Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shift Delete

Dear Man or Woman who lives above the clouds

31st December 2010. 11.30 pm.

Like you know, Mom (say hello to her for me, will you?) instilled this culture in our home of ringing in the new year with a collective prayer session in the God's room at midnight. So while all my friends partied and did the countdown to 12 midnight, we would start our celebrations with sweets and ice cream only after 12.30 am when the prayers were over. Now, since I barely remember the meanings, or maybe do not understand most of the prayers that will happen in about twenty minutes, I thought I'll try and write my own version of the annual hello to you.

Somehow I never believed in making new year resolutions. They are almost always broken, necessitating further resolutions stemming from regret and disappointment. However, since more than one person-to-be-taken-seriously has predicted a calamity to end the world in 2012, maybe this is my last chance to buck the trend.

Twenty ten was, for want of a better word, an extremely volatile year. There were enough and more painful moments that will never be forgotten, with just enough of the spice thrown in to keep me going. More importantly, there were enough and more occasions that I grabbed with minimum hesitation to anger people, estrange them from me, and perhaps create enemies for life. But there were enough and more happy moments, blessings if you will, that involved the making of new friends, strengthening of a few friendships, and rediscovery of a few more.

Ten minutes to go. I have never believed too much in apologies. Like someone very close to me once said, sorry doesn't make a dead man alive. But maybe it'll give me a little peace of mind, so I'll admit my mistakes, and try not to make them again next year. In return, maybe you'll be a little kind and give me some of those "happy moments", in a different form, so I can savor something for 2012 as well.

This year, I won't clamor for anything from you. You have your own style of dishing it out, and I respect that. It's not going to be the same if you removed the roller coaster from life. Bring it on - you know what's best for me, I'm sure.

Sigh. That's about it. Thanks for all the spice. Thank you for Sheila, Munni and all the entertainment. Thank you for Deutsche. Thank you for the lovely days in London - and all the shopping. Thanks for Mumbai - and the endless materialistic entertainment it brings. Thank you....for everything.


Still hoping you're up there

Oh yeah, for everyone who's reading, happy new year.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What goes around, comes around!

The year is 4050 AD, 1043 years after the Cosmic Bang to be precise. Jack looked out the window of the neutrino driven space-cab that ran on the energy of black holes. It was remarkable how scientists had discovered that all the waste and dead bodies of the world could be dumped into the trash can that was the black hole and it would provide cosmic energy for years to come through a parallel universe. Legend had it that ancient American civilization had predicted this around the year 1905, but not until over a thousand years later did the tall man with a handlebar moustache and no hair sitting in a lab on the magnetic South Pole create the cosmic bang that was the one stop solution to depleting so-called renewable sources of energy.
I was walking along the soils of Scotland, feeling the pain in my knees that my overweight tummy was exerting on my knobbly knees, worsened only by the gravel on the ground creating an uneven surface. Stirling castle lay ahead, with a sign imploring me to understand that archaeological works were going on to determine the exact nature of the death of King Henry VIII in1594, over four hundred years ago. His step mom had married his dad because he had been sexy, while James the Vth, his father, didn't exactly believe in the equality of men and women. While his 3 year long kitchen imprisonment of the wife ended in her execution, the son was no holy saint either. He killed his father, took the throne for himself and spent the rest of his days in the Great Hall his father had commissioned.
As Jack dragged his Widget for In-situ Foetus Enhancement, the W.I.F.E. behind him, he entered a few complaints on the Telepath, the inter-planetary network of thoughts that streamed thoughts from around the world to respective administrators. The W.I.F.E. was not being a sufficient source of adoration, ego-boost and biological enhancement. Little did it have to do with the fact that AI forces that handled 99% of the world's administration since the Cosmic Bang had since reconfigured the human being to maximize probability of harmony and reproduction. It had resulted in the W.I.F.E. being encapsulated in an air bubble created especially to protect the owner, or caretaker as he was called from any outbursts. Jack's attention was drawn back to the humanoid droning away in front of him. Apparently the land he had flown his W.I.F.E. to, was an ancient civilization, that thrived on a system where the inhabitants took their own decisions. It was called a democracy, the guide explained. It sounded totally unbelievable to Jack.
Actually his great grandfather had commissioned it, and his grandfather who was the monarch after him was responsible for decommissioning it. Then his dad had come along and restarted the project and blown up the winnings of a war at least 10000 people had lost their lives in. How naive and inhuman, I thought. Confining women to four walls of a kitchen! And these are the guys who teach us etiquette, with all their bloody history? For a moment, I was grateful for having been born in an age where people's rights were respected, and those who respected people's rights were considered people to learn from. It meant that I could sit in college and do what I wanted with my breadboard and wires. It meant that I could be an active part of the system, make myself heard and be part of a vibrant system our textbooks called democracy. No wonder these ages were called the dark ages until they stumbled upon democracy. What took them so long?
It sounded lke a W.I.F.E.-foetus problem to Jack - did the system work for the people or the people work for the system? The guide explained that while imperfections of the system often resulted in physical damage to the exoskeleton of the inhabitants of the country, it generally ensured that most issues of the nation were discussed at length in the public. On asking, Jack was told that a particularly flat sandstone, was erstwhile called a television and was attached to the walls of most houses. It was akin to the projection that the telepath made between the brain and the inside of the forehead, something scientists call the mind's eye. Jack found it hard to even imagine. He closed his eyes and thought about "television", resulting in a video demo of the television on the inside of his forehead. Fascinating, he thought. It was so relieving that he left all these matters of public dispute, government, resource allocation, to the central AI server of the planet that allocated resources according to each one's need. What sense did it make that one billion people discussed about how to feed one billion people. Democracy seemed like the most inefficient solution to man's problems, it should have been far more easy to pick a guy and dump all your worries onto his head with truckloads of money. Still, the Indians seemed to have found a way to make the system work!
As I walked out of Stirling castle towards Loch Lomond, I wondered about how we tend to stereotype people, nations, systems as bad or good because it is the easy option, the lazy option. We think the systems and cultures we are born into are ideal only because we are most comfortable with them. If you keep asking yourself the question 'why' to any of your quirky preferences, you will ultimately come to a point where you shrug your shoulders and say, well, that's how we do it. What if we got snowed under and a new civilization built itself on top of us. Would they still think our systems were cool? Would they still think of our computers as efficient for our time? Our cultures, our habits, our quirky ways of life that hold immense meaning for us and hardly any meaning for others - would they just scoff at this? For that matter, would they even care?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Casino weekend

Sometimes a leap of faith can take you farther than a spreadsheet of logic. - Adithya M.R.

An occupational hazard of my occupation is the fact that you become a devotee of the phenomenon some people call chance, college boys call probability and cynics call fluke. It's funny how the law of averages lends itself to such apparent engineering, when you allow it to spread across people, nations and companies. There is no better place to observe this cosmic law in action than in a temple of Mother Chance - the casino.

Probability theory assigns an expected value to the outcome of any game in a casino. For example, let's say we were to toss a coin and if heads fell out, you would pay me a rupee, and if tails fell out, I would pay you the same amount. Since both outcomes are equally probable, my expected profit, like your expected profit, is zero. In a casino, they bias the odds towards themselves in some way so its never 50-50, but say 49-49, so that 2% of the time everyone loses. Now if there was some way to bend this expected profit towards the positive side, you're in green.

As it turns out, getting an expected value of more than zero is like making water from thin air - requires rocket science or maybe not even then. But what is possible, is to plan your moves such that 99 out of 100 times you'd make 1 dollar, but on that one bad chance, you would lose 99 dollars. The expected value is still 0, but if you just looked at "winning" or "losing" regardless of "how much", the odds would be stacked in your favor.

I invested about 6-7 hours flicking various things from the internet, with minimal contribution of my own, and found a bunch of rules that did this. Basically I had to bet on both odd and even outcomes on a roulette wheel, and keep putting a fraction of my money onto the "0" square, and it should start puking gold coins. If I won on a bet, I'd retain the same bet again, but I would double my bet should I lose (this is a common strategy in the world of gambling - so there's no genius to it). If I kept winning, I'd keep betting 1 pound every time, but if I lost, I'd bet 1 pound, then 2 pounds, then 4 pounds, and so on, until I had no money left.The "zero" outcome is managed by using a fractional bet, say 10p every time on the zero square. Most of the time this bet would lose, but when the white ball did fall on zero, I'd make enough money to cover up. Feeling super proud of myself, I walked into a casino later that day, with 20 quid tucked up into the pocket of my blue jeans and wearing a brown corduroy blazer with elbow patches partly to hide my burgeoning belly and partly to hide the fact that I was an RCB fan (they had just dropped out of the CLT20 tournament).

Given that I was in London, I thought I'd figure out all the machines and tables in a flash, ( my last, and first ever casino experience was Macau where half the stuff was in Chinese and I had a hard time figuring out what button to press). Unfortunately, luck didn't favor me there - I went around asking innocent questions to old, experienced people with wrinkled foreheads holding a glass of wine in one hand and frowning on their night's losses. What is this button? How to put money into this machine? How to lay my bet? I was looked at with the utmost scorn, telling me the meaning of the phrase "new kid on the block".

Anyway, I sat on my roulette table and discovered pretty soon, that my odd/even masterstroke plan would need to put in at least 5 pounds on each box to start with. And then if I lost, 10 pounds. And then, 20. I was going to be "gambled out" before my genius plan started working. What the hell, I thought. I put a fiver on each box. As luck would have it, the ball fell on zero. My bankroll was thinner by 5 pounds. (Adding to the trouble was that I always have this tendency to convert to rupees - 5 pounds was Rs 350!) Angered, I aggressively jabbed my finger for a naked bet on the odd button, hoping that I'd at least break even. Mother Chance was angry with me.

I looked around, there were a few slot machines that I could blow up my remaining 10 pounds on, rather than waste it on this dumb roulette machine. Feeding in the cash, I started spinning. An hour later, my position was still on 9.8 pounds, I was betting 20-30 pence every time, and winning or losing small change - nothing great. I wasn't getting anywhere. My spinning worked like this - there were 5 columns with 4 boxes each that ended up with a different picture on each spin and 40 lines that I'd bet on every time. If any of those 40 lines connected certain identical pictures (every spin makes sure there are some identical pictures - only they may not be connected), then I'd win some change. Roughly I'd win 40 out of 1000 times.

I looked around. The old Chinese smoker I had disturbed earlier had also moved to the slot machine, perhaps to take a break from his hard core roulette. Next to him was an empty machine, much smaller. It even had about 5 pence credit in it already - perhaps because the previous player was too frustrated losing his money to go collect 5 pence from the cash desk. I had chosen my machine because it needed only 20 pence per spin - it would let me make at least 50 spins before I finally got gambled out. This small machine needed you to play at least 75 pence every time. I wondered why. Then I saw it.

The small machine had only 4 columns with 3 squares each, and I could bet on 15 lines each time, which meant that my odds were roughly around 15 out of 81, a little over one sixth. Compare that with the 4% win chance in my machine - it was over 4 times better! And all it needed was you to bet 75p, which was less than 4 times the 20p bet I was being forced to make now. I was breaking even on my current machine - I should just about make more money on this small new machine. Was Mother Chance playing another trick on me? Could it really be that simple? I switched machines.

The boat ride back home was amazing - not least because of the thick wad of a hundred and sixty pounds stuffed into my pocket.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tantrums from my desk drawer

I saw Udaan a few days back and figured there might just be more to it than just the psychotic dad and the beaten up poet who was forced to do engineering. These things are so age sensitive - two letters at different times and different places, and yet written by the same person...

[DISCLAIMER : All characters and personalities portrayed in this work of literature are fictional and any resemblance to any character, living or dead, is unintentional]

Tantrum letter #1

August 11th, 2000

Dear Mom and Dad

I don't know if I can tell you this in the hall, while you are on the couch watching TV and I'm standing near the door, so I'm just going to write down some stuff and hide it in the drawer here. Maybe some day when you move house once I go off to college, you'll find it and read it. I don't think it will matter because it will be part of the past by then.

Thank you so much for the Parker pen you gave me last Saturday on my birthday. I mean, my classmates aren't jealous of me or anything, but hell, it's ok - they hate me anyway for coming second in class.(If you haven't noticed, I am being sarcastic here.) I know you did not bring me up to complain against someone for giving me boring gifts, so please don't feel that way. I mention it because it'll help you see what I am talking about.

Why does everything I do have to be related to my books or to my marks? Worse, why do even the "side" activities, like you call them, such as music need to be judged like they are some sort of exams? Why can't you understand that I'm older now (come on, I'm 14 now, I'm no longer 8!) and there are so many other things that matter to me? My friends in class - I'm not even sure they are friends - think I am some sort of loser to be stuck up with my marks all the time. They call me a psychotic bookworm when I peer at how much marks they got in physics and chemistry, because I know you'll ask me ...I got only 61/70 (I came second in that test, FYI).

I won't tell you that I am "old" or "mature", because you can add an "-er" to the word I write and silence me then and there. Some of my friends keep saying they want to be a pilot or a scientist or a doctor. Paul for instance says he doesn't like maths and his parents don't care if he does well or not in that subject - because he wants to be a botanist anyway. I don't even know what I want to do - because you simply want to see good numbers everywhere! And I can't do any of the cool things my friends partying, or even bowling, if you're so paranoid about my relationship with alcohol.

Please don't get me wrong. I love you for being my parents and for all the shouting I get, I still owe my identity to you. What I don't get is WHY I need to have this identity. Maybe when we're older I'll understand, or you can explain...

Your truly obedient son


Tantrum letter #2

August 11th, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad

I don't know if you ever found that letter I wrote to you when I was in class X, but I can imagine how you would have felt when you read it. I just want to say I apologize for all the nonsense I wrote in there, I'm guessing you overlooked it as a teenager's tantrum. I owe you everything I have today in life. I graduated from some of the best schools in the country, met some amazing people and learnt some amazing things, and none of this would have been possible if you hadn't whipped and driven me like some traders on my desk in office bid up their bonds in the market.

True, I owe you everything, but today I want to complain against something else. You protected me from the world's evil till I was sixteen. You didn't let me go partying, touch alcohol (I know you don't believe me but I still don't drink), and more importantly you held my nose closer than a millimeter to my books. Which is why I am what I am today - grateful. But where did all that go away?

Yes, you continued to ask me what my grades were throughout college. Didn't really matter, because the inertia of your push for the first sixteen years of my life is enough for my next birth as well. But where were you when I had my first identity crisis - when I was so confused whether to be the bookworm or the "cool guy" in college? Why didn't you teach me how to deal with the priorities in my life? I felt so naive when I saw people being so sure about what jobs they wanted, what kind of women they wanted to marry and I found myself this naive, stupid bookworm who could only play with numbers and formulae at best.

I think you drove me like a racehorse for the first sixteen years of my life and then let me loose like a pony in the woods. At least you could have shown the pony what grass was tasty, how to tell the difference between a mare and a jenny, etc. I'm not saying you should've made the horse drink water, but maybe you should have at least led me to water. Instead all I knew was to dash when the gates opened and run like the tigers were behind me.

I'm quite certain that in ten years' time, I'll be trashing this letter, apologizing for this, and writing another long tantrum. So just in case I don't mention it enough, you're my favorite people in the whole world and I love you both very very much. And instead of hiding this one in my drawer, I think I'll just post it on facebook.

Lovingly yours


Sunday, February 7, 2010

My name (sic) Baljit Singh...Wise person...

So for a number of circumstances uninfluenced at all during my short (so far) tenure in the organization, I found myself in Chandigarh over the last couple of days. Apparently, Citi has decided to move to new systems and I was supposed to man the front end for any emergencies. Of course I am just eight months into the business - what would a lowly geek know about a 2 year project, after all?

Anyway, that is beside the point. Here I was, done with two nights and two mornings at a call center (and you all thought CB was cool for doing a conversation with God and screwing with great average American minds in the space of One Night at a Call Center) and thanking my stars that one screwed weekend was all it took away from my life. The office is quite some distance from my hotel and I did not have the luxury of a cab at my disposal.

No, that doesn't mean that my employers were parsimonious. In fact, with the accomodation I was given, I should say it was quite the opposite. The simple reason why there was no cab, was because the Shatabdi from Delhi was delayed, and the cab company had all its taxis deployed there. Which is why I approached a bunch of green autos, with the drivers squatting on the ground on an unclean, chequered tablecloth, with cards and a few glasses in front of them.

Sector 17 jaaNa hai jee. Le chaloge? I ask.
Chalo jee, bas do minute de do. Wahee gaddi mein baith jaao. He dunks the alcohol down his throat.
Inke paas chutta nahin hoga. Mere sou rupaye tod ke do be. He yells at one of his cronies.
I sit tensely in the auto. Was it worth taking this risk? For just a saving of about 80 INR? I could go into the mall next to the office and bide my time till the train from Delhi chugged in. My heartbeat rises as I see this guy throw the bottle of what's-its-name across the pavement. It hits a bike tyre and shatters into pieces.

Finally our hero rises, and yells out. Matka chowk mein jaake aata hoo. Daaru ready rakhiyo. How much more daaru, I wonder. As he opened up the engine under his seat, cigarette in hand, I half conjured images of spark hitting gas cylinder and me dying an unsung hero who tried to take too much risk. Anyway, with his oil soaked rag wound around the engine starter, he pulled something (in normal auto rickshaws this is a lever that boots up the engine - this was a dilaidated blue auto which did not have the said lever) and the engine roared to a loud and noisy life. As the vehicle swayed left to right on the empty road - it was 10 pm in the night - I somehow convinced myself that this couldn't be the worst risk I had taken.

About five to ten minutes later, when I had proudly smsed a few concerned friends about the state of affairs, our man burst into the latest Punjabi hit songs. Full volume on, he was hell bent on entertaining most of Chandigarh. My face must have resembled Madhavan's in that scene in 3 idiots, where Kareena talks about Bush dropping Dhoklas on Iraq. We were going on the road housing the governors of Haryana and Punjab, heavily manned with men of the law, and our man had scant regard for them. As he stopped at the signal at Matka chowk (my hotel was very close to this place), I said a few prayers seeing him thump his head multiple times. He was getting more and more hammered and I suspected a part of him (the part that did not think Bhangra at 10 pm in a running auto was cool) was realizing this as well.

As he revved up outside the Taj Chandigarh, I got down and messaged my worried friends as the guy gave me my change. He was struggling to even put his purse back where it was. Thoda khyaal rakhiyo, paaji, I said in genuine Punjabi concern. Funny how a place can get to your tongue. He nodded his head, shook my hand and said - My name (sic) Baljit Singh....wise person. Aapko theek se le aaya - apne aap ko dekh loonga.

I only wish I had taken photographs of the dude or his auto. It was the ride of a lifetime.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Life calling

After all the applause surrounding Mr. Hirani and the rest of the idiots has died down, I want to raise a hopefully pertinent question that has plagued me since my purse got lighter by a cool four hundred bucks. I've always wanted to ask this to the numerous supporters of the "live life on your own terms" brigade - what do you mean?

For one, life is an experiment, really. You do not go through life calculating every step of the way. What was that poem on the school notice board that told us many things that life was and what needed to be done with it? Knowing your calling and being able to execute it in a planned and rhythmic fashion is not just improbable, it is plain boring. People walk through life - sometimes things go right, sometimes they don't. That should not mean that it's a crime to make mistakes, screw up, feel the heat. Taking the wrong turn is also quite a big part of life.

When Mr. Jobs talked about the dots connecting backward, what we probably need to remember is that there need to be dots to connect. That brings me to fallacy number two - if I sat all day thinking about the philosophical question - "What should I be doing in life?" I'd remain where I was - I wouldn't change at all. Worse, I'm losing valuable time when I could have tried out things inspired by my tendencies. At least I would know if I sucked at something even though I had a fantasy for it.

Three, a man's got to be practical. Sometimes, doing what interests you is not what is in the best interest of the people surrounding you. That need not mean just one's family. Following a dream many times means taking a risk - it is defined by the thin line between a hobby and a career. I also believe this gets complicated by the fact that most people aren't interested in what they are good at and vice versa. While it's what you are good at that gets you two square meals a day.

That said, losing oneself in one's limited world of practicality is probably uncalled for. Dreams are to be pursued, passions are to be stoked. No question about that. Only you can't start pursuing your calling at the press of a button.

PS: I wrote this because I talked to a lot of people about what's important for them and why they aren't doing what they claim interests them most. Most people, including myself, gave answers that were attributable to one of the above. It sounded very confusing because when I was studying, I came across a number of people who criticized being very conventional, "taking pressure", not living life to the fullest, etc. But when it comes to the real game, apparently life takes a U-turn. Do let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thought jam

It is times like these that finally make me realise why the concept of work as opposed to the concept of "sitting idle" had to be invented. Beyond, of course, the whole I-need-to-fill-my-stomach-so-I will-work-for-it. I don't think I can just sit idle and not do anything at all - even if I totally intend to. The millions of thoughts and opinions and judgments that pass through my head even as I try to take in the world around me and digest information flowing in from everywhere without someone or something to vent it out on... the time I read the email on party celebrations after everyone at my college had found a job despite the gloomy cloud of discontent engulfing most of our minds. the time I sat at said party sipping a Mirinda watching everyone get drunk and dancing away to glory; and wondering how alcohol makes people forget pretty much everything. the time I watched one ex-consultant advising another to-be-consultant on God-knows-what; and wondering how they could even confer given their fundamentally different persuasions. the time I traveled home after said party in an auto and wondered what the deaf, dumb and handicapped old man selling coconut water outside our campus would have to say about my job, the recession and the whole why-can't-India-grow-at-8% worry. the time I watched the Rasna kid energetically shout "Papa! Swimming!" on television and then a teleshopping ad on Vibrating Sauna Belts; and worrying that my interest was gradually shifting from one to the other. the time I watched Charu Sharma simply tear apart the Indian bowling attack for its lack of consistency and dedication and its total sloppy fielding; and wondering what the fuss was all about after we beat New Zealand by over 84 runs without losing a wicket. the time I switched off television after said match and pondered on whether I should write my research paper on how Duckworth-Lewis is the CAPM of cricket. the time I simply stood all clean, doing nothing for ten minutes, in the midst of half naked colorful bodies and listened to a remark from someone: "Yaar, aaj kisi ne holi khelaa hai toh tumne ! " the time I did ten rounds of cleansing over and over again with detergent, shampoo, toothpaste and soap to get the color off me; and wondering if the whole purpose of Holi was to reiterate the importance of bathing, and whether the British would've called it Shower Day if they had gone on to adopt it. the time I put up a totally colored picture of myself on the Gtalk client, and received at least ten remarks saying "amazing pic" or "superb pic", when none of my formal or cool-looking profile photos ever earned that remark. 
Thought jam. All in a day's work. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Used to winning

Black circles on a white sheet
No room for the sleepless cheat
Soft scribbles of graphite racing against time
Tom, Dick and Harry want to be in an IIM

Done with all the apti-tests
Wowed the profs with gyaan and jests
All three were living the great Indian dream
Just when it looked life could get no more gleam

They say free lunches don’t exist
The lavish dinners had to have a twist
Tom liked neither the consult jargon nor bankers’ show off
Harry had no clue anyway; At Dick they did all short of scoff

Dick wanted nought but grades
While Tom was a jack of all trades
Child in a toy shop, put fight, the mentors told Harry
Markets are freezing, they expounded, be wary

‘Twas time to buy jacket and sweatshirt
TDH wanted to, with fachchis, flirt
Pre placement offers were cause for celebration
In times of sinking banks, frauds and inflation

Alas, fate had different plans
Tom threw out the beer cans
It was September; Dick Fuld had spoiled his party
Sans grades, would they still think him a smarty?

Dick did all the studying
Projects, contacts, string pulling
Luck seemed evasive, but he said he’ll defy providence
We’re used to winning, we’ll make some sense

And Harry, he had some clues now
For banks and advisors he had no respect
The Duke song told him to be a brander
Unilever, P&G, There were none any grander

Recessions are bad; firms don’t hire
People speak of joblessness; Placecom is on fire
Harry is a consultant; Dick’s back to a bank
Tom’s dreaming of getting killed driving an army tank

Dark circles no longer on a sheet
They’re on our faces, having been browbeat
Losses hard to digest, all the purses thinning
Hoping against hope we’ll be okay, ‘coz we’re used to winning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


...that twenty two years of protoplasmic existence and nineteen years of formal education would have sidestepped if it was a different place, or a different time...

...that is there is no substitute for good friendship. Real dosti is when you have filled in a bucket of water from the last running tap in the block, your friends choose that time to wake up, and you split it four ways between the shaver, the loo-goer, the face-washing attentive front bench sitter and yourself.

...that being kiddish is fun as long as it is endearing and people appreciate that. There are of course, places where you can’t afford to be thus; you can identify these places by lack of endearment.

...that there is joy in disorder. Be it in the two week long unshaven face, the room that hasn’t been cleaned for a month or the pile of clothes and shoes that are mingled with one another all over the room floor. Of course, there is joy in the rearrangement of things so that one can start messing up all over again.

...that fighting with a friend is a dream, but stepping in between two fighting friends is a nightmare. Because it reminds you how much you care about that person and you stop yourself from saying so many things that come to mind.

...that there is value in setting store by values. Even if you sound like your principal or headmaster from high school. It helps in avoiding identity crises.

...that there is merit in being a Jack of All Trades. Or trying to be one, at least. You must always play musical instruments, write poetry, convert poetry to song, study for 10 hours a day, take a break by playing badminton, teach math to juniors, play music again and end the day with studying for the end term on the next day.

...that Murphy was a genius and one who does not bow to him ends up at the wrong end of His laws. Then again, maybe every end is a wrong end. 

...that when unfair play happens, it is always paid for. When the bad man pays for it is not under your control. But you can rest assured that he is always charged net present value.

...that because of the above, there will always be disappointments. It gets scary when you don’t screw up once in a while as there’s some huge impending disaster that is the sum total of all your experienced joys.

...that no matter what happens, there is hope for all of us at the end of it all. 


Twenty Five Things

This is the result of a "I-am-jobless-so-I-should-do-something" disease that Facebook has been spreading round friends' circles. In a desperate bid to kickstart my blog, yours truly plagiarises his own writings from the past, and experiments with the different channels to reach the readership market. Here, as they say, goes.

 1. The first alphabet I could read was B and not A. 

 2. I always loved watching mythological serials made by Ramanand Sagar. Especially the part where two arrows with different colors meet in the air and one blows away the other. Someday I'll join the Indian Army and retrofit my regiment with longbows and super range arrows. 

3. When in Class 2, I was hauled up for indiscipline. My crime was that I tucked a wooden scale halfway down my schoolbag and ran up and down the corridor pretending to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. (I always liked playing Leonardo. Unfortunately Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello did not get caught and they have no memory of the incident whatsoever.)

 4. Ever since I read the word "cynic" I have wanted to call myself one. It sounds so much more cooler than "erring on the safe side". 

 5. I love ice cream, chocolates, Kinder eggs, cold fruit yogurt, Indian liquid sweets and Indian solid sweets in that order. I despise anything spicy or hot unless there is something sweet or cool to follow it up. 

 6. My closest friends will tell you I am very religious, God-fearing, and essentially believe in miracles. 

 7. I am emotionally attached to dramatic and unrealistic movies like Harry Potter, LOTR, Kung Fu Panda and the whole host of superheroes. I anyway get to see so much of realism around me - why bother looking at it on a screen. 

 8. I think social inefficiency and inequality is an absolute necessity. Otherwise there wouldn't be any rags-to-riches tales (Which, I must say after today, can be made into movies and be the substance of other rags-to-riches tales.) 

9. My mom tells me I used to amuse myself at the age of 2 by creating a ruckus and tapping everything around with a spoon . Including the gas cylinder, the floor, the tava, the window sill, the wall and also my own head. My grandmom likes to think it was hidden signs of my aptitude for music; how I wish she recruited at IIMB. 

 10. Having grown up in the Gulf, I always like to pronounce it GeLf, and love to make fun of all of them MeLLu GayrLs. (The capital L is to denote the different pronunciation in most south Indian vernacular languages. MeLLus will be understanding. )

 11. I have this crazy fetish to do well and be top-of-the-class all the time. After they started despising that attitude as "RG", I pretty much gave up. 

 12. I have watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. over 20 times and I could watch it forever. While I'd love to be Chandler Bing, the Facebook app "Which F.R.I.E.N.D.S. character are you?" thinks I am a Ross Geller. (How many times will I assert that I am not R.G.????)

 13. I am a sacrosanct vegetarian who loved dissecting frog and cockroach thigh muscles and observing them under the microscope. It is the only part of biology that I truly miss. 

 14. Through school and college I have always been branded as the numbers guy. I tried to get rid of that by writing long, painful blogs. Hasn't helped one bit. I still screw up all the "globish" courses. 

 15. I simply adore C language. My favorite dream in 2nd year was to wake up and start speaking C with everyone. 

 16. I am the only cricket lover in my family who adored Rahul Dravid when everyone was mad after Sachin. I practically jumped for joy when Rahul scored his amazing innings at Adelaide, and it almost broke my heart when they said all those mean things about him after WC 2007.

 17. Much as I hate to admit it, I love to make fun of my friends. I don't like people who can't take jokes. I also don't like people who are all "khadoos types" and "always sad sad". 

 18. I'm practically the worst cribber you will find on earth. When friend A goes to friend B to crib about life in general, friend B in general will console, etc. If friend A comes to me to crib about life, I crib a hundred times more so he suddenly starts feeling blessed, fortunate and happy. 

 19. I love legacy and heritage and all those age-related emotions. I am the kind of person who adores memorabilia, can get very nostalgic and would rather be in a company that lasted 200 years than in one that lasted 2. 

 20. I like to say friends are one of the most important things in my life. But somehow I always find enough excuses to escape dinner and lunch - so I really don't think I'm justified in making that statement. 

 21. I am a very big self marketer (Is that MBA-jargon for show off?). For instance, I spend more time publicizing my blog and making all my friends read it than I spend actually writing it. 

 22. Very few people know that I love dancing despite the fact that I can't dance for nuts. Same holds true for singing, bowling (as in red ball), computer-gaming and so many other things. 

 23. Because of what I said in 22, one of my best pastimes has been playing cricket with an imaginary ball in front of a mirror, and replicating Dravid's strokes. I'm surprised I haven't broken my window or my TV screen or any such stuff.

 24. My ambition in life is to create something like the Matrix, only with Nazgul in it instead of agents, to invent the magic wand and incarnate myself into this make-believe world as Harry Potter, the saviour. At the end of that incarnation, evil will have reached an all time high and therefore I will be sent back with greater powers (even as Gandalf in LOTR was) and this time I will truly save the world. 

 25. I have spent over an hour writing these 25 things and people who don't comment are going to face my cribbing. (Refer #18).