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!