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.