Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Blogging on the move

It’s been a while since I had both the time and the hardware to blog. I promised myself at the start of the year (and kept up with it for a while too) that I would blog once a week just to remember HOW to blog.

A while later the excuses kicked in.

I got busy with work.

I dint have access to internet.

I dint have enough to blog about.

I thought once a fortnight was fair.

I then thought once a month was great.

Then I just ran out of topics to write about.

But tht doesnt mean I dont have a story to tell. It just means tht my story needs some someone else to do the talking.

It was late in the evening and, sitting in this crowded and loud train compartment, I found my storyteller.

An old lady is sitting with a grade 2 english book and studying diligently. I couldnt help but notice tht she was, well, a little older than the average 2nd grader. So i asked her if she was reading a grand-daughter’s book. And she tells me, matter of factly, tht she goes to night school so she can keep up with her grand children. She makes extra time so tht the ppl and the things tht matter most to her are kept up. It’s not a life shattering realisation, or a path breaking effort… But it was the simplicity of her interest that took me by surprise. Plenty of ppl attend night school, but this was one of the first who was doing it not to keep up a job, or to keep their kids in school – she was doing it to keep up with her life.

And I realised I dont want to be as old to realise what I can do for the things and the ppl I love. Again, it isnt like it came to me in a wave of thoughts… But I’ve had a silent voice in my head telling me I’m missing out on something for a while now. And a self-educating grandma got me to listen to it.

So I’ve made some lifestyle choices over the past few weeks that I’m proud about.

I come home and strum my 2 guitars a few times every week.

I watch a few movies and smile.

I listen to some good music and feel lighter.

I spend some battery life on my fone catching up with old friends.

And then some on letting mom know I’m just fine.

And then I spend some more time finicking with my fone and blogging all about what I want to do.

Because happiness doesnt need time. It just needs a realisation – tht happy is possible. As long as u got tht… Time is just a multi-dimensional variable.


The WOW effect of the World Cup

Generally I dont comment much on Cricket, cuz I sincerely feel that its not much of a sport, and more of entertainment. True, it may take some skill to learn to toss the ball at a fellow some 20 yards away, and then to slam the ball hard enough out of the stadium. But, I dont consider it sport – its not, say, football, or hockey, or athletics. It’s just cricket.

But I was reminded in this month how much it’s more than just entertainment to my fellow Indians. Late last month, the World Cup began, and many Indians began rescheduling their days to catch their favourite teams play. People mysteriously disappeared on inane meetings, feel violently ill and were terribly late in making flights on account of 22 lads running after 1 ball and 1 trophy.
For those who havent followed the World Cup, here’s a quick recap. India, England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies advanced to the Quarter Finals from the League matches. India beat Australia (the resultant loss in man day, and the expected loss of another man day today is not counted as a loss in this context), Pakistan whitewashed West Indies, Sri Lanka defeated England and New Zealand triumphed the choker South Africans. Last evening, Sri Lanka beat New Zealand to book themselves a berth in the Finals.

And today, India plays Pakistan in what appears to be not just another semi-final but the most important match for India in this tournament. For a week now I have been receiving several humour laden messages referring to this match. Having Rajnikant on our team apparently makes us invincible… hell, I could make Rajnikant appear on any team!! Since Mohali is close to the border, people comment that our neighbours can ride a rickshaw home… getting to Mohali by air or train appears to be so expensive that they’d probably be better off on those rickety 3-wheelers. Shahid Afridi’s tryst with God seems hilarious… yet you must remember, God’s own team drew with England and lost to South Africa. References to the many other mails/messages I’ve received may not be appropriate for this public forum, but you get the point… some people have been spending valuable time in coming up with snide comments for the occasion.

And I find myself surrounded by cricket talk today. VT station appeared more than half empty. Churchgate station wore a forlorn look. The talk in the bus to work was about how India can best win the match today. The liftman glanced at his watch every 3 seconds like it was already 2 p.m. Friends posted status messages on how they were either off or allowed to work for half day today. People are already scouting for the nearest TV (we have one right in our office, so I’m rather strategically located). Many are overworking in the morning, so that disappearing post-lunch at least appears conscientious. And the fever rubs off.

So go on. Turn off your laptops and desktops. Take a break. Cheer madly at every four and six. Boo like crazy at every wicked ball. Take digs at whoever you can.

And enjoy the madness that is the World Cup.

A long sabbatical

Its true… they say distance makes the heart grow fonder… and after a long break from an unlimited internet connection, I feel the sadness within me.
Never mind. Down to business then.
I’ve spent the last week catching up on Egypt (and the ensuing Middle East situation), the change in guard at SEBI, the falling prices of several vegetables and, last but not the least, the bloodbath at the markets. For those salaried employees who still have to make the ELSS investment for this fiscal, I’m told this is probably the best time to put ur money into the markets, because the word on the street is that the market is seeing heavy support at current levels and may not take a free fall just yet. (But let me caveat this – this is my personal view, and cannot and SHOULD not be treated as investment advice).
Elsewhere, I’m still in the process of figuring out how to blog via my phone (since WordPress doesnt support an application for Symbian yet), and I’m not highly successful. This mobile version of WP is very cumbersome to navigate around, and for some reason it dislikes the ideas of drafts or pending review posts. So I’m gonna end up posting this one at a very odd time. Nonetheless, if anyone has an idea of how to improve this, I’d sure like to hear it.
Till the next time I have an urge to break my fingers on this miniature keypad…

The week in perspective

So I promised myself that I would blog at least once a week. Last week, my internet connection gave up on me, and I was forced to compose and post from my phone, and I must say the experience of blogging on the phone wasn’t half as good as Facebook Mobile. Since I have the time and the connection to post this, I’m gonna make the most of it.
If you don’t already know, I’ve spent this week pi**ed at the Admin Guys in my office. They’ve ruined and re-ruined my ancient desktop one too many times this week. But that isn’t part of this post. It’s just an afterthought.

I’ve spent most of this week figuring out how I’m gonna make time to make it to Bryan Adams in concert in February. Considering that my worklife doesn’t allow for a rockstar obsession on the side, I’m trying to reconsider my options and consider attending the concert in some other city. After all, Bryan Adams is worth flying to any city for. And this won’t be the first time I’m flying across the country to attend his concert either – back in high school I flew to a certain re-named south Indian city famous for IT parks to catch Adams playing at the concert. And I’d do almost anything to go watch him in concert again. More on that later.

I recently got a new haircut. Again. I mean it’s just a shorter version of the look I already had; but the eyeballs its been getting me all week makes me think I should get a haircut every few months just for all attention. Maybe I will do that…

I watched “Phas Gaya Re Obama”, a rather hilarious Bollywood movie themed on the recession. It follows a perfect junk bond story – a fellow finds an asset, realises its useless, and sells it to someone else; who then makes the same mistake and passes it on to someone else. The cycle continues till the last guy realises that he’s got noone to sell it to… so he drops it on the market, gets as much as he can for it. While the story itself was a rather smart one, what stood out was the stellar performances by Rajat Kapoor, and the entire supporting cast. With a shoestring budget, a finely spun story and a brilliant set of characters, the director makes sure that you wont be bored for a minute, and will spend at least a few minutes after the credits roll patting yourself on the back for a smart choice of a movie. Well done mate… Well done!

I also caught a song from “7 Khoon Maaf”. It’s called “Daarling” and is heavily inspired by a Russian song. But listening to Usha Uthup singing after so many years was fun, and she was brilliant throughout the song. It’s true that she dint need to do much – the song itself was very well composed; but the feel her voice brings to the song is a light and breezy one. I bet you’ll be swinging to the beat as you hear it on your phone. Hope the rest of the album is as good.

If you’ve been isolated from the media this week (and yet you’re reading this), you missed a few things this week – the Cabinet reshuffle, the release of “Dhobi Ghat”, the surprisingly springy numbers posted by TCS, the rise in petrol prices, the not-so-great numbers by Infosys, the handing over of the reins at Google to Larry Page, the bad numbers posted by Wipro and last, but not the least, a break in the upward trend of Onion Prices (I’ve seen so many onion and petrol jokes and status messages that they’d give Rajnikant a run for his money).

And I end this post with a thought for the week to come: Its true that one can only realise the true value of something after losing it. What’s the point in understanding the value of something you’ve lost…? So I’m trying the best as I can to hang on to some things – they’re not necessarily stuff I need; they’re stuff I just can’t do without.

Aiyer vs Admin Guys – The Epilogue

Since posting on Saturday, not much has changed at the office. I dint expect it to. But it sounded like a follow up post, so here goes.

The food probably still has insects in em. I wouldn’t know. I carry food to work everyday now. In fact, I get to office a good 15 mins late cuz I piss my mom off as she packs my lunch for me, so I wont have to eat at the canteen. But the foods still the same. And the senior official cant give a damn about it (his wife must pack him lunch, so he doesn’t really know does he).

The stupid IT Guys have still blocked most sites. They’re now inundated with a good 50 mails each hour with requests to unblock sites. I pray for the day when they realise that Investment Bankers have models to finish, and Info Memos to proof-read, and sending mails to report legal sites to unblock are not part of their job profile.

My ancient desktop computer refused to respond to me only yesterday (yet again). And, yet again, the IT guys’ response is the same – Pls Restart the computer. When I told him that I’d already tried it, his response dint surprise me at all – Restart it again… By the time its’ restarted, I’ll b thr. (suggesting that a restart is more of a recreational activity). Sigh. If they would get a little more efficient, work satisfaction would increase exponentially.
(Soon after the damn thing stopped doing nething, and it was left to me to tell the IT guy to consider a format. He sez ok and turns up at my cubicle with his fone. And without the windows CD. (Sigh) No comments.)

In other news, we discovered Godzilla-sized rats in our office the other day (they were hiding in the drawer where our keyboards are) and the reaction was unanimously noisy. With yet another mail to the admin guys, the reply was the same – “Pest Control will be done”. Another colleague came up with the idea of trapping some rats in a flypaper, and leaving them in our senior management’s cabins – so they know their pest control doesn’t work. (That’s still a WIP project; updates on that will follow soon)

P.S. I’m sure everyone who’s ever worked would have similar horror stories, so what I’ve narrated can hardly be described as novel. It is, however, heartfelt.bbtt

Aiyer vs Admin Guys – The Office Wars

I generally start the New Year with a chirpy post (not that this one will not be chirpy), but I chose a rather off-beat yet personally (and professionally) relevant topic instead. (Okay, Bull. I just wanted to vent. There. Satisfied you annoying little conscience!!)

My workplace has  an IT policy that allows restricted use of the internet, as do most workplaces (my friends at MakeMyTrip.com and some other places are luckier, but let’s not even go there for now). So I can access Google and Yahoo and Rediff, but I can’t access Youtube or Facebook or most “fun” sites. Normally, that’s ok; I mean I am supposed to work, but it would have helped if an organisation doesn’t treat its 20-something employees like they’re teenagers. And our IT department seems to employ a bunch of people who can’t tell you how to get your damn mail account fixed but can somehow come up with more and more sites to block. (Other than responding “Please restart and try, their advice is generally squat; people in the cubicles across me know more than them. And THAT’s saying a lot – I work in an Investment Bank full of CAs and MBAs whose knowledge of the computer is limited to Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V and Alt+Ctrl+Del). Initially, I was a little curious, so I tried some known proxies, and some other known methods, but they all failed. The scoreline thus far read: Aiyer 0 – IT Guys 1.

But I dont give up that easy do I. Once in a while, I indulge, and discover other (read: nefarious) means to access some sites (read: Facebook). It works currently only for some sites (read: Facebook), but that’s more than enough for me. I also figured out a way to actually SEND mail from my Gmail account (normally that isn’t allowed, but from necessity stems pure genius 😉). The scoreline now read Aiyer 1: IT Guys 1. Suck it 😛

And then they play a New Year prank (I’d hope it was just a one day prank… some of the sites they blocked were actually business sites. It wasnt.) on me. They block every single known (and unknown) proxy. They even block most legal sites with a remotely blockable angle (Rediff, Indiatimes, hell, even some corporate websites). At first I thought it was some silly mistake. So I check, and re-check my URLs. The damn screen still reads Blocked. And then my focus shifts to the category… the one that read “Clothing”.
My instant reaction – a burst of laughter that had my whole team run to my cubicle thinking I had actually done something very very wrong (my reaction to a very very wrong action is generally extreme bouts of laughter). And then they saw the frozen screen and burst into laughter themselves.
“Clothing”. Really??! (This btw was the category for a site that was for a company in another space altogether) IT Guys they can play pranks alright. Aiyer 1 – IT Guys 2. Game on!! (Some other “odd” categories included Cooking, Food, Gardening, Jewelry and, can you believe this, Porn!!)

And you know how I beat them? By accessing Facebook, with no proxy server. From my phone. (Nyaa na na naa naah)
Aiyer 2 – IT Guys 2. Catch up suckers 😛

Elsewhere, the cook was busy adding additional value to my food by enhancing its otherwise absent calorific value by adding live insects to it. I complained, like the college kid that I was so used to being, to the head of the canteen. He gave me a non-committal shrug with a “what to do maydam”. At that point the banker in me took over (I’m proudly an investment banker, but our parent organisation is a bank, so the culture rub-off is unavoidable and I shot a rather hilarious yet critiquing mail to the head of the Admin department explaining the situation to him. I thought the scoreline would now read Aiyer 3 – Admin/IT Guys 2 and I would triumph at the end of the week. Sadly, the rather senior official replied with a “Thanks for the feedback. Will ensure pest control” and I had to do everything I could to not keep myself from falling off the chair from laughing too hard. The IT Guys dint win this one, but apparently neither had I. Aiyer 2 – IT Guys 2. In another discussion, this very official had commented “The food here is so much better than at the bank”. Sir, if a bank official found floating insects in his meal, he would’ve ensured heads rolled for it… Thank god we’re Investment bankers who spend time working (and free time blogging abt it ;))

P.S. It’s been 3 days and I can’t get my work done because of these stupid blocks. The scoreline reads Aiyer 2 – IT Guys 3. But I’m pissed now fellas. And you WONT like me when I get mad.
P.P.S. On the 4th day, I sent a mail to the IT head with a cc to every senior official in the organisation asking them if such strict vigilence is required in an Investment Bank whr employees neway have very little time to do even their work, let alone google for obscure websites about Gardening and Clothing. Response is awaited. Aiyer 2.5 – IT Guys 3. I’ll get u geeks.