone will be happy, how will you humans understand what is the pain, the sadness, the grief and the sorrow?"
"Why do we need to know these things? We would have known only happiness"
"But when you would have lost someone, you would have cried and that may have confused you as to why you were crying on the loss. Oh and how would you have learnt that you have lost someone?"
"I simply wouldn't have cried. If you would not have written crying in my life, I wouldn't have cried. You are making me confused now"
"What do you mean?"
"Simply that if you would have either written my life step-by-step and clearly, it would have been better or you would have introduced only happiness, then it would have been good"
Now he is confused. He is thinking…
"May I ask you something?"
"Yes, sure"
"What job did you have down there on earth?"
"Why? I was a Process Manager. I used to write Process documents and other technical documents"
"I understand. Can I hire you to write step-by-step processes for human beings, other races, planets and all?"
"Hmmm… What package will you offer me? According to industry standards, I expect a hike of 25% but since you are God and this would be a very high profile job with my direct reporting to you, I would want 40% hike"
He has closed his eyes…
"I have thought about it and I suggest, you better go back to your job on earth. I will write an updated version of your life and you may stay there till you are 80 years old. This much salary I cannot afford. I can't stand you anymore. GO BACK TO EARTH NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Tring tring tring…..
"Hey, how are you? I have been calling you since past 1 hour. Your mummy is getting hyper here. Talk to her"
"Ya dad. I was just…"
"Where were you? Don't you have time to talk to us??", it was my mom
I smiled…
"I have lot of time now mom…. Relax. I can talk to you till I am 80 years old…"
And we talked for another hour; I slept, woke up in the morning and went to work…
There I am my dear Processes…. You saved my life… J

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ye Dilli hai mere yaar...

Okay, before I start this post, there is a special note for die-hard Delhi fans: I love Delhi J
There is this strange irony of my life. The more I used to consider Delhi-NCR as the worst place to live in, the more connected I became.
I was born in Delhi. Nearly 90% of my school life was spent in this region. When I completed my schooling, I was kind of relieved that I don't have to come back to Delhi. I was happy at Jaipur. But I landed up at Gurgaon (NCR) for MBA. I was placed and my company stationed me at places like Mumbai, Chennai and now Bangalore. And guess what??? I got married to a Delhiite.  
But there is something magnetic about this place. I may have started realizing this magnetism only after spending some time in South India. The name of the famous roads, the numerous autos which keep on exhaling unbearable polluted fumes, the street food, the roadside chit-chat sessions of young groups, housewives buying vegetables from vegetable carts in their night gowns and bargaining on top of that, India Gate, the disinterested government employees, the government buildings, historical monuments, congested streets where there is no space for parking and yet each family proudly own atleast two cars, cheaper daily-use commodities (here I am comparing with South India), jugaadu attitude, Metro, latest model of cars or bikes speeding along-with cars which may crumble down to a pile of metal anytime etc etc.
Whenever I would travel through Delhi Roads, I feel some kind of connection with the names of the roads and areas, though I may not be able to guide you to any damn road of Delhi. Barakhamba Road, ITO, CP/ Rajiv chawk (for Metro travelers), Dilshad Garden, Akbar Road, Sardar Patel Marg, Rajghat, Janpath, Rohini (this is where I spent almost 7 years), Pragati Maidan, Dwarka, Mayur Vihar (this is where I am going to spend rest of my life J), Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Kamla Nagar etc etc.
I may not have been to all the historical places of Delhi but just passing by them also gives a sense of pride to be present in the capital city of India- Delhi. It is polluted, it has now got extreme weather conditions- too cold in winters and too hot in summers, it is congested, it is cunning, it is the prime aim for terrorists, it is crowded but whatever it is, people born and brought up in Delhi cannot stay away from this place for long.
Here you get the best street food of India. Here you don't shy away from buying things from street and bargaining too even if you are the wife of the Director of a company. This is the place where you can sit in any local market with friends yet have a feast with inexpensive momos and chole-kulche. The roads may be less crowded during mid-night but not deserted, where the business language is English when you start and quickly changes to Hindi or Punjabi, where people have started travelling according to the timings of Metro, where still there are numerous areas where uninterrupted power supply is still a dream but the people are complaining and not rebelling, where people have forgotten the concept of balcony (almost 95% of the families residing in apartments built not very recently have covered their balconies and converted them into rooms), where people are too concerned about their health and so religiously go on morning walk and gulp samosas and chicken tikkas in the evening…
But Delhi is rightly named as a place of people of golden hearts (dilwale). Only a true Delhiite may cherish the title song of Delhi-6 J. Though I cannot call myself as 100% pure Delhiite, but I love this place in spite of all the ironies with which the people live here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

PLEASE… DND!!!!!!!!

Just when I am awaiting that magical SMS from ICICI bank informing me that my account has been credited with the salary, I am getting all sorts of SMS but not from ICICI  :(
On an average, in every 5 minutes, I am getting 3 SMSs from my credit card company, builders, beauticians, shopping malls, travel portals etc etc etc. suggesting me to avail their offers to make my Diwali extra special with heavy discounts !!!
"Get a manicure absolutely free on a bill of Rs. 2000 at Lakme…": If I can inflate my bill to Rs. 2000, I am rich enough to get a paid manicure….
"Get 50% cash back on base fare of 2 round trips or 4 one way tickets on cleartrip...": If I would have got this SMS when most of us were getting heart attacks with soaring ticket prices for Diwali trip, it would have genuinely helped me. I think almost 85% people have already booked their Diwali tickets by now. Rest 10% will be in such hurry that they won't even remember of receiving this SMS. 5% would, I guess, be able to avail this HEAVY discount on base fare. Try to give me this discount on the total fare.
Even when I have taken up 'their' Credit card, my name is not yet chalked off from their calling lists. Every other day I get a call from them to take up their credit card and I beg them to delete my name from their list but they won't listen. Why are they wasting their time, effort and money on the already existing customer to become their customer?
I have already taken up almost 5-6 insurance policies. No, that's not the truth but that's the status that I maintain whenever I get a call from some insurance call center because if I tell that I have taken 1 policy, they won't leave me because their product is giving the maximum benefit and cover to me. So, I have taken up non-existing insurance policies. I guess, 5-6 policies together would cover me better than their product.
I am not interested in home or personal loan and I am still a student. Oh, I am still a student because they are not interested in giving any loan or credit card to students and so, they will keep down the phone immediately without persuading me to take up their product…
On my mobile, I hardly get 1,2,3,4 or may be 5 calls in a day of my interest, that is, from my friends and family members. But I get almost 9-10 calls and 15 SMSs on a normal day from these companies which would continue to call me to sell their product or offer even when my name would be registered in DEAD peoples' list. It looks that I have bought this expensive phone (expensive when I bought it) not for my personal use but to receive their calls and SMSs :(

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The festive spirit...!!!

Every year I eagerly wait for this time of the year, 'coz that the time when celebrations start… After a break of few days, shraad- when we pay homage to our departed family members, starts Navratra- a nine day period to worship the Goddess of Power- Durga. Post which, Dussehra is celebrated. After few days, Karwachauth (my first one this yearJ), then some or the other puja and finally Diwali. Time to buy and wear new glittering clothes, eat delicacies, observe fasts, arrange puja (and get amazing prasad), watch your city spend maximum on lighting the streets, clean and decorate your home on war-footing scale and pace to welcome Goddess Laxmi- the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity and eat-meet-and-dine with your near and dear ones without thinking about your workplaces.
I have been missing observing Navratri at home from past three years. No, I don't keep fast or anything, but I love the smell our home is filled with during these days- my mother would do daily aarti with cow-dung cakes and I would wake up with that pure smell and my mother would make sure to keep aside a large portion of the Prasad of dry fruits for me, 'coz I love it. On the last day, 7 or 9 little girls (kanyas) are fed with even more amazing poori-chana-halwa and so we would also get it. These things can also be prepared on any day of the year, but somehow it tastes awesome on that particular day only. I don't know the logic so don't ask me why.
I had been in South India from past three Navratris and it's nice to see, or rather know, that these 9 days hold equally good importance for South Indians as well and they are celebrated throughout India (all regions) in some or the other special way. Bengalis celebrate it in the form of Durga Puja- the biggest festival for them in the year. They put up magnificent pandals of the clay-made deities and offer puja in their unique way. Now the various Bengali Associations in various cities also put up such pandals. We attended two such pandals in Bengaluru this year. North-Indians, as I explained, observe fast during these days. Few, otherwise non-veg eating communities, transform into pure veg category during these 9 days. Few other communities, on the contrary, offer non-veg dishes to the Goddess as chadawa, which is later distributed as Prasad. Gujaratis arrange garba  and dandiya nights and it has become famous throughout the world. Down here in South India, Ayudha Puja (8th or 9th day of this period) holds special importance. People worship their tools, workplaces, homes, vehicles and any other thing that hold special place in their lives.
The 10th day, marked as Dasahara or Dussehra or Dasara (Mysore), culminates the 9 day period of Navratri (nav-nine and ratri- nights). It is celebrated as the day when Lord Rama killed Raavan and is symbolized as the day of victory of good over evil. In North India, life-size effigies of Raavan, Kumbhkaran and Meghnaad are burnt (they are fitted with crackers). Many communities believe that this is the most auspicious day for children to start reading and writing and so they worship pens, pencils and books on this day and some schools, especially in South India, also start their yearly session on this day. I miss this day as well. We still have this child-like eagerness to go to some Dussehra mela, organized at various places in North India. Eat street food, watch the effigies being burnt and shop on special Dusshera-Diwali discounted prices.
Phew… these are the times when you miss being away from your family. Though we are undoubtedly going home on Diwali but will miss half the fun (or should I say, we have already missed it L )…
Btw, last year, Diwali was on 17th October and on 18th October our (mine and Nimit's) roka ceremony took place… Milestone, you see J
Cheers and have fun in this festive season…!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The GOD!!!

I am back from Hyderabad. That's where my brother lives and since he is not there, my parents have come to take care of my sister-in-law. Last time when we were going to Hyderabad, we missed our train by few minutes. It was all because of the cab that we had booked… Cab, obviously, cannot take secret lanes and cannot stuff itself in any possible empty patch on road. And so, this time we decided to leave well in time and take an auto.
If you want to have a Sholay experience, or, you want to feel what Hema Malini (Basanti) might have gone through when she instructed her mare, Dhanno, to run for their lives, all you need to do is board an auto during the peak rush hours. You will get the feel. Though, we never told our auto driver that we are in any hurry or we may miss the train, he took it as his unsaid responsibility to drop us in flat 1 hour and so we reached the station 2 hours before the departure time.
My father and sister-in-law had come to pick us up in my brother's brand new i20 car. I loved the car. It's the first major joint possession of my brother and sister-in-law and they are proud to have it. It's so smooth and the interiors are also amazing. Wow…
Oh, forgot to mention. The Enthiran fever. I had only heard about it earlier but witnessed it for the first time. Rajinikanth is considered God down here in South. His movie was releasing after many years (his last movie being Sivaji- a huge hit released in 2007 but these 3 years are considered MANY years by his die-hard fans). Enthiran released on 1st October, a day after the Ayodhya verdict. While passing by a multiplex, a saw hundreds of people outside the complex, police vans and flags and posters. Since I was not able to see what posters were they, I thought that some political party must be having some meeting post verdict, only to know later on that they were the fans of Rajinikanth waiting there since early morning to get the tickets. I don't know if it is the rumor or what, but the tickets were sold for as high as Rs. 5000 and one confirmed source told me that the tickets were indeed sold at Rs. 1700. While going to catch the train later that evening as well I saw huge number of people, ooops, fans gathered outside a shady theatre with police vans and media cars.
Sorry to Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, but I think Rajinikanth's fans are crazier than your fans or they might have be this crazy for you when you were young. Just read on Wikipedia (yes, I again relied on Wikipedia to gain knowledge on the superstar) that Mr. Rajini was born in the year 1949, which means he is 61 years old (he will complete 61 years in December). And he starred with Aishwarya Rai in this latest release- she is 37 years old. But who cares as Mrs. Bachchan herself is a big fan of this superstar. I honestly have no idea as to why he should be worshipped. It must be, no, it actually is for his style and dialogues and mannerisms rather than ACTING. What Rajinikanth can do, no one else can but I don't find it amazing. May be because I watch a movie to see acting but end up watching Rajinikanth running on water or in air or shooting 4 people with a single bullet or him igniting cigarette or matchstick on a bald man's head and things like these which makes no sense for me. But if I continue to write more about my personal views on his "acting" skills, I may be found murdered by his fans in next two hours so better I shut up my mouth. But yes, I actually want to see Robot (Hindi version of Enthiran) on the big screen.
Before I end up this post, just wanted to paste few lines/ facts about Rajinikanth, which my friend had just got from somewhere and forwarded them to me. Long Live Mr. Rajinikanth and best wishes for the new movie…
For those who don't know who Rajini is ………..
·   When Rajini is doing push-ups, he is not lifting himself – he is pushing the earth down!
·    Rajinikanth can divide by zero!
·    He can delete the Recycle bin!
·    He can slam a revolving door!
·   He once kicked a horse in the chin – its descendants are today called giraffes!
·    He can make onions cry!
·    He can drown a fish!
·   When he looks in the mirror it shatters, because even the glass is not stupid enough to get in between Rajinikanth & Rajinikanth!
·    He never wet his bed as a child – the bed wet itself in fear!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's UP???

So, I am back to the blog after a long time, I guess. Many historic and long awaited events have happened during this time and lots of things have come up for never ending discussions.
My office- Finally, after months of delay we have shifted to a new office premise this Monday. All the separate offices of Bangalore have now been consolidated at one place only and so, we, who have got used to meeting just 40 co-workers, are now surrounded by almost 100 more people and one more office is yet to shift. The office premise houses almost 5-6 more companies and so is properly maintained, which means that I can proudly show my relatives that THAT is my office J
Side effects of this new office are that no cabs have been provided and the office timings have also shifted which means board the crowded BMTC buses and reach office on your own; no TT table and so we are bound to grow much more lethargic than we were in our old office. But that's okay. Some positive aspects and few negatives won't make much difference.
Commonwealth Games (CWG)- The latest topic for numerous jokes, cartoons, forwarded mails, debates, criticisms, discussions by any and everyone, national pride at stake, last minute preparations, frantic appeals, blame game, view point of every prominent personality etc etc. I am planning to dig myself into Internet and know how India won the title as the Host of CWG 2010. I want to know the person responsible to propose the name of India to host this mega sports event knowing that how united we Indians (read: politicians) are when it comes to host such an event, how aggressive we are in preparations and how honest (non-corrupt) we are  when hosting an event of such magnitude. Constructing Metro train network was the only visible preparation for CWG until late last year.
The main idea behind awarding such responsibility to a developing country is that they will take up an unprivileged area and build a games village to bring attention to that area and later on maintain it. But WE decided the heart of the nation Delhi as the venue and changed the already messy place to worsen the situation. Agreed that Metro has come as a boon to Delhi but we have not thought about the consequences of the fact that we have impaired the national capital to prepare for CWG and the inconvenience that would be caused to local population and others while the games take place. Oh, by the way, when I say WE, I mean the respective people responsible for this mess. Somehow I still remember the meaning of the word WE, even when these great politicians don't. Many countries (rather many unknown countries till now) and athletes have withdrawn their names from the participations on the grounds of hygiene and safety and security. Replying to the concerns raised by our guests, our honorable in-charges blame it on the difference in the meaning of hygiene of Indians and the guest countries. Mr./Ms. Ministers, stray dog paw stains and faeces on beds, washrooms with paan stains, waterlogged corridors, faulty electric fittings- none of them are OUR (Indian) standard of hygiene, they might be YOUR personal standard- don't pull US (Indians) into this. Now time has come when everyone has understood that CWG is more of a burden for us now and praying that they get over ASAP without any further hiccups. This was not how it was meant to end. We should have been proud to host them and now… no further comments.
Ayodhya- Without putting in the exact year when the crises started, I can say that this case has been the longest running case in the history of India's legal system. Hindus claim that Lord Rama was born on this piece of land- mind it- not 1 inch here, not 1 inch there- exactly on that piece of land and so this land belongs to Hindus. Babar invaded India and constructed a mosque there. Someone from Hindu community put the idol of Lord Rama there, even when the court has put the stay orders on that disputed land. Then Babri masjid was illegally and violently demolished leading to clashes among the communities. Ever since that incident, the usage of the word "Ayodhya" in public has kind of become an outrageous act. Yesterday was the day when High court was to pass the legendary and most awaited verdict. Most of us decided to remain indoors and those who had to attend offices chose to leave their workplaces much before the verdict time. The judges have divided the land equally in three parts- One for Lord Rama (temple), one for Muslims (Mosque) and the last for an akhara. I was kind of amused as well as irritated by the Headline of today's TOI – 2 parts for Hindus and 1 for Muslims, which is sure to ignite a flame of inequality in the decision in Muslims.
Few questions to our secular leaders-
1. Can you please prove that Lord Rama was born exactly there? Even if he was, can you build a temple in Ayodhya only but not on that disputed land? I know the answer will be a big NO.
2. Can both the communities come forward and donate the land for charity purpose-like build a hospital or school or orphanage? I again know the answer. A Big NO. Because they love their religion more than charity or society.
3. Can both the communities build their temple and mosque and pray silently now? NO. Because they don't believe in this settlement. If one community is happy or satisfied, the other want to disturb it.
After 60 years the judgment had come and again they will go to Supreme Court, which means another 60 years of animosity.
Apart from these national and personal events, I want to share a small incident. I was going somewhere in an auto 2 days back. It was 12:30 P.M. and sun was shining really bright and it was hot, pollution adding further to this hotness. On one of the signals, there were many vendors selling key chains, flowers, plastic airplanes, rubix cubes etc. I spotted one young handsome boy from a well to do family carrying a dustbin and he came upto me and asked politely in fluent English- "Ma'am, if you have any waste that you want to dispose off, kindly put in this bin. Help save us the environment". I had no waste to dispose off. Then he turned to my auto driver and asked the same thing in Kanadda. He too refused. I was kind of amazed by this drive. This young man was followed by few others, including children. On going ahead, my driver puked his tobacco on the road without even looking if someone was coming on his side or not. I asked him why he did not do that in that bin and he smiled and said- "Madam, ye sab show off hai, ye log khud bhi kachra failate hai". To this I replied that don't compare but you do your own bit to maintain cleanliness and greenery and he smiled at me as if he was making fun of me and saying- "Madam, this is India. This is how we are and we not ready or willing to change. Let everything remain as bad as it is now".
I may not volunteer to carry such bins but I do my bit to save electricity and water and maintain cleanliness which each one of us can do. Please do that. CHEERS!!!