Sunday, December 31, 2006

Adios 2006

There are two moments each year that starkly bifurcate optimists from pessimists:
  1. Birthdays
  2. New Year's Day
Birthdays are pretty evenly distributed throughout the year and so people's belonging to either of the camps isn't too conspicuous. Notwithstanding the different timezones, it's the advent of the New Year that easily makes the discrimination evident since it happens all at once. Being pessimistic isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. If the optimist invented the aeroplane, we needed the pessimist to invent the parachute.

Yet it's very apparent that people have more reasons to celebrate than to despair. The reasons are overwhelming and there's something infectious in the air that's impossible to beat when even absolute strangers come forward to wish you and make merry. We need alibis to break into a frenzied frolic. We need fresh beginnings to invent such alibis. We need the New Year to mark the onset of such beginnings.

Personally speaking, 2006 was nowhere as tumultuous as its predecessor. It's New Year's Eve yet again as I write this post and it's time to reminisce on the many things that happened this year. Thanks to my blog, my atrociously defunct memory is no longer a bane at such pensive moments!

SMSes, emails, egreetings, telephonic conversations and personal wishes have all trooped in unison to get the message across: bid adieu to 2006 and gleefully hug 2007. It's going to be yet another great year worth wading through and assimilating all the labyrinthine experiences.

But time's running out. Lemme hurriedly browse through my posts for 2006 before the celebrations at home kick in!

WISH YOU A VERY
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The penultimate day

The day began with the wonders of being online via SMS being reinforcing again. Jahnvee, always a prized catch on MSN IM, caught me online (via SMS) instead and began chatting. I was still reclining and answering by furiously punching messages on my mobile was proving difficult. She suggested I come online (meaning via desktop YIM) and I complied to continue from where we had left.

Many things were discussed. She's now contemplating returning to blogosphere (I've been begging for it!) and also reckoned the quality of my blog had plummeted vis-a-vis last year. I concurred. I was more thoughtful in my posts in 2005 while taking to mechanically churning daily chronicles in 2006 with little or no element of introspection involved. The quality shows.

Our messages had to be cut short when I had to leave to pay my quarterly LIC premium.

Afternoon time was siesta time.

It's late evening now and I must wash the utensils for dinner...but not before I watch the just-downloaded Episode 7 from The Wonder Years!
What’s Up 2007 - 365 Days of Skywatching by Tammy Plotner
It's an almanac that pre-chronicles the happenings of the night (& sometimes the day) sky for each 'day' of the year. I failed to get a hardcopy last year but this time I refused to let the opportunity slip. The Jan-June half lies next to me on my bed as I type this post while the other half will appear in its material avatar sometime next week.

I hope the joys of discovery rediscover me!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Last working day of 2006

How time flies! I was in an upbeat mood for more reasons than I would care to reveal in my blog. Our shuttle arrived at the stop ahead of schedule and many regulars (including Praveen) missed it. Nice way to start the day!

We didn't have much work to cover and spent the day reading news, cracking jokes and fooling around. We had the monthly birthday bash at the cafeteria (I hate these synthetic celebrations) before our team headed (@ 1700 hrs) for a game of bowling at ameoba, near Brigade Rd. The pumped up music was all noise to me. I remember how pathetically I played when we were at Club Cabana, but my game had vastly improved by now. Had a few photo shoots before heading for dinner though I can't recall the name of the place.

Bowling & dinner were sponsored by Swapna, Raghu and Vaidhya. Thanks for the memorable experience, folks!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

These are rarified times at work!

Some folks went for a movie. Some endured a technical training. I caught at least one fellow browsing through a matrimonial site. Another one lost his access card that we discovered later, only to hide it and prolong the hapless fellow's miseries. The 'matrimonial' guy was cunningly made party to the crime, though he was oblivious to our sinister plans! I kept chatting with a friend from Kolkata for hours that I didn't remember to quantify.

We are hatching a plan to go for an outing on Friday. A large part of the day was spent in deciding on where to go and how to commute. The discussions will spill over to tomorrow I guess.

The winds of change are sweeping through my life and things hang in delicate balance. It's a week of great promises and immense respite from the daily grind we are so used to.

Someone made me furious last night. It's really useless expecting people to take a joke in good spirits. I'm learning to curb my enthusiasm for people's willingness to be more tolerant. The urge to spit the bile is strong, yet I must draw the line here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Rob Costlow
This fellow is a phenomenal composer

Post Christmas

The workday didn't have the sweetest of starts. After being made to wait for almost half-an-hour for breakfast in the cafeteria, I was told only when I enquired that there could be no omelette since the heater wasn't working properly. I lost my temper and aired my annoyance not because the heater was out-of-order but because I was needlessly made to wait for something that was just not about to happen. The onus was on them to intimate me and they failed to own up to their responsibility. I find this attitude very irksome.

Anyway, the rest of the day was smooth sailing except for a minor glitch that had to be rectified just when I was about to head for lunch. The bay was mostly deserted since most of my colleagues had volunteered for a training. I'm self-taught...thus my being an exception to the mass exodus!

Nilotpal is on a fortnight-long leave and I missed him dearly today.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mriganka calls!

This was the perfect Christmas present I was looking forward to: old pals catching up on lost time! We spoke for over 18 mins that covered everything from friends, Berlin and Bach to NID, IIT and Pune. Ours was one of the most eccentric groups in Fergusson College, Pune. As it turns out, I was the only one to play safe in life and ended up licking my wounds.

How wonderful it felt listening to his voice after so many years!

Christmas

Ajay Dhyani had been threatening for the past two days to visit us for Christmas. He demanded fish for lunch. Figuring that the relative tranquility of Christmas was now under serious threat, I decided to play safe and buy some fish to satiate my over-zealous buddy.

No fish. The only fish shop I know was about 2kms away from home and walking all the way up to it proved entirely futile since it was closed. Santosh had earlier refused to give me company to the shop though he did offer to cook. That could only mean one thing: my brisk morning walk was doubly boring. I lurked for some time hoping the shutter would be upped...but to no avail.

Danger now loomed large over our dwelling and I was totally helpless. Resigning to fate, I returned home and prepared for the worst. I decided to send a smoke signal to Dhyani and SMSed him that the mission to procure fish had failed. He could bring something instead.

The wannabe assailant was probably slumbering. He sent me a late message saying that he would show up at our place in the evening. It's 1857 hrs as I write this but our friend has yet to show up. So far, so good.

Santosh & I settled for vanilla Egg Curry for lunch.

I've been busy over the past week downloading episodes from Season 1 of The Wonder Years. The task finally came to its fruition only a few hours ago and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. The Wonder Years had been jostling for scant bandwidth all this while with Santosh's idea of effective utilization of the Net: streaming clips of The Great Indian Laughter Show on YouTube. So each time YouTube was pressed into service to stream the pathetic episodes, The Wonder Years was cruelly suspended. I silently suffered the ignominy. Santosh, however, did make some noise over the video download button form Firefox suddenly disappearing. He quizzed me and I professed nothing but ignorance. So how did the button mysteriously vanish anyway? Don't ask me!

Laughter is a scant resource, that's my conclusion after suffering the lethally drab episodes for endless hours. The jokes that were funny were the ones you'd already heard somewhere before. The ones that weren't even remotely funny (and this forms the bulk of the show) were those that owed their existence to impromptu concoctions. Are people actually bribed to laugh at the show? Must investigate.

So what was so Christmasy about today? We didn't have cakes, I'm yet to play the carols and I really couldn't catch any glimpse of celebrations anywhere in the city. Still, the though that man, terribly flawed though he is, has strived to conceive institutions that reflect the triumph of good over evil is a heart-warming thought and I revel in it. That's Christmas for me.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A probable shift

The company where Santosh works is shifting to a new facility that's even farther from our place than the current one. This'll probably necessitate him, Mani and Satya shifting to a place closer to the new office.

Sad news for me.
Winter this year seems to me more wintry than last. I had to wear a jacket to office today for the first time in Bangalore...and some of my colleagues found it odd. One even reckoned that it looked like a lifejacket.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Water Water Water!!!

After having survived with virtually no water for over a fortnight, my woes have finally come to an end today. I was scheduled to meet our landlady after work to make a mercy plea (with some melodrama thrown in!) for the resumption of water supply. Mantu called during office hours for a preemption. The news sounded like music to my ears.

The crisis was so acute, even my socks only somehow managed to get a much delayed wash yesterday. That should be indicative enough!

I feel like going for a scuba dive now. If only the buckets were large enough!

Rakesh comes calling

Rakesh (of BIT & TCS fame) called! He's on a hurried tour of Bangalore, Mysore and some other places...perhaps to rid himself of the monotony of work. Good thinking. Mumbai life can take a toll on your sanity if you don't take remedial steps.

Raka (the nickname isn't symptomatic of his intentions that, I'm sure, must be pretty benign!) wanted to meet me and a few other friends @ The Forum.

Sorry, pal. I couldn't make it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Online Status

I felt slightly saddened each time I saw my Yahoo! Messenger status on my blog page showing Offline. So I tried to remedy the situation by making myself online via SMS. This has already had some positive effects. My online status makes my page look alive (this could be just my imagination!)...and some dear friends have even bothered to message me.

Prateek messaged me once yesterday just as I was about to fall asleep & then again relentlessly today after work until I had to go online via the desktop client to stop the volley of beeps on my phone!

S messaged me today while I was at work breaking my head over some code that worked in mysterious ways. I managed to reply only after my acrid relationship with the piece of crap code came to a bitter but inevitable end.

Jennifer Aniston eloquently said," Friends are the family you choose." So very true! Thanks for existing, folks!

Michael Learns To Rock

Rock hardly rocks me...but these guys are a class apart! I remember loving each and every song I've ever heard sung by ML2R.

Rock doesn't necessarily have to be noisy. These guys amply prove it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Called up someone and spoke for nearly an hour! This must have smashed the previous record, whatever it was.

A ruined siesta

I was all set to catch a wink this afternoon when my room suddenly started sounding like a resonance chamber. Mani & Gang had just bought a 5.1 Surround Sound System and docking it to the computer made all hopes of gaining in on some tranquility evaporate into thin air. The bass boost was pressed into service, the volume control knew no control and the whole floor literally shook. The window panes caught on the reverberations and added their own jarrings.

But why 5.1 and not 2.1 for a system that, I could bet my pants on this, can't play surround sound in the first place? Because 5.1 definitely sounds bigger & better and because people generally have a very poor understanding of the underlying technology.

Does hi-fi necessarily translate to better bass boost? Not at all! Hi-fi simply signifies better frequency response.

Santosh added to the noise by downloading and playing episodes of The Great Indian Comedy Show from YouTube. Most of the episodes, sliced up into sub-episodes of 10 mins max, were pathetic. We seriously lack a good sense of humor.

Friday, December 15, 2006

About friends

It felt like I was lugging a boulder over my head when the day began. Thankfully enough, the tension diffused somewhat by the end of my work hours. The weekend knocking on my door was perhaps partly responsible for lending me the respite.

RR is in Hyderabad attending a friend's marriage. Lucky me. One of my worst kept secrets is that I'm extremely ticklish. People, sooner or later, do find it out by accident when my sensitivity come to the fore on account of even a slight brush...and thus begins my miseries. It happened in BIT when my classmates had hit upon the serendipity and continued exploiting it till I can remember. It's happening again since RR chanced upon my secret. Since he's away, I'm enjoying some momentary relief. But the score will be settled before the curtains come down, I've promised.

Abhishek is well aware of the sinking boat I'm in and the frantic attempts I'm making at the lifeboat. Our return trips after work begin with profound topics like politics, the destiny Indian IT workforce in the face of increasing competition from China, the reservation policy et al. Halfway through the trip, we're frustrated by omnipresent traffic jams and we wish we had a magic wand that could be swirled to rid Bangalore of all its ills. By the time our trip is nearing its end, we've switched to cracking jokes at how many things could possibly go wrong for me. He throws up hypothetical situations and I conveniently shoot them down. The best way to reprisal is to silence him by reminding him of 5th December! Revenge can be so sweet!

That's the trajectory of our daily discussions.

I had been putting off calling Subhasish and this was being constantly reminded by the impertinent SMSes he would send me almost each day since he landed up in Bangalore. So I called up the guy at around 2200hrs hoping to set up a rendezvous soon. That expectation was dashed when he informed me that he had put up at the Northern tip of Bangalore, diametrically opposite to mine! Well, we'll have to wait for some more time before the infamous adda between two Bengalis can kick in!

Subhasish has resigned from his job in Mumbai and now scouring the Indian Silicon Valley for something commensurate to his liking. Good thinking, I would have advocated such a move a long time back. He also informed me of the very unfortunate and harrowing experience he had with the recruitment team of the consultancy firm I work in. It's extremely frustrating when a legitimate candidate who has successfully cleared all the rounds is robbed of the final offer letter just because of an oversight of the recruitment team. This is unpardonable. Anyway, trials and tribulations are innate constituents of all walks of life. It's just that sometimes life can treat you very unfairly.

S has morphed into a beast of burden, or so one might be lead to believe. While some of his colleagues who stay next-door have no trouble in reaching home after work, our pitiable friend always blames the paucity of sufficient buses for his inordinate delays. In fact, he came home a little before midnight tonight! I just wish my olfactory senses could be suspended for a few hours after he makes such late-night entries.
(It's at times like the present one that I rue not having an anonymous blog. I could have easily shed some light on the reason for these chronic delays!)

A colleague of mine recently lamented about my blog being extremely critical. Another suggested that I use pseudonyms for the sake of protection of privacy. I don't like the thought of disguising identities in innocuous posts since I don't approve of even an iota of fiction in my blog. Still, since there have been enough indications of my blog breeding bad blood, I'll try to use initials where deemed necessary. This'll hardly be enough to protect privacy (especially from diligent readers who could trace through other posts to unearth hidden identities), but I'm not willing to go any farther in keeping identities shrouded. If trouble is headed my way, so be it.

I'm not incorrigible.
I'm just not gullible enough for my detractors' liking.
Cacophony hardly impresses me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The intimidation

Now this is getting out of hand. Do people really feel intimidated by the thought of me blogging about them? Here's an exchange via email. The extracts are verbatim and I'm leaving out the sickly '[sic]':

Friend:
HI U WANTED TO SEE MY PHOTO I AM SENDING MY PHOTO WITH MY WIFE
Me:
Man, could I put up the photos on my blog? I wont be upset if u say NO!
Friend:
SURE
BUT U WRITE SOMETHING WHICH WILL NOT HURT ME

Me:
When did I write something that hurt you?
Friend:
IT IS UR HABBIT OF WRITING SARCASTIC THINGS
Me:
Really? So people are actually scared of my writing!
Friend:
YES AND U SHOULD WRITE IN NORMAL ENGLISH I AM NOT HAVING ANY DICTIONERY IN MY OFFICE

The missed call

Inducting Nilotpal into ______ has been a boon for me. I get leads into the innards of some critical administrative work, I'm treated to all the hush-hush or roaring activities that I would have otherwise been totally ignorant of and, as an added bonus, I have a walking-talking surveillance system installed for my convenience.

All the buzz begins with breakfast in the cafeteria where we seat ourselves (to be more exact, I'm made to!) strategically to have a bird's eye view of famished techies moving in Brownian motion. Any new face and Nilotpal instantly triggers an alert. The way he/she (generally she) walks, talks, sways or sits is analyzed with utmost diligence. No trait escapes him.

When the drudgery of work is just about to take its toll on me, there's Nilotpal flashing his latest discovery on how S is dressed or how hysterically MT is talking to someone with great swings of her tone or how the kiddie is pretending to read Harvard Business Review in the library.

Evenings are when we meet at the other cafeteria to discuss just how stagnant the life of a techie can be, what a torture the shuttle ride to & from home can be especially if there's no glitter (if you know what I mean!), when to take a vacation, what other members of our gang must be doing and some rather bizarre perversions!

I was seated at my workstation today cluelessly staring at the monitor when , by mutual understanding, Nilotpal sent me a missed call to indicate something of interest in the library. I had given up on writing anything constructive for the day and consequently decided to better utilize my time by heading for the library. There lied the apple of my eye! We spent around 10mins in proximity bliss before being robbed of the honor. Anyway, the unsuspecting character wasn't even remotely suspicious of us being spies with little or no self-esteem who had nothing better to do!

All the austerity I had exercised in school is being counterbalanced by these little escapades...and they're coming when they're needed the most. Thanks to Nilotpal for being my covert accomplice today. It was fun.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Disparate entities

Was feeling down in the dumps at work. Feel revived now.

It's heartening to know that someone at your workplace (a relative novice) deems you trustworthy enough to confide in you in so short a while.

Evening jaunts to cafeteria A with Nilotpal are turning out to be a great source of recreation.

Samir called last night. His staying in Mumbai is more or less cemented. I had selfishly wished he was compelled to come to Bangalore. He surely ranks as one of my best buddies from BIT and it sort of breaks my heart that we aren't scheduled to meet anytime soon. I recalled to him an anecdote of me waiting till 2345 hrs to watch Farewell to Arms on DD years ago...only to be instead fed with Sant Tukaram! Those were the days!

Abhishek informed me about the death of a student from BIT, Mesra last week.

As usual, there's no water running through the taps at home and we can't cook for dinner. Santosh is getting something ordered from the mess. Life's a mess!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Today is Dad's second death anniversary

Discovery Liftoff @ Night!



I managed to download the video from NASA TV. Then came the message that I needed a Quick Time plugin. I refused.

Tried to upload to Google Video. There was a problem. Video uploads to Google are always a nightmare.

Tried YouTube. Worked flawlessly!

Damn! I missed a once in 50 years happening!

Photographed on 4th December, 2006

I surely regret this. This is what the Associated Press reports:
Stargazers will get a rare triple planetary treat this weekend with Jupiter, Mercury and Mars appearing to nestle together in the predawn skies. About 45 minutes before dawn on Sunday those three planets will be so close that the average person's thumb can obscure all three from view.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

How Saturday was spent

Here's a discovery: The 2nd Saturday of every month is a holiday for Santosh, which must be a big relief since you really need two days to recuperate from looking endlessly at the screen and writing nonsense code. Today was a relief for me as well not just because it was a holiday but also since I didn't have to suffer yet another long sermon from Santosh evangelizing the virtues of PHP he had just discovered at work! I bet even the most seasoned non-PHP programmers will feel threatened by his effusive prophesy of all languages being on the verge of extinction now that the world was discovering the viceless PHP. I say this because only I know how humiliating I feel when I return from a tiring day at work only to be preached about PHP being the next big thing after Machine Language and Assembly Language, high-level languages be damned! I enjoyed the tranquility of no such tirades today.

Water is a problem in all of India, but in Bangalore it seems to be a far more coveted compound. The pump is out of order for the past one week and we've had to make do with whatever little manages to seep through our parched taps. Just don't ask me how I've survived this long. Her Holy Highness (the landlady) professes helplessness since the plumber is out of town and it's not known when the apparently indispensable guy (has he won the Nobel Prize or something?) will be back. Hello, was Bangalore feted with only one celebrity plumber? I'm sure there are enough guys who could do some repair work. Anyway, survival instincts kick in at such trying moments and we in India have enough of those. Guess what, I even managed to wash some clothes that had been thirsting for some water for almost a week. This is innovative dry-cleaning, desi style!

I've been guilty of neglecting A Suitable Boy for many months now, though part of the blame should fall on its intimidating bulk. Who has the patience to go through over 1300 pages just to discover a suitable boy for our prima donna? The fact of the matter is that I'm not a suitable reader for such voluminous works in the first place! Anyway, I managed to overcome my inhibitions and continued from where I had left months ago. Needless to say, the plot hadn't lost any of its charms in all this while. I'm now flipping through the pages that lend sufficient light to the dignified but until-now neglected character of the Nawab Sahib of Baitar. The old man is increasingly becoming conscious of approaching death and is thus losing interest in the myriad battles of life. However, his coffers are in crisis from multiple fronts what with the peasants refusing to pay and the government trying to abolish the antediluvian zamindari system itself.

So these were the three chief occupations of mine for today: Buying some pacific time from Santosh's vicious attacks on all high-level languages, dry cleaning (!) some clothes and plunging into the plot of a great novel. The lesser events don't deserve a mention here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The last 120kb

It was a real pain waiting for someone with the missing 120 kilobytes to complete my download of Stanley Turrentine's Never Let Me Go, especially after over 83 megabytes were downloaded with relative ease. Luck finally strayed into my turf when someone from the UK surfaced just long enough for the missing bytes to trickle in. It's now my turn to return the favor as two folks from the US and one from Bulgaria pluck the precious 0's and 1's from my machine.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Okay, it's time to take a stand. I've been religiously spending my time after work on the Net reading news and downloading music. This, I've realized, has gone too far. I'm neglecting my books, my blog, my friends, my alter ego, et al. This has got to stop. Life is escaping me like the grains of sand slipping through the fingers.
Think of Pune and one of the things that can't escape your mind is the Vada Pav, our desi veg-burger! Price-to-price, I would prefer it anyday over anything else, including the overly-hyped Pizza.

Managed to coax Ajit into treating me to a Vada Pav from the cafeteria. The price is a shame and the physical manifestation is an insult to the real thing, still, I liked it.

I wonder what would the famous Joshi Vadapewalle would think of the brisk business being done at the cafeteria. There's too much of disparity in our country.
Swapna breaks the big news as soon as she enters the bay in the morning: she's lost her phone. The case of cellphones being stolen/lost has now reached epidemic proportions. It's really startling.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Prateek called and It was a pleasure talking to him. He once called me the King of Sarcasm...it came as a complete surprise to me. I think there's enough of sarcasm in him as well and that's why our conversations are so protracted. Bashing Bangalore (or is it Bengalooru?) happens to be our favorite pastime!

To bad we failed to be closer during our Ranchi days.
Bunked!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ever seen a so-called 'highly qualified' IT Professional who has no idea how to use a commode? I've just come across one! He's in a fix regarding how to 'sit' atop the weird contraption. He knows how to use it as a urinal, it's only when the urgency is more 'profound' that he's lost. I can well imagine how poor commode is being used!

Welcome to 21st Century India!
Ever had one of those days when you didn't feel like doing anything at all? I felt like that today. Mysteriously enough, many of my teammates had conspired to bunk office without taking me into confidence(!).

Maybe I'm being unfair by calling it a conspiracy. It was probably a scheduled day-off for most of the absconding folks while at least one guy was away to tie the nuptial knot. Yet another team member worked from home.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Meeting

Met Sittu after a long time. Thanks to him being very 'phone-happy', I got to speak to Sam, Samir, Rob & Ankur. The SBI ATM @ Koramangala had a long queue meandering out of it and we thought better than to elongate it. We walked to the ATM @ Madiwala. Thankfully, there was hardly any queue. Unfortunately, there wasn't any cash! Back to square one. We ended up backtracking to the previous ATM.

Returning to JP Nagar from The Forum always reminds me of my encounter (if you can call it that) with the two thugs who, I'm sure, are all set for a bright career in crime by now. I still wonder what utter desperation must have lead them to being such audacious anti-socials. Anyway, I've learned my lessons well and took an autorickshaw to leapfrog a possible repeat-story.

Santosh, the poor-soul, has been keeping late hours ever since he got employed and never reaches home before 2200 hrs. Ditto tonight. Even Saturdays are a full-day for our overworked buddy. That's a killer.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Work

It's past 2220 hrs and I'm still in office. Strangely enough, I'm enjoying my extended stay...perhaps because the weekend is knocking on my door and I'm in a forgiving mood. Had a pleasant but brief conversation with someone, to which MR and RR were giggling witnesses!

Called Santosh prior to that while he was on his way home. Scheduled a vestigial dinner. Gotta catch my cab now!

Addendum: Santosh just called to ask about our plans for instant noodles. Must wind up now!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rohit called. He's in Kolkata and getting married in December. Wish I could be there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Life @ Work

After yesterday's hullabaloo that caught me completely off-guard and gave me a restless night, today was relatively sedate, though ironically, more hectic. I can't even begin to visualize what a terrible time poor MR must have had in the face of all the onslaughts! Raghu's description was terrifying enough!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Conversations

I've been trying to enjoy my cellphone doubling as an mp3 player during the return trip from work...without much success. The ambient noise is too deafening. More importantly, Abhishek, who usually chatters with me all through the way, has fallen silent ever since he's seen the earphones plugged, and that makes me feel a tad guilty. It's always a pleasure listening/talking to him and I can ill-afford to let music play a disruptive role in our conversations. The music stops for now.

Our latest topic of discussion is a certain lady slated to get married soon. Abhishek, the poor soul, regrets not making the vital move when he first felt the flutter of love or something like it. Well, we all have such tales to tell and it feels nice that he has someone to talk to about lacerations of the heart. He's aware of my yearnings and the sense of camaraderie has gradually strengthened with such swapping anecdotes.

Career wise, I've been overwhelmed with cluelessness fatigue.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Richard Dawkins
I'm one of his innumerable fans!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Flash Flush

I had my favorite umbrella, my favorite book, my favorite blanket, my favorite side at the table, my favorite constellation and my favorite singer. Likewise, I now have my favorite...urinal at the workplace, and that shouldn't ring any alarm bells for my readers. There's hardly any compelling reason to choose this particular one over the others except that it lies at the farthest end of the restroom and thus provides maximum privacy; yet I'm so used to reaching out for my comfort zone each time I'm there, it now comes habitually to me. The urinals, by the way, are fitted with an auto flush system and so each time your business is done, the flush is automatically triggered.

But over the past couple of months, I've notices something strange about the urinal bang opposite to my favorite one. Each time I'm at my sweet spot and unzip the fly,
the erring urinal's flush is automatically triggered! And this happens without fail. I've even engaged in competitions to see if the unzipping can be done before the flush flushes,
and each time I've been beaten.

So I decided a few days back to use the strange urinal with the overenthusiastic flush and see how it behaves this time. I approached, nothing happened. I unzipped, nothing happened. I did my business, nothing happened. I zipped, nothing happened. I moved away, nothing happened. I lurked around, nothing happened. I snooped, nothing happened. I left, I don't know if anything happened.

Anyway, I'm back to using my favorite urinal...the one not afflicted by any such anomaly. Adjusting to its hypersensitive but eccentric cousin will take some time though. By the way, I'm still in competition with it to see if the unzipping can happen before the redundant flush.

The UTI Bank Followup (21st November)

Dear Sir
Thank you for writing to us and sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.
We have requested our Bangalore Branch, for necessary assistance. You will be receiving a reply from them shortly.
Please get back to us if you are not contacted.
Assuring you of our best services.
Regards,
Xxxxx Xxx
Information Technology
UTI Bank Ltd

I'm yet to hear from these guys.
I filled a web-form last week to open an account in a very prominent bank (not UTI Bank!). A representative was supposed to show up to help me through the formalities. Guess what, no one has contacted me yet. When I'm trying to lodge a complaint, the web-page itself is throwing up an error! And I've made repeated attempts at this through both IE and FF.

Why the hell doesn't anything work in this country? Is there something intrinsically defective in our genes?

The Receding Horizon

My dreams lie at the other side of the horizon.
The horizon looks deceptively near.
Each time I try to approach it, it recedes.
This is frustrating.
I wish I hadn't been taken for a ride.

Memory Card

My 1G card is too slow for video recordings via my Nokia. The whole investment now looks like a waste. The card was supposed to help my phone double as a full-fledged camcorder from my blog. Instead, it'll now be used to store MP3's to keep entertained during the frustrating rush hour.
The only way I can wriggle out of my present situation is to buy yet another card. I'll feel guilty if I do that; but if I don't, embedding personal videos to my page will be history. I'm in a dilemma.
It's very irksome when people don't bother to reply. I deem it nothing short of an insult. Even a curt I'm busy message would suffice.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Reversal!

Getting up at 0645hrs every workday is wholesomely irritating. What aggravated my miseries was watching my roommate nicely warmed up in bed and blissfully asleep. And I had to suffer like this day for the past 14 months. What right did he have to enjoy an extended sleep while mine was cut short each morning simply because the world needed me to work for its meaningless goals? I sometimes had this urge to pour chilled water on him just to wake him up.

The routine met its much-overdue and abrupt end this week when my roommate finally joined the IT workforce. I felt awesomely rewarded only this morning. Santosh is required to work 6 days-a-week while my obligation is limited to 5...Saturday being the great discriminator. So while it was my turn to have an extended relationship with my bed (a makeshift one), Santosh dutifully had to wake up early for work! And this reversal of fortune happened for the very first time...which made the whole experience doubly sweet.

Being half-asleep never felt this great. I love Saturdays!

Friday, November 24, 2006

About the suicide incident, well, I've decided not to write anything more on it. The facts are too gory.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

At a dance competition

How do you feel when the three prettiest babes in your workplace are in close proximity with you at the same time?

How do you feel when the prettiest babe sits right next to where you are standing? You feel like occupying the vacant seat next to her.

How do you feel when the second-prettiest babe, who also happens to be a very close friend, is busy in animated gestures and spirited conversations with her colleagues? You feel like her colleagues shouldn't have existed in the first place and that you should have hogged all her attention instead.

How do you feel when the thirt-prettiest babe is up there on the makeshift stage looking prettier than ever before...almost like a walking-talking doll? You wish you could take her home and keep her for good.

Now.........

How do you feel when a wall of people block your visibility of the prettiest babe until she leaves? You feel like all those damned people were dead.

How do you feel when the second-prettiest babe also leaves mid-way when work beckons? You realise you're nothing more than just another passing entity in her life.

About the third babe? Wake up to reality!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Me, the egotist

There's a huge backlog of long posts I would have loved to publish. But I'm hopelessly behind schedule and can't play the catching-up game.

The world will never know the many masterpieces that could have been. It's almost as monumental as Mozart breathing his last while he was still in his 30's.

Do I flatter myself too much?
It was Santosh's first day at work. So far, so good!

Syed & Someone Gone

Missing Syed Viqar and all his Orkutting! It felt like old times chatting with him and trying to circumvent security barriers paranoid folks needlessly put up sometimes.

There's a suicide story I'm going to delve into tomorrow when I get the details. No matter what facts are unearthed, it's going to be very sad and disheartening. I can't envisage people giving up the battle for survival so easily. Is life that dismissive?
My genius is once again being thwarted by work. In fact, I'm well on my way to fooldom. I can't even begin to mention all the silly slips happening due to me. The latest feather on my cap: I sent a cheque to someone and mentioned the Reader's Digest subscription number instead of the bank account number!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Details

Not too many details are coming by way of my blog! Santosh begs not to disclose too much detail and I must comply with his wish. Things are still a bit shaky though more-or-less secured.

The interview went smoothly. The offer was made. Santosh accepted it without any hesitation. The next two months will be crucial for him, or so he feels.

Cooking for dinner may become a problem now! We must build a buffer stock of groceries and fast food. It'll take us some time to get used to the new world order!
The long wait is over! Santosh has finally got a job!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nap Time

I had forgotten the feel of a siesta...until this weekend happened. It felt great. I remember being under the mistaken impression as a child that people who took a midday nap become dull! I would diligently try to keep myself occupied during the seemingly unending weekend afternoons just to avoid falling asleep. Of course, you couldn't always 'work' in stealth mode as mom blissfully slept in the dark room with all the curtains drawn; but when the risk was taken, the rewards were generally fulfilling. The occasional penalty in the form of a blood-curdling chide was silently accepted with little or no remorse.

Those were the days!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rach 3

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #3 hasn't failed to impress me. I had heard a lot about it being considered the most difficult concerto of all...and now that I've heard it, I can see why even the greatest piano veterans revere and fear it.

My list of the Top 4 Piano Concertos of all time are:
  1. Beethoven's Emperor Concerto
  2. Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor
  3. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1
  4. Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3
The common trait among them all is that they are exceptionally flamboyant, something that Mozart's compositions never tried to attain.

BTW, the photo shows the legendary Van Cliburn playing Rach 3 in the final round of the First International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. Cliburn went on to become the legend that he is today. Coincidentally, I remember reading an article (in the Reader's Digest) about a certain Japanese guy (Jon Nakamatsu) who had won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1997 playing ...guess what, Rach 3!
The new breed of private banks is a welcome relief from the state-owned ones we were all made to suffer in the not-too-distant past. However, old habits die hard and sloppy service isn't something too rare.

The worst of the new-age breed is undoubtedly UTI Bank. In fact, it's a nightmare. Whether it's Pune, Kolkata or Bangalore, my experiences with the bank has always been very unsatisfying. Today, my opinion took a further Southward dip and hit rock-bottom. Let me recall the harrowing experience.

I had deposited a cheque worth Rs.30,000 in favour of my sister's account at an offsite UTI ATM located at JP Nagar, Bangalore. Though I had mentioned her account number in the deposit slip, I forgot to do so on the flip-side of the cheque. It was a slip on my part and I own up to it. Days went by and when the cheque amount wasn't credited, I sent an email to the bank pointing to the anomaly. I was pleasantly surprised when someone from the bank called me up to say that since I had failed to mention the account number, the cheque had been sent to the Main Branch located at MG Road. I was asked to visit it and do the needful to help clear it.

I visited the said branch today and after wading my way through the crowded lobby, managed to reach the clearance section. It was manned by four people. When I asked if it was the clearance section, no one bothered to reply at first. Only after being more persistent was I told that it was. Not a trace of politeness could I catch in the tone. I then recited what had brought me there, to which one of the personnel listened with a look of immense irritation writ large on his face. Halfway through, he cut me short and refuted my claim saying that the cheque must have been sent to the JP Nagar Branch and not the Main Branch. I protested saying that I was directed to the Main Branch since that's what the records apparently show to the one who had called me up upon receiving my email.

Our rowdy man simply refused to do anything about the matter. He could have cross-checked, but didn't. Now what is someone supposed to do when two people from the same bank say contradictory things about the same cheque's location? In desperation, I called up the person who had contacted me. He ostensibly rechecked the records and reaffirmed that the cheque was indeed in the Main Branch. I told him what had happened. In return, he redirected me to someone named Smita. I approached her, got her up to date, only to be redirected back to the clearance section! When I protested, she flatly refused to be of any further assistance. Back to Square One!

I was desperate by now and dialled the first guy once again, only this time someone else answered. He was apparently aware of my situation and asked me to hand over my phone to the clearance personnel. I tried to do so. The personnel gave me a look of such supreme indignation that I began cursing the moment I had to deal with the blessed bank in the first place. He took my phone and immediately launched a flurry of verbal abuses at the other person. In effect, he tried to refute the claim that my cheque was at that branch and that consequently he had anything to do with it. I knew by then that my cheque was history. I took my phone, spoke over it for some time before being put on hold...and that was the last I ever heard from him. I waited for my phone to ring. Nothing happened.

I knew fighting would be futile. My past experiences with the bank hadn't been much better. I beat a hasty retreat to HDFC Bank and issued a Stop Payment of Cheque request. The job was promptly done in no time.

What makes UTI Bank so thick-skinned? Why is it manned by personnel who don't even know the basics of etiquettes and manners? Why do these folks don't feel the heat from far more professionally managed private banks? I guess it's the faulty work culture and lack of accountability that has made the bank the mess that it is today.

And I'm not the only one to be so disposed towards UTI Bank. Many of my colleagues, friends and relatives have similar plights to recall. If things are to get any better, the first thing the bank must do is to make its employees go through compulsory courtesy schooling. That way, at least they'll stop behaving like hooligans and be a bit more professional and responsible.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Zoya has sent me her first email via her corporate id.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stare!

There's this stunningly gorgeous colleague who also happens to be a good friend of mine, though I don't get to meet her as often as I would like to. And when we finally meet, it's like a riot of laughter. She'll imitate people and make faces so funny, gulping food becomes a problem.

The one weird thing about her is that she stares at people. I mean she keeps staaaaaaaring as long as someone or something doesn't jolt her from her trance! To top it all, she does so point blank! She'll stare at someone in the elevator, in the cafeteria, in the breakout area and in places I've yet to spy on. She isn't even gender specific. In sure one of these days a lady will make a move on her if she doesn't cut down on those glares! That'll be a spectacle!

There are enough pretty lasses to ogle at and had I been so vain (I'm not sure if that's the right word), I would have spent a better part of my life gleefully peering at them. But I'm sure the retaliation would then be hard and annihilating since I'm nowhere as cute as my pretty friend. It's an unfair world!

Addendum: When confronted with the threat of exposing her idiosyncrasy, this is how she defended herself: arre i dont stare ..its jus that i forget wat im doing n start think of somethin else...n btw,i start looking only wen im sure the person is nit noticing..

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My first AT

I kept fretting the whole day. Spent most of my time going through my code trying to recall the functionality, even though the exercise had already begun a few days ago. Nothing made sense to me initially...and I panicked. Digging deeper made things crystal clear and I was all set to wade through the impending grilling.

The end of it all was an anticlimax. It was much ado 'bout nothing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My arsenal against antdom!

I've been bit more than I could bear and now it's time to settle the score once and for all. Santosh gave my mattresses a sunbath and I'm all set to gift my little detractors the most toxic cocktail of disinfectants they've ever known.

Posterity will remember today as the turning point of evolution of life on earth.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ants

Red ants have taken my room by storm and now I'm waging a lonely battle against their relentless onslaughts with nothing but frailty. It all began with what looked like a thin trail of creatures on an expedition to my room with a one-time picnic thrown in for good measure. Well, it was picnic all right...a picnic that refused to die in all these months. Little did I know that the trail would insidiously thicken into a very prominent two-way traffic more disciplined than Bangalorean lanes.

The damned beings have been especially belligerent on me ever since I decided to retaliate and regain lost territory. The mattress is infested beyond measure and the lacerations on my skin are there for all to see. I'm being bit even as I write this post. Tonight will surely be ghastly for me.

But wait, these ants ain't seen nothing yet. I'm on combat mode now, my mission being to purge the ominous trail from the wall and replace it with a one-way ticket to hell for all my victims.

Amen!
Samir called. His tentative date of coming to Bangalore keeps receding. Will he ever show up?
Prasant called up from Hyderabad and we spoke for 33 mins on issues ranging from work, stay and life in general to Orkut, colleagues and rising thefts in Bangalore. The poor guy is feeling the pinch of working off-hours and rues not having much of a social life.

Prasant still remains the simplest and humblest guy I've come across in Bangalore. Wish we could meet.

Mozart: Piano Sonatas - Andras Schiff

After Beethoven, it was Mozart's turn to warm my heart with the consummation of his complete piano sonatas being downloaded. Yet again, the bitrate was exceptionally high, though this time it was slightly below 400kbps.

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas - Claudio Arrau

I'm now the proud owner of the complete piano sonatas of the greatest composer of all time. And what could be better than the rendition coming from the world renowned Claudio Arrau playing all the sonatas in urtext edition!

I was surprised, and even a bit worried, to learn that the mp3's were encoded at an astoundingly high bitrate of over 400kbps. For a while I didn't even know if my humble CD player could handle it. All sorts of anticipatory and contingency plans began to kick in including converting to Atrac3plus.

As it turns out, no conversions were needed. All's well that ends well!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Santosh's PC got a much needed format (drive C). I was able to salvage all my half-downloaded mp3's by porting them to drive D yesterday.
Today was mightily irritating since I had to come to work.

I was urgently in need of visiting UTI Bank to clear a cheque meant for didi's account. But a rescheduling caused the plan to be deferred for a week. Now I can just wait and hope nothing preemptive comes up next time.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jahnvee's 'normal' blog is unlikely to come to life again. That's what she tells me. I wish I could do something about this headstrong lady!

Jim Reeves, 16 albums, 1.27 G

Drive C was filled to the brim. Julio Iglesias had to be banished to the next drive. Even Beethoven's and Mozart's sonatas had to be suspended from trickling into the disk! A malware threatened to throw the whole thing out of gear and Santosh was all-set to format the disk, his remedy to any problem that afflicts his much-abused machine! Finally, the download got over after 10 days of excruciating wait.

The all-halting exercise finally reached its fruition at 2259 hrs.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The linking

Hi Deepanjan,

We really enjoyed your November 1st blog post, The name of the game is shame, and had an opportunity to link to it last week.

Our blog post, India Has Its Own Beantown Today, discussed the renaming of Bangalore.

Our blog (http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog) discusses marketing, naming and branding from a linguistic and strategic perspective.

We thought that you’d find this post (and others) of interest, and it may be of interest to your readers.

If you find the post at http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog/archives/2006/11/india_has_its_own_beantown_today_1.html worthwhile, and we think you will, please consider linking back to it.

Thank you, Deepanjan, and continued success with your blog. It’s very interesting and well-written.

--
Xxx Xxxxxxxx
Phone xxx-xxx-xxxx
xxx@namedevelopment.com
http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

These are trying times at work.

Saw Sittu in the morning as he was waiting for his shuttle and I wished Prateek had been there to give him company. I remember the two leaving for work together when I was staying with them in a Madiwala cave more than a year ago! It has been a long time since I met them.

The traffic has seriously begun to bother me. I wonder how much more can the roads of Bangalore take.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Continental Drift is too sluggish for my liking. I wish it could be hastened so that we could mingle more with different cultures and people. The world would then be a lot less polarized.

Back 2 Work

Abhishek (Kumar) is back in Bangalore after his vacation. We traveled together after a long hiatus and I had to empathize with him as he cribbed about how depressing it was to be back at work after spending what was apparently a great break from the rigors of worklife.

I've been there, I know the feeling.
I'm now the resident linguistic consultant of our development team!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Santosh is apparently enjoying his foray into PHP. I hope the enthusiasm can be sustained in the long run.
I've been poking fun at poor Nilotpal for his new and watered-down cellphone. No self-respecting thief will ever steal this one!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

1G Memory Card

I've finally got a 1G memory card for my Nokia! Transferring data from the old card was a headache and I'm not yet through with it. I've also discovered that there's a severe paucity of good software for the S60v2 (my version). There's even a great BitTorrent client available only for the latest Nokia smartphones. That disqualifies mine.

And the 6681 had made its worldwide debut only in mid-2005! I was the envy of my friends and colleagues when I had newly bought it in July last year. It now almost qualifies for a vintage! How time flies!

I only hope Net access through my phone works as well as I'm imagining it should.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rediscovering Gentleman Jim

I was only a toddler when Dad's record player was stolen. Dad had amassed an extensive collection of vinyl records, but they were useless without the player. Impulsively, he gave up the priceless records to many of his colleagues. I'll never understand why on earth did he do such a thing.

Anyway, vinyls were being fast replaced by cheap cassettes. Unfortunately, the albums that were to Dad's tastes were simultaneously disappearing from music shops. And that's how Dad ended up regretting his impulsive decision.

We had an AIWA cassette recorder and a few worthless cassettes those days. One major advantage was that you could now make audio recordings of whatever appealed to you. Dad knew full well by now that expecting his beloved albums and compilations to reappear in their cassette incarnate was very unlikely. So he embarked on retracing the vinyls he had given up and making audio recordings.

There was much disappointment along the way and most of the records were untraceable. The ones that were hadn't been treated well by their foster owners. Scratches had ruined most of the tracks and the high noise-factor rendered most of them useless. Still, Dad was obstinate enough and managed to record from two of the vinyls (if memory serves me right).

Jim Reeves was one of the rescued artists. The noise was a great source of annoyance, but luckily the music wasn't all lost. Didi (my sister) & I went on to become ardent devotees of Gentleman Jim in a few years. We would spend hours on end carefully listening to the lyrics and uttering words of wonderment. What won us over completely was Reeves's hauntingly rich and flawless voice. To this day he remains my favorite vocalist of all time. I was so enamored, I even tried recording my own crooning of some of his songs! Childish folly they were.

All that was a long time back. The cassette perished somewhere and I had other things to think about. The music industry changed drastically, especially in the way we listen to music. The internet heralded a new era of listening pleasure no longer at the mercy of the local stockist. You could download a lot of music for free, both legally and illegally. P2P technology started giving media barons nightmares with no antidote in sight. Music proliferated like crazy, much to the liking of people like me whose tastes aren't readily satiated by what's usually available in the stores.

I've been discovering some great forms of music I've never heard before. But what's even better is that I'm rediscovering long lost music, amongst them some tracks by Reeves I used to so fondly hum along as a kid. I've spent much of today recalling how Reeves's songs would echo in our living room while I sat spellbound by his magic. It has been a fascinating trip down memory lane.

I'm rebuilding Dad's lost archive. And I'm loving every moment of it. Wait till I tell didi!

Plan Aborted

MR has been living in mortal fear ever since I threatened to do a subtle expose on him. The poor guy has become a regular and devoted visitor to my humble blog, praying that the world remains oblivious of him and all his misdeed for just one more day.

Well, his prayers have been answered all this while. What's more, MR has also earned my sympathies in the process. The way he used to fret at his workstation, you could easily make out he wasn't too comfortable with his frivolous existence anymore. His jokes began to flop, his signature amble was lost for good and he even lost his appetite.

I've decided to put an end to the guy's miseries.
So my dear MR, you can finally heave a sigh of relief. The expose that was meant to be, will never be...at least not via my blog. The only favor I want in return is that you stop telling me your seriously humor-stripped jokes. I've suffered enough. Deal?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Santosh has been carelessly browsing the web via IE6 and now we have at least one malware gradually screwing his desktop. And I need not mention what sort of messages are popping up. I wish at least techies were more careful when doing something as simple as browsing the web.
Samir & Ashwini called up (separately) this morning.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Nilotpal's expensive cellphone was stolen this evening. I feel so sorry for him.

The Sentry

Work annoys me. And what annoys me while I'm at work is the constant stream of people entering into or exiting from our bay. Unfortunately, my cubicle is right next to the glass door and that has further aggravated the situation.

But there was some respite in store for my much-troubled soul. I guess one of those nondescript deities floating around in outer space had been trying very hard to convince me into believing in the paranormal. As if to offer me some relief from work, the exit button that releases the door was busted a few weeks ago by some heavenly scheme of things. And thus began the daily melodrama each time someone needed to exit our cursed bay.

The inmates of our bay are by now used to the faulty button and do not expect the door to open in the first five-six attempts. But it's the unsuspecting victims who unknowingly stray into our bay by a simple swipe of the access card who present us entertainment-starved techies with regular installments of melodrama and bewilderment.

The poor guy feels trapped, looks confused, tries the button harder, pushes the door forcefully, looks askance,...tries again...and again...and again until it works. I enjoy these precious moments and it's becoming increasingly hard to hide my excitement. And even though we've got another door that works just fine, it's slightly awkwardly positioned and is thus rarely used. Repeated attempts at one door seldom leads the victim to the other. I guess it's a matter of pride. How can we allow a simple door exit to defeat us? After all, we deal with thousands of lines of buggy code and somehow make them work well enough through brute force. Years of being conditioned to bad code must have elevated our level of patience!

One of my colleagues from the other bay was particularly harassed today. She had made far-above-average attempts at exiting, but all in vein. I took heart on her, reached out for the buggy button, pressed it with a subtlety that could easily be lost on strangers, and lo...the door flung open! There were oohs and aahs and even a small round of applause at the achievement from the small crowd of colleagues who had begun to assemble close to the door to offer some assistance. Weeks of being in close proximity with the door had let me in on a few secrets to successful exits. And I won't tell you any!

Q: What's a fantasy?
A: Entry into the bay by swipes of the access card is made impossible!

Q: What's a nightmare?
A: Exit from the bay by pressing the busted button is made impossible!

The Daily Scoop!

I'm getting addicted to Nilotpal filling me in each morning on all the scandals that happen in and around our lives. It's the daily scoop that fully awakens me to what lies ahead. I guess he should be promoted to our in-house tabloid journalist!
I was overjoyed to learn that Zoya is joining the 'all-too-familiar' Accenture! It's a small world!
Tried IE7 for the past few weeks and even though I loved it, I must now return to the FF2 fold. I reckon the review comparisons between IE7 and FF2 by most of the tech media have very unfairly adjudged FF2 as the better of the two in all aspects. CNET's is nothing short of blasphemy.

Though I remain a FF loyalist, I must say IE7 beats it hollow in many departments.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The name of the game is shame

Bangalore tentatively becomes Bengalooru today. Some of the other cities in Karnataka to follow suit are Mangalore, Mysore, Belgaum, Hubli, Gulbarga, Shimoga, Tumkur and Hospet. The world must be laughing at our misplaced priorities. At least I can't stop my pity laughs. I'll never understand our national obsession with rechristening our cities. What good comes of it? We're simply deferring far more important issues that plague our society and substituting them with silly gimmicks that do more harm than good.

The caste cauldron is another grave malady we've invented for ourselves. China's oppressive regime couldn't be much worse than this. The day democracy prevails there, they'll wipe us out in all walks of life. I see a bleak future for human rights in this country.

India is lucky China is producing its own impediments to certain glory. As long as our great neighbor remains minioned by the evil of communism, we can at least hold a candle to it with our own brand of home-grown folly!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ego Search

One of the advantages of having a rare name is that you don't have to come up with 'stupid' usernames for your email or any other web account. The other advantage lies in zeroing in on what others think of you via a simple ego search through any search engine.

I stumbled across what one of my not-so-close colleagues thinks of me while doing one of these routine searches to see how far and wide my fame has spread. Well, though it hasn't spread much, I must confess I was pleasantly surprised at how highly this individual is opined in my favor. And this even though we've conversed only on a couple of occasions. I won't embarrass myself by quoting him verbatim since it's hardly worth the effort and easily overshoots what yours truly truly merits. Still, I revel in the thought.

Either he's too gullible or I've mastered the art of presenting a persona better than the real me!
Saw MT after a looooong while. I'll build a temple in her name. I'll rescue her from the fires. I'll rescue her from the goons. I'll keep her in a museum. I'll break bones for her!

Damn, I must stop these thoughts from flooding my mind each time I see this heavenly beauty. If only she could be mine. I wish something could bring us together.
I thought I hated pizza, but that's what I've been having for the past two days in the after-lunch hours since I feel so starved having leapfrogged lunch.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Washing Revisited

I really must shake off my lethargy and wash my clothes more often. I can't even put to words what a horrific discovery I made this morning while donning my formal trousers. If procrastination can be near-fatal, this must be it!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I was so close!

A lot of Digging has helped me come across some very interesting stuff on the Net. Stumbling across two cracks for ALLOFMP3.com's DRM protected free music downloads was one of them. Of course, the folks at ALLOFMP3 have been in the news for a long time for its confrontational stance against the media bigwigs, payment gateways, governments, ISP's...well, the list is virtually endless. I'm sure they couldn't afford a crack adding to their woes.

I downloaded an mp3x (mp3 with DRM) file yesterday while queuing a host of albums to be downloaded later. The two cracks that were downloaded were a real pain and I ran out of patience trying to make them work yesterday. I finally figured out today how one of them works and was about to crack the DRM when I realized that ALLOFMP3 was now forcing a patch to its audio player (only through which can you play its mp3x files) which renders the crack useless.

All my fantasies of owning some great albums for free are now up in flames! Well, it was too good to last anyway. I was expecting the ALLOFMP3 guys to spring into action soon, though not this soon!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Party @ Golden Palm


I'm currently going through a bankruptcy of words...and consequently can't post a companion elucidation to the above video. I've also muted the clip audio since I discovered (much to my consternation) that I kept blabbering to myself during most of the shooting!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Issues @ Work

A lot of frustration and blood-boiling happened today. But in the end, the problem was solved. I've learnt a vital lesson about people...and I'm not about to share it with the rest of the world. There'll be a secret post published later.

And IE7 has been a real memory guzzler. I had used it barely for 30 mins this morning when I realised that it had consumed over 200MB! Here's a tip: To keep the memory footprint of programs under check, keep minimizing them to the taskbar regularly. It helps drastically reduce memory usage. Maximizing to the original size inflates memory occupancy once again, but not to the original levels. Strange, but true.

I love the facelift Yahoo! Bookmarks got recently. I've been regularly using these bookmarks since ages and I'm handicapped without them.

I'm contemplating reconciling with the blogosphere soon. I rarely post...and when I do, it's mostly crap.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The day was spent almost entirely in subscribing to podcasts. What a waste. The task of continuing with A Suitable Boy seems daunting.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Late

I was late for school only once when classes started earlier.

I was late for the office shuttle only once (today) when it arrived at our stop earlier. I managed to catch it before it left.

And we reached our facility in record time...24 mins to be exact. 0821 hrs was when we reached our destination.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I've forgotten...

...the feel of a book! Must start reading something.

The very thought of you

Hey, it's fun intimidating my colleagues! They keep begging me not to write anything about them in my blog...but the thought is so tempting, I'm seriously thinking of getting the ball rolling. My first victim will be MR.

Buddy, your days of relative obscurity are numbered!

It's been 10 years...


...since I last heard Willis Conover! I managed to download a 2-minute live introduction to a jazz band by him today. It was divine hearing him after so many years. Old memories flooded my mind.

A dirty trick

Just why do some people think they are smarter than others and that their techniques of deception won't be detected?

I've been at the receiving end of one such cheap shot. What happened tonight was way too debasing to the culprits. I'll retaliate in time. I know it doesn't sound too benign, but it's time I put my foot on the ground.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Diwali

The frenetic pace of life during the 4 days of Durga Puja is followed by a period of stark lull, when people look forward to the festival of lights, Diwali.

Today was Diwali but it failed to enthuse me. Mani & folks had decided to veil the facade of our building with strings of multicolored lights . It looked very nice. A misdirected rocket launched from the street below headed straight towards me and exploded just 2 feet away. The escaping sparks didn't burn me though. It would have been a very different story had I failed to duck at the right moment. The careless guys below had conveniently fled to escape our wrath!

Well, danger was all around. You should see how dangerously some people play with fire. I saw yet another rocket narrowly missing the door of an apartment and hitting the wall instead. And it was very apparent that the guys were in no mod to learn to be cautious. The crackers were sometimes too noisy and painful on the ears. And if I complained, who would listen?

I sent SMSes to my friends and my Nokia sent me confirmation messages in reverse order (it uses a stack). Antara & Saurabh actually called back. Correction...Antara called twice and twice did I miss hearing my mobile ring, so deafening was the noise outside. So I had to call her back. Mani & friends snapped more than 20 photos. I refused to have mine taken, and I won't reveal the reason behind it. Had some sweets, downloaded some music, did some reminiscing and smelt the air of burnt crackers (I love it). A sedate Diwali this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A revelation

Since I've had above-average time to kill today, I did some research on the memory efficiency of IE7 viz-a-viz FF3. I put the two browsers through a series of duplicate motions and the results were startling. I must confess I've got to contradict one of my earlier observations.

Startlingly, FF3 was at least 26% more memory efficient than IE7. As if that wasn't enough, the memory occupancy of IE even immediately upon launch was much higher than Firefox's. This was astounding since the higher lever of FF's abstraction forces it to rely on its own services rather than on the services provided by Windows. IE, on the other hand, is tightly integrated with Windows services and was thus expected to have a lower memory footprint. Any explainations for that?

The test obviously wasn't exhaustive enough and thus can't lend sufficient credibility to the conclusions. Perhaps using them for hours on end under strictly similar conditions would yield different results. The fact remains, however, that my test proved me wrong. My only gripe against FF should now meet its rightful end.

Well, I wasn't about to junk FF anyway!

Even Windows Live Mail desktop works!

It seems to be my lucky day today, notwithstanding the leave I failed to win. I had received an invite for Windows Live Mail desktop a few months ago. Though I downloaded it successfully, the installation would always fail. Multiple attempts yielded the same result.

I tried lady luck today and I must confess she's in a flirtatious mood! WLMD worked flawlessly and I'm currently using it to access my primary Hotmail account, though it can equally well be used to access multiple MSN, IMAP and POP3 (including Gmail) accounts. In fact WLMD is a hybrid download that even allows you to access newsgroups, subscribe to newsfeeds and do a host of other things. I guess Microsoft is finally rising to the fact that it has to collaborate with other services and assume a more symbiotic role if it needs to survive in the Web era.
Subhasish just called. He's back in Mumbai after this 3-week stay in Bangalore and I deeply regret not being able to meet him. Anyway, he's slated to be back shortly and I hope things are different then.

IE7 actually works!

IE7 was finally launched by Microsoft yesterday and since than it has been hogging so much of media attention that I finally decided to give it a try today. This, in spite of the fact that I have installed and subsequently uninstalled the betas of IE7 on this machine at least 6 times. Each time I tried to use it, an error message would pop up within 5 seconds and terminate the session!

Today's installation had not proved to be futile though. I've been running IE7 for the past 10 minutes and my session is yet to terminate. That's a first!

I love the leaner, meaner and slicker interface, but I guess page renditions are better via Firefox. Or maybe I'm just so used to the open-source browser's renditions that anything that appears slightly different on IE7 is being deemed flawed.

But, really, the Blogger edit window definitely looks a lot better in Firefox. I've been running Minefield 3.0a1 (Firefox's nightly builds) for the past few months both at home and in the office without facing any glitches. The only problem lies with its very bad memory management. It gobbles memory in no time, especially if you are watching videos. Just look at its memory footprint after using it for a few hours and you'll really how RAM hungry your browser is. And I'm sick of open-sourse evangalists tauting this flaw as a feature. They're really not helping the open-source community by praising a flaw when it ought to be blamed.

Another thing, I already miss the online spell checker of Firefox as I type this post!
The office wears a deserted look on account of most people opting for a holiday. Just the ideal condition for people like me. Even the roads were vacant.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sebastian reached the US on the 17th. I discovered this after he left me a message on my blog asking me to visit his for news. His blog service is absolutely pathetic...which is what happens if you try to patronize nondescript sites that are not in the mainstream.

I managed to read his blog only after letting my newsreader feed on his RSS.

Correction

Diwali is on Saturday, not Friday. And the vacation I tried hard to earn remains unearned.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I open my newsreader each morning to quickly sift through the major & minor events that happen all over the world. The one I most look forward to is the folder that contains the blogs. The one that most disappoints me is the folder that contains the blogs. Posts are scant, literature is shaky, grammar is screwed, content isn't enriching, facts are twisted, straight-from-the-heart confessions are rare and thoughtful posts are non-existent.

But I really wouldn't blame the bloggers since they have far more pressing obligations to fulfill. After all, most people don't blog for a living...and they shouldn't even try.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I think we should all revert to Assembly Language! Computer Science was a beautiful thing until high-level programming happened!
I'm racing against time to win myself the much coveted holiday for Diwali.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm too busy to blog these days but hope to borrow some time this weekend. I may have to come to office even on Diwali when the rest of India is celebrating the festival of lights. It may be darkness for me.

When I get time to spare (which is increasingly becoming a rarity), I quickly browse through my 30-odd sources of news. That's how I remain in touch with the rest of the world. It's my only relief and solace.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It seems like I've leapfrogged the weekend. Saturday was working day and Sunday is sullenday anyway!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Spoke to Sameer for over an hour after office. His talk-time was exhausted mid-way and he quickly got a refill before we continued.
Since most shuttles of IT companies were off the road, I reached the office in half-an-hour instead of the usual one hour.
Mom's operation is successful.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This Friday feels like a Thursday

We have to come to office tomorrow to compensate for the day-off we got on account of the strike called a few days ago by a political party with sinister support by a few other equally zealous but perverted affiliates.
I'll try to contribute.
This is how many of our arguments would end when we were kids.

Didi: You are mad!
I: Every great man is mad!
Didi: But every mad man isn't great!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mom's gotta have a minor operation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reached home @ 2200 hrs. Gave Santosh his much-needed book on C#. The downloads are on in full swing although Mozart's Symphony #39 (in mp3 format) is proving to be frustratingly elusive.
It was Nilotpal's turn last night to be the target of a gang interested in robbing him of his phone and cash. The way these goons diligently prepare before converging on their unsuspecting victims is astounding.

Bangalore isn't a safe city.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt take a ride thru Pune

Bribe

We had halted at the traffic signal near Silk Board. Right next to our shuttle was a truck. A traffic policeman walked up to the driver and gesticulated at his watch while saying something. Apparently, trucks weren't allowed within city limits during normal traffic hours. The policeman extended his palm. The intention was conspicuous. The truck driver, without a moment's hesitation, reached for his purse, extracted some cash and gave it to the policeman who took it keeping a straight face, slipped it into his pocked and swaggered off.

I wish I had enough presence of mind to shoot a video of the incident. But it was too late by the time I realised what was happening and to make matters worse, it was very dark although activating the night mode in my camera would have been sufficient to capture the incident for my blog.
Rhymer's face is shrunken after she recently recovered from her brief illness. That's what she thinks! And now her nose strongly suggests that everything is an onion!
Nilotpal confessed to having achieved a personal milestone last Saturday. The way he was relentlessly pursuing his objective, it was only a matter of time before he achieved success. Congrats, boy!

Google buys YouTube &...

here's Soapbox for you!

Video: bill gates comedy part 1

Monday, October 09, 2006

DOR
What a movie! I see the renaissance of meaningful cinema in India.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Nokia 6681 is EDGE enabled. Should I get a connection to the Net via my mobile? I'm considering my options. Downloading via the bittorrent protocol slows down our LAN at home.
Subhasish called. Let's hope we can meet next-weekend.

Some Gandhi

An industry that's a world beater in producing movies can't score high on the quality front. But it can't be an all-crap producer either. The occasional jewel does come your way...and Lage Raho Munnabhai happens to be just one such jewel.

The plot in enthralling without resorting to ridiculous make-believe maladies and their solutions though I'm hardly convinced on the efficacy of Gandhism in the situations his ideals have been pitted against. The gaping flaws are all around you. How can a thug who makes a living by breaking bones and kidnapping hapless people suddenly gain enlightenment by reading books on Gandhi for three consecutive days? If the overwhelming benevolence of real-life's myriad manifestations have failed to influence him in all these years, could reading a few books help cleanse him? I think not. Is knee-jerk Gandhism sustainable? I think not.

People hallucinate, but not in the way as portrayed in the movie. Gandhi's views on non-violence have their limitations and are just not applicable in many situations. A son confession to losing money in shares would surely incur the wrath of his dad who may have just lost his life's savings. A radio DJ can't lay siege to a show just because she has a personal score to settle.

Sending flowers to someone who has forcefully thrown you out of your house is equally incredible. Your adversary could start a tertiary business selling all the flowers being sent to him! In fact, he could be tempted to throw even more people out of their homes. Had I been the erring adversary of Munnabhi and had he resorted to his brand of candy-coated non-violence to win the house back, all I had to do to defeat his schemes would be to turn a deaf ear to his antics. Surely nonchalance couldn't hurt me. Instead, it would only frustrate Munnabhai's efforts. And who would finally win? Take a guess!

The turning point in all this sweet antagonism was the wedding ceremony. The bride returns to confess on her dad's guilt of lying about her status as a manglik, a crappy figment our omnipotent fraternity of astrologers has invented to stay in business. Munnabhai and his sidekick do a splendid job in ridiculing the astrologer and his clairvoyance...or the lack of it. The only thing the high voltage drama proves is that astrology is a big lie. Where does Gandhism come into the fray? The groom holds the key to bringing justice to the much-wronged bride...which he does with great aplomb. Munnabhai's adversary (the sardar, whatever his name) finally has a change of heart...not because of Gandhi but because the bride isn't penalized for being truthful.

But we have too many weak links here. What if the bride hadn't been manglik in the first place? Or what if the bride hadn't decided to rebel against her parents? What if the groom had been as superstitious as his father? What if the astrologer hadn't been there at the ceremony? I don't think Gandhi's ways are as universally applicable as is often made out to be. Gandhism is more about winning the subtle battles within than winning everyday battles against your neighbor.

Ours is a nation of idol-worship, not ideal-worship. Our fixation is with Gandhi-the icon & not Gandhi-the idealist. In being enamored by his spartan lifestyle, we fail to the see the principles he lived and died for. Our myopia limits us to him and we fail to see beyond him...the realm he always steadily marched towards.

Lage Raho Munnabhai can be excused for all the flaws in its script given that it's exceedingly tough to send a social message to a people long divorced from the basics of love and compassions. In its own little ways, LRM manages to momentarily sway its audience into believing that there are better ways of doing things if we overcome the great barrier of evil that's resident in us all. How long the conviction remains remains to be seen.

I only hope the lingering can be prolonged till eternity.
A concerted effort by Santosh and Mantu finally got the exit cleared. The sink's working fine now though we need to be very careful. We has a scare last night.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Reflections

That personal looks would gain such precedence that it had the power of preempting everything else in your life when you were in your early 20's shouldn't be surprising. Kaushik and I exeplified this perfectly. Kaushik, my roommate in Pune, wasn't exactly obese, just slightly overweight with an emerging pot-belly, something that caused him immense consternation. He became most conscious of it whenever he was walking and found a pretty girl looking at him or anything within a radius of one mile.

Pune streets, unlike Jamshedpur's, were lined with a lot of cars. Kaushik would make use of his reflection from the window glass to see if everything was in place and impressionable. So each time a pretty babe would come nearer, Kaushik would frantically start admiring his reflections on all the car windows. His bulging belly would suddenly disappear as he would inhale and hold breath till the girl crossed, after which the suffocating Kaushik would 'collapse' back to his original self.

I used to be as thin as a string in those days and was desperate to gain weight. The horizontally-flat, vertically-convex windows tended to make one look shorter and fatter than he actually was...perfect for my ego. So I loved looking at the reflection imagining how handsome and irresistible I would seem to the ladies if I managed to gain some weight. I flattered myself often this way. So each time Kaushik and I walked together, we wouldn't spare any of our reflections each time we saw a stalled car.

Cut to the present. I've gained the much needed weight and some more. In fact, I've overshot. If I dare look at those reflections again, I'm sure I'll look more wide than tall. Unfortunately, escaping reflections isn't always possible. Our company lifts have interiors so shiny, they double as mirrors. And I just can't get used to what I see on the other side. There stands my alter ego, disdainfully staring back at me. And I guess the interiors of the lift are just as convexing. How else could I look this fat?! I compare the reflections of others with their actual selves. I haven't really draw any conclusive judgment yet on my suspicion.

Here's what makes the situation all the more pitiable. I often take the lift to reach the cafeteria for lunch or a quick snack. But each time my ominous reflection meets me in the lift, I lose my appetite.

After helping myself anyway, I feel infinitely guilty on my return trip. I swear I'll starve myself to death before adding another pound of flesh.
The drain was choked and water from our sink flooded our kitchen. Since there was no other exit, our kitchen looked like a tank. All the poking by Santosh was in vain.

Money matters, yet again

I've been in innumerable pecuniary problems ever since my net banking account was disabled owing to five consecutive wrong guesses at the password. Getting a new password itself became an issue and it's only today (2 weeks later) that I've finally been able to apply.

The latest glitch to hit me lied in paying my LIC premium. I tried to make the payment today through the Net but was taken aback to realise that it didn't accept credit card payments through the gateway. I had no choice but to go and make the payment over-the-counter. As usual, I preferred paying by my card, but had enough presence of mind (luckily) to ask...just in case. Therein lied an elevation of my worldly wisdom. LIC didn't accept credit card payments at all!

Life Insurance Corporation is India's largest life insurance company and is fully owned by he Government of India. It currently contributs around 7% of India's GDP.

And we flatter ourselves into believing that we are a software superpower. And we are all set to send a probe to the Moon next year. Way to go.