Thursday, July 28, 2011

The joy of being free

March 4 2011 - 9pm - Bangalore City Railway station

Ever since I started working, I think about work almost all the time; be it a holday or any other regular day, most of my thoughts are directed towards something or the other related to work. March 4th was one of the few days on which I was unusually happy. I felt a strange feeling of joy and satisfaction; as if  I was set free of all thoughts. Was it because the day before was our birthday? (Vinay and me were born on the same day) Was it because I got my new phone on that day? Was it because I was going home that night after a long gap? I think of it all the time, but cannot figure out the exact reason. I was so much relaxed, I could feel the gentle breeze touching me in the moon lit night.

Vinay and me were seated on Platform number 9, and the white dial of the clock on the platform showed 9.05. The train never comes before 10.30pm and in case it comes before 10, it never leaves before 11 :) - As ususal, we were early and had more than an hour to kill.

We sat facing towards platorm 8 and I started thinking... It seemed like everything was moving slowly (life in slow motion) It was a noisy, but it seemed to be very quiet. Some unexplainable joy filled in all my senses - so much so, I could barely notice the loud buzz of chattering all around, babies crying, people walking on the platform and children running and jumping around. Vinay and me were talking in between and the silence in between the talks was taking me to an all together different world.

Some things that came to my mind :
Each day is a good day - It is all in our mind
There will always be resons to be cheerful and happy - it is just a matter of identifying them
Small things - such as a simple phone call to a dear one, or a chat with a friend does wonders to boost one's morale.
Everybody has problems - Managing them is an art and I need to strive to to get better at it.

For the next twenty minutes that we waited for the train to arrive, I kept on thinking about the good time that I would have with Aayi, Pappa and Vinay during the weekend. "We would go on a road trip to Aversa. We will enjoy the time together. We will meet Amma, Meenachhi, Nandumama, Nayanachhi, Dinesh mama, Anu and Abhay"

 The train arrived soon after. We got into the train and the joy and anticipation was increasing by the passing time... Just as I sat down, I took this snap. Something went through my mind - We are moving on so fast that we are missing many valuable things. Is it really worth losing them?

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why not to watch the Saas-bahu serials

The views given here are my own not intended to hurt/redicule/degrade the image of any person/community/culture. Reader discretion is advised.

Have you ever watched any of the Family sops or the Saas-bahu serials on TV? I bet you will have watched at least once. All the drama, the uncalled for suspense, the suspicion, family politics, the anxiety and the nonsense in these serials are perfectly designed to attract the audience. Although these serials have little entertainment value and almost zero knowledge value, most of the people watch them and discuss them as though it is their own story!

What is so interesting in these stories? Why do people die to see them (literally)? What is so special in them? All serials look alike and in some cases, the same actors are seen in multiple serials...

After looking into many stories (actual - and not the ones shown on TV) I came to know as to why people tend to like these family sops.... They either see their own stories in the serials or they like gossiping :)

will it not be good if we think rationally and not do all the family politics?
why not think creative rather than dwell on same old stories?
can we not have clear communication and avoid all the confusion (depicted in the serials) in the first place?
is it not possible to avoid irrational assumptions?

Everything is possible. The only thing needed is a change in mindset and the change in way of thinking. Problems will look big and daunting if they are thought to be so. Small issues will become big if ego comes in between. Misunderstandings will be abundant if people dont talk and express whatever they have in mind. And Ironically, these so called saas-bahu serials show us just that.... How to create misunderstanding; ways to trouble people; assumptions to break families and what not...

Is it possible to devote time to science, economics, arts or even nature instead of killing time watching all the bakwas serials?

I say - nothing is impossible.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I love to cook food - most of the time :)

Spent 30 minutes plus in the kitchen to discover that you cooked some crap? Why should any one spend the precious time in the kitchen to cook something that seldom tastes good?! The arguments against cooking are too strong to beat and rightly so... Many hate cooking. There also are complaints - " the food cooked by me does not taste good to me" "I want varieties" "I can never cook" !!

Cooking is truly an art. It takes a lot of effort and interest to master any art and cooking is no different. Having said all this, it is not such a difficult thing to cook some basic things. In the last two years, I have been cooking regularly and I am proud to say that I have improved a lot. We have cooked more than 40 varieties so far and every time, I try to do something different... Cooking is similar to the chemistry laboratory :) There is a lot of scope for trial and error. Proportions make or break the taste of food but fortunately the cases of failure have been rare with me :)

Other than getting to make something new, there are many other advantages of cooking. Here are a few which are not so obvious....
1. Cutting vegetables is a stress buster - Try to find the worst of your enemies in a cabbage. Then shred it to pieces... How satisfying :)
2. Onions are truly amazing vegetables - Difficulty in crying? Cant tell how sad you are? Try chopping some onions :)
3. Create a new recipe - name it after yourself :) Where else can you experience such freedom? :)

Let me list the different recopies that we have cooked so far at our house in Bangalore:

1. Vangi bath
2. Pulao
3. Puliogre
4. Lemon rice
5. Fried rice
6. Chapaati
7. Dosa - Masala Dosa, Plain Dosa, Benne Dosa
8. Chutneys - Pudina Chutney, Ginger Chutney, Onion Chutney, Garlic Chutney
9. Sambar - 5-6 varieties
10. Avalakki
11. Uppittu
12. Shira
13. akki rotti
14. raagi rotti
15. wheat rotti
16. shallow fry of vegetables - Potato, raw banana, onion, ladies finger, mushrooms, etc
17. boiled egg
18. egg omelet
19. Egg curry
20. Mushroom masala
21. Soya chunk masala
22. Gobi manchuri
23. Pav bhaji
24. Chana masala
25. Gobi masala
26. Low spice vegetable dishes of cauliflower, beans, etc
27. carrot halwa
28. Toor dal payasa
29. green gram masala
30. and many more....

Quite a long list :)

I hope it keeps growing...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

They never seem to listen!

I am writing after quite a long time and it seems that my writing skills will rust (as if I had lots of it :) ) if the gap between posts happens to keep increasing...

A day before India's 62nd independence day, we all were ready to go to Chitradurga. We had 6 tickets booked and 1 passenger missing! It was none other than Mallikarjuna (aka Malli). Malli ad some "personal commitments" to fulfill and hence he did not accompany us... Any ways, he would finish off all his "personal commitments" and join us on Sunday.

Oh! I forgot to tell... Why in the first place were we going to Chitradurga?
It was Manju's Engagement day on August 16th (Read it as LAST DAY OF FREEDOM) that drew us to Chitradurga. Let me not deviate from the main topic... Where were we?... Malli was t join on Sunday.

Now that we had 1 extra ticket, and Tabu was traveling back to Davangere, we invited her to join us. The train arrived at the platform 45 minutes before the scheduled departure and all of us (Praveen, Vivek, Chandrakanth, Vinay, Tabassum and me) got in. We started chatting and Chandrakanth started having his dinner... I think we had prepared Palak panneer with Kabuli Chana, rice sambar and some other things...

After the dinner, it was the time for the TC to come and check our tickets. He was 10 meters away and we told Tabu to either climb up to the top berth and sleep tight or go for a walk and come after the TC left. Our brilliant girl peeped through the passage to see where the TC was and was sure that he saw her face. We told her that TC will be seeing hundreds of people, so, dont worry and just sleep. She wont listen! She goes to the other end of the compartment and gets down and the train starts moving! Keeping all of us worried and searching for her. Now, to add to it, she gets on the moving train and comes from a way straight in front of the TC! Such brilliance!

She had all of us on our toes!

The TC came after a few minutes and we had to transform Tabu to "Chandrakantaa" :) and our one and only Kantha became Mallikaarjuna :)

After some talking with the TC, we resolved the issue and all of us went to sleep ( At least I slept ).

Girls... If only they could listen to what is being said!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why do people like some movies?

Not everyone likes a movie the same way!
The other day, some of my friends were talking about Dev-D and how good it was... I thought that it must be a "Super Movie" as one of my friends described it. I decided that I MUST see the movie; after all many were giving such good reviews...

Finally! I saw the movie, the concept and acting was pretty good, but did I like the movie? Not at all!! I felt that it was too boring and rather tasteless movie (My personal views - I am sure many will beg to differ). This incident made me think - What makes people like or dislike a movie?

After doing a lot of research ;) I concluded that there are broadly four ways or rather perspectives in which people see any movie.
1. Put yourself in the shoes of one of the characters of the movie
2. Focus on one or more favorite actor(s)
3. Be neutral - Something is happening, you are seeing it but you are not involved in it.
4. Be neutral - Judge by the merit of the film

1. Put yourself in the shoes of one of the characters of the movie
When people watch with this perspective, they like a movie very much if they "see themselves" in the movie, more so if the events in the movie correlate to some events with their lives....

2. Focus on one or more favorite actor(s)
Oh! Sharukh, my favourite hero is in there. This must be a good movie!!
This is how people feel about the movie. The conclusion is generally drawn even before seeing the movie :)

3. Be neutral - Something is happening, you are seeing it but you are not involved in it.
People having this view point are generally lost! The movie does not matter much to them and they see the movie for fun/enjoyment. They do not have any specific view point on any movie

4. Be neutral - Judge by the merit of the film
This category looks at the movie from analytical view. Judgement on the movie is done based on the match between the content of the movie and the beliefs of the viewer. Generally, there is no pre set notion involved in the judgement of the movie.

It is rather difficult to classify people in these groups, but it is correct to say that people see different movies in different perspectives for each movie. Some see the same movie repeatedly because they see their life similar to a character in the movie but some see it just for fun!

Summarizing it : It is a nice world to be in and movies make it a bit more attractive :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Engineering Ethics!

It has been an eventful week so far... I saw some of my friends falling ill due to extreme work pressure! I even came to know about some people who have made their work-place as their homes, literally!

It makes me wonder... What have we become? Why do we work? Is this the life we thought of? Are we happy after doing all this?

The impact of recession/ economic slow-down has been profound on every person's life... People have gone well beyond the call of their duty and well beyond their abilities to make things happen, to keep their employers happy and to save their jobs... Even then, it is a harsh world! Situations pop up; when a company can no more feed its employees and the Management has no option left but to ask its precious, trained, and dedicated workforce to leave....

I remember that we had a subject of study - Constitution of India and Engineering Ethics. I had enjoyed studying the Engineering Ethics, the case studies and imbibed most of the ethics that an Engineer must have. On completing my studies and getting into Corporate work environment, I learned that work-ethics is an important part of our life. HOW you accomplish some task is as critical as WHAT you accomplish! The work culture at the workplace is THE DECISIVE FACTOR and I am happy that my workplace gives me immense pleasure and freedom along with all my responsibilities...

Ah!... Why did I write all these things? Just to tell how ungrateful and unmindful some companies can be...

I got a message from one of my friends a few days back... unfortunately, she was fired from the job. A day or two later, some other friends (in the same company) were also asked to leave! The company was not in good financial state and they were taking such drastic measures... Understandable... The economy is not doing good anywhere... I offered my sympathies and that was it.

Today, I got a chance to meet two of them and asked them what had happened. They told that they were summoned and asked to sign on their resignation letters! One of my friends asked them as to why were they doing this? One person from HR said that my friends performance was not up to the mark! My friend protested, saying that he had received appreciation from his manager for his work and what on earth made the HR person think that his performance was not good?! Now, the second reason, "Skills don't match the current requirement"! Good lord! I am trained in Java, C++, .NET, scripting and what not. What other skills do you need? - my friend demanded an answer... Now came the actual reason... "It is due to the slowdown in economy... Sign on your resignation and take away the compensation for 1 month (READ IT AS TAKE PEANUTS)... otherwise, we will have to fire you saying that you were not a good worker..." after some more talking, and some see-saw, my friend conceded and signed on his resignation unwillingly...

What could I say now? I was shocked! How much more unethical corporates can become?

Threatening a sincere and dedicated worker of dire consequences, when he has done nothing? Is it ethical?

Giving false reasons when the actual reason could have been disclosed... is that ethical?

Forcing employees to sign on their resignation letters, rather than accepting the company's incompetence and giving it in writing... is that ethical? I do not believe it is legal either!

What did the company want to prove?
"Employees left by their own will and even then the company compensated them with some money?"

Great company! Great ENGINEERS of ethics!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Difficult choices to make... A retrospective view.

Hmmm... There come many situations where we need to choose. Most often than not, the situation will be complicated enough to put that element of doubt and that uncertainty in the mind...

Being kids, life is lot simpler. Kids dont have to THINK before talking, they say kids have an uncluttered mind and speak whatever is there on their mind.
Ask a kid a question and you get an instantaneous answer. There lies no fear in the kid's mind; there never is a thought "What if I am wrong?" "What will the other person think" "How will I be able to say that?" "Will it be appropriate?".
Some times Aayi tells me; when I was about 5-6 years old, one of my aunts asked Vinay and me "Whom do you like the most? Aayi or Pappa?". Aayi says that we replied "Both". I don't know what made us reply that way, but we did. We had to make a choice, but it was not difficult when we were kids...

Being adults, many things change. We think more, talk less, make assumptions (wrong many a times)and then react. Today, if someone asks me "What is the effect of the slow-down on the IT industry?" The answer will obviously be different to different people... There seems to be an invisible fence around us that blurs the thoughts, limits the freedom and induces fear.

You may ask... What fear am I talking about?
Since the time I have learned to understand and comprehend things, I have observed that fear drives most of our decisions. When it comes to making important choices, fear has the upper hand. Fear of failure in exam, more than the interest in a subject makes a student study. The fear of being outcast in the society drives a person to take action consistent with the "Society Norms". The fear of hurting his family makes a son hide his emotions. Fear of losing a job makes an employee work his skin out. The list is endless...

It is such a powerful entity that it even forces people to trample on their likings and takes away the freedom.

Such are the consequences...
It is impossible to get rid of fear, but it is possible to get the priorities right so that the impact of fear is minimal. Some choices must be made based on the merit of each choice and not by succumbing to fear. Future cannot be predicted, so why make decisions based on an assumed fear?

Now, let me make some conscious decisions...
Should I believe in my intuitions or should I go by the rules? I don't know!!!