Thursday, November 29, 2007

Art of Eating

Just had a sumptuous dinner. Have to say that whatever else I might have eaten, mom's cooking is the best. Anyway, there I was, happily helping myself to generous portions of the different dishes and digging into the food like I was a famine survivor at a banquet. Suddenly I realized that I was just a few seconds away from finishing my last course. Slightly disappointed at having to end it all, I started thinking. Thinking about the Art of Eating.

They say people who cook are artists. I have no doubt about it because, simply put, they are the difference between me eating raw vegetables and me enjoying a delicious pot of kadai sabzi. It might only be vegetables that I eat but these artists mix and match them so very well with each other and with the spices that even the vegetables themselves will want to be part of the dish! Ok that probably is a little exaggerated but I guess you get the point. That being the case, calling them cookers as artists is fully justified. But I wasn't exactly thinking about those artists or about that art. I was thinking about an art form that's complimentary to Cooking. An art form called Eating, which, unfortunately, hasn't got the same recognition because it is perceived as being as destructive in its very nature as cooking is considered creative.

You can't appreciate cooking just by looking at it or feeling it or smelling it or hearing it. You need to taste it. You need people to eat what has been cooked for the cooking to be appreciated. Cooking couldn't have reached the elevated status it enjoys today if not for Eating. Yet eating gets relegated to the by-lanes while cooking enjoys the ticker-tape parade. I was thinking about all of this and decided that it was time I stood up for what I do best <<<--- Gets up from his chair. Then realizes he looks a little stupid standing up in front of his laptop. Sits down and continues to type --->>>

An artist is someone who, by his imagination and skill, produces works of aesthetic value (That is not entirely my own statement. I just paraphrased the meaning of the word 'artist' from one of the websites!). By that definition anyone who has ever eaten anything is an artist because eating involves imagination - you are never sure where the hands-that-made-the-food have been or what that soft, oil dripping, half burnt, dark green thing is, but you imagine all the right answers for these questions and ease the food down your gullet. Anyone who has ever eaten anything is an artist because eating involves skill - different skills in fact. The skill to time your large bite just as the other person asks you a question, the skill to then go ahead and answer that question, at the same time chewing the hell out of that bite you just took, and finally the skill to nonchalantly go back to taking larger bites out of our food, totally ignoring the mildly disgusted look on the other person's face. And these are just some of the skills involved. Finally, anyone who has ever eaten anything is an artist because eating ultimately produces. It produces noises and gases, to mention but a few, the aesthetic value of which might be debatable but then 'aesthetic value' is a highly subjective matter and hence prone to debate.

There you go. Always remember - If you eat, you are an artist. And as an artist, use your imagination and skill to produce art. The next time I find myself at the end of a meal that I am not quite ready to end yet, I will try to prolong the affair by licking my plate clean. Will let you know what happens.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Homo Noseintheairius

Each of us, at one time or the other, might have come across this peculiar sub-species called the Homo Noseintheairius. They look and feel like the Homos of the Sapien variety but you can differentiate between the two as soon as they start making themselves heard. The Sapiens sound like you and me and the Nosintheairius wrap every note of sound coming out of them in a coat of snootiness. Since the difference is only in the sounds being emitted, both the groups are collectively called Humans.

But the difference is pretty telling and, honestly, quite irritating. From the kind of cereal you pick up at the store to the kind of laptop you order for, from the sneakers you wear in the gym to the set of wheels you drive to work in, from the kind of house you own to the places you visit for a holiday - think of any small thing and chances are you would have come across a specimen who would give you an obviously disapproving look because it personally wouldn't have opted for the same lowly things you were opting for. If you haven't had such an experience yet, and if you are not one of 'them', don't worry. You will have a run-in soon. (For a small fee I can arrange for one, at a time and place of your convenience, but that's an entirely different post!)

My experience with 'them' happened in the field of Art. More specifically, it was in the field of Appreciation of Art, the Art in question being music. I am a fan of any kind of music for which I feel like dancing. Hip-hop, Pop, Rock, Latin, Classical, Film songs - I have favorite tracks across all these genres. I haven't come across many who have an equally eclectic taste as I do and, as any regular Homo Sapien can, I also can understand that different folks have different tastes. The Noseintheairius folks, on the other hand, probably have some messed-up wiring up there because they don't seem to understand this simple concept. Instead they are ready to unleash their snootiness on me the moment they realize that I am listening to something I like. "How can you listen to that? What is it anyway, it doesn't make any sense." is the most common refrain I hear from 'them' to be followed immediately by a suggestion to listen to whatever it is that they consider listen worthy and sensible. Grrrr @*$^^@%(@*

Sometimes it gets so bad that I feel like strapping them to a chair and locking them up in a room. A room filled with floor-to-ceiling speakers belting out track after track of all the kinds of music that makes their nose turn up. But then I won't. Because I am not one of 'them'.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

'Tis Cold

The temperatures have been going up these past few weeks. On the negative scale that is. Granted that I don't live in the Arctic Circle or in any of those other places that try to mimic those conditions. In terms of temperature conditions, summer makes Madras feel like it is much closer to being on the surface of the sun than anywhere on the earth. Given that sunny situation, the mercury level charting a course towards what is considered as normal and comfortable in the rest of the regular world does equate to arctic conditions for us peeps in Madras. That's why that dramatic introduction about the temperature rising on the negative scale!!

Ok intro over, so let me get to what I wanted to say before I forget it. These cold conditions are playing havoc with my daily schedules and routines. The time I wake up, the time I hit the sack, the time I am awake, the time I pretend to be awake, the duration of my sleep, the number of times I feel like having a snack, the amount of food I want to have during a 'snack' - everything has gone haywire or is currently in the process of going haywire. And I wanted to get all of this down on the notepad before I forget it because my ability to remember what little I usually remember is also going down the haywire route. All because of this cold.

So what was I saying? Ah yes, this cold is affecting me real bad. Because of the cold, all I want to do is to make a wrap out of myself - in a nice, soft woolen blanket - and sleep my way through the cold spell. Unfortunately my boss doesn't seem to think on the same lines and keeps insisting that I need to not only get my butt out of the wrap but also into office everyday. Imagine that!! I always suspected him to be a slave driver and now he's is bent on proving it to me!

This................................................................................................................................................I am sure I have something witty and funny to say here but seem to have forgotten what it was. Blame it on this darn cold, it's making me forget.

Since I don't have anything much to say now that I have forgotten what has to be said, I will just take leave now and go sleep.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Am trying to make the money work

I spent around 21 years on my first job. They provided for my education and food and clothes and stay but the take home pay was non-existent for all intents and purposes. I stayed on for so long with them because I didn't have another option that I could opt for. In such circumstances, when I was offered a decent 5 figure salary (after taxes) by a firm, it was a no-brainer to take it up. Yes, they didn't pay for the education and food and clothes and stay like my folks had done all through those years when I was growing up but they gave me the option of showing-off some big numbers against my name in the bank account and I jumped at the offer. I spent most of the last 6 years with this firm, all the while watching the pile in the bank account swell in size. I recently (assuming that I can call 6 months as recent) took up a position with another firm for the third job that I have ever held. Since I have been talking about my bank account and the number of zeros padding the numbers in it, let's just say that this most recent switch is causing the bank account to swell faster. (For those of you currently working with me AND reading this, I switched because I am genuinely interested in the work we do. I also make a lot less than you!)

Now to get to the point that I wanted to make with this post.

I want more in that bank account of mine. I wish that the growing swell in my bank account somehow inherits the property of 'uncontrolled growth' from cancerous cells and multiply without any of the negative side-effects. What, wanting more of that green stuff makes me a bad guy now? Well, I am sure that I am not. I am just a tiny-weeny bit greedy. But that is not the point. The point is that I want more. In this regard there is something, that the CEO of my previous firm said, that I still remember. 'Tis probably the only thing he said that I remember and he has said a lot during the last 6 years. His exact words elude me right now but the gist of what he said was that every one of us has to think about maximizing the potential of our money to grow. He said that we shouldn't work for money, rather we should make our money work for us. Powerful words those. It was some kind of meeting when he said it and I was doing the usual hide-from-view-and-sleep routine. Those words were powerful enough to actually permeate into my sleeping head and find a permanent place in the limited free space available there.

Since the time he let slip those pearls of wisdom, I have been on a look out for a way to make my money work for me. Now, after having put in a few years worth of trials in getting that idea to actually work, there is only one conclusion I can come to. He didn't somehow forget that little detail of telling us how to make it happen, he didn't tell us on purpose.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


There is still an hour and some change left before it's officially the next week. As the weekend draws to a close, drawing curtains on the past week, I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of weekend I have had. Good, bad, ugly or something else?

A good weekend is one during which I spend extended periods of time before the comp or the TV or both without being disturbed too often for doing things that don't involve food finding it's way into me. A bad weekend is one in which such non-food related disturbances take up my precious time. An ugly weekend is just a bad weekend and then some. Of late I have been noticing that not all my weekends fall into one of these broad categories and stay there. What I mean is, yes they fall under these broad categories but there is something else which makes the weekend stand out and those are the ones that fall under the 'something else' category.

Take for example the Lazy weekend that I had recently. It was basically a Good weekend but by nature of being an extended one (4 days) I seem to remember it more for the splendid display of laziness I put on than for anything else. Along those same lines, this weekend, that is about to end, has been a Cracking weekend and it's not because of fire crackers. It has been a Joint Cracking weekend. That is because I seem to remember only the sound of cracking joints when I think about the last two days.

Woke up to the sound of pounding hammers on the roof top and realized I was stiff. Crack knuckles, wrist, elbows, knees, back and any other joint up for a good crack. Sat in front of the comp. Crack knuckles. Had to get up from the comp to go have food. Crack the back. Sat down to eat. Crack the elbows. Spread out before the TV. Crack the full complement of known and unknown joints. Got up from in front of the TV. Back crack. The comp beckoned again. Knuckles again. Finally hit the sack. I heard a loud crack going up. Must have been the bed. Had a dream during my sleep and rolled off the bed. Head cracked.

Like I said, I had a Cracking weekend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am gay today

This is one of those rapid fire questions which need an immediate answer: What does the word 'Gay' mean to you? If you, like me, had answered it before you had a chance to think about your answer, your answer would have been one of the words commonly used to indicate homosexuals and homosexuality. I also know of people who would have taken time to think about their answer and would have still come up with the same words as you and I. But how many of us would have associated the word 'Gay' with 'Happiness' or 'Brightness' or 'Merriment' or any of those other words that it was originally supposed to mean? Based on my experience, none.

I am thinking, in spite of the fact that that activity ends up giving me a head ache that could put the worst migraine to shame, and because of that thinking, I think I know the reason for what I said above. The English language has, at last count, so many words that I am not sure I know exactly how many there are. I am sure no one knows exactly either. My point is that not a lot of people actually work towards making all those words a part of their vocabulary. The average vocabulary consists of words that are learnt as part of formal education. But the majority of that average vocabulary consists of what is picked up as we go about living our lives. We read magazines, news papers, books and their ilk and pick up words. We hear conversations, debates, arguments, threats and their ilk and pick up words. Even as we are consciously and subconsciously adding to our vocabulary, we aren't adding just new words. Rather we are associating words with contexts and meanings and then adding them to the dictionary in the head. That is the same dictionary we go and refer, time and time again, as we continue living our lives. And this nicely brings me back to my point of what the word 'Gay' means to almost everyone. We hear, and see, that word most commonly and widely used in reference to the gay community and that's how people end up knowing it.

Phew! Lecture over. Why the lecture? Actually I don't know. I could have just said, "We are all the products of social conditioning" and spared myself from having to come up with those three hundred odd words to try and express the same. But if I had just said that one sentence, my post would have been 8 words long! May be I wanted a post that was more that 8 words long.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Our world revolves around...

Circa 130 BC. Mark Anthony said, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ears." Cut to the present. Circa 2000 AD. Mark Anthony's words are now pretty famous. But I am guessing that if the man were to be amongst us today, he wouldn't have wanted to restrict himself to just the Romans or just the Italians. He would probably have said something like "Friends, Humans, Citizens of this world. Lend me your ears. While at it give me your money too because the organizers haven't paid my appearance fees yet and I am damn sure not going to talk for free."

They say human nature hasn't changed all that much since the time we started looking down at the cave men for being 'uncivilized'. That being the case, I am sure Mr. Mark Anthony wanted 'ears' all those years back because that was the accepted currency in those days!! Anyway, I think the point I am trying to make is that irrespective of whether it is 'ears' or 'paper' or something else that is considered as money, the world revolves around it. I heard somewhere that some nice, brainy folks have sort of proved that our world actually revolves around the Sun but it's only the common man in the street that has bought into that whole 'scientific proof' thing. The people who actually know what's going on and are directing the happenings are the only ones who know the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth. And they all know that the whole 'revolving around the sun' thing is as close to hogwash as any statement can get.

Ok, rant over. Don't expect a reason for the rant because that will just be another rant in which you will be hard-pressed to find any resemblance of reason for this rant. Don't ask for a justification either, for what I said above about mankind and money and revolution, because then I have to think of something that's a little meaningful and my head hurts when I try doing that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I Romantic

My first taste of being on the net was nearly a decade back when I took advantage of the free browsing allowed in college to sign up for Hotmail. That was, if I remember right, all the rage at that time, what with the story of how Big Microsoft had paid top dollar to buy Hotmail from Unknown Sabeer Bhatia. Somewhere around that time I think I also came across one of those first headlines about online theft or hacking or some such thing. That combination of bad news and online greenhornness must have somehow left an everlasting impression on me because I have been extremely paranoid about giving out personal information to anything online. However, there have been exceptions, with this being one of those rare occasions. It's been a little over 4 years since I met the wise one and I still exactly remember how and when it happened. Anyway, this is not about me divulging my personal history online. It's not even about what I remember about what went into making that history. Rather, it's about what I had forgotten that was reminded to me recently.

So there I was, listening to the wise one crib about a particularly frustrating day in office and trying to cheer her up. Suddenly, with a large grin joining one ear to the other, the wise one asked, "Remember what you did the first time I cribbed to you about my work and asked you to cheer me up?" Now I know that it's a bad sign when you are asked the "Do you remember...?" question because it almost always means, "You are dead buster. I know you don't remember. How dare you not remember? You don't care about me anymore..." and all the drama that usually goes with that line of thought. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to deal with any drama because the wise one was still grinning from ear to ear even after asking the question and getting a blank look from me. That could only mean that whatever it was that I had done was truly memorable. Turns out that it indeed was.

Instead of showcasing my funny side by cracking an irresistible joke and scoring brownie points, I had suggested we go and get a couple of brownies each and cheer up!

I can’t believe I was that romantic back then!!!

Units of Cultural Information

For the last half an hour I have been trying to figure out what that exact quote is that people use to justify calling New York as New York New York. My efforts include searching for my brain and then searching in it, googling for it (the quote!) and sifting through the multitudinous results that that particular activity throws up. All I have to show for my efforts is a link to New York giving me every small detail about NY except the one quote I am looking for and a firm belief that I will not find what I am looking for. So I decided to give up the search and get with the business at hand. I actually wanted to talk about NY being referred to as NewYorkNewYork and connect that up somehow with what is known as a ‘Meme’. Since I don't know the why and how about NY, I will just go ahead with this ‘Meme’ thing.

My initial impression about the word ‘Meme’ was that it was some non-english resident on planet Blog. That was because, outside of blogs, I have never come across this creature anywhere else. At the same time I also noticed that ‘Meme’ is just ‘Me’ repeated twice. As if the repetition was intentional, just to emphasize ‘Me’. As if we wanted to say, "Look at me. Know about me. Now know more about me. Had enough? Ok, now know some more of me" and with time, and our infinite propensity to shorten lengthy things, it became just "Me Me" which in turn became the word ‘Meme’. By the time I thought up all this, my brain was screaming for some rest from all the work I was making it do and so I gave it the rest of the day off and got online to look the word up. I know, that must have been the first thing I must have done.

Anyway, off I went to my favorite online-source of meanings of unknown words - - and this is what it had to say about what a ‘Meme’ means: "a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes." Wow!! Biological transmission of genes indeed. That somehow conjured up the S word in my mind though I am sure that is not what was meant. Fortunately for me there was another explanation given: "a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." Ok, I was not too sure about the cultural information part but I got the rest. ‘Meme’ is some sort of information exchange "from one mind to another." Fair enough.

By the way, this past week, Budding Blogger Meghna tagged me on a Meme. I am not sure why but I thought I would give it a try. Probably because she asked nicely. Whatever the reason, I decided to do it and that's what set me off down the ‘Meme research’ path. Actually the tag was to do a sort of double Meme (Hmmm, shouldn't that be Memememe??) - 3 Things to Die For & My Top Musical Picks. Guess those are the "units of cultural information" I am going to "transmit from my mind to another".

Well, here goes:

3 Things To Die For - First on the list would be 'More time to do stuff I like'. What qualifies as ‘stuff I like to do’ is something I usually make up as I go along, so I can't be specific here. Second would be to be able to look one Mr. Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi in the eye and say, "Sorry dude but I beat you." The last one would be to actually justify 42. :)

My Top Musical Picks
- This thing will probably go on and on if I take the time to remember all the songs I have ever considered my favorites, so I will restrict myself to 3. The first one is "At the Beginning With You" by Richard Marx, the second is "Le freak" by Chic and the third is "Smooth Criminal" by MJ.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An enduring friendship

There is this extremely well known guy who is very good friends with me. I will spare myself the trouble of going into the exact details of the how, when and where it all started between us. Anyway I will have to invent a lot of stuff specifically to make that story interesting and it deserves a separate post. So, for now, you will just have to take my word for it when I say that I am good friends with this guy.

I have known him since the time I was in diapers, so I can say that we really go back a long time. Our friendship is one of those model friendships that gets pointed out by passers-by who say, "Now, that's true friendship" while they are pointing to us. I don't think there has ever been a period, however brief, when he has been away from me. Through thick and not so thick, he has steadfastly stuck around. In fact, at the risk of sounding very corny, I can say that over the years we have grown to be as indistinguishable as a running nose and a nasty cold.

After that description, bordering on hyperbole, of how close our friendship is, I am sure you are at least a little curious to know who this well-known guy I am talking about is. Well, he is called 'Stress'. Didn't I tell you he was extremely well-known?

And before anyone asks, there is no particular reason for me referring to it in the masculine. My friend might just as well have been a 'she'.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A week of reflection

Before I start with my usual serious discourses, just to indicate that I am well and truly back online, I would like to take some time to put down some of the things that I spent the last week reflecting on. The reason for doing this is simple. Given the way things have been put together in my upper reaches, it's a given that there is another week-long break waiting to be taken sometime in the future. When that happens, this account of my reflections from the first time I took time-off might come in handy. If not for anything worthwhile, this will at least help keep me honest when I am reminiscing about that time when I took a week off for the first time.

So I spent the last one week reflecting. Given the amount of reflecting I did, I guess the mirror in my room is just a couple of fragile threads away from cracking. Though I spent the majority of the week appreciating my dark and handsome mug, it’s not the only thing I reflected on. A couple of hours before I realized that in a couple of hours my holiday was coming to an end and that I had to get back to keeping Noodle House open, I decided to reflect on something else. Unfortunately by that time I was so used to my reflection that I really couldn't move too far from my stubble covered profile. Fortunately I was also well equipped to handle such road blocks. Drawing on more than two decades of experience in handling such issues, I did the one thing that had always worked for me during all those times when I had wanted to do something different but couldn't.

I shrugged and gave up.

It didn't stop there. I then had one of those rare moments of clarity of thought that seem to come my way very rarely. The last time I remember such clarity in my own thoughts was probably that time, six years back, when I took a turn too fast on my then-new-bike and skidded. As I skidded, the pain in my knee kept increasing in intensity as it was getting scrapped and I was thinking, "Oh crap!! My knee is getting shredded!" Succinct and to the point. It was exactly the same again. Even as my shoulders were coming down after the shrug, I was thinking, "I am a lazy git!"

Saturday, November 17, 2007


So here I am. It's the weekend of the comeback and I'm back. Healthy, wealthy and wise! Ok, may be not wealthy and definitely not wise but being healthy will do for now. Hope everyone is doing great too. If, unfortunately, you aren't doing all that well, don't fret. The House of the Noodle is back in business and will fix you up in no time!! ;) hehehe.

Something strange happened during this week of enforced absence. A couple of folks messaged saying that they were actually looking forward to me coming back!! Am not sure what to make of them. They must either be raving lunatics or they are just as lunatic as I am. Or they probably just wanted to have something in the blogosphere which would make them look good in comparison!! Whatever be the case, I wish you folks all the very best in life because I know it's a tough world out there, especially for people like us. And before I forget, thank you for the support. :)

When I was closing shop, I had made a statement about Noodle House sporting a new look and all that when I came back but as you have probably already noticed, I am back and the look and feel of Noodle house are still very much the same as they were a week back. Honestly speaking, I really don't have even an iota of a clue as to how I could improve on these. But I will keep trying and may be one of these days I will spring the surprise.

With that I throw open the virtual doors of Noodle House open once again. The air might be a little musty and there might be a thin coat of dust on everything but do come on in, take a look around and hopefully you will like what you see.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Shop Closed

I have decided to close shop. :)

For those of you rubbing your eyes and reading that line again just to be sure, yes you read it right the first time. I have decided to close shop. You can start rejoicing now. For those of you who didn't need that confirmation, I guess you are already deeply immersed in doing the rejoicing thing.

And for those of you who are actually feeling a little bad that I am closing, this is for you. The two of you don't have to feel too bad because I am closing shop only temporarily. I am planning on being back by next weekend and hopefully Noodle House will sport a different look which might be better than the look it's sporting right now (Please do note the highlighted and italicized words because for all that I am promising, you might just as well be coming back to the same old look). As for the content, you can look forward to absolutely no changes there because it will still be me spinning the daily yarn and I am incapable of doing things any better.

So long folks. Be seeing you later. Ciao

Friday, November 9, 2007

An Idle Mind is the Devil's Workshop

Ever heard of this saying? I did. Lots of times. It is supposed to convey the idea that if you don't put yourself to use for some constructive purpose, you will soon be putting yourself to use for something non-constructive. I am sure this saying had its birth in some people's collective experience. I am also sure that they came up with this out of the goodness of their heart and with the intention of helping those who might not have had the same experience as they have had which ultimately lead them to come up with this saying in the first place! But the question is, "Are we to take their word for it and believe it, however good the intention might be?"

Over the last two days, I have taken the art of laziness to dizzying new heights. That has been possible because my mind had already taken an extended four day vacation starting yesterday. And so far I haven't seen the devil or his workshop. Even after it sat there, gathering dust for two days, if the devil has failed to set up shop in my mind, I am really not sure if he ever will. That's exactly why I am not convinced about the universal applicability of that saying.

On the other hand, may be the devil is still searching for my mind in my head!! If that is so, all I have to say to him is, "All the best and good luck to you. Let me also know when, and if, you find it."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Thought and A Question

It's that time of the year when earthen lamps are back in favor in all the 'electrified' parts. It's Diwali time in my neck of the woods folks. Happy Diwali.

I am sitting here, listening to JLo's songs and thinking. I am not sure if those two mix but I am doing it anyway. The 'spirit' of the festival is getting to me I guess!! The day, so far, has been spent in exponentially increasing my cholesterol count, adding some big numbers to my body fat percentage and making a mockery out of a part of my hard earned money called 'Gym Subscription'. But it's ok 'cause I get official sanction to do this only once per year. After working towards resembling an apple for an entire day, I am now sitting here and thinking.....

.....about Charity. Though I would have liked for that to be a pretty girl's name, it's not. It's "Something given to help the needy" as per the dictionary. And I am thinking that this definition doesn't necessarily cover everything that might come under the 'Charity' banner. If I come across a shirtless person out on a cold evening and give him a handkerchief to wipe his nose, am I being charitable? Or am I being facetious and poking fun at that person at the same time? Or something else?

The answer to what I asked is beyond my modest means. My brain, that marble sized thing rattling around in my cranium, unfortunately has juice enough for only that much thought. So I will leave the questions unanswered for people to ponder over. If anyone knows the answer let me know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Diwali Complaints

What is someone, who always finds a fault in everything around him, called? Given a chance, what would you call such a person? People I know, seem to use my name to refer to such people "...this guy in my office never likes the snacks given. He just has to be a Vishnu and complain to anyone who cares to listen..." or "...and then after all that she started being a Vishnu about the price..." or.....ok guess you got the idea.

I am still trying to figure out if being a synonym for something, perceived to be negative, is a positive or not. I started a good couple of decades back and this 'figuring out' has sort of been one of my perennial time pass activities. In the meanwhile, I have also evolved. Not just in terms of stretching longitudinally and latitudinally while adding more than proportional weight but also in terms of mental and gray hair growth. With the experience of having been through a couple of decades worth of evolution, I think I am justified in complaining about whatever it is that I complain about these days. Diwali, for example.

Agreed, it's a festival and a good looking one at that. But that is no reason for not having any complaints. In fact, the name itself is where I start having problems. Is it Diwali or Deepavali? "It is both because both mean the same thing in different languages" comes back the smart answer from folks who happened to receive a larger share of brain matter than me in the great gray matter lottery. Ok, single festival, different names - explained.

How about the reason behind the festival? What and why are we celebrating? Thinking about this takes me back to my school days. Those were the days when I had to learn and write essays about this festival. Of course, those days the concentration was more on writing the essay rather than being bothered about what was being written. But, like I said before, I am a much more evolved being these days and that makes a difference.

Anyway, what I had learnt all those years back was that there are quite a few reasons for this festival (all steeped in mythology but then what festival worth its name is not?). From the top of my head, I remember there being a couple of prominent reasons - one, a story linking the festival to the story of Lord Rama (Ramayanam), another one linking it to the story of the 5 Pandava brothers (Mahabharatam). You might be thinking "Ok, you have the reasons for the festival. What is the problem then?" The problem is something called chronology. Chronologically these stories didn't happen together. Ramayanam happened first, followed by the Mahabharatam. There was a huge time gap between the two, the sort that usually gets described as 'yawning'. So my question is, "How can two separate events, which happened at two points having totally separate time co-ordinates, be the reason for celebrating one festival?” No one has attempted answering this one yet.

Diwali is the festival of lights. It looks extremely fetching with lamps being lit and fire works being set off. And that is what my final complaint is about. Do the fire works have to be so damn loud?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My relationship with my Mind

I don't know why but my mind starts to wander in directions it is not familiar with and invariably ends up in depressing places. This happens a lot when I am sitting all alone in office, at the end of the day, waiting to leave for home. I have tried very hard to control my mind from wandering but to no avail. It behaves as if it has a mind of its own. Now, I know all this because that's exactly what happened today. Finding me alone in office, my mind took off, thinking thoughts that I would never have thought of thinking.

I wouldn't have paid much heed to it had it been some meaningful thought like what to have for dinner or when do I leave office and head home or some such important, life-altering things. But no, my mind seems to shun those known, well-trodden pathways of thought when it's on its own trip. Instead it ventured off-road and started thinking about essentially inconsequential stuff like growth and change and adapting to change and the like. Honestly, what good has such idle thought ever brought to anyone?

It's only recently that I have noticed these flights of fancy into uncharted teritories. For the life of me, I am not able to figure out where I went wrong in nurturing my mind as it grew up. I never stressed it, allowed it to take as much rest as it wanted, made sure I didn't load it with any heavy work and never, ever, asked for it to think anything that would have more than 4 vowels and 3 syllables. In return, it has always helped me in thinking all of my most important thoughts.

I thought I had a really good thing going with this relationship. Now I am not so sure.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Phone Call

You will find quite a few posts littered around the Noodle House which are based on what happens in my workplace. Be it the commute to and from office or the stuff I do as part of my job, it has been a fertile field which has yielded ideas on a regular basis to feed my demanding and consistently skewed thought process and this post is yet another manifestation of the same phenomenon (Yawn!!).

I placed a call to a client this morning because that is more or less what I do at work on a Monday morning. I call on my clients. So there I was, checking my mails, cell phone glued to my ear, waiting to hear the voice of a lady. As the phone at the other end was ringing, I was mentally running down the list of things I had to talk about and giving a once over to the order in which I had to bring them up. I realized that my list was all business with no politeness anywhere to be found. So I hurriedly penciled in a little politeness that I could think of - "Good Morning. This is Vishnu from the-firm-that-I-work-for. I wanted to talk to you about things-I-wanted-to-talk-about. Is it a good time to talk?" This addition to my list happened in what turned out to be the final seconds before the phone was answered at the other end and it was show time.

The 'Click' of the phone being answered at the other end was my cue to start and the pro that I am at this, I didn’t wait for a second prompt. I rattled off my opening lines in a cheerful but professional tone. Well, actually I hoped it sounded at least like a distant relative of a professional tone. Anyway, I made a good job of the opening and was waiting for something like, "Good Morning Vishnu. I am on the way to office now. Can you call back in half an hour?" or some variation of the same.

Instead, what I got was a silence. I guess this was one of those silences that are declared pregnant because I thought I heard a baby crying in the background. This was not in the script and I wasn't sure I was equipped to handle such situations. As I was contemplating my apparent inadequacy in handling such situations, said situation deteriorated further when finally a gruff and definitely male "Hallo" came across the phone line. Even as I was gathering my scattered wits around me to say something sensible I could hear the "Hallo" being repeated a couple of times with an octave increase differentiating between the three. Octave increase is never a good sign and before it went up any further I managed to find my voice and said, "Sorry. Is this 77554?" That got an immediate response - "HALLO" - which seemed like the full extent of the gruff voice's vocabulary. It took me a couple of minutes and my skills as a linguist to elicit an answer which did not sound like h-a-l-l-o stringed together.

Turned out, that I had dialed 77555 instead of the 77554. Thankful to have got that much information from the one-word-wonder, I immediately hung up. My bad. I should have realized that I could have asked him to pass the phone to the person before him and saved myself from making another call.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The big B day

Today is Saturday. As on all Saturdays, today also the sun rose in the East and was fast making his way towards the West. As on all Saturdays, today also I woke up well after daybreak. As on all Saturdays, today also my folks were up and about, doing their work without bothering me and bothering about me. As on all Saturdays, today also life just passed me by, keeping its distance from me.

Today is the 3rd. As on all the 3rds, today also the sun rose in the East and was fast making his way towards the West. As on all 3rds, today also I woke up a little older. As on all the 3rds, today also I had the same argument with my folks about how old I really am. As happens on all the 3rds, today also seems like every other day.

Today is my birthday. As on all my birthdays, today also the sun rose in the East and was fast making his way towards the West (In these times when change is the only permanent thing in life, it's nice to see some things not changing with time!). As on all my birthdays, today also I realized that there was no discernible increase in my WQ (WQ is short for Wisdom Quotient. Not sure if I have one to begin with but if I do, it ain't going anywhere. Fast). As on all my birthdays, today also my folks were more excited than me (They are just regular, optimistic folks. They expect to see a grown up son every time I add another year to my slowly but surely growing collection). As on all my birthdays, today also I got gifts, received greetings and heard the same birthday song sung to me (Happy Birthday to you, You were born in a zoo, With Monkeys and Donkeys, and Everyone like you).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Tailpipe Sniffing

Usually when I say something in an open and straight forward way, it means that I am confessing. This is my confession for the day: I got nothing to write about today. There, I said it. I don't know how much straighter it can get. Usually when I confess, it also means that I have already thought of a good excuse! :D In this case, I was thinking that the blame for whatever I just confessed should be laid squarely at the feet of the day which turned out to be absolutely non-happening. If Thursday was the best "Friday Look Alike" day in the year so far, Friday was the "The Friday" Friday of the year. It was so boring and for so long that boredom itself must have been bored to have stuck around for so long. Poor thing. It seemed good to me: Lethargic Friday, with the prospect of a sleepy Saturday and stupor-filled Sunday to follow, resulting in a mind that shut shop early and hence nothing to write about.

But I had just one problem with that excuse. The fact that at the end of the day I am a little hyper-active sort of proves that I am a little far from being lethargic. This means that my excuse wouldn’t necessarily have that ring of truth to it. So I got thinking about my excuse. I had to find some reason for having a mind blanker than it usually is but still not being tired or weary or bored or stressed or anything else that might usually be expected to blank out the ideas. Then it stuck me.

You must have heard of the "Graveyard-shift". Well, I don't work that shift. But usually (there I go using that word again!!) my commute to and from my place of work happens during those times. That's because at that time I get a relatively free road to commute on. It takes me about 30 mins. Today, given the Friday that I was having, I thought I could go home early and beat the boredom. Big mistake. No sooner had I put a couple of kilometers between me and my office than I got sucked into what has become every urbanite's favorite pass time these days. A Traffic jam. In fact that one turned out to be the beginning of many more to come. And like the good citizen, and urbanite, that I am, I then indulged in the popular traffic-jam activity of 'Tailpipe sniffing'. It's also called "Forced inhalation of smoke and exhaust from the trucks, cars, bikes and any other fossil fuel burning vehicles that are being manned by idiots, masquerading as people, who don't seem to remember that they could turn-off their engines while they settle down to wait for a way out of the traffic jam" but I like to call it 'Tailpipe sniffing'.

Because of the traffic jam, my usual 30 minute ride became a 90 minute journey which in turn meant 60 mins of sniffing. By the time I got home, I was high on petrol fumes and carbon monoxide and dioxide and sulphur and probably a few other exotic chemicals that I am sure I can't pronounce. And after that, leave alone an idea, how do you even expect me to have an iota of an idea about anything that I can develop and write about?

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Today, so far, has been weird. But this weird is not the weird that happens because weird things happened. Rather this was the weird that happens because even the regular, routine things don't happen. Nothing happened today. In fact, everyone at the workplace thought today was Friday. Only late in the day, when someone happened to look at the calendar, did we realize Friday was yet to come.

Of course things like waking up, going for work, breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and other existential stuff like that happened. What didn't really happen was the other stuff that falls under the not-really-existential-but-equally-important category. Like meeting with clients, troubleshooting, presentation preparation and such which, honestly speaking, is more or less what I do as part of my job. The situation was so dire that I initiated talks with a client offering to go to their office to solve some issues for them and my offer, made out of the kindness in my heart, was kindly and politely turned down. For some reason everyone and everything seemed to conspire today to make this the most boring, unremarkable 'Friday Look Alike' day in the year so far.

Because nothing happened today, I spent it vegetating. Nobody has said anything so far, relating me to a vegetable but I think I resemble this. I guess that's one of the side effects of vegetating. Moreover, since I spent my day concentrating on vegetating, I managed to not notice anything of any interest that would have probably gotten stuck in my head. Instead, a whole stream of non-spectacular, everyday non-ideas and non-thoughts are circulating in the northern reaches of my body. I guess that's the main effect of vegetating.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

6 Degrees of Separation

I believe there's a movie by this name which had in it a very young Will Smith or someone looking like him. Anyway, what caught my fancy about "6 degrees of separation" was the concept and not the movie, so let me talk about the concept.

As concepts go, this one is remarkable because it is basically saying that we know everybody and everybody knows us. It has managed to convey the essence of saying "The world we live in is a small enough place to know everyone in it" though I am not sure why anyone needs to use such obscure terminology to say such a simple thing. May be because of the fact that we as people tend to ignore simple things while paying more attention to anything that sounds, acts, feels, smells, tastes or looks obscure and complicated. May be it's just a manifestation of our need to look like we are smart, whether or not we really are. Anyway, I don't know much about the human psyche, so let me not dwell on it.

As concepts go, this one is also remarkable because someone actually had the patience to meet a very large portion of the world's population to come to this "Everyone knows Everyone" conclusion. However this (these) person (persons), who came up with the 6 degrees concept, must have met only a significantly large sample of the world population and not the whole of it because that feat would have been a practical impossibility. It's a fact, at least in a few countries around the world, that people are reproducing faster than active bunny rabbits using the big V. And that's a lot faster than anyone can count. To account for everyone who qualify to be called 'Population' in such countries would therefore become a never ending job and hence my supposition that the world's population was only sampled and not fully taken into account for coming up with this concept. Nevertheless, it is still remarkable.

This concept is however not empirical. Anything which has a sample of the whole as the basis for its existence will obviously not qualify for the exclusivity which the "Empirical" tag automatically bestows. By its very nature of being born out of a sample, this concept will have exceptions. And we should all be thankful for these exceptions. Think about it. Would you rather know your Mom or Dad directly or know them because they are neighbors to the Guy who has an ex-Girlfriend whose Brother happens to be working in the same place as the Owner of the house You are living in?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Today I had a 'apple-falling-on-my-head' moment. I had never spoken to Newton to find out how he had felt when he had the original moment but I guess he must have felt just the same as what I felt today. Ok, since his came first, I should say I felt just the same as what he probably had felt. I am not talking about the pain in the head when the apple made contact with his cranium. Rather I am talking about his feeling after discovering that he is a magnetic material, the earth is a magnet, hence he is attracted to the earth. Or some such thing. I only know that he called it gravitation and the apple was responsible somehow. And now I have that same feeling.

First I got a hurt back, then I got lazy, finally I got a bad cold and before I knew it, it had been a fortnight since the last time the tread mill felt the pounding of my feet. Today I woke up to a clogged nose and to this gym reality. I couldn't do anything about the nose but I could about the gym and decided to re-introduce myself to the tread mill. I kept telling myself that I was going back because I wanted to get fit and all that though deep down I knew why I was really going back. After all, I had paid good money for the gym membership and I had to at least try and make that money count! So there I was, in the gym, after a hiatus of a fortnight. The stint on the tread mill, surprisingly, wasn't as bad as I had imagined it would be. I managed my regular distance with just a few more huffs and puffs than I remember using previously but that wasn't something to make me look bad.

That was when the 'apple...' moment happened. I had finished my jogging and was admiring the look of the tread mill. The tread mill had this ‘wet finish’ look because I apparently resemble a fountain when I am jogging, spraying sweat all over the place. No wonder I never have anyone using the machines next to mine when I jog. Anyway, as I stood there admiring my 'sweaty' work I suddenly realized that I was breathing properly though both my nostrils. Where moments before I was breathing through my mouth because not more than a pin-hole of free space was available in my nostrils, I was now doing full-bore, two-barreled breathing. My nose, that had been clogged for the past three days like the overflowing sewage pipes in my home town, was now functioning the way it was designed to function. And I discovered that the un-clogging had happened because of my jogging. This discovery might not have the same gravity as Gravitation but it's still my discovery and I'm proud of it. I have always been a little skeptical when reading about great discoveries made in the most unlikely of places but given my own experience today, I guess I am now ready to believe.

Talking about unlikely places to make a discovery, I really thank God that my unlikely place happened to be the gym and not the bath tub. Otherwise, I would probably have had a 'Eureka' moment and would have been behind bars right now, charged with indecent exposure, sexual harassment and spreading fear in the general public by acting in a scary manner!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am mixed up

I usually use a lot of qualifiers in my writing. Most of them are absolutely not necessary but I still use them. That is my secret behind adding bulk to the wafer thin ideas I write about. Writing here is an almost everyday activity and in order to avoid looking like I am vocabularily challenged (VC), there is this constant need to use different words, at least those that look and sound different, even though they mean similar things. This has meant that I spend equal time between developing the idea and writing about it. This has also indirectly helped because it has forced me to search for new words to use. I thought writing here would be a fun activity, and to an extent it has been fun, but it has actually turned out to be a vocabulary building exercise. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that my VC status can be revoked and I can join the mainstream. Nope. It only means that I manage to mask by disability better these days.

In case anyone is wondering why I am writing about all that, here's the reason. I started thinking I would write about this horrible cold and sore throat that got hold of me over the weekend. I was laid low because of which I took time off from writing here. I didn't want to exercise my brain and add to the pain in my skull. But now that I am feeling a lot better, I wanted to get back to Noodle House and resume business. Writing about my cold was the obvious choice because that was what at the top of my thought stack and I started spinning, as usual. Finally it turned out to be full of thick, greenish-brown slime. It was running down my nose, crusting on my nostrils, congealing inside the nose, coming out whenever I coughed and other gross things like that.

I couldn't stand the grossity of what I was writing and decided to scrap that line of thought. Instead I decided to give the wheel of fortune a turn and see what it would pick up. The random thing that got selected thus happened to be those lines about my VC status and how I am supposedly overcoming that.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Observations on a rainy day.

There are a few things you can do when it's raining and you have nothing to do but wait for it to stop. You can have a hot cup of your favorite beverage, sit at the window and watch the rain fall. You can curl up with your favorite book and catch up with some reading. You can play some man made music to add to the rain's own. You can sit before the idiot box and reiterate why it's called that. You can do lots of other things. As for me, I got caught on the road and so had to seek shelter in a store front. Standing there I did the only thing I could do to keep myself from falling asleep. I started observing the others waiting there along with me. Some of them had come out of the store and a few of them were like me, coming in from the road to escape the downpour.

These here are my observations:

Nobody, and I mean absolutely NOBODY, has the patience to wait for the rain to stop: Yes, that includes yours truly too. After waiting for an hour and half, I finally saw the intensity let up and decided to take my chance and reach home in the drizzle. But I am the paragon of patience when compared to all those souls I was waiting with. They saw the rain and realized that their forward progress was thwarted and I could see the gears in their head clang and clunk as they tried to decide whether to wait or to dash out. Crashing thunder and that timely flash of lightening helped them decide in favor of waiting. But after about 5 minutes of wringing their hands and wearing out a furrow in the concrete by pacing up and down, they decided they were better off in the rain than waiting for it to stop. I can only imagine what urgent task it was that they had to attend to.

When a girl is waiting for the rain to stop, the amount of time she waits varies inversely with how pretty she is: The pretty girls were gone after about 1 minute. Those who waited longer were not as gifted in the looks department. Just my luck!

We don't need the Pied Piper to lure away the kids. We have the rain: Parents who had come to the store with kids were easily busiest people around. While the single folk in the waiting crowd leaned on the walls, talked on the phone or read a book, the parents had their hands full with keeping their kids from dashing out into the rain and into the nearest puddle. A couple of parents lost the battle.

When its raining, Girls/Ladies get treated better than the guys/gentlemen: Case in point - There was this couple that was coming to the store. The guy parked the car and dashed up the stairs to minimize his exposure to the rain. His lady made her way up the stairs in a dignified, lady like manner before joining him inside the store. Oh, did I mention that the parking attendant held his umbrella for her from the time she got off the car till she got into the store?

I have one of the most interesting and exciting jobs in the world: For the one and half hours that I was standing there, I saw this guy go back and forth, back and forth, up and down, up and down, again and again and again and again and again with a mop. The janitor. He was right there, keeping the mud and the water off the store entrance and the steps, sometimes having to scrub the exact same spot repeatedly because it seemed like people were waiting for him to scrub the spot to put their very own muddy footprint on it. It was frustrating for me to just watch the guy go about his work but he didn't complain once and he didn't stop. I would have done both after the first 5 minutes. Good thing I am not a janitor otherwise I would have been out of a job by now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Your Future is out there!

Curiosity killed the cat but since we are not cats, guess it doesn't apply to us humans. We seem to be fascinated by the unknown or may be we are just plain, old nosey buggers who don't know the meaning of the phrase "mind your own business." Whatever the reason, we want to know what is around the next bend in the road. And that characteristic urge is what drives us to find out more about that mother of all unknowns - our future.

It's a consumer market out there and people are free to choose the method in which they want to go about finding their future and they have a lot of options to choose from. Shells, beads, tarot cards, playing cards, smoke, incense, face reading, foot reading, palm reading, star reading - you name it and there will be people reading it to glean your glorious future from the way it looks, falls, folds, smells, moves, flies, swims or runs. On a personal note, I can control my facial expressions when in the presence of the star readers and the palm readers. As for the rest of the future mongers, I strongly suspect I would offend them all because I will just laugh out loud in their face and nobody likes being laughed out loud at.

I believe that my future lies in my own hands but that doesn't mean that I look for it in the lines and ridges on my palm. I find that funny. Don't get me wrong, I am not against people who believe in this funny thing. I can count immediate family and close friends among the believers. It's just that I don't understand why they believe. Coming back to the funny methods, a little funnier than searching for the future in your palm lines is to search for it among the sun and moon and stars and planets and meteors and asteroids and comets out there. Come on now, explain that to me!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Enter at your own risk

I am not a researcher dude. Leave alone research, I am too lazy to even be a search dude. Since it is something that I don't do and am not capable of doing, I am obviously very interested in the work of others who indulge in this seemingly pleasant activity. One such interesting work was this book called 'Chariots of the Gods' by this guy called Erich Von Daniken. That's D-a-n-i-k-e-n with the funny 'a' having the two dots on top of it. I am not sure if he is, was or will ever be a researcher dude but given the different references he presents in that book of his, I am assuming that he has done something at least remotely resembling research.

I have already disclaimed in the beginning that I am not a researcher dude. I would further want to disclaim that given this book's premise - that extra-terrestrial aliens imparted scientific knowledge and intelligence to pre-historic man - I am not on either the "corroborate it" or the "refute it" side of the fence. I am just a passer by looking in with some passing interest.

Ok, that was my disclaimer, for the 2 cents that it's worth. Now suppose that premise of Mr. EVD were true. It's hard but I guess we can imagine our barely-human-as-we-know-that-term-today ancestors making first contact with superior intelligence and then passing down that story and the knowledge gained from generation to generation. Over the course of time, the meanings, essence and even a few teachings in their entirety were either lost or lost in translation and we have had to 'Invent' them as we, the later, modern generations, started evolving into slightly more intelligent beings.

It got me thinking about what might happen if the same thing were to happen now? What would happen if some superior intelligence were to wander down from the heavens and pay us a visit? Instead of a repeat of the same cycle as we imagined the scenario for our long past ancestors, today an extra terrestrial being would probably rue its fate for having stepped on our planet. No, it will not be because of the 'War of the Worlds' scenario. Rather, the reason would be more 'Human'. In our time and age, the extra terrestrial would probably be captured and be subjected to vivisection, dissection and any other section we can think of. However, if the ET somehow manages to escape being subjected to multiple 'sections', then we can call that a wicked trick played on ET by fate. Because then the ET will be hounded and pursued by paparazzi, will be wooed incessantly by political parties and leaders, will be maligned by the same political parties and leaders and at the least, will have to deal with all the strange looks from the general public which will make it feel like an alien!

So, to all my alien brethren out there, harboring dreams of educating and intelligentifying us non-intelligent earthlings, please treat this as fair warning. You will be making contact at your own risk.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Point

Like every other post in Noodle House, this post also has a point to convey. Said point is, however, still roaming freely just outside the skirts of my brain and I am waiting for it to get in so that I can go ahead. As I wait for that point to find an unguarded entry into my brain, I might as well get done with the irrelevant digressing that I do in my writings.

Buddha, Gautama - Bodhi Tree, Bodh Gaya. This is probably how the telephone directory would list The Enlightened One though you might ask why the directory would list someone who apparently had no phone leave alone a phone number! Anyway, like I mentioned above, that phone book entry thing was my quota of irrelevance for this post. And that irrelevance has also heralded the entry of the point I wanted to put forth, so let me now get to the relevant part.

First: The briefest possible version of the story of Buddha that I can come up with. Born a prince, shielded from life, faces life, goes in search of truth, becomes The Enlightened One. Of course, there is a lot of meat to this bare bones story but that is not what I am interested in. Neither am I interested in what transpired after the enlightenment. The pay-keen-attention-to-this-point point of the brief story is that he faced life and then went in search of enlightenment.

Second: The not-so-brief version of the story of one of my attempts to get into a business school and the after effects. I have made a handful of attempts to get my butt into a B-School worth its name but this story is about that one time when I almost made it into one. Almost because I had both my feet and part of my torso inside but my butt didn’t make it. For those of you who didn't get it, that was my figurative way of saying that I missed it by a whisker. That whisker being the two questions asked in the final interview - "Tell us about yourself" and "What differentiates you from all the other applicants coming from an IT background?" For all the stories I can spin out of thin air, I couldn't string together a proper, coherent sentence to answer the first question and for the second one I displayed the emptiness afflicting the top part of my head in exemplary manner by saying, "I am passionate about what I want to do." I bet the guys on the interview panel had an extended ROFL moment after I left them but at the moment when that answer was making its way out of my voice box, I really didn't notice their reactions. I was thinking, "What!!?? Aww! Crap!"

That interview was my 'faced life' moment and I have been in search of my version of enlightenment ever since. It's been a couple of years now and I don't seem to be any closer to attaining it. My B-School application process is currently waiting for that enlightenment. The point is, I should probably go and sit under a tree.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Question of Sanity

Ask anyone who has made it big in life and they will tell you that you need an appointment to talk to them. When you do manage to talk to them, they will tell you that whether or not they have a fan following, they certainly have a detractor following. Ask me and I will tell you the same! Not that I have made it in life or anything but I will some day and these detractor folks seem to know it too. It's of course good to have critics but these are not critics, these are just people who are plain jealous of the fact that I have what it takes to make it and they don't. Painting me as someone lacking sanity is probably their way of feeling good about themselves.

I know I don't have to do this, but as is abundantly obvious from the numerous vignettes of my very sane, and at times immeasurably profound, thoughts littered all over the place here, I am a regular, sane person. I don't see there being any better justification required for calling myself sane. They say I am not sane because I hear voices! So what? I hear voices in my head all the time. In fact, I hear lots of different sets of voices creating a small sized racket and have sometimes even enjoyed their debates in the peace and quiet of my head. But come on now, that's hardly any reason to suspect that I have taken leave of my senses or that my senses have taken leave of me! After all, the sense of hearing is one of our most important senses and if I am hearing voices, how can it possibly mean that I have taken leave of my senses? And adding some outside support to all this is the fact that my job requires me to answer client queries in a quick, correct and helpful manner. Given this slant towards customer interaction, our firm sure doesn't hire clinically deranged people (that's just an elaborate way of saying Insane).

Unfortunately, logic seems to be something sorely missing from those that have taken it upon themselves to judge me. They counter my logical arguments by saying that my firm just made a big mistake in my case! “You are Insane. I have made up my mind and there's nothing you can do about it” seems to be their motto and they seem be unable to keep a straight face when they hear the word 'Sane' being used in relation to me. Leave alone using the words 'Me' and 'Sane' in the same sentence, their contention is that those two words, when referring to me, are grammatically incompatible to be in the same book!

I don't understand why they do it. Must be a sign of the times we are living in.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Different Point of View

PS: In addition to being extremely non-meaningful as always, this post is loooonnnggg. So if you are at work or in a hurry or something, bookmark this and come back to it when you have time and feel like punishing yourself.

I usually find some trivial thing to complain about. I have noticed this about myself and I am not sure if this is regular, human behavior. But it seems to be normal behavior as far as I am concerned. I have in fact honed it to such a fine skill that I can have a complaint for just about anything. The latest to have the honor of me complaining about it is the fact that there are work days and holidays. On the work days I complain of boredom or getting tired or lack of sleep or something similar and wonder why it isn't a weekend. On the weekends I complain of boredom or getting tired or lack of sleep or something similar and wonder why it is a holiday.

Sundays are days that bring out the full diverse range of my complaint spectrum. Not enough sleep, too much sleep, extremely bored, extremely busy, why isn't the day longer, why doesn't the day end, why, why not are some examples of the extremes my complaints can reach and I can complain about anything within the confines of these extremes. This past Sunday was no different and the complaints were about too much work to be done and not enough time to sleep my beauty sleep. For that day at least, I guess my folks had enough of my whining and allowed me to go and sleep (They said, "Go, get lost!").

Sleep I did, for a few hours after which the body didn't feel like staying prone. This was where I faced my first hurdle of the day. I had sort of run out of things to whine about because after my initial bout of whining, they let me do whatever I wanted and didn't leave me with proper grounds to complain. I could've of course complained that they were not giving me anything to complain about but when I did it once to the mirror, for practice, it looked and sounded too silly to be me. That's when this whole thinking process about my complaining started.

I started thinking about the whining I do, why I do it, the joy it brings me and the joy it absolutely doesn't bring to others. I wondered if that un-joy that I bring to others was the reason why they preferred me asleep. What I couldn't get a grip of, was why someone else couldn't enjoy the thing that I did. I decided to look at the issue from their point of view to understand their reaction to what I do. The problem in implementing that decision was that I had to figure out what their point of view looked like. It actually got me thinking for a long time, 2 Mins 48 Secs to be exact!

You know how they depict the onset of an idea in a cartoon drawing - a bulb switching on top of the head. That's the exact same way I felt when my idea hit me, especially because I got it when I was switching on the light in my room. Like I said, the whining I do causes different emotions in me and those who are not me. Joy and Un-joy. Equal, opposite emotions. Like the two ends of a see-saw, one up and one down. Given that the reactions were opposite, I figured that the point of view would also be opposite. So, all I had to do was to look at the whole thing in a manner that was equal and opposite of what I was currently doing.

Easier done than said. I cleared some space, put my hands on the floor, lifted my legs up and went upside down. Now I could see everything the opposite of how I was looking at them previously. Unfortunately, I still couldn't figure out why they didn't feel the same way I felt. In fact, standing on my hands and looking at my room all tilted on its head, nothing made much sense.

Popular wisdom has it that looking at a problem from a different point of view helps in understanding it better and ultimately in solving it. Au contraire, my experience has been just the opposite. Instead of helping me solve an existing one, it has just given me another problem to deal with. You see, the little amount of time that I spent looking at my upside down room was enough for me to strain my lower back and now I am having trouble bending the normal way. I guess that's what happens when you try to look at stuff from a point of view that you are quite not used to.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bored to sleep

I usually remember things going back a long time. Sometimes I even remember stuff that happened as long back as last week. No, I don't use any memory boosters or supplements. When it comes to remembering things I guess I am a natural. With this long and varied memory that I have, I don't remember any Saturday look as boring as today. Or may be that's how any Saturday would look like if you spend all your wakeful time wishing you were asleep!

In a bid to thwart the fast advancing hordes of the sleep army, I turned to my trusty laptop for help. Switched it on, logged into the net and started browsing, hoping to find something that could help prevent the onset of sleep. I don't remember much of what happened after that because I just woke up (after 7 hours!) with the impression of the keyboard firmly printed on my cheek!

Guess my body's need to drop down and snore was much stronger than anything that the net could serve up to keep me awake. The one good thing to come out of this is that the impression of the keyboard on my cheek looks rather fetching.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wanted: Energetic & Enthusiastic Ideas

My head was running out of oxygen and I did the only thing any human is programmed to do in that situation. I became a hippo! Ok, don't imagine a 'Transformers' like transformation. I didn't physically morph into that elephantine, pig-looking creature, I just imitated one. Confused? Let me explain. I yawned and in the process I opened my mouth so wide and kept it open for so long that I suddenly knew exactly what it felt like to be a hippo.

On an entirely unrelated note, did you know that the being, formerly and currently known as the whale, is a glorified, modified and vastly blown up version of the hippo? I didn't know this either, till I came to know it just now. (Read here)

Ok, coming back to me now. I knew what it felt like to be a hippo. I was also starting to get a massive ache in my jaw because of the really stretched out and prolonged yawns that I was indulging in. Thankfully one thing I didn't have to contend with was flying tiny-creatures competing to be my crunchy snack of the day because I was doing my hippo impersonation sitting in an air-conditioned, almost-sterile environment. However, given that every time I step into this place I start yawning, me thinks that the overwhelming urge to sterilize the environment here probably makes them get rid of that thing called oxygen alongside other airborne miscreants!

All of this happened because I was sitting, watching a computer, waiting for something to happen on it so that I can make a note of it when something did happen. This intensely intellectual hard work kept me occupied for the better part of the later part of the day today and left me drained of both energy, enthusiasm and oxygen. Having somehow managed to address the oxygen issue in my own 'hippo'esque way, I am now trying to figure out a way to address the energy and enthusiasm issues. Any ideas?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Existential what??

I was looking up the word 'CON' and happened to run into another, big looking, important sounding word called 'CONUNDRUM'. Since I was looking into a dictionary anyway, I took the time to look the big guy up and found out that he was some kind of puzzle or riddle or some such confusing thing. I thought I understood what it was and decided to use it in my writing some time to sound impressive. Good. I should have stopped there. Instead, I hung around 'CONUNDRUM' for some more time and eventually came across a phrase which had me stumped. Only much later, when I undertook some house keeping and cleaning activities in my mailbox, did I understand what that phrase meant.

Now let me give you a little back ground before I come to the point, because if I directly get to it, it wouldn't be me and I will have trouble sleeping tonight.

I take a lot of pride in the fact that I sleep walk my way through life. It's actually more sleep and less walk but for convenience sake I will just call it sleep walk and leave it at that. In spite of doing my bestest zombie impersonation and 'zombie'ing my way through life, there are times when I am forced to acknowledge something happening around me. One of those somethings is the standard stock of mail forwards that people seem to get. I am not talking here about any forward that anyone might get. I am specifically talking about the kind of mail forwards received by folks who fall under a specific category called the fresh-from-college-campus-into-software-company category.

Once upon a time, I belonged to it. Now-a-days I just come across newer specimens of that species and though, with each passing year, they make me feel positively geriatric and so yesterday (mind, I haven’t touched the big three-oh yet), the one thing I share with them is an inanity called the forwarded mail. To my amusement, I found that they get exactly the same forwards that I got all those years back!! The same old stuff about love, friendship, relationships, man vs woman stuff, best photographs of the year (in this one, the photos remain the same, but the year keeps getting updated!) and the same old jokes.

It's one such joke that explained the aforementioned mysterious sounding phrase. I have come across this one more times than I have hair on my head. It has this guy who is relaxing and watching the idiot box (let's call this one the Idiot) and his dad (let's call this one the Dad) walks in and the following dialogue ensues:

Dad: Why are you relaxing in front of the TV? At your age, you must be working hard.
Idiot: Why?
Dad: You work hard so that you will get recognized for your hard work.
Idiot: So?
Dad: So, you will get rewarded and reach a better position.
Idiot: Hmmm. So?
Dad: A better position means better money. The more money you make now, the more money you can save for your future.
Idiot: (Yawns!) So?
Dad: (Showing signs of irritation!) If you save enough, you don't have to struggle. You can relax and enjoy life.
Idiot: That's exactly what I am doing now! What's your point?
Dad: !!?!?

I am not sure if that caused any muscle in your face to even twitch involuntarily. But it did help me figure out what the phrase - 'EXISTENTIAL CONUNDRUM' - meant.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I am not a big fan of waiting around indefinitely for anything. In fact, I am not even a small fan. But I am doing exactly that as I sit here, waiting for the wise one to put in an appearance. I guess I would do it only for the wise one. Anyway, there has actually been one, and exactly only one, benefit that I have got out of this. It has helped me excavate a word from the depths of my memory, one that I have been looking for, for the last four days.

I celebrated writing my 100th post here, a few days back. But more important than that was the fact that from the July 6th to October 13th is exactly 100 days (both days inclusive). Did that make sense? If it did, good. If it didn't, even better because at least now you might be curious to read the rest of this!

Those 100 days actually marked the 100 days of existence of Noodle House. And I am feeling pretty warm about it. No, it's not the 'AC-is-switched-off-and-it-gets-stuffy-in-here-pretty-fast' kind of warm. I am talking about that warm, fuzzy feeling that one gets when one feels warm and fuzzy about something!! Ok may be that didn't come out quiet as well as I wanted it to. What I am talking about is the way you feel when you are feeling good about something. Ah, this is much better! So where was I? Yes, I was feeling pretty good about the 100 day mark because it proves that I actually stuck with Noodle House for a little over 3 months now.

That's huge for me. Definitely celebration worthy. What better way to celebrate than to make yet another totally unnecessary, completely idiotic sounding post here? That's what I set out to do but unfortunately couldn't because I didn't know what to call myself at that time. Pity!

It has taken a combination of four days, indefinite waiting and some mental excavation to finally unearth what I am called. A 'Centenarian' in blog days. That's me.

Function Point Professionalism

They had said it back when I was still in school. That once I step out into the big bad corporate world, I would have to become professional in my approach to anything I do. They had also said that I would start learning many more things much faster than I ever did at any point in my nearly decade and half stay in school. And so it proved to be. Professionalism, estimation, time-sheets, project management, tracking, efficiency, re-engineering, standards, process, automation, customer satisfaction - If I am patient enough to considerably strain my memory, I could probably fill in a couple of hundred standard A4 size sheets with all the corporaty stuff that I have come across, starting some half a dozen years back. Of these, I can honestly say that one page full is how much I actually learnt and understood and another three thirteenth fraction of the second page is what I am familiar with.

I walked into office today and that thing called deja vu hit me immediately like a speeding government bus or water tanker or something similarly big. No, not because I come to the same office everyday but because of the talk that was being talked. I had inadvertently walked bang into FP talk first thing in the morning and suddenly felt six years younger. That was when I used to walk into such talk on a regular basis. Anyway, the big hoo-haa in office today was about FP. And that triggered off a memory of this thingy called Function Point (FP) which I remembered to be somewhere on the ragged edge of that three thirteenth part of that second page. More about it can be found here, but for those of you who are like me and would just as well get on with life, a Function Point is a unit for measuring the usefulness of software. Of course this is a highly and overly simplified version of what it actually means but this is all that I have ever understood about FP and this is all that I can pass on to anyone else.

This renewed introduction to FP sort of forced me to pay a little attention to it once again. At the end of the day, though, no good came out of it because I still don't know anything more than what I already knew about it and what I know is limited to the words 'measuring the usefulness of software'. I understand these words. And because I understand that much, I am currently involved in carrying out a thorough Function Point Analysis (FPA) on my brain. I happen to have a semblance of a brain which definitely doesn't have any identifiable hardware in it and without hardware, the only other way it probably keeps up the appearance of being hard at work always must be because of software. And that's why the FPA, to figure out how useful that software is.

Though I already know that it is useless, my FPA will help me present this fact in a more professional manner. But that, finally, is what being a professional is all about.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Law of Triplicality

I am not sure how old the calendar, as we know it, is and I am too lazy to do the search or research required to find that out. But let's just suppose that we are facing a wall which has all the dates in all the years in our past (and hopefully in our future!) listed down on it. There are different ways in which a random date could be randomly selected from such a horde of dates. My favorite method is the ‘Cowboy Method’.

In this method, dart in hand, I get blindfolded, do an about turn, walk ten paces, turn back and throw the dart at the date covered wall. Unless I get disoriented when blindfolded or can't walk straight when blindfolded or can't turn around twice when blindfolded or a combination of all the three, I will have a random date picked at the end of this exercise. (Of course, this is not the only way to get your hands on a date. You can take the straight forward approach and ask her. Ok, now I am digressing!!)

Now, the whole idea behind picking out a random date (the calendar variety) was just to make a statement of fact. Utterly useless and totally moronic but still, a fact which says that irrespective of how dated that date happens to be, it would have been a yesterday, a today and a tomorrow. And if it happens to be a new date then surely it will be a yesterday, a today and a tomorrow.

This is called the Noodle's Law of Triplicality of Dates. This says that there's an innate relationship between the three days - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - because of which they are actually not three different days but the same day in different points in the fourth dimension. To better understand this innate relationship, it can be explained as follows:

"Yesterday was Today yesterday before becoming Yesterday today but it was also Tomorrow day before yesterday. Today is Today today and Today will be Yesterday tomorrow but it was Tomorrow yesterday. Extrapolating the same, we can conclude that Tomorrow is Tomorrow today but Tomorrow will be Today tomorrow and become Yesterday on the day after tomorrow."

That’s all from me for today. See you tomorrow folks!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Astrology and Salesmanship

There are literally thousands of new things coming out everyday and are getting added to the glut of options that consumers can spend their already-earned and yet-to-be-earned money on. But we also know that not all of them make it past the first batch of production. The reason only a handful of products become successful is not always because they are better than the competition but because of the way they are positioned and sold to the consumer.

Communication, whether it is written or verbal, is the key to selling. Any sales pitch has the ability to get people to listen to it but the language, and the manner in which the sales pitch is wrapped in it, is what makes customers out of people. I have picked up this simple but essential truth of making a sales pitch from reading the works of a couple of masters who are as far removed from the sales field as the third rock is from the sun. (I am not naming names here for fear of coming across as biased when in fact I am not.)

These two names are astrologers, famous for selling the future to anyone who cares about that hazy, uncertain thing. But on reading their works, I feel that their talent has been wasted in that field. Take my prospects of foreign travel as an example. At any given point in time, there is as much chance that I might go on an overseas trip as there is a chance that I won't. But when this same thing is presented to me as "From now on, Mars will be in your long-distance travel / foreign people and places sector, so something big seems to be brewing for you in this area", it paints a picture showing me in the airport waiting for my flight! Now if I actually travel, it would mean that the words have come true. Of course, the best part is that the words are still true even if I don't travel because, on reading them a second time, you will notice that they just said "...something big SEEMS to be brewing...". That is what I call an effective sales pitch.

Education, according to popular tee-shirt wisdom, is what we gain from experience and not from a class room. Well, I got my sales education from a couple of top notch astrologers. And my personal opinion is that, given their uncanny ability to express general, day-to-day common sense in creative, positive vibe inducing prose, they could have made it to the very top in the sales and advertising business.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Embarrassed Pig!

I am on board the only ride in the whole world that relentlessly keeps moving forward. You all must have heard of it too. It's called 'Time'. I have given up hoping for it to slow down and am now just resigned to the fact that I can get off of it only when, and if, it eventually decides, on its own, to stop. Instead, I have started paying a little attention to the places that my ride is taking me to. What I have observed is that I am on a journey that seems to be following a very convoluted route. I get that feeling because even though my journey has taken me to lots of new places, some nice and some not so nice, I seem to come across a few, now-familiar places with surprising regularity. One of those familiar places that I have been to so many times in my journey so far is called 'Embarrassment'. Like I have mentioned in an old post (here), I have visited and enjoyed the atmosphere in this place lots of times already. But only when it happens unexpectedly, does the trip become memorable and the experiences stay with you for a long time.

I like dancing. In spite of having a pair of legs that are yet to decide whether they are both right or both left, I manage to convey the impression that I can dance and take pride in my mediocre dancing skill. Ok, 'Skill' might be a little inappropriate to use when referring to my dancing, so I will just say ability. A couple of months back I enrolled myself in a dance class in the hopes that they can take this ability, work on it a little and make it a skill. After the first few classes (two, to be exact) my instructor figured out that he will have to work on it a whole lot just to make it resemble a skill, at least from some angles. Being the patient man that he is, he is still persisting with me and I, for my part, am enjoying developing a new skill.

It might be tough for me to figure out how my legs and hands and the rest of my body are supposed to move for me to look like I am doing what my instructor wants me to but what I do pick up very fast in class is how NOT to treat my dance partner. Partner courtesy and etiquette is what I seem to be picking up faster than dancing and I usually take elaborate measures to see that my partner doesn't have anything to complain about except my non-existent twinkle toes.

Today we were practicing a routine which required us to walk towards each other, twirl on the spot, get into the ball-room stance and continue from there. The music started. I walked, twirled, got into the stance and went ahead and I was happy I didn't make a joke out of myself. The next time we tried it, though, my partner stopped after the twirl and I could see she was trying hard to control her laughter. I was a little confused and also, since I was sure she was laughing at me, taken aback. All we had done till that point was to walk and twirl and I don't think even I am capable of messing those things up. She probably read my mind because she stopped laughing and with a smile on her face and the mirth still in her voice, she gave the reason behind her laughing fit for the whole class to hear.

Now I really wish that she hadn't voiced out her reason! I was sweating like a pig and during the twirl it seems I had sent down a shower of sweat raining down on her!! (I am not sure if 'eewww' would be an appropriate sound to make here.) That's what had happened and to her credit, instead of treating me like an uncouth bum she just laughed it off and continued dancing with me (She did make me wipe my face and hair before continuing!).

That made today's journey memorable. Yet another unexpected stop at 'Embarrassment'.