Saturday, December 12, 2009

I miss my past

Its been 4 months since I have been to US and not a single day has passed without me missing my days back in India. With each passing day the thoughts are more and more pronounced. Every now and then something reminds me of my past life and the whole past flashes in front of my eyes like a movie clip with a strong background music going on and pieces from here and there making up the movie. Sometimes I see myself shouting at the top of my voice at one of my college's party night, I am jumping and dancing, the next moment I see myself in the midst of my friends and we are having a great time. I see myself going to office, I see myself making jokes with my teammates, I am having a party with my friends, I am going to see a movie with my friends, I am travelling, I am at the top of the mountain and remembering all my tours, I am with my cousin brother at Chittaur, I am at Manali with my office buddies, I am clicking pictures, I am sleeping back at home, the Blueline line bus ride from New-Delhi to Noida. Oh now I curse myself why I didn't use my time at Noida to see the Delhi at its best.
There is a lot of things to be done in life and every now and then I remember my times back home and not stop thinking if I could have used my time in a better way.
The US life is making me miserable from within. There is limited fun here and I thank my life I have some exciting friends here with me without whom it would have been hard to survive the days. The lack of money is forcing me to stay indoors and better not to start about studies. During semester, its only studies. I now see the pressure of securing a nice GPA. Never felt the need for it before but here it counts, and its everything. So now I have to study like never before and its hard to concentrate also. I am not used to studying seriously and at a stretch. I am worried about my grades. I have already kinda screwed up one paper. Two papers remaining and exams are 5 days away. Its hard for me to sit down and like study 2-3 chapters at a length and be done with it. I always think of doing something like it but I fail everytime. Every 15-20 mins I need a break. He he he. Yeah, thats how I study.
It even saddens me more that my life is going to be colorless and uncool for the next 2-3 years.
When I was in India, I was sure that I wouldn't miss my past. I was sure I am that macho not to remember the fun days and be sad about it. I thought I am over it. When I was in Noida, I would often miss my home but I was more controlling than others. In US, its a whole new story. I am so much far away from my house, my friends, my family that I miss them dearly.
The samsung days were fun. I was getting more money than I think I deserved. Although I became complacent but still, the money was good. It took care of my basic needs and travellings, parties, movies, beers etc. I loved that life. The financial independence brought a lot of fun to me. It changed me a lot also. I became more and more free, open. Not restricting myself to anything. My motto was There is no use of this money if it doesn't bring me happiness. So I spend it whenever, wherever I wanted not caring about savings or future. That brings me to my second motto, One can never be sure about how things will turn up in future, 5 yrs down the line one can only say that I may or may not be able to do this but now, I can definitely do this and have fun. Absolute surety at present is better than doubt in future. And moreover, after 5 yrs, I don want to think like I should have done this when I had the opportunity.
I remember the infinite visits to the malls, to the markets. The fun get together at the lunch table when the whole of AV team would come along and bring in new gossips. It was fun to know strange things about other people, half true half imaginary. The annual office party was one other thing to cherish. So much fun man!!! Loads of dancing, shouting. Its nothing but letting yourself loose. The other thing I miss is attending colleague's marriage party. Its kinda different get-together. Meeting your office friends, outside office, like in real life, like they are your real life friends. It was always fun and more fun if the marriage is some 4hr drive from the city. Awesome. We play all sorts of games on our way in the car. Like listening to the radio and guessing the song from the opening music, like waving to people outside and capturing their puzzled face in your mind and laugh thinking about it afterwards.
One of my teammate is going to marry in may next year and I am suddenly so depressed. He was my best bud in the office and damn I'll miss his marriage party. It kills me. I long for that kind of get-together party. Good friends make a special impact in your life, isn't it?
I have got some good friends here also. My roomies are simply superb. There is this girl who is also very close to me.In-fact she is close to everyone. She is funny and I kinda like her alot. I like talking with her, I like being with her but now this is killing me softly. She has got a boy friend already and these days not a single day goes by without me cursing myself why I met her. everytime I talk to her, I want to feel as if there is something between us beyond normal friendship, but I know she cannot be mine. It kills me everytime I remind myself that she has got a boy friend. I always wanted to he hers but..............
These days I try to avoid her and restrict myself. The more I talk with her, the more painful its for me to separate. Although I joke about her relationship, make fun of it but from inside, I feel someone took away one of my hand. From inside, I become like dead serious. The feelings are one sided and would remain like that. And it is more depressing that she would never know I had such strong feelings for her. I won't tell her anything. She is happy with her beau. I don't wanna ruin her life by introducing more complexities. I am also dead sure she would reject me if I propose. Anyone at her place would do the same. There is only one happy ending to this. If she feels something for me too and if its more than normal, may be she would come to me but that is highly likely so the sad ending is that I have drink this poison for the next 2 yrs that we will be around.
Man! Know I feel how one feels when in Love. She magnifies my good feeling when we would be talking, I can hardly imagine how elated I would be if she were my girl friend. Enough of imagination................

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

one of those better days

Well, yeah. What a lame title to begin with but honestly, I couldn't find anything better. Its been in my head since evening, since the time I started my ride back to home from the university.

There were lots of things happening to me today. For starters, I got a Historian post of the students association body of the computer science dept. Thankyou very much. Appreciate it!

And that sums it up. Yeah, the other major advantage was I got some breakthrough in my parallelizing project. There is this awesome project in which we have to pick an algorithm and device methods to run it using thousands of processors. I am doing it in CUDA which I can only say till now is awesome to look and study about it in the surface, but when you actually get down to writting kernels, and start dealing with keywords like shared memory, for loop, threadId.x etc etc, life begins to suck. Yeah. Trust. Starting days with compiling and running stuffs will be frustrating but later on it will go great when you actually some in terms to know how this thing actually works. Yeah, its awesome. You know what, people still have genius instincts in them. I thought that era is over.
How do you react when you are given certain responsibilities? Something out of your bound, you never expected it and boom!!!! you are in for a surprise because the mailman just delivered to you a post of manager (read historian) at some crazy going association. Suddenly I am elevated to a height from where I can see everyone else, and vice versa.
Speaking of which I remember my algorithms teacher here. He is such a great guy and teaches like it will blow your mind off but guess what, I do him in the class. Yeah, he looks so funny to me and not only me but everyone else. In fact majority of my friends do him. We pick on him, we copy him, we comment, we gesture, we do anything humanely possible to get a crack out him. He is kinda a romeo type guy. I mean he is married and must be having a beautiful wife with kids but I don know why he seems to be excited to see the video recorder hot university girl. He sometimes even visit her in the recorder room to say that he is ready to start the video and some other times if there is a guy, he would just thumbs up from the dais.
But tell ya what? I like the education here. Although an M-Tech from one of the IITs wouldn't have been that bad either, but its good here too. Yeah the price is a concern but with banks like SBI and loan rate like 10.5, I would say, Suck on that!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of loan, I cant get a good night sleep at night. Its my first albatross around my neck. Yes, trust me, I consider it as a chain, holding me from going out and enjoying my life and time. I can't eat outside, I can't go bungee jumping, i can't go scuba diving, I can't go sky-diving. Oh my God!!!!!!!!!!!
My life was awesome when I was in job. I was into money. I was travelling places. I was doing crazy stuffs and enjoying it. I liked my colleagues. But then this thought was bothering me all through my time after B-Tech. Why should I be satisfied with bachelors only? Why cant I go higher, like masters or doctors? Every other guy is a bachelors now. What makes me different than other? I am different. I want to be different. I don wanna stand in my marriage mandap and have people talk that ooohh he has done his bachelors and others go like, wht??? even my waste niece is an MBA, couldn't this guy try any harder to study more about earthly stuffs.

Its not about going around shutting up other people. Its about shutting up the person looking you through the mirror. How can you avoid that. Its like ignoring the person which plays a record player in your mind and there seems to be only one thing coming out of that player, "Inspite of knowing you can do it, you never had the guts to do it".
Atleast after taking the jump from clean tap water to the sewer, I silence those people. Yeah, job life was awesome. The financial independence, the new friends made whom I miss so dearly and now from that to this, a huge loan on your back, student again and unemployed and expenses don't seem to stop.
The return is sometimes satisfying, thts when you compile the program and get the desired result and sometimes frustrations, thats when you just missed the bus and now you are 5 mins late to the one class where in the teacher uses the first 5 mins to introduce us to the topic that he would be teaching today and the introduction helps you understand the head and tail of rest of the lecture. You miss the intro, you practically miss the whole lecture. Damn those bus drivers. Damn me!!!!!!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

A failed day!

Disappointments are part of everyone's life. Sometimes you remember one particular day when you had multiple failures and you are forced to think, whats wrong with me?

I had my moments. There was this one friday, the first friday of the semester and the friday of "Gator nights". Every friday, the university organises a party sort of thing. There are multiple events held on that day, many games, fun shows, gifts, free midnight breakfast, Movie show and free popcorn and soda.
This fateful friday, I have all wrapped up my university business in time to reach the main building called Reitz Union the experience my first ever party here. When I reach there sharp 6:30 pm, I see a big, very big line of people. I saw it from a distance and thought may be its for the movie. There were 3 shows, one at 6:30, another at 9:30 and last one at 11:30pm. I was startled to see the line and disappointed too. I didn't anticipated such a rush. Then it became clear to me, I can't see the 6:30 show, so better I find some other engagement and try for the 9:30 show. Then it dawned on me that there is a Krishna temple notoriously famous for having free friday dinner, called Krishna dinner. I only had a vague idea that its nearby the university, but where exactly, I didn't know. So I called up couple of my friends and got this girl who had been there. I asked her for directions and headed that way.
Add to my misery, she never had a clear sense of directions, so it took me lot of running, walking, sitting, through all the hunting thing before I finally reach the Krishna temple after 1hr. I entered and the Kirtan was going on. I humbly sat down in a corner, waiting for the food time. I had in mind its served around 8pm. So I sat there, anticipating. The Kirtan finally ended and I survived but then some guy comes along and announces the presence of some great Hindu guy called Maharaj sri sri guru Bla Bla to give us a Pravachan (holy speech).
O My God!!!!!!! A Pravachan now........ I was like going nuts, wanting to chew my throat in. For an atheist like me, Pravachan is like dropping a nuclear bomb on me. Well, it exploded and caused casualties. All through his lectures, stories, myths and what not, I was going crazy by every passing moment. At every statement I wanted to jump out and question him. The thought of food drove me all through this and I thought I'll hold on for some more time. 8pm.....8:30pm......9pm. Its crossing my threshold level and my movie is about to start and I badly need some time to clear my mind from the religious shit. At 9:15, I could wait no longer. I stood up, made my way through the devotees sitting there, picked up my bag and rammed the door while leaving and I am pretty sure the whole way, the holy dude must be watching me and asking himself why I had to leave.
I started running as soon as I came out. My show is only 15 mins away and I can expect some crowd too, so I ran, ran like my life is in stake. Panting and gasping I finally reached the Reitz Union. I found out one need to take a wrist band first before joining the party and that had some people in line. I took my band, and rushed to the 2nd floor only to see a big line by the side of the auditorium door. Without questions, I simply joined the last guy in the line. I have been there for 20 mins or so, when I hear someone screaming, "If someone here is not standing for Popcorn, you can volunteer for help at the front desk for 10 mins". I didn't get the message as a whole but I realized I am standing in the wrong line. I walked to the front to see the popcorn machine and some dude handing out popcorn bags to the people in the queue and that auditorium door happened to be a side door while the main entrance door was 20ft further from the popcorn machine. I ran towards it only to see a girl standing there and telling people the hall is full and repeating "I am sorry".
That was very disappointing. Especially when I saw my roommates getting inside it while I was standing outside. Damn.
11:30 show is my last chance. I promised myself no matter what happens I'll be here by 11:15. So I took off, went from one event place to another only to be greeted by a huge line that would demoralize me to death. Luckily I was in time for a BINGO game and that took care of my 45 mins but I still had bad luck follow me there. Missing the BING-O moment by one or two pieces only. After some moments here and there, I reach the auditorium entrance in time only to find another mind boggling huge line. Where did all these people come from? Are they all in the university? It never occurred to me this huge number. I followed the line and at every corner I was surprised of its length. Finally I stood at the last. The line began to move and so did I and all the time I was telling myself don't loose hope, you'll get in there. And I did get in the hall only to find the front row seats free. Something is better than nothing so I picked the best one from the pool and made myself comfortable. The movie was Star Trek and I kinda dislike such movies (sci-fi space related movies) but still I tried to enjoy it. Soon I fell asleep only to wake up 10 minutes before the credits roll. It rolled and I yawned.

Movie experience was okay. Atleast I had an experience now. Next was midnight breakfast, scheduled to be on from 12:30am. I reached the food court only to see couple of guys sitting around tables and a large sign by the counter, "Food stocks over for tonight. Sorry."
That was the cherry on top. Perfect end to a perfect day. I came home hungry and slept before hunger could start bothering me.


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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why we need friends?

Sometimes we attach undue importance to things around us. It happened with me also.


I have been planning to persue my higher studies ambition and got admit into one university also. So my US visa is coming up. The visa deal is giving me nightmares. I have been reading about it in multiple forums. There are loads of information on this. The visa process itself is very tiring. Initially I was completely clueless as what to do next after I have recieved my I-20 from the university. Then one of my friend gave me a document where the visa process was listed step wise. Exactly the thing I wanted. I went through it.
I filled up the visa forms online and provided informations to the best of my knowledge and which were true. I had read many students visa experiences, and the reject cases were where they have provided contradictory informations or something which showed that the student is trying to hide something. Although the student may have honest feelings but the visa officer will only think he is a potential immigrant. Moreover, the visa approval or rejection is solely on the visa officer. If he wishes it to be approved, he will approve, he can put it in hold or he can reject. Honesty is the only thing we can show.
So my forms are filled up, I took their prints, put them in my office drawer and leave for home. The visa date is 2 weeks away. These 2 weeks I am collecting and arranging my finances and necessary documents. I am being particularly careful about their genuineness. All this 2 weeks I am thinking only about visa. If visa is approved then no issue but what if I am given a reject. All the visa procedure to be repeated again and I would have to complete all this in 1 month, thats the time I'll be in Noida after which I'll leave for my hometown. All these thoughts were my food and water for 2 weeks.
2 days before the D-day, I brought the visa forms from office to home. I had a look at it. All information seems good but I noticed in the permanent address column of one of the form, I had mentioned my current address, the Noida address, which I would be leaving in 1 month. At that time I didn't care. Then I arranged my documents in my folder.
You wouldn't believe but the night before the D-day, I even saw a dream where my visa was rejected and I am devastated, thats when I woke up, 1 hour before my scheduled time of getting up for that day. I woke up with my hands and feets shaking but then I thought its merely a dream. That helped me cool down a bit. I thought of looking into my documents once again and I saw the faulty address column but this time I am feeling damn scared. Suddenly I am thinking what a grave mistake have I done and to add to it, how could I ignore it when I knew about it?

My thoughts:
The visa people are smart. They have time and again mentioned that your information should always tally with that of your passport. When I had applied for my passport, I must definitely have given my permanent address but in this form my permanent address is something else. The visa guy will only feed in my passport number and Bam!! my life history is in front of him and ofcourse he will see the discrepancy in the addresses. What will he do then. He will ask me about it. I will act surprised as how could this happen and continuing my acting, I'll tell him its an honest mistake which I am discovering now. He won't buy it. He will tell me how come you can be so careless, how is it possible you not discovering it when you had 2 weeks time and then I'll try to give him excuses (with my innocent facial expressions) but he wont listen and he will hand me a reject. OR, I can admit that yes thats a mistake and I thought it won't matter much and he would scold me as how could I think of that, address is very important piece of information esp permanent address which I have tampered with and he could have a feeling that may be I did it intentionally so Bam!!! visa rejected under case of forgery. God forbid, a reject section under forgery will forever deny my possibility of a US visa and so my higher studies (and world tour) plan will be doomed. O My God!!!! So being mum about it is not an option because if I remain silent and the matter comes up to the visa officer then its a clear sign of forgery.
So one more thing I can do. The moment I reach the embassy, I will tell the authorities about it. They will be dumbfounded as how could I be so careless, they may doubt my honesty also. They will most probably suggest me to reapply for visa again and in that case its not a solution to me atleast. It is the same as a reject, the only consolation is that the visa guy will not know about me hence will not doubt my honesty the next time I appear in front of him for my visa. But I don't want this.
One more thing I can do. Let me call the New Delhi visa help center and explain them the situation and ask for advice. I cannot change the info myself as it is the D-day and not "atleast 3 days before the D-day" but may be they can change it. But why would they believe me? Suppose I tell them about my mistake they may not be of much help except they will add a suspicion star mark in my visa profile. And when the visa guy will open my bio data, he will see the '*' mark in red and he will give me a reject. Simple.

So these are the things I am thinking. All roads lead to visa reject and a loss of face. I even tried calling the help center but it was not 8 yet. I was unable to think anything else. Couldn't eat. Brushed and bathed in a hurry. I am tossing around the house, sweating, shaking. Anxiously waiting for the clock to tick 8. All these time I have heard how the visa guys appreciate honesty and so I decided to tread the path of honesty. I was waiting for 8'o clock when I'll call the help center. Whatever happens next, will be dealt with.

Then one of my roommate came home from his shift, the other one was sleeping. I consider myself to be able to take decisions, I consider myself to be brave, bold and courageous so while I was in the middle of a crisis, I find no reason to talk about it with my friends. But looking at my nervous face, my roommate couldn't help but ask me about it. I then explained it to him and he was so casual about it as if its not at all a big deal. I was angry. In the meantime my second roommate woke up. When he heard about the same, he behaved the same, casual. They both said, don't worry, its nothing, people do change their addresses and moreover they had your data for 2 weeks and they would have done something if it were such a big deal. And I thought Yeah, what do you guys know about this? you have never been into a visa interview before, you don't know what kind of things the visa guy looks for in the candidate before he grants it and you have absolutely no idea how a visa reject is going to change everything afterwards. Why should I listen to you pricks. You have never read thousands of visa experiences posted by students, and the kind of stuffs that attracts a reject. I know only one thing. One must be honest for a visa accept, I am an honest student and I stand to prove my honesty so I'll go ahead and tell them about it whether its a big deal or not.
My friends told me again and again. Its not a big deal. Address change is nothing. It is highly unlikely that he will notice this. Even if he asks, whats the harm to tell that your noida address is your permanent address. I assure you they won't question you anything. Moreover, you remain silent about this thing and there is a chance that nothing happens ofcourse there is a small risk but once you make that call, everything will be changed. New scenarios will arise and new decisions will have to be taken in hurry. You must believe me as a friend, nothing will happen. Just chill, be calm, be smiley, be the most innocent and cute guy in front of visa guy and everything will be fine. Trust me.

My second friend was also supporting him. Hearing both them out was helping me calm down. Moreover I was scared about the whole repeatation of process if I let them know about it. May be its not that much of a big deal. May be I am just exaggerating. May be I need to remain calm about this. May be I need not think anymore about this and May be I should do this.
So, with the words of my friends, I decided to stay silent as if its nothing. I felt very relieved. Took some food, hugged my friends, took their good lucks and left for interview. The whole time I tried not to think about it. Soon my number came. The guy asked me mere formal questions like which specialization, what other universities I applied for etc. Three questions and I heard the magic words, "Ok Kundan, your visa will be couriered to you in 3-4 days. Have a nice day."

I was so happy. Everything went fine. Just as my friends had told. He didn't even ask me anything about my finances, the address thing was a far cry. I was such a relieved man. Thinking about how I was reacting to the address issue, made me laugh. I was being such a baby which is totally opposite of what is true as I consider myself cool, atleast have seen many sissies in my life who totally loose control of their gear over minor to minor issues and I laugh on them but today I was being one among them. I also couldn't help think as to the course of my life, had I not discussed it with my friends. It was only on the consoling words of my friends that helped me divert a lot of stress.

Only then I could know, why we need friends. Alone, we are vulnerable to chaos. With friends, things become easy, comfy, smooth. Really, I never felt the importance of a friend before that day. There may have been numerous instances where my friends have helped me but I only realised it on my visa day, may be because it was the time I dearly needed a friend and I am glad I had two friends with me. I now know only one thing, issue may be big or small but we need friends. Friends are important.


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Women: The unsolved mystery of all time

Women, although an amazing masterpiece of God, have some inherent qualities that make them stand apart. Many scholars, poets, philosophers have tried their whole life understanding these qualities but failed. They are nothing but vast ocean and no matter how hard you try, it always seems like you are at the center of a large circle, as if there is no end to it. Sometimes you think you understand them, the next moment you find out something strange and you are back to where you started. Its as if every words they say, they say it with something else in mind and it turns out to be something else for the listener. And funny thing, only a women can understand another women.


Act 1:

I am having lunch with couple of my girly friends. They are 3 of them. We all are having a nice time. We all have moved into the city recently and starting up with our new life. We are discussing stuff like house, roommates, cooking, office, rent, bus/auto services etc. All 3 of them were staying together. One of them says
Gal1: You know what, last night we ordered pizza.
Me: Really? Wow. Thats great.
Gal2: Yeah and the best part was when he said there is corporate discount of 15% and our company is listed as one of the beneficiary.
Me: Awesome. So you saved some money also. 15% is better than nothing.
Gal3: Yeah, and to obtain more discount we all three gave our ID cards and we got more discount. Yippeeeee!!!!

Now I am perplexed. The discount is same if you give one ID card or ten. Its not like I will pay only 10% of the price since I gave 6 ID cards and that took care of 15X6=90% of the pizza cost. Thats ridiculous. That statement made me go into mathematics mode and a minute later into coma mode. I am looking at their face and trying to figure out, who made a mistake, the pizaa guy or these gals. Well I could take it no more. I had to convince myself before I die.

Me: I have to clear this. Please explain what you meant when you said you got more discount. How is it possible you got more than 15% discount?
Gal1: Arey, we thought we would get more but that damn delivery guy gave only 15% and nothing more. We only got 15%.

Well that explains it.

Act2:

In India, national elections have just been through. It was mainly the battle field between the two largest party and ideologically differing in every opinion, Congress and BJP. Smaller parties were there too but these overshadowed them. Ultimately Congress won. National elections may be over, but some state elections are coming up. So Andhra pradesh, Tamilnadu and Keral elections are next. Congress is jubilant and high in energy. BJP, after the defeat, has upped its preparation to get this one atleast. The upcoming state elections news are the favorite headlines for the dailies now. Although smaller parties are not prominent in national elections, they suddenly figure in the state elections and change the equations. Congress and BJP are there too but more often they need the support of the regional parties to make the state government because they never gather the margin figure with so much of regional parties in fray.

So one fine morning, I get a call from one of my girly friend.
Gal: Hey, are Congress and BJP going to merge into one party?
Me: What????? What are you talking about???? I can hardly imagine any situation that should bring them together. Even if its the end of world, they wouldn't see eye to eye, merging is a far cry. They are sworn enemies, infact more than that. What made you think like that?
Gal: Well, I thought the same but today's headline states "Both Congress and BJP are trying to become the single largest party in the upcoming election in Andhra Pradesh." And then I thought, really??? Are they going to merge????

I understood everything. Need I say more?

Me: Hey, thats something else. Don't worry. They are not merging.

Act3:

My roommate's girlfriend is in the house. We are talking. At some point of discussion....

She: Yeah. My brother is also doing his MBA in London.
Me: Wow! Thats great. Moreover higher studies is cheap in Europe compared to US.
She: No No! My brother is in London, not in Europe.

Now for a moment, I was stunned. Even that made me recap my geographic classes, those world maps all over again and again. True, England is aloof thanks to the English Channel but that doesn't make it separate from being counted into Europe. What makes of that then. A whole new continent called England??? NOoooooo.......... London is still in Europe.

She is silent too and may be realized the mistake but spoken words dont come back. This reminded me of the famous quote, "Its better to keep quiet and let people think you are a fool than to open your mouth and prove them right."

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Monday, May 18, 2009

The only protest that we had

The Enggineering college life at National Institute of Technology, Rourkela (where I studied CS) was very eventful and add to that the hostel life. A fun loving guy like me couldn't have asked for more. I remember a lot of things I was involved in college and the most prominent among them apart from my ragging experience was the only student protest that we did. 


It was the year 2004, spring. The UPA governement has replaced the NDA government. No body expected such turnaround. The new governement soon sacked Directors of 14 off 17 NITs across India out of revenge because they were instated by the NDA regime. Unfortunately our NIT was one among them and our beloved Director Prof. Dr. S. K. Sarangi felt the axe too. I was in the second semester then. We all students felt bad because we all liked our Director and we all had hated his replacement. Mr. Sarangi had initiated many development works in the campus and with his sacking we thought eveything will go into cold bags. 

We lived with heavy heart. Then one night 2-3 3rd year seniors came into out hostel. The ragging phase is all gone and we all had become friends. The seniors called for us to assemble in the hostel common room. Then they said they are thinking of a mass student protest to oppose the sacking of our dearest Director. They explained the plan. They said, 

'Since you all know that recently our Director Mr. Sarangi has been sacked unconstitutionally by the UPA govt. We all know how Mr. Sarangi has dedicated everything into the upliftment of our college to make it count among the best technical schools of India (In-fact, the ranking of NIT Rourkela had significantly improved and it was among the top 20 colleges overall and in the top 5 among all the prestigious NITs across the country). We are proud of our college and its all because of that one man (cheers claps shouts).  Mr. XYZ will be succeding him once the govt finalises the decision and  we all know he is no match to Mr. Sarangi. There is also a rumor that he has decided to cut our spring-fest and tech-fest (our annual festivals we all enjoy) budget for this year because he thinks its wastage of student's time. This is ridiculous. We will not let anyone take Mr. Sarangi's place (claps cheers applause). So this is what we have planned. We will organize a mass student protest. We will all gather tomorrow morning in front of our institute gate and sit there the whole day. We will block the gate, not allowing any faculties or officials to enter the institute. It will be peaceful and we will not resort to any kind of violence come what may. The protest is only a mean to send our message. Since you are freshers, your only task is to be seated. We all seniors will be there in complete strength and we will handle the whole thing. You don't have to worry about anything. You are required to gather at the institute gate before 7am and we will be there. '

Then they left. The mood of common room was full of excitement. All these times we have heard about such and such protest fights in other engg colleges and here we have our own piece of it. We had all heard numerous violent clashes between students and police and college authorities in other less renowned colleges and the news was always delivered with a sense of pride. Our friends from other colleges would explain their fight with the system, the blood shed and we couldn't do anything but listen and hope sometimes we will have a chance to prove we did something manly. This time the thought that we are having our first brush with the system gave us a boost. In-fact NIT Rkl has been more or less very peaceful from its very start probably because its tough admission only allows studious, hard-working and good natured students and not brats or spoils or scums. Moreover the thought that we may soon have to kiss goodbye to our festivals and stalled development works made us more promt. The idea that successful protest would mean no classes tomorrow was cherry on the top. We all left for our room talking about it and how we would storm the institute, surprise everyone, shake the govt, destroy, burn this and that, beat ABC etc etc. Yes, it was funny and we all waited for it.

The D-day came. Its the big day for all of us. Today we would change the world and inscribe our names in golden letters and remain alive for centuries. Duh......... most of us had had hard time getting up early. Our general-secy was having a tough time, knocking on every door and asking ppl to wake up, get dressed and get going. We were cursing the protest because it ruined our sleep. Suddenly the night excitement is inferior to morning sleep. Well, welcome to a student life in NIT Rourkela. Even then not all but 80% junta from 1st year started for the target. Remaining people managed to hide under bed (sleeping) or stall time in bathrooms and toilets. Anyways. So we all started and reached the institute gate by 7. To our utter surprise, none of the seniors were there. It was all so lonely except for the singular totally confused guard and 2-3 crows and pigeons. We felt cheated and some out of fear suggested to leave and resume our daily work (going to classes). But many still wanted to stay, in the hope to be part of a protest, if any. Finding no senior to support, we all loitered here and there, gossiping in groups, under some tree. Then we saw our gen-sec talking to the same 3 seniors at a distance. He then comes and tells us that it will be difficult for all the seniors to join us as many of them are under project, assignement and exam burden etc etc but those 3 seniors will be here with us for support. We were 80-100 in numbers and thought we can still do it. Moreover its not going to be a violent one so numbers don't matter.

One senior told us to sit in front of the gate as the working hour is about to start. Seniors had managed to prepare some big banners and posters for the protest and we all sat there holding the placards and banners as is normally done in any protest. Soon, 5 mins seemed like ages. Seeing no activity made many stand up and move to a nearby tree, some busied themselvees with mobiles, some were into round table discussions etc. In 15 mins the protest scene looked like this: Half of the people sitting, holding the banners and placards, some standing around them, two groups of 5-8 people gossiping under a tree nearby, some loitering and talking over mobile, 3-4 were peeing at a distance behind the bushes. 

Soon we saw some men approaching the college. Its action time now. The warning was sounded and all soldiers assembled at the war zone right away. We all were at position. From distance we could know that they were senior PhD students in various departments and many of whom were teaching us. When they came , we explained them all about it. We were all like friends. We had very nice rappo between us. We all talked about it, we laughed and then they happily left. They even wished us good-luck and to make sure no class occurs today. They were happy to hear about no classes than to be concerned about our protest. But we were happy how we fared. We all congratulated ourselves. It seemed all so easy. We were confident we will make it a success.

Next came some junior faculties. They were also very friendly with the students. We enjoyed having fun in their class and they too. They were the Happy-Go-Lucky kind of faculties. They also returned after hearing about the protest. They were also happy about the no-class-today thing. So far so good.

Then was the time for senior faculties, Deans, HODs, Director etc. Soon we saw the Dean coming through and everybody pissed in their pants. Even the 3 seniors were dumbfounded. Everybody panicked. No body had the guts to stand in front of him and explain whats going on. He was very strict and serious and everybody feared him. Seeing him coming, all of us ran for cover, many hid behind trees and bushes, banners and placards were hidden, many formed a round group and started gossiping and pretending nothing happened, many ran away from the scene. The Dean, came, saw and entered the institute gate. After he was gone, we all gathered around the gate again. This time the 3 seniors scolded us. They then delivered a long and passionate speech. We vowed to show some character atleast, the next time. Then followed some more faculties and when they reached the gate we let them know about the protest but we didn't had the guts to stop them from entering. So, after some time the protest scene is this: Half of the strength remains now and they are all now sitting on the right side of the gate, holding the banners and placards. Faculties are coming, seeing us sitting, reading our banners, then moving in. No words spoken. We were happy we didn't attend the first 2 classes.

11am: The acting director, Mr. XYZ comes to meet us. He says, 'Students, we dont have any problem what you are doing. In fact you have every right to express how you feel. Even we are also sad about the director being sacked and we know how you may be feeling. But the thing is today AICTE guys are coming to evaluate the college ranking and this protest scene will create a very bad impression thereby sliding down our rank. I am sure you also don't want your college to have a bad rank, loose its prestigious position among equals. So I ask you to stop this for 1-2 hrs till those guys are gone and then you can resume. Also in support of your protest you can have the day off, no classes.'
We thought about it. Of course he is right. Rank is what everyone looks in a college and we were proud of our college's rank. We couldn't possibly think of doing something to hurt the reputation of our college so we agreed. We hid the posters, banners etc, some went to hostel for nap and some went to canteen. The seniors stayed there. Then the AICTE guys came, and left in 1 hour. No damage done. Then word was sent for people to assemble again. This time seniors also told that the press guys will be coming shortly so we need to be protesting. Hearing about the press guys, everybody jumped out of bed and rushed towards the insitute gate. In 5 mins the whole student junta was there. Even all seniors turned up to welcome the press. Everybody gathered. No assignments, no projects, no exams could deter people from being clicked for the press. People left their meal mid-way, cancelled their girl-friend's call, dressed up in clean and shining clothes, girls were out in make-up and everyone had only one thing in mind, reach the gate before its too late. The institute gate is now a place bustling with people. Some seniors went to stay put at the main campus gate so that they can let us know when they see the mediawalas and we can prepare to present a grand protest.

Soon the news came that they have entered into the campus. Suddenly everybody joined the people already seated. Suudenly everybody wants to sit at the front. Suddenly everybody wants a corner of the huge banner to hold. Suddenly everybody is adjusting his/her dress, hair, glasses. The photographers from Indian Express, TOI, Hindustan Times and a local oriya daily came and stood in front of the seated protesters. It was a huge conglomeration. When the photographer is adjusting his lens and focussing, everybody among us is poking his head to the front. There are now atleast 70 people surrounding the main banner poking their heads around the banner from left, right, center, below and above. Everybody wants to be in the picture range and in the middle. Even half of the writtings on the banner is hidden by the heads but we never cared unless our face is clear in the picture. The photographers were smiling, we too. Now the photographer wants 2-3 guys to hold a placard and he will click but suddenly there are 50 hands holding the placard stick. There were guys with fingers barely touching the stick but they were looking at the camera, smiling. Huh, so much for the sacked director, I now think.  I bet if one of the press guys had asked us about our Director, we would have replied, 'Director who?'. Who cares about Director when I am being clicked for tomorrow's front page story.  Series of 2-3 people asked the photographer to click their photo with the banner because they are best friends and they will cherish the memory when the same photo is published in tomorrow's papers. The cameraman obliging all, and enjoying too. We all were having fun. For some time we forgot that we were protesting. The seniors had anticipated that some of them will be interviewed but that never happened. So the night long mugging up of the speech was wasted.

The media guys returned and so did we, satisfied. In the evening people called up their homes and proudly stated we staged a protest in the college. Yes, we are bad people too. They also informed them to check out tomorrow's newspapers to know the details.Tomorrow came. The papers contained articles about the protest, very small size column, less than 100 words and in 4th or 5th page. Indian Express carried the story in its 6th page and bingo! with a photograph too, the 200 people surrounding the banner. The article was small, photograph too. It was in B/W and the faces were hardly recognizable. Only the banner writtings were legible. The hostel junta thronged the rooms who order Indian Express. They all would gather and look at the pic and say "I think this is me, and this is Rahul because of the hair, and this must be Manoj because he had his hands over me................".

When I recall now, I couldn't help imagine how proud Mr. Sarangi would have felt had he seen us there during the media fiasco, or would he?


PS: Within 2 months, all the sacked directors were reinstated because may be it was unethical or may be due to the wide spread protests :)

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Monday, April 6, 2009

The true worth of a product

Another trivial topic. More of a passing thought actually.

This morning while walking to office I see the shoes of a man walking in front of me and I think how much is this shoe worth of, I mean the correct appropriate worth of this shoe.

 

Take the case of the shoe manufacturing company. The company after having produced the shoe, decides on its price. Consider yourself to be the guy entrusted with the responsibility of determining the price of this shoe. What do you do? I’ll break it into components like the raw material, the number of sections the shoe undergoes in the factory, number of people involved with its production etc. Lets say the the raw materials cost 50 bucks. Lets say 10 people worked on it and each worked 1 hr and going through their wages I can know the money equivalent to their worth and say its 100 bucks. Now the company invested money in the heavy machines it installed for the purpose so the maintenance and cost of those machines has also to be accounted for so lets say the cost of a machine is some XYZ and its lifetime is say 10 yrs and likewise I can determine how many shoes it can produce in its lifetime. Based on that one can know the cost of running that machine per shoe manufactured and similarly do the math for all the machines involved. Lets say its 50 bucks. So now the bare minimum price that I can charge on the shoe is 200 bucks. Its not over yet.

The company does have other sections also, like finance, marketing, sales etc. The cost of those also needs to be accounted for. So now I’ll calculate how much does a sales guy, a marketing guy, a finance guy spends on a pair of shoe on an average. For that I will find out the total number of shoes I produce in a month and divide it with the guy’s monthly salary(please see the last para) or I can also find the per day salary of the sales guy and see how many shoes I produce in a day etc etc. The thing is I can know how much I am spending on a sales guy, on a marketing guy etc on a per shoe basis and say it all adds up to 50 bucks. So the shoe is worth 250 bucks. The shoe can be sold at 250 without incurring any loss.

Now comes the profit part. The CEO started the company to earn some money, right? Others who joined also had the same in mind. The profit margin is a big issue. How much profit should they derive? It shouldn’t be too high or else the shoe price will be out of the target customer’s reach and it shouldn’t be too low also because you & your family have to survive on it. The profit should be optimum. One has to determine how much profit should a sales guy derive, how much for a marketing etc and like wise for every employee. The profits will be shared according to the hierarchy and in that respect the CEO is expected to take a lion’s share. It shouldn’t be hard because after all, the shoe business was his idea and it is normal that there is a fraction of shoe price that a customer pays should go to the CEO for his idea. You can see, arriving at a profit margin must be a tough task and I don’t know but the current market situation must also play a role in it. So after a long hard day’s work the final price of the shoe is determined at say 350 bucks. The company marks it as the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) i.e the product is not worth more than this price.

So I guess this is how one determined the value of a product. But then again, if it’s the most appropriate price, why do people still bargain? So, isn’t bargaining signify that you completely reject all the price determining upheaval task that the company performs. Isn’t it like all those sessions about manufacturing cost, profit-loss margin, etc useless. Isn’t it like questioning a company’s hard work on the product’s price-tag.

The problem becomes grave when the same product is available in many price tags. Say for example if the vendor makes a profit of 20 bucks per shoe sold(he wouldn't disclose it), on the case of customer bargaining for a better price, some vendors may settle for 15 bucks profit and sell the shoe in 345, some may sell it in 340 and some in 335. It doesn’t stop here. The customer is all confused now. He buys it in 345 and thinks it’s a good price but next day his neighbor gets it in 340. In such cases the customer can even question the 340 being the right price because the maximum is 350, the minimum can be anything that’s less than 350. We as customer cannot know the true worth of a product, can we?

 

I think I have a solution for this. What if, the company redo its math, make some appropriate changes and come up with a Minimum Retail Price. What if every product sold is sold under Minimum Retail Price. This leaves the bargaining out of context because now the customer knows he cannot pay anything less than this price unless he wants to murder the company’s minimum profit. The customer always wants the best price for a product, the true worth the product carries. Minimum RP is the answer. A maximum quoted price leaves so many questions to one’s assumption which only adds to one’s confusion. When you buy a product on Minimum RP, you respect the many trouble and hardship the company has undergone to arrive at this price. One can feel the immense pain a company would take to come to this number. And you would know its worth, true worth, a number that is a result of many experts involved in the business and the biggest help to the customer that he no more needs to haggle. He can go home in peace knowing that he couldn’t have paid anything less than this and neither will his neighbor.


There is one other hitch. One can see that we are using the wages of the employees to arrive at a MRP but then again, how would one know whats the true worth of this particular employee, what should be his appropriate salary. Again one can see that we need to know how the company is performing and how are the shoes selling but that means you know the price of the shoe already. How did you arrive at the shoe price if you are not sure at the fitting salary of the employee and how would you determine an employee's salary (the true worth of it) if you don't know market performance of the product and hence the product price.




PS: The process of arriving at the MRP is completely the author's personal belief. There may be some business practice involved and the author may not be knowing it.

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The invisible bond between the Grands

 Its been a long time since I wrote here last but I am always glad to be here. The thing is, I have got something, something of a topic, something that has been in my mind and now I thought of putting it here for record.

 

It’s a known fact that people tend to be more attracted towards the opposite sex. Yes, its true. Fathers are more affectionate towards daughters, they bond each other well. Same way mothers are more caring towards sons and vice-versa. I am currently reading Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and I can see how the author is more comfortable with her father than her mother with whom she is having ego clashes every now and then. You would know of the same if you read the book. This affinity may be one reason why husbands choose to have baby girl but wives choose to have a baby boy. In my family also, I have observed my cousins (sisters) having fight with their Moms very often but very rarely with their Dads. I have also seen them talking so nicely with their Dad, discussing matters and taking opinions but the moment their Mom enters into their conversation the conversation slowly heats up and always ends up in loud clashes. I have also marked a kind of affection the Mothers have for their sons. Why is it common that you see your Mom sweating it out in the kitchen, making myriad dishes because her son is coming home after a long time? Have you closely noticed the love in her eyes when she is watching her son gobbling up the dishes. Why is it that daughters find themselves more comfortable talking with their Father about their boy-friends and then ask their Father to talk to Mom regarding this? Why do they rarely approach their Mother about this? When they need money, why the daughters ask their Dad while the sons coax their Mother. Why the Dad would support her daughter on her higher studies while the Mom is trying to marry her off? Why would the Dad scold his unemployed son everyday but Mom would sneak 500 bucks from Dad’s pocket and give to her son? Strange, isn’t it? You must have felt the same, no? Of course there will be people who would differ and I am not saying I am God. But even though this might not be true for you but you must have observed it in other families.

Although this kind of affection is very common but there exists other similar bindings as well. For instance, the older people more friendly with small kids, their grandchildren and vice-versa. Teenagers are rebels, they are young and full of energy, revolutionary. They may have ego clashes with their parents, but they talk with their grand parents. This bond is more vivid if younger the kid and older the grandparents. I’ll tell you my experiences.

 

While in my school days, I was staying with my Mom and elder brother and we lived in the same city as of my granny’s (mother’s side). During holidays we would visit them. I especially enjoyed the summer vacation when other members would also convene in granny’s big house. My cousins (I have lots of ‘em), uncles, aunts, everyone will be there. It was like a commotion, a revelry. I clearly remember the happiness and excitement in my cousins’ face when they see the olds, they all would touch his feet (and granny’s also) and make some joke (oh, I see some more white hair there) and everybody laughing. I was very fond of my grand parents (both of ‘em). Everyday my Granny would wake me up early (5 am) and I would go and fetch flowers for her prayers before others could. She would ask me for this because she knows I don’t mind. So my day would begin while others would be sleeping. I would bring the news paper to my Grandpa and accompany him to the milkman’s house to fetch milk. His friends from the neighbors (all of his own age) would also join us. The whole time they would just talk and talk and I would just listen. My Grandpa was born in the 1920s. His era was completely different than what is mine now. Many a things that I had studied in history, he had actually witnessed them. That was one of the major reason I liked to hear him out. I would often ask him stuffs like “Have u seen Nehru, Gandhi? Is it true they say Nehru would always keep a red rose in his vest pocket? How you used to travel to distant places? What was the railway like? What were the British like?” His answer were like a whole new story for me. Each question fired at him would return as some true life experience that he witnessed and nonetheless fascinating. He and his friends would converse, complain, blame, suggest, advice and what not. Their sentences would always start with “In my days it used to be like this…” Their life was hard. They were without TV, mobile, cars. In fact our time would seem hard for our grand children. The reason why olders are fond of kids like us because their life stories are amusement for us and they know it. We would always listen to his stories with our mouth wide open and he enjoyed thrilling us equally. He would show me the coins of his era. They are no less than a treasure. He would show me a coin and say “look, this is 1 anna, this is 1/4th of anna, this one 1/8th of anna etc.” I would jump out of my seat with excitement and realize that the 1 Re coin that we use today which is also called barah-anna and is called so because there existed a currency called anna and when you bring 12 annas together it makes for 1 Rupee. The same logic also explains why 50 Paise is also called aath-anna (8 annas) and 25 Paise called char-anna (4 annas). Amazing!!!! I never knew of the logic before I saw the anna.

 

My Grandfather never failed to surprise me. Every single thing of his was a story and learning experience for me. When I was a kid (10-12yrs) I would always accompany him for his market trip. There he would teach me how to pick the best of vegetables, how to know which one would taste good, how to make use of your senses (touch, see, smell even hearing sometimes) and choose the best one. I was amazed to see his knowledge about everything in the market. He had an idea about every vegetable present there. He knew which one tastes what. I had seen grown-ups looking at some new stuff in the market and asking the vendor “Hey, what is it and how does it taste and how do you cook it etc.” I never saw Grandpa making that question and in fact he would be the first one to explain me about it when he would see my curious look over the new vegetable. We generally assume with old age experience comes automatically but when I see my Grandpa like this I believe he fought for it. He not only incorporated it but he ingrained it in himself like a tattoo, for the rest of his life. That’s why I valued his teaching.

When we would return home my aunts (his daughters) would generally complain “Oh Daddy, why would you bring this and that, why would you spend so much on it etc etc” and my Grandpa would usually say “So wht if its expensive, it definitely tastes good and moreover I bought this for my grand kids. Who knows this may be the only time they will taste something like it.” Such was his love for us.

 

They would feed us new things everyday. Sometimes Grandpa would bring crabs for lunch. There is a lot of process involved before a live crab is made ready to cook. The crab seller doesn’t do it. You have to do it. And the problem is not all of people know how to do it and that is the reason why crab is rarely served for lunch in our house. But my Grandpa knew the process and every time he would bring crabs, he would explain it to me. The process is very tiring, slow, and requires precision and patience. You have to separate the limbs one after another, hit the scale at some particular place only and be careful about hitting at other places. There is no harm if you tear it apart like papers from books except that its very ‘crab-like’ taste will be lost. So very delicately and patiently he would follow it and explain it to me at every step. This is the eye, this is its claws and this is its joints, this portion tastes the best, this piece tastes salty etc. It’s a very rare art, to say. I have eaten crabs only 2-3 times in my lifetime and that too only at my Granny’s. This speaks for it. And I must admit, I can still feel the smell and taste of it, thanks to my Grand Parents. No one else in my family know about the crab business so I never got to eat one after my Grand Father expired.

 

While having lunch also, he would guide us to the very minute details. He would tell us how to hold that chicken piece and try sucking into that hole and lo and behold, the bone marrow of chicken is in my mouth and it tastes awesome, thankyou Grandpa, I never knew of it. Then sometimes he would pass one of his meat piece to me and say “It’s the liver of the chicken, it must taste good to you” and my aunts would say “Dad, that was for you, you should have those, you like it” and then my Grandpa would go “so what, I have got others, see.” You see, these nice little gestures of love and affection made me admire him all the more.

 

My Grandma is no less the woman. She is a terrific woman. If Grandpa’s area of expertise was the outside world, Granny is the queen of the house. She takes care of everything related to housekeeping, from cooking to cleaning. She is amazing at cooking especially. I am personally a big fan of hers and I know Sanjeev Kapoor or any of the world’s other greatest cooks cannot dare to match her (atleast for me). Her each and every dish in on the tip of my tongue. Anytime anywhere, I can clearly feel the smell and taste of her food. That is her magic. I would always long to visit her and the thought of her hand cooked delicious food was always on my mind. Give her any combination of vegetables and she will always surprise you. I remember many a times it had happened that suddenly we discover that there is nothing in the house except this few vegetables and that too partially rotten and then Granny would see the stuffs and say “why not make something like …” and everybody else would go “wht??????? (with wide eyes)No No it wont work etc” and Granny would do some this and that zig-zag and Bingo, the most awesome dinner ever eaten. We, the tiny grand kids were her greatest critics.

She is very polite and soft spoken too. I had personally witnessed her intelligence and common sense many a times. I consider her the most intelligent person in our family, hands down without a doubt. I can say this because no one else but I, had myself seen her in action. Sometimes I would come to her with some problem, she would look at it, do some changes and say “try this one now, I think it will work” and I would go  “Oh My God. Brilliant. Absolutely Brilliant. Genius bla bla bla.” Sometimes when I think of those instances I have a feeling that why I haven’t come across any such intelligence from others, from people of my age. Sometimes I would think,  look at my Granny, she didn’t study past class 8 but she is no match to a graduate of our generation. Her intelligence that I witnessed I hardly believe someone else can amaze me like that.

 

Another thing that reminds you of your Grand parents is their death. For a majority of kids, their first experience with death is through their grandparents. It hurts them the most. After all these years of learning, sharing, joy, play times, its death suddenly. That old man is cold now. When I saw my Grandpa’s dead body and my family members sitting beside it and crying hysterically, I suddenly knew that that old man meant so much for others and for you and that you are going to miss him dearly. The feeling drove me further towards him. It’s been said that grandparents are reborn in the form of their grandchildren. I think its probably because there exists a strong, invisible and unconscious bond between them. I admit my life has very much been influenced by my Grandpa and Grandma. I am sure it must be the same with you too.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Things you can do in an elevator

I got this from some site and I couldn't help but put it here. We can add more such stuffs and you can use comments section to put in your way of dealing with the elevator travel. Enjoy

What to do in an elevator:

When there’s only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder and then pretend it wasn’t you.

Push the buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.

Ask if you can push the button for other people, but push the wrong ones.

Call the Psychic Hotline from your cell phone and ask if they know what floor you’re on.

Hold the doors open and say you’re waiting for your friend. After a while, let the doors close and say, “Hi Greg. How’s your day been?”

Drop a pen and wait until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream, “That’s mine!”

Bring a camera and take pictures of everyone in the elevator

Move your desk in to the elevator and whenever someone gets on, ask if they have an appointment.

Lay down a Twister mat and ask people if they’d like to play.

Leave a box in the corner, and when someone gets on, ask them if they hear something ticking.

Pretend you are a flight attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the passengers.

Ask, “Did you feel that?”

Stand really close to someone, sniffing them occasionally.

When the doors close, announce to the others, “It’s okay. Don’t panic, they open up again.”

Swat at flies that don’t exist.

Tell people that you can see their aura

Call out, “group hug!”, then enforce it.

Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering, “Shut up, all of you, just shut up!”

Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside, ask,”Got enough air in there?”

Stand silently and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off.

Stare at another passenger for a while, then announce in horror, “You’re one of THEM!” and back away slowly.

Wear a puppet on your hand and use it to talk to the other passengers.

Listen to the elevator walls with your stethoscope.

Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.

Stare, grinning at another passenger for a while, and then announce, “I have new socks on.”

Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers, “This is my personal space!”

Fart loudly then exclaim “Not I said the wolf”

Jump up and down then look at the floor and shout “let go you bastard”

Before the elevator door opens shout “DING” and then laugh and say “beat you again Mr Elevator.”

Hire a labrador, wear sunglasses and repeatedly walk into the walls whilst pretending to not hear the other passenger’s direction

Pretend your a pirate looking for treasure and tell people that your close because you can smell it

Get two friends to come in with u with a skipping rope and play jump rope while constanly hitting others with the rope

Act like ur from the 70’s

Have an awakward silence then start singing softly mary had a little lamb

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Love or something else?

Before you read on to this one, consider me as just an observer, one who is curious and asks questions to calm his anxiety, one who landed on Earth 24 years ago from an alien world and has observed things for this last 24 yrs, one who has seen something but doesn't understand what it is.

The phenomenon called marriage has always puzzled me more so because it differs a lot when one travels from east to west or vice-versa. More so, the Indian marriage has intrigued me the most. The concept of arrange marriage is predominant here and very few people dare to convert a love affair into love marriage so lets just leave love marriage out of this debate from the Indian context. People in India prefer arrange marriage. Why? Because their parents did it, their parents like it and most importantly majority of dudes are single and those who have girl friends are fed up with them and view arrange marriage as their salvation and their parents as their messiah. The process of arrange marriage is simple and straight. The easiest step is the partner selection. The parents publish their requirements in matrimonials (no wonder matrimonials are a hit in India). The interested party (read parents) contacts and seeks further details like a photograph. The photograph is shown to the boy/girl as per case and his choice is sought. The able party is selected. The boy's parents along with the boy (taking the boy with them is a consolation for the boy. Its like a toy, always calms down a crying baby) pays a visit to the girl's house. The parents from both side have candid chat. The boy meets the girl, they manage few minutes with themselves, thanks a lot to their parents. The couple starts talking and its hardly 4-5 sentences conversation from either side when their parents know its perfect and then they get back to discuss more important matters like how to start the process called "actually marrying them off". The tedious task of marriage is done and Whooa! the couple live happily ever after.

Not counting the minor domestic tussles, in India 90% of the arranged marriages are successful and by success I mean no divorce and no serious domestic violence like physical harassment. How come? Whats behind all this? How come people get their perfect match with a photograph and 10 minutes of conversation?

I was once called for group discussion and interview session for admission into one institute. There was a group comprising of 3 boys and 4 girls and they had the topic "arrange marriage vs love marriage". On account of what information I gathered from one boy of that group whom I knew, all the girls were in for arrange marriage and all the boys were for love marriage. The boys were completely taken by surprise and obviously felt frustrated. Frustrated because they now know none of the girls are up for it. Had there been even one girl for love marriage, I am sure the 4 dudes would have fought and the last man standing would have dared to ask her out sometimes. I think the boys were for love because they would like to know their partner well before deciding into any lifeterm commitment. It may be one reason but I think its more so because all boys want some excitement before their wings are cut off. Everyone wants to spend the weekend with a hot babe, make others jealous, stick the mobiles to their ears day and night and whats wrong if in the meantime they get to know each other well. The small percentage of love marriage is thanks to these guys who among many lovers actually find their perfect one and also have guts to go for it. I came to know why the girls were for arrange marriage. Strangely, thats because its too exciting to get to know a complete stranger, because then they have so much to talk about, everything is new. One doesn't find such luxuries with boy friends because they already know everything and same for you. It was strange to me. As per the girls' reasons it seems that they have already accepted the stranger as their husband and are excited because after marriage they will have so many things to talk about. I don't know what do you call that, submission or optimism.


Coming back to our main point, whats with the high success rate of arrange marriage? Does it not sound strange, after reading the fine nuances about arrange marriage. I mean if you tell an American to marry some one like that, will he/she? I don't see that happening. Why? Well, its illogical, right? You have every right to know the person well before you decide if you can stay with him/her for the rest of your life. You just can't marry a stranger. With 6 billion people in this globe, every person is different in some aspect or the other. Its very tough job to find one whom you can stand. Just seeing the picture and 10 minutes of talk is definitely not the way to go for it. The very high divorce rate in America states how difficult it is to find your spouse.

Now, coming to what I think of it. I have previously stated the high percentage of success rate only when you count the success as absence of extreme domestic violence or divorce. In India, a girl is always told that men are superior, husbands are important than their own life. Right from their teenage years, they are told that husbands are always right, husbands are the owners of their life once they are married and it becomes their duty to follow their husband and abey him always. The divorce is seen as a social stigma, a blot on someone's life esp. if its a women becasue people know that men are always right and if its divorce then definitely its the wife's fault. 

The strangers are married now. In due course of time they know each other. If they find love between them, its great, and very rare. Then you can call them a success as a couple. But in most cases they don't find each other perfect. The men become frustrated, angry. The wife silently suffers it all. She knows its not her life anymore. She has to stick with his husband. Divorce is definitely not an option here because of reasons mentioned above. The wife can't think of taking a divorce and let the society blame her for all this and add to that the legal hassles over custody of kids and property division etc etc. This is not the case in America where divorce is considered just another mistake. So whats wrong if you married a mismatch? Its human to err, right? So just move on in life, find another partner. But no, in India, its not a piece of cake. 

Divorce is not an option for men also because after all its a blot. Its like an exam you failed, which sticks to your resume till the end. Add to it the legal hassles etc. Parents do feel sceptical about marrying their daughter to a divorcee and frightened to marry their son to a divorcee. So, Unless the match is very fatal to your life, couples rarely opt for divorce even though they know they aren't meant for each other. What do people do when they get something which is not actually what they had asked for? In India, people adjust. Yes, Indians are great at adjusting themselves. It takes only a train ride to know I am telling the truth. And I believe the answer to high success rate of marriages in India is nothing else than our ability to adjust. Even though they aren't in love with each other, they live with each other. Inside the house no one knows whats going on and outside, most people show they are cool with their partner. I don't know how the statistic will change if by success of marriage you mean true love and not divorce.

Although I still am an amateur at understanding what love actually is, but I don't feel like its love when I see middle aged married couples. I clearly see adjustments. I feel they are adjusting.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009