Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Changing Constantly

Scene 1
Act 1
He walked into his house. Mom noticed he wasn't listening to music. 'Must have been a long day', she thought. He was the never kind who brought his work troubles back home. He had quite wonderfully managed to divorce himself from all the work-related stress. At home, he was a very good son and just that. Mom was expecting big things off him. She wasn't ever wrong.
But today something was wrong. He was not eating. And that was a sure indicator that things were out of kilter. She was getting antsy. He had his fair share of mood swings but never had he looked so forlorn. She wanted to ask but din't know what to ask.
Things were getting out of hand. He hadn't talked even a word the whole evening. She decided to take it up with him. She approached him apprehensively. 'Is it work?' she asked in a whisper. 'No', he lied. 'Stop lying and tell me what it is', she said. He decided he had to tell someone and now that someone was asking, he decided to go ahead and tell her. 'Mom', he droned on in that plaintive tone that comes on when we are sad (somehow melodrama never creeps into your voice when you are sad) 'I love a girl. She loves me too, but her parents don't approve of this...' All else was lost on Mom. 'I love a girl.' She heard nothing else. Blanked out. Nothing else mattered. This was not happening.
How could my dear son have done to this me? How could he have selected someone without my approval or his father's approval? Did he think that we might not find a good enough girl for him? What about the girl? Would she be appropriate for our family? Things are never going to be the same from hereon. She was breathing heavily now. Tears were rolling down. And He had only just started..

Scene 1
Act 2
2028 or any year sufficiently into the future

Something was terribly wrong. He had walked into the house, all singing and dancing. He was never so overt with his emotions. He was someone who kept everything to himself, be it the good times or the not-so-good ones. But Mom was happy for him. If he was this happy, something really good must have happened. Maybe, he found a girl! Oh! that must be it! I, of all the people, can recognise someone in love, she thought. But i'll wait till he spills the beans himself. Maybe he will blush too!!
Now a song was running on her lips too. Songs (even bad ones) and Smiles can be contagious. She wanted to know very badly now. So, she just casually started, 'Aren't we happy today'. A huge smile plastered across his face - 'Ya mom, i'm on top of the world, looking down on creations, and the only explanation..', She was quivering with joy now. 'Is this guy in college Mom. I proposed to him today and he accepted! I'm in love mom!'
Her innards just turned to stone and fell into her stomach. Why is this happening to her. Her son, smartest in school and college, charming, chivalrous, the perfect guy for a GIRL had fallen for a guy. This is not true. Did he think of the consequences. Will they get married?!?!

To the many of you who went yewwwwww, there isn't a lot of difference between act 1 and act 2. The scene is the same. We are all resistant to change. We have our comfort zones. We hate coming out of it. Change is always treated as abnormal. Gen X, Gen Y doesn't matter. We, as humans, are not very appreciative of change. We need to appreciate that fact first.
So, next time your parents get shocked when you tell them you are in love, just give them time. Nothing else works better.

P.S.: I'm happily heterosexual, for those of you worried about my orientation.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The finer aspect

These are fast times. As i like to call it, its the era of instant gratification. Everyone wants to achieve something. we look for shorter routes everywhere. I saw a piece of news recently which told me not everyone is the same, and there's still hope for someone as conservative as me.

This is the one i'm talking about.

In this day and age, its refreshing to see someone honest and who has his head on his shoulders, instead of being stuck on the clouds (or worse, up someone's ass). Here's a man who is ready to give up his lucrative career, loads of money and fame for something as noble as saving his father's life. In fact, there's no guarantee that he will be of help, but the fact that he is ready to give up so many things for his career just makes me speechless. Can we do something like this? Are we ready to do that? Most of us will ask 'Why should i?'. I do not have an answer.

There's also the case of Kim Clijsters, that awesome tennis player, but without the good looks of Maria or the killer backhand of Justine. She was on top of her game when she retired. She retired because she thought she had enough. She wanted a quite life. She wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Its very easy to call a person a quitter. But are we having more quitters these days? My awareness of sports is restricted to only cricket, so i'll talk only of that. We have so many cricketers saying they have had a lot of stress and they need to think about their game and their life. The stress seems to be getting to them. Marcus Trescothick, Shaun Tait, Lou Vincent being cases in point. Have we had so many players taking a 'break' from the game before? Mocking a person already down is very easy. Stepping into their shoes isn't.

We so often forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. They have a purpose. They slow down your life. Rather bring some normalcy into your life. I'm old school all over. I enjoy the imperfection of a black and white movie, i adore the corniness of a simple PJ, struggling to wake up only to find you have a full hour more before you need to start to work, realising that your best friend is also your soul mate..

Things have changed in my life, and this is one of my most random post. But the most stable among them too. Oh, the times they are a-changing!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Oh My Word!

There is way too much cricket happening these days. And obviously there are way too many people talking about it. Commentary has become a long forgotten art, simply because of the fact that the wrong people are talking. People who could still be playing are talking and people who should be talking are playing. Sigh.

But one of the worst commentators of recent times has to be Wasim Akram. He wins with an overwhelming majority. Yes, even Ranjit Fernando doesn’t stand a chance. Wasim Akram stands apart in the over-crowded group of mediocre yappers.

What makes Wasim bhai unique in this is the fact he remains, to this day, the greatest bowler ever to have adorned the game of cricket. He wove magic with the ball, make no mistakes. My memory of Wasim is that of him, screaming down the pitch at a dropped catch, screaming down the pitch after cleaning up the batsman, screaming down the pitch after the batsman gets beaten off a peach of a delivery. But, alas, this was to change. And how!

The first instance where my image of a screaming Wasim was to change was with the Shaz and Waz show. Here was the greatest bowler discussing girls in the crowd. And trying to flirt with them. Overkill, Wasim bhai.

Mention must be made of his prowess with the words. His vocabulary would make a third grader go “Mom, I can be a commentator too!!”. He gives you numbers – “This is the third over for XXX. He has seven overs left. The score is 125 for 2. The man on your screen is yyyy. He is great batsman. One of greatest. My favourite. He plays awesome straight drive. Required rate is 3.45. Current rate is 2.34.” And then some commentator will save us from further misery by cutting in. Notice the complete absence of articles. Fair enough, he was playing cricket from the age of 5, so he missed all the classes.

But these days its not just Wasim bhai. The whole standard of commentary is going down a lot. There’s Arun Lal ( he says “I have never seen anything quite like this” in every match), there’s Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (would jump out of his chair with excitement everytime someone hits a boundary), there’s Navjot Singh Sidhu ( I won’t say anything here ). And then of course, there’s the legendary Ranjit Fernando ( this crikat is being played on a good wikaat ). Goeffrey boycott, please come back!

Commentary as an art should be minimal. Words should serve a purpose. They should create an image. Richie benaud managed that. No one to my memory has been able to quite do that these days. My experiences are obviously only restricted to TV and i haven’t really touched upon radio commentators because i simply don’t know. But still i feel there is a huge scope for improvement among the present lot.

And finally i’ll leave you with an amazing piece of commentary by Wasim bhai in today’s CB final. Have a good laugh.

Rohit Sharma plays an expansive drive and gets beaten. Wasim goes – “Now, Sachin should use his experience. He should go to rohit and say “ok guy (sic), you played well so far. Now don’t play anything. Just make runs.”

Long live wasim bhai!

Friday, November 30, 2007


One of the most irritating things about working in a software company is not the work profile, the mediocre salary, artificial people. It's the fact that ALL companies are situated so far away from the city! One wonders if there is a hidden agenda to it. Sure, it is difficult to find a place inside the city but 40km from the city? Why, god, Why??

But fortunately mine is situated only 25km from the city and yet the journey becomes unbearable for a lot of reasons. First of all, since the place is so CLOSE to the city, my employers did not think it necessary to have a full fledged travel arrangement. So, they provided us with these safe mini-buses with extremely unsafe drivers. I shrug my shoulders and tell my co-passenger, "Occupational hazards". I can see a faint nod but that could be for the music.

And now the music! One has to really see these mini buses to understand how small they actually are. Claustrophobics please excuse. And the driver in my particular vehicle has gone to great measures to install a wonderful sound system with woofer et al. The works!, you understand. Scene satham na, like he so aptly put it. But the trouble comes later.

You see by the way my driver described the sound system i imagine you would have gotten a fair picture of the kind of music he listens to. Not Pink floyd for sure. Metallica is out of the question too. But he surprised me by listening to ilaiyaraja. I didn't think he was that kind. But i was in for more surprise. He had such a huge collection of ilaiyaraja's music that he could have done a dissertation on raja's music and he would have aced through it, although his english would have to be strictly monitored.

Naturally i also warmed up to Raja's genius. But after the usual gems I was getting a little uncomfortable. No, it wasn't the bus or the junk food from the previous day. It was, quite amazingly, Raja's music. It had a sameness that made me squirm. Same arrangements, same voices and sometimes even similar lyrics. There is no doubting Raja's genius. He remains one of the greatest composers imho. So, what then? It was the kind of movies coming out then. And also the number of movies.

Go back to the 90s and you will see a disgusting similarity in all the movies. Same hackneyed plot, horrible editing, mediocre setting. Sometimes even the milieu is the same. Strove very hard to create a sense of Deja vu, they did. And so Raja got stuck in this cess pool, one is forced to conclude. Probably the producers wanted the very same songs that managed to top the charts back then.

That leaves me with no other option but to get to my collection on the phone. Sadly the sound in the bus is so loud that, that option presented itself no more. So, i listen, still squirming. As if the journey wasn't bad enough till now, someone up there who hates me, decides to make it worse. The coup-de-grace.

My office looms large to my right. But what is the smell? The stench is getting stronger. I turn left and see only huge mountains of land with streams of paper coming out from them, strangely. Something is definitely wrong now, the smell is unbearably inhuman. I take a closer look at the mountain of land and find out it is not land after all. These were mountains of garbage. Yes, you heard it. Garbage. Huge mounds of them. For hundreds of metres. "Cruel trick" i tell that person who hates me up there.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Celebrating Mediocrity

The past few weeks have been mediocre to say the least. After suffering from a horrible writer's block (How is that for an excuse for not writing for so long???), aggravated by the fact that i joined a software company known for mediocre vegetable products(You see,i dont give names) ,the past few weeks have been frustratingly (no points for guessing) mediocre.

If you think the mediocrity ends there, read the title of the blog again. A self-confessed CRICKET-fanatic( not indian cricket-fanatic mind you), i shouted the loudest when india won the T20 world cup,the mother of all mediocre sports. But that shouting was borne out of the built up frustration owing to reasons totally unrelated to mediocrity or cricket.

Ok, now i can imagine you thinking 'why am i even reading this?' I'll get there. My point is that we have become a generation that celebrates mediocrity. It is quite wonderfully complemented by the era of instant-gratification. We all want everything to be done in a jiffy and in the hurry to get things done our way we don't wait to think if it was the right way or if we actually achieved what we wanted. We can also be called the almost-there generation. Examples follow.

Cricket being the only sport i follow as passionately as i follow the count of the latest boob-job that Pam gets, T20 perfectly exemplifies what i'm taking about. 20 overs a side. No chance to think. The horrible-'hit-out or get-out' theory. Bowlers who?. This is what cricket has become. Where are the grafters? Where are those sublime cricketers who could bat all day and yet manage to score not more than 10 runs(probably turning in their graves or commenting on star sports). Where are the bowlers who sent shivers down the timbers. The very fact that someone like Rahul Dravid wqould probably not have been picked if he had made himself available tells you how things stand.

The other level of mediocrity comes from my very own life. The place i work. Software company. Definitely not challenging work,agreed, but atleast it should be WORK!. We are being trained now on a particular software and we'll be assessed on that. The more marks we get, the more salary we get. How professional?!?!. Side-effects of campus-corporate interaction,i say. What's next? Ask us to pay fine for flunking tests? I didn't do that even in school!!

This again is connected to mediocrity. Because you see, mediocrity breeds itself rapidly. The pressure to make money right after your graduation pushes you into a job just for the sake of it and you end up in a mediocre job. But your parents are happy. You are making 20k a month, why should you be complaining. What if its just a little matter of not enjoying what you do and having to stare at blue,black lines for hours together. Get a move on. Money is what is important. Typical middle class insecurity helps too.

So, those were the ravings of a middle-class boy living in a space big enough to be Paris Hilton's trash can in a city where most people don't even speak their local language but beat you up if u speak any other language. Life could be better. Hoping for better times.,

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Robin Williams in one of his usual explosive stand up routines enacted a sequence, in his own inimitable style,involving Bill Gates and a reporter.The reporter asks "Mr.Gates, Are you not trying to create a monopoly?" to which Gates replies "Monopoly is a stupid game,my friend,I'm trying to control the world"(read with liberal expletives).I laughed along with everyone who saw that. But it isn't very far from the truth is it?

I am writing this blog using Microsoft's word processor obviously running on the Windows platform and in all probability you are going to read this on the browser provided along with Windows.I shall be damned if i say Gates isn't controlling my virtual life. His organisation has made an almost scary pervasion into our computers banking mainly on the workings on the human psyche. Let me explain a little here. We all know how wonderful Windows is. We all started working on computers only because it was easy to work with Windows. It made things simple for us. Who would not like a gift neatly wrapped. The catch here is that you cannot really open the gift. Its all yours as long as you don't open the gift box. If you think about it,this story has all the makings of a blockbuster hollywood movie. A machiavellian businessman who has a potential life changing tool with him and seeks to control the world. He is almost successful but for a bourgeois saviour who wakes people up from their trance and makes them realize.

Only in our true life story we do not have a single saviour but a bunch of nerds and geeks doing it for us. Stalwarts like Richard Stallman and Linux Torvalds ushered in a new era.They came up with a tool which was astonishingly simple. Its not so much a tool as it is a system because it redefines our way of approaching computers. I'm talking about OPEN SOURCE. One of the basic complaints about Windows was that it was not transparent. What do you do if you are affected by a virus for which Microsoft has not released the patch yet? What do you when you see a feature in Internet explorer that makes it vulnerable to attacks? You just squat and pray that the geniuses at Microsoft will eventually solve the problem.Why can't you solve the problem? Simple. You don't have the source code of any of these programs.

Open source changes all these. This term actually applies to the source code of a software. This is made available to the general public along with the software. So next time that software poses a problem the tweaker in you does not need to die a silent death. OPEN SOURCE seeks to shatter every convention established by Mr.Bill Gates and Co. They want to straitjacket you and open source breaks all the shackles. Anyone who has used the UNIX operating system, I'm sure, will agree with me. It offers a seemingly endless array of features the most noticeable being the multi-user capability. One classic example of the utility of Open source is the evolution of LINUX OS which seamlessly combines the capabilities of UNIX with the interactivity of windows not compromising on transparency. LINUX is a collection more often called a distribution available for download.

As is most often the case, Open source has these days come to refer to a lot more than just softwares. It has become a cult. Nowadays, it exemplifies transparency and openness. Cola companies are being urged to give out their secret recipes.This is seen as a sign of Open source going beyond the realm of computers. One other example could be the use of open source in medicine which calls for open-source pharmaceutical development.

All said and done, we ( yes, we) still have a very long way to go before we can get anywhere close to challenging the Gates' hegemony but i daresay we are on the right path. So, next time your pc freezes or gives the dreaded "blue screen of death", you know what to do. UNIX has been called the greatest operating system you may never use. Let us break the myth.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fiery fifty

I have been tagged for the second time! What an achievement,because i thought no one would ever read my blog beyond the first post! This time its not

to my liking but i have to keep up the tag and honour my blogging obligations(rotfl). So here goes..

1. Were you named after anyone?
The sun.

2. Do you wish on stars?
Nope..Im not astrologically inclined..thank heavens for that!

3. When did you last cry?
Can't remember.

4. Do you like your handwriting?

5. What is your favourite meat?
How dare you ask that question to a going to sue you,you know!

6. What is your most embarrassing CD on your shelf?
There's not one CD that embarasses me.. every little baby in there is "MY PRECIOUS"

7. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you?
Nope..i belong to the woody allen kind.."I WOULDN'T BE PART OF A CLUB THAT HAS ME AS A MEMBER".

8.Are you a daredevil? is a coward and the most insecure person on this earth.

9. How do you release anger?
Venting it out on people who wouldn't mind(or atleast i think they wont)

10. Where is your second home?
My college..

11. Do you trust others easily?

12. What was your favourite toy as a child?
Don't remember

13. What class in school/college do you think is totally useless?
Those management classes that engineers have to do..Dont see the point of those.

14. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Sarcasm makes my day.. Optimism is so boring!!

15. Have you ever been in a mosh pit?

16.What do you look for in a gal(/guy)?
If she is committed or not.

17. Would you bungee jump?
Yap..sure thing..just give me the money and the next thing you know,ill be jumping off a cliff..

18. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

19.what's your favourite ice cream?
My money=vanilla, Friends' money=honey fudge soaked with raisins and strawberry topping.

20. What are your favourite colours?

21. What are your least favourite things?
The list keeps changing..time dependent..right now,having to wait for daily soaps to get over.

22. How many people do you have a crush on right now?
Do crushes on celebrities count?..then the number is 22321.

23. Who do you miss most right now?

24. What are you listening to right now?
Wish you were here-pink floyd!

25. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?

26. What is the weather like right now?

27. Last person you talked to on the phone?

28. The "first" thing you notice about the opposite sex?
The way their hair is dressed.

29. Do you like the person who sent you this?
Of course.. In fact i admire him.

30. How are you today?
Feeling strangely indifferent about india's loss to srilanka.

31. Favourite non alcoholic drink?

32. Favourite alcoholic drink?
Considering the fact that the only ever alcoholic drink i tasted was vodka,my answer would have to be beer i suppose..

33. Natural hair colour?

34. Eye colour?

35. Wear contacts?
Used to..too messy for my liking.

36. Siblings?
elder bro.

37. Favourite month?

38.Favourite food?
Thayir sadam with potato chips.

39. Favourite day of the year?
Jan 1st.

40. Have you ever been too shy to ask someone out?
I dont really know,having never really asked anyone out..should try it out sometime.

41. Scary movies or happy endings?

42. Summer or winter?
Chennai winter.

43. Holi or Diwali?

44. Do you like your name?
Who wouldn't!

45. What book/magazine are you reading?
India Today

46. What's on your mouse pad?
I dont have a mouse pad..

47. What did you watch on TV last night?
Recap of some match that india won.

48. Favourite Smell?

49. Have you ever regretted breaking up with someone?

50. Most tiresome thing you’ve ever experienced/done?
Trekking in Mudumalai..when i was in school.

Now that im done,(phew!) i tag Vijay(since everyone else i know is tagged)