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'.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Scared Me.

Imagine you are 1 year old, just about getting comfortable standing on your own two legs and discovering the joys and pains of being mobile. Now imagine yourself ambling unsteadily along when someone unexpectedly pops in behind you and goes 'BOO'. I don't know about you but I lost balance, landed with a 'thlop' (that's 'thump' and 'flop' thrown against each other) and started crying. Actually I am not sure if I starting crying before I 'thlop'ed or after. Anyway, I have felt scared multiple times through the years but carbon dating that memory has shown that the above mentioned was my earliest introduction to being scared. Unlike that first time, though, I don't really remember the details about all the other times.

Except for just one other time.

I must have been around 11 or 12 or 13 or somewhere in that vicinity. I was discovering songs and bathroom singing and music and rhythm and dance and left feet and other, similar, important, life altering stuff. I guess that's also the same vicinity where that funny thing called 'Voice Breaking' happens because my voice was breaking at that time though I immediately had no clue as to why I sounded like I had a throat infection. It took me a few days to wrap my head around the whole breaking thing but after that, I started waiting to see how I would sound after it broke completely.

It was during one of those waiting days. As was usual for me then, I went in to take a bath. After a few moments of alternating between being scalded and being frozen, I got the temperature of the water just right. With the shower thus set, I relaxed and started humming some song, enjoying the water on my head. A few minutes into this serenity, I began to hear a strange, spooky, grating noise mixed with the sound of water from the shower. It just seemed to grow more prominent the more I concentrated on it. That shower, I used it everyday, was not supposed to make any sound, leave alone anything that was particularly that eerie.

Now, having entered the realm of double digits as far as my age was concerned, I didn't repeat the 'lose balance, thlop down and cry' routine from my baby days. But I believe I was just as scared as I was then. Even as I went stock still, held my breath and continued listening, the strange noise disappeared. All I could now hear was the water hitting the ground. The absence of the noise was even more unnerving and I was half expecting something to materialize out of the shower spout. I got ready to get at least one full-blooded scream out before being gobbled by said 'something'. But nothing happened. Other than me wasting water by letting the shower run.

Slowly I started relaxing again and cautiously turned my attention back to enjoying my shower and my song. And the noise started again! That is when the proverbial bulb got switched on bright and remembering my scared self from a few moments back, I couldn't but laugh at myself. That strange, spooky, grating noise was in fact coming from the shower. But not from the spout like I had imagined, it was coming from under the shower. It was coming from me!

It was the sound of me singing in my not-yet-fully broken voice.

Stereotypes and Concessions!

There aren't many guy friends of mine who would remember when we first met. Or where. Or the first time we fought and came to blows. Or other seemingly transient stuff that don't hold much significance in the context of our friendship. Like birthdays and anniversaries. These things happen, we live that moment and then we are off, to live the next moment. And as we move from one moment to the next, all we carry forward is a light backpack called friendship instead of packing king-sized bags rightly referred to as 'baggage'!!

Now, the case is diametrically opposite with my female friends (I am spelling this out for the benefit of those for whom I haven't been obvious enough already). Birthdays, first meetings, anniversaries and any other daily life event which takes their fancy - all these are memorable occasions to be remembered and regurgitated whenever the opportunity presents itself. Fights and arguments deserve a special mention here because these are stored in a special hi-speed memory bank with quick access technology so that at the first faint visible sign of any skirmish, the contents of this memory bank are used to hit you on the head.

for any female happening to read this and happening to be my friend, please don't take it personally. I don't mind you hitting me on my head. And please read on. I have nice things to say about you.........I think.

What I mentioned above is nothing but the stereotypical male and female. I accept I am probably as stereotypical as a stereotype can be. So is probably everyone in the rest of the world. We might make a few concessions to all the people or concede all to a few people. But all of us do make some concessions. Once such concession I make is trying to remember birthdays. At least for those people that I know would hit me the hardest if I don't.

Yesterday was one such concession day and I promptly did everything expected of me. I remembered, hunted down the phone number and made the overseas call. Only to hear a gruff voice say, "There is no one at home to take your call. Please leave a message and your phone number and we will get back to you." Back I went hunting, this time for the mobile number. And this time I heard a different voice - "Your call is being transferred to the voice mail box. Please..." - you get the picture, don't you?

There I was, acting out of character, just to bring some cheer and happiness to someone I know would be cheered and happy by my out of character acting and all I get is the answering machine! Talk about life being unfair! Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Damn!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I never once saw myself in the mold of a proper writer. More than anything, I think I resemble a prolific scribbler than a halfway decent writer by any standards. Assuming scribblers also have some standards, I would seriously be offending them too by calling myself one. Anyway, so I am not a writer in the traditional sense of the word. My grammar is iffy, my vocabulary on the blog owes a lot to the different thesauruses that I have come across on the internet (and that in itself was a stroke of luck because I found an online dictionary that helped me figure out that a thesaurus was not a dinosaur!) and my spelling depends on the spell-check feature in MS-Word and the web-browser much like a patient on life-support depends on the ventilator.

All that is not to say that I haven't ever tried to write or that I haven't tried to improve. I have done both. All those writings I have done on paper are now lost or have been taken by people who probably intend to use them as examples of how not to waste paper and on the improvement front, there hasn't been much. So, given such abysmal standards, it's not such a surprise that the internet is the only place where I could easily publish my writing for public consumption. That and the fact that I figured out how to go about setting up a blog for myself. Ever since I started this exercise, I have known that I was exposing my unsuspecting visitors to the risk of losing what little mental health they might have had coming in.

So I knew that I was a 'dangerous' writer in the above sense but what I didn't set out to be was a 'murderous' blog-layout-color designer. On the color front Noodle House has, over the last 3 months, been plain black, black and gray, black and gray and blue, and now it is black and blue and orange. Agreed, it sort of presents a picture of clashing colors. But what I didn't imagine is the full extent of damage this palette is capable of. According to one person (I don't have a name to go with this person) here, Noodle House has colors capable of man-slaughter! The exact words (entry number 15 on the site): "If colors could kill, this site could have committed manslaughter."

I had a good laugh at that one. Can't say if I agree or disagree with that person because our opinions of what constitutes good looks, color-wise, are obviously not the same. But I would nevertheless be thankful to that person because by picking me out and putting me on his site, he has driven a considerable amount of people my way. I usually have around 10 people a day reading this stuff so a total of 7 people because of this one referral, all from Vancouver, is a whopping 70%.

Like they say, "There is no such thing as bad publicity." Thank you. ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Am.

All I want to do today is to bring to the notice of anyone willing to notice it, that I have just touched the three figure mark today. Finally.

Very thankful to all my customers for taking the risk and reading the stuff on Noodle House.
I can only speculate about the reasons you would be driven to come here. My first guess would be that you must be really bored. Good. Bored is good.
Some of you seem to be more bored than the others because I have noticed a few who keep coming back. Are you sure you are not suicidal!?
Here let me re-iterate what I have said in my very first post. I am not responsible for the after effects of coming here.
Now, if all you guys out there still want to come in for a dose of arbitrary thoughts that might or might not tickle your funny bone, you are welcome.
Unless you come here because you want to steal my content in which case I have just one piece of advice for you. Go, get your brain replaced!

Precisely on the sixth day of the seventh month of the seventh year of the twenty-first century, I started Noodle House on a whim and a belief that even I can blog.
Racing to a century of posts has only re-confirmed that belief, though, unfortunately, I am not yet sure if my audience agrees.
A lot has happened since the time I started but that has only helped Noodle House thrive, since that is what provides all the fodder I needed for my cannon.
So much more has actually been left unsaid on these pages for the simple reason that I don't have enough memory to remember all the stuff I would like to.
Although what I forgot was probably not worth writing about, that claim can neither be confirmed nor refuted without actually attempting to write about them.
Doing so, though, would have taken up too much of my time, which is another thing I don't have enough of. Ever. Along with stuff like imagination and brains. :)

Pen and Paper

It's been a couple of years since I have put pen to paper to do some meaningful writing. Usually, it has always almost exclusively been only to put my signature on different kinds of papers. But long, meaningful writing seems to be as distant a memory as childhood. Actually it has been much longer than just a couple of years since the last time I was doing silly things, like using a non-electronic stylus on a paper based medium, on a regular basis. That must have been in college though my memory can't really be trusted in this matter. But I do remember that as kids we were taught to write using those primitive implements and I guess my experience today is the justification for that initiation into that ancient art form.

Even as I am sitting here trying to recollect what little I remember of that ancient skill called 'writing on paper', I am wondering at the wisdom that our elders displayed way back in time because they could clearly see that there would come a time when our modern electronics would fail but our need for written communication wouldn't cease and that this manual method would then stand between us and utter despondency. Of course, the fact that they didn't have all these funky electronics back in the day might also have been a factor but I am not inclined to think so. That sort of negative thinking spoils the whole quaint nature of the thought.

What can be more quainter than me sitting in candle light, ball-point pen in hand and furiously writing on a white paper with black lines? Like you might have guessed by the reference to the candle light, I am sitting here in the small oasis of that light because there has been a power failure and because two unrelated incidents, my laptop battery running dry and me getting a thought, happened to happen at the same time, I am writing all this down on paper. And all this while, I thought I was on the vanguard of the paperless era!

Goes to show that, just like world-wide nuclear disarmament, zero green house gas emissions, world peace and the Indian public supporting something other than cricket, the concept of a paperless world is just that, a concept. Something to be bandied about and used to look and sound modern and forward thinking but fated to forever being nothing more than a concept. Anyway, I don't have anything against using paper. And since in this instance it is the only way to make sure that the few and far between thoughts in my mind, which are currently coming out in a rush, still remain my thoughts, I am actually glad that we have this still with us. The surprise, of course, is not that I remembered to use a paper to note all this down but the fact that I still remember how to wield a pen.

Incredible as that may seem, the sad part is that I have to type all this again so that I can put this up on Noodle House. That's a definite drawback.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Huit & Neuf - Where art thou?

There have been many over the years and there will definitely be a boat-load of them in the future. I am talking about inventions and make that boat a few dozen sizes bigger than Noah's Ark. Among all these invented and to-be-invented inventions, there can be only one that can lay claim to being the most important invention that man-kind could invent. Zero. Zip. Zilch. A concept called 'nothing'. That is probably what most people will find in my post today. Nothing that makes sense. :)

It's the first day of the week. I don't understand why Monday should be the first day of the week. In a cyclic pattern that repeats itself every seven days, shouldn't it be possible for any day to be the beginning? I think it should be. What did you say? Oh, you think I should shut up? Ok, will do. Only about this. I do have other inane stuff that I am going to talk about.

Like the fact that we are biped. But the 'bi' is not restricted to just the 'ped' part of us. It's pretty much common to our other parts too. Like our hands, eyes, ears and nose, if you count the nostrils individually. Those are the 'bi' parts that are freely available for public viewer ship whereas the paying public will also be privy to internal 'bi' parts like the lungs, kidneys and the brain. Added to these, these days, some characteristics are also being given the 'bi' prefix.

On the other hand, this duality (though it's only in physicality) is probably what separates us humans from them Gods. Them Gods seem to have a few characteristics made in triplicate. Like, for example, the God Shiva (in Hinduism) who has three eyes. Or, to take another example, the concept of the Trinity. This second example, I believe, is pan-religion and I have heard about it in connection with at least two religions.

Is this an indication that we also can become Gods if, and only if, we manage to duplicate this triplication? May be. It’s definitely something to think about. But in truth, does anyone of us actually want to be God? I mean, whether they are in the North-east or South-east or North-west or South-west or in any other of the four corners of the globe, who, in their right mind and senses, would want to be in a position where they don't have anyone, higher up, for them to look up to and wish that life were better. Not me for sure.

Talking about senses, this is another area that differentiates us humans. But this time, not from them Gods but from them animals. We, I am referring to the humans, share the sense of sight, smell, hearing and touch with our animal brethren whereas I am not sure about the sense of taste. Those are the five senses every human is supposedly blessed with. Now the differentiation comes in because we can also make use of a sixth sense. No, I am not talking about Night Shyamalan's movie. I am talking about the sense that is known as intuition or, as it is more commonly called, gut feeling. And as if six weren't enough, we have also been given a seventh. Common Sense. However, like the wise-one says, "Common sense is uncommon in common people."

I am one of them common people too, though fortunately for me, the wise-one hasn't yet bothered to let me know that. With that statement of fact, I shall stop talking about inane stuff for today. But somehow, I get the feeling that I missed some inanity that would have fit right in. Hmmm, wonder what I missed!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Rude Awakening

The harsh sound of the door bell mixed with the shrill ring of the cell-phone! Believe me, there is no worse sound in this world than these two indulging in tandem singing (If there is no such thing, well, imagine some such thing from the words 'tandem' and singing'). Before you disagree and say 'finger nails on blackboard', let me tell you that this is worse. Especially when you are sleeping.

Today is Sunday. Sunday is weekend. A day off. This is my 'laze around the house getting bored' day of the week. There I was, peacefully sleeping in the morning, before being brutally dragged out of bliss and thrown into reality. My reflexes worked faster than the rest of me by reaching out and trying to switch off the alarm. That's when it permeated into my drugged-with-sleep mind that it wasn't the alarm. Rather, it was the above mentioned cacophonous duet. The only way to mute the jangle was to answer both the phone and the door-bell. I reached for the cell phone and at the same time, tried to get out of bed to answer the summons at the door. But that didn't happen exactly that way. During the night, I had somehow managed to expertly wrap myself up in my blanket to resemble a mummy (the old, Egyptian variety) and though I got myself out of bed I couldn't get my legs working the way they were designed to work. Result - Butt met tiled floor. Ouch!

So why did I have to go through with this ordeal first thing on a Sunday morning? Who was at the door? Who had called on the cell-phone?

After I managed to de-mummify myself from the blanket and get back to my feet, I noticed that it was my dad on the cell-phone. And I opened the door to find my mom leaning on the door bell hoping to extract every last ounce of performance from it. With my dad standing behind her! They were just trying all the options they had to wake me up as early as possible because they knew that otherwise they would have to spend half the day standing outside, waiting for me to wake up.

I don't blame them. I am a heavy sleeper, they had to do it. But that still is the worst sound I have ever heard.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Words and Quotes

Indulge me a little. Please. First read through the list of words I have here:

"Gravitation", "Don't", "First", "They", "Worry", "Can", "Not", "About", "Ignore", "The", "You", "Be", "World", "Held", "Then", "Responsible", "Coming", "They", "Laugh", "To" ,"At", "You", "For", "An", "People", "End", "You", "Fight", "Today", "Falling", "You", "Win", "Then", "It's", "In", "Then", "In", "Already", "Australia", "Love", "Tomorrow", "They".

So, do you make any sense out of them apart from seeing them as random words? Let me toss this list up in the air and see if that makes a difference.**Tosses the words and looks up, open mouthed. Ouch!! "Australia" fell on his head. That must have hurt**

Well, well. After that aerial sojourn, the words seem to read less like a list of random words and more like meaningful sentences. Have a look see below:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."

"Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love."


Ok so these are all quotable quotes that I happen to like, made by some supposedly well known people. I just had to find a way to write about them and given my boundless imagination and incomparable writing skills, the toss-the-list-of-words-in-the-air technique is what I came up with. Patent and trade mark are pending, so if anyone wants to use the technique, they better get in touch with me with details about my cut.

Anyway, before I sign off, let me also reveal the identity of the quoters whose quotes I have just quoted. That first one is a piece of wisdom from some freedom fighter it seems. I am a bit fuzzy about his actual identity but I have heard him being called Mohandas or Mahatma or Gandhi or some such. The second one is attributed to one Charles Schultz. This guy seems to have had a thriving business dealing in nuts. Mainly peanuts. And that last one, I knew the guy who is supposed to have said it. They said the guy who said this was the same, slightly eccentric guy who explained the theory of relativity. Well, there can be only one person who fits that description. My high school physics teacher. I never knew he had it in him to say stuff like this!

Ok, hope you like those quotes as much as I do. Me sign off now. Adios.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Forget This

How would you define memory? My favorite dictionary in this ethereal medium,, says "Memory is the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences." In human speak, that translates to "being able to remember stuff." I guess I can safely say that this definition, if I may call this that, refers to humans. Now, I very vaguely remember having heard, somewhere in my very distant past, something on the lines of metals remembering their shapes! Yes, I know, it sounds a little 'Terminator-2'ish but the ethereal medium does have an answer to this too. A quick google (verb) then threw up a name for such metals. They are called Shape Memory Alloys or SMA (Duh! Really!) and seem to 'remember' their original shape even after they have been bent out of it. So what 'Memory' are we talking of here? Does this have the same definition as the one I gave above?

If anyone is actually pondering that highly philosophical/intellectual question, please don't. My idea behind all that talk about memory was to just say that I think this memory thing is way overrated! To save you from scratching your heads wondering how and why I am saying this based on the above, let me clarify. This is not based on what I said above. That was just to introduce 'Memory'. The basis for my 'memory is overrated' thought is what is below.

We have a memory that helps in remembering facts, events, experiences and such. So what? The presence of these so called SMAs is proof that leave alone being a unique human trait, it is not even a unique living-being trait. Having memory is like saying I exist. How unique can that be?! Ok, let's leave the fact that it is just another common property for stuff on earth. It's not like our memory is something that leaves a good taste in the mouth either. Yes I remember the good days, the old days and the good old days. At the same time, as if to temper my happy feeling, I also remember facts that I wish weren't, events that I wish hadn't happened and experiences I could have lived without. This is the main reason I think memory is overrated. It's not unique to us and it's just a thought retrieval agent that blindly brings back everything, good or bad.

Instead there is something else that, according to me, deserves far more recognition than it currently gets. It is called 'Forgetfulness'. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the greatest gift man-kind has been given but it definitely is up there with the other contenders like jalapeno peppers, bubble wrap, chocolate chip cookies and certain other things. Without being blessed with this divine gift, imagine the amount of stuff you would be carrying around in your head. We would have started using the other major organs like the liver, pancreas and the colon to store our thoughts. Given what those organs are intended for, I can only imagine the contamination our thoughts will have to go through, literally. And that one reason is enough reason for us to be thankful for being forgetful.

So here is me, doffing my hat to this wonderful ability of ours. And.....................................................................................ok, so I forgot what comes next, but rest assured it wasn't anything important.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Madness and Madras Mainroads

Of course it's not called Madras anymore, at least not officially. It's called Chennai. This change in nomenclature came about some ten years back when the rulers, supposed public representatives supposedly elected to the role by democratic vote, deemed the name 'Madras' to be a hangover of India's colonial past and sought to redress the situation by calling the city 'Chennai', supposedly in chaste Tamil (or 'Tamizh', to be phonetically correct!). Of course, the political mileage that the then rulers got out of this move is in the realms of the regular 'R&I' (i.e., 'Rumor and Innuendo' for those who are not familiar with the short form) and we can just speculate all we want without anyone ever saying that we are wrong or right.

Madras, as I persist to defiantly refer to this city of my birth, is a name I like and as my rant above shows, the change in name hasn't gone down well with me. However, now that I have that out of my system, I think I better get this post back on track before it gets more lost than it already is.

**Looks around to see any familiar landmarks leading to the correct path. Scratches head, scratches two-day-old stubble, turns the map a full 180 degrees in all 3 dimensions, looks around once again...aha! Found it. Trudges back and is finally facing the correct direction**

The only other country I have set foot on, apart from the land of my birth, is the US of A (Oh no, I didn't mean 'country' as in 'country-side' but 'country' as in 'nation'. Sorry about the confusion!). I was in Big Apple and its neighboring New Jersey (Small Apple???) for a little over 2 months with a trip to Washington DC and Dallas, Texas thrown into the mix. And the first thing I thought as I was making my way out of the airport was, 'Wow! Look at the wide roads!’ The last thought, as I was making my way to the airport was also more or less on the same lines. And in between these two, I must have thought that thought a few hundred times. Minimum. When you look at the world map, look at the US of A and then take a look over at India. Compare the size of the two. Now compare the 60+ million head count in the US with the 1+ billion head count in India and the contrast between the two is just compounded further. That will probably give you an idea of why I was wowed by the vast stretches of empty space and wide roads.

This combination of a humongous population and a small land mass can only result in one thing. Cramps. Causing further cramps is the on going economic boom in India and its most visible manifestation - the increased car/SUV/truck population on the roads (a majority of which are poorly maintained). As someone who stays a fair distance away from my office, my daily commute is done using my bike. When I started work some six years back, it used to take me around 20 to 25 minutes of maniacal riding to reach office in one piece. If I didn't mind reaching there in more than one piece I could have made it in 15. Six years hence, it takes me upwards of 45 minutes irrespective of how many of my pieces reach office. And this is when I leave home before the peak hours to escape getting caught in traffic!

As if that was not bad enough, the whole time I am on the road, I need to maintain a 360 degree surveillance of my immediate surroundings to avoid coming into intimate contact with other road users. This includes two legged creatures that choose the moment, when the light turns green for the vehicles, to test their faith in God. And God forbid, a non-serious accident happens, the traffic freezes! The warring parties pitch tent right there at the place where one fender brushed against the other and the rest of the traffic gives them company and moral support by stopping and gawking. For most of the on-lookers, that might be the most interesting part of their day but me, I'd rather be home, acting comatose and staring at the TV.

Before I forget, honorable mention to the umpteen traffic light GPs that take place (yours truly is an active participant in these even though he realizes the futility of racing for a mere 100 meters before stopping at the next signal for a minute and half!). If I want to catch that elusive thing called an 'Empty Stretch of Road', the only option for me is to take part in these mini, spontaneous GPs. Further encouragement to take part in these comes in the form of the long, wide lines of traffic jammed around each signal. Get caught in the middle or the back of these and you can be sure to be looking at the same set of lights for a couple of signal cycles before you get to move ahead.

Me thinks this long rant should end here. Two reasons. I don't think I have anything else to rant about this particular subject. Second, I am feeling sort of light in the head, now that I have un-loaded all this. Finally, if you are reading this particular line, I have just one more thing to say to you - "Dude(tte), you are either very patient or very jobless!!" :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

How I Potentially Changed the World

I am elated. And very happy. Ok, they both probably mean the same. But that sort of reflects my state of mind, so I will keep it as it is. The reason for my very happy elation is that, today, I did something that has the potential to change the world as we know it. Well, actually speaking, I helped kick start the process and once the process runs its natural course, we should have a changed world on our hands. I am looking forward to it (As difficult as it might sound, you can imagine a physically grown up man jumping up and down in excitement. That would be me!).

Let me fill you in with some background and some details. I call myself a consultant because that's what they call me in the place I work. But when I look at my job, after peeling off the different layers it is clothed in and washing away the make-up, it's nothing more than a sales job. There is a product our company puts out. I sell it. Simple. Right? Wrong! Actually it's not so simple like I made it sound. I guess no sales job is. To add to the already abundant lack of simplicity, the product I sell is a software product and my potential customers are companies which are trying their hardest to keep their operational costs down. By now, you must be able to see where I am going with this. Unlike my job, the equation here is simple. I have to sell the product to folks who wouldn't want to see even the shadow of it unless it's given to them for free.

Given that scenario, my current state of glee and happiness can be traced to the fact that a not-so-ordinary deal has gone through. Our customer (whom I can't mention here) is handling a huge project (that I can't name here) in a domain (that I can't specify here) for one of their clients (whose identity I am not at liberty to reveal). Since they cater to a percentage (that can't be specified here) of the global market, this end-client (that I should not name) occupies a highly influential position in terms of influencing future world-wide trends. And because the sale I made is going to benefit said project which is going to in turn help said customer in influencing future trends, I am taking a little credit for having changed the world, whenever the change happens.

In case you had any difficulty understanding the 'details' that I had provided above, you are free to blame the various confidentiality agreements I am working under!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Helpful Scars

Sometimes it just happens. I don't know why but it happens. I get hit with a bout of 'BrainBlankitis'. One second I have the idea and half the post written in my head and the next second I am groping in the dark recesses of my brain to figure out what topic I was thinking about. Not sure if this is a regular, normal, human affliction or old age though I personally think it must be old age. Anyway, it happened again today. I had this idea and it was time to switch on the machinery upstairs in the hope that a half-way decent, funny blog post will churn itself out. But as I sat staring at the computer screen showing an all white page, I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what the big idea was.

There are a lot of techniques I have read about, aimed at helping people in exactly this kind of situation. I tried both of them but with no success. My memory was in serious trouble and the blank screen remained just as white as before. By this time my elbows were on the table, my head was in my hands and it was starting to fill with crazy ideas like upgrading my RAM and getting a bigger hard disk. Thankfully I wasn't so far gone yet to actually act on those ideas!

At this juncture, my fingers ran over a small bump on the side of my head. That small bump was what still remains of a head injury from over a decade back. Even as I was feeling the familiar contours of the bump with one hand, my other hand started homing in on a similar scar on the other side of my head. And found it. This one was the result of a meeting between my head and the wall in my school which got a little too intimate for my comfort. And running my hands over these two, old scars, I got thinking about all the other scars and memories spread across my length and breadth.

I had decided that my face was too unremarkable and took the help of the tea table to split the tip of my right eyebrow into two strands. That was a little after I was a baby and a little before I could call myself a toddler. After that, I have done or tried my best to do a few other alterations to my mug. I found that my chin was jutting out a little too much and took the help of the floor to push it back in. I tried to compress my huge head by keeping my head between the door and the doorway frame. Apart from all these in-house aids that I had used over time, the road has been my best and most often used aid. I have attempted to change the appearance and alignment of both my legs and both my hands using the road, on more than one occasion. Unfortunately I haven't been successful in doing that. A fracture in my leg, a shoulder getting dislocated and sundry other scratches, bruises and cuts did give me the illusion that I was getting somewhere in my endeavor only to realize that they had all flattered to deceive.

Now, given the number of times I attempted to make some physical changes to myself, I am not surprised that I have such a list of scars to reminisce about. But the best part is that this reminiscence solved my problem of not having anything to write about. Whether they helped with altering my looks or not, the scars were at least helpful now.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Abnormal, Unmemorable Monday

If anybody has the patience and the mental fortitude to sit and go through my previous 90 odd posts, they will realize one thing. At an average of nearly once every 5 posts I would have mentioned the fact that I am employed in a 9-to-6 job. Now I can attribute that kind of frequency to the fact that I spend something like 26 hours of my 24 hour day at work and that my work and work place provide the maximum fodder for me to come up with something to write. But the truth is that the paucity of ideas in the empty shell, that plays the part of my head, forces me to go back and use the same old, over-used things I have used before.

Ok. All that rambling was just to prepare you for yet another reference to the same. :).

Today started. With a bright, clear blue shining through the fog of my sleep and dreams. That woke me up. The first thought in my head was that the blue that had woken me up was the famous Monday Morning Blue! As I sat up in bed, half asleep and yawning, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized, with some surprise, that I could do a very good imitation of an underfed, malnourished hippo. Big head, bigger mid section and a huge mouth - Yep, definite hippo territory. With my thoughts threatening to head to the jungle, I turned to see the time. Another surprise! Seeing the clock read 8.30 got my derrière out of bed faster than I could erase the word 'Hippopotamus' from my head. I forgot about the Monday morning blue and the hippo and any other thought that I might have wanted to think about sitting in bed. I was already late and the only thought in my head was to get ready as fast as I could and head for work.

To cut a long winding story short, before leaving home and finding myself lending the human touch to an otherwise furniture filled office, I fortunately remembered that this Monday was supposed to be a 'work from home' day. Phew! If everything had been normal, 8.30 in the morning would have found me sitting at my desk in office, not sitting in bed thinking about hippos! However, the ‘Bandh’ made sure that today wouldn't be a normal Monday. But after a full day of working from home, I haven't had anything more interesting happen to me than what had happened first thing in the morning.

As abnormal Mondays go, this wasn't such a memorable one.