Thursday, January 29, 2009

No money, Honey!

w: I love that dress! Can I buy it?
h: Its too costly. Why do you want it anyways?
w: Ooh... I am feeling like Italian today... please, lets go out.
h: Not today, Sweetie. How about spaghetti?
w: US these hols?
h: Exchange rate is not favorable right now
w: How about going to Shimla for the weekend?
h: Wait till next week, they will reduce airfare
w: New Al Pacino movie is releasing
h: Cash crunch dear! Will go once I get my salary
w: Call me in the night, when you are free, after your tour. K?
h: Dear, I have very little talk time left. I will call... (hello...shit!)
w: You got me a b'day gift? Are you out of your mind?

h: Umm... I thought I had told you no enough number of times..and its your b'day after all.

Its recession!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Father and Child

Many of us saw the 44th President of the United States of America take oath of the highest office and deliver his inaugural address from the Capitol. Those who missed it will be reading about it in the newspapers and magazines. Even those who don't want to, will be unwillingly fed the words of the first African-American President of USA, as all the news channels and the tea time discussions between friends are centered around it.

I saw Barack Hussein Obama deliver his speech live on NDTV. Well, this post is not about where you can catch his speech. Neither is it about the influence his words will have on the policies worldwide. It is about something that made me realize the brilliance of Obama as an orator and the skills of his speechwriter (a 27 yr old who goes by the name of Jon Favreau).

Obama thanked Bush for 'serving the nation' and then went on to say that even though USA is the world's biggest power they do not have the freedom to do as they wish to. Even as he was 'mindful of the sacrifices that our (American) ancestors have bestowed' he remembered 'the patchwork heritage' and the roots of his father. He pronounced America to be friend of all 'every nation and every man,women and child' as he alerted his foes. He said US will 'responsibly leave Iraq', 'forge hard earned peace with Afghanistan' but to 'the Muslim world', 'will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist'. The leader of this superpower despite his belief in his 'most prosperous and powerful nation on Earth' admitted that 'everywhere we look, there is work to be done'. He told the citizens to 'pick themselves up', develop a stronger moral fibre, rid of the bad habits and show kindness, by reminding them of the way their ancestors had put the thought of a nation above their individuality. In convincing the Americans that the problems they face are 'real' and that these challenges 'will be met', he also said that it was both the leadership and the citizens that were responsible. His statement that 'power alone cannot protect' them, might serve as a wake up call for the Americans. While he said he won't apologise for the way Americans live he told his 'fellow citizens' to change - a lot of things.

There is a lot more of this 'apparent contradiction' in his speech. But Obama gives his countrymen much needed hope and faith, in this hour of crisis. Its weird, but I was reminded of my father, who when I was a kid, used to explain things to me in this way. He would point out my mistake, tell me I was a good kid and assure me of my capabilities. His words were enough to make me plunge deeper despite having faced failure. He wasn't doing much - just given me sound advice and a much needed reality check, without being harsh. And most of the times, I came out victorious.

I wonder if Americans will be triumphant too

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another decision... really?

They say the only thing constant in life is change. With every change arises the need for a decision.

This is probably one of those things we do all the time without realization, just like blinking of an eye lid. From what to wear in the morning to choice for dinner, every moment of the day requires some sort of a decision from us. Those of you who are thinking "What are you talking about, I don't think so much. I just pick up the first thing in my cupboard and wear it. For dinner, I go to my regular restaurant and order my regular dish. You are wrong there Missy!!", I would like to tell you - you are wrong. You have taken a decision to follow a pattern, which you once decided upon. I decided upon the title of this post, trying to get an easy way out of taking a decision about the title! (crooked and complex!!)

And yes, not one or two, but all these decisions matter - some seemingly less than the others and some appearing inconsequential. One of the biggest decision facing me right now, I guess, is what be the next career move. Like so many others and unlike so many of you, I enjoy everything I do. Hence a whole lot of confusion ensued. I guess finally I am reaching somewhere, or at least I am hoping I will, after extensive brainstorming for the past few months.

Even with all the options open in front of me, it shouldn't have been that difficult to come to a decision. One way out would have been asking my parents to tell me. This is exactly what I did. But they refused to tell me what to do with my life, which is only fair, but ended up making me more unsure than ever. What made matters worse for me during these past months was that, for sometime, I had stopped listening to myself. I was taking the opinion of every Tom, Dick and Harry and in the process getting more and more confused. Family and friends were influencing me more than my liking. Surprisingly, when you are unsure about what to do, others can very easily influence you. If you lack clarity of thought, others just cloud your thoughts further. It might happen that you end up taking the right decision under the influence, but I believe every individual should be responsible for all her/his decisions - right or wrong. Thus, I had to block out everyone from my mind, parents, friends and surroundings - and think for myself, myself. It might sound dramatic but the truth is that I got a singular vision of what I wanted once I put my heart and my mind together.

The power and influence of a decision is felt especially when your life drifts in the wrong direction. This is more so because you sit and take notice of what went wrong. One wrong move, one wrong statement, one unconsidered comment can land you in trouble.

आग का क्या है? पल भर में लगती है,
बुझते बुझते एक ज़माना लगता है|

This ghazal captures the essence so well. A foolish decision can put you in a mess, and sometimes even after desperate attempts you can't get out of it. Well, its not guaranteed that even after putting in a lot of thought you will always make the right decision. All that you can do is be content with it for now, believe that what you have done will lead only to better things and hope that you haven't made any mistakes. Even if you have, don't look back and blame yourself, just learn from that mistake and, if possible, not do it again. Making mistakes is inevitable. Even Sachin Tendulkar goes back to the pavilion scoring a duck.

Another thing that pertains to decision making is prejudice. As one of my friends pointed out, even small prejudices can influence your decisions. But how do you rid yourself of the prejudices, which are harbored in our minds as important considerations and parameters? These bench marks vary from person to person, and I believe (may be I am prejudiced here!) are vital for human thought and perception. So ridding oneself of prejudices and developing a completely objective viewpoint is possible only in a utopian world. After all, human beings are 'programmed' to view things as 'whole' and not bits and pieces. For those of you who look for scientific angles in everything, a study of Gestalt's cognitive rules might turn out to be interesting.

From my understanding, these prejudices arise out of the experiences one has had in one's surroundings. We all, in various ways, are affected by our environment. Thus, our thinking and solutions, for the same problems, too differ. Likewise what we gauge and gain in understanding from the situation is different. This drastic difference in worldly view makes us take different decision. What I think will be good, might not be the best thing according to you. But that is what makes our individuality, and that is what makes us two different people. If you could understand everything that influences my decisions, or that goes on in my head, we would be at the same pedestal - taking the same decision.

And wouldn't that be just too boring??

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Big Shift - from Delhi to Bangalore

2:00 a.m - 11/12/08 : yoyoyoyo... I got HP Labs!

2:15 a.m. - 11/12/08: Shit! I got HP Labs!

This change in my feelings was because most of my friends were not going to be in Bangalore with me for PS2. In fact, most were going to be at their homes... and I was beating myself up for not filling Delhi PS stations higher up in my list... i mean Commonwealth Games Village was giving 17k plus I could have stayed at home!!

Anyways, there was nothing to be done and I could still rejoice about the fact that I got one of the good PS stations. So here I am, sitting on my comp, and unlike many others I can access any and everything. Last week was very hectic though. After finshing my search for a PG acco and getting settled in this new city, I had to go to Hyderabad for my FMS exam (screwed up bigtime)... Well, I was damn excited about going... my first overnight bus journey, alone, and the prospect of meeting my dad and my friends... life was good. The exam was horrible, but then I guess that is what exams are for -performing badly(at least for me, not everyone can perform well). And the best thing in the entire week happened on my way back from Hyd. I was sitting in the comfortable volvo seat, half asleep, when the driver turned on the radio. I guess it was around 8:30 and I was already sleepy. But then this FM station started playing some nice hindi songs. I was enjoying the music; a staple in Delhi, I had heard a hindi movie song after almost a week. As Dil Kya Kare from Salaam-e-Ishq finished, the RJ, in his sweet and smooth voice, announced next he was going to play Desi Girl from Dostana... Well, I really like the peppy dance number and came out of my drowsy state to enjoy the music... Next second, some unfamiliar music starts, I sat up straight in my seat out of amazement. This was no Desi Girl. And then I saw... heard... the driver had switched off the radio and turned on the TV, and he had put on some Telugu movie! At least my three years in campus had made it possible for me to make out that it was a telugu movie, I could recognise a few words here and there...

The best part, while I was listening to Bollywood songs on FM, everyone else in the bus was asleep. As soon as the movie started, all my fellow passengers sat up to enjoy the movie :) while I went off to sleep.

On wednesday, I saw the original version of Gajini, in Tamil, at Dominoes. Oh ya, I forgot to tell you, I havent seen the hindi version yet... six more months here... wonder what they will show me

Friday, January 9, 2009

I love the Useless Knowledge Section on my Blog

With U.S. trademark No. 2,347,676, the sad emoticon ":-(" gets the same protection as a corporate logo or any similar intellectual property. Although seen on millions of e-mails, the mark is now officially owned by Despair—a "de-motivational" company that sells humorous posters about futility, failure, and depression to "pessimists, losers, and underachievers!

PS: Next post on PS2 @ HP Labs on monday