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.