Monday, April 24, 2006

Life's calling, where are you ???

Got this forward from a friend... Needless to say, she is a girl... quite obvious otherwise I would have said, 'He' is a boy.

Find my comments at the end :-)

Life's calling, where are you???

What happens if u stay late in the office"
It's half past 8 in the office but the lights are still on.. .
PCs still running, coffee machines still buzzing...and who's at work?
Most of them?? ? Take a closer look.. .
All or most specimens are 20-something male species of the human race...
Look closer... again all or most of them are bachelors...and why are they sitting late? Working hard? No way!! !
Any guesses?? ?

Let's ask one of them...
Here's what he says... "What's there 2 do after going home... here we get to surf, AC, phone, food, coffee.. that's is why I am working late...importantly no bossssssss!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the scene in most research centres and software companies and other off-shore offices.
Bachelors "time-passing" during late hours in the office just b'coz they say they've nothing else to do...

Now what are the consequences... read on...
"Working"(for the record only) late hours soon becomes part of the institute or company culture.
With bosses more than eager to provide support to those "working" late in the form of taxi vouchers, food vouchers and of course good feedback,(oh, he's a hard worker... goes home only to change..!!).They aren't helping things too... To hell with bosses who don't understand the difference between "sitting" late and "working" late!! !
Very soon, the boss start expecting all employees to put in extra working hours.

So, My dear Bachelors let me tell ! you, life changes when u get married and start having a family... office is no longer a priority, family is... and that's when the problem starts... b'coz u start having commitments at home too.
For your boss, the earlier "hardworking" guy suddenly seems to become a "early leaver" even if u leave an hour after regular time... after doing the same amount of work.
People leaving on time after doing their tasks for the day are labeled as work-shirkers...

Girls who thankfully always (its changing nowadays... though) leave on time are labeled as "not up to it". All the while, the bachelors pat their own backs and carry on "working" not realizing that they are spoiling the work culture at their own place and never realize that they would have to regret at one point of time.

* So what's the moral of the story?? *
* Very clear, LEAVE ON TIME!!! !
* Never put in extra time " *unless really needed *"
* Don't stay back un-necessarily and spoil your company work culture which will in turn cause inconvenience to you and your colleagues.

There are hundred other things to do in the evening..
Learn music.. .
Learn a foreign language...try a sport... TT, cricket.........
Importantly Get a girl friend or boy friend, take him/her around town.

* And for heaven's sake net cafe rates have dropped to an all-time low (plus, no fire-walls) and try cooking for a change.

Take a tip from the Smirnoff ad: *"Life's calling, where are you??"*

Please pass on this message to all those colleagues

And please do it before leaving time, don't stay back till midnight to forward this!!!

My take on it
> Take a tip from the Smirnoff ad: *"Life's calling, where are you??"*

So basically the forward very subtly tells us to go out and get drunk everyday. The things liquor companies do for a little bit of advertising :-)

To buy or not to buy

I have been in 'buying a new laptop' mode for the past few weeks now. A deal that looked very promising fell flat on the ground and now I'm back at square one. Whenever my mom calls me she keeps asking me about the laptop and if I have got it yet. To which I reply, "I'm still looking around". I mean ideally I would like to wait to get the latest quad core processors, but as of now I'm looking at the dual core processors. I usually take time with buying certains things. Be it jeans, gifts etc. I just feel that somewhere deep down inside it has to appeal to me. Sometimes it takes a few seconds and sometimes it takes ages but at the end of it the feeling is always the same.

So my mom called me up yesterday and told me about this article she saw in the paper about glossy screen laptops which have some viewing problems. She said that she would type out the article and email it to me, as it was small and as she would not be able to explain all the technical details. She also told me that she mentioned something at the end and I felt her smile at the other end. When I checked my mail I saw the following at the end, the subtle remark glowing with sarcasm...


Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Resurrection

It was Good Friday and I was having lunch with some friends. Out of curiosity they asked me about Good Friday and Easter and why it was called a Good Friday when Jesus was crucified on that particular day. So there I was, someone who had failed to fast during Lent, someone who had failed to make whatever sacrifices I had decided upon, someone who was waiting for sunday just to have a sumptuous meal at my cousins place; trying to explain the mystery behind the most important event for christians. I told them about the Last Supper, about the accusations put before Pontius Pilate and the passion that led directly to the crucifixion, for the forgiveness of our sins. I just spoke about events from the Bible. Anyways let me try again.

I know a young person who has cancer. I don't know him personally but know that a lot of people are very fond of him cause he is so full of life. Isn't it ironic that there are those who are so full of life when their journey is nearing its end and then there are those that are just worried that they have a nice journey in the future, no matter what it takes; and in the bargain they die somewhere along the way. As Natalie Goldberg says, "The problem is we think our social and financial status, looks, past victories are solid when we actually exist in the fluid form. We actually exist in the moment where we have the ability to change every second". Come to think of it, the process of fasting and abstinence from something we like, make us not only sympathize but also empathize when the moment demands us to be more humble. I went for confession on saturday after about two years. The process is not only mean't to make you feel that you can start with a new slate no matter how badly you have screwed up, but also to make you think about what you've done, so as to make you a little bit more humble. And then maybe just for a little while after that you feel real good about who you are and where you are heading. The resurrection not only gives us hope of life after death but it also gives us hope of life after death be it in this life as well.

As Carson McCullers says, "Death is always the same, but each man dies in his own way." To add to that I would say, "Life is always the same, but each man lives in his own way."

Friday, April 14, 2006

To Kill a Mocking Nerd

Respect can only be gained, it can never be demanded be it in this life or the next. The icon who had just passed away had during his life gained the respect of a large section from amongst the populace. We were told to go home early from office as trouble was expected from mourning fans. On the way home we saw remnants of burnt tyres on the road and evidence that the tar on the road was witness to stone throwing earlier in the day. Shops had already pulled their shutters down but we managed to scrounge some rations which would get us through the day. Cable TV was off so we could not know what the status was in the other parts of the city.

The next morning, the day of the burial, a few grocery stores were open for a short window. We managed to get some more basic necessities. The shops were out of Maggie noodles. The guys behind us also asked for Maggie noodles :-) The roads had a deserted look. As the cable TV was still off, calls came in from out of town apprising us of the situation. Buses and cars were burnt in various parts of the city. The news channels were broadcasting clips of a policeman being beaten up. Even a TV crew was attacked. It seems that a lot of fans were not allowed to pay their last respects and so they went on a rampage. Cars, shop windows that did not have the picture of the actor were damaged. I called up a friend who told me that police had to resort to tear gas near the main road adjoining his residence. The whole of geekville had come to a standstill.

I think it was time to do away with euphemisms, especially the news reporters. Damaging other people's property is not called mourning. For many it was just an opportunity to vent their frustrations. Maybe the memory of an abuse/slanderous remark that was born from the car of the higher in status. Maybe the memory of the tone of voice of the other person in an argument whose outcome had already been decided by the look of the clothes on our back. The mob mentality that day has resulted in the death of 6 people including a policeman. But even a mob is made up of people. Thats what Atticus would have told little Scout in 'To kill a mockingbird'. Even a mob is made up of people.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Madness, Fireflies and Chocolate mint liqueur

It was saturday and we had nothing much to do under the ceiling, so we decided to remove the parenthesis and broadened our horizons in the quest to find something to do under the sun. As the last of the sun's rays of hope set, we held on to the reflected rays of the moon. There was to be music in the air. Duh!!! I mean 'Part deux'. To sum up what happened last time I could say that it was full of Madness, Fireflies and Chocolate mint liqueur.

Neeti as usual was sending threatening smses to Saurabh as we were late to pick her and Deepti up on the way. This time Dhruv, Namita and Namita's mom joined the gang. The stage was set under a large Banyan Tree, about 30 kms out of Bangalore, at an ashram called Fireflies. We carried two matresses to soften the impact of the stone amphitheatre. We took a lot of cushions and pillows along. It was to be a night of Hindustani and Carnatic vocal and instrumental, Baul, Fusion, Western jazz, folk, and other modern vocal and instrumental music, from 6pm to 6am.

The poster said, "It is a night of conviviality, friendship and spiritual values. It is an evening of great music, much laughter and fun. You go away praising and re-affirming the gift of being alive." After the performances of the Classical Carnatic flute duet and Hindustani Sitar we decided to go to the flea market to satiate our hunger. I was given charge of guarding our belongings. A lady then came with her child and tried to encroach on our territory when I apprised her of the fact that there were many of us. She smiled and said that she understood and moved to the side. But she continued to use our pillow and kept her child who was sleepy on the mattress, which I felt was ok, since we had some extra place. Neeti and Deepti then came and got the pillow back from the lady. Neeti and myself were then discussing about the lady's intentions. Neeti was of the opinion that the lady was wrong in taking our stuff without even asking us and keeping it inspite of me telling her. Neeti said that it was the principle behind it and I should not get soft just cause a lady and a child were involved and also reiterated that they never asked the lady to remove the child from the mattress. I agreed that the lady was wrong but still didn't feel things were right, I just don't know why. However when Dhruv, who was sitting at the side of the child, asked for a pillow I thought it was for the little kid and told Neeti about it, to which she looked at me and smiled. Well it was the spirit behind it. I then felt that things were right and then we all went on to enjoy the music :-) Before leaving the lady smiled and thanked us and left.

The Choir of the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore didn't perform that well. The Hindustani Hawaian Guitar was pretty good. There was also some group that came and did some kind of a tribal dance. They just hit the drums real hard and danced around in their tribal attire, which the crowd seemed to enjoy. After thaat they went up and played near the flea market. Myself, Deepti and Saurabh danced a bit, with some crazy hand movements. Everyone was dancing. I ended it with some classic Mithun Da steps to embarass all of us. Deepti seems like she really enjoys dancing. Saurabh as usual freaks out like me. We even danced in our seats on the mattresses and tried to embarass others :-)

Then came Dr. Thomas Chandy with his group who played some Jazz. Some of the members play Jazz at Java City on Sundays. They have this old uncle who seems very lethargic but plays the saxaphone with all his energy. After that Geetha Navale performed with her group Esperanto. They played fusion music. The music was very different from what I've heard. We liked it a lot. Then a bangla group Oikyotaan played Baul music. They were good but performed for too long and ate into the time of other performers.

It was around 2ish and we decided to head home. We were to miss some nice Qawali, Sufi and rock music. At the parking lot we met some extra luggage and decided to give them a drop to Bangalore. So that made it two ppl in the front and seven in the back. Saurabh said that he used to manage to fit as many as 14 ppl in the back of his modified car. I clicked a lot of snaps which continued in the car. However Saurabh who was driving refused to turn his head for the snap, which left me pretty offended :-) However I forgot abt it as there was music in the air. We were also trying to rag the two college guys who we took on as extra luggage, who were in 11th standard. We were trying all things, in good humour, to get them to do what we wanted. However they didn't feel that they were kids and refused to give in. I then asked the so called kids to guess the age of Deepti and Neeti just to put things off balance maybe and see how they reacted. However the kids guessed their exact age and were spared. I then commented that maye they were a bit scared to say the actual age that popped up in their minds and as the words passed thru their mouths about 5-6 yrs were substracted to play it safe. Then there were counter comments on age and the chatting went on and on. Yeah, we spend most of our life thinking that what we do is the mature and right thing. We think we are right and no longer the kids that we used to be. But finally when we reach that stage of maturity and wisdom, which rarely comes for most ppl, we feel that we want to be kids again. So does that mean that we are all kids, be it mentally or mentally. Hmmm.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fools Die

My parents called up my sister's husband Nikhil at 2 in the morning a few days back. My mom told him that my dad wanted to speak to him about something very serious. My dad then took over and told Nikhil that his father had called them up discussing about some money issue. Nikhil and my sister got married in November last year. It appeared to be a matter pertaining to dowry or whatever. They told Nikhil that they were a bit disturbed and that they couldn't sleep till now and so decided to call him up. My dad then told Nikhil details of conversation with his dad. Nikhil was like very tense and was trying to calm my dad down, saying my parents will not do such things etc etc... He told my dad that he will talk to him, there must be some sort of misunderstanding.

Another friend of mine who is a mixture of parsi and hindu got a call from his brother who is gonna marry a girl who is half muslim and half jewish. They have been friendly since quite some time. He said that his brother called him early in the morning a few day back and told him that he was thinking of cancelling the marriage since both families couldn't decide on what the marriage ceremony should be i.e. hindu or muslim or parsi or jewish traditions or combination of what not. My friend's brother then told him that he is fed up of everything and feels that if ppl are fighting for this itself then god knows what will happen in the future. My friend got damn tense and was trying hard to explain to his brother that things will work out.

We live in a sphere of traditions, greed, pride, violence, and betrayal that sometimes overshadow the state of happiness that we all so long for. Everything springs from a thought that is passed down generations. The thoughts of today may seem foolish and immature tomorrow. We need to continuously filter our thoughts.

About the stories above, well they are april fool pranks that were played in good humour. Nikhil finally caught on that it was the 1st of april. I guess he never expected his inlaws to pull this one on him. That too at 2am in the morning :-) My friend too burst out laughing when his bro told him that everything was fine and it was just a prank. The very fact that people can joke about such issues feels nice, especially in a society where many times conversations such as the ones above are not jokes. We are all fools in some way or the other and we know what happens to fools don't we. Well if you don't, then ask Mario Puzo; the storyteller whose characters see things not always as they are but as they should be.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Chairman for a Day

It was that time of the year. The autumn of our middle ages, where we stare at the tarot leaves of all hues, strewn on the ground and hope that with spring comes a gentle, calm, soothing breeze. A time where our past gives direction to our future. For some it is a time to strengthen alliances, a time to kill a mocking bird, a time to prepare resumes. For others its a time to favour the brave, a time for self reflection and a little bit of soul searching.

Well I filled my self appraisal form, where you are expected to critically analyse yourself. You look back at the past year and jot down the things that you did right but more importantly you jot down and think about the things you messed up. So as you must have guessed mine is a long list... of all my messups... and the list is longer in my head. And its not just the things that we did and messed up, but more importantly the things that we didn't do in the first place. Now now, we can't be crucified for something we didn't do, can we!!! But then again we think better of ourselves or atleast we would like to. And there are those times when we come up with this concoction of unfortunate events that paint an azure picture of a sweet child with a halo... hell's angel. I mean all of us think that we deserve to get that big fat juicy hike, that we have grown a year older and so we must be wiser... hmmmm. With all our wisdom to back us, what if we were made chairman of the company for a day, how would we perform. Well a lucky few are given that chance :-)

A few weeks back a few of us were given the opportunity to be the chairman for a day. We had been allocated funds to get new chairs for the company. Shankar picked up three ppl randomly from the populace. Sridhar (the architect), Anurag (a sales guys) and moi. We went to this dealer and appraised him of our noble intentions. We tried out all chairs, in all positions. The 'squat' position, the 'typing the keyboard' position, the 'relaxed and appear to be thinking of the next big thing' position, the 'sleeping' position, which usually follows the previous position :-) We could actually write a bestseller on chair positions!!!! We checked for adjustable height, degree of tilt of the back rest, degree of tilt for the base (where we rest our base), height for arm rests etc. We all played our role to perfection and did what was required for the job. Now wasn't that easy, being a chairman and stuff.

We were taking quite a bit of time so Sridhar thought it appropriate to inform the dealer of our thought process. He told him, "Although we are just a little bit over 50 in our current office, everyone would like to have a say in the chairs we choose. It might not make business sense to you, but if possible we would request you to get some chairs we shortlist to our office so that ppl can sit/feel and vote for chairs. Maybe also if you could give a short presentation on the features it would be great. You see most ppl would have joined this place cause they felt that their vote/voice/work/position would count. We would like everyone to be comfortable in their positions, even if its their chair position. We would like them to have that feeling of 'my voice counts' when we choose chairs too." The dealer looked at us for some time and then smiled and so we began to shortlist certain chairs. We all liked this particular chair which was so comfy and cosy and nice.... aaaahhhhh.... soooo nice..... Then Shankar told us about our budget, the nightmare that awoke me from my slumber. The cost of that chair was twice our budget... noooooo... sob sob...

Then random thoughts started to pound our brains, we were vulnerable, like kids that just wanted to have that voluptuous ice-cream. Maybe if we brought this chair for the showdown and people looked really happy in it, upper management would agree to push the budget a bit. Or maybe we could take it, make ppl sit on it and then give a demonic laugh and tell them that they can't have it. Or maybe we could get a few of these chairs and give them to the best performers for the month. We then decided that we need not soak peoples hearts in wine by showing them this chair, so we informed the dealer not to bring it. On our way back we continued with our board meeting and discussed about various other scenarios and then I came up with another one to make ppl feel that they have made a choice. Maybe we should take some of the chairs we rejected for the showdown. I mean make ppl sit on those ones first and then sit on other better ones which are within our budget. So that way they will choose the best one from amongst the one (not ones) we have already chosen and then they will feel that their voice counts. The air resonated with demonic laughter. It was a joke, but the genesis of that thought lay somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind... I mean I just hope it was a joke. As I said I was given the opportunity to be the chairman for a day.