Sunday, January 27, 2008

I had to Sleep

I am back. For the umpteenth time and counting. In my fledgling non-career as a blogist, I have already been away and come back a few times already, so this is not new to me. What is new is that, for the first time, I am also thinking that this kind of 'I am back' posts are a complete waste of time, space and the money I pay for my home broadband connection. So this will, for all intents, be my last 'I am back' post. Now for this to be my last, I must not go away at all, there by removing the need for saying 'I am back' or I should simply not bother with an 'I am back', the next time I come back. Knowing me the way I do, I can say that the first option is what I aim for and the second option is what will happen.

Let me clear up something before going forward. I know I am supposed to call myself a 'blogger'. I referred to myself as a 'blogist' - rhymes with artist - only because 'blogger' somehow doesn't do it for me. When I try saying that I am a blogger it makes me feel like I am a software. That is reason enough for me to come up with 'blogist'. Hope that clears the air.

So why was I away? I am not sure I can put my finger on any one reason. My other job, the one that helps pay my bills, required me to travel and I was gone for a week. Then I fell sick and took that opportunity to get re-acquainted with daytime sleeping. Just as I thought I was getting better I started seeing red all around. I wasn't angry nor was there something wrong with my eyes. It was the color my stock portfolio was painted in after the markets got a 'Bear hug'. One after the other, there was always something else to think about.

Ok, now for what actually happened. All that I said is true but actually what it all did for me is that they gave me an excellent excuse for being lazy and I am proud to say that I utilized each and every one of them. There is this voice in my head that keeps telling me about Noodle House and all I did the last of couple of weeks was to give it one reason every day, explaining why Noodle House was not a priority on that day.

Today, unfortunately, I ran out of reasonable sounding reasons and I can't really sleep in peace if I bluntly accept to that voice that I am too lazy to write. So the other option is to write, which is what this endeavor is supposed to be. Now I can sleep.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Someone Understands

I have proof, positive, irrefutable proof that I am not as completely a different species, from the regular 'Homo Sapiens' you might run into on a daily basis, as previously thought. I have two hands, two legs, two eyes, ears, nostrils, one mouth, opposable thumbs, erect posture and the other odd features that are sort of common to the 'Homo Sapiens' clan. Where I differ is in the intellectual stakes, the difference being that they have an intellect whereas I exist without one. But that small difference doesn't make me any less human, it only makes me a little less understood. One of the not-so-obvious reasons for me persisting with Noodle House is in the hope that someday, someone, somewhere will show up claiming to understand what I write here, there by allowing me to prove that I can also be understood.

That moment has come now. Corey, from the Lady Bug Tea Company, not only understands but thinks I am great and this is a great blog. "Awesome" is her word of choice. Being someone who doesn't stop with words, she has gone ahead and made me one of the proud recipients of the "Awesome Guy Blogger" award. Coooooooooollllll!!!

This here is the award and this here is me thanking Corey Irwin for helping me prove that I belong.

Thank you. :)

Jumping on the Bandwagon.

It's one of those few times when I feel the urge to jump. Jump on a bandwagon that is. But make no mistake, this is no ordinary bandwagon that is fortunate enough to count me among its occupants. This is the cheapest and arguably the most keenly anticipated bandwagon in some time. I have heard it being said that it could potentially change the business landscape across the world and could possibly sweep a billion people off their feet. If all this doesn't make sense, let me acknowledge my lack of prowess in the field of clear, concise and meaningful communication and try to spell that out in a more non-cryptic, non-Noodle House manner.

I am gearing up to give my opinion, vent my feelings and, in general, join all those hordes of people, whom I usually look down upon, who buy into the hype around.....well, anything that has been hyped. The current 'thing' that has been hyped enough to get me jumping on bandwagons is probably the second Nano, the first was the iPod version, to have caused people to spend as much time waiting in anticipation. But where the Jobs inspired Nano was small, cute, electronic and could be carried in your pocket, this Ratan Tata inspired Nano is small, cute, runs on petrol and could, quite possibly put, a couple of scooter manufacturers out of business and a few hundred thousand people into the world of car ownership. If I am still accused of being cryptic, well, I am talking about the TATA 'Nano', the cheap car to beat all cheap cars. At a starting price of around 1.2 Lacs post taxation or 1 Lac (the magic figure!!) at the dealers, this is the first sub-$3000 car in existence. And that is the reason I said it could potentially change the business landscape - at least in the automobile industry. Now that this price-point has been shown to be achievable and very much possible, manufacturers present in all points across the global circumference will be forced to at least re-evaluate their business practices. An Indian manufacturer is set to teach at least a few lessons on business innovation to his global brethren.

That's the good part. Obviously, there is also the bad part, to keep with the Yin and Yang theory. Now the bad part is what affects me directly. Planning to shift human butts from two wheeled scooters into four wheeled 'Nano's is fine and socially uplifting (at least in the Indian context, where a car is looked upon as a self-proclaiming sign that says 'I have arrived'!!). But as a supporter of two-wheeled transportation, I would like to point out that the Nano, cute and small as it might be in car terms, still occupies space where 2 bikes could stand comfortably without one handlebar getting intimate with the other. The Nano, for all its claims of having a mileage of around 20 Kmpl, is still a lot thirstier than the scooters it has its sights on. The Nano, being a car, has its own maintenance costs that I don't think will be less than those for a scooter. And finally the 1Lac price tag of the Nano, its trump card, might be peanuts in car terms but is still a minimum 100% more than what a scooter owner would shell out for his two wheels. This brings me to the one aspect that I haven’t bothered to address so far. Safety. Anyone on two wheels would be a fool to argue that they are safer sitting 'on' their vehicle than 'in' the vehicle. The car has the bike beat in that one aspect. And I really don't have a witty or torturously wordy way of making it seem like some insignificant advantage.

In a nut-shell (if this is a nut-shell I guess it was a BIG nut), this is how I look at the small sounding 'Nano'. In terms of Space, Price, Ownership/Running Cost, the 'Nano' can't live up to its name, compared to the two wheelers it is planning to replace. In terms of Safety, it has the drop on the bikes but again only comparatively. Given the hype surrounding this vehicle, Mr. Tata's so called vision of 'Bringing a car within reach of the common man' and the initial public reactions to the launch of the car, I would have to say that people being people will try to emulate lemmings and throng the nearest TATA showroom to get their 'People's Car'. And for all my misgivings about increased congestion, pollution and in-the-city travel times, the 'Nano' might just make India the most populous nation in car terms, Mr. Ratan Tata might retire and laugh all the way to his bank and I might end up buying one just to keep up with the Joneses!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Verb

Statutory Warning: What follows is an inane attempt at extremely lame humor. Go away NOW with your sanity and temper intact. I won't accept any part of the blame from the next line onwards.

Apart from being mammals, having four limbs and having six lettered common nouns starting with the letter 'H', there is a similarity between horses and humans. Both of them wear shoes. There is one more thing, a noun starting with the letter 'H', which is similar in the two. Horns. The similarity is that you won’t find horns on either. If you are wondering where this is going, I shall let you know that once I figure it out for myself but in the mean while I can assure you that this is definitely going to end. Before the end, though, let me tell you that I am not attempting to write something about either Horses or Humans. Nor am I planning to write about Horns or Shoes.

The point of interest today is a rather interesting verb that comes into being when two nouns are hurled violently against each other. The nouns are Shoe and Horn and if they have a head-on collision, we end up with Shoehorn, which is a rather interesting concept that I first came across on a TV show. It was some kind of car customization show where some Joe Public's car is whisked off the road, souped-up, pimped out and returned back to the owner amidst lots of what I like to call 'reality show love'. I don't remember the name of the show but the main guy, the soup-up'er and main pimp'er man, was a guy called Chip Foose. And the one thing that was regularly bandied about was 'shoehorn'ing some xyz engine into an abc car.

I must have been hooked pretty hopelessly, for me to remember so much of that show and remember the verb. Anyway coming back to that verb now, according to some of my well placed sources, I have come to find out that it means "To force into a limited or tight space". My current interest in that word stems from that meaning. Remembering those guys on that show putting in that big, bad looking engine into the that tiny looking engine compartment of the equally tiny looking car, I started thinking that may be I should try this shoehorning thing myself and see if I can fit an after-market brain into my miniscule brain cavity, which is right now living up to its name.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Inspiration and Wet Socks

I usually sit down with Noodle House at the fag end of the day. Every time I sit down to present yet another immaculate nugget from my complicated thought process, I draw inspiration, if I can call it that, from the various experiences that I had been part of during the day. My previous entry - A Wish List - was no different.

On that day, I had dressed a little better than I usually do because I was scheduled to stand before a few clients. Of course, someone else was scheduled to do all the talking with the clients but they wanted me there because they probably thought I improved the scenery. So I was ready, my new tie knotted on top of a clean, pressed shirt which was tucked into a pair of neatly pressed pants and my shoes waxed and polished. All my preparations thus in place, I was pretty confident of how I looked. There was nothing more I needed to think about till the actual meeting and I put the thought of it temporarily on the back burner. Instead, on my way to the office, I was thinking about the things I would like to get my hands on. In other words, I was thinking about my actual Wish List.

The moment I put my impending meeting on the mental back burner, I was presented with proof of the fact that someone up there likes to have some fun at my expense. Because as soon as I started thinking that I was prepared for the meeting and started thinking about something else, the skies opened up. The 2 minutes 28 seconds that it took me to slow down, search for the nearest dry spot, park my bike and rush out of the rain was all the time that it took for my pants to get soaked. More importantly, that was all the time it took for the water from my pants to drip down and find its way onto my socks and into my shoes!

Good deed done for the day, the skies cleared up and allowed me, with my water-logged-socks clad feet, to reach office right on time for my meeting. I entered the meeting, grinning and apologizing for my partially wet appearance. And that's how I spent the rest of the day - Grin on my face and feet marinating in wet socks.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Wish List

Before starting with whatever it is that I plan to write, I want to throw some names at you and see if you can figure it out for yourself. So here goes: Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig. If I think what you are thinking, then I am thinking James Bond. Which, even though being in-your-face kinda obvious, is not the correct answer. Ok, add these names to the previous list and see if it helps: George Lanzenby, Frankie Muniz, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas. Let me be honest here and confess that I don't know what you are thinking. I will just let you do your thing.

Hope you have it figured out. If not, well, don't sweat it because as you knew right at the beginning, I am going to tell you. If you are a half-way decent Google researcher, you would have mixed and matched those names and ended up with James Bond, Agent Cody Banks and Spy Kids. Now what is the one thing these moves have in common? Apart from the spy theme? The toys! That’s right, the cool gadgets that these Super (Ahem!) Spies get to wrap their grubby paws around.

Of course I am no James Bond, nor am I a passable look alike, so my chances of having a Q, or someone like him, making me gadgets similar to those used in the movies is firmly in the realm of day dreams. But since dreaming is the one thing that is definitely within the realm of my reality, I just went ahead and dreamed up a few CG (cool gadgets) that I would like someone to build for me.

The Refresher - I still remember all those times when people would have preferred the company of a skunk with a leaking stink gland to being around me. I didn't understand this behavior, until one of my good friends stayed with me longer than the others and managed to murmur "It's.......socks...............................smell...........................yuck" before passing out. This odoriferous truth brought home the need for The Refresher. A shoe with air vents on the sole. The moment the shoe senses the foot starting to stink, the air vents open to allow circulation. The more the stink potential of the feet in the shoe, the longer the air vents on the sole stay open. Can be fitted to leather loafers as well as to sneakers.

The Shoerella - Have you ever stepped out of the house only to be caught in an unexpected downpour? I am sure all of us must have 'been there, done that'. I am not sure what you hate the most about that scenario but for me it's the fact that my socks and shoes become water logged and take a couple of days in the microwave to dry out. Of course I also absolutely hate having to go about my work with soaking wet inner garments but the wet shoes just about edge out the wet undies in the hate stakes. So that's what this gadget would address. The Shoerella. Fitted to the bottom of your pants, at the first hint of your pants getting wet in the rain, this 'rella automatically will expand into a water-proof casing covering the foot from toe-tip to heel-tip, a la bell-bottom pants. Though I am not really sure how the gadget would handle you wetting your pants for reasons other than rain!!

As you can imagine from the above, I have been having an extremely torrid time with my feet and foot wear, what with the sudden rains in these parts. But those are not the only kind of gadgets I dream of. There are others too, about which I shall elaborate at a later date. For now, though, I shall feel like 007, if I have the two that I have mentioned.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be too displeased if I am given an Aston Martin with a gorgeous blonde inside.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Question, Answer and a Realization in between.

What is special about 5th Jan, 2008? I do realize that it might be a birthday, an anniversary of some sort or something on those lines for a considerable number of people but I am not asking the question in that sense. Apart from all the personal reasons that make this day special to different people, there is one generic fact about it which makes it special to every single person on the face of this planet. Anyone know what it is? I will give a clue: 5th Jan, 2008 is a Saturday. Think about it.

The other day one of my colleagues, the one who still remembers that I have a place called Noodle House out here in cyber land, pointed me to one of his own places here and said, "I have been writing some utter nonsense recently. Read it." or words to that effect. I wondered why he was labeling himself with such unambiguously negative words. I don't call my own writing nonsense and I know the kind of meaningless drivel I churn out. More to the point, though, was the fact that he had asked me to read it. So he writes nonsense, by his own admission, and I have to read it?! Couldn't get my head around how that worked. Anyway, sitting at home this weekend, I dropped in by his blog and came away thinking that the guy was being completely flippant in his labeling. The blog's called The Raven's Writing Desk (I don't know why he calls it that!) and it was an enjoyable read.

After reading the latest entry he had made in the blog, I thought that may be I should write something on similar lines because, to be honest, I thought I could do a better job. Original ideas were never my strong suit, so I was not too fussed about using someone else's. Anyway, isn't that what the creative people call as 'inspiration'?! Thing is, once I sat down to write I realized that all I could think of was what he had written instead of coming up with anything of my own. I gave up after a while because if I had to write the same things that he had written, I might as well save my time and effort and simply provide a link to his piece instead (This). So that's what this is about. My way of acknowledging that, leave alone building on my own, I can't even build on someone else's ideas.

By the way, any answers to what's so special about the 5th of Jan, 2008? Well whether you got it or not, here is the answer. 'Tis the first day of the first weekend of the new year! Have a good weekend. :)

Friday, January 4, 2008

My Specialist Eye

In spite of inundating us with their largesse during the fag end of the past year, the rain gods decided that this being a New Year and all, we needed a fresh round of blessings. And they happened to pick today to shower us with their blessings. Whether in one of my past lives or in my currently on-going version, I must have done something bad to those guys. That must definitely be it, because otherwise I see no reason for them to always wait till I get into a position from which I can't escape, before gleefully opening up the skies.

So there I was, in the middle of the road, flanked by a sedan on one side, an SUV on the other and an impatient public transport bus driver behind me in his mobile monstrosity. That was when the skies opened up. With nothing much on me to keep the rain off of me, I promptly got drenched and started shivering so violently that I thought that was what hypothermia felt like. To take my mind off the fast spreading cold in my limbs, I started looking at the one thing that could probably save me from becoming an icicle - the traffic light!

Even as I was looking at the traffic lights and willing them to go green, I was stuck by one simple fact. The human body not only has certain organs for specialized functions but it has organs which start out as general purpose and slowly become specialized in specific functional areas based on usage and experience. This kind of specialization is usually seen only in complete humans and the realization that even an individual organ of the human body can achieve expertise in a focussed functional area in much the same way was a thrill.

That blurred image of the traffic light also told me something else. That I needed to visit my friendly neighborhood ophthalmologist to get my sight corrected!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Last Month

There is this strong urge to milk the New Year for as many posts as I can. So far I have been successful in fighting it but I am not sure how long I will last. So, let me make the best of my victory while it lasts. Anyone passing by Noodle House this past month would have noticed something - an absolute lack of activity in this place. Yep, the period from Nov 29th of last year till 1/1 of this year was a full month of total silence from me.

The reason was that I had fallen sick and had to take a break from being active in Noodle House. Falling sick is not something I look forward to or enjoy. I couldn't really pay attention to what I was doing nor could I concentrate on what I wanted to do. Because of which work suffered - both at office and at Noodle House. But in spite of these, I can actually see a silver lining to the dark cloud. I managed to regain everything that I thought I had lost over the last six months. Fortunately, I also got my hands on enough time that I could spend thinking. The 32 days during which I was sick were, more or less, spent thinking about my sickness and I have come to the conclusion that I am not built to handle too much thought. I have also concluded that I better take much better care of myself to make sure that I don't find myself in a similar situation again.

In case you are wondering, I was down with laziness. And considering that I regained all the weight that I had struggled to lose over the previous six months, that silver lining around the dark cloud doesn’t really look all that silvery anymore.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Am Cynic

So there it is, all warm and fresh out of the oven. In case anyone misunderstands, I'm talking, not about the loaf of bread I wish I knew how to bake but about the New Year! It is so new that if it were a pair of shoes it would smell of crisp tissue paper and freshly polished leather. Of course it would smell of rosemary and thyme if it were Fougasse. Thing is, if it were new shoes, I would have been excited about hopefully looking spiffy; if it were a freshly baked loaf, I would have been excited about finding why the bread always falls buttered side down; with a new year, what do I have to get excited about?

31st December, 2007 - The sun rose in the east, set in the west and was bright and hot in between. People were happy, sad, lazy, busy, hopeful, dejected and all those other things that people usually are. There were chores to attend to, jobs to go to, money to be made, more money to be spent, life to live. In short, everything that everyone does everyday of the year was done on this day as well. There wasn't anything done that couldn't have been done on any of the other 360 odd days of the year. I am refraining from pasting the above words and repeating the same sentiment for the 1st January, 2008 because I guess that would make me look a tad more cynical than I intend to portray myself as being.

Of course, the dawn of the New Year sees one change the calendar hanging on the wall, start a new dairy, add to 'the number which is called your age' and start the only process on earth that has been proven to be more complicated than rocket science (also called Tax calculation). Unfortunately these are not even anywhere in the vicinity of being exciting, unless you happen to sell calendars or happen to be an accountant!! I am neither.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

All of a sudden it's like I woke up from one of those sleeps. You know, the ones where you wake up thinking you just had an afternoon nap when, in reality, you had slept through an earthquake, its aftershocks and a thunderstorm without even changing the rhythm of your snores! Get the picture?

If you did, great, because it means you have been through the above scenario to know what it feels like. And for those that don't get the picture, you will just have to take my word for it - it feels totally disorienting!! Anyway, today's not the day to get into the nitty-gritty of that particular experience. Today's all about new beginnings or waking up, so to speak. So, here's me hoping that everyone is awake, ready and geared up for all the good, bad and ugly crap that the new year, as always, has in store for us.

May our ceiling fans stay relatively free of crap, may our mouths be spared the ordeal of accommodating our feet too often and may we all have a year where things go our way more often than the highway. Happy New Year!