Sunday, December 31, 2006
With 15 minutes left to leave, I thought I could fill in my new year resolutions. Doesn't deserve more time than that I guessed :-)
1. Stop consuming alcoholic drinks
2. Stop smoking
3. Work harder
4. Get myself a new six-pack (of abs, clearly!)
- The previous purchase order made from TeleShopping is stuck in the Shaolin Temple apparently. Chinese relations I hear!
5. Go easy on the imagination with new year resolutions.
On that note, happy new year folks! :-)
Friday, December 22, 2006
Attempt to go easy on breakfast. Fail!
Hail auto. Fish out a tenner!
Attempt to work. Fail!
Call for kadak chai. Pay.
Attempt to work, again! Partial success!
Attempt to work. Succeed.
Call for kadak chai. Pay.
Check if manager has left.
Affirmative! Slip into his room.
Slip out of formals. Slim into work-out wear.
Work out. Get home. Bathe.
Attempt to go easy on dinner. Fail!
An hour with the Idiot-box! Outcome of time-slicing the hour.
Health Minister Anbamani Ramadoss has a problem with Baba Ramdev, yoga guru, saying Yoga can cure cancer. If more people take to Yoga based on that, cure or no cure, is there an issue?
Hot hostess of “Entertainment Newz” (sic!) tells Vinod Khanna has taken risk. Smart pun she thinks. It’s his new movie’s name – “Risk”. It doesn’t matter what Khanna names any of his movies, watching them is always about taking Risk…for the audience.
The History Channel in Hindi! Lip sync indicates the original is in English.
Usne dilchaspi se kaha goes the red-head…..My senses feel like the sensex!
Japanese cartoons... Telugu voice-over! Moving on from this channel... into a minor depression! Prozac rules!
Guy with a six-pack on his abs, wearing Numero Uno jeans walks into a beach-volleyball match featuring…. Sigh!...bikini models. Bikini babes walk away with him. Jeans or genes! I’m too late for the latter.
Good ad about Tata Sky’s gaming content. Reminds me of Zapak’s (www.zapak.com – online gaming co.) advertising strategies. At Brew Bar’s toilet, they have level 1, 2 and 3 stuck into the toilet bowl. At eye level is level 4 with a sticker indicating “Zapak”. It’s a take on the “If you can piss above this line, join the fire brigade” joke from all our school days. But it’s packaged well…considering it’s the toilet they were advertising in.
IBM’s advertisement – “It sure looks good on paper! Who is gonna make it look good on stage?”
Great! So now we have it covered on paper and on stage. Wonder who is going to help out in the actual implementation.
Lok Sabha channel.
Nehru set up the IITs on the lines of MIT. Seeds sown then are blooming now and will bloom for many years to come. But it’s not over. In his words “As long as there are tears and sufferings, our work is not over”. Great words from a great person
A golf coach was complaining that the government is not doing much about promoting golf in India. His idea was that the government should set up golf courses for the public and anyone interested can come and play.
What about the golf clubs? Ever tried playing golf with a wooden plank when your bare foot. The caddie will kick the public where it hurts.
In the past hour there have been telesales ads to promote products that help reduce weight, provide great abs, teach English in 30 days, promote hair growth and stop dandruff, teach you to teleport yourself the Orion, and even rule the world if you like the option.
Watching TV late into the night could get fairly daunting.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
7:10 PM - Thoughts about writing a blog! Gathering what goes in mind when I'm in the gym
7: 23 PM - Abrupt meeting called about a status update in the project
7:25 PM - Body shifts to the further parts of the room - If you close your eyes long enough, would you go unnoticed?!!
7: 27 PM - First hint of a new Shakespeare in the room - client side manager says "Aye, shhh.. the computer is the most intelligent person for theees wark"
7: 28 PM - Large body sits upright in chair again, after going into hiding and brief hibernation, unable to prevent laughter
7: 33 PM - Second hint of the 6 minute old Shakespeare in the room - client side manager says "You think in theory...you think like a broad little more" (be broad-minded!?)
7: 39 PM - I vanish once the statement is completed and emerge later in the basement of the building, running wildly and am stopped by security - I get the broader picture of the past 6 minutes
7: 41 PM - Eager participation in the meeting, with hopes of sufficient provocation of the manager to get some more beauties
Monday, December 04, 2006
In his honor, a trust has been established - The Manjunath Shanmugam trust. Among other initiatives, these are the ones taken by the trust in remembrance of him:
1) Launch of a national RTI helpline that will help people across the country in using the Right To Information Act. (9250-400-100)
2) Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award.
The objective of Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award is to honour and encourage person/s or institutions who are working to uphold the values of truth and honesty in the Indian public life.
The trust is looking to award deserving candidates who have reported and actively rectified/have worked to rectify corrupt practices in government, public or corporate life.The nominees will be evaluated on the following parameters
a) Gravity of the situation and its impact
b) Corrective action undertaken , not merely reporting the situation
c) Extent of difficulty faced by nominee in correcting the situation
The valid entries will be assessed by a panel of distinguished jurors, drawn from the corporate sector as well as public life. Nominations will be accepted from 19th November, with details and form available on the MST's website www.manjunathshanmugamtrust.orgThe award carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs. One Lakh.
Please support the process by nominating candidates you think deserve it. The monetary award and recognition would only help bring more awareness about the fallacies of today's political system and society and action that would help rectify the same. It is through little steps that everyone learns to walk the full mile. The award maybe one of the little steps that our society can take before it can walk to its maturity, to a society free of such crimes. So please support it with the nominations.
If you wish to nominate someone, please download the nomination form and send it to the address mentioned. You can also spread the word around through your emails/blogs. There's a lot that even a few like-minded folks can achieve if they set their hearts to it. Many of us are constrained by time and other factors to be involved in the activities of the trust and on a larger scale, in eliminating societies vices, but even the small contribution and effort in the right direction, through such activities, would go a long way. Extend your hand....
Reiterating, the site is www.manjunathshanmugamtrust.org.
On behalf of the trustees.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I find working out in the gymnasium, especially doing weights a very philosophical thing. There are certain things I do, and certain things I don't out of sheer respect towards my fellow beings. For one, there is this equipment that helps in building the back muscles and shoulder muscles. It involves being in a seated position (like on a chair) and lifting weights behind your back and in front of you. There is a stack of weights that are connected to the suspension wires and the number of weight units (each of 10kg) chosen decides the weight one is lifting. I understand that a reader of this piece, gets a feeling that the author assumes him to be one without knowledge of basic physics in lifting weights and of gymnasium equipment. The reader could not be further away from the truth. I am a novice when it comes to gymnasiums and their perpetually plotting equipment. Plotting to make me feel weak, week by week!
The previous 'gym' I had been to was in reality an akkada. Called Iyer's Gym and in one of the 'tougher' parts of Bangalore, it had the rowdy elements of the area working out on a daily basis. All of them had bulging stomachs of pure muscle. Weird! I think I draw my current shape from those folks there. My friends had suggested a certain routine to me on the eve of my tryst with Iyer. It included that one exercise I despise the most - ab crunches. Along with me was a debutant who I swear looked like he was a product of lean manufacturing concepts. Shockingly (for me) both of us were given the same routine. Like hell I was going to follow that. But, along with 'love thy neighbour', I am a strong believer in the tenet 'Listen to thy gym instructor'. After 2 days I had added an extension to the tenet and it read 'Listen to thy gym instructor... when he is present physically in the gym'. I started doing the crunches inspite of him telling me not to do that, as soon as he went out for his morning cuppa. 20 minutes later on his return, I realized he was staring at me with bloodshot coffee stained eyes. What I lacked in brawn, I made up in brain back then. (now I strongly feel I lack both). What had happend was that Kumar, the friendly 200 pounder, 6 footer had ratted on me and told the gym owner that I worked on abs in his absence. There have been very few occasions when strangers have attached street vernaculars to my name. Iyer was an early bird into this list. The next day, I had voluntarily quit the gym. There was a nagging doubt about me getting back my princely 50 bucks, paid for the first month (Yes, there indeed were gyms that charged that much). I suspected there would be more vernaculars to describe me, and the fraility of the pectorals and the sensitivity of the self didn't let me take the risk of seeking refunds.
This is my third attempt at working out. Seems good until now. 8 consecutive days (sparing the Sunday when the gym is closed) I've been to the gym. My first question to mezher was 'I'm a smoker, is it going to affect my work-outs?'. Most folks with IQs in the 30-45 range get the answer to that one right! Mezher isn't your regular bloke. He's got an IQ higher than 4 or 5 heads of such average folks, strung together with a skipping rope from the gym. 'Smoking ... its ok, it burns calories, it should not be a problem'. 'But for holistic health, I think you should stop'. I'm not lying folks.. I'm not! My fellow 'gymmer' Rahul will vouch for that.
I also am a strong believer in following the right diet. Every alternate day, after a fairly rigorous work out, I have had energy drinks. Last friday, it was beer with masala peanuts, french fries and some other starter I can't recall. Skipped dinner! Last saturday, I had to change the routine. I settled for some whiskey, without experimenting too much from the Friday haul of starters. Dinner skipped again! Sunday, as God wants it, was a rest day for me and the gym.
Monday and Wednesday has seen me appreciating the finer fizz in beer once again, with a different friend this time. Unfortunately I had to have dinner on both these days. I find myself feeling heavier everytime I have beer and masala peanuts as a combo deal. I think the masala peanuts don't go well with me. Will try the salted format this time.
So folks, do remember, its not just sufficient to go to a gym! Its necessary to go to the right gym! Its not just necessary to go to the right gym, its pertinent to have the right energy drinks after working out. Eat healthy, be healthy! Right!!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Soundarya and Avinash in Dweepa
In the movie, Girish Kasaravalli has done as much as he has with the interplay of words, as he has with silence. The feelings of hatred and suspicion that Ganappa has towards his wife and Krishna, is captured in one cynical look that he throws towards Nagi. With things getting worse, Nagi asks Krishna to leave them and go away from the island. Upset that on returning to his own village, he would be considered a failure in both the cities and the villages, Krishna leaves the island on boat, the only way by which Nagi and Ganappa might have escaped the wrath of the waters. Kasaravalli intercepts the dialogue and the visuals with powerful lines from Akka Mahadevi's works (a 12th century Shiva Devotee and Kannada poet).
When they reach the shores, who remembers the boatman
A lake at the back, a snare in front
Can there be peace, tell me.
Still water behind, full stream ahead,
What's the way out, tell me.
With Krishna and the boat gone, the rising waters threat the higher parts of the island too. And like the overflowing waters, their troubles increase too when the tiger kills their only source of milk, a buffalo. Ganappa has given up all the hopes he has of a survival and refuses to help when the tiger approaches their home in the night, when the shed in which the buffalo calf is kept collapses, trapping the calf beneath, and when debris blocks the only drain for the water to go out. With gusto and a heavy heart, the strong arms of Nagi continue to work hard at fighting all these troubles, not once does she keel down.
The morning reveals to her the receding waters around the island and she runs to the top of the island to find out the reason. The dam levels have been breached and the waters have been released. Tears fighting her eyes, she runs down to wake her hopeless husband. The news invigors him and he becomes ecstasic. Words of thankfulness flow out of his lips to the God above and he credits the God for saving them. Nagi is shocked! Not one of her efforts have been acknowledged and Ganappa tells her that she was only the tool in God's schemes. Her effort was nothing. The movie ends, with Nagi remaining disheartened.
I've not seen better action than this from Soundarya and the rest of the cast are equally brilliant too. The old actor portaying Duggayya has done a fantastic job with his toothless smile and sullen grimace. His panic run to the interiors of the house when he sees the cops approaching the island by boat, is a brilliant metaphor for the common man's fear of the unyielding government.
Many from Karnataka believe that Kannada film is dead and long gone. For every 100 pathetic commercial movies made in the state, if even one such movie is delivered by a Kasaravalli or Karnad, I would say that the art of film-making survives. The industry may die, but the art won't!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
After a fairly rigorous warm-up session (where I suspect I might have gone into 'heat' mode due to the girl warming up by me), I went down to meet my destiny for the hour - the back-cruncher or.. more subtly put, the bone-breaker! 4 sets of 10 repetitions each said Ishwar. (Read previous blog for intro on Ishwar and why I should not listen to him). I agreed. Rule 1 of the gym - Don't argue with the instructor!
Into the 3rd repetition of the 2nd set I think, a good samaritan with biceps at 20 picked up the locking pin that was fallen on the ground and gave it to me. He mentioned that I had forgotten to plug it in, meaning, I wasn't lifting any of the weight units. I counter-pointed out to him that it wasn't a mistake. With my current strength abilities, all that I could lift was just the equipment handles or a bottle of beer, depending on what was closer to my hand. He failed to comprehend the concept. I simplified it for him - "can't lift any weights". He nodded.. and felt embarassed himself. Rule 2 - In the land of the six-packs, if you are the only one with a spherical presence, compromise on the self-respect and ego parts.
Post the repetitions, I took the pin from the ground and placed it at the bottom most weight in the stack and walked off with the hope that the stranger wouldn't discover the truth.
I am now 15 minutes away from reaching the gym, and am fervently praying that the guy who pointed out the missing pin is not around. After all, self-respect can be compromised, but not on consecutive days. I'm missing gym tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
'O beh******th us saand ko dekh' was the first of the wise remarks I passed while waiting for the elevator. Ishwar, the subject in question, was later introduced to us as the gym instructor. With bisceps like his, I feel in retrospect that I should reserve my comments to appropriate forums - mostly those that permit anonymity. If Ishwar ever runs a blogger I think I'll reiterate my observation after selecting 'anonymous' in the comment section. And then I'll tie myself to the lats worker in the gym and drag it into the ocean along with myself and blogger's servers.
I'm afraid Ishwar might have overheard the remark..my staring, with 3 parts disgust for every 2 parts awe, didn't help. I'm afraid the routine he'll ask me to follow could leave me a demented dwarf with a biscep growing near my thigh..
The 'warm-up' session involved us bending at our images in the mirror and trying to tickle Narcissus. Felt like being punished in nursery, where a frustrated 'miss', unable to give you the thrashing she so much wants, isolates you and makes you stand facing the wall for the rest of the period. You cast nervous glances at the otherside through out the time.. in nursery and in the gym.
Yesterday night was my first session at the gym. Today I woke up feeling refreshed and with a new glow.. a new intellect.. one of discovery! While attempting to brush those teeth I discovered 6 new muscles and all of them ache with the grace of a Rakhi Sawant on stage- at all the wrong times. And as I speak I feel a heavy muscular hand on me.. my friend who joined the gym yesterday with me. He was a puny 140 pounder day-before. Time to go!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Now, in the land of the Nizams, I find myself travelling more frequently. Travel includes many modes and an even larger number of difficulties that each sets in. They all find their panacea in a cuppa when I reach home the morning after.
My routine now has been to take a Volvo at 8 30 in the night on Friday and reach Bangalore by 7 30 or 8 00 am in the morning.
Of all the things and people I have found a bonding with in my life, this would surely be in the most surrealistic one. Seat number 24 of the 8 30 pm Volvo drawn by KSRTC. Would I find the same guy to my left, with his fancy mobile phone, the one that sets of vibrations in most parts of the bus everytime he gets a call - missed or not? Will the same waiter at Reliance Dhaba (A-1) refuse me all the items I ask and try to convince me that omlettes are best?
Sitting in my shack for 11 hours, insomnia engulfing me like the very blanket I was wrapped in, all I could feel were the silent snores of the person behind. The only entertainment I had was to see the water from the rains, meandering aimlessly, choosing and changing directions by the centimeter, as they rolled down the windows made of plexi-glass, on the outside. Trying to trace the path of the head of these rivulets-in-small, I found myself lost in thought. Sounds very much like a scene out of the movies, with the darkness brought in by using opaque scenes around the bus, with the water being sprinkled by high sprinklers.
Outside night had embossed everything under its cover. Though not really a jungle outside, it clearly was acres and acres of greenery, as far as I could see in the dark. And all acres looked perfectly even, showing that one farming community after the other had planted the crop at around the same time, give or take a day or two, the length changing an inch or two. I wondered what they would be doing in the dark now, with the suffocating heat and stillness of the night being their only company. They must have been used to it by now, just as much as I am not to the claustrophobia of a corner seat.
I wonder if taking a pill for the sleep will help. If I don't get enough sleep with the pill on, I would feel groggy the whole of the next day, spoiling half of the weekend in effect. Only coffee and a good night's sleep later that night would be of help.
The bus makes two stops - the first at Reliance's dhaba called A-1, and the second, a place close to Adoni, where they serve cigarettes ("ultra milds nahi hai"), tea and unruly orange juice.
And each time I return back, there is little that changes in the settings - the plexiglass remains the same, the water occasionally is visible, though in small globulets, and for many many miles all I can see is reduced to one single color and dimension, not green, but a color born from the kaleidoscope of all that one can see from 20000 feet up in the air. I still retain my claustrophobia and giving company to it, is the fear of heights.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Aadarsh Hariharan is a friend of mine from the good ole engineering days. Peeing in neighbouring comodes back in college, I remember him asking me during placement season - "Suri, how the f*** do I get better in quant man! All these companies want quant and I need some more practice in it I think". Though the content has not been put up here verbatim (fearing copyright violations and other potential physical abuse I might face from Aadi), I do remember that this was the gist of what he wanted to know. And I gave him the usual crap about quant books to refer to, areas to be covered and blah blah!
Here's what I would say and want Aadi to say now - F*** quant! It doesn't matter one inch. If you're out there to get something real bad, you're going to get it by all damn means. If you find yourself lacking in something you really will work towards improving in that area and getting yourself ahead right there, right then. Passion drives the world. Gaining knowledge and finding knowledgeable people, though equally important would be the next thing to do. And your attitude is the third thing to take care of.
Aadi quit his job in the Gulf region (he's mallu :), so gelf is his home town, Kerala is his adopted place) and came back to Bangalore with a smile pile of cash. Over a period of a year Aadi has invested all his earnings and more i.e. his friend's earnings and their combined appreciation of music, to start off his own company - MusicYogi.com.
The duo now depend purely on mouth-of-word publicity in getting some visibility and hits on their site. It is of course being run for profits, but clearly with a co-objective of helping out the upcoming bands within the country. Do check out their site for other info and order some cds, dvds, tapes when at it.
The idea in posting this one, was to contribute my 2$ 3cents in making www. musicyogi.com successful, and more importantly to ensure that I pick up some preferential stock a few years later, cash in on them in the next dot com boom and retire early with all and sundry in Malibu.
So here's hoping that Aadi and friend rake in the moolah and make one and all happy. Here's to you Aadi!
Addendum: The spirit of wanting to be one's own boss, of wanting to lead your own life and have that sense of ownership is a tremendous one. How many of us have honestly wished that one day we'd start something off on our own but haven't had the guts to quit the current job? Understandably obligations do step into the picture - of both a personal and professional kind. But only those who dare to put their neck on the guillotine and walk the talk, will have a chance to be successful on their own terms.
I'm really proud of pals from college like Sandy and Co. ( www.indigoedge.com ) and Satya who were willing to take the risks. Hats to all of you and I hope more of us follow suit.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Emotions gave way to rationale and I picked up, what I think now, is a great job. Now at work I figure out that I find ops a lot more fascinating than what I thought it would be. Goldratt takes a good amount of credit for that. For once, I didn't start off learning the nuances of ops the conventional way. Most of my current learning is from this one book The Goal. It was one of those books that I would never ever have touched with a ten foot pole, but have now read due to the need of the job. And I did enjoy every darn moment of it. An awesome concept which kicks miles and miles of balance sheets and profit and loss statements right in their guts.
His key philosophies are the Theory of Constraints, Thinking Processes and Critical Chain Project Management. Most of them have been used widely in some geographies and industries with great success.
Refer to www.goldratt.com to figure out more about the man or his theories. The concept that I find most endearing (though I find the others equally practical, rationale and lucid) is CCPM - Critical Chain Project Management. Below, I'll make an attempt at explaining the same through a suitable example:
Let's say I'm making an attempt at copying in an exam.
My guess is that these are the following steps I have to go through -
1. Identify the target that I want to copy from. This would limit it to mostly 4, the guy to my left, right, in front of me and the nerd behind.
2. Ensure that the invigilator is not watching me. This is outside my control.
3. Peep into the paper of one of the targets and read sufficient volumes of the written script before condition (3) gets violated
5. Repeat the sequence
After I have repeated the sequence a sufficient number of times, I would have to stop at step 4 ideally, unless of course the invigilator's favorite number is 2. Each step above would take a certain amount of time (Step 1 - 4). I would in my planning process allocate a certain amount of time to each of the steps. This allocated time would be greater than what might be really needed, i.e. I would be buffering each of my steps sufficiently, just to be on the safe side.
In CCPM, the idea is to take away the buffers (or safety) from each of the step, aggregate it and place it at one single point. Typically this would be placed at the end of the longest sequence of tasks. (In a typical project scenario, there would be many such 'sequences of tasks' and the longest would be critical chain. For simplicity I have chosen a one sequence project).
Now due to the separation of the buffer from each task individually, the amount of time to finish a task would reflect a more aggressive but probable measure. It's like the fixed component of the task, whereas the buffer snatched away from each individual task would be the variable component.
Due to the mathematical properties of aggregating, the aggregated buffer would be a lot lesser than the sum of the buffers maintained for the individual tasks. Hence, while still retaining the safety net, I would be able to enrich myself in the art of copying in a shorter time. Neat!!!!!!? :)
Here's another advantage - If I take up a part time job for a small slot of time during those 3 hours, like ogling at the hot 'resource' in front, I would be eating into my aggregated buffer.
But now I'd have to only measure one parameter (the aggregated or project buffer) to find out how I'm placed in my attempt to get through the exam. There!
OK, what I've given here is a very common example - a project executed by many students across the world on a quarterly, semi-annually and annual basis. In the industrial world, there would be projects involving hundreds of task sequences, individual resources, office politics and the likes.
Here's a good blog about all of Goldratt's philosophies - www.focusedperformance.com
Well let me see how far into these management philosophies I would be able to go!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Java City is a coffee place on Church Street. Church Street where?!! Church Street is the narrow lane that branches off Brigade Road on its right side, as you come down from MG Road. Part of the old world of Bangalore, it still, though only in bits and pieces, retains some of its erstwhile charm. The lane is also home to Blossoms, the book shop for old books and other celebrated eat-outs like KC Das. Koshy's, on St. Mark's Road is only a stone's throw away from any of these places. More about these places later.
Java City is a place for some great music and coffee. Adorning the walls are frescoes in sepia of Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and some of the best Ponappa comic strips that I've seen. Even the overblown cartoon strips are a reflection of the state of the city currently. Come Saturday or Sunday and bang at 5 o'clock in the evening, just when birds from the neighbouring parks decide its time to head home eastward, Lester and co. pick up their guitars, drum kit, keyboards and trumpets and start off into the mike, to the 30 odd folks gathered. Some great coffee and something to go by with and 3 blissful hours begin. What drew me most to the place is the passion that these guys on the stage come out with. I'm sure they have day jobs somewhere and play gospel music with the same instruments at Sunday church. But I'm sure that none of them would be able to go to sleep happily over the weekend if they didn't spend those 3 hours playing to an eager and involved audience.
They may not be the greatest of Jazz players that the city has to offer, but I'm sure the heady mix of coffee and jazz, makes up for it all.
If you're in the groove to sing something or play one of the instruments, the band is more than willing to let you experiment and the audience will surely give you a supporting hand. Requests are also entertained.
Give this place a shot and let me know what you'll think of it.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
These two organizations are non-profit ones and along with the likes of google and yahoo are waging wars against the publishing world, to get expensive and not-so-easily-available books straight to your desktop. So don't let go off the opportunity. The reference sites are here
1. Project Gutenberg - www.gutenberg.org
2. World Book Fair - www.worldbookfair.com
If any of you are the kinds who use PDAs or any other fancy instruments, downloads into these are also supported.
I'm not one to really read books online. Half the magic in reading a book, according to me, is in holding down those pages, smelling them as one flips through them, and going back to lines that suddenly hit you after your well past reading them. That magic cannot be replicated by technology no matter what. Its the same reason why I never watch a movie if I can read the book form of it. Inevitably, in a cause-effect relation, books would be the cause and movies the effect, with rare exceptions. The only 3 books converted to movies, that I have watched and liked are
1. Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson did a job that would put most of our imaginations to shame, and the locales!!!)
2. One flew over the Cuckoo's nest (Sheer brilliance of Jack Nicholson)
I have vowed to never watch the movie 'Hitchhiker's guide..' after a friend who watched me told me that Zaphod Beeblebrox has just one head in the movie. Sigh!
Two cribs about the two sites mentioned above.
First - bad interface. The search boxes aren't right up front and neither is the keyword 'search' used on gutenberg. Though catalog is the word book-lovers would more associate with, when you put them online, you got to act like you're online too. What was that about being in Rome and acting like one.
Second - Some of the all time greats are not available. I haven't checked the world book fair site though, since it wasn't up at the point of posting this blog. But Gutenberg did not have any Garcia on it. That considering that his 'One hundred years of solitude' was listed in the top 10 of most 'Top 100' lists at the end of the last century.
Happy reading folks!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
"Lavanya Theatre, guru!", I muttered, with a Kannada accent thrown in for good measure. The signal went fluroscent green. An insect's high-frequency flutter could be made out with vagueness, set against the green. His day had just begun! Mine was coming to an end!
At Lavanya theatre I got off the auto and ran through my wallet looking for the odd coin or two to pay off exactly. Three strangers walk in a goose-flight combination towards the auto. The two behind, seem to be waiting and following every move of the guy in front. Must be in his early 30s. Certainly well to-do. Paan in mouth and attitude on the sleeve.
His huge head, goes past my peering one, towards the auto-driver's face. "Kailaspal", he said. "Kalaspalya", I played in my mind. The auto-driver didn't as much as look up towards his potential customer. He nodded his head in semi-circles. It means a "No!". It doesn't mean ambiguity in Bangalore.
Big_head looks to cross the road. I yell out "Boss, go this way". Thumb stuck out like Moriarty, I wave staggeredly in a direction, hundred metres down which is an auto stand. Most autos from there go to the place Big_head wanted to. I know, because I've lived close by for about 22 years now. I don't expect a thank you. But I certainly didn't expect what came next. With nonchalance and a condescending look, he stares at me and utters "I know that!" and heads off in the opposite direction. He didn't know his bleeding kidneys from his bloody larynx, I bet. I hold a mild grudge against him.
By nature I think most folks and communities are xenophobic. It's only an intrinsic part of society, certainly not something that's bad. It exists everywhere. I only wish that when a person comes down or goes out to a different place, he still understands that people are nice and wouldn't mind helping. The least you can do, is to have the maturity to appreciate someone's gesture and recognize those who genuinely want to help, from those who are out there for a con job. It never hurts to be helped or help. When any of you guys go out to a different place, from your place of comfort, just remember to appreciate those who have already been there for ages. Don't complain about the bad infrastructure, food not to your liking or the lack of a social life. If you do that, even New York City or Amsterdam might sound like a place you'd pray your enemies would go to. After all, its a new place and gives you newer experiences, greater learnings, and makes you a traveller. Be a traveller, not a darn tourist. The difference is subtle, yet large. And only when you recognize and acknowledge it, will you have fun on your away trips.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
The line in the subject is from Tom Paine. On the IIM Lucknow alumni group, there was a mail sent containing the text of the resignation letter sent by Mr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Convenor- Member of the NKC (National Knowledge Commission) to the PM.
Mr. Mehta in his letter quotes Tom Paine and the quoted line is "We pity the plumage, but forget the dying bird". Apt! Just the right way to define what really is happening due to reservation.
I'm not pasting the entire text here since it is already available in multiple places. I could write my opinion about reservations here. To what purpose! This is not to underplay the effort thousands of students, professionals and other folks are putting in through literature, to bring the issue further into light. The media, both TV and print is doing a great job of it.
I hope I'm able to contribute in action. I'm not sure how this would be possible, but if there is an opportunity to join a strike, or a peace protest on any road, I will surely be there to support the issue.
Here's hoping that justice prevails and all strata of society (upper caste or lower caste) are given justified opportunities to perform to their limits.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The feelings when I swapped it for a hand-stitched silk one of Italian make during final placements from foolish friend - priceless!
The first time Big Bazaar made an impact in my life when I wasn't expecting it to, is captured in those lines above. Big cricketer places crotch-guard before innings, small corporate fry try cheap-silk noose a.k.a. tie before innings. With such parking area metaphors taking afternoon naps in my traffic-torn mind, I walked into Big Bazaar, Koramangala in Bangalore. When I did walk out of the place, I was the proud owner of a skin rash, an extra plastic cover with the BB logo on it, a fake leather belt for 59 bucks and hyperactive brain cells figuring out how the bloody loop of the belt works.
But what shook me up were the 30 odd minutes I spent inside the place itself. Everyone worth their salts, right from paan-wallahs in street corners to media professionals are screaming loud about the influx of people from across the country into the city. If there were 5 places in Bangalore where you wanted to see this for reality, BB would have made it to the 3rd place atleast (any cross-section of MG Road would be ranked 1 and rank 2 would be taken by a sampling of any multiplex's restrooms).
After winding up two stairs, playing i-stamp-your-toe-you-stamp-mine with strangers, friend and me reached the men's accessories section. The broader term of accessories did not, unfortunately, include magic potions to make people invisible or Israeli smoke bombs. Had they, I would have used the smoke bombs on all those around and the potion on myself thereby decreasing population and as a side-effect contributing to global warming. Crowds were choc-a-bloc on all three floors with the most furious mobs reserving their presence for the billing queues. On more than my fair share of occasions I have played both observer and observed in the game of jumping queue lines to get forward. Today I donned the clothes of the former. Breathing down the neck of a certain gentleman who was holding aloft 3 'Vicky' underwear for 99 Rs. and 2 pcs of Vicky 'banian' for 82 Rs., murmuring obscenities in Kuvempian kannada, was me. The queue refused to me any further, partly due to the constant barrage of calls the personnel behind the billing machine was getting and partly because of consistent failures of the billing machine.
In steps graceful Bong lady! I was under the impression that she was looking around for someone, when it occured to me. Her eyes were in search of a fool who would let her into the queue, with or without consent. Our eyes met! Her search ended... abruptly. I was the chosen fool for the day. With grace she slid herself between me and the person in front. I got off his back. Vikram and Betal, episode 2, slipped out of mind in silent animated movements. Her hubby nudged her forward. She moved further and conquered fool 2. V&B, episode 3 was on. I was again on his back. We made small conversation. Big jokes followed. Three Coimbatoreans who minutes ago remarked about how vyaraitea was available in Coimbatore's Big Bazaar and not here stood ogling at Bong lady. They were loud, used gestures to good effect and had bought black shoe polish, purple socks, other paraphernalia and 3 pairs of jeans. Only minutes ago, two queues were converging at a distant point. I took the one less taken... however the other queue had me overtaken. I cursed .. in Kuvempian Kannada so the neck may understand. Not my neck.. Vikram's from the V&B rap team.
I hated Bong lady for breaking queues.. sacriligeous. I disliked Coimbatorean brothers for crude comments. More sacrilege. New roll of billing paper was strung into failing machine. Bong lady unabashedly acts like she was born in a queue, with the queue, for the queue. Billing personnel take out the first piece of garment.. from its middle slips out kinky cloth. It was 'first piece of garments' and not 'first piece of garment'. Coimbatoreans giggle, gush and crack vulgar vernaculars. Bong lady does not understand. Bong lady is embarasssed. Only women behind me in the queue. She might not have been embarassed had she been where she was supposed to.
She leaves puffing! Coimbatoreans come forward in their part of the queue. They picked the wrong size of denim and had stayed in the queue for 30 mins to get it billed. The queue must go on. Theyr'e sent packing from the counter. The things they bought weren't.
Coimbatorean brothers and Bong lady had proposed. Billing counter-boy had disposed. Justice was done. The man in front of me looked at me with eyes that seemed to reflect my thoughts. I closed my eyes momentarily and nodded my head simultaneously. He followed the ritual while facing me. We knew that justice had been served.
The belt was packed. I asked him for a spare cover then sneezed loudly. Allergens in the air. But all I could smell was sweat. Big Bazaar, just a stone's throw away from a swanky mall. A mall in its own right. A place where families came, perhaps every weekend to make the same purchases of commodities like rice. A place with hands of a kirana store but the skin of a mall. Middle-class India's big answer to their upper class cousins who want weekends with fine dining.
Friend and me stepped out of BB. We walked towards the Forum, appreciating the easy pick we had on the fake-leather belt. It was only 59 bucks. The 4 o'clock sun, shone brightly on us!!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
My personal take on going into a new place, is that there is so much to be discovered, that all you need is to hear from someone that it is a great place to be in. The rest should be discovered and felt by you, only on reaching - be as underprepared as one would want to be.
After a short drive in one of the many dark Mumbai cabs, that reduced the weight of my wallet significantly, I was left facing the entrance of the hostel.
Excuse my grey cells for not being able to remember the hostel's name. Day 13's sun rose and with him he brought his call for the rest of Mumbai to wake up. I turned to the right and noticed that it had already been 2 days since I started paying host to Sandy. Shortly, we would undergo a short 2 month transformation into paper characters from Steinbeck's 'Tortilla Flat' - Sandy would be Pablo and I would be Pilon!!
I guess its time to introduce Shanthamma now. Shanthamma would turn up every day only minutes before the sun's direct rays hit my face. She would bring along with her, the little ones of hers. I had no complains. Though there wasn't much work to do in the mornings (she preferred to work when both Sandy and me had left for office), the room sure could use some help regards churning the airs. And that's precisely what Shanthamma did, apart from bringing in small little piles of dust into the room while making vain attempts at cleaning that which was already inside.
The chemistry, or the lack of it really, was clearly visible from the first day she started coming. The chemistry between her and Sandy! Even the few minutes that she tried to exist in the room had to be interspersed with Sandy's constantly grumbling and asking her to maintain distance when in the room. The initial feeling of irritation at being disturbed by such noise in the morning, from both sources, gave way to a more motherly-in-law feeling in me. Shanthamma, inspite of being a mother was still young. I mentioned that to Sandy and tried reasoning with him the possibilities that he could look into between him and Shanthamma. No such attempts did I try when it came to her. I thought that she had to be clearly shown her place around me. I wasn't going to speak to her so easily. Days went on. Sandy continued to come early, I continued to go late, and Shanthamma did her usual stuff every day.
Things took a bad turn between Sandy and her, on one not-so-fine Sunday. The dust that she had raised got a little too close for Sandy's comfort and he stood up in anger. Shanthamma hadn't seen him in such form earlier. What they shared before was only bad chemistry I thought. There was more to it than what the eye saw. Should I intervene and tell Sandy that though I didn't speak up for Shanthamma, she still deserved respect, I wondered. The mind is a slow thing at times. Had I reacted, I believe there could have been a better ending to this story, a happier one! It wasn't to be! Veiled under the morning's grogginess, waiting for the previous night's high to ebb away, I took too much time to react. Shanthamma was faster. In a jiffy she decided never to return and took flight from the room. The quickness in her, and the drained fullness in her eye conveyed it all to me and Sandy - she would never return to Room 341 of that hostel.
And as she left the room, all that Sandy and me were left of her, were a few feathers, wrestled out of control from her wings, by the ceiling fan close to the window. They say that a dove symbolizes peace. If that's even partly true, all that Sandy and me, the paisanos of room 341, were left with were a piece of what Shanthamma symbolized.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
248C2 hugs generated and many who will spill over their bi-annually held feelings like little ganders washing raindrops off their backs.
I'm personally gonna down some whiskey to act as a stimulant. So I may get my share of feelings sent out into the open and so I may receive everyone of the students with open arms literally (while my lucknow university colleagues do the same with open 'arms' too!!).
And then we'll have our faculty coming out and addressing the students, telling us the usual stuff about how our placements were so much better than last year, and how the junior batch worked so much harder than ours did for our seniors. Let there be the party. I'm sure it'll be the most rollicking one. One has no idea what a qualified quantity of alcohol can do with to produce alien chemicals using raw material from within the body. It'd take a Freud to describe the euphoria that it can generate, and a chemical engineer (with a Ph.D) to tell you the reality of the effect.
Off to the waiting room now!
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Riding through the mist with velvet gloved fists,
In delicate movements on a roaring monster,
The tightening grip prodding me to go faster.
On a journey that you know,
The quicker you go, the further you’re slow
I held a hand in vain, through gentle falls of rain
But my grip was not made tight,
You let go and I didn’t fight,
Lovely guns here, lovely roses there,
Held in my mind, but out of sight
I’ll close my minds and ask you to step inside,
Through the secret chambers I’ll be your guide
And when you find something familiar
I’ll tell you that its you who lived here
But the monster will not wait, until he’s given his ride.
"As he dodged and evaded the gargoyles and the demonic fields erupting from the whimsical columns of the pre-Norman labyrinth, he could hear voices he did not make and made voices he couldn't hear. Hope was the only actuation as he waded through this rabbit hole. His body showed all signs of giving away without his cognitive consent, tethered by only with the fear of incarceration in the god forbidden abyss of the universe. The end was near, either for his mortal remains or for the diabolic odyssey. Just as his brain finished with the period of his previous thought, he caught a blinding glimmer at the corner of his eye. The heart, the strongest of his remaining bodily organs, overworked evaded punctuality. The pristine glow was unmistakable. He felt like the paragon of Epimetheus. Quickly on his feet he opened the box with a resounding thunk, eyes half closed, and serendipity struck fast and hard. He could see emeralds, rubies, wealth and millions of it. It was not what he was looking for. As he rummaged through it and it got better. Charm, wisdom, vision, character, attitude came out in stream and was followed by fervour, pleasure, reverence. His took in everything possible, but then just beneath freedom,speech and expression he found what he had been looking for. His journey had ended. A dull turquoise texture emanated and was floating in the ether. It was what he had imagined, when he had read about it years ago. Carvings at the edges were significant, and was programmed to be a simple tool. The login button was at the centre. He clicked on it and entered....chetan_cg. Found also at http://www.skype.com/products/skype/windows/".
Keep the good work going brother!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
he's got a name as given to him by the guys who made him. his 'Creator' if u may call him so.. the name is Nokia 3315. Relic model for those who love the communication bandwidth and believe that their life revolves around hypocritically staying in touch with people they like in a way that is artificial and created for us by other Creators.
Back in the old days, love would have been conveyed by scratching each others backs, growling and purring or by picking lice. But in the new days, its done by sending messages in languages that are clones of the original (from more Creators), sending mails and abusing bandwidth further.
I give a fuck about technology! Wherein lies the harmony that I share with my ante-diluvian cellphone..cell phone.. mobile phone.. like I said.. I give a fuck as to what u call it! Bluetooth? Yeah right!
Here are the characteristics that define my mobile phone!
1. He has no display of the numbers, letters or any other characters - If he were to be personified, my mobile phone would be like Poseidon.. the god of water..occupying the shape that the last guy who held him was shaped like.. there are no letters on my cellphone.. just the remnants of something wonderfully etched in ink with the hope that it would be permanent .. screw consumer courts
2. he vibrates ... coz he makes no sound.. my nokia 3315 lost his voice around the time Iraq lost the war to US.. all he does now is vibrate like a timid rabbit held by its ears close to a person's heart.. posing for a photo that is captured in 9 milli seconds by a camera, but lasting in that pose for a good 45 seconds, coz the guy with the camera is human. Some IC is gone for a toss they said. and can't be fixed.. glad!
3. Lost display on screen - He's got a mind of his own.. visible only at times.. simple things tick him off and he gets lost.. things like too much pressure in the left pocket of my trousers.. things like a call he might have got from someone who is listed with him... but i understand the display absence. Its at times like this that one makes his heart hard.. and I do so by typing out messages without knowing what's coming up. Because I know him like the back of my hand. I know the next combination of letters that would pop up if i press '*' another time and choose the next option my dictionary gives.. like I said.. The Fuck I care!
Would i part with him? no way... coz he is like me.. much more than what is described in points 1 - 3.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Inside the ship that sails away from tides low,
Captive in a cage, of cold metal and captain's spells,
The little bird chirps at all around, as the sea swells.
"Clairvoyance my captain, is but nature's gift to me,
Just as thy seller's cruel heard was to he".
"SILENCE!!" boomed the captain,
Another storm in his mind, reaching the one on the outside.
"The storm will rise further, ak in the seas crossed by Christ,
Put faith in your savioiur, or to Poseidon be sacrificed",
"SILENCE!" boomed the captain again, even louder,
"I shall comeout safe, inspite the skies, and if even Mercury shroud her".
As if in reply to the captain's words,
Struck lightning and Thor, like tormenting twin birds,
In one stroke upon the shaft, did the Gods split,
The ship in two and all within from hilt to hilt.
"Clairvoyance, is but a gift of nature to me, Dead captain,
Just as your cruel heart was to you"
"I saw the fierce storm that you didn't see" said the bird,
Through torn cage and ship, to the Island of Freedom he flew!
And sits one atop, the books to ponder,
The thoughts fluttering yonder and yonder,
Should I trust what my ears hear and eyes see,
Or should I trust my sub-conscious mind, which like the bird, is free!!!