Tuesday, August 31, 2010

They are monstrously HUGE and COMPLICATED…

There are few things which make me feel scary just with their sizes and complexity. Their use is indispensible these days and I am compelled to wonder about them and admire their inventors and designers.
Air planes
Every now and then we travel by flights simply to save our time. They can transport me from one place to another in a matter of few hours which otherwise would have taken days to cover by road or rail. In the cockpit, the pilots are surrounded with more than 50 dials to adjust altitude, speed, direction, to know the status of the fuel, the engines, each part of the plane and the sky. One mistake by them and atleast 150 lives can be lost. I always wonder how much precision is required at each micro second level. We have seen incidents where a small mistake has resulted in disaster. The entire design is so complicated. There was a series on plane crashes on Nat Geo- Seconds to Disaster. I remember one of the episodes in which a small tiny part of steel fell on the runway from nowhere and while taking off, it hit the fuel tank of the plane and the plane blasted within 30 seconds after take off. The investigating team could not point this out for months together. On looking closely on the take off clip only they realized this small piece flying from the runway and hitting the tank causing instant blasting.
Heavy Earth Moving equipments
These days Bangalore roads are up for complete makeover with construction of so many flyovers. Every day I see those huge earth moving machines, drillers and all. The height of the blades of these drillers only is as high as my height. They drill down the concrete road in a matter of few hours. Imagine someone commits a small mistake and the consequences of the mistake or if the machine handler is not careful with the direction of the blades. God forbid, any of these fall on anyone, that can be the last moment of that person's life. 
Space shuttles
I toss a stone and it falls down on the floor. Reason? The gravitational pull. So scientists decided to make a machine which will be released with such a speed that it beats the earth's gravitational force. A space station itself has been constructed and placed in the space. The astronauts walk in space, repair these huge complicated architectures in space. Something which I see from earth every night, moon, these machines have been there. I cannot imagine to even see a rocket (I mean an actual rocket, not a dummy one) in my life. On one of the sites, I found answer to one of my endless questions about rockets and space shuttles. Every time a rocket launch is shown on TV, two parts are shown to fall down. I always wondered, what parts are they, why do they detach themselves from the rocket and what happens to them, they might fall somewhere on earth. It might hurt someone (though this last part was a stupid question, since scientists are not such fools to let a heavy part fall on someone's head).
I found the answer on one of the sites: "Rockets normally come in parts or stages, to save fuel. Once a stage burns all its fuel, it is released to burn up in the earth's atmosphere, or, occasionally, fall in the ocean.  On the shuttle, the external solid rocket boosters are reusable, so they are dropped into the ocean with a parachute, and recovered, while the external liquid fuel tank is used for a longer time, and, when released, burns up in the atmosphere.  On some of the rockets to the moon or other planets, a stage may orbit the earth/moon/sun/etc. or, as in the Apollo program, crash into the moon"- By Amateur Astronomer- Kenneth Renshaw.
Space shuttles and space as a whole is always going to amaze me. Salute to the inventors of such huge and complicated machines.
For more amazing Q and A on space, you may try this site: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Space-Exploration-2540/

Friday, August 27, 2010

What is Freedom???

"….While I was fighting, I heard other people speaking in the name of freedom, and the more they defended this unique right, the more enslaved they seemed to be to their parents' wishes, to a marriage in which they had promised to stay with the other person "for the rest of their lives," to the bathroom scales, to their diet, to half-finished projects, to lovers to whom they were incapable of saying "No" or "It's over," to weekends when they were obliged to have lunch with people they didn't even like. Slaves to luxury, to the appearance of luxury, to the appearance of the appearance of luxury. Slaves to a life they had not chosen, but which they had decided to live because someone had managed to convince them that it was all for the best. And so their identical days and nights passed, days and nights in which adventure was just a word in a book or an image on the television that was always on, and whenever a door opened, they would say: "I'm not interested. I'm not in the mood." How could they possibly know if they were in the mood or not if they had never tried? But there was no point in asking; the truth was they were afraid of any change that would upset the world they had grown used to."

Have just started reading Zahir- by Paulo Coelho and on Page # 10 itself, I found this paragraph. From past 30 minutes, I have been reading this again and again and realizing how true it is. Most of us just bury our talents and wishes to pursue a life which we don't love but are assured by someone else that this is the life which is meant for us. That someone can be our parents, friends, colleagues or peer group. How many of us have got the courage to stand against all of them and tell that I want to live MY life differently? Forget telling this to others, how many of us could tell this to ourselves?

One of my closest friends calls me up one fine day and declares that she has quit her secure job in a bank to pursue her interest in Media industry. I almost shout back at her and silently keep on praying to God to give her either some wisdom to come back to lead a normal life or to give her a nice break in the industry as soon as possible. After almost 3 months, I get a long mail from her stating that she is the Assistant Director in one of the leading soap operas and that she now sleeps like a child and is no more an insomniac because she is doing what she wanted to, enjoying it to the fullest, gets exhausted and gets a satisfied sleep.

Though, it's true that changing your path may never be a cakewalk. You may have to face lot of struggle. But what scares most of us is that the people who mean the most to us may also refuse to hold our hands in our tough time. The one who can stand alone is the winner. But most of us cannot.

Forget taking a different path, we are not even ready to take risks in our lives. As a simple example, how many of us would jump excitedly on the idea of Bungee jumping on the coming weekend? On such offer, I would have to think about my household jobs due to be completed on this weekend, my relatives who are about to visit us, my family who would simply instruct me to drop the idea of doing such risky action and I may just follow them and indeed drop the idea. We are spoon-fed since childhood that we are destined to follow a set path and are not allowed to engage in risky business. Schooling, graduation course which ensures a good white-collared job, post-graduation which ensures high pay-package, 9 to 5 job which may be extended till late in night or even next morning but gives a regular salary, get married to the one chosen by our parents, start a family and repeat the cycle. I am afraid to quit my job and pursue my interest simply because quitting the job would mean no income from my side. Then how will I meet my ends and support my family?

We do talk about freedom and enjoy the national holiday on the Independence Day on every 15th August but we still have not understood the meaning of this word "Freedom". Freedom does not mean to react instantly to something without even thinking of the consequences. It means to live the way you ultimately want to live and enjoy and be proud of it. I should take the responsibility of my life and the direction I give to it. Honestly, I might have thought this way about thousand times in my life but still I am not independent and have no guts to quit the path chosen for me by others and make my own way.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What is this?

When I travel in my office cab, everyday I witness something or the other weird thing, which makes me wonder- what is this?

1. Namma Bengaluru Traffic Police
Just imagine, a crossing, with 4 lanes in 4 directions. You are standing in one of the lanes. The lane just opposite to you also has vehicles. Suddenly, the traffic policeman signals you to move on. You have to take a right turn. Seems simple. But no. Only when you start taking the right turn you realize that the intelligent policeman has also signalled the vehicles standing in the opposite lane to move on. Some of those vehicles also want to take right turn. BOTTLENECK. Each of us want to take right turn, some wants to go straight, but we have blocked our ways.

2. Cab Drivers (including my own driver)
Cab drivers have amazing ego. If the innocent normal person driving in front of them does not give them side as soon as they honk their deafening horn, they gets into revengeful mode. They will keep blaring their horn and scare the hell out of that innocent fellow. Thats not all. They would bring their cab by his car's side and stare him and show him their fists. Mr. Driver, that fellow has also paid Road Tax, he is scared of his death, he has a family to look for and he has all rights to drive safely, than drive rash. 

I always used to think, why do all the cabs are in bad shape. Now I know. Recently my cab driver was given an almost new cab to drive. That was some 30 days back. Now, this new cab looks as old as 10 years old. Why? My driver would accelerate from 0 to 80 kmps speed in just 1 minute and won't slow down even if they know that there is a speed breaker some 6 feets away. They would put brakes only when they are barely 30 cms away from it. Then again speed up and so on.

3. What are Helmets for?
As per my knowledge, helmets are meant to safeguard your head, in case you meet an accident. Initially it was meant for only the drivers and not the pillion riders. But few years back, Delhi police made it mandatory for both the riders of 2 wheelers to wear helmets. It's for your own safety. But sometimes I see the pillion rider only wearing the helmet or none of them wearing it but holding the helmet in their hands and putting it on as and when they spot a policeman. Why are people so ignorant about their loss and life but concerned about the challan that they may have to pay? Which one is more important to save- Life or Challan?

4. 2-Wheeler drivers talking on mobiles while driving
Believe me, even when I am at home and doing something in kitchen, when I cannot hold mobile with my hands, I prefer missing the call and talk only when my hands are free, else I won't be able to concentrate on either- the call and the work that I am doing. But, I am amazed to see 2-wheeler drivers talking on their mobiles by fixing them up in their helmets (that's the only use of helmets for them, I guess). They will fix it up between their ear and the helmet, tilt their head and talk while driving. If you are much more busier than Mr. SRK or Manmohan Singh that you cannot stop and talk, then I understand you but you obviously are not that big shot (else, you won't be driving a 2-wheeler). So, why not stop on the road side for a moment, finish the call or tell that you will call back and drive safely and let others also be safe on the road?

There are lot of things like these which irritates me, specially when I see them in the morning. That's one of the busiest time on road and I see people ignoring the importance of safe driving and their lives.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Share It- 2

Here is the second reply that I got. This came from Akshay Laddhad. My ex-colleague at 3i Infotech and a very good friend of mine. He is the one with whom I zeroed in for this topic to send you the invitation for. And since the idea has not worked well, Akshay your life is in 50% danger. For the rest 50% of the reason for the failure, I take on the responsibility.
Again, before pasting his reply, I must share my memory about him when I saw him first.
We were in the same induction batch of 3i Infotech but in different groups. So, we may have seen each other but I don't recollect anything. When we were given our project, we were made to wait a bit longer than others and meet Mr. Padhnabhan Iyer (Paddy). We were waiting for him at the reception. That is where I saw him first. He was in my friend's group and so she knew him. Both of them were talking and I was just standing there. Akshay was looking way too curious about what project we have got, some were saying that its a rural project and so we would be placed in villages (of which he seemed very worried about), some made fun that we would even have to change the bulbs, clean the stores etc (which was irritating him) and at the same time, he would also say, "its okay yaar, lets wait till we get our locations" and I thought that why is he so restless. He would go up to talk to all the people and ask what this project was about, what profile they have got, become tense and come back to his base position and try to relax himself.
And then we were made to sit in the conference room since Paddy has arrived in the office. There also, Akshay was sitting on the opposite side of the table and was talking the most. When Paddy came, we interacted. He told us few things about the project and asked few things from us. And then he asked something (don't remember exactly what) but all of us remained silent (it was not a tough question but we were probably making out a diplomatic answer in our minds) and suddenly he spoke out and that actually shocked me, because it was not at all diplomatic. That time I thought that he is really gutsy and stupid. Gutsy because he spoke out whatever was on his mind and stupid because he was talking to Paddy, who was on a real senior position.
Later, both of us met at Chennai and became real good friends over there. But that was the first memory about Akshay.
And here goes Akshay's reply.

When I first noticed u, u were busy talk to Manya in 3i's conference room ...... n my reaction was - "serious types ladki hai" ;-)
baki ka nahi likh sakta warna moti apn dono se so-called dosti thod degi ;-)
Akshay, thats what everyone notices about me in the first meeting and few only realize later that I am very much opposite to my serious image. Thanks for sharing anyways.

Share It- 1

OK. Few days back I decided to invite people to write something for my blog. Discussing this with my friend, I had some topics in my mind- most embarrassing and amazing moments of life, what did you do with your first salary etc etc. But then thought that they might not encourage most of you. I mean, I am ready to reveal the most embarrassing moment of my life but most of you may not be. So thought to start on with this concept with a relatively easier topic. First memory about me. What was on your mind when you first saw/met me. So, drafted an invitation mail and sent it to all my close friends and relatives-cum-friends. But unfortunately, very unfortunately, I got ONLY TWO (2) replies. This may be because of reasons, like:
1. They didn't get my mail: but I didn't get any delivery failure message
2. They didn't check their mailbox: but I sent it on 2nd July, 1 Month and 9 days back

3. They had no memory about the first meeting: that hurts. Though one of my friends actually told me that he does not remember when and how we met for the first time. So, thats a valid reason. But none of you had any recollection??? Anyways...
4. They have no time to pen down their replies: I was not expecting a testimonial for me. Just any funny or stupid or awkward (whatever) recollection of the first memory about meeting me, 3-4 liners may be sufficient

Anyways, I thought that I will publish the replies as-it-is on my blog as soon as I get atleast 5 replies. But sadly, I got only two. So, was thinking to keep those two precious replies in my mailbox only but then, they had replied back to me and I should keep up my promise.

So, the first reply came from the most unexpected person. There have been times when I would send her mails and forwards but she would reply back only after a month or may not even reply to any of them. But this time, I got her reply within almost 10-15 minutes of sending that invitation mail. She is Divya Saini, my friend since MBA days. Before pasting her reply here, I must also share what I had on my mind when I first saw her.
She was in my section only (Section F) and in the initial days, all of us had to introduce and re-introduce ourselves to every new lecturer. In one of those lectures, Soft Skills, we were to introduce ourselves with more details apart from regulars: name, where we belong to, educational background etc. and that too while standing in front of the class rather than from our own benches. She came and literally blurted out all her details in one breathe. And then, she paused for sometime, looking lost and I was expecting her to end her introduction but just then, she started again and again paused. Finally after some 2 such pauses, her introduction came to an end. In her intro, she mentioned that she was in South Africa (working) for 2 years before coming back to India and joining ICFAI. Instantly, I thought to keep her name as "Jhinga-la-la" (because still most of us, including me, knows South Africa as the land of tribals), even when I was not formally introduced to her by that time, but I still kept her name. Though, eventually, we turned out to become best friends and she has been honored with lot of other names but Jhinga-la-la will remain her name for the lifetime (for me atleast). That was the first memory about Divya.

She has actually written down her initial feedback about me, rather than the first ever memory about me. But accepted and thanks Divya. Here it goes...
Ummmm… have to go back 4 years.
Huh..so when I saw you for the first time…you were a very simple gal..bit shy but confident bit flexible but with a stand of your own.
I will be true without caring if you like this or not..
In the very beginning we were all in so many things of our own that we did not really notice each other much..but with Mxxxx …(hey forgot her name, really an example of my good memory)
Anyway, you will understand as I will talk abt her..she was your best friend in the beginning of MBA and seriously she was really dominating you..i mean was perceived as..and I used to find both of you "same to same" ;) …( don't kill me for this now)
But this was for a very short time, very soon as I started interacting with you the impression changed… I really discovered you slowly and realised what an amazing person you were
I must say you developed you self so well in all the ways…not only in your profession skill but personal as well and neva to forget, your looks ( looks were amazing earlier as well but see the transition man…uuffff..too good)
Even if there are so many changes in 4 years ..few qualities still same and probably will alz remain….i neva saw a perfect combination, of Love, care, patience and maturity till now…you are just an exception, your's and Maum's qualities match also..that is why you both make a perfect comrade probably…main bhi thodi bohut entry maar leti hoon tumhaare beech mein but you guys really gel so well.
I must say, you deserve the best in life as you are the BEST
Second reply, I will post in next blog... just in next 30 minutes. CHEERS !!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The much awaited trip…

On 30th July, we finally left our respective offices for the much awaited and long due trip to our homes- Jaipur and Delhi. It was the first one after our wedding, which made this trip even more amazing. My father was retiring from his bank service after almost 35 years. As I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts (Retirement), I was again stumped by the number of years that he had spent in the same organization. My mother was waiting for me but more importantly was concerned about all the arrangements since her son-in-law was also coming home to stay for the first time. Each part of each of the days that we were to stay at Jaipur was already planned. Papa got a new Nokia mobile phone from my brother and sister-in-law and we presented him with the bar accessories. He was smiling from ear to ear after getting our gifts.
The retirement party was arranged in the hotel, which has unofficially being declared as our own hotel. As the guests started pouring in, after papa, special attention was on the kids (i.e. us), since we were meeting everyone after almost half a year. I guess papa got so many gifts second time in his life (first time can be his wedding day). My brother's and my in-laws had come down especially from Neemuch and Delhi respectively to greet my father. We ended the day with unwrapping of all the gifts.
Next day was even more jam-packed. Our in-laws were invited for the breakfast. Another reason being the sindhara (ritual for one of the festivals- Teej). I was loaded with sarees and suits and chocolates and a beautiful set. Lunch was at my sister-in-law's uncle's place, where my brother struggled to pop open the Champaign bottle. Final meal of the day was already booked at my mausi's place.
Next day, I and Nimit were legally and constitutionally declared Husband and Wife- we got our marriage registered- a mandatory rule implied since not long back. After a long time I witnessed the laziness and lousy attitude of the government employees (which, according to my father and mama, was fairly fast as per the normal government office working standards). Paper work was already done after reading all the instructions. But when the papers were handed over to the sarkari babu, he rested his specs on his nose and tried to point out something or rather anything wrong in the papers- "10th ki mark sheet nahi lagayi kya?", only to find out that the next page was the 10th Mark sheet; "ye type nahi karwaya kya?", only to find out that it was typed exactly what was required. Finally, he exclaimed that "Mathurs never do anything wrong" and Bingo… He found out something to crib about. As my father handed over the photographs of the wedding, he pointed out that the two girls seated behind us in the photograph are wrong. We should have got our exclusive photograph. But somehow he graced us and filed all the papers to be signed by the bade babu. Now, if you find a man working on this table with at-least 3 persons (lazy and boot-licking kind of people) sitting in front of him, you must know that he only can be the bade babu in a government office. These 3 persons think sitting in front of their boss is their only KPI. We should the file to him and he signed but one of the idle persons sitting in front of him has to say something to show importance. So he says, "you should have got bigger photograph… You know its better for the future". My father ignored him since the photo size was as per the guidelines and that's exactly the size that can be accommodated in the certificate and the forms. But after all this drama there, we got registered in record 2 hours time.
Throughout our stay there, mummy prepared her special dishes, making sure not to repeat any item and I love her food… Finally, after 3 hectic days, we started on our 2nd phase of the vacation- Delhi. Visit to doctors and tailors were the prominent activities there. Mr. Mathur chose to attend his Gurgaon office while I actually enjoyed my vacations. There also we had two formal dinners and one instantly decided KFC treat. I saw all the old photographs of Nimit and the bachcha party. It was fun to see their childhood days. Met two of my best friends after a long time. Thank God they have shifted to Delhi. I can meet them almost every time I visit Delhi.
The days and time spent at Jaipur and Delhi seemed short to sit and talk at length with everyone but it definitely was a much needed visit.