Friday, October 17, 2008

The fight

Have you ever been through that phase when you feel you need something exciting to happen, some landmark event that changes the way you deal with life, that forces you out of your comfort zone, and lands you right in the middle of chaos, with only your wits and your MacGyver-ish instincts to lead you into the light. If you are as old as I am, you probably cross yourself immediately and pray the universe was too busy to process your rogue thought. You have been there and done that already, and lived through situations that demanded more than you thought you had, and you don't want to willingly put yourself through that turmoil ever again. 

 In this immediate regret, you probably realise that you are simply tuning in to the self-preservation instinct that all of us have built into our psyche. It is this very instinct that both holds you back from doing something stupid and potentially dangerous, while also forcing you to hold yourself back from taking up anything that is challenging and beyond your current capabilities. How does one decide between the former and the latter. While it sounds easy to spot an opportunity for disaster versus one that opens you doors of learning and challenge, I personally cannot distinguish these for myself, and am forced to let fate throw whatever it has at me, while I battle away, picking up more scars than platitudes. Is this the fate of everyone else? Does everyone else on this third rock from the sun allow the universe to decide what their next battle will be, whether they will gain from the fight, or simply be crushed by its random, unpredictable cruelty? 

 All we have for reference is celebrity. Records of famous persons battling with circumstances, suppression, violent retribution and sometimes plain old hatred. For instance, Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title, and banned from competition for some years. Right at the peak of his physical form. What did he do? Screamed, shouted and raised hell, but bore the punishment out, came back to the ring and still wasted his opponents. His career then slowly declined, and the inevitable enemy of age caught up with him. But he fought the good fight, and survived it. Did he gain anything apart from the adulation that we shower on him? Did he personally change for the better after battling adversity? I do not know. All I know is that he lost out on some of the best boxing years of his life to live by his principles. Perhaps that seems like a huge price to pay for the rest of us, because we may not be as rigid in our own principles as him. Who knows. 

 The 'greatness' factor comes into play at this point. What qualifies someone to be termed as one of the 'Greats'. Is it simply talent and performance of his physical body, strength of mind and character, his personal triumph over his personal demons, or collective good that came from his personal struggles? Why are there just a few of such 'Great' people. Are they simply better people to begin with? Or do they adapt and change and achieve 'greatness' over a period of time. Or is it just that the opportunities that life dealt them to exhibit their strength and prowess were not available to the rest of us. In our hubris, we'd like to think this is the case. That given the same opportunities to right hook and upper cut our own demons, we'd always walk away with the Gold. But it is an open question, and will remain so always. Each small battle fought leaves its scars, and adds a little toughness. During the course of each battle, there have always been negative thoughts weighing us down, pushing us to take the easy way out, to give up. Each battle has many smaller fights with the self to defeat the defeatist mentality, and persist. There is always the hope that given enough time, even we can fight our way out of this mess. Of course, there are many battles lost for every spectacular victory won. And after all the fighting there is just the one result...survived or dead. Leaving you nothing to hold on to. Nothing of the fight that you can turn back on and scrape for some confidence. A part of you aches to fight some more, just to be in the fray, and live out the madness. Another part fights against you, hoping you will take the easy way out and continue living without the madness. That is the one true fight. The fight for control on your own self. We have not yet won this fight, it never ends... it is played out each time an opportunity presents itself. Let us begin again, and let us end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


At the end of a tiring workday, I was really looking forward to a traffic-free ride back home on 'Stella'. Yes, you heard right. I name my bikes. The bullet is Bull and the yamaha is Stella. Cue snickering, finger pointing laughing. I dont care, I just like them to have names. I dont overdo this naming business, my guitar is a Hobner, my laptop is a vaio and my desktop is a plain old desktop. There have been others who have gone that bit too far, and crossed the threshold....but thats another story. 

 So, Stella rides like a dream, she's crazy fast, can turn on a coin, and can give these electric shaver contemporary bikes a run for their money. I ease my way through the crowded Bandra roads, turn out of Dharavi's slum, out of Sion and onto the Eastern Express Highway. For those of you who live here, you would now realise that after the 25 minutes of crawling traffic until this point, everyone who hits the highway just cannot resist its wide openness, and will break the speed limit, very quickly. So no prizes for guessing what I did. Stella's throttle is like a dream. She sounds like a couple of mad rottweilers thrown into a tube, and God! can she fly. I did the superman thing for a little bit, until I hit Ghatkopar's traffic, cue entrance music for the villain of this piece. This other yamaha screams past just as I slow down for the tangled mess of cars ahead of me. I must mention, the rider had on a skull cap and a beard, not that I have a problem with that, I'd just have preferred if he had on a helmet and the beard. 

 It is difficult to explain this feeling to people who have never ridden bikes, more specifically, people who have never ridden bikes the way they were intended to be ridden. Stella, is primed for speed. Every inch of her is built to be strong, light and fast. I have customised her, throwing away any un-needed metal, with tyres for better grip and lean, with an engine that is spanking new, and well run in, with a free flow muffler and with a mad balls-out fearless jackass on top. Given all of this, it just didnt seem right that the other yamaha flew past, leaving Stella behind. This sort of thing could ruin her confidence. Shake her self belief. Badly injure her prestige, while insulting her racing pedigree. She'd have nowhere to show her pretty face. Her peers would run her out of town. Maybe I need to stop rambling. Ok, I will. Next paragraph.

 So I down shift into first gear, tuck in to offer less resistance to the wind, find an opening in the traffic, and let Stella do what she was built to do. From 5 kmph to 25 in first, upto 35 in second, 60 in third(she's screaming by now), shift into fourth right when she's at her loudest, and fly away at 95 kmph. All this while, I've gone past a whole herd of commuter bikes, about 20 yuppies in their cages, and a pathetic pulsar who thought he could keep up with Stella. I havent really seen the other yamaha that triggered all this madness. Then I hear it behind, struggling to keep up. This situation just had to be utilised. I had to rub his nose in it, right? So I did. Downshifted to third, tucked in again, flew away and left him for dead. 

 In all this madness, not once did I risk kiling myself, or anyone else (or so I'd like you to believe). I was simply riding faster than the speed limit, and in an almost straight, predictable line, easy enough for others to avoid, but impossible for them to ignore. Its not often that you see someone as big as me, tucked in flying past everything else on the highway. It's probably likely that you thought you saw me, but you cant be sure, cuz I was just so damn fast :) He He. Forgetting all the insult, the chagrin etc, I decided to be a little lenient with the other yamaha. After all, the guy probably tried all he could, and is related to Stella. So, I slow down a little, let him catch up, and signal for him to overtake us, smiling all the way. He moves alongside, folds both hands (yes they're off the bars) in a namaste, bows his head, and leaves the highway at the next exit. Smiling all the way. What a ride, what a ride. The pleasure is just too beautiful to describe. Doing it again tomorrow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The workshop

It's five pm on a weekday, and your palms are already greasy, your shirt sleeves rolled up, forehead (ample area there) glistening with sweat, as you wrestle with the spanner to tighten that one last nut that holds the engine head to the block. The bike is shimmering in the evening sunlight, it's potential energy aching to convert and escape as kinetic energy. The carburettor has been cleaned with petrol, the control cables have been checked and double checked, the oil level in both oil tanks is at the maximum safe level, the battery has been charged, the wiring harness is brand new, the CDI and plug also sparkling new. The painstaking attention to detail in the design of this bike, and the thought applied to its paint job, the chrome and detailing is bordering on ridiculous. For all this, it's a very sober looking piece of machinery. Black where its not chrome, and chrome where its not black. Not a very complicated design you would think....and you would be far off the mark. From the deliberately askew positioning of the speedometer(angled just right to flow seamlessly from the headlight to the handlebar), to the matte black paint job on the wheel drums, to the wicked sparkly red on black petrol tank and the agonisingly chromed engine head and buffed fins, this bike has been rebuilt from the ghastly piece of machinery it was, to a no-nonsense thrilling speed machine. 

 The exhaust note is distincive, and promises to scream out in fury when the throttle is opened up. That though, is a month or so away. Running in this new engine will be a labour of love, and will teach you patience. For now though, you need to scrub off the grease and oil from a day at the workshop, head back home, and patiently wait for the day your bike is ready to run.

Update: This is actually related to an earlier post (thanks ArKev) where I posted about my new (old) Yamaha. Find it (with pics) here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I killed a crow...

 Before any of you scream murderer, let me tell you that it was neither avoidable, nor intentional, nor did I gain any satisfaction from the event. I was riding my bike, easy as can be, in moderate traffic, along the divider. This crow, scavenging something on the divider, decided to fly straight into a rickshaw, about a foot and a half above the road. It smacked against the body of the rickshaw, hopefully rendered unconscious, and bounced off, belly up, wings spread, right under my front wheel. Now for people who dont know which bike I ride, let me inform you that it is a heavy, ponderous creature, very resistant to sudden direction changes. 

 My first reaction was self preservation, the thoughts running through my mind were, in the following order:
1. Hope it is unconscious, or its going to feel a world of pain
2. Hope its claws/beak dont puncture my tyre.
3. Hope there is no blood splattered on the underside of my bike/ trouser legs.
4. Hope I don't feel guilty all friggin day.

 I didnt wait around to find out whether it survived, the chances of that happening are very remote, because I felt both front and rear wheels roll over the poor beast. The speed at which these events happened totally absolve me from crime, human reaction time is after all, restricted and regulated by the laws of evolution, genetics and physiology. 

 I do wonder though, did the crow intentionally fly right into the rickshaw? Was it suicide? or plain bad judgement. I've now run over a cat(it escaped), a dog's tail and finally, this crow. Wonder what/who's next...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Google and your privacy

To jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagon for a bit, I stumbled upon The site simply hosts a small movie, which you can either download or stream. The theme revolves around a brief history of Google, its founders, its reason for existence, its access to information, and its idealogy to make this information easily available to everybody. Yes, that means your data, my data, and my neighbours data. All available, all the time, to everybody. Considering that Google plays a huge role in our online life, search, mail, blogging, ads etc. The amount of information they process per individual is staggering. To imagine that they would store all this information in the form of a dossier, not unlike the TOP SECRET files you see in spy movies, is a leap of the imagination, but is certainly possible. What they could gain from this, is anybodies guess. I guess the whole issue boils down to the fact that the information in question is of a highly personal nature, and the control over its distribution should remain with the owners rather than the publishers/service providers, read Google. Whether this is wishful thinking, or legitimate demand, I cannot compute. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

Google Chrome

My first post from google's new open source browser, Chrome.
Built using the Apple open source webkit framework, and with a snazzy javascript multi threaded processing engine, with promises to increase page load speeds by just implementing multi threaded rendering and processing, this browser aims to conquer. They can do no evil, they stormed the search engine world, their labs are giving Bill Gates nightmares, and they will rule the internet with the launch of this browser. It is honestly much faster (16x faster javascript processing than IE7, Sun sider told me). It comes with loads of builtin features, sandboxes individual tabs, makes blogging/bookmarking/googling super easy and is by far the cleanest UI you will see.

Go for it here. The auto updates, and google's rights to data mined from your internet usage should not deter most of us from installing and using chrome. After all, "They can do no evil".

Update: Sucks that chrome cant load, but i'll live with it till they update. Oh and btw, chrome auto updates each time, without asking ya.
The browser's Terms of use are also pretty interesting, and have been updated now, go read about that here.

Invaded on Sunday

A rainy afternoon, a cup of coffee, a pen and some papers, comfy chair. All the ingredients to kill a few hours, recharge some batteries, ignite a few neural pathways that were once demonically active, or actively demonic, whichever you like.

Truth be told, this time it is my only escape from a house teeming with people, who although share my genealogical traits, are as unlike me as can be. Forced to flee from my own house, I hit the nearest coffee shop, my pride dented and bruised by the sheer decibel level of a bunch of kids, and some septuagenarians. Oh! How the mighty have fallen!

What drives people to spend weekends away from their own little homes, out in the rainy day, in someone else's home, invading them on a Sunday, shattering their oh so carefully created little bubble of peace and tranquility. Are our weekends not sacred? should we not treat them with more importance? with more respect!

How many times must one be made to endure an ear splitting scream, or a noisy brawl in one's own house before it is permissible to take up arms against the invaders. Kids may be the most guilty of this, however the adults aren't blameless either. Since when did conversation and logical debate equal out shouting the other person, as if the sheer amplitude at which a point is vocalized somehow converts it from inane drivel to proven fact.

Is all of this indicative of anything? Does this behaviour deserve Freudian analysis? Well, in my opinion, its all a complete waste of time, and thats a polite estimation of the pointlessness of it all. They will never stop taking your time for granted, they will always try to ride rough shod over your protestations, they will continue to act as if what they are doing is in your best interests, and you have no option but to squirm uncomfortably, while they walk all over you. Or do you?

There is something that can help. Hostility. Plain, undisguised, malevolent intentions. You know you feel these emotions. Well, let them out. Indulge them. Allow them to become part of your aura. Soon the same relatives that tried to walk all over you will hesitate to even talk to you. All you need to do, is to cultivate this perception. And believe you me, it works.

Enough ranting for now. I have exhausted my capacity for caffeine consumption, hearing the weird couple sitting behind my table(totally different story, for another time). It has also stopped raining, and it is time I reclaim my home from the invaders of this Sunday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The return

Accepted, all 10 of you who irregularly frequent this blog, you're all right to be annoyed that the last post was three months ago. What have I been upto since then? Well, lets see...oh! A month long stint to the UK for work, some crazily packed workdays before and after, and my inherent laziness to convert my writings from paper to bits and bytes, all of these have made this blog a little stagnant. It has been one hell of a summer, and the rains are equally tough work-wise, leaving just enough time for some extra curricular action. Although, I have rediscovered my love for poetry, I've gotten used to Sunday afternoons at the local cafe, which is damn near deserted at that time of the day(suits me fine), where I can down a couple of vegan shakes while reading my favourite book(the book shop is across the street from the cafe), or penning down whatever is rolling about inside my head. It is a routine that I hope I can stick with, because it is just so satisfying to laze about in a coffee shop, play my own music there, read, write,'s almost as good as riding around aimlessly on my bike(s).

Ah! I almost forgot to mention, I've managed to get my hands on a Yamaha (thanks Shiv), it's an RX-135, 4 speed, pocket rocket! I've been spending the last few weekends rebuilding it. The frame and other metal parts are stripped down, cleaned and painted. I've spent some time and money on accumulating various parts like the tank, some lights, sprocket's, hub's etc, and the bike will be reborn very soon. GS, who blogs here, has been kind enough to land me parts from his various contacts. Once the build is complete, a week or so of running in the new bike, getting the new piston and block all set for regular use, some oil changes, some tweaking and soon(read 2 weeks), I'll be tearing down Mumbai's roads, using the fantastic power-weight ratio that the good old Yam's are known for. My first bike was a Yam, moved onto my Bullet, which is still the bike that I'll never stop riding, now I have a Yam again! It never fails to make me grin like a madman. The two stroke goodness of a Yam is to die for. So it burns excess lubricant, releasing hydrocarbons in the oil into the environment, so it's not exactly fuel effecient, go talk to all the SUV owners, or Hummer morons, and then come to me. My carbon footprint is miniscule (all things being relative).

Riding in the Mumbai rains teaches one many things. Caution, appreciation for street lights, an overall increase in blood pressure and heart rate everytime the rear wheel misbehaves, and a whole lot of patience. I've been riding in the rain for many years now, and all I've learnt is, accept the rains, be prepared, have a Plan B, you'll smile. Oppose it, crib about all the little pains, and you'll hate every minute of it. Riding in the rain is the best antidote to boredom and depression that anyone could think of...try it, you'll love the ride.

Monday, April 28, 2008


So, its my birthday....and as usual, as per tradition, the guys showed up at my door at midnight, with cake, smiles and wishes. Every year its the same thing....last year D got a dholak and woke the whole building up at midnight, banging away like a crazed bongo player on meth. This year he got me a fedora hat...or at least the closest you could get in India. Madness. So the cake is all ready, i blew out the imaginary candle, and cut it...then A gets ready to feed me a piece...only problem being, he smears my face entirely...well, I guess theres a first time for everything. I like cake...but not as moisturizer for my face...the smell itself is enough to give me a bad bad headache. So I do the only logical thing...get out my Drakkar Noir aftershave, and apply liberally till I stop smelling like the gingerbread man, and start smelling like the Marlboro man :) R slept off instead of coming to my place..and called me just now :) I guess she had a long day. So I am planning to go to work in the morning(ummm afternoon more likely), and as it is a 4 day week anyhow....I'll probably end up swamped in work until the weekend when we'll all go out for dinner. Every year, every birthday, all of us do this...midnight madness with cake, drums, wild hooting, a lot of laughs. I love it, and I love them friends are completely insane, totally irresponsible, and extremely lovable. Whatever would I do without them.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ice Cream magic

He walked towards the buffet spread, leaving the noisy, smoky table behind him with the guys from work. It was a fun evening, with much banter and he had enjoyed the food and company. He needed an excuse to leave the table, and decided to get some ice cream with the chocolate syrup on indulgence that he felt he deserved. As he reached for the ice cream scoop, he ended up grabbing her hand, as it got to the scoop before his...women, they're much faster than men in general, but this one looked like she dropped straight out of heaven. The palms of her hands were decorated with intricate henna patterns, and the curls of her highlighted hair had probably given many men sleepless nights. Before he could apologize, and he was a little wary of the situation already, she smiled, revealing perfect pearly white teeth and just a hint of a twinkle in her eyes told him, it was all fine, and there was no reason to panic. As he waited for her to scoop out some ice cream, he couldn't help but notice her smelt almost like almonds and honey and all the nice things in life. He awoke from his brief reverie, to the sound of her voice asking him, " I can't seem to be able to work this damn scoop! The ice cream just wont fall off...". He couldn't help but smile at her predicament...and leaned forward to help her. In an instant, he realised that if he used the scoop, and got it right, she'd be embarrassed at her own the blink of an eye, he pretended to fumble the scoop, and dropped it to the ground, smiling sheepishly at her, as she threw her oh so pretty head back and laughed. Before she could react, he reached for the nearest clean spoon, and scooped a big lump of ice cream into her plate, while using his other free hand to offer her the chocolate syrup..saying.."I know chocolate syrup is your favourite...". With one upturned eyebrow, a cheeky little smile and a slight tilt of her head, she looked straight into his eyes while scooping spoonfuls of chocolate syrup onto her bowl. Those 3 spoonfuls must have taken less than 10 seconds, but he was aware of each millisecond, and could hear his heart thumping loud inside his chest...almost afraid she could hear it too! As quickly as it had all begun, it ended with a waiter walking between them, and breaking the spell that had been cast. She remembered her family and friends waiting for her at her own table...looked back at him, and gave him another tender look that seemed to say..."hmm I wonder who you really are, I wish I could find out", but her lips mouthed "Thanks for the help" instead, and he nodded at her..watching her leave him forever.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


They wait until the sun sets on each Friday to meet. Its a tradition that has been meticulously followed for 14 years. Every friday evening, they meet at the local pub to discuss the week's news and events. Not for them the petty gossip that the wives spread around. They speak of matters of great significance. Global warming, the outsourcing debacle, the occupation of Iraq, the violence at Chechnya, the Israeli conflict, the Iranian question, the killers in Sudan, and other similar issues.
Over the years, their numbers have dwindled. There were 11 of them at the very beginning, 14 years back, when each of them had retired from the army. The best times of their lives behind them, each with memories of friends lost in battle. They survived wars, they survived youth, and middle age. Each now faced the evening of their lives, with equanimity. Each has a colorful story to tell, each has his own heroic tale, his own romance, his own tragedies and his own accomplishments. All water under the bridge, as they tell me. Today, the youth remember nothing, respect nothing and revere nothing. Their own progeny seem lost in the maze of consumerism, of petty urban oneupmanship, squabbling amongst others of their own generation, their lives amounting to nothing but credit card bills and mortgage payments. Each one of the 11 has been forged in the battle of life, has scars from their struggles with poverty and their life long duty of waging war against the nations enemies. Each one recognizes the value of life, and treasures every living moment. Each rememberes the ones that fell behind in the war against time. There were 11, and now there are 4. The 4 that remain still stand tall and proud. I salute you, Gang of know who you are.


Its 7:30 AM on a cloudy July morning, and She waits by the window, her fingers forming a delicate, elegant hook around the bars. She waits for him to turn around and wave goodbye, to give her the smile which she cannot live without. He walks on, seemingly oblivious to her eyes boring holes into his back. His immediate focus only on the wet puddles on the road, how he hates getting his shoes dirty! She's lost in thought, though her eyes still follow his every move, noticing his crisp ironed shirt, and lanky gait, taking pride in his casual elegance and beauty. Then with a slight frown on her brow, She reminds herself to keep the neighborhood girls away from Him. Her eyes sharpen, and she breaks out of her reverie, almost physically feeling the jolt of reality. Soon he will be out of sight, and out of her domain for the rest of the day. The thought of being without him for such a long time is enough to drive her to despair. She can feel the claws of loneliness digging, deep into her heart. One step, two steps more and he is almost gone.She cannot bear it any more, and runs out towards the front door...where she is met by his happy, smiling, 7 year old face...saying "Amma, why weren't you at the window....I came all the way back just to say goodbye".

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The new barber

Boys and Girls, this is a true story. You may not know (i hope), that I have changed my barber in the last eight months. I used to go to one guy, now I go to another...lets leave it at that. Well, the new barber, whose shop is a little farther away from the home, is a very talkative, prying little chap who thinks he's as suave and smooth as Georger Clooney in the Ocean's 11. Every time I visit his 'saloon' for a trim, I usually have to wait a few minutes for my turn at the blades. In this waiting time, I hear some of the most intimate, personal and troubling information pass between the client and this barber. It never ceases to astound me that men, grown men with kids of their own, spill their heart out to this, this...barber. I may not be the most sociable of people, but surely there must be some limit to the sharing of personal information! How many of you go about discussing the intimate details of your life with your barber? I bet, very few. That kind of information is normally shared with family, friends and the occassional lamp post, when you're staggering home after a few rounds at the pub.
Yet, everytime I wait for my turn at the blades, I overhear all this information, and if you thought this post is weird now, it only gets weirder after this, I promise you. The third or so time that I visited this saloon, I was greeted like a returning customer, with a smile, a wave and that greasy little pretention of familiarity that you could expect from this barber. I thought to myself that he has probably identified me as a returning client and will no doubt, now try to extricate some personal information from me whilst he wields the blades. With this troubling thought bouncing around the insides of my head, I took the seat, and settled in for a haircut, that would likely be much much more than just a haircut.
The events that followed, however unlikely and fictitious they may seem, are the complete truth, so help me god. The barber, while covering the front of my torso with a huge and brightly patterned bib, started to speak to me. He went, "Aur kaise ho Shetty Saab! Bhabhi aur bachhe kaise hai! Pitaji aaj kal walking ke liye nahi jaate hai kya? ". Translated it reads "How are you Shetty Sir! How's the missus and the kids! Don't see your dad these days, has he stopped his walks?". Now, to put the record straight, my name is not Shetty, I am very surely single, and equally certain that I have not fathered any children. After the barber so casually made such frightful allegations, I had no other choice but to deny them, and deny them vehemently. Which proved ineffectual. The man positively did not listen! He could not be convinced. I'm a relatively big built person, and am a little more aggressive than I need to be at times, but no amount of threats, cajoling or outright screaming would convince the idiot that I am not who he thinks I am. What would you do in such a situation? Do you storm out of there, with one half of your head trimmed, and the other half like a birds nest? or do you calm down, and play the game till you get a decent trim and can prevent any public embarrasment?
I chose the latter route. I surrendered to the situation, and to the immense stubbornness of the idiot who was wielding a sharp blade in the vicinity of my neck, ears and facial area. Yeah, I said to him. The wife's fine, she's spending a lot of money shopping. The kids are very energetic and dont sleep untill 2 AM. My dad doesnt walk in the evenings because of the pollution and prefers his early morning walk. To this, the idiot grins and nods and interjects occassionally with an ummm or an ahhhh or achaa.
Last weekend I visited this saloon again. I am now a part of the inner circle, as far as the coterie of familiar clients and the barber are concerned. I have long conversations with the barber about how my dad had to wear the neck brace for his spondilitis and how my pet labrador is sufferring in the heat of the city. He recommends the herbal oil massage therapy for my dad's aches, while instructing me to use only the herbal hair oil that he sells on my children's scalps. I play my role to perfection everytime, and am a little scared that I am so good at it. In facy, very soon he expects me to get my son in for a haircut. Wait a minute....I dont have a son, do I! Ah! will have to get him transferred into the boarding school out of town.....the wife will be devastated, but children need to be disciplined.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, there was a guy who had 3 free email providers.
Today, him and everybody else uses gmail. Gone are the days when having rediff+yahoo+hotmail mailers were accepted as a necessary indulgence. Its probably been a long time since anybody checked their yahoo/rediff mailbox. He made the mistake of browsing through his old (ancient) yahoo, and stumbled upon so many emails written and received many years back. Its like a time capsule in there! Mails from people he has forgotten, people he tried really hard to forget, but who still crop up in his mind at the worst and weakest of times, people who've moved on to other countries, other last-names and other paths of life. Apart from the usual bunch of messy spam, subscriptions and forgettable self-forwarded reminder emails, he see's a whole bunch of nostalgia inducing stuff that if read at a weaker period of time would induce bouts of severe depression. There's the first email from that girl who was interested in him, that first set of one-liners, yucky mushy stuff, photos, poetry and whatnot. Too bad her last-name changed. Then there's the more serious stuff, mail trails from the guys who he calls his friends even today, and meets on a regular basis. The history of his association with them is detailed in the emails he sent and received, and all of this in one convenient mailbox, waiting for him to remember the password and take a trip into the past. Its funny how much of his life and times can be gathered by simply reading a set of emails. Its not so funny, however, that the same emails will turn him into a depressed, nostalgic ninny for the rest of the week....lets make that until Monday. With a promise to IMAP/POP all these emails into his thunderbird, he signs out, wistfully wiping an imaginary tear from the disaster zone that is his face, and makes another promise to never look back into the rediff mailbox(bad memories).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Staking a claim!

Maybe its just my imagination, but when was the last time any of us ever went to a field, to a pristine beach, a temple carved inside a cave or even just to a weekend getaway without reaching there and panicking about the loss of cellular network. Technology, IT has been feeding us our daily bread for a long time now, and it is very likely that the same technology that was once heralded as the thing that will set us free is now taking a big chunk out of our daily lives. Theres a popular saying in the IT world....80 hours a week? no biggie, lemme just refill the coffee IV drip here. Why do we accept that the very technological advances that promised more effeciency, quicker turn arounds and better quality, is now eating away into not only our personal time, but our sleep, our thoughts, our very psyche seems to be controlled by the very technology that should be working for us, instead of the other way around.
Sure, the economy is driving many of the problems with the workspace. The recent dollar devaluation situation is not helping any either. Companies are being forced to make their employees work harder, longer and under greater stress than ever before. But is any of it really worth anything. I used to be proud of the smallest piece of code that I wrote...considering it a small piece in a huge machine that is doing its bit, and doing it as best as it could. I wrote code for an IVR product, you know the likes, you call a contact center, and a digitally recorded voice asks you for your account number, and then tells you how much money you have in you account, then while wishing you a very nice day (even at 2AM in the morning), it'd leave you feeling weird that you just had a conversation with a machine, in whicn the machine decided when to hang up on you. So getting back to the point, the company I wrote code for, sold the product to some other company, who hired their own bunch of code monkeys, and now my code is sitting in some other office, doing what I intended it to do, only doing it now for someone else. I am not jealous(that would be a little crazy), but I am feeling a little cheated. I wrote that code, I spent many nights perfecting it, spent a longer time trying to improve it, and now its somewhere else, and what do I have to show for it? a couple of lines in my resume. Compare that to a work of art, why art, compare it to this very post in this blog, and the glaring difference appears. I still spend more than 60 hours a week writing code for some company, putting my thoughts into some one elses property, which I could never stake a claim for. And the realisation that all the work that I do, however great it may be, however brilliant, or pathbreaking or perfect it be, will still be some one else's to have. Well maybe thats why I started this blog in the first stake a claim for what I create, and to let that claim be know to all.