Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Faces seem ugly when you're alone ...
And so sang Jim Morrisson. (i'm gonna take the song a bit out of context)
Sometimes I really wish I had studied psychology instead of computer science.
There are so many instances that I come across where I am simply unable or incapable of understanding the behavior of people, indicudually and in a group. That's a very frustrating feeling. Here you are ... watching someone or some people acting in some way you simply can't comprehend. My interpretation is simply of bemusement. To me it seems just ridiculous.
Just today the induction of my second junior batch got over. It was quite funny to see people behave quite differently from how I'd seen them or come to expect them to behave. Suddenly compassionate people turned cold. Indifferent people turned driven towards a cause of keeping the juniors awake endlessly. Non existent people were suddenly vying for even the smallest piece of limelight they could hog on to. The ostracised turned preachers.
It's quite funny, the whole thing. I can say that because I was quite detached from the whole phenomenon myself. But the one motivation or characteristic that stood to be the common factor among all these anomolies was attention seeking.
It's not too difficult to understand really. I mean here's a batch of 180 some people who know nothing about you as of now. You wanna break free from the cliche' you've been carved into by your peers over the last year. You wanna make an impression. You wanna impress the opposite sex. Basically pretty juvinile.
I would've probably expected a batch of to-be managers with some 2-3 years of work experience to act more maturely. Namely to be above all this. But it's not so.
I can critque this because as I've said earlier, I've been pretty detached this time. I don't remember much of how I was the last time around. Maybe I was juvinile too. Altough I do remember being detached the last time around as well, but then there are always varying perceptions.
The point I'm trying to make is ... is based pretty much upon my experience only. It's what I realize that when I try to assume myself to be behaving that way ( I can only assume as my memory fails me here ) ... I feel very stupid if I had. But then I find it very justifiable and excusable as well. Maybe Freud was right after all.
By the way while writing this i happened to read the lyrics of People are strange more contemplatively ... and I think the poet's words deserve a mention here in full.
People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces seem ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
Noone remembers your name
When you're strange
People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Wome seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
Noone remembers your name
When you're strange
Sunday, June 25, 2006
A batch of 180 seniors make their 180 some juniors go through 3-4 sleepless days of humiliation and tension. I have not been able to find a rational justification for this institute - sponsored ragging yet but like herd mentality I have been a part of it for second year in a row.
So there I was ... shouting at those 'juniors', most of whom are proably atleast 2-3 years older than me. I had imagined it would be some sort of ego cum power trip to stand on the podium and tell them not to sleep or not to cross talk or to take things seriously, etc etc. But at the end of it I felt quite numb. There was no ego trip, no pride and no overwhelming sense of power or joy. If there was anything, there was a nagging question ... Why did I do it ?
But the overwhelming sense of guilt did not come from that. It happened during the 'interviews'.
It's not very easy to put oneself in her shoes ... but i'll try anyways. She hadn't slept for more than 40 hours or so. She was utterly confused about what was happening around her. Things were moving very fast. Every once in a while some seniors came and shouted at the whole batch. A couple of hours back some foreigners had given a very arbit presentation about some colleges she's never heard of. Then they'd gotten mad and walked off and here she was giving an interview for an exchange program she had no clue about, let alone be interested in it.
For us .. she was just the last 'candidate'.
So here we are .. four of us sitting in a room at 4 in the morning. She walked in and sat down. We had decided to take a stress interview. And hence it began ... the endless row of questioning, cross questioning, ordering, embarassment ...
At that moment even I was not feeling any remorse or concern for that poor soul. We had come to a moment in the interview when all four of us were laughing at her as she sat there confused and slightly embarassed but still smiling.
And then it happend ...
In the smiling and answering back and trying to defend her very existence, she cracked and suddenly burst into tears. We were speechless. I was shocked. I was embarassed at myself. The damage, even though only temporary, had been done to her self esteem.
I mean here I was looking at her CV and admiring the things she'd done. A very sweet looking woman who comes from a smaller town than mine. Her resume speaks at leangth about her ambitions and dreams and what all she's accomplished. And I along with 2 others ( one really didn't say anything ) had virtually broken her down to the extent she had to cry in front of 4 strangers.
It's very hard to come over this kind of guilt. A guilt caused by my own stupidity.
Anyways we've decided to take her out for luch and apologise for the nth time ... It may not be enough or necassary .. but nonetheless.
I know she'll probably never read this , but VJ .. I'm really really sorry.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I had been feeling very imcomplete lately.
It's like some life force was missing. Some passion.
I sincerely believe that there's one particular thing that always keeps one going. Something other than work ... ambition ... power ... blah blah. Something that you require regularly in doses. For some it's family. For some it may be painting. Hobby wouldn't be the exact way to put it. Whatever it may be termed ... I know for me it's music.
It's a perfect harmony (well created music that is). It's the symbolism for creativity, synchronization, intelligence, emotions and the works.
I had lost it for some time off late. Music had gone into the background. It had been not able to appreciate it. I had become detached.
But .... now it's back. And what brought it back ?
It was duality actually. Now it's rage against the machine, coldplay .... they're all gradually coming back . I know some people may not wanna call slipknot music ... well ... balls !!!
Sunday, June 18, 2006
But more than any of those reasons, I feel it was just good to be home for a day. After what's happened home may not be the same, but it's still much better than here. It's still the place you can feel loved and comfortable.
"Country roads ... take me home ..."
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Apparently the 'gods' in the upper echelons of power had decided that the mortal MBAs were taking life not so seriously. The Gods feared that the mortal MBAs had started believing (or realizing) that most of what they were doing was simply over-hyped nonsense. They feared that the kids were loosing their capabilities of respect.
They wanted to make an example out of someone. They wanted to send ripples in the community (I'm quoting him). They wanted to find a scapegoat who was very popular and very happy. To their pleasure, they found me ! To make their jobs even easier, I was an open rebel as well. So one day the gods sat in their high thrones, they decided that conformation had to be re-instated. And thus they passed this decree. To hold me back that is.
Now I choose not to believe him. It would be very easy to believe the romanticized and tragic version of the antihero and thus let the impact on me fade away. The above story would be a dangerous hypothesis for me for it would put the blame in hands other than mine.
Not that I am obsessed with claiming the blame. It's just that I would be much better off in believing that it was legitimate action enforced on a misdirected soul. That it was necassary by rule. Then I would have something to prove.
As they say
When in rome ...
Sunday, June 11, 2006
All the anticipation, anxiety, dread and excitement has come to an end. A very subtle one at that.
You come back and see the same hallways, the same rooms, the same chairs and tables ... but the people are not there. I guess the foundation of every memory is the people in it. It's what you cherish u did with other people rather than where you were or what you did with other people. Once the people are gone, the place haunts. I think that's it. Right now the same halls, the same rooms and the same chairs seem strange. They seem scary. But it could probably be because of the bad experience attached to it as well. I don't know the main reason, but I miss the people.
I might be too dramatic here, but this is how I feel ...
It's like going back to a battlefield. You've been there before. You've lost some friends. You've had some good times there before. You've had some shitty ones. Now you're back. You're all alone this time. You have some unfinished business to take care of. You can't turn back. It's the same place but there's something different about it this time. It's probably just the air. Or the colour of the leaves. But you can't put your finger on it. You're in a new team. There's no comarderie here. You're carrying excess baggage. You have to carry it alone. There are a lot of hopes riding on you. There's no giving up. You have to carry on. You have to rise through the ashes like a phoenix.
(well i'm just pepping myself up ;))
Saturday, June 10, 2006
ONCE UPON A TIME …
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter,the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.
THE MODERN VERSION...
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others arec old and starving.
BBC, CNN, EURO-NEWS, NDTV, FOX NEWS show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house.
Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticizes the Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper.
The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper.
Opposition MP's stage a walkout. Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh"in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.
Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter. The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Bush Government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony voered by BBC,CNN, AAJ TAK and NDTV.
Arundhati Roy calls it "a triumph of justice".
Koffi Annan invites the grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly
Got The Answer...???
YES... You Got It Right...
Some call it RESERVATION n some call it QUOTA!
Friday, June 09, 2006
I have very good news (for myself).
Just recieved my Time Table for the 4th term ... and there is not even a single 8:30 AM class in my schedule !!!! (maybe there is a God up there)
What's even better is that most days my classes start from 12 !!! Just one day do I have a 10:15 class. (well ok ... most probably there is a God then :))
In fact my Time Table's so beautiful that I shall put it's picture up here !
Now i know I shouldn't get to happy and relaxed about it 'coz I have a lotta things to do .. but still ;)
Back to FIFA !!!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
This is an open declaration to the world and especially to my computer.
I am gonna beat the #@!!*%## shit out of you after a year !!!
That is probably an understatement of what'll be coming your way when I'll be done with u. I am already saving up money to buy a sledgehammer, a chainsaw, a blow torch and all the ancient chinese torture machines that I can gather.
Your end is near u damn computer ... HooHaaHaa HooHaaHaa (Dr. Evil laugh) :)
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Finally I have found conclusive evidence ... a testimony to the hideous truth !!
In a recent shot which can be found on Google, I have discovered the hidden truth … the truth behind the man …
Well ok enough of drama … just highlight the picture like you'd highlight some text and see for yourself …
And you thought all along ….
Life Support ………..check
Third stage boosters ………..check
Navigation systems ………..check
Landing gear ………..check
AI systems ………..check
All systems Go.
Houston … we are Go for launch.
I think the debate is perfectly just. Definitely the ell effects of drugs and so called ‘bad-company’ should be discussed and brought out in the open to prevent people from getting into them. I’ve been through such things so I agree even more. But what I don’t agree with is it’s restriction to just the ‘high lifers’. I mean it’s not like only the rich and famous do drugs or meet prostitutes or get into trouble. One should go to places like under the ISBT bridge and you’ll find scores of poverty stricken kids who don’t have money to buy food but still manage to procure some weed. I probably know more college kids and junkies who scrape off every cent of their pocket money they can manage to get another hit than there are celebrities in this country. In every department of trouble in which the celebrities end up, there are probably millions of ‘low lifers’ or ‘medium lifers’ who out do them.
That’s why I wonder. Why the debate about just the rich and famous indulging in deadly sins ? Don’t the not so privileged end up in similar fates, although just cheaper ones ? I’ve never seen a special edition prime time debate because Raju from the Begumpur slums was shot dead in a drunken brawl over a line of cocaine. Such things make one question the exact intentions behind this entire ruckus.
Is it actually the result of professional journalism ? I beg to differ.
Discussing such things allows the channels to put models and the likes on the air while they show images of page 3 parties on the split screen. (maybe they should just convert to page 3 popcorn channels).
Interviewers relentlessly question the celebrities on their moral values and try to get some gossip out of them. (can they put their hand on the Geeta or Quran or the bible and swear to have been pure all their lives ?)
Sociologists and spiritual gurus go into a trance while defending and preaching utopia while the celebrities narrate hard facts of life. (can they really be compared)
What it all ends up being is simply a copy of the tabloids … mud slinging on celebrities … privacy issues … etc etc
It would be nice if the crime and its nature was discussed rather than the perpetrator.
Monday, June 05, 2006
To my distress, that’s exactly how I’m feelin nowadays. I suddenly feel musically impaired.
There used to be days when I would have headphones on all day, constantly blasting out some blood curdling riffs into my ears. I used to be crazy about the latest iron maiden or Megadeth album I could get my hands on. I used to come back home, lie down on my couch, put on some Sepultura on full volume, close my eyes and drift away. I used to spend hours on my guitar till my fingers used to hurt on even touching the air.
But now I just don’t feel it.
The guitar’s been packed away for the last three months. It’d stay that way for the next year. But strangely the music doesn’t penetrate my ears to my heart anymore.
The music would still be playing but it just drifts over my head.
Maybe it’s just a phase. Maybe I need some new music. Whatever it is … it sucks and it better get over quickly.
First of all, the oil shock had come already in 2005. A lot of countries, especially of the developed world, had already started the process of making adjustments and increasing prices. India on the other hand, had not. I decided to do some number crunching myself and was quite surprised. The highest prices prevailing (according to the ‘latest’ data I could find from 2005) are in Amsterdam where they pay around 78 Rupees per liter. The affluent British themselves shell out around 69 Rs. per liter. Of course oil is heavily subsidized in countries like Venezuela and the Middle East and it was pointless doing the calculations to end up with single digit prices per liter (in rupees). India, more interestingly, ranks around mid way in terms of global petrol prices. Even more interestingly, it is categorized under the “Taxation” list of countries which levy moderate excise on fuel. This first of all confirms that the data I found was already outdated despite being only 6 months old . In the current scenario, with oil prices at $ 70 a barrel, India would definitely be categorized in the “Fuel Subsidies” section. This is further validated with oil marketing companies loosing billions each quarter in order to maintain the political ambitions.
But like most things in life, the pricing of fuel is not that simple either. Concerns ranging from inflation, to inconvenience, to losses of oil companies, to growth rate, all have to be addressed. But nothing demands more attention than the chest of all fortunes – the vote banks. With the left front crying ‘genocide’ each time the petroleum ministry even whispers the words ‘price hike’ it becomes very clear whose’ interests are being kept in mind – the politicians.
Why should we, the consumers, bear the brunt of the spiraling prices when a good part of the petrol price consists of taxes and excise duties that the government levies on sale of oil and various products ? Why can’t the duties be reduced if the consumers are going to be hurt so much ? Well the answer is simple … that would mean reduction in government’s revenues. That would mean the lavish lifestyles of our ‘honest’ politicians would be dented. That would mean the Income Tax department will have to do more work … I’m sorry … that would mean the Income Tax department will have to actually work ! That would mean that tax collected from Chautala alone (his assets being 1600 Crore) each year would be able to feed hundreds of starving kids. Since the poor people don’t come in the high tax brackets and a considerable fraction of the middle class already pays the taxes, the vote banks would be intact. But this would definitely translate into work. Therefore, this scenario is obviously as ridiculous as it is impossible.
And after all, if the Oil Marketing Companies are actually state owned companies, then why should their losses be such a big concern ? Can’t they be simply written off as subsidies ? Sure they can be, but then that would mean the drop in share prices thus affecting a lot of middle class investors. That would mean no dividends. That would mean disillusionment of the middle class vote bank.
Surely the government has to perform a very tough balancing act. They may be corrupt, but they’re definitely not dumb. They start scaring the people with announcements of a Rs. 10 hike in prices being imminent. The people go mad. The media starts analyzing and over analyzing. The markets get affected further. The left (co-conspirator) cries ‘mass murder'. People wait anxiously and dread any announcements from the fuel ministry. After some teasing, the government comes out with a smaller hike of 4 and 2 Rs. The left claims a bittersweet victory and keeps its vote banks intact. The people give a sigh of relief. The media still analyzes. The government emerges as the reluctant hero. The people still unknowingly get victimized. Life goes on. SETI still looks for ETs.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
At first it seems kind of funny to imagine. You know, India is not exactly what one would call the skyscraper capital of the world. So we’ll probably have Spiderman swingin’ from one 2 storey building to another, trying to not hit the pedestrians ‘n dodge the occasional cows. His dhoti could probably be used as a parachute for the ‘softer landings’. He’d obviously be a very busy man in India ‘coz of the high crime rate and the larger population. Maybe he’d even start a family to keep the crime under control. He would ofcourse not hold a call center job ‘coz that’d deprive him of the prime time crime. Now I’m just foolin’ around … but once you check out the illustrations, you can see the potential.
I’m not at all surprised about who’s taken up this new (and daring) venture. Such Virgin territories can only be explored by no one else but Richard Branson. And what’s better is that he has collaborated with an Indian management and spiritual guru, Deepak Chopra and one of the most critically acclaimed film directors, Shekhar Kapur. That is quite a hell of a team. The success of Hanuman has been the final word in the decision as the project was given the go and Virgin Comics was formed.
There are atleast 4 projects lined up. The Sadhu, Ramayan Reborn, Snake Woman and Spider-dhoti-man! It’s a bit funny, but the idea’s definitely got potential. U’ve gotta adore Richard Branson for his boldness. If someone from Virgin ever reads this … pick me up !!!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The kind of emotions I am feeling right now can probably be best described by a Benetton ad. Anxiety, happiness, sorrow, hope, grudges, detachment …. they’re all there ! While most of the negative emotions have been consciously overcome and put away, the process will only be considered complete once I actually go back there and start living there again. Moreover, suddenly I have discovered a whole lotta things which I should’ve done till now in preparations for goin’ back !
I’m sure, though, of this much that there’s more of a positive wait than a negative wariness.
Now we just have to wait till touchdown.
Friday, June 02, 2006
That’s all you can see flashing across the TV screen as you flip through the zillion news channels. An almost exact copy of something that had happened just a few weeks before was played out again with the hospitalization of Pramod Mahajan’s son.
Now it’s almost evening and the same marquee is still playing on at the bottom of all news channels with slight alterations every now and then. While some channels (mostly the English news channels) have had the decency to show us with what else is happening in the world, a few (mostly the Hindi channels like Aaj Tak) are still going on analyzing, probing, cross examining, discussing what the kid did last night. An army of reporters has been deployed at his residence, at the hospital, at the party’s headquarters and probably even in front of the house of Mahajan family’s most far flung residence to get even the smallest whiff of developments. The anchor constantly goes on repeating the same old story in a hyper excited voice. The split screen constantly repeats the same old clippings of Rahul Mahajan walkin around. Then every ten minutes or so one of the reporters stationed at the crucial points starts repeating the same old thing which the anchor has been yapping about for the past 2 hours.
But some news channels are more innovative and resourceful. Some show interviews with specialists who would give their ‘expert’ opinions about the patient without having even seen the patient and simply basing their diagnosis on the various degrees of reports coming in. Some even show interviews of the family doctor making claims about depression, drug abuse, alien abductions, etc. Then you’re left to wonder … who’s gonna be next ? Maybe the driver’s wife or the servant’s dog or the neighbor’s relative living in Canada !
I have some problems with this kind of journalism and I would like to raise some questions here (ofcourse writing here is almost like thinking in my head and going to sleep .. but then what the heck ! what are blogs for !)
- Why is this thing so important after all ? I mean the guy isn’t even a politician ! He is simply the addicted (probably) son of a deceased politician who himself was fading into obscurity ! He may have been a big politician or the future of BJP someday but today he is not even a member of the party ! So why is it that his life should be so important to us ? I’m sure there are millions of people going through worse tragedies in life everyday but they don’t seem to be breaking news by the second ! This is probably what sensational journalism is all about. Making loud and bold declarations (may or may not be even true) about someone who is remotely famous.
- Why do we have to keep watching the same thing again and again and again ? It’s true that probably you have to keep informing about the events in case a viewer has just tuned in. But then what about the loyal viewers who have been watching your channel for some time ? Doesn’t this mean that they’d simply get bored of watching the same old stuff and simply click on the next channel ? What about the other things that were lined up for that day ? Do they suddenly loose their relevance just because some kid consumed / was fed too much cocaine ? It would probably be better if they’d repeat the story every hour or so if there are no new updates and then carry on with other news. The marquee is there anyways !
- Who are these sources who make claims such as there was a woman among the people visiting Rahul (and so what anyways ?) and that there was a conspiracy to kill him and that Sonia Gandhi is actually a Martian parading an Italian ? Isn’t objective (and professional) journalism about giving facts and not speculation and rumors?
- What about the important issues such as reservation and Office of profit bill or terrorism in Srinagar ? Did all the politicians and terrorists and students suddenly go on a vacation just because Rahul Mahajan consumed more booty than he was able to handle ?
- And finally, what’s with the whole sad orchestra playing in the back ground as visuals of the aggrieved mother or son the dog are shown in slow motion and in black and white ? Now that’s got sensationalism written all over it ! It’s sacrilege !
It’s like being a drug addict where every boost increases your body’s capacity and resistance even further. Small shots don’t have an effect anymore. You need more and more quantities every time just to get high. That’s how people are becoming nowadays. Junkies. Normal news just doesn’t ring a bell. They need sensationalism. They need big flashy graphics and compelling music to understand the issues and the plight. The evidence is right in your face. The injustice in Jessica Lall murder case was an outrage some time ago. Now it’s invisible like the murderer himself. Pramod Mahajan’s medical condition and his eventual death were all over then. Now nobody even speaks about him. Then the reservation issue was the hottest debate till day before yesterday. Today I didn’t see even a single mention of it. Even the office of profit issue rose and died away in the last two days. Today the latest rage is Rahul Mahajan taking cocaine. Who knows what’s next.
I think the media itself is to blame for this. The sensationalism created around everything attracts the attention of the viewers away from previous issues. The 24 hour focus on the same issue over and over again drills it into viewers’ minds. As I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts, thanks to the sensationalist media, we have become a society with a short term memory.
I think the positioning of the news channel TIMES NOW sums it up the best. It says Feel the News. That’s exactly what it is. Simply watching the news doesn’t affect people anymore. They need to be made to feel it.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
B for Ball
C for ... Can u teach me some grammar ?
It’s true ! ‘N it’s an emergency ! Suddenly I feel that I’ve lost all my grammar skills !
Just today I was confronted with the task of paying more attention to the grammar and language of some text. How difficult could it be after all , I thought to myself. That thought was soon tossed out the window. I think somewhere through those years of ‘good’ education from ‘reputed’ places like DPS, St. Stephen’s and MDI … slang got mixed with proper language. And it got mixed so well that right now I really can’t tell the difference! Just for example, I’m so used to saying ‘and things like that’ that for me this is proper English!
The other thing is updates and language development. I agree evolution of all things is necessary. But the evolution of language kind of makes me feel retarded. Just today I found out that the word ‘overweight’ was not just an adjective any more but now a noun as well. So basically the overweights need not worry about being overweight but having overweight. What’s troublesome about this is that now I need to read one more thing along with my daily newspaper and the financial daily everyday … the daily dictionary ! Considering the number of words / phrases / modifications that are introduced in the dictionary every year, if I don’t keep myself updated, soon I’ll be talkin’ cave-man-speak ‘n people won’t understand me! Now I can’t allow that.
The other thing I gotta worry about is the number and type of dictionaries. U have the Oxford’s, the Cambridge’s, the Collins’s, the Idiot’s and what nots. Then you have the British and the American. Then you have the formal and the informal. I mean is there an end to it ???
For example ... did you know there were proper listed words like Granny dumping (no it’s not about dating and dumping grannies), McJob (as if there weren’t already enough kind of ‘jobs’) and many many more !
I think I should go back to nursery.
"In my sentences I go where no man has gone before ... I am a boon to the English Language" - George W. Bush
You click on Adobe Photoshop, create a new document, N start makin a clock n watch time fly by :) here's what i ended up with
"Three o' clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do"- Jean Paul Sartre