Monday, May 15, 2006

Whats wrong !! What gives !!

For want of something better to post, I decided to write about what’s happening of lately in my life.

This is the "ship jumping" month and my best friends have left my firm for greener pastures i.e. read monies, promotion, perks, exposure etc. Not that I don’t plan to quit, but I would rather hang on for some more time. I am waiting for a particular exposure that would come by September or so, so till that time I have no choice but to see my friends leave one after the other. All said and done, I am very happy for them no doubt.

Meetings, discussions and knowledge transfer are the other happenings. With my colleagues going onsite we need to ramp up to take over their work. With a paternity leave for 6 months in the offing by a colleague, 2 guys going on site’s for 3 months, a email server (since he only sends out emails to higher up’s) who also doubles as module lead, an overseer technical lead (he gives orders), and finally marriage leave by another, almost 50% of the team is disposed albeit in their own way.

As for us who cares!! You need a scapegoat, here we come (3 of us). I will let the readers take their shots as to how much of work is bearable for 3 of us amongst an 11 member team. Nothing new in any case. People don’t care about how much pressure’s or bottlenecks we go through, all they can see is the money software guys make.

At the end of the day what good is the money that comes in at the cost of peace of mind? Would others please understand that we are paid high to do difficult work (most of the time!!) and if it was so easy then even farmers could be techies ( Reminder: One of those well known politicians wanted an IT major to grant jobs to farmers btw since IT companies have been alloted their farm land by these very same politicos).

Coming to the point, my relations have been deteriorating and I have found myself both at the receiving / giving end numerous times. Maybe this is related to what’s happening lately at work maybe not or perhaps it has got to do with my attitude? maybe suddenly i am quite boring, familiar or perhaps obnoxious buffoon who needs to be treated like this.

Whatever be the case I suddenly had 2 of my very good friends who don’t even get time to wave a simple Hi! No instant messenger messages, no phone calls, no emails nothing. To top it all I can’t even seem to find what’s wrong. I mean we didn’t have any arguments, disagreements or for that matter anything of the negative sort.

Initially I thought maybe it’s the work pressure or perhaps they are not in a mood, but honestly it’s been a full 2 weeks since we spoke like we used to before. If our eyes meet its just a simple Howdy and a smile. Maybe I am just feeling it, maybe it’s true we really have grown apart both as friends and as colleagues.

I tried discussing it with them, but it was always brushed aside as nothing da, nothing like that I am just busy and all that crap!!. If it’s really true how come we don’t get time like we used to earlier and just about how is it that when I feel there is some change, the other person is far far too obvious to the change?

I guess my paranoia is now spilling over to my personal life as well. Maybe I should just try and be a loner just like I was previously and take all this at face value. I am pretty sure if I see this pretence of “Everything All right” a little more time, I would explode.

So that’s it. This has been a very trying month and will continue to be so till early July at least. If I can handle the tenuous threads that holds my relations work or otherwise I guess it will be worth the battle.

To summarize how I feel here is a song I just heard over the radio …

Aaina mujhse meri

Pehli si surrat maange

Mere aapne mujhse ….

Aapne hone ki nishaani maange …..

Saturday, May 13, 2006

An Eerie Experience !! A Who Dun It Story !!!

It was the dead of night, 1:48 am to be exact that an eerie sound awakened me. Still groggy, I rubbed my eyes to look at the digital clock. At the same time, my mind began to wonder what in the world could be making this sound.

It was raining cats and dogs outside. The unprecedented weather was wrecking havoc and I began to think perhaps my imagination was playing games with me. Yes!! There is that sound again. It sounds like a growl or rather something eerie, not the usual sounds that doesn’t bother you, you know. Just a kind of sound that intrigues you and makes your hair stand up at its end.

It would start with a low growl ... oooooooooorrrrrr... then to a higher pitch ...... oooooooooo .... and finally lower in intensity and cut off completely. A few moments of silence in between and it will begin again, same sound, same pitch and like wise.

I looked at the clock, it read 2.13 am. I had spent approx last 30 mins or so just figure out the source of the sound. I had 2 options. First be a sissy and lie down, cover myself from head to toe, and try and get sleep. It’s a hard day’s work these days you know why bother..... Or else get up and investigate. I decided on the later. I stay alone, and I dislike keeping my mind preoccupied with ghosts and such hair rising thoughts.

Since I am well versed with each nook and corner I didn’t bother putting on the lights. Another aspect was I didn’t want to scare anyone or anything that was making that sound. I moved from 1st bedroom to the other, yeah the sound exist, but it wasn’t coming from that room. Same was the case with the other bedroom. Kitchen was deadly silent so that eliminates most of them except for the hall. I stood in silence for sometime, trying to figure out the source. Jumping Jeepers, what the hell is happening??

Panic began to set in. Here is a sound coming from the same room that I am in and I can’t figure out the source. Suddenly I started getting some tingling sensation, knots in my stomach, throat dry and eyes grasping the door handle ready to slam it on anyone who would dare approach.

Once I got used to the darkness I peered around, nothing, no sound, nothing moving. Ah well it must be some rodent or something, that’s it, lets go to sleep, I turned my back and the sound started again. However it was out there was waiting for me to find them. Ahh so you wanna play huh, I said aloud in my mind, I will show ya and then switched on the lights.

Wonder of wonders, the sound persists. Obviously this thing is not gonna let something like this scare him. He was out there trying to challenge me, mocking at me, asking me to try and find him. You bet I will find ya you dirty #$%^&* I told myself.

As I kept looking around, the power went off. My first intuition was Sabotage!!!! But then I realized I been reading too many spy novels and bond movie remakes (John Grisham's "The Broker" being the latest). I found a candle and lit it, and immediately I felt the song “Gumnaam hai koi.... badnaam hai koi .... being played in my mind. Christ I never realized my mind would ditch me when I needed it the most.

As I kept walking around the room with a candle in my hand, my only prayer was "Please god, please don’t let the other person see me, he would get scared and perhaps konk off forever" You see I can give the best of the ghosts a run for their money, especially when I am tired, sleepy and worried about the deadline tomorrow.

Suddenly there is the sound of the guitar being played. Hey wait a minute, that’s my niece's guitar that’s being played. Damnn!!!! This is getting worse. I pinched myself to see if I am dreaming and sure enough I was not. Suddenly all horror movies started playing their most scary part before my eyes.

Determined not to give up, I began to search for the source of the sound. After much probing, I realized that whatever was making the sound was closer to the living room window, the room that is the biggest.

I walked near the window, candle in hand. If only Tahtta or Patti (my neighbor's granddad and mom who are around these days) see me with a candle god knows how they would take it heehehe, so I blew the candle off. The sound stopped as I neared the window and would increase the moment I would walk away.

Now this was surprising, whoever it was would keep silent the moment I would come near the window and start whistling the second I would step away! I peered into the dark, rainy and windy night trying to ascertain the presence of some shadows, lady with a candle, shiny eyes etc etc in the darkness. None!! Phew thank god!!

Now came the moment of surprise. After playing around with all kinda stories in my head, I let the inquisitive half take over. I began to investigate, why the sound would come the moment I step aside and stop when I came at a certain spot near the window. In a couple of minutes I realized that it’s the AIR rushing in that’s making the sound.

The reason being there is a small gap between the mosquito netting and the window frame, and the sound was coming since the air was being forced out through the miniature gap. When I stood before the window, I was effectively blocking the free flow of air, and hence there was no sound, but the moment I would step aside, the channel for air flow existed and hence the growling sound heheheheh.

Phew, now that was a nightmare solved. Pretty happy, I turned around to go back to sleep when I heard the guitar play again. Again all kinda thoughts began to flow in, but I took out the guitar from my niece's toy box to see whets happening. Now that’s the funniest part.

There was a roach inside the electric guitar and my niece had not turned the guitar off because of which even a slight touch would produce the sound.

I switched off the guitar and went back to sleep, contended on solving a Who Dun it!! A la Sherlock Holmes style......

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Continental Cardboard Chapatti's !!

Aah it was after a pretty long time that I tried my hand at cooking. I remember when I was in UK I paid in pounds to have rice, curry and other typical Indian fares. Whats worse was I was supposed to tip those serving us and that hurts since earning money wasn’t easy at that point of time. Heheheheh!!!!

All credit for getting me to cook goes to my roommate Praveen who himself an excellent cook would ask me to help him out in the kitchen. The Andhra fare that he would dish out was so superb that there would always be a steady stream of visitors bent on tasting what he would dole out.

But once classes started and work schedules took over, we had to fend for ourselves. Once my pockets began to go empty every time in the middle of the week I realized that things had to change drastically which meant I needed to start cooking at home.

I started off by trying my hand at the regular south indian fares like rice and curries. Initially as expected it turned out to be disasters in disguise much like how my twin sis started to learn cooking maybe worse but fortunately I never had anyone running for a bottle of pills or to the doc immediately on eating my fare.

Slowly I built up a somewhat expertise and I had my own fan following who would come home every weekend for tasting my cooking. Anyways it’s a thing that’s 3 years old. Ever since I came back to my home country to start my professional career I never had to step into the kitchen again. Since I would always have my mom or sister who would do the cooking and me the eating 

Last night I had my cousin Saji come over. Since it was a long weekend we had the time of our life and ate out most of the time during the weekend. Comes Monday and the prospect of going out to eat once again was frosty. After much persuasion Saji and me decided to cook at home. He wanted to eat chapattis and like a good bro I agreed to make some.

Its been years I ever tried my hands at cooking and hence my skills were rustic at best. I started out with much gusto kneading the dough for the chapattis. After much fooling around I realized that its not exactly the shape or the color that would develop when mom used to make.

Since this is the information age, I immediately dialed my local contacts in essence my colleagues who cook for their husbands at home. Once she got over the initial sneering and comments she advised me to add oil and water ( I hope I have the order correct) to smoothen the dough and get it ready.

I kept at it with much fervor and after what I felt was an eon, I found that the dough stuck together but it was still dry. I added more water/oil and got a roughly light brown color to the dough. I thought I had done enough and went about making the side dish to go about it. As me and my cousin chatted sporadically , I went about expressing how I feel the chapattis would come out good while the side dish would be a massacre. Boy !!! Was I in for a BIG surprise 

Initial Tasks (cutting veggies, washing them etc) done the cooking process began. Doing it side by side the side dish was done pretty fast and without much problem, fortunately this time I got it correct and all including the color and salt was correct. This boosted my confidence and I went about making the chapattis.

Once I began to spread the rolled dough about, I realized its no child’s play. Suddenly I was faltering and the lack of experience was quite easily seen. Uneven spreading of the dough, inconsistent shape, uneven thickness etc were the highlights. In between bouts of light banter my cousin and me were constantly reminded of the fact that its this that is going to be our dinner for the night 

Finally what seemed like an EON, we were done. The highlights of the entire exercise were as follows.

$. Chapattis that very closely resembled the shape of each continent on Mother Earth.

$. Whitish brown external texture which reminded one of cardboards that we would use for artistic pastimes in our childhood.

$. Hardened shape which emphasized the fact that they could be used as discus or a potential weapon to cause heavy bodily harm to our opponents.

$. And last but not the least the unique distinction of producing “Weapons of Mass Destruction” with maximum effort, minimal understanding and wastage.

Bottom line chapattis were ready and so was the side dish and that’s how we had our first “Continental Card Board Chapattis”.

Efforts are on to have them patented by the (UNBBT) United Nations Board for Bull Shit Technology situated at Bull Street as Weapons for Mass Destruction (WMD).

That would be another feather to my cap, watch this space for updates ……………..