Thursday, December 22, 2005

Coffee

Do you know what differentiates humans from animals, coffee!!!...

Just the other night while I was lazing in bed try to catch few winks I remembered that “sleep” was a symptom of less consumption of coffee. There was a time when I advocated that coffee was a vitamin and took with pride the example of Turks, who way back in early 15th century made it a law, for every woman can divorce her husband when she is not given ample coffee everyday.

Well, the question that ranted my mind all along was – is there coffee after death!!!

Forget having life after death, what is life with out coffee. Was there coffee before life??

Why few centuries ago there was no reason why petroleum existed, same was true to coffee. They were not needed by humans in those days why? There were no geniuses at that time. Petrol for a speeding cars and coffee for intelligent brains, were unknown then.

Now with the world at a click of buttons, we need something that can demarcate between the mere morals with that of the genius.

A song I heard long ago, the singers says – clouds in the cup of coffee, why did she mention coffee. Her feeling of hurt about being jilted by an intelligent man were expressed like “you are so vain, you probably think there are clouds in your coffee cup”

Why coffee?? Because coffee is coffee….

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Corruption Zindabad

We all in India would have played our part in making India so-called ‘corrupt’ and also in some point of our life shouted slogans against it. I remember, as a student, doing a ‘rasta roko’ against all issues haunting India, from Pakistan occupying Kashmir to corruption. Those days, I did it for sake of building an ‘Image’ in front of my dear female classmates.

Never the less, today, I want to support our dear ‘corrupt’ Govt. employees and shout out loud on streets of India “Corruption Zindabad!” I openly want to request to all those whom I may have hurt in past, to forgive me, for my loud mouthed accuses and abuses against their unwanted ‘perks’.

Well, today morning I was in world famous, Changi International Airport, Singapore, to see off my co-code-coolies back to India. There is marketing gimmick used by Singapore Govt. in luring travelers to buy from their over-flooded shopping centers, which often sell technically correct but practically useless electronic goods or over priced ‘branded’ cosmetics or ‘branded’ cloths that can put to shame even an average Indian beggar, by giving out statements like ‘GST Refundable’. The point is the fine print is always hidden being those glittering neon lights.

Every coolie, when he/she goes back to India, always ends up buying all kinds of useless things, either for sake of peer pressure or due to the impression that ‘It is cheaper in Singapore than in India’. (Laptops, phones, Cloths etc are cheaper in India.)

In order to dodge the GST, we coolies always invite our immediate family members to visit Singapore, buy goods in their name, then claim the GST refund. GST is 5% and is levied on any thing, including use of toilets. Refund is for tourist, not for residents, coolies on EP etc.

Yes, we are trying to twist the existing rule by brining in our relatives here and buy goods, but that is no crime, simple arrow that clears two birds, visit of parents/relative and hard earned money back from useless GST.

Well, today Ms.R, who is a part of the battalion that is leaving back to India, was with her mother at the GST reclaim counter. After nearly 15 minutes she was back with the group, with a tinge of anger in her eyes.

‘I hate these fellows’ was the only sentence she said. We all understood what might have happened there.

It is a common knowledge that these up-straight-Govt.-servants of Singapore usually flirt with Indian female travelers at the GST counter, by making awkward passes, uncalled for remarks, unwanted questions etc.

What business does the beautiful smile of an Indian female got to do with the simple stamp on the refund form, which states that the person is leaving by such and such flight?

Why on earth does the jonnies need details like boyfriends etc for giving the clearance?

‘I prefer paying 100 bucks to Indian officer, who doesn’t ogle at me and does his work, rather than standing in front of these jokers answering all the flirtiest questions for sake of 100 dollar refund’ expressed one female colleague of mine, after once such incident.

Finally ‘Corruption Zindabad’ at least our fellows have respect for “Sthree”.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Code Coolie

Recently I was talking to my old colleague, we both worked for an India based MNC in IT, he onsite and me offshore. After all these years, we accidentally met on this messy maze of internet and obviously our conversation turned to work life.

In general we b!#@hed about how expatriate Indian IT workers are treated. ‘We are treated worse than slaves’, was the common opinion or the conclusion we reached.

I started to analyze why we are in this situation that we are in. Here are some reasons that I could gather.

1) Usually managers are not from IT background.

The general trend is for the MNCs to get guys from marketing or sales background to make them in-charge of the practice. This is done under the impression that the person has good marketing ability and he can do some wonders to the practice.

Yes, it is true. Wonders are happening. A new head will bring with him a fresh approach and fresh lease of life into any practice, new policies, new clients (because he would have sold them the idea that ‘Blah blah can be done by our guys’).

Then the actual reality dawns on the techies, the foot soldiers of the practice. The general has promised the client, some impossible tasks. Some thing that normally takes say X amount of time, this dude has gone ahead and accepted to do it for 0.8X amount of time. The result, long hours, budget over flows, what not, yet things are delivered on-time, if not in-time.

For the manager it is just a sale of 100 washing machines this month, so next month I need to sell 120 washing machines.

Why, because the foot soldiers, like in any war (corporate wars included) are the ones who sacrifice for sake of some notion like national flag (practice pride), which is absolute bullshit. What difference does it make to the person dead, as to what happens to his nation after he is dead, like wise, what difference does it make to the practice, if someone misses out important events in his life, once the project is done and money is transferred to companies account.

What difference does that make to a corporate once the client transfers the currency and the manager’s targets are met, if the techie is in hospital for stress related illness, or happens to miss out his marriage/engagement?

In my own life, I have seen many of my friends fly to India for a week and get married rush back to work, because some manager has not sanctioned his leave for more than 5 days. (Courtesy: approaching deadline). This despite the fact that he would have told his manager about his impending marriage two quarters in advance and the manager/practice leader would have blissfully said, ‘Oh, you are getting married. We all will be expecting treat. Regarding your leave, take a forth night off and go to here-and-there for your honeymoon’.

After the party is thrown at the beginning of the new month and half the salary is blasted off, the remaining salary is spent in calling cards to call his would-be life partner for long hours.

As the d-day fast approaches, this bloke goes and asks for leave, that is when the marketing talk comes into picture. ‘As you see, the project is in critical stage. You are a senior most person in this practice. If you leave, the client will lose confidence in us. Blah.. blah… blah.. You are important and needed for this project to be successful”.

This guy somehow gets married and then one day says to manager that he is not feeling well. The truth was, his newly wed wife might have given a strict warning that if she is not taken to that amusement park, and she will leave for India for good. So he cooks up the story that he is not well. Presto, the ever concerning voice of his manager comes on the curse of 21st century, the cell phone. Once in every hour he calls to find out how he is feeling, much to anguish of the wify material beside him. Every time the call comes, he ducks to a quite corner, least the manager listens to the background noise/music and tells him of his slow progress. That day, this jonnie is lost. Boss is annoyed that he was sick and wife is annoyed that he was physically present but mentally at office.

Some how his life moves on and wife returns to India, pregnant, vowing never to see this fellow again on-site. He makes frequent visits to India to see his new born.

1st visit is for three days duration, 15 days after the kid is born, to name her. Lots of snaps to adorn office table and again half salary is gone in entertaining the team and the manager about the new arrival.

2nd is made after 6 months that too for few days, because his wife threatened to divorce him if doesn’t show up his face.

3rd one is very late, say one year later. As wife is now busy with the kid and stop to think that she way ever married to someone. Once in a while a phone call is all that she needs to do as a wife and our jonnie dear calls her often just to find out if every thing is alright.

4th one happens says after few years and this guy is back. You know why? Now he is almost 35 and no longer can keep working late hours, cant run around, cant do things as fast as he could.

When back home, he sees the ground realities.

a) His daughter doesn’t recognize him in flesh and blood and always shows the snap that is on the wall, when asked to show daddy.
b) She can’t even recognize him, as the snap was taken when he was young, trim as compared to his obese, balding, burping self.
c) His manager is no longer interested in his stroke detected in the mandatory ECG. There are no hourly phone calls, no updates. When he calls to say the same, ‘Hey jonnie boy, am busy now. Call you back later’
d) Practice is not bothered about his ulcers as once it was bothered about his afternoon off due to stomach ache.
e) His bank balance is worse than the bloke next door, who stayed back in India and worked for some non-IT company. (After all those meaning less parties, calling cards no wonder he has deep burnt holes in his pockets)
f) The cost of living is exceptionally high as his relatives and friends think he minted money in IT somewhere abroad so he can afford to do certain things, which he has to do now. At least for their sake.

Now the jonnie boy is wondering, were all these things necessary??

2) Usually the expectations are based on previous expatriate workers

This is another kind of scenario, where IT workers are treated the way their previous colleagues wanted them to be treated. In those days when the millennium doom/boom was not there, scores of our jonnie boys went to other countries for greener pastures. The moment someone has greens in sight, they tend make more of it and set some high expectations to the client. By working long hours, bending too much backwards and all, these guys are real culprits in setting some unreasonable expectations which is still now seen in the way the current generation workers are treated.

The general idea is that an IT laborer from India puts work first above all else. Don’t now get some ideas that work is done in a professional way, but they just slog. May be at times I wonder if the 250 years of colonial rule has changed the genetics of the entire nation. The moment we see some other skinned boss, we simply boot lick them and bend back as much as possible. Or at least they expect the current generation to do.

This kind of expectations result in setting unreachable target dates, where in every one is burnt out.

The trend of having shadow resources back in Indian offices to do some work that cannot be done even if the entire team is putting up 24X7 also causing the unreasonable expectations. What if some chaps are not fortunate enough to have shadow resources back home? Simple, they are doomed.

Conclusions:

This is a straight lift from Boy zone’s song.

No matter what they tell us (You are important to practice)
No matter what they do (Promise you the hike/designation)
No matter what they teach us (You are the brand ambassador for the company, no longer an individual)
What we believe is true (You family first)

No matter what they call us (You are "the" guy for practice)
However they attack (Escalations/poor appraisals)
No matter where they take us (USA/Singapore/China/Pakistan)
We'll find our own way back (to our sweet home)

I can't deny what I believe (Professionalism, dedication)
I can't be what I'm not (bending backwards, boot licking)
I know our love forever (are you listening there in India)
I know, no matter what (I just don’t care if my boss reads this)





Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Brain Errors

Never understood why this kind of error is never sent out by human memory.

"Could not reserve enough space for object heap"...

Wish we (humans) too had that kind of error traps, so that we can discard old memories or unwanted memories...

wish... we knew the source code to our lives...

wish.... someday, someone, files anti-trust agains God for hiding the code....

wish....

wish....

Saturday, July 23, 2005

What next

"What next?" is the question that is bugging me all along....

When in Primary School was eager to complete it and go to high school, then from high school to college... then to get some means of livelihood.. then to get married.. then to have kids..

Now am done with all that..

what next???

Wait for my retirement and expect to lead a sedentry life in some remote corner of the world?

Do something more meaningful for the community?? -- This gives another question.. what is the meaning of "meaningful"...

Some how some where am always confused!!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Silence

My silence can speak volumes.... can any one read that much of junk???

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

DB on India

There seems to be more than we know about ourselves....

Take a look at the world as it is... and what Indians are considered about...


http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000188752.pdf

My client, DB, feels that India has more potential than any other country in the globe.

China, our dearest neighbour and friendly rival, is felt to be not so favorable to their growth.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tsunami Hits

Srinivas Divi, was one of our good old friends, with an air of conniving look on his face, but was the most mild and timid one among the group. Well, those were my bachelor days and when I say he was “timid”, it obviously refers to the stance that one takes when approaching girls. Yet his sprits were always high and used to say to all of us that some day, some one would definitely be there for him. As life is, we had to move on in our life and our interaction got to a stage of a mail once in a while.

After nearly five years, one day he suddenly called up to inform that he was getting engaged and his marriage date was fixed. My knowledgeable assumption that it was arranged was correct. After that day our interaction became almost daily, may it be chat, mail or call. Every day, he used to tell us as to how he was going ahead with ‘music’ of his life Vani. How she was talking to him etal. I was happy that at last the priest got his Goddess to worship. All the conversation was full of her.

One day, after Tsunami, while I was on my way back from office, my mobile gave its usual buzz. It was Divi, with a heavy voice at the other end. When I asked for the reason, in that Chennai traffic sounds around, he told me that Tsunami has taken away Vani. Not knowing what to say, I told him that I would return his call after I go home. The real reason was, I needed some composure to talk to him.

All along the way I was thinking how this bloke might fare with his life and what will happen to him next. His dreams, his notions.. that was a very cruel joke by nature.

At home, I immediately made a call to Divi,

“Hello, Divi, how are you feeling now?!?, was in traffic so had to cut the conversation. Am really sorry to know what happened? ”

“Yes, I too feel bad, but what can be done, life is like that.”

“Well, don’t spiral into depression or do something to yourself. It is part of file”, said I.

“Yes, Anil, I know it… “ said Divi.

“Well, I understand that after all the preparations and mind set ready for marriage, it is hard to take this kind of shocks. How are your parents reacting?”

“Why will my parents feel bad for that? And why will my marriage stop??!!” said Divi.

Well, got dumbstruck, how can Divi talk like this? How can he be so immune to this grave loss of life? I felt that this shock has set him into a different plane altogether and he is now emotionally blunted to core.

After a few moments of silence, Divi said, “Phani’s parents were in Hyderabad, spoke to them. They are recovering now.”

“Well, Tsunami??..” muttered me.

“What Tsunami??”

“What happened??” I barked not able to contain my emotion at the way he was talking. No correlation to what he was saying. Vani died and he talks of Phani. When asked about Tsunami, he says what Tsunami. He has really gone into delirium. At the same time making plans to go to Hyderabad to meet him in person and take stock of situation.

Then he coolly said, “Well, Phani met with a train accident in Mumbai and his parents were in Hyderabad today. And why are you shouting at me??”

Then it dawned on me that it was Phani – another friend of ours – met with a fatal accident and Divi made a remark about Tsunami and if we were safe.

Moral of the Story:
Listen, not hear. Never make assumptions from bits and piece of information.

A byline – Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Batman Begins

Wanted a day off in the evening, or was it a sudden surge to leave early, don't know exactly what, left office at 6:34 P.M SGT. For those of you who live on the lighter side of this planet, office life in Singapore starts at 9:00 A.M and goes on till you drop dead in your seat.

Pramod and Ravi gave some "valid" reasons for not joining for the movie, so had to make my movie journey myself.

6:37 P.M. landed up in the crowded local train to City Hall, while all my surroundings looked same, every one with the same dressing style females dark suit, males ditto. The only way you can differentiate a male and female here is with the amount of cloth they use in their dress. Less the cloth, more feminine the gender.

6:43 P.M. out of train, walked in the subway from station to Marina Square, all the way was dotted with shops selling technically correct and pratically useless goods. What is so technically correct, the term "consumer goods". The near naked cloths that these fashion mall - rather called the 'hypermalls' - sell can even put my nation's begger to shame.

Constant shouts in the microphone by some local army Subedar, as a part rehersals of the local nation's 40th 'National Day' celebrations, started another stream of thoughts.

What might be the total size of these fellow's army, hardly 100,00. The total nmber of dudes who are citizens itself ids just over 40 lacs - forget the floating populations and labourers like me, just citizens and permanent residents (green card types). I feel that if all the faction warriors of my native Kurnool out number the entire army of Singapore. (About factionism - some other day)

Yet, look at the amount of noise that this army can do, loud speakers here and there. Flying choppers every few hours, taking a huge flag - made of imported cloth, ofcourse. They dont have anything - except a few square kilometers of place on this planet. Approximately 700 Sq.Km which includes sea waters, small islands or islets and not to forget those pebbels on the shore.

7:05 P.M. took tickets from the counter and walked to my designated chair. To my surprise, the time printed on the ticket was 6:45 P.M but still there was no sign of movie in the theater. All around me I could only see elderly Can-Kens and some romantic couples.

7:15 P.M. movie started, good - atleast at some place they work as per my nations proud IST (Indian Streachable Time)

After the movie, again my thoughts came back to my own nation, my own place. As is the state of Gotham City in that movie, my place too is infested with corruption and darkness. It is high time that we need a Batman to clean up. It is a ficiton, so we can see a hero, single handedly take on the world or his city.

Dont you think that as individuals if we take on the task of cleaning up our own mess, our place can be far better than the promised Heaven after death.

Cant we realise that if as individuals we act and behave in the way it is expected, with integrity and character, our place, our nation, our planet can be better off for many more milliniums to come.

Let there be light - pay your electricity bill regularly and stop using proliferated power.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Bday blues

As a norm every year, I do something that I have never done before. Yesterday, I realized that I did not do anything "special".

Dashed to Mustafa - the only place where we Indians in Singapore feel comfortable to buy - or is it a mob syndrome - never the less went there, got a "Skateboard" with some protective gears.

Went to West Coast park to try them out. After a relentless three hours of experiments with around a dozen falls (bum shaking) I could manage a distance of 10 meters. Cool isn't it.

I can never forget the "look" that the near-by teenagers gave me, when I was busy with my experiments. Imagine a 29 year old, near quintal weighing, Indian dude trying out a skateboard... he hee.... [chuckles]

One gentleman in his late 60s - Indian - said to me "Good, good... you are at least trying something" when I had a miserable fall on the concrete path in the park.

"Never say, never again" - Tomorrow, am again back in park!!!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fresh morning

13-June: Morning


Woke up for a fresh morning, from the window of my 10th storey apartment I could see bright day light welcoming me to work. After a while I found myself walking on the rain cleaned streets of Singapore. The sweet aroma of coffee and Milo from the food courts dotted along the walk to MRT along with the occasional shout of 'koopiaaa' by the coffee servers at these counters, made me swell with joy of another wonderful week at office.


MRT, the same crowd, same faces, with same kind of dress, every one here wears same kind of cloths and has same kind of expression, sombere (or is it moronous, he he...) and the same anouncement "sila hamirpurhatian demik islamathan blah blah... "


Reached office, same desks, same workaholic blokes at the desk, looking seriously busy...


Reached desk... same monitor, same desk pinups... Same Shit, Different Day....


Where did my freshness go... [chuckles]

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Adrenaline Rush

There were times in life when one gets some adrenaline rush to do something that is unimaginable. It was a hot June afternoon in '98, when that kind of surge took place in me. For days together I was depressed that some Ms.J (then she was Ms) was getting married to a stranger, while she had promised to marry me only few weeks ago. It was too much a burden for me, understandably.

My calls were not answered, my attempts to reach her were futile as she refused to speak to me. There seemed no hope of seeing her, nor knowing the reason why she was doing what she was planning to do. Being a very curious person, my curiosity made me kill the cat.I heard a reference of one of her childhood friends, Ms.H, who stayed close by her place, while talking with J few months ago. It occurred to me that she may hold the key which can unravel the mystery as to why J was marrying someone. So that afternoon I got a surge to meet that girl under any cost.

Ravi, my good buddy and a distant relative, accompanied that fact finding mission. We both reached her door step, with a little bit of enquiry here and there. An aging bald chap opened the door and asked us the reason for being there, for which we promptly answered that we were H's classmates and we want to meet her.

With a look of little surprise he invited us inside him home, made us feel comfortable with a breeze of air cooler, which was a refreshing change after those mid-afternoon enquiry sessions under the blazing sun.

We were made to understand that the H was out and was expected in a short while during which we learnt that the gentleman was her father. Soon Tea was served with some biscuits and my hopes of meeting this person and explaining her my situation and then getting the reasons for the sudden change in J's decision were growing.

Suddenly, that gentleman asked me where I was H's classmate, for which I casually said "During our graduation".

There was a glint of smile on H's parents.

Breaking a few moments of silence, her father asked me, "How can you be my daughter's classmate in a woman's college?"

There was nothing more we could do, Ravi and I, promptly got up and started for door.Even amidst the requests of the old couple to sit down, we rushed towards door mumbling something.

After that there was a two hours of silence between Ravi and me as we both were digesting the fatal facts.

Note: All the characters narrated in this incident are real, alive and living somewhere on this planet and while this incident happened they were all in Hyderabad.