Saturday, December 31, 2011


I don't remember my first interaction with a girl of my age but I do remember looking at girls differently than boys since my earliest memories. Reason, they wore skirts! They had longer hair. Their smile was more attractive. They didn't play sports... basically many reasons. Moreover, I never felt comfortable when some girl used to join us in our quest to destroy imaginary enemy camps and kill all the imaginary terrorists. We had to run, use firearms, girls couldn't do that!
Anyways, bottom line is that I knew from Day 1 of my existence that girls are different than boys, nobody had to tell me that. Sure, in childhood I had some female friends too and even though my best friends were boys only, being in a girl's company felt different. It just happens, it always happens.

During my teenage years, girls started looking attractive and I became conscious. I wasn't sure why it happened and wasn't sure how to behave with a girl, so I preferred silence and speaking only when spoken to. This way I spent my teenage years falling in and out of various one sided infatuations.
College days were fruitless too. Not too many girls around. Besides, my self-conscious nature didn't allow me to talk to even those girls, and it got worse with every next day. Earlier I was hesitant, then I even started stammering a bit while talking to a girl, along with high heart beat rate and clumsiness. In fact, I couldn't even take a girl's name, I felt so hesitant. I felt a knot in my tummy. I felt a force pulled me back whenever I tried to talk to a girl. I guess I had become like Robinson Crusoe, who has been away from better half of humanity during best part of his life!

In my 5th year in college, I joined Madhapur Toastmasters. Life wasn't going anywhere in those days. Moreover, I always wanted to get over my fear of public speaking and forget forever those failed attempts to finish my speech on stage. I got many opportunities to talk to girls in Toastmasters meetings. Toastmasters are always eager to meet new people and make them feel welcome, be it in our meetings or elsewhere. And interacting with so many girls in person has perhaps helped me be more confident when talking to a girl. And in the process I think I might have made some female friends in Toastmasters!

I got placed in Capital IQ after spending 6 years in college, based only on what I studied in first 4 years! One good thing happened though, many girls joined in the technology team as well. During our orientation, during our training period, and during our tech team outing, I got to interact with some girls. They've been friendly and nice to me but I confess and I feel bad about it, that I haven't been so friendly and nice. Maybe because its not like it used to be in school days, even though we do have lunch breaks, and coffee breaks! I hope interacting with girls becomes as normal to me as it was in school days (before high school).

A person gets some chances in his life to change before taking on the 'real world' alone. I got many chances as I studied in many schools, then stayed in a hostel in college, and now I've joined a company. The irony here is that I've been the ugly duckling because I'm quite the opposite of what an army kid would be like. (army kid = person whose parent, father mostly, is in the army).

But as famously said by Coelho, if you really want something, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it. And I think the wheel has been set in motion since I joined Toastmasters and later gained momentum when I joined Capital IQ. All I want is to be comfortable while talking and interacting with girls, have some female friends and maybe sometime later, a girlfriend also!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The middle finger and the thumb

Everyone wants to be the best, right? But one must always remember, that everything has its pros and cons! For example, the middle finger. It stands tall among other fingers and is the 'center' of attraction. However this has lead to some bad experiences for the middle finger. The most common example, if a person has to show his machismo, he uses his middle finger to show how tall his tallest finger is. This confuses me as to how this truly shows the strength of a person!
Thumb has also been exploited in similar ways. Being the fattest finger, it enjoys prosperity as it has good amount of empty space in the hand to spread around and doesn't have to adjust with other fingers. But it is also shown to others to mock them by boasting about thickness of one's thumb, by waving it sideways! Poor thumb. However, it has been used by many for a noble cause as well, to wish good luck. I guess that's why Laughing Buddha is fat, like a thumb amongst fingers, as it signifies good luck and prosperity.
Now you may wonder, being a middle finger or thumb is so much better than the little finger. Agreed, but little finger has its own quality, its the cutest of all!
The index finger seems to be the balanced one. It acts like a leader, but also points things out, in a positive or negative way. And yeah, it got some ego too !!
Best is to be the 'ring' finger! It doesn't meddle with anybody else's business/affairs and keeps to itself in spite of being amongst others. Its rightly chosen to wear the wedding ring because its like a married person !!

When leadership works with talent, we get 'peace'. (index+middle finger).

When leadership works with prosperity, we get happiness. (index+thumb finger) Because that gesture is to urge someone to smile!
The ring finger and the thumb working together doesn't really fit... now we know why a married person doesn't have much prosperity, and we know why !! :P
However, the star and the highlights of one's hand will always be the middle finger and the thumb. Moreover, when the two work together, under the able guidance of the index finger, wonderful things happen! How else do you think you can hold a pen and write?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Night Stand

I am a procrastinator, and looks like this time I miscalculated BIG time!

Abhishek sat on his bed in his hostel room, with heavy dinner of chole bathoore digesting in his tummy! While he felt groggy, he knew he couldn't give up, not tonight. It was already 9 PM, about 11 hours left before the exam, and 12 research papers were still left to be read, each research paper at least 6 pages long. Even if he skip the experiments and results section, he'll still have to read 4 pages at least. With these calculations in his mind, he was at least hopeful to read each paper once, and sleep by 3 AM. Again, he miscalculated!
At 3 AM, still 7 papers were left. His neighbor who was studying with him in his room had given up an hour ago and slept off in his bed. With no bed to sleep, Abhishek realized he actually won't need to sleep if he really wants to finish his syllabus. Heroically trudging through the murky and muddy areas of the research papers, he finally managed to read 10 of them, with 2 hours to spare!

"Atul, wake up Atul! Its 6 o'clock, wake up! Study something at least!"
"Oye, sone de" (hey let me sleep), Atul grumbled groggily.
Abhishek realized his fellow warrior had given up the will to fight. 'But I won't give up', he told himself, 'I will NEVER!'
With renewed vigor and beautiful view of sunrise from window of his room, he got back to studying the research papers. At 7:10 AM, he had finished his syllabus! Ah, he relaxed for the first time in last 10 hours, then immediately stopped relaxing. A daunting thought crossed his mind, 'Without sleep how will I sit through 3 hours of exam!'
At the ring of warning bell at 11:15 AM, Abhishek got up, submitted his answer sheets, and walked out of the exam hall. Its finally over, he exclaimed to himself, and stopped somewhere in between the corridor, looking to his left, then to his right, and then around him at people, surprised that they were unaware that a miracle just took place!

Two weeks later, Abhishek got the grade for that course -- A.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Thoughts

Whenever I think of Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is Santa in his red and white dress. And whenever I think of Santa, I think of flying with him in his sleigh! Imagine riding in his sleigh, flying into the night sky, over the city lights. This scene reminds me of Superman and I wish I could also fly like Superman or at least ride in Santa's Sleigh!
Flight is something that fascinates me the most! The closest I've come to 'flying' is flying in an aeroplane but one can't really enjoy the scenic beauty outside by looking through the window of the plane. They should make bigger windows at least!
When I think of such scenic beauty, two things come to mind. One is the hovering clouds in the sky. While sitting in a plane and peeping out, you see the clouds below you and you feel you're actually flying higher than what your eyes could see from down below. The second thing that comes to mind is the earth down below, which looks as if God himself has created a mosaic that we live in and mistake it for forests, farms, buildings etc.
Coming back to Santa, I heard/saw in TV shows that whenever Santa crosses a home from above, he puts the gift in the fire chimney, and next day the gift appears in the stockings! I feel Santa has been doing a pretty good job as the official mascot of Christmas! But seriously, receiving gift feels so good. And you know what feels even more good? To see the happiness in the other person's face when he/she receives and opens your gift.
Christmas is the reason we had winter vacations in school, and for that I am grateful! But to me Christmas is not just about flying with Santa, receiving gifts or enjoying the vacation, its also a reminder that on this day, long time ago, a man was born who has been regarded as God. He was God indeed, for he served Humanity and taught us to live in peace and harmony. He sacrificed himself, he suffered for our sins as the legend goes. Believers say that Jesus will absolve us of our sins. He certainly will, but only for you to start anew a better life, not to start committing sins again! In realitiy, sins can't be absolved completely, but the effect can be balanced out with good deeds.
So while we celebrate Christmas, let us not forget that it is Jesus's birthday and we must gift him something. If nothing else, we can at least live in peace and harmony, and do good to everyone around us. I feel that had we listened to Jesus and followed his path, in other words, the path of goodliness, we might have already established human colonies in Mars, made a fully functional time machine for common people and wouldn't have any poverty. In other words, total progress, because of no time wasted in having bitter feelings!

Merry Christmas everyone! Have a good day! Be a Santa to someone today, and a Jesus to everyone everyday. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

School in Winters

Sniffing more heavily than panting, he jogged towards the school bus, clutching his bag hanging on his shoulders. The sunshine after about a week of foggy days felt refreshing. Too tired and nervous to speak, he continued to chase the school bus till one of his friends noticed him and asked the driver to halt. Abhishek carefully caught the railing and climbed the uneven steps into the bus. He felt a pinch of cold the moment he sat on the wooden bench. He looked around, and as usual, saw Rajat wearing only a half sleeves sweater on his uniform. Abhishek looked at the sleeves of his blazer and the shining golden color buttons stitched at one end of the sleeve. At least he could take off his monkey cap, but his mother asked him not to, until few hours. Besides, Abhishek knew what happens when he removes his monkey cap when its cold; he catches cold.

Cool air from behind the seat through the gaps between the thick canvas and the metallic bus kept his back chilly. Abhishek blocked most of the wind with his school bag, yet some escaped through the gaps and managed to touch him. He felt his cold finger-tips. He felt his cold and moist nose-tip as he sniffed. There was a general silence in the bus, except when some kid got into the bus. The regular noises of vehicles and cool dense winter wind was pretty much what Abhishek experienced till he reached school.

Abhishek finally took off his monkey cap, after the third period, one period before the recess, when his mother had allowed him to do so. The monkey cap seemed adamant to leave his head, as it pulled on to his hair and resist his attempt. Abhishek was left with his head looking like a globe with skyscrapers. He tried to put them in sleeping position but some would just not budge!
Ah, the recess! Abhishek enjoyed bathing in the sunshine as he and his friends sat at the open air auditorium, munching the respective content in their tiffin boxes. Now came Abhishek's favorite part, he took off his sweater (he already had got rid of his blazer before walking into the blissful sunshine during recess), and wrapped it around his waist by tying the arms of the sweater together. Now, he felt one amongst equals! Its sufficiently warm now, he tried to convince himself as he walked back to his classroom with his friends after the bell announced the end of recess. Watching everybody else without any sweaters or blazers strengthened his belief. As soon as he walked into the shade of his classroom, he realized he was wrong. Before he could do anything else, his body had sent out a warning signal... aacchoo... he sneezed! And sniffed.
He unwrapped his sweater from around his waist and wore it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Vacation

Wrapped comfortably in my blanket, I sat there reading my novel. Ah, I so much loved reading the stories from old yellow pages. And occasionally I enjoyed smelling the pages. While the author talked about how Oliver got his name as Oliver Twist, my mind got distracted by this sudden urge to eat something. It was already 10 AM, although the thick fog outside that covered my view through the window in my room often put me in early morning mood. The warm feeling being inside the blanket was too comfortable for me to leave and arrange for breakfast for myself. So, I put my focus back on the novel. Finally at 12:10 PM, I got out of my blanket. The window was covered with few water droplets and the view through the glass pane was clear and beautiful. There was only a grey wall few meters beyond the window, but it looked beautiful nonetheless. I put the milk to boil and while I stood there, staring at the milk to show signs of heated agitation and bubble formation at the edges of the vessel, I thought of walking out to get some fresh air. As I opened the secondary door (the primary door is the wooden door, the secondary door is the door with sieve like metallic net that lets the air in but can keep people out), I felt the warm soft feeble sunrays touch my arm. The smell of an early winter afternoon greeted me as I walked out and picked up the newspaper at the gate. For a while I stood there looking around at other people's houses. It looked as if nobody stayed in them because the whole area felt so deserted. I started reading the newspaper with my back to the sunrays, and ah, it felt so good. As if the sunrays were fingers gently, softly massaging my back and it felt like eternal bliss. I stood there for some more time but felt stupid standing like that and reading newspaper. I also got bit tired so I walked back in, rather reluctantly and I felt as if I was entering a refrigerator when there's no electric supply.
What's that noise, I wondered. Its coming from the kitchen. OMG !! The milk !! I ran up to the kitchen, clutching the newspaper in my left hand. By the time I reached the kitchen, more than half of the milk had escaped the hot confines of the vessel, rest of it was also quite prepared to leave! I turned off the gas knob, and poured the remaining milk into a glass for my consumption. Suddenly I felt the craving for maggi. I put maggi with its masala in more than required quantity of boiling water, and left it to prepare itself for me. I took the warm milk in one hand, the newspaper in other, and sat on a chair with my back to the sun. With brief sips of hot milk, I read the editorial. This time I wasn't worried because the only way water escapes a boiling vessel is by evaporation and I had put plenty of water to keep me free for sometime to enjoy the sunshine and the morning news.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Puddle Disaster

Sometimes it happens so that you just get lost in the beauty of a girl you happen to see someday. You have seen her for the first time, you know nothing about her yet knowing her is the only thing that feels right. Time moves on, yet time stops for you as your whole being is being absorbed by her mere presence. No other thought dare cross your mind while she is the queen of your fort (mind)! All of a sudden, priorities realign themselves around her. You dress up properly, eat well, exercise, work more, participate actively in various events just to get her attention. You do everything except a simple, casual, run of the mill, "hi" to her when you and she are alone traveling in an elevator. You've seen her so many times that she has become a silent yet integral part of your life. And you know she has also seen you many times, noticed you many times, yet you could never muster enough courage to strike that one conversation, that one "hi" that could initiate something BIG, something that could perhaps change your life for the better. You wait in anticipation for something to happen but nothing does, not without your initiation.

It is the month of July and the unpredictable rains are reigning the city skies. At 6:20 PM, excited to reach home early, Parth is about to walk out of his office building when he sees many people standing and waiting near the gate, under the roof. Its raining heavily. Parth looks at his watch. He wants to leave now, reach home, listen to some Linkin Park, then perhaps doze off for a while. But these bloody rains; he wish he had at least bought an umbrella with his first salary !
Oh never mind, he tells himself. He simply storms out in the rain, clutching himself closely to protect his chest from the falling drops. Within seconds he feels the rain wash away his ego, as he realizes that he has made a BIG mistake and instantly starts shivering.

"Parth wait, you'll get wet!" Someone calls at him. He just stops walking, then slowly turns to see someone walking towards him, holding her yellow umbrella covered with flower photos.

"God blessed me; an umbrella person!" Parth feels delighted! "and she knows me...wait, who is she?"
"Hello Mr. Toastmaster !!"
"Natasha!!! Hi!"
 It is her indeed. Wait, is this one of my day dreams where I imagine all good things that could possibly happen in my life without affecting the balance of nature and smooth functioning of cosmos! And wow, she reads my invite mails that I send to everybody in the office and to whom very few respond but to which eventually nobody comes!
Lost in his thoughts, Parth doesn't realize and walks into a puddle just outside his office gate. In an ordinary movie situation, the heroine might have laughed but not Natasha. The muddy water also gets smeared all over her jeans!
"Dude, careful!" she says in a serious tone.
Mr. Toastmaster to Dude, such a sudden degradation. :(

"I am so sorry, I didn't realize..."
"Its okay I guess! What else are Saturdays for?!"
"Toastmasters meeting?"
She smiles at me!
"Seriously, you come to madhapur toastmasters meeting, I'll buy you a new pair of jeans!"

What? Parth asks himself. What? Seriously?!
"Is this how you invite new people to your club?!"
Parth thinks he is still talking to himself but it is Natasha talking to him.
"Dude, these things ", indicating her jeans, "happen in a rainy season, so chill !!"
"So you're not coming to the toastmasters meeting?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Please make better movies

Movies are perhaps the most widespread medium of entertainment, after Facebook of course! and what kind of movies are we making! C-R-A-P !!! :( The King Khan himself set the bar high in this case. :)

I am a movie buff but since last couple of years I've lost interest in watching movies. Reason: easily predictable storylines in case of thriller/suspense movies, hardly any memorable moments in a romantic/family/drama movies, and yes, bad performances in many cases, and of course, to top it all, terrible storyline (yes I mentioned it again because this is our biggest point of falter)!

Last Saturday, I attended Mind-Mash, a collection of 8 short plays by First Rush! The best part, terrific performances by first timers, along with decent scripts and good direction. It was much better than any movie I can remember I must have enjoyed that much in last one year, except Rockstar (even this one had loopholes in its story).

Coming straight to the point, bollywood movies suck big time! With so much talent, investments and experienced people in the industry, why we still end up making 'hollow' movies?? hollow = good trailer, crappy movie!

How many think Don 2 would indeed be the return of King Khan? Honestly, I don't. He has done much better roles that he doesn't seem keen in anymore. Its only because of Farhan Akhtar, who's a terrific director that I think Don 2 won't disappoint, even though its 'too much packed in 2 min' trailer makes me doubtful sometimes.

We have lost simplicity, we have lost depth in our movies. Why do the younger generation still enjoy Dev Anand or Shammi Kapoor or Rajnikant's performances, while cringing at the very sight of Fardeen khan or tushar kapoor? They were fabulous actors, no doubt about that, but seriously, is it only the actor's fault? NO! Its the whole system of the movie making, trying to make it GRAND, then falling flat on its face because there's no strong foundation !!

I ain't a Hollywood fan either. I feel they make more crappier movies than us, its just that we don't generally get to see them. But their good movies are definitely better than ours!

So, my verdict: We have been doing miserable as far as entertaining the audience is concerned. The quality of movies can definitely be much better! Churning some 10 decent movies a year isn't good enough. Why make a movie when you know its gonna be crappy? All the time, energy, resources wasted!

Ok, now that we've failed to entertain, why not make a few movies with social message in it, or to motivate people come forward and participate in nation building itself !! Big banners like Yash Raj films can take a lead in this direction and can actually make some good movies for social cause, and add same magic to it that they add in their romantic films!

My idea: Invite people working on social projects and make a script for a movie out of it. It will increase people's awareness, will give the social workers much needed fame and later much needed funds, and this might also encourage others to join the initiative. Maybe Ranbir kapoor could be the protagonist! He could do the Rocket Singh again!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I was intrigued by the idea of failover clusters in SQL Server 2008. If one node fails, the SQL Server will failover to the next node in the priority queue, and the end user doesn't even notice the change, maybe a small blip for few seconds. The ability to maintain robust state of the system for continuous good quality service is what has been the main objective of database servers, as has been for any and every other system ever made.
At an individual level, I feel the idea of failover can make a BIG difference in one's life. What confused me as a kid now makes sense. I used to wonder as to why people involve themselves in so many activities. They have their job, then their hobbies, then maybe some social activities as well, along with spending time with their friends and family. The way I see it, each of these activities is like a node in the failover cluster. The primary node is the job; if one has a bad day at job, then one can rejuvenate by falling back on the other nodes, hobbies, other activities, friends/family. You may think, if the second node also fails then one will fall back on the third node, and so on, hence the more nodes, the merrier!

Time, has always been a constraint so there's always a limit to the number of 'nodes' one can have in one's life. In fact, these nodes in our lives that help us failover is created in reverse order. First, we have a family, then we learn to make friends. After that we start a hobby and involve ourselves in some social activities by contributing whatever we can, as a kid. Then we start doing some part-time job or internship, and after graduation, we get a bigger/better job. After this, job becomes the main node and we fall back on things, generally in the reverse order, although for many people, friends and family are more reliable as failover node than their hobbies but the reason I keep friends/family as last option because I know that in each of our lives, even if everything else leaves us, they will always be there.