Saturday, November 28, 2009

How do you get coconut oil……and kerosene?

Like a true family, we like to remain close as we travel. Even if it means fitting 7 people in a car meant to seat 5 people only, including the guy who agreed to travel in discomfort. This usually is the youngest of the lot barring toddlers. They just keep standing or may be move around, lap to lap.

Last weekend I was at my sister's place and all of us went out together, taveling like a true famly. My 6 years old niece K was sitting in my lap. That is when the following conversation took place.

K: Do you know how is coconut oil made?
P: No, I don’t know? Do you?
K: Yes! I do. But give it a shot. I know that you are thinking that it is made from the coconut milk.
P: It is not?
K: No it is not!
P: Then I don’t know how? Can’t think of anything.
K: They didn’t tell you this in school?
P: Well, looks like they forgot. But you tell me.
K: Really! They forgot?
P: Yeah, that’s what it seems like. But why don’t you tell me. Looks like even you don’t know that.

That was enough challenge. So she oblized.

K: You don’t know a thing and you tell me I don’t know. This is how it is done. You take a coconut. Take out the milk. Then you dry the coconut. If it gets too dry then you put some water in it and dry it again. And then you put it in a machine. You know there is this machine which is so big and heavy and black.
P: And black?
K: Yeah there is this black machine, big and heavy which you put the coconut in. Coconut is dry but not too dry, if it gets too dry you have to put some water in it. And then you switch the machine on. The machine presses the coconut and the oil comes out.
P: But I can not see any oil in the coconut. (super amazed look here)

Exasperated, she banged her head once.

K: Oh its inside it. That is why the black machine has to press it out.

I can’t tell you how proud I was feeling of her. And of myself, I was learning so much. So I thought I will learn some more.

P: Ok then, how do you get mitti tel (i.e. hindi for kerosene = ground oil)?

If someone starts asking me too many questions, my normal response is, “smart ass, one question a day”. But this little girl was unfazed. I guess that is generation gap.

K: So you don’t know this too. This is so easy.
P: How do you get mitti tel?
K: You take some soil (= mitti) and ummm… mix some water in it. Then you dry it. Don’t dry it too much, else you will have to put some more water in it and dry it again. After that you have to put it in this big and heavy and black machine. You know there is this big, heavy and black machine.

Are you wondering now, if it is the same machine? I did, and I asked.

P: Ok. Same machine?
K: No not same, it is different. Because you have to put mitti in it. Besides, if you use the same machine, the coconut oil will become dirty.

No, I could not have thought of that.

P: Oh, right. Sorry. What do you do next?
K: Then you switch on the machine. The machine presses the mitti and the mitti tel (=kerosene) comes out.

Voila. I didn’t have the courage to tell her that I have never seen any oil in any soil.

Here is the little heroine of our story.

Oh by the way, are you still wondering if I told here the right thing? You will be glad to know that I did. And here is the simple formula, whatever oil you can eat comes out of the big and heavy and black machine after some poor produce getting pressed. And whatever oil you burn comes out of the well from deep down in the earth. I know, it is tough to explain. My experience is still fresh.

I am thinking if kerosene came out of soil, then Saudis would have been the poorest people. You see, their soil is mostly sand.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You and I just live on

How many times you meet people you think you are so in synch with. There are those people whom you want to embrace and not let go ever. You think you will be friends forever, will stay close forever and will realize the common dreams together. In the pleasure of the company of the friends and the camaraderie and the common thoughts and so many other things, you tend to forget something so important. We are all different people. And what is not common will, more often than not, be bigger and more important than what is. Even for what is common, there are different backgrounds, different constraints and different conditions that one has to contend with to realize it.

So we part. Sometimes forever, sometimes for a long time and sometimes we part only to meet intermittently. And who is to blame? No one, really.

I leave you with this small poem. This is where the line in the description of this blog’s title comes from.  And I am truly jealous of you if you can see, talk, reach out to and touch people whom you want to, anytime you want to and every time you want to. You are lucky and blessed.

See that wave running
Running to the shore
Crash into its embrace
Like there's nothing more

See that shore waiting
Dry, waiting to be quenched
Soak the mighty wave in it
Let go through fists clenched

Together now and part
On and on, it goes on
So do arms on the clock
You and I just live on

Monday, October 26, 2009

How Starbucks Saved My Life

What’s the big deal? It saved my life too, many times. That’s what I thought when I first heard the title of this book. Lately I came across this title here . I have been meaning to read this book ever since. Sometimes it so happens that you want something and it presents itself. It’s been happening so with a lot of things for me, except of course that truck load of money that just doesn’t arrive. So a friend of mine sees this in discount section gets the book and I get to read it.

Now coming back to point, this book is not about Starbucks coffee saving lives the way we know it. You see, we have been guests. This book is about how Starbucks gave a second chance to Michael Gates Gill. He, by the way, happens to be a barista at Starbucks.

So what is so special about this Mr. Gill? Well, there is something. Michael Gates Gill is son of a celebrated New Yorker writer Brendon Gill, lived in a huge brownstone as a kid. He studied in Yale and was a successful advertising professional at JWT. He worked there for 25 years and rose up to executive vice president and that is when he was fired. He was fired by one of his mentees whom he helped rise in her career. He tells you that he was fired for being an oddity in a company which wanted to be young and sleek. At the age of 53 he starts his own consulting business, which doesn’t click.

He spends next 10 years doing various things. Hoping that his old customers will find him useful, going to gym, having an affair, fathering a son out of marriage, getting a divorce and giving his big house to his former wife. He also manages to bore the woman he had affair with and grow a tumour in his brain which is non-terminal but is making him lose hearing in one ear. Oh, I almost forgot, he spends all his money, has no insurance for him and kids and is almost broke. Apart from all this he mainly spends time visiting Starbucks stores and being too rigid to accept for a long time that he has screwed his life up and good. Only good thing, spending time with the youngest son, makes him realize what he missed out on with his other 4 kids.

 One fine day, he is sipping coffee in Starbucks store and pondering over how messed up his life really is, he is offered a job. He grabs the offer, thinking of the great health benefits. Thus he becomes a partner at Starbucks (a barista for us).

Rest of it is how Michael, now Mike, copes up with his new job, realizing everyday that JWT never made him feel so respected and satisfied.

That is what the story is for the most part. But if you can, for a moment, forget that the narrator is telling his own ‘riches to rags story’, there is something more that comes out. Most glaring is the contrast between the old corporate in America ruled by ‘white middle aged men’ and the corporate today that is more diversified and inclusive in terms of color, age and sex. Now and again Mike can’t help but compare the small everyday things with the way things were. Comparing how his young African-American female boss supports and guides him with how he ruined the advertising career for an African-American girl for committing a mistake that he didn’t warn her against.

And that at times, makes you think that from being served to be one who serves probably serves him right.

The book has a great catchy title, something you would expect from an ad veteran. It is also full of information and details that, at least I would not care about. I mean, I can live without knowing which Starbucks store Crystal manages. The narrative is easy going and sometimes manipulative and at times makes you genuinely feel for him. Most importantly, without any serious sermon, book makes you realize and think about a few things which are so important and so neglected by us in life. After I turned the last page, I looked for when it was printed and could not help but wonder what this guy is doing today. That is when I knew I have read a good story.

This book doesn’t cost much to read, both in terms of time and money. Read it by all means if you lay your hands on it. If you miss it, there is a movie all ready in the making. Read here on IMDB.

Good job Michael Gates Gill. I hope that you are truly happy in life and you don’t have to think anymore about how low you have fallen in life. By the way, though Starbucks might have saved your life, for me you would have redeemed your soul too if only you had not omitted Tawana’s name from the acknowledgements.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mom, where is my Nobel?

Ever since the unthinkable has happened, it has got me thinking. And it has got me thinking very seriously. Not that I don’t think seriously ever, but this is different this time. I have been thinking mostly on the lines of 'akhir mujhme kya kami hai' (roughly translated to what is missing in me after all).

I mean if Barack Obama can have the Peace Nobel, so can I. After all in our different ways, on different platforms, we have been doing the same thing for world peace (that would be nothing but talking). It’s not only me who thinks so. Half the people I know seem to think that they have equal, if not more, claim on the prize. I even got roughed up by a couple of my friends. We have been debating who deserves it more, me or my friend.

See the irony, how peace prizes make people violent. As for the details or this roughing up, let’s just say, a few things are better left unsaid (as they contain profanity and violence).

So I turn to the only person on earth whom I could trust on genuinely believing that I could, or rather should get all the Nobels in the world. Yeah, that’s my mom. Besides, she is the only person I could confidently hope to beat in a debate. At least that’s what I thought. As it turns out, it was not that great an idea after all.

Here is the conversation. By the end of it you will know what I mean by not a great idea.

P: Ma, who is the coolest dude in the world?
Mom: Who else kid, you are?

I am always touched by how I will remain a kid for her, even though I have been trying to convince everyone for a score and then some years that I am a kid and I needed their support. Mainly their financial support.

P: Ma, do you know Obama got the Peace Nobel?
Mom: Of course I do. Who doesn’t? What do you think I am last generation or what?

Now I know, as long as I remain a kid she remains current generation.

P: But Ma, you think that was right? I mean, Obama getting the Nobel. I think I am equally qualified for this.

What else would my sweet mom say, but agree to it.

Mom: Hmm, I think its right. I think he should get it next year too. He is the President of the United States. And kid, you need to concentrate more on your work. How many line of code have you written lately? Count on your fingers and tell me.


This should have been my clue to back off. But I thought she won’t say anything that I won’t be able to write later. Also I am not always comfortable talking about my work. So I pressed on. This after all was a day of bad decisions.

P: Look Ma, he has done nothing really to deserve this. As for president, even I was the Class President in third grade and then I repeated the feat in seventh grade. Even now I am the President of my movie watching club. Obama might not be the president again.
Mom: Son, I love you, but let the truth be told. You bullied all those kids in third grade. In seventh, you were the only man amongst the few boys in a girl majority class. And I know how silly girls that age can be. And I also know that your club has just two members, you and Scooby. And I would hate if dogs presided over men, even you.
Who says he will not be the president next term? He will be. He is such a charming man.
P: If charms won you a Nobel, I would have got a few by now. Didn’t you just agree that I charmed the majority as early as seventh grade? Ma, even I am tall and dark and handsome. Two out of three at any rate. The way I am losing my hair I will soon be a better egg head than him.
Mom: I will have to give you that kid. But then he gives hope to people. Hope is what keeps people going. Oh! By the way clean the bathroom of your hair, it has started to flood now.

Now this is the thing with Moms of the world. They always remember cleaning. But I was not to be deterred today.

P: Ah mom! You have to bring such dirty things as cleaning into our so important discussion. We are talking about Nobel ma, not grocery list.
Have I not been giving you all hope mom? Haven’t all your hopes been pinned on me for so many years? If just giving hope is the big thing, then who is a better man than I?
Mom: Oh so you have started to make smart arguments! Unfortunately they are true. How hopeful we were when you were born. And hope it has remained.

I was all glee at this time.

P: See, that is what I am talking about.
Mom: But he speaks well at least. Such beautiful words, such clear thoughts!

This is when I thought I will be able to make this killer argument that I could not with my friends.

P: Ah, so we come to this finally. I have been paid to keep this secret, but I will give you some hints. Just between you and me.

  1. Like every other great leader and orator he does not write his speeches.
  2. Do you remember I was there in USA during his campaign, then I came home to return back just in time for his inauguration.
  3. Even though I have not done a thing in my life, ever since I learnt how to speak I have said ‘yes we can’. And everyone else did. You know this one well.

Can you connect the dots now?
Mom: Oh My God! Oh My God! What are you saying kid.
P: He he he! And now I am worried about his acceptance speeches.
Mom: Acceptance speeches? But he got just one Nobel.
P: Oh Ma! You are so naive. Who do you think is going to win Miss World next? I think he will have to reuse the Nobel acceptance speech. After all it is going to be about the world peace only.
Mom: Oh son, you are such a genius, even though a strayed one. I don’t know if you should have got a Nobel. I surely think I want a Nobel for peace now for feeding and keeping up with you for decades.

There you are. Another claimant for my prize. But there is more to come.

Mom: By the way, you just said that you have been paid to keep things secret. That has to be a big money. Looks like its time you moved out. I will help you pack.

Needless to say I was broke (like always). I didn’t have the heart to tell her that gambling is such a messy thing. Of and on you lose some money.

I still didn’t have one person in the world to agree with me, but the pursuit had surely left me homeless, penniless and jobless (well, technically no so).

I now needed to sit down and concentrate and think about what to do next. I surely will not be looking for a Nobel. I think I need some coffee now. Starbucks to save my life!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Use it or lose it!

Is it time or is it youth or is it an opportunity? No silly, it’s your earned leaves. Never mind that you think that you have earned it, because you have not. It’s us, the masters of your universe who have given you this. So better use it or lose it! That is the policy change in the company that greeted me on my return to work. The earned leaves will now lapse if not used by the end of the year.

Now for the record, this is the only kind of leave I get. No sick leaves, no casual leaves and no any other kind of leave. I mean if I didn’t come to work today, because I died yesterday, they will deduct one of my earned leaves.

When I started to work here, friends and relatives would ask about the terms of employment and invariably about the number of leaves I was entitled to. They would always be shocked and I would always be embarrassed when I told them. But at least I could earn and save my leaves and use it per my convenience. I could just pile it up till I could get it encashed.

For the uninitiated, earned leaves are actually earned for each day of the work that you do. This is mandated by the government laws and there is a formula for the calculation. If you go on a leave of absence you don’t earn the leaves for those days. And when you have saved a certain number of leaves that you have earned, you could get it encashed by getting the salary for as many number of days.

But not any more, not in my company at least. In the middle of the global economic crisis when everyone preaches about saving your earnings, my company forces me to splurge.

Funny it is, how you tend to become spiritual when you sense the presence of some super being (that would be my HR managers) overseeing you. Your earned leaves are no more earned leaves. They are a gift, like the gift of time or youth. You have to use it now. Because tomorrow it will not be there. No they are not encashed, they are lapsed.

So take a vacation, or sit at home or best still go to work and don’t punch in and out. Just make sure that you have not more than half your leaves left by the end of the year.

Sometimes I think these guys are jealous of us. Jealous about how we settle down so fast with the changes despite the policy changes coming at frightening regularity. And no one seems to mind this policy change as well.

I wonder what they smoke. I just want to know so that I can keep away from it. And I demand to know what those five gentlemen were smoking when they voted for the Peace Nobel.

Footnote1: When I joined this company as a young, fresh, campus recruit, it used to be the most admired company in India. It’s been among top spots for years. Now it does not even figure in top twenty. Guess why? No, it’s not only because I work here.

Footnote2: I use up all my leaves every year and even go into leaves without pay (and not earn leaves for those days). But I still find this whole idea appalling.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Train Trip to Home

This is the only year when I have made so many trips to home since I moved out about thirteen years ago. The one last week was by train. Here is a little account.

I book my tickets in second class. I favour being close to the elements more than closed comfort of an air conditioned coach. That dog peeping out of the car window will agree. But this one time I was thankful to God (and Laloo Prasad Yadav) for the upgrade. I boarded the train and in a minute I knew that next 36 hours are going to be painful. The whole bunch of people around, well, sucked. Especially this lady with holier-than-thou written across her face. Just as I was steeling myself for the torture, a man comes claiming my berth as his. Now this is the thing with Indian Railways, they tell you that trains are your own property. And you have to fight for your property. That’s what I did. But after a little scuffle that ensued, one gentleman suggested that we should look into the berth chart. Only one passenger upgraded and it was me! You buy a lottery ticket just for the sake of it and hit the jackpot! With a sigh of relief, I picked up my backpack and ran. This was only second upgrade in my long life and countless journeys. First was on a flight from Dallas to Detroit.

First couple of days were uneventful except the fact that it was hot. It was hot like crazy! And humid! I remember that around this time we used to take out the warm clothes from the trunks and air them. Begin October, we started wearing them. Believe me, global warming is real. Weather cycle is screwed up all ready. I wonder if there will be a sequence of changing seasons at all by the time I am old. And then I went to Madhubani where it was hotter, despite being closer to Himalayas. This is one place where I always like to go to. My earliest memories are of this place. I probably didn’t understand the world better, but as far as I can tell, the best days of my life till today were spent there. Like always I went to see the house and the locality where I spent my early childhood. Its amazing how much, yet how little things changed in all these years. Oh, by the way, I went there to initiate the process of getting uprooted forever. I just hope that I get to go there again and in leisure.

No upgrades now and just as well. A group of youngsters travelling back to join the colleges after the vacation were my co-passengers. Unaware, apprehensive and still confident about what lies beyond the college gates, in the corporate. I enjoyed it every bit without trying to level their expectations. Not that I would have been able to, their energy and enthusiasm was infectious. Since I am vaccinated for every kind of infection, I slept like dead for more than 24 hours. Whatever little time for conversations I had, people invariably asked me where I am studying, when I finished school, etc. Not just one guy, but many. Not that I am not used to this. Every single pub in USA refused to serve me without seeing my driver’s license. Waitresses flirted with me like I am a teenager. I used to wonder if they were blind. There I was a 6 feet tall man with long hair and beard and weighing close to 200 pounds. More like a construction worker than a teenager. I never thought this would happen in India. And I am sure as hell not sorry for it this time.

I reach here at seven, at nine-thirty I am at work. Only to be greeted by a super funky policy change. That is coming next.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lost Symbol - The Movie

The Movie

In this world full of uncertainties, there is one thing that I am absolutely certain about. Somewhere someone right now is thinking about making a movie called ‘The Lost Symbol’. Absolutely no secrets there. I also know that Tom Hanks is going to play Langdon. Further I know that people who are going to watch this movie without reading the book are going to find it a little difficult to figure what is happening and the people who will watch the movie after reading the book will have not have a clue as to what, in the devil’s name, is happening in the movie (this, I can tell from personal experience).

Still I am looking forward to this movie to see what Hank’s hairstylist does. He did a far better job the second time. But for that and may be a new girl (and absence of that loathsome albino), I would not have been able to tell one movie from other.

I read that Dan Brown has twelve Langdon Stories. Given the gap between two novels, the further latency in getting the movies to the theatres and the fact of life that even supernatural beings like Tom Hanks will have to die some day, simple maths will tell that they will have to preserve his body (which is a good thing) to play the protagonist in these movies. If they manage to keep it secret, no one will know the difference given his acting standards in these movies. No, I don’t have anything against his acting abilities; I just think he is wasted. In fact I am absolutely in love with this guy. I even voted for him last time but those jerks made Obama the president. He is good but he ain’t no Tom Hanks.

Whenever this movie comes, here are a few suggestions for all

1. Don’t go to watch this movie after a long day at work.
2. Even if you do, don’t try to follow the movie. You might faint. It’s probably not worth the trouble anyways.
3. Make a point to notice the acoustics, seats, temperature control, etc at the theatre. These are small things which accentuate or mar the movie experience. This use of time will help decide if this theatre is good enough for next movie.
4. While you are at it, measure the time it takes for a round trip to the restroom. For the same reason as in 3.
5. If you are a TV-Traveller (i.e. Travel & Living addict), go watch this. They are going to show certain facets, buildings, etc of a city which you thought were just not there (and probably are not there).
6. If you have lived or worked in the city where the movie is based go watch this movie. You just might see your home or work place or favourite coffee shop or mall whiz past in one of the many whirlwind sequences. I am jealous, that particular sequence is going to make sense just to you.
7. If you are not an absolute movie fanatic, or study movie making, or fit in 5 and 6, etc. Don’t do 1-4. Stay at home, go camping, smell the roses and have a good time with family and friends.

That is it. And I will be extremely happy if the book (thin chances, going by reviews) or the movie proves me wrong. I am all for entertaining books and movies, as long as they make sense.

By the way, how do you read “Secret/Mysterious/Bizarre Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Fellowship /Society”? Secret-slash-Mysterious-slash-Bizarre Brotherhood-slash-Sisterhood-slash-Fellowship-slash-Society? Let me know what?

The Lost Symbol – The Book

The title I wanted for this was “The Lost Symbol – Robert Langdon, New Girl, Stupid Law Enforcers and a Secret/Mysterious/Bizarre Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Fellowship/Society”. But I didn’t actually use it because
1. This is too long for a title.
2. I think most of us (including me) don’t know how to read out words with ‘/’ in between.

I will make do with the current title only and talk about the book that I have not read yet and later about the movie that has not been made yet.

The Book
The book is out and there are thousand reviews on internet. Here is the summary. “This is one pathetic piece of literature rife with factual blunders which you cannot put down, if you are not rational or if you know the art of suppressing your rationale. If you don’t know this subtle art, you can’t go beyond ten pages.” I for one believe in dying to go to heaven (probably hell in this case).

Apparently planes flutter their wings like a big bird before they take a heave and get lost in the misty skies while at some other place CIA is given an amputated hand as a souvenir from a crime scene where they have no business being present at and have no jurisdiction by law. See the beauty?

Many are of the opinion that Dan Brown’s books stick firmly to the formula. This is where I can happily contradict everyone. In my opinion there cannot be a formula for mass consumption which does not have big dose of sex and a very big dose of gory violence involved. Watch any Hindi movie from Bollywood that was made in late 80s and early 90s to know what I mean.

If you are more of a reader then read Sidney Sheldon. He is the king of formula and he was done passing off his genes to new generation before he started writing his 'best sellers' after he turned 50 (that is when his genes mutated). Well, I just made the gene thing up. That the only hope that my kids won’t have to read the works of any ‘legal heir of Sheldon’s legacy’ (as they would write in the reviews). I wouldn't mind more of I Dream of Jeannie though.

I do think that Dan Brown has found a new formula. Find some mystery or a conspiracy theory which is unresolved. Collect generally prevalent information (that is not easily verifiable) from Wikipedia and try to connect the dots in a super fast paced narrative that leaves people breathless. Throw in a few paragraphs of moral sermons now and then, just to give those half illiterate readers a feeling of reading something more profound than what they are actually reading (I have personally collected data to prove this). Voila! Now run to the bank.

As for the book, I will wait for the paperback to come. Will read it with absolutely no expectations and would love to be surprised. Here is a little disclaimer: I reserve all rights to go back on anything I have said before, if I find something different than what everyone else has found and what I should expect based on the two other Langdon books.

We should give credit to Dan Brown to find a formula that is ingenious and takes considerable talent, not necessarily of literary kind. We should give him credit for creating a formula which is extremely difficult to follow and will probably die with him.

Raise hands all ye who want it so.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol - I

These days the literary circles are abuzz with the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol. And that instantly makes me nostalgic about how I first read his book.

It all started with missing a connecting train. That was a long-long time ago. Missing that train is another story worth telling, but some other time. So there I was stuck at a train station and no train for another five hours and the journey itself was of about eight hours. It was seven in the morning, sometime in October 2004. I roamed around, loafed around, and killed time. Basically did everything that a young male does. Then the sun came out, the market started opening up and the pirated books were laid out on the pavement. Yeah, I was not so rich then to buy an original. Now I am rich enough to buy originals. Come to think of it, this is the only change in my fortunes in all these years. So I got this book. The Da Vinci Code. Now ever since I can remember I have loved this guy. Not Danny boy silly, it was Leonardo Da Vinci whom I have always been in awe with. I all ready had read whatever I could read (and historians could write) about him. Besides just three months back I had completed a course in cryptography and I was sure that there was no code called Da Vinci code. You see the title itself was so exciting to me. So I bargained hard and picked the book. Little did I know that I am going to experience the history from a very different perspective (is convoluted the right word?). Monalisa’s crooked smile (due to bad printing, pirated book, remember?) didn’t entice me enough to start reading it on the platform. I killed some more time. Train came jam-packed and I still could get a window seat. How I miss those days when I could do that. So I have eight hours to sit and a new book in hand.

I started to read it, very soon it picked pace. This book seemed to have more twists and turns in the plot than any roller coaster. I just kept on turning pages. And all of a sudden the story ended. Just like that. I almost wished I had not read the last few pages. I felt so betrayed. I mean, it’s like you drink a gallon of water and hold it for half a day. Then you empty your bladder and not feel even a little bit of that overpowering nice feeling. That kind of betrayed. All of a sudden the story was back to where it started. I mean if the curator was smart enough write so many super complex codes to make the protagonists to go round in a circle trekking the continent at a breakneck pace to end up at the same place where they started at, he could as well have written just two semi smart codes. One for telling them where the girl’s brother was and another just to say “about turn”. And semi smart because no one other than Langdon seemed to have any clue about anything anyways. I do think that this guy had an ego problem. That probably is a part of the membership plan of some forever secret brotherhood.

Thus I was introduced to Mr. Brown’s works. One evening, not too many days later, I thought I will read all his books. You know what kind of mental state one decides such things in. I won’t explain that here (my family reads this), just blame it on hot-blood-just-out-of-college-lad thing. Ok, since this post is about codes and clues, I will give you one. That was a Saturday evening. Well, what is more disturbing (now when I think about it) is that I actually started to read them. Angels and Daemons, then Digital Fortress and then Deception Point. That’s as far as I could go. I just could not get myself to read “187 Men to Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman”. Yes Sir! Along with “The Bald Book” that is one of his earliest works co-written with his wife. I don’t know who was giving advice to whom. I just wish they had thought about having kids to occupy their free time. Or may be bring a pet. Don't even get me started on why 187 only and not 189. Is that some secret message?

So much about my history with Dan Brown. Now I also wanted to talk about “The Lost Symbol”, the book that I have not read yet and the movie that has not been made yet. But wait till next time dear people.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Harbhajan Singh and Overworked Techies

Ok then, here is the first post. I mean the (real) first post.
Lately I have come across two things while going through various sites (that I keep shifting through). Let me tell you about them.

Harbhajan Singh
Those of you like Wikipedia or are addicted to it, will surely have noticed the featured articles on the main page. On September 17th 2009, Harbhajan Singh was the featured article. So whats the big deal, you may ask. No, there is none. Just that over the years, I have noticed that the featured articles are either (a) something from history, (b) something bizarre or (c) something novel. Having Harbhajan featured just confirmed (b) and (c). (a) will anyways get confirmed sooner or later. And all of a sudden I also started to notice that these articles at times are funny too.

Overworked Techies
Today I read it on TG Daily that “UK researchers have found that 35 percent of IT staff is working more than 48 hours a week and 7.3 percent work between 60 to 75 Hours.” No it’s not news for me. I have always been in that 7.3 bracket. Ok, to be fair to the world, I do get into the 35 percent at times in small stretches (I am writing this at work). This article is not what I want to talk about though. It’s one of the comments.
In the comments one of the guys says, he worked for a firm, with unpaid overtime in the contract. This guy thought the jobs are just not there. Anyways, in six months he could not take it anymore so he put the resume online, in two days, he was working across the street for 20K more (that is USD). And he is happy now. He says IT still has enough staffing needs to hire you and not make you sign a contract that declares you are sub-human. Ah, brings tears to the eyes, to see one of our kinds happy. For ever after? Well,not so fast buddy!
So here is the point of telling you this story. If you are inspired by it, and actually manage to switch to a job where you get to work like human. Just let me know how. Exact details, each step. Please I beg you.

I admire Mr. Harbhajan Singh. Just thought it was weird to find him in the featured article. If you know what I mean.

Thousand miles and first steps and so forth

Funny, isn’t it? The way you want to have a blog, you want to tell people things or may be just think-aloud. And still when you are there you don’t know what to say. I think this is the first-post-hiccup (if it’s not a term yet, it just got copyrighted).
By design or coincidence I often come across many things, as an observer or a participant that are worth letting the people know. I guess that is what it will be most of the times. And when it is not it, then it will surely be better.

It’s really nice to have you here and I hope that you will keep coming back.


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