Friday, February 06, 2009

It's been that kinda week...

And I am back. I've been away for too long... far too long!

What's brought me back is - a memorable past 2 days in office. Thursday was one of the bestest days I've had in sometime, which left me feeling very proud & accomplished.

Delivered a well received presentation in the morning.
During which my boss had to hold fort & weather out a real storm that promised to bring our house down - got into it & resolved it in the afternoon.

Just as I was reaching for my cuppa post all the action, was pulled into an immediate critical project review with the AAI-K CMK head! Had 2 answers for her 1 question - gave her a good shot of confidence that the ship was well under control! Walked out of that review with some great ideas on how to make the project bigger & a heap of praise for my + my team's effort :).

As if this wasn't enough (well, praise is always welcome!), had a heart-to-heart with my global boss at night... the conversation was at a level that I didn't quite expect it to be! We had a strategy level discussion where he asked for my thoughts/ideas on how to step change the impact our team could make - it was very encouraging & reassuring to hear from him that he valued my inputs!

And to cap the week off - Today I won an appreciation award from my GM for a project I had done a few months ago.

But, it's also been an emotionally testing week. Nothing to do with me or my work or Niki. A junior of mine is going thru an excruciating & nerve wracking time at work. The guy is fighting. Fighting for his dream. All I can do is watch from the sidelines, give him some tips & spirit on how to fight. It feels gladiatorial... To God I pray that there be glory at the end.

Hope is underappreciated - it's been history's biggest progress & achievement catalyst. And all too often, we make the mistake of taking hope away from people. Hope they can win... hope that their dream is achievable. Nothing is more paralyzing... and it's plain wrong.

As I see those around me & look back at how far I've come in the last 2 months, I've begun to see Venkat (my manager & mentor) in a new light. I can capture what he's done for me in one sentence - He's groomed me as a father would a son. If he asks me to run thru a wall now, I will.

It's been that kinda week...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pitter patter, pitter patter...down memory lane!

While lord Surya (not the shady actor from Tollywood, Chennai - Surya, the Sun God from Up Above) is away holidaying on some beach in Bali, lord Varuna decided to make the most of his weekend here in Singapore!

As Nitika is in India, I spent the weekend catching up with a couple of friends over luncheons, which have been due for sometime now! As Amol & I were sitting at Raj, trying to finish our over-ordered meal, he suggested a trek around Macritchie in the rain.

Well, much as my calfs & thighs staged protests, I let my veins do a Tianamen square & quell the protests! I had to given that the recent fitness test in office had exposed the last months of laziness by showing a +3 kilos vs. last reading.

So, off we went, trotting thru the freshly lushed, boggy underbushes of Macritchie. And once the heavens opened, our fate was also pretty much the same :). And as I was getting drenched, my mind wandered off to my childhood in Mumbai.

Oh, the smell of the rejuvenated earth after the first rains, the vibrant dance of the waves, the swaying of the trees to the winds. What a thrill it was to goto Marine Drive after school to quite literally soak in the rains! This was only the 2nd time I let down my guard & went prancing in the rains (given my nose's over-eagerness to start leaking!) in Singapore - the first time too was on a trek in Macritchie. And what untainted, unbridled joy... Boo too all you Europeans who dont like the rains :P.

Back to the present - my nose held up to the deluge alright... watay pleasant surprise! As a result, I am currently enjoying a relaxed, easy Sunday evening watching the Olympics rather than sniffling & douzing a dozen handkerchiefs away to the washing machine.

Oh and on the thought of the Olympics - I have concluded that watching Rhymthic Gymnastics is the only thing that can match up to the joys of fooling around in the rain. The Russian & Belarussian belles were simply sensational - it was more ballet than gymnastics. And boy, are they pretty! (It's no secret that I am a devotee of Russian nymphs :) ).

The only thing missing in the weekend was Nitika, 2 cuppas & some good-natured riling thru the F1 race over Ferrari vs. Mclaren. Hope you get a chance to enjoy the Mumbai pitter-patter while you're there Niks!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The human side of black holes & supernovae!

I am reading this terrific book called "A Brief History of nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. It is the hitchhiker's guide to the world's sciences for your average Joe. This is one book I am definitely buying & stowing away!

So anyways, what got me thinking about this post was the chapter on the creation of the universe. The chapter on Black holes & Supernovae.

When a star dies, 2 kinds of fate await it. A Black hole which is so incredibly dense that it eats up everything in its vicinity. Not even light can get thru. The complete & total vacuum.

The other end a star could meet is that of a Supernova. A Supernova is basically also a super dense star that collapses onto itself & then quite literally spits its guts out in a "cosmic explosion"! These exploding stars are the one that throw out the required light & heat energy that eventually lead to the chemical miracle called life.

Now, you'd imagine that you'd have to peer a gazillion bazillion light years away thru a telescope to witness these things (well, you can't technically "see" a black hole, but we shall let the technicalities be!)! But, hold on there for a sec. Do you really need to see that far?

Just look around you. And you'll see these phenomena.

There are people around us - in our friends, workplaces, families - who have an insatiable appetite for cribbing and whining. They can whine their heads to baldness & drive you up the wall to do the same too! These are the black holes. They just completely suck the energy out of the environment around them.

And then there are those bright, chirpy, happy samaritans who like the supernova, just spread the good spirit. They occupy the Friday evening drinks table & the business canonhead table with equal ease. These guys infuse energy & positivity in their environment & invariably are the engines of the teams/social circles they are part of - they spread vibrancy & life!

Now here is the biggest irony of this whole business. There is a really, really fine line that decides whether a star will die a black hole or a supernova. (Till date, we can't predict with any degree of confidence which side the coin will flip on for a candidate dying star!).

Same thing with humans. There is a fine line between people who are well loved for their positivity & those that pride themselves on scorning & mocking at everything. There is but a razor's edge between being blaze and cool in life & being pessimistic!

So, there goes. Life can be really insignificant in this grand cosmos & yet the center of the universe for you & the people important to you! But unlike the black holes & the supernovae, we have the choice of making our lives what we want them to be... God has been indeed kind to us!

So, what will you be? The black hole or the multi-colored supernova?

Who am I? I'd like to hear from all you millions of galaxies out there who've been near me sometime or another :).

Friday, April 18, 2008

And I miss Singapore...

Am at home with parents! Been here for a couple of weeks now.

But am really beginning to miss my beloved Lion city now. Part of the reason is that in the past 4 days or so, I have been engulfed in just way too much negative energy. I should be a transition person & ensure that the negativity stops with me, but I find that my spirit is now waning. It's just been too much to handle.

The problem's also been compounded by the fact that I don't really have any friends here now that I can talk to. Or atleast talk about the kind of matters at hand.

The best part is (& am I thankful for that or what!!) - none of this has anything to do with my engagement on 23rd. Yep, in 5 days from now, I shall be officially delisted from the market!! More on that in a separate post.

For the moment, I need a strong dose of some cheer & positivity. I am really looking forward to meeting the Infy gang tomorrow & Ankit in the evening today. I need to get out of the house.

After that, I am longing back to Singapore. Getting back to work & focus in life.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My first tag!

Oye, I picked it Niks!!

Here goes...

The Alphabet Tag

A -Available? Nope

B-Best friend: Umm... Niks, !Xobile, Nishad.

C-Cake or Pie? An ice-cream n a waffle please. Thank you very much!

D-Drink of choice: Hot = Nothing comes close to a nice, hot, mountain masala chai. Cold = Mango juice

E-Essential thing used everyday: Umm... Food & TV remote.

F-Favourite colour: Red - The Ferrari Red!

G-Gummi bears or worms: uhh...wah???

H-Hometown: Patan, District Mehasana, Gujarat :)

I-Indulgence: I, me, myself (i.e. none really!)

J-January or February: February - fewer working days!!

K-Kids and names: How about asking me after my engagement is secure!

L-Life: Will live my life a 100%, 100% of the time.

M-Marriage date: Calendar year 2008. Updates - come back in 3 months.

N-Number of siblings: Zero

O-Oranges or apples: That's a lame one! Flip a coin - pick whichever one you like.

P-Phobias: Umm...none really. Maybe just of dying suddenly one day without telling my parents & Niki what they mean to me.

Q-Quote: Umm...I'd have put some wise words of my own, but then...

समय समय बलवान
नही मनुष्य बलवान

काबे अर्जुन लुट्यो
वही धनुष वही बाण

R-Reason to smile: Happy parents & a happy Niksie

S-Season: I love 'em all.

T-Tag three people: Adil, Baanu, Nishad

U-Unknown fact about me:'s unknown to me too!

V-Vegetable you do not like: I am not picky :P.

W-Worst habit: Oh common now - How can I improve on perfection, ya?

X-x-rays you have had: Chest. Niki tells me I should get one of my cranium done soon!

Y-Your favorite food: This is torture yaar... How can you ask a man to pick between Angelina Jolie & Catherine Zeta Jones!

Z-Zodiac: The Smug, intelligent archer - Sagittarius.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Saturday, March 1 '08 - The first MMS

Something this funny hasn't happened to me in a long time now! It so happened...

Nice, breezy Saturday morning. I am browsing thru a million varieties of a million items (most of which are avoidable & unnecessary) at Takashimaya when I get this MMS! My first MMS on my uber-kool new mobile, the Nokia e6500s.

So, you can imagine the alacrity with which I'd have fished out my phone, slide it open with just the flick of my thumb...and the MMS waiting for me is...

Msg from S'pore Police Force: Please call the Police at 999 immediately if you see Mas Selamat bin Kastari. He is short (1.58m) & limps on left leg. Thank You.

Man, this city is something! 1 criminal got away & within 48 hours they have mobilized the city to try n snare him back! Posters are up all across the lion city - at public joints, in MRT stations, in residential blocks. As if that wasn't enough, they have sent out MMS'es (yes, MMS'es - complete with a really creepy looking photo of the creep!) to everyone in the city. That takes some efficiency, resolve & resourcefulness.

The reason I was laughing my self off nutsy was that it reminded me of India - I come from a land where some goon or the other escapes from some prison or the other every single day! Who the hell knows how many get away, let alone mounting reconnoiter missions to catch hold of these mischievous buggers. And the IPS would run the exchequer to bankruptcy in 2 days if they started sending out MMS'es to every Tom, Dick n Harry about every Steve, Buck n Roe that got away! Rotflmao...

No wonder then that the Singaporeans can do ad-campaigns like "Low Crime doesn't mean No Crime." (this when the crime rate in the city is in single digits. it is less than 3%!!).

P.S. - That man really looks creepy! Is there some God-ordained, sacrosanct law that all goons have to look this creepy?? I don't get it - why can't no goons look like handsome hunks / baby-faced candies! Where is Arundhati Roy - I want to start the Equality in Photogenics for Criminals movement!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One good deed, deserves many others!

Did a good deed today evening. Donated some money to the blind man playing his keyboard in the MRT walkway. And it was a spontaneous reaction - not pondered over, not broiled over a million n one times in the cauldron of rationality.

Ever so often I have remarked to Niki as we see needy, elderly, disabled people on the road that we should do something to help them. If we can't give them time, should atleast help with some money or clothes or food. But, these high-sounding, altruistic intents never materialized into any concrete actions. And I kept wondering why my mind held my hands back, while my heart was moved by the old lady in the wheelchair proffering snacks. By the blind girl playing her mandolin by the roadside. By the 5-year old boy bringing me the hot cuppa tea on the highway stall as I take my breather on my way to my winter, snow capped retreat :(.

And one Sunday evening over dinner at the food court in Balestier, as a blind, elderly Chinese couple passed by urging us to buy 3 packs of tissues for $1, things fell in place in my head.

I think my reluctance stemmed from the environment I've seen while growing up in India. Fathers making their children beg thru the day, only to enjoy their shot of Ethanol at night (which quite often turned out to be the deadly Methanol). Ladies at signals asking for money using a prescription for her kid as her plea, only - neither is the kid real, nor the prescription. Stories of that pauper who actually had a million bucks in his bank account. Such incidents & many other hearsays serve as strong deterrents against letting my compassion getting the better of my mind.

However, somewhere along the road, this intent of not encouraging begging gets transformed into a rocky wall of not having a heart. Which I think totally defeats the purpose - It just moves the pendulum from one unstable extreme to another, rather than pegging it in its equilibrium middle path. And, when the same culprit rationality is applied to analyzing the situation, I couldn't find a cogent reason to not give.
  1. At a moral level, one should give, just because you should. That's exactly what Karmanyeva Aadhikaraste means. It is your duty to give & not to worry whether your giving is used for drinking or as offering to a deity.
  2. From a more worldly pragmatic point of view, the assumptions that put barriers in our mind are more hearsay than anything else. And given the Indian media's record for "veracity", it is most likely that the bad stories are amplified & blown out of proportion than their actual occurrences. Why then should the truly needy, deserving suffer for a handful of miscreants?
  3. From a philosophical point of view - and this I find the most convincing - if you don't bother about what a person does with that expensive gift in a fancy wrapper you brought him/her, why should you bother with what the beggar does with the 5 rupees that you give him?
Made me realize that giving to people, having a heart, being compassionate is A CHOICE. You can choose to do your two-cents worth or just be indifferent (or apathetic). However, it is a choice you make & is independent of how conniving & evil the world might be.

That day onwards, I made my choice. I will help. I will give. Without bothering about what will be done with that measly little contribution of mine. I have enough & more in life, and extending that small arm of support once in a while won't stunt me in any which way. There are people who aren't as fortunate as I have been in life (only due to God's quirks in casting the dice & no other reason!) and they deserve to be helped. Even if one soul benefits from what I do, it's worth it.

And I'll do it with a smile. That little gesture will earn me well-wishes that I could very well do with. Somewhere in my heart, I'll also have the small, selfish pleasure of clocking up some goodkarma miles.

The couple sold 6 tissue packs that day. (My chronic cold also helps!). The smile on the musician's wife (who isn't blind & probably has a day job somewhere), tenderly feeding him some rice while he played on, as I moved towards their tin box was priceless. It was one of genuineness & gratitude.

We should never lose sight of the fact that we wouldn't have evolved to where we are today without a million, unknown, benign helping hands. Like that star who ripped the Sun open & gave birth to our planet. Like that meteor who triggered some chemical magic creating life. Like that first playful Pisces who jaunted on to land & took on a hairy, ape-like form.

Who knows what unintended & magnificent effects our small actions might have in the future!

V - The "innocent" player

Yo came up with this awesome one-liner today in office about V.

"Don't fall for his innocent looks! Never go for the innocent ones, they are all PLAYERS!"

Hilarious stuff, Yo!
V - you totally rock...