Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Kodachadri ahoy!

After many rounds of mailing and arguing, we finally landed up in Kodachadri for the 2 day trek. Kodachadri is 11 Kms from the holy city of Kollur,Shimogga. The trek is arnd 7-8 kms totally and the terrain is moderately difficult. From the starting point an hour and a half's trek will take you to a small dingy hotel where u can refill. And from then on its a trek of arnd 2-3 hrs depending on the size of your group. There is a PWD guesthouse atop, but we preferred to stay at the "Bhattara mane" which is affordable and good. A trek of arnd half an hour more will take you to Sarvagna Peetha, the top of the range, where u can see the sunset. The sunset and the sunrise are things one cannot afford to miss here. I am just concentrating on the pictures in this post rather than content.

Starting point.
L-R: Dubuk, Muppy, Varun, Sauraja, Ntini, Chet, Lamp and Sujam

Mera wala Green
The sunrays playing hide and seek with the foliage.

Our refuge
Bhattara Mane

Living on the edge
Check out the different shades of blue near the horizon.

The zillionth pit stop!
And a gazzilion lts of water along with it.

Perfectly at home!
What happned in the woods is strictly among ourselves.

Anywhere I roam
The trail is a nice combo of dense jungle and beautiful grasslands.

Picture Perfect!
Pretty clouds before the sunset.

Paagal Junta
Where is the sun setting pheephul?

Gollum's backyard!
And then the mist decided to butt in!

Once in a lifetime
The perfect setting. The sun was ahead of us and the mist behind.
Our shadows are formed bang in the middle of the rainbow. :)

Kodak Moment
Sunset 1

Somber Sun
Sunset 2

On top of the world
Sunset 3

Awaiting the sun!

Aaj ka breakfast ho gaya maamu!

Rolling stones
The trek back.

Cant stop admiring right? So what the hell are you doing? Pack ur bags and leave! :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

God is real.......unless declared int

A priest goes to a barber for a shave. While shaving the barber says "You know I think there is no God in this world!". A little offended, the preist asks him why. "You see IF there were a God, there wouldnt have been so much pain and suffering in this world". The priest doesnt says anything, pays his bill and moves out. After a cpl of months, the barber sees the priest on the road. He has long tresses and a beard almost upto his chest. And then the priest says "You know, thre are no barbers in this world.". When the bewildered barber asks him the reason the priest says "You see, if there were barbers in this world, I wouldnt have such long beard and unkempt hair". Rubbishing his theory, the barber calls him an idiot. "You didnt go to a barber. Its ur fault. How can u say that there are no barbers in the world!!". The priest smiled at the barber and said "Its the same with God, my friend. He has always been there. You just didnt go to him".

Sounds very nice, doesnt it? But I am sorry to say that I have to go with the barber's logic. If there were a God, there wouldnt have been so much pain and suffering and pain in this world. And if he is there, where is he? or what is he? Why isnt he as obvious as the barber? Firstly is he human like or jst some omnipotent power? If He is some kind of power, it will for sure be one helluva energy form! But if its jst energy then it wouldnt be able to think, judge and make decisions, can it? So he may be human like. If hes human like,God shd be either male or female. But again being one is exclusive of the other and hence God wud not be all powerful. Or is God jst a concept? A manifestation of all the fears and insecurities of man? Or is God so preternatural and inconceivable that he doesnt fall under any known form or image perceived by humans. If so, obviously all interpretations and descriptions made be humans before is totally wrong and gratuitous. So categorizing him under any column would be impeding his other capabilities.

I am a Hindu. I belong to a X caste, Y subcaste and Z community in tht order. I know several ppl who swear by the HXYZ lineage and consider all others who dont fall into that category the absolute scum of the earth. Tht wud pretty much amount to 99.9999% of the world!!! And all HXYZs worship only one God who has taken some particular avataar! They are averse to even to acknowledge the other Avataars of the same God!! So does tht mean the there si a God A->Avataar B who looks after all the followers of HXYZ and there are same God-different avataars or totaly different Gods for any other HABC or HPRQ? And what about ppl who are Muslims or Christian or Jews or Sikhs or Buddhists or anything? Does tht mean one God is different from the other? Or one is more powerful than the other? So if one changes his/her religion from X to Y does God X drop him from his list and doesnt care about his/her wellfare? It all sounds too vague!

When ever I have such a logical arguement with my mom, she snubs me out at the end saying "U wont understand! U shd hv the faith!". So it is a sin to be logical when ur religious? Do i have to blindly accept to facts, ideas and priciples thrust upon me? I never liked math all though my education. Not because I could not do it, because I was doing it without really knowing why or what I was doing. I was told that the differntial of e^x is e^x! I really didnt understand why there was a differential in the first place, where we wud apply it in real life, what 'e' was! what really happens when e^x is differentiated and what consequnce does it lead to if its differential is itself! I was told this and I blindly accpeted, wrote the same in all exams and passed them. I was never fundoo enuf to understand the expanatioan and more importantly the cimplication of each of these concepts. So, I hated math! The same with God! I am unable to fathom all the different concepts behind the faith. I will have to let go of all my doubts and curiosities to believe some fact that originated from humans themselves. But ppl initially thought the world was flat, ppl though tht metal can be turned into gold and ppl were wrong! So, what if I am following a concept really bizzare and baseless, a concept derived by some abstarct thought of some lonely human! Like Dan Brown telling the world that wht they hv been believing tilldate abt Christ is not the truth at all, but ppl hv been following it blindly!

Ppl pride themselves on being religious and God fearing! I have neither pride nor remorse in calling myself an aethist. I believe that there is no religion or God who can tell u anything better than being good and doing good. But if u can help me find my way and disagree with the barber, do let me know what I hv to do!

Monday, May 15, 2006

No mans land

Every one has his or her own place in office. The big bosses hv their rooms, the aam junta cubicles, the receptionist has the lobby, the blah blah blah. But if there is one place which belongs to noone and everyone is the lift. Its a really funny place to err..hang out.

Based on the lift mentality, there are 3 kinds of junta in office. First are the "oh-look-at-me-I-am-so-health-conscious" ppl who swear by only the stairs. Second are the "I-will-move-only-at-the press-of-a-button" ppl who will die before climbing the stairs
and third are the ppl like me "who-prefer-the-lift-but-dont-mind-taking-the-stairs". Anyway, everyone of us gets into the lift at some point of time. And unknown ppl r thrown into each others company, forced into a tiny enclosure with high levels of close physical proximity much to their dislike.

-> Case 1: No one knows anyone
So what do u thn? Its considered rude to stare at each other. But with ppl stepping on each others toes, there is nothing more u can actually do. So ppl follow a carefully crafted recepie of staring at the display without blinking, seeing their feet making intersting patterns on the floor and putting their faces up at the fan with their eyes closed faking the deepest meditation. I do none of these. I stand at an alcove and observe ppl doing all sorts of funny things.

-> Case 2: Some one remotely knows another
Yeah. They will hv some remote common thread. First they will smile at each other, nod and then start the most irrelevant conversation ever.
"So, is Jeff still in ur project?"
"Jeff Paddington! He used to sit next to my friend who worked in ur project for 15 days."
"Oh he was in my previos project! I heard he left the company after the product crashed, joined our competitiors and then came under a bus and died"
"Oh cool !"
It doesnt matter who Jeff is, where is is, what he is. What matters is tht both of them somehow thing he could be a link they could cling onto before they get to their floor. I am sure that if they meet each other some time later in the life they wud hv the same conversation.

-> Case 3: Every one knows every one
This is the worst scenario if ur alone in the lift and it is attacked by a whole army of ppl from the same team. The easy peace is shattered by hundred voices richocheting off each other generoulsy peppered with shreiks, a load of giggles and conversations. And then sudenly get off at some floor to let you to your peace in the lift again. Its like a sudden downpour tht lasts for only a cpl of minutes, drench every one caught off guard onthe road and disappear.

->Case 4 : The mobile ringeth!
Whatever happened to "I am in the lift. I shall call u back in a sec!". No Sir! First the silence has to be shattered with some bizzare ringtone so loud that the guy in the next lift should get startled. I get to hear all stories from 'how Vidya lost 5 kgs in 3 weeks via VLCC' to 'wht Ravi is going to cook for dinner' and from 'why SAP is the in thing now' to 'how websphere is hogging the middleware market'. Seriously, hv ppl lost public sense?

->Case 5: The ride with the celebrities
Its not daily that you get to meet the who's who of ur company. And when they do get into ur lift u curse urself for wearing floaters and jeans to office that day. Every one tries to look as professional and focussed as possible. I had the chance to ride with our country HR head and the was I was dressed that day , I was jst hoping he wouldnt ask me if I was working in the pntry or somthing. The next level of celebrities are the HR females who would never bother to stop and look at you otherwise. In the lift they hv no ther option. So I had my fifteen seconds of fame when I managed to talk to one of them. It doesnt matter if all I said was "Can u press the 6th plz" and got a pretty smile in return. What matters is tht it was only the life that gave me the opportunity I otherwise wouldnt hv got!

Life is amusing with so much happening happeing in and arnd the lifts. I am thankful tht lifts dont hv a mind of their own! Cant help but think of Zaphod and the lift at the Heart of Gold.


Hello Lift.


(Soft muzakky sort of voice) Hello. I am to be your elevator for this trip to the floor of your choice. I have been designed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to take you, the visitor to the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, into these, their offices. If you enjoy your ride which will be swift and pleasurable then you may care to experience some of the other elevators which have recently been installed in the offices of the Galactic Tax Department, Boobiloo Baby Foods and the Sirian State Mental Hospital, where many ex-Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Executives will be delighted to welcome your visits, sympathy and happy tales of life out in the big wide world.


Yeah? What else to you do besides talk?


I go up or down.


Good. We're going up.


Or down.


Yeah, ok, up please.


Down's very nice.


Oh yeah?




Good. Now will you take us up?


May I ask you if you've considered all the possibilities that down might offer you?

What more can I say? thodi si to "lift" karade!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hermione, I'm signing up for SPEW!

Some wise guy told " A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken."

For the past one week I :

-> Got up at six in the morning to prepare my brother's lunch box.
-> Dropped him to the school bus daily.
-> Made our beds.
-> Went out to buy milk and curd.
-> Took the trash out.
-> Stashed old newspapers and magazines in the closet.
-> Put the dirty laundry for wash.
-> Got the washed clothes pressed.
-> Went out to buy vegetables.
-> Prepared hot dinner every night.
-> Checked all doors and fastened the windows before hitting the bed.
-> Shopped at Foodworld for the week's supplies.
-> Cleaned the living room, the balcony and the kitchen daily.
-> Never missed feeding the fish and cleaned the fish bowl as well.
-> Didnt play badminton a single day. :(

Its was only for a week that my parents went out for a vacation and there I was buckling under the strains of resposibility. I wonder how my parents haven been doing all this and more for the past twenty five years, without grumbling even once and THEN heading to work. It made me feel so guilty that we had taken them for granted. Now I realize, its not such a easy job running the house! Its really frightening to accept teh fact that someone is really depending on you completely. I dont think one needs to do amazing feats in life to be recognised and put on the pedestal. To me, my parents are my real life super heroes!

I just hope that I have a kid who is better than what my parents managed to have.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Masterminds India

I had been to one of the institutes yesterday to recruit some freshers into our company as contractors. Conducting interviews, I must admit is one of the most intriguing and refreshing experiences one can have while working. That it allows you to pander to your sadistic impulses is also another big plus of doing them. Here are some of the snippets from yesterdays comdey of errors.

"Hi. I am Sandeep. Please Sit down.So tell me something about yourself"
"Sir, Myself Rajat."
"Umm..Go on!"
"Sir everything else is there in my resume"
"Well you should have something else to say about your self"
"No sir! I am not an interesting guy!"
(Whew! Talk about first impressions!)

"Ramya, tell me what's a Zombie process?"
"Sir, child dies. Parent doesnt know what to do!"
"But what is the issue if you have them?"
"Yes sir! Parent doesnt know what to do."
(Damn! Dont all parents in the world complain that they dont know what to do about their child!")
"Lets try to get to the answer. Tell me what is your favourite sweet."
"Sir, Gulab Jamoon"
"Lets say Ramya, that you have a box that can hold only 10 jamoons. But unfortunately three of them are spoilt..."
"Like some one has eaten them Sir? They will spoil the other jamoons also Sir"
"Huh??!! However!!!! Say three are spoilt. You have three good ones with you now. Can you put them into the box now?"
"Yes Sir! I will remove the bad ones and the put these inside".
"Good! With Jamoons you can. But can you do such manipulations in the process table of the kernel?"
" Try to draw a parallel with the zombies processes. They are like the bad jamoons, arent they?"
"I didnt get you Sir."
"If the process table is full of zombies, and space runs out can you fork new processes?"
"No Sir!"
"So could you understand the problem now?"
"No Sir!"
(Damn! She's the one supposed to be explaining. Not me! I stopped that interview)

Favourite hobby:
Candidate A: Playing Chess
Candidate B: Chess
Candidate C: Chess
By then, I was sure that the intitute had driled into them to put such "intellectual" things in their resumes to impress the panelists". I was sure that even the next one would have put up the same thing on his resume.
"Umm..I see in your resume that your hobby is playing chess"
"Yes Sir"
"Can you tell me somthing about Sicilian defence?"
"No Sir"
" Whats en passant?"
"I am sorry Sir. I read all these things in my early semesters. I dont remember."
"Hello! I m talking about chess here."
"Oh! Sorry Sir. I dont know."
"But you have told that its your favourite hobby"
"Yes Sir. But not playing. I like watching it."
" you like to WATCH chess???!!! How can you watch when you dont understand it? It must be the most boring game to watch on earth."
"No Sir! That is my hobby"
( Interesting! So if this qualifies as a legitamate hobby, I will tell ppl my hobby is sky diving. Only watching it of course!")

"Let me give you practical example. Say I have an application running and it can authenticate users who have a vaild login and password. Lets say there is somw command like" connect to" which you can use on the shell prompt to connect to it. Now, I want to see how many users can the application simultaneously authenticate. You should do this using shell scripting. There is no need to write the script. Just explain how you will approach it"
"Sir, ummm...I feel...err...ther are two main things here. umm..the number of users and the time to connect at."
"Lets say its 3 PM and 500 users."
"For exapmle just think that the application is something like Yahoo mail."
"Sir, there are two important things here. Time and no of users."
"Agreed. But how will you approach it?"
"Sir.Does it have to be 3 Pm? Not any other?"
"Whatever time you want. It doesnt matter".
"And only 500 users?"
"Any number you want. Yo choose"
"Sir, according to me. There are two imporant things. number of users and.."
"Yeah, yeah ! I know. Time!!...we have agreed upon that already! Just tell me how you will approach it."
"Sir, I feel the only two factors are......."
( I recalled Asterix and the big fight then. Vitalstatistic has to fight some giant dumb Gualish cheftain to proove that he is still the worthy cheiftain of his village. ther is no way he could have brought that guy down without the magic portion. So, he pratices to run and on the day of the fight he will run so fast all over the ring his opponenbt gets tired of chasing him and collapses. So I guess, even this was a strategy taught by the institute. Just keep giving the same line till the panelists get raging mad and move to the next question!")

"Can you explain the sequence of compilation, till you get a .o file?"
"Sir first you have to write a program!"
(There! Just shoot me! I cant take it anymore)

Well what more can I say? If you are bored of your routine, work is no longer interesting, you feel no one treats you with respect...simple solution. Go take interviews!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Of uncles, aunts, clear lines, testing jobs and boring weddings!

I dread weddings. After the 'K' soaps on cable TV I think they are the most boring ordeals on earth. God!I dont even want to think about a wedding in those soaps ! Anyway I was asked to apply a couple of days leave this month to attend my cousins wedding and I was left with no other choice but to capitulate.

The first thing I have to brace myself against in any wedding is the army of Kangevaram clad aunts. They mob you, they quiz you, they evaluate you and most importantly they bore you. Every other aunt who comes up looks at me and says "Look at you. You were such a tiny baby playing on my lap. Now you have grown so tall". I had to control myself hard from quipping" Thanks Aunty. But, since the last time I saw you, you have err...grown pretty big yourself !". Arent all babies supposed be tiny when they are babies! Duhhh... Anyway the next embarassing question targetted is "Do you remember who I am?". I have recorded over a period of time that I have only four options as answers. So the next wedding I go to I will make 4 placards and hold them up as applicable.
1. Of course I do! You are mymost favourite aunt ever!
2. Umm..I sorta recall your face, but not your name ( then I will draw a stupid grin next to it)
3. No you are so boring that I chose to forget you.
4. Dont know and dont care.
What a bore!

The next pit stop are uncles. Now uncles are a far superior breed of animals. Not because they are, but they think they are.
"Hmmm..So ur going to do your MBA huh?"
"Yes Uncle"
"In SP Jain is it"
"Information management"
"I know my friend's neighbour's third cousin's dog's ex-owner's step son who went to IIM-A"
"Umm, good for him"
"So, did u hear about X's son" (lowering his voice) "I heard he got a job in testing" ( flashing a condescending sneer)
"No uncle"
"Are you in testing"
"No uncle"
At that point I really wanted to say "Do you even know what testing is? Who put this ridiculous idea in your head that testing is a sad job? Or are you so brilliant that you graduated out of MIT with a PhD in Nuclear Physics? Didnt you write B.Com twice?". But I knew a debate was useless, so I just played along.
"So is your son in testing uncle?"
"No no no!He's not"
"Then what is he into?"
He had no clue for that answer. Only thing he knew was that his son was not in testing. So I saw my opportunity.
"Oh! Then he must be in re-testing!"
"Re-testing! what is that?"
"Oh! thats the role given only to the extremely fundoo and skilled s/w guys."
"Oh! I am sure he is in that then"
What a bore!

The next question I have to brace myself is about my wedding. For time immemorial any wedding I go to, there will be a set of people who go "umm, so when is yours dear? or now is the right age for you.". And with all my cousins getting married they have changed it to "Oh! so your line is clear now!" They spice it up with naughty smiles or a nudge with their elbows or a wink of the eye. Line is clear!!?? God! As though I have been waiting all my life for my cousins to get into wedlock and the moment they do I will run out of the hall, grab the first female I see on the street and say "Hi! I am Sandy and my line is clear now. Will you marry me?".
What a bore!

Now for the ladies, obvioulsy there are endless things to flaunt there. Sarees, bangles, gold chains, ring, silverware, new hairdos, sandals, gifts et all. Now the menfolk just stand here and there, loitering judging the other guys by instinct. But now there is a cure for that as well! No need for guessing. "Show me your mobile phone and I will tell you who you are" is the latest proverb going around. Does it have bluetooth? plays MP3? extendable memory? how may pixcells? N series? blah blah blah...I had dropped my mobile on the road that evening and a car went on it. So it certainly didnt help boosting my image up over there.
What a bore!

Did anyone actually go there to watch the wedding? Wish the bride and groom happy married life? Well i guess such things are way down in the priority list. And if you invite me to your wedding and I dont turn up I guess I dont owe you an expalnation now.