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Showing posts from December, 2006

Adios 2006

There are two moments each year that starkly bifurcate optimists from pessimists:
BirthdaysNew Year's DayBirthdays 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 nowher…

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 …
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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!

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!

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 willingn…
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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.

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…

Discovery Lands!

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.

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.

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

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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.
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-episod…

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 topic…

The intimidation

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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.

Even…

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!
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!

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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.

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 compou…

The last 120kb

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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.
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.
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!
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.

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 kil…

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!