Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thought: Building Castles in Thin Air!

This morning when I happened to check my yahoo account for new emails after about a week’s break, this one with a subject “A NOTE FROM Dr. XYZ – PLS READ CAREFULLY” caught my attention. Although I heard six warning bells inside my head blaring-out, all at once; vociferous enough to deafen my ears, each of them coming from each one of the six senses that I supposedly possess, all I had to do was to temporarily tap it to a silent mode to get on to a fast-forward mode. With the six folks now glaring at me sordidly huddled in one dusty corner….I went about clicking on the subject line to get to the details of this most creepiest of mails sitting innocently in my inbox posted as on Nov 10th 2007.
With the crazy globe on the top right corner of my browser revolving at the speed of a tortoise’s gait and the message on the status bar below showing as:


Opening page ShowLetterId? MsgID=45676545X&hgklsrydddggg……..

I waited for 30 raring-to-go seconds tapping my fingers restlessly on the key board tray….
And then suddenly, just when I stopped tapping, the status bar lit up with a set of green colored square boxes progressing slowly to demonstrate a flourish of activity happening at the background leaving me at the edge of my seat… all the more inquisitive and a bit jittery about what could really be awaiting inside that most curious looking email (or so I thought it looked).

Quarter past another minute, cursing the ISP under my breath, there lands the response page I was looking for…..with a throbbing heart and trembling fingers, constricted eyes strained to its maximum elasticity to read the smallest size of the font that was used to draft the below mail; I was reading out loud……..

Dear Friend,Though this approach appears desperate,difficulties encountered in efforts to establish abusiness abroad necessitate this search forsomeone to assist me in securing and investingthe sum of USD18,000,000 (eighteen million dollars)deposited in my name abroad.By way of summarized profile of myself, I amDr. XYZ a 64years old lady and thewife of Mr. ABC (former head ofstate and President of East Timor).
From past experiences, many people I had regarded as close friendsand relatives has capitalize on my family'stravail to run away with my money. In order to avert thisnegative development, I in conjunction with myson now seek your permission to allow us do aCHANGE OF OWNERSHIP/REASSIGNMENT OFCREDIT of stated funds from the deposit company toyour name, so that the funds (US$18million)would be released to you as the BENEFICIARY (onbehalf of me and my family).Our family trusteehave secretly protected the deposit, you are toassist us to lay claims of the funds with the aidof all legal documents that will be forwarded toyou as time goes on. If you agree to help,we shall discuss the disbursement ratio in ournext correspondence after we have beenacquainted.
I have decided to offer 20% of the above sumto anyone who assists us to secure this fundsoverseas or 20% share for possible help oninvesting in any reliable venture.No doubt this proposal will make youapprehensive, please I employ you to observeutmost confidentiality and rest assured that thistransaction would be most profitable for both ofus.PLEASE INDICATE YOUR INTEREST BY RESPONDING TOMY ALTERNATIVE EMAILADDRESS
Email:xtzabc6465@yahoo.com
WITH THE FOLLOWING INFO:Your full name and addressYour telephone/fax numbers.Once I receive this information, my son willprepare the necessary documents that will putyou in place as the new owner of the funds. Themoney will then be released to your custody bythe Deposit Company.Awaiting your swift response.Sincerely yours,Dr. Mrs XYZ.Email: xtzabc6465@yahoo.com.
Awwwwwhhhh!!! 20% of $18 Million is how much?????
Quickly & swiftly my hands reach up to the windows à run à calc + Enter, & I type in the figures to see the magical numbers of my astounding future, It stood gleefully at $3,600,000 (Three Million Six Hundred Thousand Dollars)!!!

Approximately about 14,40,00,000 – Indian Rupeees!!!! :-O:-O:-O

Fourteen odd CRORES?!?!?! ………

OH MY GOD!
OH MY GOD!!
OHHHH MYYY GODDD!!!!

My pinched myself hard to see if this wasn’t a dream!!! Or if I was at the threshold of some treasure hunt game or in any case at a place where I should be After-Death!
Nope. None of the above.

Very much alive and kicking and sitting in front of my age old computer and off-putting internet connection that blinks forever to scare the hell out of me as if to mean “I-might-die-anytime-now”!.

Hmmmm…such an unbelievable twist-in-the-story for a below average, less than mundane, morbid low level life on a bright Wednesday morning…

I wasn’t sure which one of the following emotions were racing past the other to hit the red band first,

Contended?
Dumbfound?
Flabbergasted?
Shocked?
Surprised?
Stunned?
Spellbound?
Speechless?
Taken Aback?
Traumatized?

You bet, I was hit by all of them almost at once and it was quite a feeling, pretty much unexplainable for me in those desperate milliseconds of fighting for words…..

I was 2 feet above the ground looking for my mom to tell her that she needs to start seeing a multi-millionaire Groom for me and not a 7,8,9 or10 LPA earning silly, boring and lifeless software pro!

Ah! These are just froth bubbles out of the soap water aren’t they…?

“Hey GOD!!! Are you listening to me at all???? Why can’t someone knock some sense into this silly girl’s dumb-head????”

I heard my heart screaming on top of its voice at the almighty, just when I was about to tap my mom’s shoulder to tell her about this eventful email this morning!


Thoughtfully.............................Me!

Thought: Importance of Meetings!

As we all wait for the meeting to begin, the precarious moments of the next hour looms large in front of us, with sweaty palms, shaking legs, tapping ID cards, drumming fingers, paper cones cleaning the ears, chewing of the gums, dancing pens, scribbling on the paper, rolling the paper weight or even doing some eye-exercise to release the stress or fight-out your sleep; are some of the most noticeable actions that we see in the meeting room. These meetings never seem to get anywhere is also an opinion that’s widely heard across many organizations.

Moreover, half the people attending the meeting seem distracted and the other half frustrated. The distracted lot keep checking their watches once in every 10 seconds while the frustrated ones keep thinking about their receding hair lines.

And then we hear our host begin, clearing his throat in the most clichéd rhythm,
Now, we’ve been meeting every week for months and the purpose seems to have gotten lost as I see no progress on the milestones that we must have met long since!

And then suddenly you ask yourself, "Darn, How did we get here and what can be done about it? And most of all, who invented these meetings anyway? Of all the days, why should it be on this very day when I must leave by 3pm to pick up my kid from the school as she returns from her excursion after a long week?"

Your feeling of dread deepens as you momentarily recall that . . . you're supposed to be the driving this meeting and you are the one who must take the MOM (Minutes of the Meeting) and also run this meeting during your host’s absence.

Well, now block all thoughts that belong to the outside world of those glass doors and confine your thought processes to the crux of the very discussion that you are getting into.

• First things first, Being on time for the meetings is like learning “A for Apple” so don’t do any mistakes on that one!

• Try to be a leader and take charge of the situation no matter wherever or however important you are in the meeting.

• Identify exactly what you want to expect in each of these meetings and do keep a check if these are accomplished and is catering to the needs of the participants.

• You have been invited for a meeting, simply means that your presence is deemed to serve some purpose.

• A meeting is where the most critical and significant information is shared across teams and key decisions are made on mutual consensus and unanimous approvals.

• Make it known to everyone in the forum that each person is expected to contribute.

• Set a clear tone as to who’s responsible for what and by when. If not met make the defaulter run the meetings next time onwards until they see that the expectations are met 100%.(just an idea, can be anything instead that’s bound to the practical feasibility of the system, audience and organization)

• Remind yourself that it's your responsibility to make sure everyone is engaged and energized by the discussions and by the purpose of the meeting.

• Meetings that are regular, focused, appropriate and timely are always welcome for the success of a team and organization on the whole.

• Paying attention to the meeting is probably one of most vital things that many should work on as there could be potentially a lot of take-away’s that we may tend to miss out on!

• Creating an experience that makes each participant to think of your meetings as necessary and valuable could probably be one of the best gifts one can ask for!

To be a true leader, Appreciations at the right time, indication of the issues & identification of risks upfront including corrective measures or suggestions for the same at the right time and right place, to top it all with regular motivational pep talks, nurturing the ownership mentality with in the team and plunging-in to resolve issues by rolling-up your sleeves when the times call for it are all the prerequisites!

When someone is all of the above, automatically the Leader in him rises to a pinnacle and then there are no mistakes after that!

When ten people gather under one roof to discuss ideas, that’s where a lot of Newton’s are reborn, to make it sound more relevant in a Software jargon, let’s get together regularly and without fail to bring out the hidden “Bill Gates” in us!

At the same time, Let’s also throw-in our feedback if a meeting is not effective, Be the first to start it!

For someone wisely said, “Treading the beaten path is no fun, when I can lay my own new road!”

So, Junta please attend your meetings!!!! J

Signing off,
On a Meeting Note

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Gutter Me!

I am known to speak pretty openly about things, mind you, when I say openly there’s a lot of difference between the one that speaks explicit stuff about sex/sex related topics in the name of being open!

I am not speaking about that here…. This one goes with my inclination towards subtle-profanity in using copious swear words for the sacrilege intended in general. (Well, well only with closest of my buddies of course!).

As a result of which some of my friends do warn me about: me being way too self-indulgent to an extent of being called as a spoilt-brat, which is not what I am (ha! At least most of the times, Yes my lord, I swear – No lies there!)

So, with the gutter me’s ego being hurt enough to give a purple eye, I went about for a bit of retrospection seeking for a probable reason for justifying the invisible crown that clinched firmly on my head.

And as they show in the age old Eastman color movies, I didn’t see a coil or helix revolving around in front of my eyes, but it was a hazy dark backdrop (with nothing clearly visible enough to make an identity) walking me back to my childhood days…..

***********************
Dad had come down for lunch that day for somehow Tamil Nadu government never declared “Sri Rama Navami” as a holiday. But my school was off, I don’t seem to remember how/why though… but not my brothers (Yippeee.. I was enjoying at home eating lot of goodies that my mom prepared while my brother had to be at his school!).
Panakam, Neer Mor & Poli etc al – Food solutions guaranteed by mom as always is the case with her; be it a festivity or not!


(Panakam =Sweetened water using sugar candy+Ginger, Neer Mor = buttermilk, Poli – Kind of sweet that looks like roti stuffed with sweet.)

Pooja as usual went in a really grand manner, thanks to the splendid efforts of my mom to keep things going cool, easy and traditionally and culturally and also customarily rich and flawless. As with the routine we finished our lunch together with my brother joining us during his lunch break.

Brother leaves in a hurry after a heavy lunch and so must dad now. Dad was all set to go and gave life to his scooter when the roaring 2-stroke engine’s sound rang a bell in my head and I rushed all the way from the back-yard, where I was having a mango and stopped at the front gate of our house just in time to save myself from banging hard against the iron bars and also make it to see off my dad with a happy wave from my free left hand.

After finishing all the juice out of the mango, not really interested with the leftovers I tried a full-toss at the nearest garbage bin of our street, and it went up, up and up in the air though but never landed on the earth…. Amazed, I was at the mango chunk that had disappeared in thin air; I walked past the iron gate and peeped out of my front veranda that had an open ditch of about 5X4X3 Feet lying adjacent to the edge of the floor where the front veranda ends. That ditch having gutter water accumulated in it is left open on the street. Without a second thought about reaching the edge of the veranda I was still super keen on the missing mango-chunk that I threw higher up in the air and was still gaping at the sky with my mouth wide-open and missed a step to find myself frantically struggling for breath, drowning and making attempts to shout out loud. I don’t know from where God sent my savior, my mom, who gave her hand and pulled me out of the gutter. I was drenched black matching the color of the pool that I just emerged from. For a few seconds, I was totally disoriented and it took me minutes figure out what had just happened. Those few seconds of interaction, mingling, immersing and fighting out for life with all those cockroaches, other visible and invisible beings of that gutter trap could possibly have left some after effects in me when I think about that very fateful day, 17 years ago which had me gulp-in the most unwanted with the incident (or should I say accident?) still itched on to my memory deep, strong and embossed like a thick scar.

***********************
Could this be the reason for my inclination towards profanities?
Oh no, that’s a hypocrite in me talking again!
Hell, I wasn’t like this till I finished my college, for heaven’s sake I still remember the way I used to shudder on hearing the four lettered word being uttered by someone. Mind you, I had been into books even then, so they are not the reason!
Bah, No!!! It’s not about being so radical or even remotely closer to those lines.
Being hip, posh or fad has never been something that I could take in like my daily coffees.
No boss, that’s something that, suits this dainty old personality of mine!
So it isn’t an avant-garde thingy as well!!!
Gosh!! Someone please help me understand this freaking disease that I am struck with in the last two years leaving me no better than an ill-tempered, irritable & grumpy old piece of shit that I am………Ah! There I go!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***********************





Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Story on "Motivation"

There was once a rich landlord who desired to feed his entire village on a special occasion. He decided to hire the best cook in the district and sent for him.

'There should be no question of any compromise. Only the best for the best occasion.' Such was the landlord's desire and wish. Sensing the rich man's need and desire, the cook asked for a fancy price, to which the zamindar agreed without haggling. Happy at the thought of getting what he had asked for, the cook set about his task earnestly. On the D-day, the cook and his team arrived with full enthusiasm.

The very thought of the high monetary return motivated the cook to such an extent that he in turn inspired his subordinates to give out the very best for the day. Together, the team produced a sumptuous spread that satisfied the palate, the hearts of the villagers and the landlord who had hired the cook. Every dish was perfectly done and presented. They served the guests with great love and care. The food was so good that there occurred a shortfall. The landlord therefore asked the cook to prepare more of the same items. At this, the cook was slightly upset; nevertheless, he executed his job without complaining.

As it happened, there was a difference in the quality of the food produced the second time. It was not as good this time. Because by now the enthusiasm of the cook had dropped and it had rubbed off on his workers. Somehow, the cook began to get the feeling that he was giving more than he had bargained for. Nobody seemed to have noticed and very soon, as it happened the first time, there was a shortfall again and the zamindar felt there were still some important members that had been left out. He therefore requested the cook to repeat the magic of producing the same quality of food a third time. This time, the cook was positively not enthusiastic. Surely, the zamindar was asking for much more than he had bargained. The cook did not open his mouth, but there was no denying the fact that the quality was nothing compared to the previous exercises.

The evening drew to a close and the cook and his team began the task of clearing their things. The money was handed over to the cook and he accepted it without too much enthusiasm. As the cook was preparing to leave, the zamindar asked him to wait. He then ordered his servants to bring the packets that he had kept aside for the cook.

The cook was initially surprised. He was totally taken aback when he realised that the packets the zamindar had asked for were indeed the last lot of food cooked by him, now packed for him in neat containers. The zamindar had been so pleased with his cooking that he didn't want the cook's family to miss the fare. The important members that the zamindar had referred to had been the cook's family members. At this, the cook blanched. If only he had known…

Does it not tell us how important it is in life to keep our motivation level at its best, whatever the circumstance?

- Source Unknown

Thought:Think Different!

It is what we often fail to notice everytime we falter in something that we took up to succeed and come out with flying-colors. It is the deceit of the inherent belief in the task taken up by us, that's pre-defined and pre-designed and even pre-expected only to succeed, but no failures!

That definitely is now on the contrary to what we have been fed-enough to go by the ancient adage"Give your best and Be prepared for the worst to come!"

Having said that, its quite a common belief to tread a beaten path which is perhaps safe.But, sometimes it could be uninspiring too. Always tracing a known path will get you results that are already experienced and expected. The outcome of walking through an used corridor is never going to be phenomenal. For those of us who want to be different, be noticed and who want to achieve success in life, the secret lies in daring to be different.

Deep down, all of us want to be known for something exceptional, something unique and something that identifies us on a podium amidst the mundane crowd. This is an inherent human attitude by nature. We see it manifested in our attitude towards our style of living, among other things. It is an attitude that should be harnessed and utilized in the right direction to ensure that it is reflected in our personal and professional growth rather in procuring material acquisitions. The first step in this direction lies in thinking differently. All of us go out everyday and see various things. Some people manage to find deep inspiration in ordinary things that they see. On many occasions, the outcome of this inspiration has proved invaluable to mankind.

For instance consider this example, that’s awe-inspiring to read, but which has immeasurable amounts of pains and failures attached to it to make it a reality as what we see it today:
The employees of the US Census Bureau were going about their work of taking the census count. One particular employee, Herman Hollerith, when travelling by train, noticed a train conductor punching tickets. He perceived that simple everyday occurrence, witnessed by thousands of people daily, differently and it started him on a chain of thoughts. The result of the practical application of his thoughts was an invention that would help in his work of tabulating census reports. This invention was the tabulating machine designed by him in the year 1890. Once his invention proved useful and popular he started a firm to market it. Initially known as the Tabulating Machine Company, it went on to become the renowned IBM - International Business Machines Corporation! (Source: tobeyourbest/Abridged version/IBM Archives)

This ability to perceive things differently can be developed over a period of time. However, it is essential not to attach too much of importance towards having a positive and beneficial outcome. Each and every outcome need not be sensationally outstanding. One should be prepared to deal with disappointments and take them in their stride. Dwelling on attempts that have borne not so successful results would only create a feeling of depression and sadness. So one should be able to rise above it and make a renewed attempt from an entirely different angle.

The secret goes in here! Many times, disappointments have led people to make revisions or improvisations that have eventually led to phenomenal success. Well, even if we did not get phenomenal results, let's look for newer avenues in the failed venture and if there isn't any that is apparent, do not hesitate to look for something else to do. Do not let one failed project or attempt ruin your spirits for a lifetime!

After all that’s not what life’s all about!!

Always remember the adage "Great people do not do different things, they simply do things differently". A different perception is bound to result in a creative solution. A good way to increase this particular skill would be do the usual things that you do in a slightly different manner from time to time. For all you know you might discover a more efficient way of doing the same thing!!

That’s a point to ponder for all of us!

Thought: Effective Leadership

In today’s world of competition, effective leadership is playing a major role. It not only enables each individual to prove his leadership skills, but also shows the individual ability in effectively dealing other team members. The present short article discusses about how effectively one can lead the teams in an efficient manner.

"Being the leader doesn't make you one, because leaders don't automatically get the respect and acceptance of their group members; so in order to earn the leadership of their group and have a positive influence on the group members, leaders learn some specific skills and methods." -- Thomas Gordon

Effective leadership does not mean that how effectively the leader is leading the team. But it does mean that how effectively the leader is working with the team and how effectively the leader is managing the team. In order to be an effective leader, one should be able to motivate the team in an efficient manner. As all of you are already aware, success of any project depends on effective leadership, effective leader does mean that, in the absence of leader, team should be able to work. Leader should not become critical to the team, but he should become critical in making the team to achieve team goals or meeting the deadlines. Team should not get prejudiced with the assignments that the leader does. Leader should assign the work to each and every individual by keeping the following things in mind.

  1. Strengths of each team member
  2. Weaknesses of each team member


Leader should provide a facility in such a way that juniors will learn from seniors within the team. He needs to motivate the team in all the aspects even during crisis period of a project. He should be able to effectively delegate the work to his members and at the same time he should make sure to meet the deadlines. Leader should be able to communicate to his team members in a language that is understandable to both of them.
Effective leader should be able to identify the strengths of each and every individual effectively within the team and should assist the concerned individual to grow. The feedback that the leader is going to give to a team member should help him work in a better way than earlier. During feedback, leader should not compare the team member with any other member in the team. He should mention clearly to the team member stating what was expected out of him and what was not met by him and what were the reasons resulting in those unmet expectations. Leader should also make sure that he has set all the objectives for each and every individual team member well in advance at the beginning of the project. This enables the team member to work in a better and a much more challenging environment. Leader should also need to take care of knowledge sharing among the team members/across the teams. This not only enables each and every individual to expose their skills and also puts the overall talent and maturity of the organization in a commendable manner. Effective leader does not need to necessarily have soaring technical capabilities. But having the technical skills not only enables the fast career growth for him and his team but also helps him resolve any technical issues with-in and across the account in an effective and efficient manner, there by making his presence known and well-acknowledged with in the organization and among the clients that he is working with. Effective leader should be able to forecast any problems that may likely to come in near future and should be ready with action plans to resolve them. Leader should be efficiently able to track any issues in the team and also should make sure to close those issues by prioritizing them. And finally he should try to establish himself as one of the family member within the team. This helps all his members to exchange their ideas/problems without any hesitation with him.

All these qualities specified above exclusively leverages the capabilities of a Leader and also allows him to quantify the “measure of success criteria” in his projects and amidst his team members.

To sum it up, wise men define the following as the most renowned and much sought-after characteristics of a winning leader who’s more effective and very efficient by all means: (Source: Agdex 1912-1. Revised August 1998.)


Effective Leaders will always be honest with their team members. This gives them credibility, resulting in the trust and confidence of their people. Credible leaders foster greater pride in the organization, a stronger spirit of cooperation and teamwork, and more feelings of ownership and personal responsibility.
  • They do what they say they will do. They keep their promises and follow through on their commitments.
  • They make sure their actions are consistent with the wishes of the people they lead. They have a clear idea of what others value and what they can do.
  • They believe in the inherent self worth of others.
  • They admit to their mistakes. They realize that attempting to hide a mistake is damaging and erodes credibility.
  • They create a trusting and open climate.
  • They help others to be successful and to feel empowered.
  • They don't push too much. They encourage members to do more, but know when it's too much.
  • They roll up their sleeves. They show the members they aren't just the figurehead or decision maker. Members respect leaders more when they show the willingness to work alongside them.
  • They avoid phrases that cause resentment, reluctance and resistance. For instance, instead of saying you have to do something, effective leaders request or recommend that members do something.


All though all the above might not be feasible to put in action due to organizational, regional, cultural and environmental constraints that are generally overlooked at a global level, we all can at least give it a try, A genuine attempt should never really hurt!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Meeting a Stranger!

More often than not, certain rudimentary or fundamental things become so inexplicable yet so adoring that you are not really complaining that it has happened, but you are actually enjoying and are actually craving for more of it, at times.

So was this pleasant-sweet acquaintance of mine in an interesting training session that I attended very recently. Names are withheld for all known and unknown reasons.

For the first two days I didn’t know it was this guy that I was talking to for nearly 8 months or so officially. I have heard a lot about this dude and have wanted to see him sometime or the other, a plain curiosity at that, like how managers say “Just wanted to give a face to the name that has been much praised”.

Well, so we spoke on the first coffee break of day 1 during this training and he tells me that he knows me and asked about which project I am into right now and so on.
I was a bit pissed-off at that because, for once I wanted to disassociate myself from the project/domain/account that I belonged to, which has been tagging along with me like a 24X7 shadow or the “Hutch” doggy that keeps following you wherever you go for nearly 3 years now! I don’t have a choice now do I? So, I update him with whatever that I am up to presently and even then the foolish girl in me doesn’t seem to realize that it was the very same guy that I knew of or wanted to meet.

There was an air of significant arrogance and “I-kind-of-know-it-all” around this guy that made me think about the faint similarities that he had with one of my closes friends.
Well, temporarily I discharged the thought and went back to the training after the break.

The next day, I had to deliberately attend to my unsettling fetish for “Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows” to take it along to the training classes with the hope of finishing it off (for the third time!) as I was in the trailing end of the book’s completion.

It was lunch time and I was rushing past the pages of HP7, sunk neck deep into it totally unawares of the surroundings, when I was startled by a voice that said “So, you are a fan of Harry Potter??” For once, I thought I was hallucinating as I didn’t see anyone right ahead of me or next to me, but then instantly I realized that the voice came from behind me and then I craned my neck to turn around and see the owner to whom it belonged to.

Bingo! It’s the same dude. I was like arrghh! I don’t want to start a conversation now, that too not on HP7 where-in I have to talk for it while the other speaks against it. With the gush of these thoughts clambering over each other inside my head, I utter a muffled “Yes”, hoping hard that a monosyllable response would end the conversation at once.

But I was wrong. He said “So this is that last book in the series eh?”.

Still not looking up fully I said “Yeah!”.

With that he quickly added “But hasn’t it been almost two months since the book got released, and are you reading it only now?”

Now, I HAD to look-up, holding the page I was reading with my index finger on it I closed the book and told in an irrefutable voice “I am reading this for the third time”

He didn’t stop there either, instead continued on asking “Ohhhh…So, you were one of those that pre-booked, stood on those long lines on first day and got the book? But why do you read it three times?”

I was really irritated now, “Do I really have to get into the details of how I procured this book now? Does it really matter? I read it more than once because I like it, is there a problem with that?”

A little flabbergasted with that reply, he said “No, I was too curious to know what’s there in that book to be read so passionately?”

With piling up anger showing its shade of red on my face I retorted back saying “What’s NOT there in that book for NOT to be read so passionately? And in any case you wouldn’t know about a Book unless you read it!”

He shrugs his shoulders and says “whatever” and walks away. And I go back to my book.

It was in hindsight that I realized that may be he wasn’t even trying to mock me, but was genuinely trying to make a conversation with me, which I overlooked to understand and reciprocate in a normal manner.

Phew! I hope he forgives my nutty sorta behavior and with any luck we may get to meet and have some decent talking soon!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Over the Weekend...

You are hurt and you have none of your friends around to console you.

You just met with an accident and your deep bruises and wounds are still raw.

You are hit with flu, fever and dry cough and your lungs are tired of the excessive strain laid on them due to non-stop coughing.

You have just found a new home and you have to shift before Monday.

You are in the process of shifting and its raining like mad!

You are tired and worn-out when your ex-landlords try to sound as mean as they can be with returning the rent-deposit or advance however you may wish to call it.

So much more on the same lines, but no better than experiencing it than writing it!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Chat Conversation!

A Chat Conversation on Intranet Exchange Messaging Service:
(To the uninitiated:- The only privilege that software companies offer in the name of entertainment to talk to folks of the same firm)

She: What are you doing?

He: Working...

She: :S:S:S... What joke a??

He: No, I am serious..If I dont work I will be sacked!

She: thu! I didnt mean that!!

He: then...what?

She: I meant, why didn't you ping me since morning?

He (doh, no, not again!): oh... that..well...err... I was stuck in a team meeting since morning.

She: Dont Lie!! I saw your status was not even shown as away! You were very much at ur desk!

He(thinking fast): oh, is that so, know what? of late everyone's been complaining abt the same thing! That I am shown online all the time... Tht's like even after I am out of office. something must be wrong with the messenger pa..

She (thoughtfully): oh is that so? Hmm... Na kuda nee yennamo yenna avoid panriyonnu nenechen!
(Translation: I thought maybe you were avoiding me!)

He(with a sigh of relief) : cha-cha, why will I do that da?

She(a little embarrassed): Um.. seri seri, poi velaya paru!
(Translation: Um...ok ok, go and do your work)

He (Adhathana di senjittu irrunden): ???!!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

An (SQL c)ode to DM, With Love!

SQL*Plus: Release 9.2.0.1.0 - Production on Tue Aug 5 16:17:26 2007
Copyright (c) 1982, 2002, Oracle Corporation. All rights reserved.
Connected to:
Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release 10.2.0.3.0 - 64bit Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP and Data Mining options.


SQL*Plus: Release 9.2.0.1.0 - Production on Tue Aug 5 16:17:26 2007

Copyright (c) 1982, 2002, Oracle Corporation. All rights reserved.

Connected to:
Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release 10.2.0.3.0 - 64bit Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP and Data Mining options

Generate the following stored procedure.

SQL> Somehow I wasn’t up to it.
It’s not that I was prepared for it or that I wasn’t expecting it.
But it felt remotely weird, and kind of disconnected.
Believe me; it was like that for just a fraction of a second.
The next moment, I was taken aback with a shock of having felt a live wire.
Suddenly as if the gripping spell had been released I felt the screaming silence flow inside my pitch black mind which was already foggy and totally unready for any more mugging by then. So I gave up thinking hard to strain the millions of nerves that ran across the grey cells connecting each other in a peculiar fashion to instruct and perceive sensory audio-visual orders.
Shhppt.
I snapped it off right there.
Blank.

I was looking at her face and it shone beautifully yet strangely in that dim lit living room of hers.

“So……” said she.

“Hmm… So….” Said I.

“Yedavadhu sollu Saloni” she said finally after a long pause.

“Yenna sollradhunu theriyala” I said staring at the small cobwebs that had formed at the corner where the fridge stood with its back against the wall face glaring at me.

Both of us let out a helpless laugh making sure not to look into each others eyes in the process as it might definitely lead to instant and unmistakable tear-flow; which both of us wanted to avoid. After all being 25 and working in the software industry for more than 3 years gave us that stamina I guess.

Generate Command:

SQL> ROLLBACK;
Rollback complete.

[One day, One hour, One minute and fifty one seconds ago:]

Exceute the following Stored Procedure:

SQL>

“Wow, you don’t seem to have put on even an iota from what I saw you 5 months ago” chirped I cheerfully looking at DM in front of that dingy super market.

She had come down to India for a measly fortnights’ vacation that her office had generously offered her with. Nevertheless, I must consider myself to be lucky that I was very much available and was able to meet and spend some time with her, so no complaints there pal!

As usual and as always is the case with me, whenever I got to spend valuable time with my family/friends, my work always interjects, objects and oppresses me and leaves me totally anchored to my seat in front of the maddening 14” monitor, having to wait for the overseas dawn and wish my onsite a pleasant morning and present the updates for the day and run-away hastily cringing and cribbing at the 1&1/2 hours time difference that’s more of an agony almost all the time of course except for those times that I enjoyed these myself when I was living in CST for nearly half-an-year.

Anyways, that very day DM was traveling back to U.S to resume work and I had decided that I would catch-up with her as much as I can and was able to make it only by 7pm when she was to head towards airport by 10.30pm.

The next day was her birthday, what a sick thing it’s got to be to travel all the 22hours of your birthday. Hey DM, no offense meant. But that thought just sent in an upchuck movement in my insides. Again, maybe only one in a million gets such a chance… to be on a flight the entire day, 25 years after you were born, in a very optimistic sense.

Yes, off with those stupid sms wishers, phone call wishers, email wishers, egreeting wishers, bouquet wishers, orkut/blog wishers, lunch/breakfast/dinner wishers and what not’s?!

For once, Just for once…. You don’t have to strain your mouth saying “Thank You” or your fingers typing “Thanks for your wishes” Or take people on “Lunch Treats” get spattered with the cake all over your face and get your bums swollen with the sweet-birthday-bums you would be gifted by your roommates and best friends, most importantly, For once, nor do you have to keep that plastic smile all day long as though you are a mannequin in a cloths’ boutique; just coz its your freaking birthday. Why don’t people get a life and give the world a break, a break from the menacing routine that has gotten to levels of sickeningly nauseating and irksome. Although there might be many who would counter argue stating that you get to have the world’s probably longest birthday ever; thanks to the time zones!

I envy you DM. Truly, Sincerely and Honestly. I wish I get to have such a birthday far, far away from everyone I - know, want, love, like and every other thing that is there to it.

I wanted to talk a lot to you when I met you here in India after a long time. But I have no clue at all as to what the heck went wrong with my vocal chords for they remained rolled and twisted, and in loss for words most of the time; So much UNLIKE me!


I wouldn’t have believed this from anyone about me keeping mum, but as I remember every inch of our meeting; I believe its not my alter-ago or any supernatural double or duplicate of mine that met you instead of me.

I missed her terribly; I wanted to talk to her loads. We were sitting right next to each other. There was no-one who would stop us from talking to each other. There was no-one who would don’t talk so much to DM, nor would DM mind if I spoke so much after all she had known me for 10years now. Albeit all these and many more to add I just couldn’t break the unidentifiable ice berg that had formulated between us unknowingly.


PL/SQL completed successfully.

Generate Command:-
SQL> Commit;
Commit complete.


“Seri, Appo na Kelambaren da… Unakku yedavadhu venumna sollu”, I got up from my seat.

“Illa, Salo onnum perusa illa pack panna, Na mudichitten. Nane onnu onna poi chips-gips nu vangittu vandhuttu irrukken kalaila irundhu. So I am done.”

I gave her the card and a small gift that I had bought for her and shook her hand wishing her a happy birthday.

Then I waved at her, with tears trembling to fall from the edge of my eyes, I turned away instantly and got my bike to life and fled as fast as I could from that place.

Generate Stored Procedure:
SQL> Miss You, very much DM!

Generate Command:
SQL> commit;
Commit complete.

Generate Command:

SQL> Exit;

Friday, August 3, 2007

AO without AC

Two days ago when my dad had called up to inform us about the most awaited and happiest of the news that almost all of us in the family were eagerly expecting to hear for nearly 5 months now, we were all elated, no less, and wanted to get on to the party mode right away. Well, after all it’s the news of my father’s last promotion in his career of 35 long years as an earnest employee of the Tamil Nadu government. Now, that definitely deserves a party doesn’t it?

As it’s quite obvious my mom was inquiring details about the receipt of the promotional offer at my dad’s office and his joining date and his roles and responsibilities as the “Accounts Officer and Financial Adviser” to the Government of Tamil Nadu, XYZ department. Let’s keep it that way for all politically right and not-so-right purposes, which are also tangentially not so right to be disclosed here when it’s highly uncalled for.

So the excited mum of mine, was on phone talking to my dad with her voice getting all so choky and tears threatening to pour-out any second now in the next 60 seconds time, all in the name of happiness and a contended one at that!

As was believed by the entire family, my dad and I were experts in changing the topic in a very sweet, unnoticeable manner to render the pleasant-mood at times like this, where people are at the peak of their emotions.

It was my dad’s turn this time around as he was one that was on phone with my mom, so he started off saying that, “One good thing about getting the promotion of AO (Account’s Officer) from DAO (Deputy Accounts Officer) is that I don’t get to have the AC anymore. It’s been taken away finally. Now, I am in the separate AO’s room all for myself.”

At that as shrewd as she always is, my mom said, “What? What kind of stupidity is this? Never have I heard about such arrogance of taking away the Air Conditioner for a person who has been promoted to a senior role?”

In a poignant voice, my dad replied “Yes, but this is government order and I cannot go against it, there’s nothing that can be done now. Who knows? Maybe since I am going to be retired in another year’s time they thought they should probably give away the AC to someone who’s much younger and much more deserving”

My mom went red at that and she yelled “What on earth has gone wrong with you? The whole world says you are the best and here you are claiming that you don’t deserve a goddamned A.C, and that too a one that was with you already, not caring a least about the same being snatched away from you now, when you have actually been promoted to the most honorable and highest position in your sector!”

She couldn’t quite get the grips of it, when my dad finally laughed out loud and said.
“Dear lady, When I said AC, it’s not the Air Conditioner, but it’s the Additional Charge. When I was a Deputy Accounts Officer, I given an AC (Additional Charge of playing an “Account’s Officers” role). Now, that I am an Accounts Officer myself, there’s no more A.C (Additional Charge), and that is why I said it’s been taken away.

It then took a lot of time for me and my brother to console my mother who usually is not very sportive with those sweet-little-pranks being played on her is a different story altogether!


Useless!

My present mood is Grrrrr..........

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Brass & Bronze Days...

When my mom gave away all her bronze and brass utensils that were adorned with traditional state-of-art craftsmanship and had endowed our generation till-date with a consummate feel-of-belonging to the rich and popular dynasty that roots back to the most renowned “Appaji” of the Krishna Deva Raya’s era, I was mostly unfeeling and insensitive to these things that were getting out of our generation, which had been for so long (that no one can easily track-back) dwelling with us, constantly reminding us of our ancestral origin and also making us get accustomed to clean these heavy utensils every week with a sparkling “pink and yellow” to pass the spick and span test conducted by the elderly lady(s) of the family. This would usually be mothers or the in-laws.

When I was young, it used to be fun on every Thursday evening as mom would be busy cleaning all these utensils and would pay less attention to me and my brother, the kids.
She used to slog herself or with the maid to give the best shot to get these vessels to glittering brightness.

During those days, after playing for a longtime with my street friends and enjoying the bonus hours of a Thursday evening when I went to our backyard for freshening-up, I used to see the array of these bronze and brass utensils cleaned to perfection, shining to glare my eyes at twilight, arranged neatly one after the other size-wise kept upside down to dry out the wetness. I vividly remember cursing those vessels to have remained more dirty so that it took more time for my mom to invigilate the cleaning process or do it herself, which would in-turn give me more time at play!

Every festivity was an opportunity that awaited the finest exhibit of these vessels to the best of their utilization with the beholding contents of food cooked deliciously and offered to god before human consumption. This caught the attention of the neighborhood families in the street easily and middle-aged women who were daughters-in-law of joint families or mothers of 2-3 kids like my mom used to stream in to our home to calculate the worth of the bronze/brass utensils and their beauty and take-in the picture-perfect glow of these vessels with a shade of jealousy, that usually ended up in muttering “Why use all these vessels when there’s glass and stainless steel that the world is reaching out for!?” … mind you this was nearly 20 years ago!

An indignant grandmother of mine, used to retort with skilled tyranny “if you cannot stretch yourself to manage precious little possessions such as these, don’t you dare discourage my daughter-in-law who does it with whole-heartedness!”

That saved my mom’s time for one thing that those ladies always kept quiet for the rest of the times they visited my home for the Navrathri Doll Festival or Varalakshmi Vratham days!

Navarathri days used to be utmost fun with the dolls of plaster of paris, ceramic, good-old-mud and wooden dolls artistically dressed in glad rags and trinkets festooned with glitter papers and other eye-catching substances to enhance the beauty of these hand-worked dolls echeloned in a vast gallery with mounds of cereals and grains arranged in front of them in those cute-looking miniature cups and bowls made of brass and bronze, what an ecstasy and a delight to the eyes those were……


From the place of birth, we had been traveling although not too much to keep the things we possessed very light, but at least to an extent that we had to forcefully dispose off the stuff that weren’t of any use to my mom with her graying her and menopause knee-pains reminding her of her aging process, she finally had to brace herself for this decision of giving away all that she had been possessing for more than 35 years now.

All that glittered and glowed in our home when I was a kid, taking advantage of all of those to play, to boast, to fool-around….. is all gone now!

Nothing that’s bronze or brass except for a small lamp and a tumbler are left of the huge range of collectives and possessions that were passed on to the later generations from long, long ago by my great, great grandfathers!

“Sorry, Ma… I couldn’t even give a proper valedictory speech to honor our buddies when they left us”…I thought when my mom asked me to clean the lamp and the tumbler placing a small knoll of tamarind, for the month of Shravan is round the corner.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Soul Searching!

On a fresh Saturday morning in July 2007, I paid a visit to TTD Balaji temple at T.Nagar - Venkat Narayana Road, Chennai. I simply love the ambience and serenity of that place and the peace of mind and mental tranquil that I derive out of it every time I go there. With the impending load of work looming large in front of me in the coming days, that place was the only pressure-free-zone where in I could exercise my transcendental patience practice which was dancing on the edge of getting obsolete in me. Although I wasn’t a super-observer of patience and its assorted comrades like tolerance, persistence, lenience, forbearance and staying restraint, I wasn’t way too out of control with my anger too. Well I at least never used to shout at people with lack of discipline and manners - as often as I did these days.

It makes me feel like these people are strict followers of profanity and I am the one against this loathsome sacrilege. Displeased with my mental disability of temper-watch, unable to put-up with my disintegrating graciousness (although, its so only with the wrong-doers) and in a bit of soul searching with in and inside me alone, with the hope of trudging on with even a small fragment of the desolated equanimity that would lead me to be a bit poised, if not for anything miraculous.


Thwarted was I when I went this time to the shrines' rafting away all those alms-mongers, cursing-under-the-breath-tulsi-garland vendors, repeatedly yelling archana basket vendors, ear-jarring horns of the traffic, unbearably loud clamor of a bunch of fellas who are fighting over each other to take care of your shoes while you are inside the holy place. More maniacal hue & cry of the junta that has come to see the god and in desperate measure to make it as quicker and in a shorter way as they can by cutting across the Q-lines and being yelled by the throng that’s been tending to move so very lazily and haphazardly giving no room for movement in the Q-line that had formed literally two streets away from where the almighty stood all graceful and charming at his devotees. The congregation that had assembled in that early hours of a Saturday morning made me ponder how many others apart from me, were probably in a much worse state, perhaps possessing the most uncommon turmoil in their life, was there to seek consecration from the deity.

Something suddenly changed in my whole being. I felt a rush of fresh blood flowing through all my veins starting from the brains. I decided not to seek for anything this time around from God except this sanity that he has gifted me with. Determined, I kept my cool and moved forward slowly with the crowd, missing out totally, but with full-heartedness of my usual set of prayers, seeking for happiness, seeking for promotion, seeking for wealth and health, seeking for peace of mind at home and work. I wasn’t feeling guilty for my act. I was rather happy and contended, for the first time in my life, for I had asked the god for nothing, absolutely N.O.T.H.I.N.G at all.

After taking the holy prasadh, I prostrated in front of the powerful omnipotent lord seeking for not anything for I was a nonentity in the vast plate of petitioners that God had to attend to and get busy with.

With a revolting surge of new found happiness and fulfillment slowly overruling my rather inordinate demands of a naïve mind I unlocked my legs from the prostrated from in front of the God and landed myself to a sitting position.

There was girl in green salwar sitting next to me. She looked too disturbed and was persistently uttering Stotras with her eyes closed. I watched her as my heart voluntarily sought god’s help to resolve whatever that lady’s problem was. As I unfolded my palms in front of me and opened my eyes after praying for this unknown lady who was sitting next me, I craned my neck to see that she was no more there. But in her place was a Titan watch that belonged to her. Instantly I picked it up, pushed away the crowd that were standing in front of me to leave the temple, yelling out “excuse me” as loud as I can and leaving a bit of the crowd flummoxed in the process.
Finally, I found her near one of those shoe-guarding guys and tapped her on her shoulder as I was breathing hard with the fresh-sprinting I had done and extending her the watch with a euphoric smile on my face.

“Thanks a lot; it’s my lucky watch and my only priced-possession presented by my dad, who’s no more” said she.

Tears trickled down her cheeks leaving me completely bolted to the ground for few seconds and then I gathered myself consoled her and wished her good luck in all her endeavors and left my card with her incase she needed any help.

I stood there watching her gait and her mouth continuing to mumble:


“Vina Venkatesam na natho na nathah Sada Venkatesam smarami smarami,
Hare! Venkatesa! prasida prasida Priyam Venkatesa! prayaccha prayaccha.”

When I walked away, I whispered to myself, “Lord, I solicit nothing to be bequeathed!”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Money, Money Baby!

WIPRO and other IT companies are planning for 6 days a week job, including saturday. They probably will start this practice with onsite guys.


Those were the first few lines of a FWDed email that I received today with a subject line that read in caps as: "WHATZ THIS?"

Scrolling down the email were couple of links that took me to today's online version of Economic Times,
News By Industry Section.

Another one led to the Times of India's
India Business Section.

Well, with the rising insanity of Indian IT folks to make as much Dollars & Pounds as they can before their age hits mid thirties... this definitely is not a happy news for the Indian Zombies... who are already slogging their way-out to get their posh triple-bedroom apartment in uptown Banjara or a costliest apartment with in an all-new-world by itself - The Lanco Hills - a mega techno-residential township project started in Hyderabad or to invest in a crore's worth Duplex Individual Bungalow on the Pune-Bombay highway!

On a more madrasi term.... To invest in a luxurious and well-appointed apartment with all amenities and clear-title in Velachery or Madippakkam or Pallikaranai or Mogappair West at a throw of a bunch of millions that they make in the Foreign Nation.

* Gone are the days when people were happy owning a Bajaj Chetak or a Hero Honda Passion.

* Gone are the days when kids were happy with riding a BSA SLR or Hero Cycle to their schools.

* Gone are the days when women folk used Corporation Buses as a mode of communication to go to shopping malls or temples or any friends place.

* Gone are the days when people hired maid servants to do the work, ONLY when the woman of the family was ill or away from home.

* Gone really are the days when people actually went to places like Moor Market, Uzhavar Sandhai or Sunday Markets where in you get to buy things at a very good deal on lowest prices.

P.S: The "People" reference in this post is solely and purely meant for I.T folks of this generation with a tad bit of an exaggeration added in for taste. Any resemblance or coincidence to the living or dead kinfolk from other vocational platforms or to anything authentic and genuine in real life will only make my post more credible with added facts!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Blog Publish Bug - Help Needed!!!!!

Okay, Lemme confess first...... This might sound mightily stupid... But I am still clueless as to why does it happen to me for the past 3 years (since I started blogging now!) and that too sporadically?

Why is it that some of my posts do not get reflected on my blog site even after publishing so many times and clicking on the view blog / view blog in a different window option.

I have already tried checking the settings section where-in I have set my url as http://salsworld.blogspot.com/ only!

Even after I clear the history, remove all the offline content and try out every other reasonable /unreasonable/insensible thing that I can think of.... I am fruitless in achieving this!

Brick-batters and Sound-spitters are always welcome! :-)

Suggestions on a Satirical Note are also warmly welcomed.....

Help Madi Please...................

The Sign

She was sweating profusely. The sweat beads had formed a peculiar design like a row of tiny & minuscule due drops filled on the grass during early winter mornings, on her upper lip, on her long sharp nose, on her forehead a little below where the hairline begins and around her eyebrows. She was breathing heavily. Her nervousness was pretty obvious with her quivering voice and trembling hands. She was totally shaken. This was not what she wanted to do. No! Never, Ever!

Slowly, she bent down to feel her stomach with a wave of her right palm and felt the butterflies inside. There wasn’t a total denial from her side. She had resigned to what fate had to offer her for the kindness personified that she always is. She tilted her head sideward to see him watching her; who was in a better state than her. For a split second, a fleeting moronic thought rose in her mind; of jumping off the window sill of the 9th floor that they were in. She felt dying would be a better choice than to make up a mind over a decision to be made which was as grave as this. But she couldn’t muster the much needed guts to do that even.

The damage was done already. No use lamenting about it. Any discussion or debate over spilt milk is not gonna gain her (or him for that matter) a penny.

He decided his home would be the best place to bring her in; as his parents were away for a while. He was very confident about persuading her into it once again. For he knew how kind-hearted and sweet she is; although she might get agitated and worked up in the beginning.

He moved a little closer to her on the couch at his living room and held her left hand. Slowly stroking her upper palm, he told her that it was all going to be okay soon and she need not have to really worry so much about it, these days this isn’t a big deal at all. He braced her up stating that it would be over once for all, if she agreed to do what’s being instructed to her and that he would really be grateful if she did it for him just once – this one last time.

Still unconvinced she looked up at him with a pool of confusion blinding her eyes and a cluster of wrinkles conquering her forehead. Inside her, frame by frame, images kept flashing by of the mistake that she committed of getting closer to him, of her not wanting to be a part of it, of how he deliberately dragged her into it, of how scared and agitated she was if her parents ever came to know about it…. All for trying to be nice to her only best friend, which was him.

She never really wanted to hurt him and that was the sole reason why she had to end up being party to it.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As always, that morning Beulah rode her bicycle to school at 7.45am. On the way, she met Paul who was on his bicycle to the same school that she studied in. Paul is a very talkative boy and would do anything to keep good company of people around him who would joke, tease and love to have too much fun, all in good spirits and healthy attitude.

Paul always had a liking for Beulah as they both grew up together since their childhood as neighbors’ at Mussoorie until they were 12 and then Beulah’s dad got a transfer to South India and they had lost touch for about 3 years. When Paul saw Beulah join him in the same class as he studied, he was pretty much surprised and it was a dream come true for him for he never wanted to part with Beulah or her friendship.

But the three years after Paul had left; Beulah had grown up to be a gorgeous, beautiful, charming and a stunning girl in her early teens looking extremely attractive for her age. But she had turned out to be very quiet and more of an introvert sort, which was a striking difference from what Paul, had known her to be three years ago, as an argumentative person who was busy with her mouth full of words and a renowned chatter-box kind of girl in their avenue. Paul did like this flavor of Beulah as well. He rather liked her this way much better than her older self, especially because this saved him a lot of energy in the form of refutations that he always had to come-up with, every time Beulah started out with a new argument!

Paul’s teenage considered, getting closer to Beulah as a potential challenge and an issue of cachet and esteem for a boy of his age among his friends for he had uncontrollably spat out all about his childhood friendship with Beulah the Beautiful (BB - as she was fondly called in her class) and her family and so he was decided to go for it at any cost.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Beulah didn’t want to be late to school. But Paul had stopped her on her way. Pleaded her, begged her to come with him to his home to do some catching up for the lost 3 years. Beulah refused vehemently. After a lot of coaxing from Paul, at which he was very skillful, Beulah had to agree to go with him.

At his home Paul offered her sweets, cakes, sandwiches and confectionaries for munching on while they got busy in the talk and Beulah slowly opened up talking about the three years when Paul wasn’t around.

Slowly the rapport that was lost between the two returned to the best of forms leaving the two totally more curious to know more about the other person.

When time was not failing in its duty; they both were yapping away to glory.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

She kneeled down on the floor with both her palms folded together in front of her chest she prayed to God. She confessed everything to god and sought forgiveness from the almighty. This was getting him restless for she was delaying the time more and more instead of just getting it over and done with. But he didn’t have the nerve to disturb her prayer either. So he kept pacing up and down biting his nails very hard.

After praying she slowly opened her eyes. There was a bit of calm and peace in the once confusion squirming eyes of hers. Decidedly she got up and walked up to him who was now at the verge of tears.

With out a word Beulah took the card from his bag and signed as “Mark Stevenson” on the “Parent’s Signature” column above which stood the single digit marks of Mr. Paul Stevenson in all 7 subjects of the recently held Quarterly Examinations for the (Second Year’s) Higher Secondary Education underlined brightly with red sketch and evidently filled with scornful remarks in the “Teacher’s Comments” section by his class-teacher.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I got my copy too..............

of the most awaited..........the most anticipated, the most talked about, the most read... by millions & millions of people around the world.....


HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

Back After a 10 Days' Break!

I was off to Chennai from 13th - 22nd of July.

It was a mind blowing experience.... I had been to a bunch of wonderful places in TN as well.

One of the most fabulous and remarkable experience being - Kumbakonam Trip!

That apart, I happened to visit Chidambaram, Vaitheeshwaran Kovil, Salem and some such places.....

More on the beauty of the places that I travelled soon.... :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Final chance to hear yourself on Radio Mirchi!"

That's what the subject of the email that landed in my outlook inbox this morning read.
Our firm was recently acquired; in polished terms or bought; in raw words, by a technological, consulting and outsourcing giant of Information Technology Sector.

Well, after having enslaved us as underdogs, heres what they are doing.....

They have made us loose our identity and are now throwing biscuits randomly at air and have given us a new life... where in we are all trained/not-so-trained dogs tied to their respective poles and are expected to grab the biscuits to be caught and eaten appropriately.Failing in which we might be sacked? thrown-out? fired? given a pink-ticket? produced a termination-notice?

Wait, don't they all mean one and the same?!

What are we to ga-ga about the integration now and that too on air?

That we aren't happy about our integration?

When minions are taken over by techno-giants... this is what happens... They make you look like fools... they take-away your visiting cards... they take-away the email id that you are accustomed to for nearly how-many-ever years that you were with your firm...they take away your name plates... they take your id-cards... they take-away the intranet site that you were referring to so far for all the information....

What kind of garlic & onions are they expecting from us to be spouted on Radio, after having snatched everything that belonged to us, everything that was ours, everything that identified us, everything that we used and had been with us till yesterday?

This is worse than the feeling of a newly married bride going to her in-laws place after marriage!

Believe me, it sucks!

You haven't quit... but you have somehow changed the firm already?! .. How does that sound one fine day when someone writes back to your email saying..... "Yo, dude! You never told me that you switched job?!"

And I am like, yah... Surprise, Surprise!!

[Grr.... Loathe you, Cheater!! ...]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beggars can (Very Much!) be choosers!

For those that raise an eyebrow reading that unconventional statement, this post might definitely make them second that belief of mine.

My on-road travel distance to office is nearly 4kms from my home. The time taken to cover this distance varies significantly based on the peak traffic hours and the volume of the vehicles on road, both moving and stationary. That leaves me with very little options of overcoming the wait-period in the traffic signal at Cyber Towers for more than 20mins, that’s the worst case scenario that I am taking into consideration as that is what would best suit the story that I am gonna present here to justify my very first statement.

Moving back to my story, it was 7.30pm on a Monday evening and as always I was relaxed a bit as it was my drive back to home after a long Monday’s workload.
As expected, the minute I halted my bike for the traffic signal that exposed the red light, I knew better to turn my vehicles engine to rest, as I was some 100 vehicles away from the signal point and it was potentially impossible for me to cross the road before the signal fell back to show red. *Sigh!*. The green light hardly shone for about 10 seconds or so.

Goaded with the discomfort that I was going to undergo for the next 15 or so minutes because of the wait amidst the bunch of cars, shuttle vans, Office buses, trucks and two-wheelers that were emitting thick black smoke as a result of the burning fuel, I took my helmet off to save myself from some serious choking due to lack of fresh air, (as if that’s going to help me any better..Silly me!) and that was the mistake that I did!

I suddenly felt a hand groping on my thigh …startled, I looked at the direction from where the hand was reaching out and touching me, I saw a pale looking, short, dark, thin and puny boy of around 7-8 years of age in rags.

I could hardly hear him in the noise-mania of the highly trafficked roads, feebly he was calling out “akka akka…” and was wailing his right palm in front of my face and was asking for alms.

He told me that he hadn’t had food in two days and was hungry and that I am to give him some money which would buy him the meal that he failed to intake in two days.

Although at the first shot, I felt anger swelling inside me to blast-off the guy for being so stupid; to scare the freaking hell out of me, by prodding my thighs….But, I felt a sudden gush of kindness flowing through my heart from nowhere, cooling me down entirely and I caught on to a conversation with that little boy.

Apparently, he knew no more than akka in the South Indian languages but sounded good-enough with his Hindi. When I asked him where he was from, all he knew was that he was from Gujarat and that his parents had deserted him when there was earthquake that shattered the entire state early in the 2000's.

I felt sad for the small soul suddenly, and asked if he would come home with me.

Scared and shocked he asked me why and inquired if I was going to hand-him over to the police for begging. Concerned by his fright , I told him not to worry, and said that I was going to take him to my home, give him some good clothes and food.

A bright smile filled his little face and vanished almost at the same pace as it had formed.

Why are you doing this to me, was his next question..followed almost immediately by Are you going to make me your slave? He started retreating with a couple of steps from where I was standing with my bike.

I let out a smile and assured him that I wasn’t going to enslave him (as this is what a lot of people around my place do usually; so was his rightful concern). I told him that I was going to find him a job, which made him earn money so that he can eat happily - at least two full meals a day at that.

[I had in my mind the job of cleaning/washing my car and the four bikes that my family and my landlord’s possessed.]

For a second, his expression was pretty blank and I couldn’t read his face.

Then, suddenly and unexpectedly he started screaming at me for reasons below:

“Whaaaaatttt??? Why should I work??? What makes you think that I should be working in the first place to earn money???? What do you think I am doing now???? If you can’t shred a penny say so and get the hell out of my way, stop giving cheap-rated advices that are worth nothing and spoil my business! I wonder what your teachers and schools teach you, not even the basic manners of “How not to waste other’s time” and “How not to disturb others business for no apparent reason”…. Now, now all the crap that you gave me apart, are you going to give me any money or not???”

I was totally taken aback by that 1 minute long discourse of his that totally stuck me hard with an iron mallet somewhere near to where my Cerebellum was located inside my head.

My mouth wide-open, not paying any attention to the honking vehicles behind me, as there was a green that had made the bunch of vehicles ahead of me to cross-over the road leaving some space ahead of me to push forward…. With reality hitting me harder than the virtual iron-mallet, I shook my head in utter despair and got my bike to life instantly and moved forward.

When I thought, that was it, the puny boy, once again ran to me some ten steps ahead, and again asked me for money. Disgruntled, I just wanted to get it over with; so, I rummaged through my bag to catch hold of some coins… and unfortunately was just able to find one 50 paise coin. "Money is money anyways" is what I thought and reached out to his out-stretched hand and placed on his palm.

Long pause. [I was looking at him, and his face told me that something was wrong].

He glared at it and then looked up at me and glared at me as well. I was clueless.

I asked him what the matter is and what he told me as an answer literally got me reeling with shock.

He said “For all that waste of time that I underwent, you should be actually giving me Rs.5/- for I have lost my business where in I would have made that much, but that’s okay, I don’t expect a two-wheeler rider like you to be well-off to be giving away Rs.5/- but I expected a 2 Rupee coin at the very least. But you gave a 50p coin and insulted me. And if you didn’t know, I can’t even make onions out of this 50p coin as it’s not made of iron. I don’t want this menial useless coin, keep it to yourself” - with that he placed the coin on my bike’s handlebar and walked away in a glorious trot cursing me furthermore to have spoiled his valuable and precious business hours!


Gosh Felt I!

Vijay TV - Airtel Super Singer Junior!

Well, Well, What can I (not) say about this hottest and latest reality show that the mobile service provider Airtel has tied up with Tamil channel Star-Vijay to co-brand and promote, for the hunt of TN’s sweet little golden voice?

This vocal talent search was exclusively for kids of age group falling between 6-14years. This reality show indeed created a huge wave of response among everyone starting from the youngest one to the eldest one of the family, keeping them engrossed and gripped in keeping track of the show without fail every Friday/Saturday 8pm on Vijay TV and (unbelievably) not to miss the repeat telecast as well, on all Sundays between 3pm-4pm. Besides that, this kid’s reality music show has gained momentum among all the music lovers of Chennai and the entire Tamil Nadu too.

Undoubtedly this reality show has kept the audiences in tune; with the little ones rendering their best in their sweet intoxicating voices every time they are up on that little podium in front of the judges. Wow… really adoring those little ones are… Each and every one of them!
It’s a dream for every little soul out there to become the “Chosen One”. But alas, the big fat bag with 5 Lakhs prize money and the fame-game is all waiting up there to be owned by one among these 45 bright kids from all parts of Tamil Nadu, especially from Chennai, Coimbatore and Salem.


Auditions began… these exuberant kids were brought under the conditions of performing live with no orchestra to support the musical notes emanating out of their vocal chords with pressure, mounting tension, stage fear, nervousness and anxiety in front of the most renowned singers, both classical and playback of Tamil Nadu.

Distinct stood the-one-in-a-million voices of bright kids like Balasarangan, Dhanyashree, Vidhyalakshmi, Srinidhi, Krishnamoorthy, Vignesh, Roshan and few other kids whose names I wouldn’t recollect at the moment.

With each growing week, levels increased and the 45 children were growing lesser and lesser in number, who had given their best and made it to the next level of screening. The spot selections were almost unbiased although I wouldn’t say a 100% so.

Things were definitely on neutral terms until quarter finals. But from there on started the most awaited, anticipated and absolutely clichéd favoritism, and preferential treatment of the kids in being rated for their renditions.

With the extraordinary performances that which still have the power to linger in our ears, one still wonders why was “Balasarangan” eliminated and pushed into a fluke-based round such as “Wild Card Round” without being given a ticket to the semi-finals, when there are kids like Roshan who still needed to have had a significant re-consideration in being selected for competing to get into the semi-finals.

Not that Roshan is bad, but definitely Roshan is one of the very youngest one of the lot and has a lot more scope for improvement and time (which is more important for a Junior singer!) as apposed to the other contestants. So, he could always have made his way through even after a year or so later, which wouldn’t have hurt, but definitely such is not the case with certain other kids who were already bordering on the lines of turning 14 and whose voices were undergoing the adolescent changes, for example Saicharan.

But even though Saicharan exhibited the best tempo and rhythm, his voice wasn’t an apt one for a Junior Super Singer. His was an almost matured voice, which touched melody with that rare style and induced that soft feel of euphony leaving no room for the listeners to expect any jarry-western or indi-pop or loud folk or other type of songs to be rendered from a voice like that of his. Not his mistake at all. But this kid is really good at music- that’s for sure!

Now, there’s this increased rage and angst against two sad facts:

1. Balasarangan’s elimination in the wild-card-round.
2. Abarna’s selection for the finals-round.


Why was Abarna selected of all the people… especially when the amazing ones like Srinidhi were lost in the crowd way back in the initial levels of screening itself?

Something that really needs an agreeably valid and acceptably sensible explanation would be; even in the 6 contestants that fought for one position to squirm their way into the finals:

1. Where did Dhanyashree’s beautiful voice disappear?
2. What happened to Balasarangan?
3. Why was Vidhyalakshmi not selected?


Was Dhanyashree not good enough in her rendition with Srinivas?

Was it Vidhyalakshmi’s mistake that, the song Anuradha Sriram chose happened to be a dominating one with Anu singing most of it, leaving little choice for Vidhyalakshmi to prove herself?

Was it Balasarangan’s fault that his duet with Anuradha didn’t click that well?

Undeniably, Dhanyashree sounded far better than what Abarna had to do in the wildcard round and in the other initial rounds as well.

Although there are a lot of allegations raised with the selection of Saircharan for the finals by the Judges Usha and Chitra, its far too realistic to believe that Unni had to end-up selecting Abarna of all six highly qualified contestants of the wild-card round.

Why only three judges for the final round is another impending question that’s been itching my mind for long. And why are all of them females is another… but then let’s not get into feministic or male-chauvinistic mode now.

Why SPB or Yesudas was not part of the finals jury board?

Most importantly, what happened to Chitra who was all along there with all the other prior levels?

With these and many more to add, there were clear-cut cases like; Saicharan’s score board was constantly ensured to be kept atop the other contestants although his performances failed him sometimes.

With glitches like Abarna’s threshold to the Finals, Balasarangan/Srinidhi’s elimination, Airtel Super Singer Junior did make a mark among all the viewers of Vijay TV in the hunt for the golden, sweet little voice of Tamil Nadu.

Balasarangan’s “Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran” and “Malarndum Malaradha” were a sweet treat to the listeners.

Kaatrinilae Varum Geetham” by Srinidhi was one more beautiful and perfectly sculpted rendition.

Last, but definitely not the least to talk about the two best finalists, Krishnamoorthy and Vignesh; its bliss to hear these two kids that have been bestowed upon with one of the mellifluous and honey-filled voices that god can favor to gift the human kind.

More so for Krishnamoorthy as he stands out with his ever-lasting ease at rendering almost anything and everything with a cute little smile.The technical finesse in the voice of Krishnamoorthy which was presented amicably in each of his renditions made him the super-star kid of this whole Musical-Extravaganza. Especially his “Sangeetha Jadhi Mullai” is an amazing effort that would be spoken big for years to come!

Krishnamoorthy was unstoppable with his near perfect renditions every-time and through-out and most noticeably his down-to-earth attitude, coated with a warm smile and his humble nature bequeathing, when he endearingly said “Yenna Nalla padu-nu sollamattiya da?” – To Saicharan, where in Sai wished Vignesh “Good-Luck and asked him to give a tough competition to Krishna”, in the finals; when Krishnamoorthy and Vignesh were to fight against each other.

Vignesh was rhetoric; he had a best-fit carnatic voice that was a pure enchantment to the crowd during his renditions like “Vandhal Mahalakshmi” and “Marudha Malai Maamaniye”. It was a glory to all those ears that listened to these two songs, by Vignesh – truly a splendid effort by the kid!

Both these kids are extremely good, but definitely my vote goes for Krishnamoorthy as he has proven to be flawless and unblemished in all of his renditions.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Zombies are made (not born?!)

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Upon request from couple of my best buddies I am posting this one yet again!
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At 7.30am,packed in a bus, that was suffocating already, carrying more than the required number, with windows tightly shut to prevent the rain water hitting & wetting the faces of the window-seaters, jam-packed with people finding happiness in even an inch of space that they can get their feet on – I found myself staring at the crowd in the bus…Heavy imported laptops slinging from their shoulders, assorted with massive jackets making wuish-wuish sounds, lunch kit, office bags & other stuffs to make the place even more crammed and ineligible to breathe-in and breathe-out.With all those sleepy and grim looking faces filled in that dimly lit corporate bus, it gives me an impression of a bunch of automatons being transported from one site to another for some technical enhancements on to those expressionless flat faces…

The first site being taken to would be: The so-called Office.I sincerely don’t believe that site would provide the missing expressions on the faces of these androids…but I am sure they would obtain at least half-of-what-they-want in the name of peace & happiness when they reach their next Site:-HOME! – Say in 8, 9, 10, 12 hrs from now…

Yet for all those that live away from their homes and are put-up in hostels or PGs or be it C/O platforms it doesn’t stop there either as their struggle for life proceeds after office hours.. Struggle for food, struggle for sleep, struggle for privacy, struggle for freedom & peace and all the other assorted troubles that would prop up when one is forced to live in a common-place.

On a constructive note, No other field except IT in today’s scenario is as well-heeled with bags and bags of dollars…Giving you a head-start at:

1. Free monetary flows (with instant loans & EMI’s following pursuit)
2. Plush living with the possession of a spacious triple bedroom apartment in the heart-of-a-most-happening software city.
3. A sophisticated air conditioned car parked at your portico.
4. A bunch of cards that you swipe-in to get to anything, anywhere and anytime
5. A mail sent to your team with a list of acclaims and accolades from your top management for your sweat-n-blood.

Such perfection has definitely got to do with at least a minimum amount of sacrifices…Here goes the top six of the eternal list…

  • Residual remains of being a work alcoholic – sucking out all ur energy cells.
  • Receding/Graying hairlines.
  • Traces of faintly skewed brains (mind?).
  • Over-worked eyes behind those high powered lenses – which you very smartly call as anti-glare glasses.
  • Permanently dark (ened) circles bearing eyes that are gone way inside their respective sockets.
  • Uneven, ill maintained and shapeless and unhealthy body conditions are one the most prominent diseases for being a s/w pro for a relatively long time…

Well, when I say relatively long time, I strongly believe that “ONE” full year under the same type of work would also create the sufficient damage that would make you a perfect “whatever-you-are” as described above!

Multi-lingual crowd from all four directions of the country bringing in their drawl to add to the dashboard which is already overloaded with too many linguistic theories set-out by the majority crowd or localities.

Paragraphs to sentences to words, you are so conscious every time you utter a single sentence of the local language because you don’t know the language yet you would want to learn and speak to please the people around or with the only notion of getting their understanding in a better way comparatively.

At the end of the day, the entire group has a common way of talking; credit goes to the contributors from different parts of India as specified below…

Simply South:

Yellow becomes “Ellow”
Number becomes “Nem-ber”
Air becomes “Ye-air”
One becomes “Vone”
Twenty becomes “Tonty”
Account becomes “Yec-count”

Nostalgic North/the rest of the India:

Veg. becomes “bheg”
Potato becomes “Batata/o”
Parent becomes “Pay-rent”
Oh come on becomes “Arey Yaar”
Oh yes becomes “haan naaa”
Hey listen becomes "Arey suno naa"
What I would like to say is becomes “What I would like to say ki”

These transient yet practical inabilities of human-mind get into this doggedness with issues in a quick click of the fingers seeking out for alternate ways of communication.

So I have a veritable buffet of:
1) Juveniles who prefer to indulge in meaningless emoticon exchange.
2) Their marginally more intelligent brethren who walk with a boulder-sized regional chip declaring a diabolic nature over the other clan members, not caring a shred about the folks from the rest of the country.

Anyways, over and beyond all this…there comes an onsite opportunity that dives you in with full energy to get accustomed to this, like how a treasure is waiting for the man who’s playing the hunt game facing hardships and difficulties, only to seek the gold & in our case to seek the foreign currency and the glimpse and sniff of the overseas air which would add value to one’s resume on their achievements column…but no one has the guts to mention as a foot note the things that they had to forego for achieving what’s on their papers do they?

They don’t talk about the number of insomniac nights they spent in an alien country having no sign or feel of home to pour out or share the sad things or the happy moments…Number of times they had to brace themselves up from not breaking down every time they were ill-treated as if they were some down-trodden or menial things belonging to the lower order world...

Well they wouldn’t…would they? Would you?

Cos, it’s a world of gamble….and every man wants to speculate.

Hmmm…now that explains it all…. Monetary needs that forays all the other emotional and sentimental needs….

A vicious circle though…..this is why people don’t mind being zombie’s from the “land of androids” transported from the source to their destination and vice versa.

A hope…The hope that keeps every man alive…A hope is a target. It’s an aspiration... it’s a fire of desire…it’s a goal post that you draw for yourself!

Hope of achieving the best in you in your short span of life – that is what it is and that is where the whole world is heading to……

On that very thought….I resign for now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What the heck?!

The creepy craziness is taking over me all of a sudden, slowly swallowing me head-first, when I fight hard against the gashing and tearing grips of the demon thats eating me alive, I feel a strong knot forming in my throat causing no more than a helpless, inaudible croak to emerge out of my mouth when I wish, with all my force to scream for help from this insane demon that's mercilessly preying at me, I hear none... I see none & nothing but darkness all around... no noise but an eerie and sinister sounding creature sneering at me and another gulping me down alive... There I was.... nearing the dawn at the lowest ebb of the world, with distress, pain, misery, gloom and melancholy all singing at high-pitched voices and banging on my head cruelly!

One I like the BEST!



For some unknown reason, I really adore this picture!

Kodak Moments at Chicago!


Click A: No, This not the Tide Ad. to compare the whitest white!



Click B: Assorted bunch kept in my office lobby




Click C: From a park right in front of my Apartments


Click D: White Vs Pink?

Roses!

I have been longing to buy rose plants ever since I returned home.

But, the constraints of living in a rented individual house's front portion with nosy & finicky landlords, my mom had kept postponing my wish to be realised. Finally, last weekend I made my way to get what I wanted when we happened to stop by a market road to buy some household essentials that are generally purchased on the platform or roadside small-vendors.

Right opposite to one such vendor, were rows and columns of beautifully adorned, skillfully nurtured, delightfully blooming and happily radiating rose plants....Wwwwhoaa! What a beautiful sight it was....






Amazed with the brilliance of the bright roses, festooned with colorful hibiscus plants dancing to the beats of the mild breeze that was bringing along loads of freshness in the air, my legs automatically sought to the direction of the warmly welcoming roses' family...

Adding more to the ambient atmosphere was the just-about-to-rain dark clouds racing against each other in spreading the grey carpet to shower the city!

I bought 6 rose plants - Red,Yellow,Orange,Pink, Purplish-Red, Orangish-Yellow...
and an orange hibiscus plant, all of them decorating my front veranda bringing in fresh frangrance in the air everytime I open my front door to take a look at them!

I love my plants!

They are simply adorable..... If I were an actor and someone asked me, what would I be if I weren't an actor, I would have proudly told - "I would have owned a nursery of Roses! - All for myself (Sorry, Not For Sale!!)"

I can hear voices calling me "SELFISH"!

More on roses soon.......