Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm back...

Well, sort of anyway.

I'm on vacation at the moment. I'd taken a weeks leave to prepare for the upcoming exams. Big mistake.

I've realised I've lost the ability to sit and study for long hours. Everyday I find myself casually wondering whats going on at the office. I long to get back. I miss my cubicle.

The CAT zipped by. It stopped just long enough to bite a big chunk out of my ego.

Interestingly enough, its the verbal section thats left me a little puzzled. I did sort of decently in quants and DI but I found the verbal section impossible to evaluate. When I looked at the answer key at the IMS and TIME website I found that they didnt agree on practically anything. SO frankly I dont know how well I've done. I suppose I do feel like I've done a decent job overall. Much better than last time anyway.

Slew of exams coming up,this IBCD shall retreat behind his books now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thats Aparna and Niranjana, the lovely ladies who reside in the neighbouring flat(Click on the picture to get a bigger image). Due to some pretty heavy rains in Chennai, schools have been closed and the two of them have been running around.Yours truly has also been unable to go to work :P.

I suppose there are few things better in the world than getting up in the morning and hearing that school has been cancelled :-).

Seeing them, I simply had to take a snap. I'm really not one of those people who gush over kids but this time I had to make an exception.

Later, coaxed by her mother Aparna recited The story of the 5 fingers. She strode into my room, fixed a stern eye on me and bade me to listen. Once she was sure she had my attention, she assumed a wooden expression and recited the entire story in a single breath. Her eyes glazed over towards the end and just as I was getting worried she finished the story and ran out of the room.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

For the first couple of months after I joined my present company, I had plenty of free time on my hands. While the more senior people in the team spent day and night slogging it out to meet deadlines, I would calmly pick up my bag at 6:00 PM and head out of the office. The fact that I was considered a working professional by outsiders was enough. Actually working was out of the question.

My views on work changed slowly. I started to hear horror stories from the guys who I trained with, about crazy deadlines, fanatical project managers and permanently jumpy onsite coordinators. I on the other hand could only narrate with great enthusiasam the menu's of the various restaurants I had dined at with the team.

The people in my apartment complex began to look at me funny each time I entered the building by 6:30 PM. "But my brother comes back only at 1:00 in the morning!" the neighbour would exclaim. To them an IT professional was one who bathed, shaved and ate at the office, coming home occasionally to take a nap and then head back . I proved to be the complete antithesis of a pukka IT professional....and it puzzled my neighbours a great deal.

I began to feel vaguely guilty that I was getting home so soon. I felt like I was letting down the entire IT community. I began to look for ways and means to stay back at work but I wasnt given any tasks to complete. The project was at a very critical stage and they could'nt trust a fresher with bare minimum knowledge of java.

I longed to complain of heavy workloads, crazy working hours and managers who belonged to an asylum. I wanted to be part of that exclusive inner circle, to be part of the guys who'd been to hell and back several times during a project. I wanted to carry two cell phones. One for personal use and the other to get calls from the onsite coordinator at 3:00 in the morning.

My prayers were never answered. I had no work, I left by six and my manager was a really nice guy who kept organising team dinners.

As the days went by, I started getting small tasks to complete. Sometimes testing, sometimes ensuring that quality standards were followed and sometimes looking after bug tracking. Nothing spectacular, I was just doing the work the senior guys referred to avoid. I once stayed back till 10:00 PM to compile a list of bugs. I was gloriously happy that night. I felt like I truly belonged now. The next day I was back home at six.

Things changed when one of the guys who had to code a module left to replace the onsite chap. I was summoned and asked to do his work.

I was pretty pleased. I was going to sink my teeth into some real work now. I opened Websphere Application Developer and double clicked on a java file. It immediately leapt out of the screen and bit me.

I had never seen anything so fearsomely complex in my entire life. Monstorous chunks of code all calling each other and sometimes even calling themselves doing God knows what. A carnal orgy of Mainframe calls, JDBC, MQ Series, Java Beans, Enterprise Java Beans, DB2 and SQL Server hits.

I made about a hundred visits a day to my Team Leader's cubicle. I read the architecture document about a zillion times before the code made any sense to me.

I took slow hesitant steps. The server complained all the time. I encountered warning messages written by come deeply cynical programmer." If you see this more than once,things are BAD". " Hi Buddy! stored procedure failed!" " Hurrah! The value returned by the database is: NULL".

I put my heart and soul into developing that module.As the weeks passed, my code morphed from an innocent collection of hard coded data to a large and clumsy Frankenstein. I looked with awe and not without fear at what I had brought to life. It was large,it was fearsome and it bristled with mainframe calls, stored procedures and Java beans transferring information like no mans business. I began to lose track of what did what. At times I would stop coding and scroll up and down seeing neither end nor beginning.

I started to lose track of time. Time just flew. Before I knew it, I was sitting wearily in front of the monitor at 2 in the morning trying to get the damn thing to work. If I was'nt in the office, I worried over possible defects and bugs. I wrote code in my dreams. I had nightmares of defects being found during the production phase.

I didnt know what was happening at home. I just slept there for a few hours before coming back in the morning to see my inbox full of mails from the onsite chap. The office became my life.

I have finally made that transition from being a jobless professional to a stressed out coding freak who comes home at odd hours. My neighbours are not even awake to see me come home at 2 in the morning.I have plenty of things to complain about and share war stories with the guys I trained with.

I have begun to feel guilty if I'm home on the weekends. My concience is wracked with remorse if I leave the office before 11 PM. Sometimes when I'm home, I dont quite know what to do with myself.

My official life as a software engineer has finally begun.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I guess I'm going to be a pretty infrequent blogger till the end of the year. I'm facing unreasonable deadlines at work and the CAT is only 3 months away. I worry about the CAT in the office and worry about work when I study for the CAT :P.

I'm taking a break of sorts from active gymming. Not only because of the lack of time but also because I want my shoulder and knee to heal from their respective injuries. I'll be keeping it pretty light for the next few months.

Nothing more to add. The next few months are going to be critical for me. Wish me luck :-).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'd like all of you to join me in wishing my sister Mrs.Supriya Devarajan,B.Sc M.Sc,PHd a very happy birthday :-). Terribly sorry I didnt call you first thing in the morning sis.....I was just a little too stoned :-).

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Your beans are not in the session,
May I present you a null pointer exception?

True glory lies not in never falling but rising each time we fall,
ps:- The mainframe has not returned your call.

You make your request,
I choose not to respond,
Reflect, repent, and restart,
Uh-oh.. I guess your code is gone...

Code worked before tea
Code worked before coffee,
Application crashes after egg puff.
WebSphere Application Developer moves in mysterious ways.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I have been wrenched away from my cubicle and allotted a new one.I'm shattered.

When I first joined my project after training, I didnt have a comp assigned to me.I led a rather nomadic existence, moving from computer to computer as demanded of me. Naturally this was a bit of a pain because just I settled down and started to do something productive I'd be asked to move.

I had always had my eye on a particular cubicle. It was unoccupied but the computer was not on the network, making it impossible to use. I had repeatedly asked my project leader for that particular spot but she would give me the same reason each time. Then one day as I sat cramped between two people with a comp that acted as a server for the neighbouring project(painfully, painfully slow!) and the keyboard on my lap, my PL tapped on the shoulder, smiled and said "Its ready and its all yours!"

The next couple of months were sheer bliss.Only those who have experienced the torture of running Websphere Application Developer on a 256 MB RAM machine will know the happiness that comes from migrating to a 512. The cubicle was by itself perfect. Unlike the other one's where four people each got corner, I got a small cubicle all to myself. True it was the size of a cardboard box, but as a former nomad without a machine, I considered myself extremely lucky. I settled down between those 3 walls and spent many a happy afternoon dozing after lunch. I even had a blue dustbin all to myself. I felt truly at home.

But in the software industry, everything is ephemeral. Just as you settle down, things turn upside down and everything changes drastically. This holds true of both the customers requirements and the cubicle you use. One morning as I was just making myself comfortable after breakfast, I was curtly asked by my project manager to move 3 rows down as another team was moving in. I wasnt given a chance to argue. I had to pack up and leave. The only good news was that my machine would be moving with me.

My new location is not as good as the old one. I have only two walls instead of three. I share the cubicle with 3 others and there's a large pillar to my right. The teams on either side are a noisy enthusiastic bunch and make my afternoon nap a sheer impossibility. I think its going to take a while to settle down.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Much apologies for this delayed update. Hours at the office are at best unpredictable and the CAT is only 4 months away....besides I've lead a remarkably unremarkable life in the last couple of weeks. Will update soon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

No Anon, I did not remove your comment because it annoyed me.I removed it because you were right. If I was writing about my english teacher, the least I could do was to ensure that the spelling and grammar was right :-). I've removed all the mistakes I could find. Do let me know if I've overlooked something.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Mrs Rani Chandran, perhaps the best teacher I've ever had passed away last week. She was killed in a tragic road accident.

If I'm able to cobble my words together today and then twist the sentences into something interesting, I owe it all to her. She was the first person to really encourage my writing. Sure, I dont have any complaints against my other English teachers but I always worked extra hard to please Mrs RC. Her compliments made me feel on top of the world.

It’s a pity but our first impressions of each other left much to be desired. My english teacher in the 7th standard got frustrated with my stubborn refusal to do english homework and sent me off to meet Mrs RC who was the head of the english department. I'd never spoken to her before but I strode jauntily into the staff room fully confident of myself. No way was some pavum English teacher going to convince me to do homework. A lot of my confidence stemmed from the fact that my mom was also a teacher in my school. I was a lot more casual towards my teachers than the rest of the kids.

RC tore me apart.

I walked in expecting special treatment. I was after all a teacher's son. I knew my teachers personally and expected a couple of gentle rebukes before being let off the hook. Instead I was ripped to pieces.

She examined my class notes and my homework for the year, the grand total of which came to exactly two sheets. Then she got angry, very very angry. Who the hell did I think I was anyway? What kind of handwriting was this? Was I too good to take notes and do my homework? The lashing went on and on. I lost all track of time, space and motion.

I came out the staff room, knees shaking, heart palpitating and ears bleeding. I spent the next couple of night’s frantically compiling class notes and homework. My mother was thoroughly ashamed and gave me hell at home. It was a very trying week.

I lived in complete fear of RC for the next couple years. Then when I came to the 9th standard, she handled Shakespeare...and it was amazing. She was one of those few people who could really lift the level of your thinking. If you answered her questions correctly, you would feel so damn smart.

I still remember the first time I 'acted' on stage. It was a skit on road safety. Another english teacher was directing the play and after having paid special attention to my excellent theatrical skills and the wide range of emotions I could display, she made me part of the road. Yep, I had to wear black and lie down on the floor with some other unfortunate kids while more acomplished actors walked all over us. I felt pretty lousy about it until RC took over. She made every kid feel like he or she was vital to the success of the play. It didnt matter what role you played. Suddenly I was incredibly happy to lie down while other kids stepped on my face. I was PROUD to be part of the road

I got to know her very well over the next couple of years. I played more prominent roles in the plays she directed, took part in debates and edited the school newsletter that she was in charge of. When it came to extra-curricular activities, the last couple of years in school were the best.

I'll always remember RC as no nonsense woman who would encourage you when you were down and put you in your place when you got too cocky. She spoke the Queen’s English and carried herself with such dignity; you couldn’t help but be in awe of her. Now THAT was a TEACHER.

Monday, June 27, 2005

When I was in college, I had no idea what it meant to actually "work" in an IT company. In my infinite wisdom, I assumed I'd be paid gobs of money to go to office in a big air-bus, wear a tie, sit in an air-conditioned room and surf the net.

I began to like my own version of the job profile. While I was yet to master the intricacies of tying a tie and somewhat averse to learning, I was sure that I could take sitting in an AC room and browsing the net to a whole new level.

I worked religiously towards my goal. To clear the written test and interviews, I pushed myself through a dozen aptitude books and tried my best to come to terms with fuzzy concepts like pointers and linked lists. Several times, I came close to including "Many years experience in sitting in bus" in my resume.

My hard work paid off. I cleared the written tests and blinked stupidly at the interviewer only occasionally. I was through.

My first few days of work were even better than I thought it would be. I took delight in dozing in my pushback seat in the bus. I persevered through the five-minute walk from the bus to my cubicle office, eagerly awaiting the cool embrace of the centrally air-conditioned office.

I took special pride in flashing my access card. In my first week at the office I flashed the card with gay abandon, often locking myself out. It took a lot of effort to not automatically fish the card out of my pocket while entering the restroom.

I discovered Kimberly Clarke tissue paper and liquid soap. I played with automatic taps and Nova Tech hand driers. I fell into the routine every IT professional goes through. Apply fragrant liquid soap, stick hands under automatic tap, take four times the number of tissue papers necessary to wipe your hands and face and then stick your hands under the hand drier.

I made frequent trips to the cafeteria. I sampled every food item available. I guzzled fruit juice and powered my way through veg puff and egg puff. I drank everything from lemon tea to soup at the dispensing machines and explored the variety of food each floor offered. I withdrew money from the in-house ATM's, yakked over the cell phone with my corporate connection and paid periodic visits to the shoe-polishing machine. In short, I was blissfully happy.

Then one day, when I least expected it, I was given some work.

My immediate reaction was that of horror. At some level I knew I was being paid to be productive but my conscious mind wanted nothing to do with it. I seriously considered retiring. After a fierce internal struggle and a lot of hemming and hawing, I agreed to do what was asked of me.

Now I gaze helplessly at the screen as the compiler objects to everything I write. I write and compile and gawk as my pretty code transforms into a seething mass of red, yellow and green lines. I struggle with "NullPointerException", "FileNotFoundException","JasperException" and "LeaveMeAloneIDontLikeYouAnyMoreException". My compiler and I are not on speaking terms at the moment.

My dreams are filled with EJB's, Struts, Beans, Servlets, JSP's and JDBC:ODBC drivers. I speak jargonese with my friends. I send and receive pointless forwards and do my best to avoid direct sunlight because I can’t take the heat anymore. I've installed an AC in my room. Now I find that on weekends I'd rather sit within the confines of my room than go out and get a social life. At home and public places, I stick my hand under the tap and wonder why the water does not gush out.

I have slowly come to realize that at the end of the day, you are here to work…and do lots of it. Having gotten over the initial fascination of all the luxuries an IT company can offer, I find that my happiness at the end of the day comes when my compiler and I both agree that the code is ok. I look to Google to guide me through the intricacies of programming and pray to Web Sphere Application Developer to put up with what I write.

God Forbid, I’ve actually started working.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I did something incredibly stupid this morning. I'm not going to go into the details of it....just that I feel really really bad about it.

I should be handling certain issues with grace and dignity and yet I'm throwing tantrums like a five year old child.

I know I'm acting this way because I'm hurt and something which means so much to me is gone. I'm trying to adjust to this new reality. I get along ok for a while and then suddenly I get really worked up and say and do things I would ordinarily never even dream of. Past injustices flare up and I have a new accusation to make everyday.

Am I confused? Yes.

Is my ego giving trouble? Yes.

Am I helping myself?No.

To accept that I'm powerless in certain matters is pretty hard. To let go and leave matters to fate not knowing if you'll ever get back what you had......words won't suffice to describe how painful that is.

The only option I have is to forgive and to forget. I just have to overcome whatever hungry need I feel and also tend to my bruised ego. How long that will take me, I dont know.

Its going to be a hard process but I know what lies on the other side is maturity, wisdom and better emotional control. and I'm bloody well going to get through it.

"New glasses Archa? " I asked.

"Yep, I lost the old ones".

"What happened?"

"I left them in my car."


"My car was stolen."

Needless to say , I was taken aback.
Girl power has taken over my blog :-).

I must admit I never quite intended my blog to be a place where family and friends could interact. Still, I guess I have no real objections to it. Who wouldn't love to see 14 comments for a single post? :-).

And dear sister, the " I wont read your blog if you dont want me to" won't work out simply because you'll be twice as motivated if I said so.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Thank you very much for your wishes :-). I had a pretty good birthday. Recieved calls throughout the day.

We have a cake policy in my team. At the beginning of every month, every member of the team must contribute a certain sum of money so that funds are available to buy a nice big cake when a birthday comes along.We assemble at the conference room, sing and clap as the birthday boy/girl cuts the cake. Then most of the cake is smashed on their face. We then converge towards the remains of the cake like starving psychotic piranhas.I heartily approved of the practice till my own birthday came along.

Now I suffer the agony of a man who knows he forked out 150 bucks to have black forest cake applied to his face like make up. By the time I got the cream out of my glasses, the cake was gone.

I'm supposed to be treating the team next friday. The treats are horribly expensive affairs as we have about 23 people in the team. And we must eat at some place "decent". Decent directly translates to "Bring a credit card along...two wouldn't be such a bad idea actually". Sigh, I used to approve of the system, never thinking of the day I would become a victim of it.


I must announce with mixed feelings that my sister has discovered my blog. While I have had no objections to complete strangers reading my blog, knowing my sister is reading it puts things in a whole new perspective. For this is a person who takes a personal interest in what I think and what I do. Perfectly natural.If my sister had a blog, I would read it to keep tabs on her.

Sigh. First I must dispel any ideas that you, dear sister might have gathered from reading my blog.

.I dont drink

.I dont smoke

.Try as I might, I can't convince attractive women that I'm boyfriend material. I am not seeing anyone. I am just another pavum software engineer leading a blameless life ;-).

There, I think I've got the fundemental things out of the way. But for this, I'm pretty much like any other guy out there. You are welcome to read my blog. You are not welcome to ask questions.

I'd prefer it if you kept what you read to yourself.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

They say a lesson is repeated until it is learnt. I always assumed they meant lessons in life...vague philosophical stuff. I guess I never knew they never meant physical chemistry.

Physical chemistry? Why would an electrical engineer working as a software engineer want anything to do with it? Neither my under graduate education or my profession require intimate knowledge of the subject. Why then am I up at 4:30 in the morning trying to find the number of atoms in 4.5 grams of helium?

Answer: Mom.

My mother is a biology teacher. 17 years of it has made her a "Hardcore" biology teacher. No question in biology will ever faze her.

Now due a mild staff shortage, she's been asked to handle the first unit of
chemistry for the 9'th standard. I came home yesterday, mind numb from staring at the comp for 10 hours straight and found her in tears because she didnt understand what that bastard author of the chem textbook was saying. How was she supposed to teach something she didnt understand? The students would soon realise she didnt know what she was talking about. How could she face the class?

"You cant even help me!" she sobbed " I know how wonderfully you studied chemistry in the 9'th standard."

Aargh. The demons from the past have raised their ugly heads again. I thought chemistry was done with. I suffered with it from the 9th to the 12'th and caused plenty of heartache to my poor chemistry teachers. One of them even wanted my mother to have my thyroid levels checked.

But I couldn't let my mom walk into her class tommorow and falter when a student asked her a question. I would have to fight my revulsion for the subject,read it, understand it and somehow explain it to her.

So I sat down at the table and picked up the book. 5 minutes later I understood why I didn't understand chemistry in the 9'th standard. The textbook was crap.

There was no kind of logical flow. I didnt progress from page to page. I had to keep going back and forth between chapters before I could even make sense of what he was saying.

And consider this. He explains a concept for about a couple of lines and then immediately there's a problem to be solved. I work it out on a bit of paper and look at the answer. Its wrong.


I look at what I've done. Its perfect. Just a matter of ratios. Why then is the textbook sniggering at me?

I look at the textbook again. Aah. Printing mistake.

I understood now why my mother was so distraught. You think you've understood something and then the text book tells you you are wrong.If its your first time with that dreaded book, you dont know what to believe in. The book or yourself ?

So now I've explained the first chapter to my mom. She can handle the theory. We have to sit with the problems over the weekend so that everything goes well on monday.

If this continues, I'll soon have to teach my my mom organic chemistry and calculus.Two subjects which made the last two years of my life in school miserable.God help me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Its my father's Birthday today. He would have been 61.

We celebrated his 60'th birthday last year with a traditional ceremony called the "Sashtabyaburthi". Staunch traditionists are requested to forgive the spelling.

I had just finished college and the family had gone on a trip to Bangalore, Calcutta and Darjeeling. We came back and I gave the aptitude tests for company P and company Barry. I'd cleared both of them and was in a rather exultant mood on that particular day.

I wore a rather nice light blue checked shirt with a veshti . Not to mention, the traditional Iyengar "Sri Charanam", a vertical red line on the centre of the forehead. I revelled in my cultured brahmin look :-).

Every relative we had attended the function, either to bless or be blessed.
A small hall, packed with people and smoke from the traditional fire. I squeezed my way around, trying to play a gracious host. I must admit my cousin Prashant played a better host than I did.

My entire circle of friends attended. The only topic of discussion then was which companies were hiring, how the aptitude tests were and how the interviews were.My very orthodox friend Bharat took some out from the discussion to scowl at my forehead and comment " A Sri Charanam alone does not make you an Iyengar!"

"Poda Naye" I grinned back and stole a glance at the most beautiful girl in the hall. She looked stunning in her black Mangalagiri salwar.She smiled back and my heart leapt and burst with pride.

I couldnt sit down and talk to her though, my friends wouldnt stop pulling my leg each time I came close to her.

Life seemed perfect at that moment. I wish I could freeze it and live it everyday. We were so incredibly happy as a family then and I thought it would last forever.

Now I only have memories to relive. So much has changed in the last year. I've been buffetted by the winds of time and change.

Still, life goes on. I have a job in hand and a chance to have a great career. My sense of humour seems reasonably intact. I just have to be thankful for what I have now and move on.

Happy Birthday Appa.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

While cleaning out my cupboard today, I discovered a folded, dirty and torn set of papers held together weakly by a single staple. I unfolded it, dusted it and squinted at the title:

"Diaper Dilemma"

Ah memories :-)

It was the first play I ever wrote, my first attempt at humour. I think I wrote it in the 11'th standard. It was about an Indian company unable to penentrate the diaper market due to heavy competition from Multinationals. How the management of the company attempt to promote their product formed the basis of the play.

While the jokes seem a little childish to me now, I remember how it made the audience roar with laughter. The six of us who enacted the play had zero acting experience. I for one had no directing experience. On the day of the play, we were yet to memorize our lines. Yet we pulled it off. I think it was one of the proudest moments of my life in school. I got a little more recognition after that. I was no longer DD, son of PD(My mom is a teacher in my school and a rather popular one) but a recognizable entity by myself.

So excuse me now while I go find a suitable file to hold my virgin attempt at humour .

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We got ourselves a couple of AC's a few weeks back. While I'm still gloating over the reality of cool afternoons in May, my mother has mixed feelings over this particular purchase.

For one thing, we survived 19 years of blazing heat and dripping sweat without really bothering too much about it. We lived in Chennai and we stoicly accepted the fact that that there was nothing we could do about the weather. Also we led a very middle class existence and an air conditioner was thought of as a needless luxury. Rich people had em. Rich people were weak creatures who couldn't endure the weather.

I dont remember being acutely aware of the heat as I was growing up as a kid. I've lost count of the number of cricket matches which started at 11:00 AM and ended at 3:00 PM. I thought nothing of running up to the crease barefoot and hurling the ball over and over again ,shouting, screaming, swearing and laughing in temperatures in excess of 40'C.

I sweated contentedly through school and college, never realising that one day I would have such a big problem with the weather. I guess I never knew employment would weaken me.

For starters, working in an IT company ensures that you are completely cutoff from the real world. Your environment consists of cubicles, computers, artificial lighting, artificial plants and most important :air conditioning.

Air conditioning has led to my downfall. Now I dislike the five minute walk from the bus to the office in the morning and absolutely dread the two minute walk from my cubicle to the canteen during the lunch break. I walk out of the office and the heat engulfs me. I feel like I'm walking in an oven.

I spend five days out of the seven hiding inside my office.So now I'm extra sensitive to the heat. Thus the weekends are extra hard to bear at home.

I lodged several firm complaints against the temperature at home and goaded my mother into buying Air conditioners. She grudgingly accepted and we had a 1 ton AC installed in my room and a 1.5 ton AC in the TV room.

Now I find I've become a prisoner of my own room. I cant open the door and walk out into the real world. I'd rather spend the weekend within the four walls of my room than go out and get a social life.

My mom's not entirely sure of how to adjust to our new comfort. If I close the door to my room, she'll complain that I'm ignoring her and living in my own world. If I leave the door open with the AC on, she'll accuse me of wasting power.

"We got along ok before " she rues.

With the AC on, I can do the one thing I never did before : Cover myself with a bedsheet and sleep.Nothing can be more blissful than that. If I attempted the same in Chennai without the AC, it would be a sure shot way of commiting suicide.

I dont know if I can survive the summer without air conditioning anymore. But I'm willing to pay the price to snuggle in my blanket and snore blissfully through the night.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

We all have roles to play in our lives. We play the role of a son, a spouse, an employee, a friend ,a on and so forth.

I entered into a new role about a year and a half back. It was new, it was exciting and not to mention, very scary. As time went on, I got more and more used to that particular role. It became part of who I was, it helped me define myself. I threw myself into it and enjoyed every bit of it.

Now suddenly, I've been requested not to play that role. Came as a bit of shock to me. Things change apparently and there's no need for it anymore.

Now I'm left asking myself who I really am and what I'm supposed to do with my life. I've spent the last year and a half looking at everything from my role's point of view. It served as a kind of reference. Now that its no longer needed, I find myself panicing at times.

I do know that I'll get my nerves in order soon. I'll start looking at life from a fresh perspective and things will be ok again. I guess I just need some time.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Have you ever had two opppsing thoughts running simultaneously in your head?

Thought one says " You cant let things drift! Unless you do something, everything you've ever known will vanish and you'll be a sorry spectator!"

Thought two says " Relax dude, you wont get anywhere by forcing things, stuff like this takes just be patient. You just have to accept the fact that you cant change certain things."

Its like having a mad man's conviction and a voice of sanity at the same time. I dont know which is which.

I've been strongly influenced by each thought at different times, thrusting forward, withdrawing, thrusting forward, withdrawing over and over again for the last two weeks. Its exhausting.

Thinking is a bad thing to do.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I decided to mourn today. After careful thought and considerable planning, I decided upon the following plan of action.

12:30 AM to 6:00 AM :- Toss and turn restlessly in bed.

6:30 AM to 8:30 AM :- Stare gloomily at the Java certification book.

9:00 AM to 10: AM :- Drown in self pity as I work out my Biceps and Triceps

11:00 AM :- Consume paltry lunch to indicate my loss of interest in food.

1:00 PM :- Sit in the corner of the room and ponder on the ups and downs of life.

1:30 PM :- Attempt an afternoon nap to make up for last nights lack of sleep. Should dream haunting dreams.

4:00 PM :- Drag myself to my friends house and demand a sympathetic ear.

7:00 PM :- Get kicked out of friends house for excessive weeping and for sudden uncalled for emotional outbursts.

8:00 PM :- Paltry dinner again. Should go for the worn and emaciated look.

9:00 PM:- Go online, find chat rooms so that people from Latvia, Peru and Angola can enlighten themselves of my current state of depression.

10 PM :- Fall into an exhausted sleep and dream haunting dreams again.

But there's life for you. For in my meticulously planned out schedule I forgot to include the sudden intrusion of my cousin's bratty children. Aged 4 and 1, they pretty much trampled all over my carefully laid out plans.

My afternoon nap was difficult because I'd pretty much snored through the night and my brain didnt see the point in lying down. As I screwed my eyes shut in at attempt to fool my brain, I became aware that something very heavy was sitting on my chest. My eyes fluttered open and lo and behold, there it was, the painful nephew sitting majestically on my chest.

"Anna.Computer game Anna..please " he leaned forward and whispered desperately into my ear.

I pushed him off and dusted myself. If its one thing I learnt, its that all demands have to met immediately OR ELSE.....

I really dont have too many games on my comp but the nephew dosent care. He'll play Need for Speed just to ram into the cops and get arrested.

" I want the grey car this time" he'll say. Ok, grey it is then.

" No blue" Blue then.

" I like red "

" The car's not moving"

" I want ice cream "

" Oooh cell phone"

As I struggle to meet his demands, the 1 year old calls piteously for me over and over again. I run over to her. She looks up and smiles angelically.

"Aai poiten"....... Kiddy talk for "I dropped a load in my diaper".

I lift her and appraise the situation from arms length. Yep, its aai alright. Not my problem. I call her mother and escape.

I hunt desperately for a room where I can sit alone, examine my wounds and suffer deeply. No luck, the 1 year old is back, this time swinging a badminton racket in either hand. We spend about 10 minutes mechanically exchanging rackets, a game which fills her with wonderous delight.

The 4 year old finds the shuttle cock by this time.

" ANNA COCK COCK COCK " he screams. I blush and turn scarlet with embarrassment.

He hands his sister over the cock and sits back to watch us play.

"BOWL " yells the sister. She flings the shuttle cock up and swings powerfully with the racket carefully missing the target and neatly demolishing my crotch. I keel over and gasp much to the amusement of the 4 year old.

How can I mourn in peace if I am constantly being terrorised by my nephew and niece? The afternoon was pretty much ruined. I've lost all motivation after that.

I guess I just have to take it up again at work tommorow.
Its been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally this week. I finally got my engineering degree. The University of Madras claims I'm a BE First Class Engineer. Honest, I even have a bit of paper which says so.

The ceremony as such was a bit of a drag. We were supposed to have a minister to hand us our degrees but he couldnt make it in the last minute. Instead we had a bishop who got carried away at the pulpit and started preaching vehemently. I cringed inwardly with every cliched statement. It was the first time my mother was visiting my college and she had to see this spectacle.

To top it of we had to wear canary yellow robes. There's nothing worse than sitting in a hall with four hundred other people at 11:00 AM in the morning sweating and steaming under synthetic ceremonial wear. The music they played was hilarious, it sounded like the background music from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. 10 minutes into the ceremony I became convinced I was sitting in a circus.

So I'm finally an engineer. Its what my father always wanted. Its such shame he wasnt there to see me get my degree.

There have been tumultous events occuring in my personal life. Something deeply significant to me has been wiped out in a flash. I'm not sure how to cope. I oscillate wildly between love, hate, anger, sadness, relief and confusion. There are so many questions clamouring for an explanation but the answers bewilder me. I either cant believe them or accept them. I've been fighting desperately to get back what I had but the harder I try, the further it slips away.Its exhausting.

I need some time off.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dear Miss Anonymous, I do believe we've got off on the wrong foot :-).

You have taken the pains to point out my callous behaviour by posting comments for each and every paragraph. No one's ever done that before :-).

I read your comment last afternoon in the office, just after I'd finished lunch. I'd just come back from the canteen and was settling into my seat, readying myself for one of those open eyed naps (The kind where everybody thinks you are working, but all you are doing is staring intelligently at the screen saver) when your comment jumped out of the screen and buried itself into my eyeballs.

Was a bit of a nasty shock I must say. No one's accused me of being a non-objective,immature,narrow-minded, ill-tempered and self-centered person who tries to impress people at a different level.

So what can I say?

Perhaps it would be better if I were to convey what I meant in that particular post.

So here goes : When someone half your age tries telling you right from wrong, it will get your goat no matter how right he or she is. Being correct does not give you the authority to tell people what to do in their own homes.(Wife beating and related stuff excluded ofcourse). Cant you see how I was highlighting my own dilema initially? To know someone is right, but still getting bugged with being told what to do. Thats exactly what I wanted to write about. It was the human aspect of it I wanted people to consider, not who was right and who was wrong.

Another thing that distresses me is the fact that you gave an abridged, made easy version of each and every paragraph. A lot of what I've written is obvious. It certainly does not need to be taken apart and have some deep inner meaning(mostly incorrect) culled from it. Please dont try reading between the lines when the lines themselves are pretty obvious.

So let me summarize. I dont intend to preach morals from this blog. I attempt to showcase my own human failings in a humorous manner. If it amuses readers, then well and good. If not, there's nothing I can do about it.

If the contents of the post had instead read " A girl of 14 came home and asked me not to waste electricity and switch off the lights and fan. I did so immediately because wasting electricity is a sin and I'm glad someone much younger to me had much more common sense than I did. I dont harbour any ill feelings towards her because I'm a mature adult who knows when he's made a mistake and is willing to admit it."

Not only is the above post incredibly boring, its an outrageous lie! I wrote about how I felt about the whole issue. Not only that, I was honest about it.

Please dont undermine Kroopa's intelligence either. She is a deeply honest person and she certainly isn't biased towards me. If I were to write something that she didnt agree with, she wouldn't have any qualms about ripping me to pieces :-).

I hope I've made myself clear.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I shall narrate an incident that took place last week. A family well known to us visited with their 14 year old daughter. Let me tell you a little about them. The wife used to teach at my school and is a very good friend of my mother's. The husband is of those dynamic types. He preaches what he practices and practices what he preaches. He is one of the most intense people I've ever met. He also harbours some very strong opinions and is permanantly on the lookout for someone to debate his ideas with. Dont get me wrong, I'm not trying to be negative about him. He is an idealistic man....but he tends to put his ideas across rather forcefully.This usually does not go down so well with those at the receiving end of his lectures.

Anyway, when the doorbell rang that evening, I left my room to open the door. I welcomed them in, asked them to make themselves comfortable on the sofa and tried making some polite conversation as I waited for my mother to come and join us. The daughter had just written her 10'th board exams and I was asking her how she'd done. The girl looked at me, smiled sweetly and said "Dinesh, if you dont mind, could you switch off the light and fan in your room? While you are here, there's no reason they should be kept on..."

I like to think of myself as a principled person. When someone points out a rather blatant error I've made, I do my best to rectify it. I try not to get annoyed with the person who pointed the mistake out. However the moment the words left her mouth, I could only feel indignation build up inside me. To have an outsider, a teenager, a precocious girl telling me what to do in MY house! She had some balls!

Undoubtedly the kid was right. I had left the lights and fan on when I should have switched them off. But I just couldnt hide my irritation. I grunted and asked her switch them off. She smiled and complied. When she came back, no further reference to the lights were made but I stewed inwardly. I labled her as headstrong, just like her father. She'd have a tough time making friends, she'd be a person who got results but someone who failed miserably with people.....these were the only thoughts going through my head during their visit.

Later I had to endure another lecture by the father. He feels that the Dravidian parties who have governed in the last few decades are a disgrace to the state. He wants to start a youth movement, spread awareness and ultimately form a more responsible government. He wants to spread his message using yahoo groups. He's been after me to register with his site...and I've always avoided doing it.

So why do I feel this way about them? The girl was right about the lights and the fan. The father is certainly right about the current state of TN politics. I should be admiring both of them for trying to make the world a better place.

Except I dont. No matter how hard I try to listen to the voice of reason, I can only feel irritation when I think about the two of them. I dont like to be told right from wrong by a kid and I dont like to be forced into doing something I'm not very clear about.

So I let the matter rest. I've not troubled myself like I usually do..a battle between ideals and desires. I've let the desires win this time...I must be growing up.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I've written about this before. We have a water shortage problem where I live and we get water for about half an hour everyday. In this half hour, I need to fill buckets of water in the two bathrooms, the kitchen and the service veranda. To keep an eye on all four places is a little tricky and involves a bit of running around.

What really bugs me though, is my eighty year old grandmothers insistence that she carry heavy buckets of water. While I'm keeping an eye on the bathroom, she lugs about heavy buckets in the service veranda. Then I'll run to the service veranda and chide her for lifting such loads and ask her to watch the bathroom where its relatively easier(Once the buckets have been filled, one only needs to wait for the tank to fill up). Instead she'll go to the kitchen and start doing the same stuff there. She wont stop until every bucket and vessel in the house is brimming with water. " You never know, we might not get water one day. What will we do then? " she'll ask when I express my annoyance.

We get water at exactly 7:00 AM. While it takes me a couple of minutes to realise that its time to start filling, my grandmother is taut with tension and waiting to explode into action from 6:50 AM. So by the time I get to the service veranda, she's already filled half the buckets.

Her determination to fill water borders on the fanatical. Why wont she understand that if she slips and falls, the recovery will be extremely painful? Sometimes I think she's trying to prove a point. That she might be eighty but still capable of immense feats of strength.

Now I've just resigned myself to the fact that my grandmother will continue lifting no matter what I tell her. Given a chance she'll lift me when I'm filling the buckets. I only hope she never falls.
I've been feeling rather uninspired for the last couple of days. I didnt feel like lifting in the gym, my mind wandered when I tried to read the Java certification book...I'm just feeling rather dull.

Maybe its because of the weather. I certainly feel a lot more alert in the office.The weekends at home are oppressive.

Dont really feel like blogging, not in the mood to.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I'm using the other phone to write this blog. Cant persist with it though, or the bill will shoot up :-).

After 2 months of thought, I've finally got myself a digital camera.Its a
Canon Power Shot A400( Cost me 11K.....thats kind of eaten into my bank balance...

Anyway, it seems to be a pretty decent choice. I took a couple of snaps and a few videos and checked them on the comp. They have come pretty well.

Have to go now. Will write more on Saturday.
My phone's down again, so that explains the missing post last weekend. I hope to have it working by this saturday :-). More to follow, I promise. Also Mr Anonymous, I have decided to remove the infy pic.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I've had to go through quite some trouble to write this post. You see, we are having the apartment complex painted and one of the painters unwittingly snapped my phone connection. This is the one I use to connect to the internet( I'm still a dial-up guy. Dont see the point in using broadband when I'm hardly at home.)

So I spent saturday morning perched precariously upon the ground floor sunshade, trying to splice the snapped wires back together. It took me about an hour, chiefly because each time I recieved a tiny shock, I would drop the wires. Seizing the opportunity my neighbour's son Mukund, the 3 year old whirlwind would run away with them. So after a lot of sweating, cursing and chasing I finally got my phone to work.

I spent last weekend at Bangalore as I mentioned before. My sister and her husband have bought a new apartment and my mom was going to help them pick out tiles for the kitchen and bathroom. I just sort of tagged along.

I had a terrible time at the tile shop. I got very bored in about 10 minutes. Being surrounded by nothing but artistic looking tiles and glamourous toilets, I suddenly felt the urge to relieve myself. I made some discrete enquiries and was taken aback when the shop owner said he didnt have a bathroom. Of all the people, you expect a man selling toilets for a living to have a functional loo!

Instead I was lead to a shady looking bar nearby and allowed to do my thing. When I came back, they still hadnt decided on the tiles. It took them about 3 hours I think by which time I'd gone half crazy with hunger. I didnt like the weather either so I was cranky for the entire weekend.

So now I'm back in Singara Chennai. The weather here is well.....something I'm used to atleast. The Air Conditioning in the office conked out, so it was really tough for a couple of days.

I realise that I have a bit of free time now. Being an early morning guy, I have about 3 hours to myself in the morning to myself and also the weekends. I'm thinking of a good way to use that time. I keep wavering between preparing for the Java Exam and the CAT.

I thought I'd solve some quant problems yesterday. I opened my book and immediately my brain revolted. I was wondering why I felt such a strong apathy for the problems when I realised I've been doing the same crap for the last two and half years. I joined CAT class in November 2002. Due to the paper leak, I wrote the same CAT twice, not to mention another dozen entrance exams. After all that, I prepared again for each company's aptitude test. No wonder my mind froze each time I looked at the book.

Still, I cant get over that guilty feeling that I'm wasting my time.

On other matters, I'm strongly considering getting a digital camera so that I may post pictures on the blog. I have a budget of Rs.8000 max. What would you guys suggest?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I'm back!

Really, I am!

I mean it...

Really do...

Gotta go

Monday, March 28, 2005

Bangalore is well, HOT!!!. No I'm not referring to the social life, I really do mean the weather. For the first time in my life, I long for my good ol Chennai climate.

Now what kind of lunatic would prefer Chennai's weather to Bangalore's? Well,let me explain.

Chennai is hot indisputably. But its sticky hot. It saps the energy out of you, it makes you dull and listless..but it still is not the same as the heat in Bangalore. Bangalore heat makes your lips crack and your eyes burn. Your skin becomes so damn dry. I had a horrible time walking on the road,even after 7 PM.

Well, I shall blog more when I get back on Monday. I cant risk my sister reading my blog now ;-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Very much in Chennai, very much a Java Project :-). So I guess I'm lucky. I've been asked to learn JSP tags for my project. I'm not very comfortable with JSP by itself :P.

So my official life as a software professional has begun. Lets see where it takes me.
My project's over, God bless. It worked beautifully and all the documents were in place. No issues when it came to the final presentation in front of the evaluators.

All of us were quite literally forced to slog it out towards the end. If I had to work weekends to complete such a tiny project, I can imagine how much effort real life projects will require :-)

So today I get to know which project to which I'll be allotted. I'm just hoping its a java project. There's no hard and fast rule here that says that if you are trained in a certain technology, you will be placed in a project using it.

3 day weekend coming up thanks to Good Friday. I'm off to Bangalore . Will blog later.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

When I didnt get into a college of my choice for an MBA, I decided that I'd work for a year or two and then try again.

However, the fundemental question remains " Why do I want to do an MBA? ". To tell you the truth, I've never been able to answer it convincingly. I can only think of the prestige of an IIM degree, the fantastic salaries, the whole hype surrounding an MBA degree, the excitement of the CAT, the GD's and the PI's. So why an MBA? I dont know :P.

Funnily enough, I want to write the exams, take part in GD's and PI's just to prove to myself that I can beat the competition and clear the selection process. I havent given any thought to what lies beyond that. Pretty shallow reason for an MBA right?

I'm hoping that over a year or so, I'll realise the benefit of a management degree (or alternatively realise its all just hype). Thoughts and suggestions on the subject will be welcome :-)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I feel.....overwhelmed. There's so much to do, so little I understand. I dont know where to begin and where to end. I'm talking about the bloody documentation!

There are just so many documents that have to be prepared for my project. I really dont know where to start. Do I do the Customer Requirements Analysis or the Functional Specification Document or prepare the test cases and the test logs? Or should I fill in every quality document that is available? Do I draw the Entity Relationship diagram or the Data Flow diagram or the Sequence diagram? I'm clueless :-(

The quality people are crazy. It really does not matter if the project works or not, it just has to follow company C quality principles.. Know what that means? No matter what you do, there should be a piece of paper( in a pre-defined format) saying that you did it.

It looks like I wont have any time to go near the actual code. I'm just going to be very busy preparing documents. It seems like just an awful waste of time :-(

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Well, for those who did wish to see my picture, here it is :P. Dont know about the Matt Damon resemblance in this one though. This picture was taken when my family went to Darjeeling in May 2004. This was just after I'd completed college and just before I began my job hunt :-).

My training will come to an end soon. All the instructor led courses are over. We are to start working on the projects allocated to the various groups. My group is to develop a life insurance advice system and yours truly has been made team leader.

My team members are already complaining about my fanatical methods of project management. Thats absolutely ridiculous. All I've done is promise my quality reviewer Shanmugapriya a 70% hike in her salary if things went well and promise my designer Balaji bodily harm if anything went wrong. If anybody complains, I snarl and twist their arm. Going to the gym has surely improved my people management skills.

You might wonder why I get so worked up when I'm put in charge of something. Let me tell you why. When I was in my third year in college, I was asked to organise a state level symposium. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. The computer used for presentations died. When finally brought to life, it completely deleted the chief guest's power point presentation.

My wonderful juniors gave the memento to everybody onstage but the chief guest, there was a power cut, I asked the principal to release the magazine instead of the college secretary(well, the secretary wasnt there when he was supposed to release it. He however entered precisely 1 second after I asked the principal to release it. Princi got worked up and thought I had insulted the secy......crazy halfwits). I recieved a severe tounge lashing from the staff in charge at the end of the day. I had a minor nervous breakdown after that and didnt go anywhere near a mike for about 6 months.

When I organised a State Level Technical symposium in my fourth year, I sat on everybody's head until they got it right. The symposium went of flawlessly. It was however stupefyingly boring. My friend Tushar who was supposed to handle the computer fell into a deep coma right in front of the chief guest. The juniors kept trying to go home and the size of the audience shrunk miraculously over the course of the day. But still, everything went according to plan, so I feel
good about it.

So the lessons I learnt? Dont trust anybody. Given a chance, people will screw up. Sit on their heads until they get it right. Abuse is motivation(Reverse psychology). Worry, Worry, Worry. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. You can trust the girls to the job perfectly. Guys will offer to take responsibilty and then at that critical moment when you need them the most, will
be found in the movie theatre.

So you see why I get worked up? Trust me, I know what can wrong and what will go wrong. Thats what makes me a good team leader :P.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Some of you might be interested to know what exactly I do in company C. Well, I am currently a Programmer Analyst Trainee. I'm being trained mainly on Java and J2EE.

When I was in school, I never thought that one day I would earn my living writing code. I was not a great fan of C++, the programming language taught to us in the 11'th and 12'th. I got along ok until the teacher got into the Data Structures bit. I got lost after that. I never understood Stacks, Linked Lists, Queue's and Binary Trees. Pointer's baffled me. I pretty much lost confidence in my programming skills after that.

Now as a trainee in a big MNC, I have learnt to write code in a much simpler manner (ie) the Cut Copy Paste method. Say I'm given a particular problem to work on.For example I have to write code to collect data from a user, query a database, process the collected data and return some meaningful information.

Given the fact that I have to learn a lot of stuff in a very short period of time, I really dont have the time to deeply understand each concept. Our trainers assured us that we'd learn everything on the job. For now just a passing familiarity is all that is needed. So how do I write my code?

Here's what I do : Open up an example given by the instructor where data is collected from a web page. Open up another example where a database is queried. Copy and paste sections of the second piece of code into the first. Adjust the brackets, make some minor adjustments to suit my needs and Voila! I have a perfectly functional piece of code. Please keep in mind though that I have absolutely no idea how it actually works. I keep adding or removing stuff until the code compiles and executes. Once it works, there is momentary feeling of accomplishment and then I move onto the next problem.

I must say though that I feel terribly guilty doing this. I'm merely manipulating what has already been created, not creating anything from scratch. This kind of work hardly brings any intellectual kind of satisfaction.

I've been told that no one writes code from scratch these days. Templates exist for practically every kind of problem. If your company has a done a number of projects for an insurance company and it gets new projects for another company, it merely adjusts the original code and gives it to the new client. No heavy thinking is required.

I must say what I learnt busted some myths about the software profession I had in mind. I always thought you needed highly intelligent people to write code. Now I have discovered that you just adjust the existing templates and get along. Templates exist so that it takes less time to develop the project and also so that testing the code becomes simpler.

I really dont know how I feel about that. I'm relieved that I wont be required to do any heavy thinking...also slightly dissapointed. I always thought software engineers were highly intellectual people :P.

Oh well, I guess I cant really pass comments now. I havent done any real work yet as I'm still a trainee. Another 20 days of training and then I'll be placed in a project (or put on bench, one never knows :P ). I'm looking forward to it. But for now, I'm just a JCCPP ( Java Certified Cut Paste Programmer :) )

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Guess I'm just a weekend blogger:-).

I've been attending a personality development class in office for the last 3 days, a welcome break from Servlets,JSP's and EJB's.

I cant say I learnt anything new but it was excellent time pass. One of the module's covered presentation skills. Each one of us were required to come up on stage and make a presentation on any topic. Easy enough huh? One important constraint though, we would be filmed on camera :P. So the 24 of us came one by one on stage. Some confident, some akward, some incoherent with fear.I think without the camera, we would have all done well. Just the knowledge every word we uttered, every gesture we made would be recorded caused some of us to become extremely self concious.

So after we'd all been taped came the fun part. Watching ourselves on TV. I'd been the first to go. I was fairly impressed with myself :P. I liked my voice, my glasses and I was quite natural :P :P. I kept grinning like an idiot though. People told me I had a smile on my face all the time, so it was a good thing. Personally I thought I grinned like a deranged orangutan.

Also I was struck my resemblance to actor Matt Damon.No I'm not trying to flatter myself nor am I comparing Matt Damon to a deranged orangutan. I just think I have quite a resemblance to him.

Last evening my mother and I attended a play by The Madras Players at the Egmore museum. It was a one man play, the artist being the famous PC Ramakrishna. The play was titled 'Mercy' and was about Euthanasia. It was about a man whose wife slips into coma. 1 month, 2 months, 8 months pass and she does not come out of it. The man does not know what to do. Should he prolong her life, never knowing if she will ever wake up or should he ease her pain and kill her? He remembers how his wife was always in favour of mercy killing. So after torturing himself for a long time, he decides to ease her pain. He wants to mix sleeping tablets in her feed at 9:00 PM. By 11:00 PM it should all be over. Just before he does it, he drives to a temple about 2 hours from the city to beg forgiveness from his wife's favourite diety. On the way home,it starts pouring heavily and his car breaks down. Its 2:30 in the morning by the time he comes home. He enters the house and finds everybody in his wife's room.Its a miracle, she's regaining conciousness!

The wife slowly regains her health but the man's guilt eats away at his heart. To think he almost killed her! Everyday becomes more burdensome than the one before. Finally he cant take it anymore and he kills himself.

I found myself quite affected by the play because it was uncomfortably close to what my family went through when my father was in hospital. The sheer frustration and

madness the actor depicted was exactly what we experienced.When well meaning relatives come and tell you to go pray at this temple, do a thousand pradharshanams at another temple, smear this holy ash on my fathers forehead, feed the poor at another temple, dissolve jaggery the shore of yet another drives you mad! What kind of God needs all this nonsense?

I really didnt like the ending though. I know that every play usually ends with a twist but I couldnt digest this one. Was he not being terribly unfair to his wife by killing himself?

So those have been the events in my life this week. I have an alumni meet in college today, guess the update will only come next weekend :-). So until then, goodbye.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A most memorable sunday.Went out with my classmates from the office to a resort called the Blue Lagoon in Neelankarai. Ate breakfast, played beach volleyball, went swimming, ate a bloody good lunch, chatted around , played more volleyball and finished off with a bit of cricket.

I came back home with every part of my body screaming bloody murder. Not to mention being tanned nut brown. Thanks to 2 days of heavy lifting at the gym and yesterday's excursion I was so damn sore.

I couldnt sleep at night due to a dull annoying pain in my left shoulder. I tossed and turned, went to the bathroom a few times but just couldnt go to sleep. I lay awake tired, confused and for some reason, feeling very sorry for myself.At around 1:30 I woke up my mother and complained about my shoulder. She immediately went and got some iodex and gave me a small massage.I went to sleep after that.

Woke up and had to leave for work. We were all sun burnt and sore and none of us listened to lecture on Servlets and JSP's.

Guess I'm going to have to avoid the gym for a couple of days.Should also go through the books.Dont want to go through 2 months of training and still emerge an ignoramus :P

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I watched the 'Aviator' today.Decent movie, a lil different from what I expected. Not for the general Chennai crowd though.Most of the people in the theater found it too boring.Cell phone conversations were abundant during the movie.

Training goes on. I'm learning a lot of new stuff. The comp sci guys and IT guys do have quite an advantage. They are a lot more comfortable than the rest of us. For the EEE and ECE guys, its a bit of an uphill task to follow the instructor.

I had so much to say this morning, cant remember any of it now. Perhaps tommorow then.Gnite.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

I've made up my mind. I have to become a Java Certified Professional by June 10th, ,my 22'nd birthday.

Its always bugged me a little that I havent had any intellectual accomplishments in my life. I was a pretty ordinary student in school and college. I've won prizes for debates, plays and my writing...but never for the more brainy stuff.

When I did my final year project in college, I played more of a supporting role. I took care of the documentation, preparation of slides for the presentation and stuff...the same in school..and it really annoys me now.

So I have my eyes set on the certification now. I really need something to tell me I can do more with my head than just write.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I worked out with a celebrity yesterday...none other than the O Podu! man Vikram....

I entered the gym, signed in, changed my clothes and walked into the basement where the weights are kept...and lo and behold, I see the back of a man with shoulder length hair tinged a dirty brown. He turned around and I recognized him.

So I immediately decided I would pretend to be unfazed by the mans presence. He was after all just another guy working out. Why would things have to be any different? Unlike the others who couldnt take their eyes off him, I would remain cool, calm and just get through my workout. Having decided this, I picked up a weight roughly double of what I normally use and began pumping with exaggerated gusto.

There's something about being near a celebrity that charges you up.I recklessly picked up the heaviest of weights and launched them into the air. Then I realised, so was everybody else...

In between, Vikram flicked a stool I was using. I would have objected normally but for some reason I tried smiling a gracious smile and let him have it.

But for the outrageous hair, he did seem to be a normal guy. He was pretty friendly with everybody and we even took turns using the Tricep Pushdown machine( I used about 40 pounds more than I normally would)

I ended up pushing myself like never before. I lifted much more than I thought possible.Its amazing what you can do when you want to impress people.

I am a little ashamed that I got so carried away...but I did have a great workout...all because I wanted to impress a guy with dirty brown long hair....

Sunday, February 06, 2005

As I write this blog entry, sounds of a violin playing carnatic music are wafting through my head. I do not recognize this piece of music. Perhaps I heard it somewhere or maybe I'm some kind of genius who composes scintillating Carnatic music in his head without being aware of it :P.

Why a post on carnatic music you might ask? Why would a culturally ignorant boor like me choose to write on what is considered a divine art form? Let me tell you why.

Throughout my formative years, I never really appreciated any Indian art forms.Bharatanatyam bored me and Carnatic music put me to sleep. Words like 'Raaga' and
"Thalam" were esoteric words limited to old pensioners and the occasional geeky teenager with thick glasses and lots of coconut oil in his hair(in all probability an IITian). Unlike western music, you need a tuned ear to appreciate Carnatic music and I never bothered tuning. Western music was easier to appreciate. The lyrics were simpler to understand. You dont need raaga and thalam to headbang to Metallica.It would be difficult to imagine Kurt Cobain stopping his concert and asking the audience " Can you identify the Sruti? " Pop, Rock and Roll, Disco,Jazz, Blues, Trance, country, folk etc..none of these are subtle forms of music. No special training is required to enjoy them.

Now at the age of 21 years, 7 months and 25 days...I realise I'm a total ignoramus when it comes to Indian culture.That kind of attitude was ok when I was a teenager trying to fit into the crowd but really not admissable now. I'm at a phase in my life now when I no longer appreciate rock and pop with the same enthusiasm as I did as a kid. Simply because after a while, they all sound the same to me. There's only so much you can do with themes like love and frustration.I dont want people like Eminem making money just by talking about their pent up anger. And I mean talking, not singing. I hate the whole 'attitude' thing.

I attended a carnatic concert last evening and I realised that it was sort of ok....not bad at all. A pretty famous old man played the violin and he would often stop and ask the audience to identify the raaga....and they got it dead right each time.Me? I had no idea what he was talking about...and it made me feel ashamed.

There was a Manipuri dance after that...and I found it sweet...very pleasing to the eye..quite strange considering I've never really appreciated dance...

I've made up my mind. I cant go on living as an ignoramus. I have to attend more concerts with my mother.Something tells me I'll be missing out on a lot unless I do so.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

I havent blogged for the last couple of weeks, the chief reason being 2 weddings in the family.Not to mention that I only want to sleep once I get home from work.

Its 5PM on a saturday now, the first saturday off from training thank God. I slept through the afternoon properly today, unlike the uncomforable 2 minute naps in the chair at the training centre. The kind you just cant help taking after lunch. You've eaten well and the instructor is droning on about relational databases.....and your eyes just involuntarily close. You sleep for about a minute and then you suddenly jerk awake, afraid that the instructor might have spotted you. 5 minutes later, you doze off again. The process keeps repeating until its time for tea.

My mind is still fuzzy from sleep, I shall continue this later..

Thursday, January 20, 2005

We had an 8 hour session on Software testing today and the class was striving valiantly to stay awake after lunch. The instructor decided to pep us up a bit and so he asked each one of us to introduce ourselves and also list the names and hobbies of those who spoke before us. I managed somewhat because I was the 5th person to speak but the information got distorted as it passed further and further. I had listed my hobbies as reading novels and writing humour. Thus I was slightly taken aback when bengali girl right at the end got up and hesitantly said " He is Dinesh. He enjoys drinking and washing TV's"

Training is kinda hectic. I have 4 tests and an assignement to submit tommorow. When I get back home, I only want to eat dinner and crash into bed. Guess I got used to the easy life at company P :-(

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

My first day of training and I'm already having some severe time management problems. It took us some time to settle down, understand the local computer network , figure out where all the study material was stored, login, access information etc. Then the schedule for the next 2 months comes out and we find we have a test on 6 subjects on wednesday! We open the material online immediately and also find that 3 assignements are due tommorow :-(. So how do I spend my day? Do assignements which must be submitted before the deadline, or study for the test where we must get more than 75%?

The assignements are partially done, will finish them today. How am I going to study for the test? I havent had time to even open my books :-(.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Other than the one post about my own experience with the tremor and the tsunami that followed, I havent written more on the subject unlike my fellow bloggers.
Bloggers like Kiruba ( have dedicated the last three weeks to gathering information and more importantly collecting aid to help those affected. Hats
off to them.

Why the silence then on my part you might ask. Curiously enough, I havent felt the urge to write about the suffering of the people in Tamil Nadu. One reason being
that its been more than adequately covered in other blogs. The more important reason being....I just didnt feel like.

At the moment, I am quite immune to other people's sufferings. I dont want information on how many thousands lost their lives or how many lost their homes and livelihoods. Somehow, I dont really care. My own life has been turned upside down in the last 6 months. I'm too tired from figuring out where I stand and towards where I'm heading to bother about the difficulties of other people.

7 months back, my house was alive with laughter. Weekends would be the time my dad would be home. My cousin Harita would have come home for physics tution. Prashant would have finally got a day off from work and would have hilarious Taj tales about eccentric guests and gargoyle staff. My mother would be multitasking, dividing her time evenly between cooking lunch and arguing with my father. I would wander from room to room, savouring the life in my house. My apartment looked gorgeous in the morning. The light streaming in through the large windows in the hall, the very pretty clock above was picture perfect. My house was warm and comforting. Other than the occasionaly argument with my dad about my career and my education, I had nothing to crib about.

Now my house seems lifeless. I'm confused about my own life. A lot of responsibility has suddenly dropped on my unprepared shoulders. I'm in charge of my own
life, my father isint there to keep me in line. I could cross the boundaries he had set if I wanted to, I havent yet but I'm scared I might.

I think its going to take me some more time to figure out where I stand and where I'm heading to. Until then I'm not going to care if people die from tsunami's or earthquakes. I'm not going to feel outraged if Jayendra Saraswati is arrested or released. I'm going to be an apathetic citizen until I have my own life figured out. Until then, I ask the world not to share its problems with me. I'm not interested.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

No other expression conveys with so much feeling, the horror I had to go through with the HR from company P as "MACHHAN! ROD YETHITANGE!".

I actually dont want to write about it. Let me just say that I wanted to let the P HR know I was going officially. So I came up with this phony story and gave it to them........ and I got caught. I gassed for an hour and they asked one tricky question after the next until they forced me into a corner. It was so humiliating.

It smarted for a while. The HR made it seem like I was the liar, I was the bad guy..they made me feel guilty about hurt. Not that I ever admitted to them I was lying..

Now however, I've had time to reflect in all that happened and I realise...I dont give a shit. If they didnt have a bond, I would never have lied. Its completely wrong on their part to force me to stay. Given a choice between paying Rs 1 lakh plus interest and lying, I chose the latter. I have nothing to feel guilty about. I had a better opportunity in a better company and I took it. So screw them.

I've also completed my joining formalities with company C. I have a two day induction program and then I start training. A new start, a new beginning. Might as well forget about the past. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

My cousin's kids visited a couple of days back. The son was 4 years old and hell bent on destroying all my property. The daughter was 1 and would scream bloody murder if her mother put her down even for a second. Between the two of them I nearly went out of my mind. Most of the day was spent running behind the boy coaxing him to put the phone down, pleading for the safety of my cell phone, imploring him to stop banging on my keyboard, gently preventing from ascending my cupboard and most of all fighting my temptation to let him jump off the balcony. As background music we had the second kid wailing her misery all through the day. My sorrows doubled when they decided to spend the night. I cornered my mother right then and warned her that I would not be having any children of my own and she'd better not entertain any hopes of becoming a grandmother.

The next morning as I bade them goodbye, I could'nt help but sigh with relief. Turning to my mother, I asked her how I was as a kid.

" You never ate and would shit green pellets " came the terse reply.In those brief words, my mother described the beauty that was my childhood.

I'm so glad I'm 21.

2 major updates in my life:

1) I've quit my job in company P...and not in the most straightforward manner. I told my PM I wanted to leave as soon as possible.Told the HR I wanted to leave...and then I just left. I dont plan on going back to my office.... I feel terrible about the way I've gone about it but I just didnt have a choice. If not for the bond, I wouldnt have had to slink out..I could have left with my head held high.

2) My cousin Prashant who lived with us for 4 years left for his home in Calcutta. His mother wanted him back. Now its just my mom and I.