Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year with Omanakuttis :)

Hullo there!

The Year 2008 is all set to disappear into the annals of history. My heart-felt New Year wishes to all my dear readers(imagination at its best) & may this new year bring loads of happiness & joy to the lives of those who agree that "I write good". :D :D

As it happened last year, this year too my friends left for Goa today to welcome the New Year, whereas I'm writing this post informing you people that I gave the tour a miss because of a stupid exam, just like I did last year.(I don't want to mention the name of that exam, because being a blogger of high repute(!!) it's very likely that the directors of that institute may stumble upon this blog and, if i get through the written test, rip me apart in the interview. :D But for the curious minds out there, I can give a clue: The name of the starts with the third letter from Z, ends with a mono-syallable which is also the name of a hot drink, and 'A' in between these two letters. You may tear your hair apart, bang your head on the wall, growl in frustration but you will never find that its "XAT" that I'm talking about. And I'm also safe this way. :D) I almost forgot the fact that I have to give this exam on the day we had proposed to return from Goa and went on to book the tickets when at the last moment an alarm blared in my mind and I had to back out. :(

I was particularly keen on touring Goa after my friends shattered my heart into a thousand pieces me last year - they didn't get me the red-wine as promised. :( I felt like a kid who was informed on the day of the last annual exam that there would be no summer vacation. :D

This year I don't have to go through such agony, for I'm all set to hit the God's Own Country. I'll be off to Kerala tomorrow with some of my colleagues & will be back in time to give the stupid exam indicated earlier. The bottom line: I'M GOING TO CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH OMANAKUTTIS. :D It can't get any better. :)

Disappointed as I was in previous train journeys, I have my hopes up that tomorrow the jinx will be broken, despite the endless curses generously offered by some pot-bellied flea infested homo sapiens that I would be in the company of wailing kids, loquacious aunties & sick octogenarians.

Will be back with the updates soon! :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS, ONCE AGAIN! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fired, only for a moment

I hate team meetings. More so when it is convened to iterate the do's & dont's(predominantly the latter) for the nth in two months. "Do not open cricket sites, do not access new papaer site, don't use any banking accounts, blah, blah, blah and finally use internet(read google) only for technical purposes", these are the few points that my manger, in her own words, TOUCH BASES upon in every meeting.

I received an email invite for one such meeting today, with an innocuous subject: 'General Project Updates'. It said we all had to COMPULSORILY attend the meeting at 4.30 PM, and a voting button was also included in the mail asking whether we would be able to attend it. Sigh!

My team mates and I were present in the conf. room five minutes in advance and strategically took the seats that were farthest from the speaker & closest to the exit door. I always wanted to be the first, in running out of the conference room. Hence this position. :D

If you are working in a Software Company & have attended quite a few team meetings, I'm sure you will agree with me that "Going forward", "Paradigm Shift", "Core Competency", "holistic" etc. are the pricipal words around which the meetings revolve, none of them making any sense to anyone. It has kinda become an obsession for managers so much that they can't have a peaceful weekend, if they have given any of these words a miss during the week.

I was expecting this meeting to be no different. It wasn't. Just like any other deliciouly soporofic meetings, I dozed through this one as well. And started dreaming too when suddenly I faintly heard someone whispering my name in my ear. I came back to reality and found that it was my team mate sitting next to me, who was now elbowing me.

"Fired", said my manger loudly.

For a moment I froze. Yes, I did sleep for a while. I agree it's not right. But firing someone for dozing off in the meeting is ridiculous. And how the hell can my manager decide that I should be fired? It was HR's job. I was mentally preparing myself to argue with her on these grounds when she resumed speaking. After a few seconds, I learned that I was not fired. It was one of my teammates.

He had mailed across a few sensitive documents to his personal mail & was caught by the clients while monitoring. The clients wanted this issue to be treated with "zero tolerance" (another one of those jargons that I learnt today) & my company obliged by sacking him.

My senses came but to normal, but at the same time, I was really worried about my team mate. I could empathise with my team mate, because I had just then experienced what it feels like to be fired, only for a few seconds though.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What did I do today?

I got up early today by my standards - 8.04AM. I sat up lazily, my eyes still closed. After a few minutes I opened my eyes with great difficulty. It was still 8.04AM. I felt very happy that the time had frozen at 8.04 and that I could bury myself in the pillow for eternity until the realization dawned on me that the wall clock had put in its paper without serving its notice period.

It was 8.45AM. I had thirty minutes to get ready. Too early to panic, I thought. I wanted to sleep for five more minutes but decided against it, lest I wake up only to find that I'm fifteen minutes late already. I lazily proceeded to finish all the formalities and got ready in time.

I reached the office only to find that I was the last person to enter the bay. It was packed to its capacity, barring one seat which belongs to yours truly. My on site coordinator who is currently at offshore greeted me with a sarcastic "good afternoon". As usual, I gave him one of my close-up smiles & slid into my seat. After entering the password incorrectly thrice, locking my account, calling up CSD, answering to all the dumb questions & having my account unlocked, I opened my mail box. I was surprised & relieved to find that there weren't any mails castigating me for the code I delivered the day before. Instead there was a mail which I receive as often as Kamal Hasan acts in a movie with no kiss scene. It read "No issues". Being unaccustomed to such mails, I was nonplussed. I pondered over the issue of "No issues" for sometime - whether I should take a print out of this mail, frame it & hang it at my desk in full view of passerby, or I should forward this mail to all my friends and flaunt about it. I did give a lot of thought to it as these are once-in-a-lifetime happenings until my train of thoughts was broken by a forward mail with subject "Traditional day at DPS". :D :D (If you haven't received this mail yet, stop wasting your time reading this post & ask your friends for that mail. Otherwise you ll be missing something big in your life :P)

I was hardly working.. err.. working hardly when I noticed a palm right under my nose and a voice from behind : "would you like to contribute for A's grahapravesam?". Any other time, such atrocious requests would have been met with coarse responses. But this was appraisal time & A was my manager. So I parted with a withdrawn-only-this-morning hundred rupee note. (I appreciate the timing of the grahapravesam. I must be a well thought out plan. :P)

It was time for lunch & having given a hundred bucks I had no second thoughts on whether I should attend the function. I was even willing to pay another hundred bucks for auto & gobble down for two hundred rupees, but thankfully the place was only five min walk from my office.

After handing over the gift, posing for snaps with a plastic smile and all that jazz, I rushed to the top floor where lunch was being served. After waiting for 2 pandhis I finally managed to place my ass on a corner seat. By then a strong gush of wind set out on a journey from north to south, along the line I was sitting. The Appallam on my yellai(banana leaf) flew & landed on a patti's yellai who was sitting next to them. From the way she winced I guess she is an acharamana patti.

Being a belligerent guy that I am, I cried out loud at the server standing at the other end for an appallam. This time around I din't want a patti's curse. So I came up with a masterplan of placing the vadai over the appalam as paper weight. The plan worked out well. The breeze tried its best but it couldn't as much as shake the appalam. And patti looked pleased too. Just as I was mentally hi-fying myself for that marvellous idea, things started to break apart. Breeze turned on its intensity, and out went the appallam. Along with the vadai. And this time patti was seething with fury. And I left the place before patti could utter a word. :P

By the time I reached office again it was 3 PM. I fooled around for some more time, took an half-hour coffee break at 4.30 & continued to fool around for the rest of the time.

Lets see what Tuesday has in store for me. Sigh!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Monday Morning Blues

Weekend has come to an end & the prospect of going to office on Monday Morning gives me a pip. Not that I'm excited about going to office on other days, but Mondays are extenuating circumstances. Wish I had a time machine. Sigh!

We Balajis (yeah, I'm reading P.G.Wodehouse a lot these days) are generally cheerful, but it beats me how the mere thought of Monday drains all the enthusiastic spirit in me and fills me with melancholy & makes me feel like a mortician.

As if there weren't reasons for me to feel gloomy about, few of my colleagues take sadistic pleasure in adding fuel to fire. Every Monday Morning, without fail, the moment I open my inbox to check if any of friends had sent me the latest picture of {Censored}, I'm greeted by a mail with the most disgusting subject mankind has ever seen: "Thank God It's Monday".

How could anyone be thankful to god for the day being Monday? I fail to see any reason. No, the fact that I'm an atheist in the making has nothing to do with it. Even the most god-loving creatures in my team squirm at that.

These days I have stopped reading the interviews of successful business magnates. The reason being all of them have the same weakness; that they can't wait for Monday Morning to go for work. The more I read them, the stronger I feel that I can never become a successful car driver for successful businessmen, let alone becoming a successful business man myself.

One of the posters stuck outside my office library always catches my attention, even though I loathe the message written on it. It reads as the following:

"One-seventh of your life is Monday. Might as well look forward to it."

BAH! is all I can say. With great difficulty I supress my urge to show the middle finger to that poster! I'm most certain that this should have been told by some successful business magnates who go around giving interviews in the newspaper only to make guys like me feel all the more sick.

(At this moment, the author clicks on the 'Spell Check' icon & after 0.089 seconds comes the response: No misspellings found. The author is truly delighted for this is the first time ever the author has written more than two paragraphs with no spelling mistakes. :D :D The author punches the air to celebrate, but stops abruptly when he finds his sister gaping at him as if the author has forgotten to wear his trouser.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Carrom Crazy


The elegance of nine black coins, nine white coins & a red queen arranged in a manner so as to form a perfect circle. The euphoria of sending one or more of white coins to pockets in the very first shot. Waiting with bated breath to see if the cover gets through after the queen is pocketed. The serendipity of pocketing a coin, the actual target being miles away. Keeping a hand under the unsewn pocket to catch the falling coins. Carrom! I'm crazed by this game.

Carrom is one game that I can claim to have some mastery over. Rummy is the only other game. ;-)I like Chess too, but I hardly got partners to play with. Although a sharp mind is not a prerequisite to play carrom, unlike chess, one has to use the brain to play the game well. Carrom is not just about striking the target. The force with which the striker hits the coin plays a pivotal role. The combination of the two is enough to pocket the simple ones. The tougher ones need to be dealt with flamboyant cuts and clever rebounds, which comes only with practice.

I never got bored playing carrom. In childhood days I would play carrom for hours, even without a partner. I would place coins on akward postions & practice to pocket those. I would continue this exercise until I was convinced that the next time I came across coins placed on those postion during a match I would pocket them, pants down. ;)

Although I have not won any medals/cups, the skills that I acquired didn't go waste. It did amount to somthing later when I won a lot of bet matches - the loser had to take the winner to "Fruit Shop" & buy him whatever (s)he orders. I have tasted about a dozen juices at Fruit Shop without spending a paise. In fact, I have not treated anyone at Fruit Shop to this day. :D

Strangely, we played a lot of carrom during exam seasons. Especially the night before the exam. I guess it was our idea of relaxing. But in the end we would be so tired of playing carrom for long hours & open the book for relaxing. :D

I have not played carrom for sometime now, but the spirit in me was rekindled by a mail which announced the carrom tournament to be conducted in the office next week. I was the first to register for the competition. :D

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reading habbit

My reading habbit has changed. For the better. These days I find myself spending at least one hour everyday reading books before I hit the bed. A great accomplishment for someone who hasn't touched any books, barring academic, for about two decades.

Foutainhead is the book that I'm currently reading, for the second time. The first time I read it, I didn not understand a word of her philosophy- Objectivism. Not that I'm able to understand it this time round, but I'm astonished by Ayn Rand's precision, eloquence, imagination & keen eye for details. Words seem to be dancing before my eyes.

I finished reading two P.G.Wodehouse books - The Inimitable Jeeves & Right ho, Jeeves - before Fountainhead. I have become a huge fan of PGW. That's probably an understatement. I was laughing, guffawing, grinning, giggling, choking, smiling and all that jazz through the book. He is a genius. I intend to read buy 'Piccadily Jim' after I finish 'Fountainhead'.

It's time I opened the book, to find what Roark's going to do after being fired by Francon! ;-)
Caio!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Paradise regained!!

I am really happy today. No, it's not because I successfully wrote ten lines of code without any exception. Not because I found the name of the punjabi girl with whom I have fallen head-over-heels in love. (last week it was a mallu & a gujju is in the pipeline. :P) I am happy because I got in touch with someone whom I had last met when I was 9 years old. (Yeah, seven years back!! :D) I can't describe in words how much surprised I am at finding a long-lost friend. I would have been less surprised if I had spotted Prathiba Patel shaking a leg in a pub or Mathew Hayden placing a peck on the cheek of Harbhajan.

Before you yell, "what the heck!!", let me tell who that guy is - He is Shankar Narayanan. My classmate for three years, from third to fifth standard. We studied in a school, which still remains so close to my heart, called DTEA in New Delhi.

After the fifth-grade annaul examination, I came to Chennai for summer vacation. As irony would have it, I never returned to Delhi after that. Which meant losing contacts with all of my childhood pals. The last time I spent time with my classmates of DTEA was after my last exam - when we all rushed to the canteen to mark the end of the academic year with an expensive treat, which involved buying one goli-soda and a dozen students falling over each other to grab their share. Its still green in my mind. I can visualize it as I type.

I chanced upon his orkut profile a few days back. I couln't figure him from his photo, so left him a scrap. In came a message in my gtalk from him after a couple of days -"@#$@#$@". (I have censored the bad word as this blog serves family audiences too. :P) I was aghast. Being the one who doesn't squander away the oppurtunity to swear(a skill that I have mastered after two years in boys school(RKM) :P), I gave a befitting reply. After a few rounds of hauling explectives at each other, he at last gave up. Ah! My RKM school mates would be proud of me.

Then after exchanging a few pleasentaries, I asked him- the truimphant feeling yet to sink in- why did he scold me. "For breaking my head," he replied. "And not even bothering to apologize," he continued. Yeah, I hauled a brick at this guy's head during PT period when in fourth standard. Poor fellow, he was bleeding profusely. It was not intentional. We were playing some game with bricks, and after the play was over, we were suppose to put the bricks back to where we took it from. Me being the lazy chap, instead of walking all the way to that place, hauled the brick as high as nine-year-old boy can. And it landed right the middle of his head. :P The next momemt, I remember, someone was screaming, "misssss, balaji shankar ra adichutan..." :D :D Needless to say, I got whipped on the a$@ that evening! :D

Being the incorrigible guy that I am, I refused to apologize even now. I don't see anything that I had done wrong. :P Do you?

P.S: There is one more reason for being so ecstatic. Now that I've found Shankar, I can know the wherebouts of Narmadha, my first ever crush, through him. :) :)
Plz do wish me luck!! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ஜஸ்ட் அனொதெர் டே

Ah! What a pleasant day! I woke up this morning to the rythm of rain pounding on the window of my room. I cast a lazy look out the window, and boy, what a charming weather! For a moment I thought I had gone back in time and was reliving those wonderful days in Ooty. Its been a long time since I witnessed such a pleasing weather in Chennai. The weather was good, and so was my mood. A perfect beginning to the day!

There are many things that one can derive boundless pleasure from, but none better than sipping a cup of hot tea in a cosy romantic weather. I bet all my money on that. And yours truly is engaged in that blissful activity as he is typing this WORD. :) Ahh!!

More good news(for me, that is). No mock test today. Sundays without mock test have become unimaginable. I sometimes wonder I behave I like a robot programmed to give mock test on Sundays. This is what exactly happens on every Sunday - I get up at sharp 8.15, drag myself to the rest room for you-know-why, put on my its-been-more-than-six-months-since-i-washed-it-jean and t-shirt(which more than not happens to be my friends'), search frantically for a pencil, which is shorter than my shortest finger, and Off I go. Then I come running back from the gate in exacty 28 seconds: Oops, I have forgotten my hall ticket.

I have been successfully following this schedule for two years now, without modifying any bit of it. Its strange that I have absolutely no remorse in devoting my Sunday to a stupid aptitde test, instead of freaking out with my friends. In fact, I love it! Except for the fact that I have to get up real early - around 8AM.:(
I sincerely hope that Nov 10 is the last time ever I go out to write a mock test, and Nov 18 is the last time ever I go out to give CAT.

Not that I am fed up of it. Not that I would not give it once again, should I fail to crack this beast this time. But its just too demanding. It takes away a substantial part of your personal life, not letting you to do things you would love to do, and off it goes, even before you realize that half-an-year has sped past. And its sure not a safe bet. There is no guarantee to success.

I shall safely draw curtains on my performances in the mock test. From what I last learnt, my scores in the last mock test was less than the lowest temparture ever recorded in Kashmir, and my All-India-Rank was more than the total runs amassed by Sachin in test and ODI put togther. :D :D

Ok, enough of my ramblings!! Yesterday I finished reading a book by PG Wodehouse. He is the most funniest writer ever. It never occured to me how people had favorite authors. To me, if the book is good, i'll read it. I never delve deep into the details of author's style and all such stuff which many book enthusiasts do. But that was until I read PG Wodehouse. Now I have fallen in love with his writing. I plan to buy at least two PG Wodehouse books every month. (I would love to buy the entire collection, but this is all I can afford with my meagre salary. :( HR guys, are you reading???)

See ya in my post!! So loong!!:)
P.S: Chennai is incorrigible. By the time I completed this post, Sun is shining in all its glory. :(

Monday, October 6, 2008

I-can't-give-a-creative-blog-title ;)

I am always amazed by the unfailing regularity with which some of my friends update their blog. Do they never run out of ideas? Are their life so eventful? Or is my life so monotonous? Don't I have anything to say to my dear readers(Damn, I'm not ever sure whether I can use plural form. ;)) OK, before you go, "Would you cut that crap!!!!" let me put an end to all these comes-and-vanishes-in-exactly-42-nanoseconds questions that prop up in my find from time to time.

Writer's block is a standard excuse that I would love to use for my absence from this labyrinth, only if I had some evidence to prove that I'm a writer. :D Anyway, now that I'm back, I'll see to that you are thoroughly tortured reading this post. :)


I went to Ooty a couple of weeks back, with around 70 of those who work in the same project as I. (Whoever says, "what!! you work? ha hah!! LOL!!" is a monkey)Oh boy, it sure was one of the most enjoyable moments I have experienced in recent times. After college, life has rather become dull and monotonous. No masti. No maja. The trip was a welcome break, which did its purpose of breaking the monotony of our cursed professional life.

We all left for Ooty on a Friday night by the Cheran express. The train was suppose to start at 10.30PM. And yours truly was at the door step of a third class AC compartment at 10.28 PM, intently scanning the reservation chart to find the no. of co-travelers who were between 20 and 23 in age and belonged to the fairer sex. Let me make a confession - In my twenty two years of existence, I would have traveled by train a thousand times, but not even once did I have the luck of having even a remotely good-looking girl in the whole train, let alone in the compartment/seat.On this occasion too, the tradition continued. :(

The party time began much earlier than we expected. We all started hooting, screaming, shrieking, singing etc etc the moment train started. Oh boy!! I must say we all were utterly unconcerned about the hapless passengers who had the misfortune of traveling in the same compartment. Come to think of it!! How would you feel if seven people like captain(vijayakanth), three like TR and half a dozen more whom even the most intellectuals would find difficult to spot even a single difference from monkey, sing, dance and shout right under your nose, eyes, ears and. ..(*i'll leave to your imagination). The example that I cited is only 10% of what those pour souls must have gone through.

Before long, the TTR came to the rescue of those citizens and requested(read threatened) us to take our seats. What was more amusing was, of all the 70-odd people, it was our beloved APM who had to bear the brunt of the TTR speaking worldly philosophies(like "ain't you all educated.?? shouldn't you behave properly?? and so on and so forth). Woah!! A thing which we couldn't do for the past one and half years!! And there he was!! Who looked like a hero to us at that moment!!

Its a personal shame that I lack the eloquence to describe the beauty of the Queen of hills. The weather was amazing(having spent 20+ years in Chennai, any place that doesn't allow mercury to rise above 20 degrees seems to be a heaven. :)) The lush green environment was absolutely refreshing. Ooty remains to be the one of the most beautiful cities I have visited so far. Of course, after Chennai. (Chennai runs in my blood.P)

Its time for me to cut this crap abruptly. Will write a sequel to this post soon. :)
If you have any comments, do share it. :) Even if you didn't like the post, you can write it in comments. ;)

I hope i've tortured you more than what a movie(and acted) by S.J Surya, a lengthy punch dialogue by our own bayam ravi... (get the drift?) can inflict on you!! :)

Regards,
This-is-my-poonai-peyar. :D

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Disclaimer: This post is just a mere ramblings by yours truly who has safely and indolently slipped into oblivion. If you are here looking for an interesting or informative post, venture not further, for this post contains neither. Nor do any of my other posts, but still it is my duty to warn you, my revered reader, of the potential danger you are getting into.

If you are reading this WORD despite my threatenings and warnings... well.. don't blame me... you chose to die by your hand:P

So where were we? Ok, nowhere. Off late, my mind is occupied with one serious thought, or rather mystery which I am unable to unravel. For all those curious people out there, let me tell what it is - what is the role of cockroaches in the evolution? (woo hoo... i can see jaws droppings, eyes widening, hands on cheeks adding more effect to the melodrama,.. all at once... in amazement at author's ingenuity.:P)

Even with my advanced scientific brain(yes, you read it right), I can't conceive of single sane reason as to why cockroaches came into existence. Ok, there are sturdy enough to survive a nuclear holocaust, but my question is.. why do they have to survive in the first place?

If you are of the opinion that cockroaches scare the daylight out of me, that I go scurrying for cover at the mere sight of a cockroach flying, you got it absolutely wrong. :D tch...tch.... how come you don't acknowledge the philosophical content in this marvelous question? I am merely trying to find the purpose cockroaches' disdainful existence. This post is not as a result of personal grudge i hold against cockroaches. :P In my opinion, this question should be rated next to the immortal question that propped up in isa's mind ( Isa who? Isaac Newton you dunderheads. :P)

One reason why i hate education system in india is cockroaches. If your ever dozing mind doesn't tell you why, let me take you on a flashback trip to tenth grade. Students.... open the zoology book... chapter 1.. excretory system of cockroaches.. (cut... back to reality) I fail to understand why I should study the excretory system of cockroaches, or worse draw them, as if I would willingly help a cockroach suffering from constipation or loose motion.. hmph!! Education system in india be damned.... What is more ignominious(i just learned that word..and am showing off.. :P) is instigating a non-violent guy like me to cut a cadaver(??you see.... i warned you in the beginning itself) of cockroach. When yours truly was asked to do it in the zoology lab, i nervously walked towards it, and touched its leg to find if there is any remnant of life in it. A mild quiver was enough to make shout at the top of my lungs. What transpired next lead yours truly to swing his arm in frenzy manner, as if he is brandishing a sword, and what lay ahead could barely be recognized as an organism.. :P

Phew..... this post is getting awfully long.... to be continued.... :P

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Street Cricket

I wrote this sometime back in some other blog of mine. Read on....

I chanced upon an article in wikipedia on Street Cricket. (Its very funny, do read it.) Almost all of us would have played Street cricket . It reminded me of my childhood days when Street Cricket was an integral part of my life. I will share some of the incidents in my life that are associated with street cricket.

Incident 1 - Summer Vacation, Sixth grade: One day while playing in our street, my friend hit the ball straight down the road, and it went quite far. It was my friend's turn to pick the ball. Since it went quite far, my friend got a lift in a two-wheeler, ridden by a Sardarji, which was passing by that road. When the spot came he asked the Sardarji to stop. Apparently, the Sardarji did not understand Tamil and he didn't stop. My friend feared that Sardarji was kidnapping him, and screamed "KIDNAP, KIDNAP, KAPATHUNGO…” and he jumped from the vehicle. Next day I saw him with a plaster around his left arm. His bone got fractured. :D

Incident 2 - First Encounter with Cricket Ball: This happened when I was in ninth grade. We found an half-torn cricket ball on the road, and were thrilled at the prospect of playing with the cricket ball for the first time. We didn’t have any kit with us at that time. Being a brave guy that I am, I asked my friend to bowl and took the crease to bat. He was the fastest bowler that I had seen until that day, and I had no inhibition in facing him because I didn’t know the adverse effects of being hit by a cricket ball. The ball was bowled, I took the front foot, raised my bat, and before I realized that I have wrongly placed my foot the ball hit my front foot & bang…. the next second I was on the ground, shouting at the top of my voice.
Incident 3 - My first ever bet match: I was in fifth grade when I first played a bet match. It was a ten rupee bet match between 5-A and 5-B. :D Even before the match started we started thinking how to spend the twenty rupees we will have after the match. All of us unanimously decided to have Rasna. (It was the most expensive stuff we could think of at that time. It cost around Rs. 1.50. :) ) I had a tough time convincing my parents that I was only going to buy a pencil with that rupee. Bet matches are strict no-no with parents. After receiving the usual scolding, warnings and reprimands, I was handed a rupee. Somehow our team collected ten rupees and we played the match. After a tough battle, we lost the match & our hopes of having rasna crashed with that. :(

Those were the days. We played cricket with anything we could lay our hands on. Whoever brought a bat was the captain, and whatever he said were the rules of the game. I still play cricket, but somehow its just not the same as how it used to be. Today we don't fear to play with cricket ball, have enough money to play bet matches, & of course, we don't fear that someone would kidnap us. May be that's what is spoiling the fun.

Up Next: The Philosophers of My Life. Coming soooon..

Lee, The Chrysler Man

Lee Iacocca is well known for bringing Chrysler back from the brink. People thought Chrysler was a dead company & revival of Chrysler was only next to impossible. It had a debt of more than a billon dollar. That’s when the management of Chrysler approached Lee, who was just fired from Ford, for asking him to take over as CEO of Chrysler. The rest is history.

Ford Days: Lee completed his masters from Lehigh University and began his career in Ford. He started his career as an engineer and after a brief stint he shifted to sales and marketing. "Sales is where the real action is," Lee felt. He quickly moved up the ladder and eventually became the president of Ford when he turned forty. Some of the notable achievements of Lee during his tenure in Ford are "Ford Mustang", "Ford Fiesta", and ”56 for 56" campaign which brought him national recognition. Henry Ford II grew apprehensive over his quick success & fired him fearing that Lee would overtake him someday, although Lee had no intentions of becoming CEO of Ford. He was more than happy to be the President of Ford. The way he was sent out of Ford (esp., his last day at Ford) was all the more humiliating for Lee. (You should read that book to know it)

Aboard a Sinking Ship: When Lee took over Chrysler, it was on the verge of bankruptcy. He quickly did a management and financial restructuring. He laid off some employees, sold some part of the company, slashed down his salary to $1 per Annam (Perfect example of putting the company's objectives ahead of personal objectives). Some of Lee's intimate and competent friends were also fired from Ford before Lee was fired, only because they were friends of Lee. After Lee joined Chrysler, he brought some of them to Chrysler. Finally, Lee turned towards Federal government and asked for a loan. His line of argument was that if Chrysler licks the dust, thousand of employees would lose their jobs, which wasn't good for the country. And government bailing-out companies wasn't unprecedented. It has happened umpteen time in the US. The controversial decision was finally taken, and Chrysler got a loan of 1.2 billion, in two installments. Later, Chrysler successfully rolled out a few cars and repaid the debts. Lee's contribution was instrumental in turning the company around.

Learnings from the book: This book has something for everybody to learn. Spawned below are the few things that i learned from this book. In fact, this book teaches a lot of lessons, but i remember only very few.

Three Axioms of Public speaking: Here is lee's tip on public speaking:” Tell the audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and finish by telling what you told them."

Always speak in other man's interests: When Lee approached Federal govt for a loan, he never spoke how granting loan would bring Chrysler out of bankruptcy. He spoke how it would save the jobs of thousand of employees of Chrysler.

Importance of Appraisal: In his book, Lee extensively speaks about the appraisal system, setting short-term and long-term goals. He also suggests that we should write our goals on a paper, because otherwise we get away with the vagueness in the goals. Moreover, writing our goals on paper makes it all the more clear.

P.S: I read his autobiography a few months back. Whatever I could recollect, I've written here. If I have furnished any wrong details, do let me know so that I can correct it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Coffee-break

I am writing after a long silence. Not that I was busy scratching my head, staring at the wall, pretending as if I am thinking hard what informative post I can come up with. There is only one single, stupid reason for my silence- I forgot that I started a blog. :)


Realization dawned on my suddenly & came back to this place. ( I can hear you groaning, you thought I let you go that easy.. nahhh!!) After thoughtfully chewing my pencil for a while, I realized that "Taking a coffee-break" is the most important phenomenon of my professional life. Why not write about it?. Here we go..


I dedicate this post to my friends Harish, Swaminathan Niranjana, Soumya, Neelima, Priya & Nithya whom I share my coffee-break with.

There have been days when I haven't worked at all, days when I haven't been at my seat all day, even days when I didn't bother to read mails. (Ok, let me stop it. My PL might be reading this) But there has not been a single day when I didn't go for a coffee-break with my friends. If you ask me what do you like about my company, "Taking a coffee-break with my friends" is surely one of the answers for that. (Sssh... I know that its the only thing like, but this is not the right place to confess it.)

It has become so much a routine work that the lady in the pantry knows exactly what we drink in the morning break & what in the afternoon. She doesn't ask us what we want, she just confirms it. "Coffee?" she asks me. I nod my head approvingly with a smile.

Punctuality is one thing to be noted here. We have never been late to a coffee-break. Sharp at 10.30 in the morning, someone from our group would take initiative, (Well, I actually wanted to say I always take the initiative but that would euphemistically mean "I don’t do any work & that's why I pester others to come for break," as my friends often say) give missed call to all the others scattered folks reminding them its coffee time. Ten minutes after that, we all would have assembled in the pantry & the fun time begins. Same applies to the afternoon break as well.

Sharing an appreciation mail one received, venting off the anger in one's PL/TL, talking about the pretty girl one saw, showing off to impress a girl around, or blindly staring at the wall - it all happens during the coffee-break. If there happened to be any cricket match played the previous day that invariably becomes the topic of conversation. Coffee-break is incomplete without gossips. What better way to kill than gossiping, and what better time to gossip than during a coffee-break?

I also have some fond memories of events that happened during the coffee-breaks. One evening when I was sipping a cup of coffee, a friend of mine ran into me. We were just into projects after completing training in Siruseri & so we began to share our training experiences. We talked about how we enjoyed in Siruseri, how we did our assignments on our own without CCP-ing & so on until the topic diverted to one of our mutual friends. On asked how i knew her, i said "I met her during cultural (I forgot the name of that. ) when she performed a dance". "She did a group dance, didn't she?" she asked. "Yes, but who cares who the other dancer was. You know, she was an attu figure, so I was just concentrating on this girl," I replied. "Oh," She said, and gave a stern look for a minute. "I am that attu figure," she said. Err… I gulped the hot coffee & felt the warmth from throat to stomach.

This is just one example. There are thousand of such things that had happened & would continue to happen as long as we go for coffee-break. Of course, we will go for coffee-break as long as Sun rises in the east, Atal Bihari is single & Neeraj experiments with the truth. (Well, I wanted to say as long as Neeraj is single. Poor fellow, why pull his leg all the time… )

My friend Neelima, who quit recently, looked like a stoic until she came for her last break in Cognizant. Tears rolled down her cheek when she reminisced all the good time we had in the pantry & said she would sorely miss them. It's strange how sometimes people are emotionally attached to things, places & habits. When I got shifted from TCO to GMR, I felt bad about missing "Aquamarine" (Conf. room) where we usually sit for long hours & chat. Likewise, taking a coffee-break has become an integral part of my professional life. No matter how hectic my schedule (don't laugh, it sometimes happens) is I never miss a break. It's a perfect stress buster. (Not that I have undergone stress at work)