Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Professional hazards - IV

Drama alert!

Us technical writers are like beggars, always asking for information. Snooty developers and snootier product managers oblige us when they're in a generous mood. But mostly we're found knocking on their posh car windows looking for a scrap of information that they'd want to throw at us, if only to throw us off their trail for a while. We gladly lap up every bit we receive only to realize that it wasn't what we needed. Once in a while some benevolent soul comes along and throws a few better-looking scraps, along with a look that says: use it well.

When they cross us a few days later, we show them what we've made of it. That's when they decide that it wasn't what they wanted to give us in the first place. Then they throw another large scrap at us and ask us to clean up the nice little trinket that we made out of the earlier scrap.

Oh, and did I mention the QA folk? They look at our trinket as if it's a waste of their time and that they need to get it off their hands before they're possessed by whatever's in it. If they are in a generous mood, they might even throw some bugs at us, praising our trinket for what it lacks. That, when they can barely string a few words together to make a sentence. Even if their life depends on it.

Disclaimer: I know I've made sweeping generalizations and accusations in this post, but would you prefer if I did a whiny, plaintive post with great detail of who said what to whom? I get my funny out instead.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another day at work

... when you look at the clock and realize that this:
9
... has rolled around and turned to this:
6

:(

...oh, and as it turned out, I was working again from home until I looked up again and saw that it had rolled around again to this:
9

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Evenings in the neighborhood


I am fan of silver, not gold, but if nature splashes it across the horizon like that, I tend to change loyalties. It's breathtaking, this scene from my little neighborhood park. I wish I could sit there every evening, soaking in the beauty.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

To the house elf

... who's been visiting us the past few days. While I'm not paying attention, he snoops around, does the dishes and stuff. Today he even swept the house! Thank you, magical elf!

I hope you have a great time at your first office party that doesn't involve me. I'll miss watching the cuteness that is you. Although, I can imagine you being hooked on to your cellphone while people discuss boring stuff around you. Or taking pictures if you feel like it.

Go on, elf. Hope you find some good friends among the folk you work with, someone as smart or smarter, who you enjoy collaborating with. I know you'd love that.

Professional hazards - III

Life can come to a standstill when you begin your day early. I got home after a meeting until 11:00 pm the previous night, changed, and got into bed. I slept badly--had dreams about everything that could go wrong with the project or my teammates. Woke up at 6:15 am, changed, and went straight to work to prepare for the meeting at 7:00 am. I planned to come home early for a break and return if necessary. It turned out that I couldn't leave until 11.5 hours later when my work was almost done. And I still have two hour-long meetings to go.

I've tried many times to start early so that I can stop for the day at a decent hour, but that never seems to work out. My planning is lousy and execution is worse. Feels like I fit right into the project team I work with.

And yet, I can't make up my mind about quitting. The temptation of learning and earning the lifestyle we currently lead is too great. I hope to some day be pissed off enough to quit without looking back. And then to make good use of the time not spent earning money.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Yo-yo continued

It is surprising how two consecutive days can be so different.

I woke up yesterday feeling like shit. I cried and got my eyes swollen, my throat phlegm-filled, and my head throbbing. The husband sulked and went about his chores through most of the morning. (It's also surprising how chores only get done when we're pissed with the spouse--maybe that's how we burn up the angry energy. :P) I made breakfast without a word while he did the dishes from the previous day. There was a chance that he would not eat, but then he couldn't continue with a straight face for long. His favorite blanket that I got out the previous night and spread on him while he was asleep had something to do with it, I guess. We sort of made up over breakfast and then he did some more chores before bathing and leaving for work. I was still feeling like shit (although less shittier than when I awoke), so I decided to stay back and relax a bit before I left for work. Nothing improved my mood through the day, except when I got back home and there was Hairspray playing on HBO. I was not in the mood to eat, so I asked hubby to arrange for himself. He got home with a packet of bread and I was instantly tempted, because it only meant one thing--he was planning to eat anda bhurji. From then on, it felt much better. We cooked together--he warmed the bread, I whipped up the bhurji. We ate while watching a silly talk show, and then I happily walked the dogs again while he continued with Chop Shop.

I woke this morning and didn't even realize that the headache was gone. I simply changed, walked the dogs, and got breakfast ready while the hubby had his bath. He wanted to leave early today and had planned to skip breakfast, but I knew better. I tempted him with a dish he mentioned last night, and because it was almost ready when he was, he couldn't resist. We were both glad because he reached the office for his meeting in record time--14 kilometers (dining table to workstation) in 30 minutes flat--you'd understand if you knew this city's traffic hours. I did some more chores and then got to work. It's been pleasant so far. Yesterday's urge to quit has quietened. Some of it, thanks to people asking me questions and me giving them suggestions / directions. I guess I get some kick out of it. Maybe I should start working as a consultant / troubleshooter. Although, I really doubt my expertise at anything. I'm willing to research--maybe that's enough.

Enough blubbering for the day. I better get back to work (bring in the moolah) and chores (the thankless stuff). I wish everyone in the world a happy day.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Yo-yo

Last night was miserable. And it bled into Monday morning. I've had a throbbing in my head all day. (Hubby would like to say that there was something in there for a change.) Worked only half a day today.

Received news of the demise of a colleague / good friend's father. It happened on Friday, and as expected, I was informed from other sources. I did speak to the friend later, and am amazed at how calmly his Libran personality is taking him through. The guy was so torn and frustrated over the past few months! I hope things improve for him henceforth.

The pangs to quit the job are back. I've begun to detest my work on some days and push myself through it on the others. There's scope for much learning in the recent future, which I am looking forward to. But I don't know whether it's worth it. The best thing for me right now would be to stick around and switch to part time, but I don't know whether the management will be able to accept such a request. Also, companies these days do not enter into contracts with individuals, but employ them through contracting agencies, which sucks! I've seen a few examples, and it's a pain to manage money and any related issues with those agent-companies.

I do have a 3-week vacation planned. If only I could clear what's on my plate by then! The current release seems to be extending forever and they are making new additions to the product even as we're nearing RTM. It's just been such a good example of bad planning, worse communication, and the worst execution! I've never been so disgruntled with my work environment before. On one hand, my managers are willing to help me achieve work-life balance. On the other, a product manager tells me: if you want work-life balance, this product team in not the place to be.

During the upcoming vacation, I'm hoping to come to a conclusion about whether I want to continue or not. The original plan was to take a 3-month break, but the learning opportunity I mentioned is right at the beginning of those months, and so I had to settle for something else. And I'm not liking it.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dreamscapes

I was reading Harry Potter this morning for a couple of hours. Then, I decided to take a nap. When I woke over an hour later, it was due to some external noise, and not because I was rested enough. In fact, even though the state of my mind changed, my body felt like I was stupefied. I was dreaming, and the dream was an adventure, obviously triggered by the story I was reading earlier. It was a tad scary, I was tensed in the dream and trying to stay alive, which is why my body was tensed. Even then, it did not feel good to be awakened. I wanted to continue being in the dream.

The first thing that crosses my mind when I awake in the morning after an adventurous dream or after such a nap is: Oh no, not back to the boring old life again! All I think of when I wake up is how much I have left to do. My brain goes into auto-pilot and starts planning how to complete my tasks. The worst part is that all the planning does not translate into action. So, the effort of all that brain activity also goes down the drain.

Sometimes I wonder if it would really be possible to live a lucid dream, like they did in Vanilla Sky. If that technology ever comes into existence, will I really sign up for it? Assuming I am filthy rich of course! Or would I by that time have enough sense / ideas to make my real life more exciting? Would having enough energy or enthusiasm be enough to turn my boring existence around? I guess they'd have to set up a nuclear power plant inside of me for that.

Until then, I'll always look forward to my dreams to escape the daily drudgery.

Friday, December 03, 2010

My dog's going alpha

... and I'm not happy.

When my pooches were pups, they would happily wag their tails and approach all other dogs playfully. Mojo was always a bit skeptical but would want to jump on other dogs to test their willingness to play. Phoebe has never known fear (apart from the fear of mine or her dada's wrath). She's delighted to see any dog irrespective of size, shape, color, and smell, and wants to play with whoever it is. She approaches other dogs from below, showing that she intends to play and not harm. She's known to lie on the ground and sniff a pug's face. She looks downright silly--a 2.5-foot dog sucking up to a 0.5-foot one. Lately, however, Mojo has taken to approaching every other dog like a hunter. The moment he sees one in the distance, he slows his pace, changes his stance, and gets into his best crouching position, ready to be launched like a torpedo. I coolly watch him do all of this (it's mighty amusing!) and usually distract him at the right moment, enough to save my arm from being yanked off along with the leash.

I digress. Now to the main story.

I was walking ze canines last night, and we happened to cross another pair of familiar dogs--Max (playful and alert) and Bruno (shy, doesn't like himself or his partner touched). Mojo was ready for a go at any of them, and Phoebe was too, each with their own different intentions. I held Mojo back and loosened Phoebe's leash so that she could go ahead and play. Max was happy to sniff and let sniff. Bruno was cautious as always.

Hubby happened to cross us on his way home right then and as I got distracted for a second, Mojo slipped and went straight for Max. Max being the hunky Doberman, I was scared for Mojo initially, but within the few seconds that they were at each other, I began fearing for Max! My husband intervened and took Phoebe away while trying to hit Mojo so as to control him. In the next few seconds I somehow got hold of Mojo's mouth--he'd caught Max's ear firmly and wouldn't let go. I pried his jaws open, yelled at him, and pulled at his ear to control him.

While hubby held our goons, I apologized to the other pet owner and checked Max's ears for cuts. There were nothing except a bit of Mojo's saliva on his skin. Thankfully, his ears had been trimmed a few months ago (although I'm not in favor of that kind of vanity). I was so embarrassed, I wanted to disown Mojo right then. If Max had longer ears, Mojo would have yanked one off. I was pleasantly surprised and extremely angry at the same time.

Because they've been so protected, I always fear that Mojo wouldn't last a minute if he were out on the streets by himself. Phoebe would last for about 5 minutes at least, given how she protects herself against Mojo's attacks and advances. (Yep, we get to watch a lot of canine drama.) Street dogs are much more aggressive and vicious, which is necessary for their own survival. After this incident, I have a feeling that Mojo is much more vicious than he appears to be. He could, after all, learn to survive--with a lot of battle scars to show for it.

However, all of these thoughts came to me much later when we were all home and about to sleep. My first reaction was anger. Mojo has be been brought up playing with Phoebe and quite a few neighborhood dogs. None of them ever tried to attack Mojo. Where did he get that instinct from? Why does he take that offensive stance when he sees other dogs, especially males? I've noticed this change in him since he reached adulthood--his second heat earlier this year. It's a hormone-induced personality change, I think. He's even been jumping at Simba in offense. Simba is the dangerous-looking-but-the-sweetest-and-most-unharmful dog I've ever seen. My pooches have grown up with Simba--he's their favorite! And yet Mojo crouches when he sees Simba from afar. Although, he backs off in a couple of seconds once he realizes that Simba isn't attacking back. Then they both play a game of who marks the most number of shrubs or who marks the best. But I still hate it that Mojo isn't playful any more. He's going alpha.

It's not that Phoebe is an angel with other dogs. She barks back when another barks menacingly at her. But that's defense. She still tugs at the leash at the risk of cutting her throat, and rolls happily on the ground at the sight of another dog. She won't eat for days, but the moment she knows we have some free time, she plonks her toy at our feet and demands a game of fetch.

Mojo on the other hand uses attention-grabbing techniques like peeing on the floor without asking to be taken out--he used to do that earlier! He scratches walls, eats the paint off them, and begs for food even when he has just had his meal. I was so angry with him after the incident with Max, that I hit him all the way home. I didn't feed him and threatened to make him sleep alone his cage all night. I knew I'd cool down and bring him into the bedroom with us in the middle of the night, but right then I was ashamed of him for being mean to another dog. My softie husband melted and tempted me to relieve him from the cage sooner than I had planned.

I'm not proud of punishing him, but I doubt whether loving words or other actions would have stopped him from attacking the other dog. Given some time and space to play and know each other, I'm sure he'd even befriend Max, but I'm mighty pissed at the attack-for-no-reason. And now, I don't think Max's owner would trust me enough to attempt to get them to play.

I sometimes wonder whether Mojo feels like the less favorite one, and needs more love to prove otherwise. I hope I can find out and make him my gentle, sweet puppy again. Maybe the hormones will do that trick as he grows older and stabilizes. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Men, mothers, marriage, mo(u)rnings

A large part of lunch-and-tea-time conversations at work revolve around the contributions that our spouses make towards housework and life in general. Or the extreme lack thereof. Some things that crossed my mind, and that I saved for posts like these are...

There's a मराठी idiom that goes like this: स्त्री ही क्षणाची पत्नी अणि जन्माची माता असते। (Those who know better, feel free to correct me.)
It loosely translates to: A woman is a wife for moments and a mother for a lifetime.
Here's what I think: Most men deserve their mothers and nothing more.

A popular complaint is that men sleep late into the mornings while their wives do all the housework, get the kids ready for school, and get themselves to work in time. They resent the husbands for their shameful boot-up time. The ones like me abhor this trait and resort to yelling curses to get our point across. Trust me, we've tried gentle and more socially-acceptable-but-never-to-be-spoken-in-public ways of making our fellas rise n' shine. It seems like some of us are doomed to an eternity of foul-mood-mornings cuz we have to think of and do EVERY FUCKING THING ourselves. Or spend our lives giving reminders, without the respect that a fucking cellphone / planner gets.

Hence, the popular quote: Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
...should be changed to: Early to bed and early to rise makes your wife happy, zippy, and nice.
...cuz the quote only talks about 'men' anyway.

Disclaimer#1: I'm not proud of myself for gossiping or ranting, but this had to be put down.

Disclaimer#2: Cuz the hubs doesn't seem to have read this yet, and cuz the responses surprised me. It isn't as bad as I made it sound in the post. My problem is with our society and our mothers who bring up boys differently than girls. There are exceptions, but they aren't as many as we need for our society to become one where spouses are equal contributors.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tricking my mind

Another realization dawned upon me today as I was helping a relatively new team mate at work. I had this defect in my queue, which I thought I wouldn't be able to resolve within the planned milestone. I asked my lead to pass it on to someone else who could work on it. I estimated that it would take about 2-4 hours for a new person to resolve. The colleague who it was assigned to asked me for help, and I ended up resolving the whole thing. While the defect was in my queue, I kinda resented it because it was just one of those things-I-couldn't-get-to-because-I-have-other-priorities. When someone else asked me to help, I gladly hand-held them through the problem.

So here's a tip for my leads / managers if they ever come across my blog. Never assign me a task. Ask me to help others. That way I always end up exceeding expectations. There aren't any to meet, dummy!. If only 'helping others' wouldn't turn into a target for meeting expectations.

Anyone else dealing with this application called Success Factors? It's the monster under my workstation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rekha Bharadwaj

...is pure magic! Try putting on a headphone and listening to (Badi Deehre Jali on a high volume... not blasting your eardrums, but just enough to block out other sounds. Ibn Batuta and Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Jee have nothing on it.

Also other favorites of mine listed on wikipedia... didn't know they were hers until recently... haven't heard the others, but I'm sure I would have loved them too!

Does anyone know/remember the last two? I loved them and never knew why. Now I do.

[Confession: Yes, this is a pathetic attempt at doing at least one post before the month is over.]

Friday, August 06, 2010

Who is Unmana?

The author of this blog-book: The Voices in My Head
(Yes, the title's a rip-off of Salt. What to do, I haven't watched it, but can't miss the posters and trailers that I see everywhere?!)

I know that there are about three people or fewer who read this blog, and most of those are familiar with Unmana's words. If someone new stumbles upon this blog, I'd urge you to go read her. She's spinning some a stories over there. But I'll always remain a fan of her non-fiction work :)

Hyperactively excited

...is what I become when I unexpectedly come across a person I know and adore. I was out for a team lunch at Not Just Jazz by the Bay, when Gouri Dange walked past.

I could not just keep my ass stuck to the chair and wave a decent hello. I almost ran over to her and hugged her out of joy. Even though she lives in the neighborhood and I can visit her often, I don't/ get to. It was such a thrill to see her there! She mentioned that she had just watched (the world's worst film--in her words) Aisha and I was like, but why?! Why put yourself through that? She explained that she had accompanied a friend who was critiquing that movie. I told her I'd rather watch Predators.

Which I truly will. Booked tickets for the weekend already. Husband made the mistake of asking what the story of that one was. As if I care. I'm just going for all the guns and lasers and mini-nuclear weapons/beasts and spooky scenes. Although a lot of thought and work might have gone into making that one, for me it's a no-brainer. Which is what I need right now.

Also reading Confessions Of A Listmaniac by eM. Trying to not work longer than 8 hours a day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Professional hazards - II continued

Remember I said I was in mourning? Scratch that. I was in denial. I thought it would be difficult for me to get over, but that G would be there even after V was gone, and that would be enough.

This morning, G pinged and asked whether I could speak for a few minutes. I gladly agreed, assuming that it was about some urgent tasks for the upcoming product release. I never suspected what I'd be hit with. And then she said the words. She's about to move on too.

Although, I'm very, very glad for her, because it's a wonderful opportunity--she's getting the exact job she wanted, without taking a pay cut. She can continue working from her home office twice a week, and the rest of the days have fixed work timings. It sounds like a really wonderful opportunity for her.

G is so sweet and considerate, I could die of all the sweetness! She informed our manager about this on Friday, and could have dropped the rest of us an email, or spoken to us on the same day. She waited until Monday morning when I reached office to break the news, because she knew it would have ruined my weekend, had she done otherwise. I'm really thankful to her for that, because I had an unexpectedly nice weekend. Bless her soul!

And now, I'm at a loss for words and feelings. G was my last reason to have any emotional attachment to my project teammates. I'll forever feel the void when working with this team now. I thought I'd be crying my eyes out when this happened, but I'm not. I think I shielded my heart after L left, so even V's news didn't hurt enough. I'm not letting the pain reach within. Right now, we have to focus on the impending release, and make sure all the necessary tasks are done. There's no time for mourning too.

Also, even though our managers would appreciate us taking over V's and G's responsibilities in such a short time, it just wouldn't feel right to me. I think I jinxed the team through and through. Now I have a very silly hope that our managers would be able to contact the folks we lost or let go earlier, and convince them to come back. Like I said: silly hope. I'm in denial and I don't want to get out of it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Professional hazards - II

This one isn't funny. Not one bit. Remember how I mentioned that I work with the best team in the world? Well, all my blabbering took its toll. I jinxed it.

When I joined my current company 3 years ago, I wasn't sure of what I was getting into. I'd moved on from a very fun work environment. Not that all was rosy, a lot of people complained, but their issues were alien to me. I didn't think about how my new team would be, I just switched jobs because I had to move cities and it was the easiest thing to do. When they hired me here, they had two positions open and weren't sure which team to put me on. It was my terrific luck that I landed where I am. I had a very professional and gentlemanly manager, and it was inspiring to see him at work.

He moved on within less that a year of my joining. Fortunately, I wasn't working with anyone else locally, my team stayed intact. Then came the horrible month of December 2008 when a LOT of employees were laid off globally. We lost the most senior and knowledgeable member of the team and also a contractor who part-timed with us. In 2009, our lead decided to move to another project. We couldn't complain, because she was on the same project for a decade and needed change! Later that year we also came to know that our manager was battling with a dreadful disease. Even though she wasn't around a lot, we heard from her via emails, and assumed that she'd be with us for a few more years. We lost her earlier this year.

Soon after, there was another round of lay-offs, and the next most senior member (am I seeing a pattern here?) was let go. It was a shock and I was sad and angry for quite a few days. What sort of business strategy aims for success by laying off people with over 20 years of experience and replacing them with freshers or folks with 3-5 years of experience in a country where they don't even have the relevant curriculum?! (It's another matter that we learn and adapt well.) Now, there were only2 of the 6 members that I started off with. I decided that I'd stick around as long as there was at least one of them. Today morning, we received an email that one of those two is leaving.

This awesome woman has resigned, and she'll be gone in 2 weeks! I hate change and I'm officially in mourning.

What's the hazard here? Well, in my profession, you need excellent communication skills. That is one thing, which if used correctly and with good intent, can make life easier for everyone around you. However, people can also use it to manipulate and twist things only for their personal advantage. It's a subtle power that can disrupt the harmony of a near-perfect community. The wonderful people that I have been with will always be my benchmark for future teams. And I'm not sure I'll be third-time lucky.

PS: G, with V gone, it'll be just you and me, that too in different continents. I hope you don't decide to leave too. I'll have no motivation to stay put. I'll hate coming to work. Baaawwwwwwllllll!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Professional hazards - I

Yesterday, I received a friend's email via Yahoo groups. The subject was: What To Do When You Are Trapped in A lift? I didn't see any content or attachment in that email, so I ignored it.

This morning a friend from that group responded to that thread with this: So what do you do, press the "untrap" button?

Instead of 'getting' the joke, the first thought that crossed my mind was: Shouldn't that be "click" the untrap button?

Then I realized, the lift might not be one of those cools ones with a touch-screen input panel. Where do they have any of those anyway, except in sci-fi movies? Also, in that case, shouldn't we call it "touching" the untrap button? Then again, that would be wrong because we're actually touching the screen and not the button as such.

By then the joke died a silent death. Dang the profession!

PS: Initially, I wrote content / attachment, but scratched that to include "or." Like we say in Indie English... I'm a gone case. Mera kuchh nahi ho sakta.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A certain Ms. Noor

...whose name truly befits her. Noor-Ul-Ayn, meaning aankhon ki roshni. She's such a loving soul, I'm sure she personifies that concept for her loved ones.

We met at Wadeshwar on F.C. Road this weekend, and because it was too crowded, we moved to Horn OK Please. I'm glad we did, because it had a decent (I meant in numbers) crowd and no music (if it was on, I don't remember), so we could chatter to our hearts' content. (Actually not, 'cuz we hung out for only a couple of hours.)

The woman truly is non-stop, but I think I did cut her off a few times! Been a long time since a conversation with someone was so fluid. Even though she has twins approaching the terrible twos, she didn't seem stressed at all! Sure she must be tired with working through the week and staying up nights for the li'l ones, but she hid it very well. If it was me, I'd be all harried and not even bother to go halfway across town to meet a bloggie pal. Noor, you have awesome stamina and patience.

I had parked my car about half a kilometer away because I thought walking would take me from KNP to Wadeshwar faster. Even though she spent more time chattering with me than planned, she dropped me off on Bhandarkar Road and then headed home. And, here's some news: she doesn't drive as slowly as she says she does (I tried to look up that post, but got lost in a heap of those on her blog). I imagined her to follow her own words to the tee, but she's good! :D (You can beat me up for this, N!)

I wanted to post some flowers for you, N, but can't transfer them online right now. Stay tuned. Also, we'll try and meet up with G. She must be back soon. Hopping on to her space to check.

So here are your flowers, N. It's you, RS, and SS :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I miss

... having someone who 'gets' me.

Well, it's not so bad. It's better than having someone who pretends to do that. Or maybe there's no pretense, but then they just go on a flat out refuse to do that.

It's like I'm my own and only best friend. The problem is, I suck at being friends!

Monday, May 24, 2010

They didn't soar for me

Disclaimer: I missed the first 15 minutes or so of the movie, but I never felt like I missed any important part of the storyline.

I was skeptical yet hopeful for Kites. The skeptic in me won. Anyone like me or Noor, who didn't like 3 Idiots, should steer clear of this movie too. Or watch it on a hugantic (word learned from D) HDTV with mute ON--the leading actors are drooooolicious, all the talking they do takes the charm away. No, the plots or the actors in the two movies aren't comparable, but they had a common denominator--eye-piercing flaws:
  1. There was nothing even remotely related to kites in the film--not even kites shown flying in any frame. (See disclaimer above.) And if there were, they were so well hidden somewhere in the background, that the events in the foreground obfuscated (I love that word!) my mind. Well, you can say that the protagonists were metaphorical kites--their lives were controlled by the strings of their circumstances (and the villains--said in a Mallu accent), yet they soared high in the sky through/because of their love. Bleh!
  2. When Hritik and Barbara enter her room after their rain-dancing/flying stint, the door closes behind them, and you see the string attached to the doorknob pulling it. Or maybe it was just my eyesight. Or imagination. Either way, the image stuck. Because their kiss wasn't convincing. It was too slow and too awkward to seem real. Not to mention the focus only on the lips--as if it were being made for a audience who found this taboo--and not on the people who were feeling the emotions leading to it.
  3. The silly car chase sequences where the cars were blown apart by using bombs: so not cool. No car that goes on top of another will explode from the inside/passenger seating area. There's nothing there to trigger the explosion from. Cars might explode when they bang head-on into something else. There's where the combustion engine is, remember? Also, why are the police always stupider than the hero? They're always the ones whose cars end up in a pile. Where does a hero without much money learn to drive cars like a dirt-track racing pro (or some other kinda pro who specializes in a chase like that)? And wasn't he supposed to be a dancer in the first place?
  4. We get to see a little too much of the villain. Every time the hero and heroine heave a sigh of relief (or just heave, you know ;-) ), Tony--said in a bad Vegas accent--appears on the screen in slow motion with the you-took-my-toy-away-I'm-gonna-tell-your-mama-face. Argh. My eyes almost bled.
  5. I didn't care to remember more than these.
More of my personal opinions, listed just for the heck of it. You may skip or you may read and say I'm judgmental. Heck, it's my blog and I call the shots here (pun fully intended):
  • Again, Hritik Roshan looks incredibly good/hot. I entered the movie hall as Hritik and Kangana were doing their dance routine, and that set my expectations higher. Hritik dances like a dream, and some day I'd love to see him perform on So You Think You Can Dance, but I know that that will only remain a dream. If only Hritik could do those awesome jumps and flips. I think you need to train for that since childhood.
  • Anyway, Kangana looks really nice (and sometimes beautiful) in all of her 5 minutes of screen time. I actually thought that the woman who played Kangana's mom looked quite like her. But that sort of contradicts my previous statement.
  • Barbara smile-a-lot looks great and acts decently. However, I think she flashed her teeth a lot. Unnecessarily. And, boy, does she work her pout!? I'm sure that must have sent the guys in a tizzy. I'm also sure there are a thousand more better looking Spanish women out there. My favorite being Paz Vega, who acts well too. I'm talking about Spanglish and not the other B-grade movies she acted in. Some say she's a Penelope Cruz lookalike. I say she's better.
The only one thing I loved about the movie was the scene where Hritik entertains Barbara with some shadow play thingummy, after she's abused by her fiancé. You know, where you make shapes with your fingers against a light and their shadows enact a scene on the wall? Obviously, I didn't care to look up what it's called.

I love Hritik's looks in general. I can ogle at him for a long time in a poster. For some reason, however, his acting doesn't convince me much about the intensity/passion of his character. The only time I really liked his I'm-baring-my-soul-to-you expressions was in Kaho Na Paar Hai, but back then I was young and stupid and the only movies I could compare with were other sappier Bollywood movies. I think he's got a big bad boy lurking inside, waiting to be unleashed from his 'good boy' persona. And not in the Dhoom:2 way. That acting wasn't convincing either. I want to see him do a Lallan Singh a la Abhishek in Yuva. I know he can. I'm waiting for him to be unleashed. Am I being stupidly hopeful?

If you've read through till here, you must have noticed how distracted I was when writing this post. Well, that's how 'gripping' the movie was. Folks could simply do with getting Hritik and Barbara's stunning posters home and ogling at them. It'll be a better investment than watching the movie.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To the two girls

...who zoomed past me--who was stationary for a reason--and almost cut through a red light. Yes, you two, who braked abruptly upon seeing the policewoman watching you attempt to jump the signal. You who looked nonchalantly around and appeared to act cool, then tried to moved backwards because you suddenly noticed that you were almost in the middle of the square, then turned around and asked, "Auntie, Model Colony?"

Firstly, that's not how you phrase a question. But then, you're the SMS generation--I'm surprised you didn't try to abbreviate that and expect me to understand.

Secondly, respect the pedestrian crossing! Did you notice you were on it and about to go beyond? Do you even know that it is there for a purpose? Or did you cheat on your written exam for the driver's license?

Thirdly, I may be an auntie to several little babies, some teenagers, and even a few adults who happen to be related to me by blood or by law, but I'm surely not yours. When you look at the mirror, do you sometimes notice the arms you've been gifted with? They look like bottle gourds grown especially for consumption by hippos. And from whatever I could see, so are other parts of your body. I have fat arms too, but they pale in comparison to your nubile, young cellulite bombs. (Kill me for this, but I just had to say it.)

And lastly, Model Colony stretches for at least a couple of square kilometers beyond the signal you were attempting to jump. Try being specific when you want to get directions from random strangers whom you auntize. Especially when you're inviting death-stares from them by halting right on top of the pedestrian crossing.

I hope you didn't find your destination and were fined thrice in the same day for breaking traffic rules.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gems in the mailbox

I came across these as part of an email chain today...

"Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days you're the statue."
I found this hilarious. Loved it. Although most of the times I feel like I'm the one who's just standing there and watching the fun.

"If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague."
Hmm, if I decided to take that seriously, I could one day have a PhD in decency.

Phase

I opened the Messiah's Handbook this evening without any purpose in mind. It said, "To learn anything, you must put aside the safety of your ignorance."

The question that popped up was, "What do I want to learn?"

The reply was quick, "Nothing--at the moment."

That surprised me a little. Normally, I attach a lot of importance to learning--at times even more than peace of mind. It's a bit like losing your purpose--what else would you live for?!

But then, I curb the panic by thinking that it's just a phase. If you don't reach this stage once in a while, all your efforts and learning might seem unworthy.

The hunger will soon be back. This is definitely not the end.

PS: I need to do something about the urge to share this with someone who I know will get it--to make the 'thought' feel complete. Or is that what makes me human?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Birds of a feather...

Here's another excerpt from an email exchange with a team mate.

Her: I wonder whether we should use [full product name] instead of [abbreviated product name]? I dislike the “ARS” abbreviation because it sounds like “arse.” Am I the only person who would notice that?

Me: Heh, it actually never occurred to me! (And my mind is usually in the gutter, when compared to other prissy girls around me.)

Her: Well, I’m glad I have good company in the gutter! ; )

I'm thrilled when I meet a 50-year-old woman who looks gorgeous, does her work smartly and with painstaking attention to detail, and thinks like me sometimes. I thank thee oh heavens above, for this serendipitous association with my lovely team.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Memories at work

I happened to come across some old emails at work today, and some memories came rushing back. It felt nice, so I thought I'd share.

This woman, who was shooting emails at 4 in the morning (her time), whom I asked she what was doing at that hour:
"Trying to trap a feral cat that I’ve been feeding for three years. But she’s not cooperating. Then again, who are you to speak of early/late hours?! You seem to work around the clock!"
What she doesn't know is that I suck at time management. I while away my time surfing and then have to make up for lost hours. But then, when it's required, I don't mind working round the clock. It's the closest we IT folks can come to doing "hard work."

A colleague who was visiting India for the first time; I'm pasting quite a bit of the email because I think it's cute and funny:
"I’m planning on doing some sightseeing and shopping this Saturday and Sunday. If you’d like to accompany me, feel free to do so. However, don’t feel obligated to “baby sit” me. With the help of rickshaws, I’ve navigated the city rather well and am very comfortable exploring Pune by myself. (Remember, I’m an American and I’m not just saying that to be polite.)
Shopping: I’d like to return to Laxmi road and do a little shopping for friends and family. On this leg of my adventure, I would like some company (i.e., protection from the vendors). I don’t mind paying 1 or 2 times the cost (i.e., the Westerner’s tax/surcharge). I just don’t want to pay 20 or 30 times the cost. Plus, then I’d have to get a second job upon my return to [his hometown]

A colleague on his last day in the current organization:
"Time flies on the wings of light and now I am here to say adieu to all of you. It was a short association of xx months. Somehow I can’t align myself with what [company name] offers so I had to take this decision."
I liked the way he stated the reason--genuine and formal.

A colleague appreciating a work-related email I sent to someone we needed to keep in-the-loop and happy:
"Your response is perfect; thank you very much. :>"
My response to her (who I look up to and adore):
"Did I say I love you? Ok, there, you heard it. Now all I need is a hug. I’ve begun to have a headache juggling between blah-blah-blah."
She replies:
"Well, thank you! What a lovely way to start my day. :>
I’m sending you a virtual hug. Your day sounds like it was hectic; I hope you have a great weekend and get to relax!"
We frequently exchange such cross-continental energy hugs :) I'm truly blessed to know someone like her.

A senior manager who was about to move on from her current organization:
"I was hoping to have something wonderfully witty and wise to send to all of you, but, that has eluded me! Must have something to do with the aging process!"
Although I interacted with her for all of one hour, she came across as a very warm person. Also, she made time for nice activities besides work and regular life. Appreciated that.

From a US-based colleague who was visiting the local office:
"It’s movie time. I brought in all of the movies I have with me. If there is one in this list that you want to borrow, come see me."
Titled, "Get the popcorn," and she carried a good mix (La Vie En Rose, Capote, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Shrek The Third, The Illusionist, Sweeney Todd, The Man Who Cried, Prime Suspect 3, The Namesake) that she shared with anyone who wanted... even the ones whom she didn't know well. It was pretty sweet of her.

A manager, asking us to keep in touch with another manager who was not keeping well:
"If you haven’t sent an email or note to Robin recently, she would really enjoy hearing from you. Just a note to say hi and that you’re thinking of her and miss her would be great."
This was very thoughtful and nice of her. And I'm really a jerk for not acting immediately on this reminder. I could have talked to "her" one last time! :(

And the last and most goose-bump-inducing, from Robin, when she was trying to diagnose what was ailing her:
"I expect our working relationship to remain the same and I continue to be here for what you need. I don’t expect you to require less of me."
That's how great she was!

Monday, March 08, 2010

On International Women's Day

... I only wish that in a century or less we do not feel the need to celebrate such days. (Why a century? 'Cuz, ya'know, I'm am an optimist, but not completely insane. Yet.) I'll be thrashed for saying this, but it feels like mass hysteria to me. Like those Hallmark holidays.

Why has human civilization come to this point of polarization? Millions of years of evolution and men still cannot resist their animal instincts? If you folks could suppress that one trait of yours, the whole species would be achieving greater things. I'll not even get started about war. Suppressing the urge to thwack people's heads off to grab their possessions is a higher level of behavioral sophistication that would require you all another million years of refining. And I'm not talking about all men here. I know there are some really awesome apples in the basket, but they're few and far between the rotten ones. I guess we need to stop procreating like rats, and focus on producing quality offspring. Not focusing on physical attributes like the Spartans, but on bringing up "humane" humans.

We're supposed to evolve and not roll in the same muck over and over again. And then they say history repeats itself. We're the ones who write history. And while the men folk try not to harass women at whim, we women could do with toning down our nagging and making more time to do stuff we like. And cut down on the gossiping and bitching. It sounds hypocritical coming from me, but I'm trying, you know. Rant over.

Oh, well. I forgot about the whole issue of societal acceptance of LGBTs. If we can't tolerate innate, natural preferences that do not intrude upon others' lives in any way, how can we consider ourselves capable of "reason?" Could we please stop classifying people as men, women, or other poorly-defined genders, and focus on the human aspect? Celebrate individuals for their good qualities and attempt to curb the not-so-good ones? What happened to live and let live? Argh!

Rant forcibly closed.

I'll miss you, Robin

My manager had been battling ALS since the past few months. She fought bravely and refused to quit working and supporting her team. It was inspiring to see her. One of my regrets in life will be not getting to speak to her before she passed away.


I'll miss you, Robin, your leadership, your courage, your quick decision-making ability, your insights, your appreciation, all that made you such a wonderful manager. I guess it stems from being such a good person inside. I'm glad to have been associated with you. May your soul be in peace.

I remember feeling down in the dumps on a morning this weekend. It was soon after the unfortunate event. I'd like to believe it's the cosmic connection. Adios, brave woman.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Multitasking gets to you at times

One of the reasons I'm grateful for being born as a member of the female species is the awesome multitasking feature that's programmed into our brains through a million years of evolution. I usually put it to great use, but sometimes, when the wrong process accesses the wrong memory location (couldn't help the computing jargon!), it has comical results. It kinda makes me feel absent-minded or stupid ...at least that's what it would appear like to an onlooker when I'm:
  • Picking leafy vegetables or peeling peas and I throw the roots or pods into the "clean" bowl instead of the "dispose" bowl
  • Closing multiple jars and match a tiny lid with an extra-large jar and the darned thing falls into the oil/ paste/ gooey stuff inside
  • Cooking and my mother calls and I answer but tell her to hold on because I was looking for my phone
  • Eating biscuits and feeding my dogs and the wrong biscuit ends up in my mouth
  • Getting dressed in multiple rooms--clothes here, moisturizer there, the comb in a third room--in a hurry to go to work, only to realize in the office lift I'm still in my somewhat-wet bathroom slippers
  • Opening the toilet door after I'm finished and use my ID card to 'swipe' out
It also doesn't help that the keyboards for the office workstation, my personal desktop, and my laptop all have DiFfErEnT layouts!

It's also not fun when you're busy with activities in the marital bed (like RNM puts it) and your brain's planning the breakfast menu for next morning and setting a mental reminder to boil the milk and walk the dogs before you leave for the movie the day after. At such times it's a downright curse.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Working for money

...is like selling our free time to buy the freedom of buying things we won't have time to use!

And, oh, I do exactly that. Not that I have an option. :P

In response to Unmana's lost freedom.

Cleaning the sprouts

In response to Noor's tooth update.

Firstly, don't those finger brushes look sinisterly like something that would have prevented the kids from 'being'? Just sayin'. Actually I think of getting them too, for my wolf-descendants.

Wouldn't these scare you?

(Drags her dirty mind out of the gutter.)

I know precisely what they mean by shark-teeth. The smaller and newer the teeth, the sharper they are. Also, mostly they'd open their mouths eagerly to try and gobble up the biggest of objects--like basketballs, for example--but YOU attempt to put something suspicious in their mouths, and they'll... well, calm up. No better word.

I have to pry 'em jaws open!

I'm glad I don't have to brush my monsters' everyday. Once a few weeks is enough. Surprisingly there's no dog breath unless you decide to wedge your nose between their open jaws and take a deep one.

Or, sometimes, as they sleep in all kinds of weird positions, their lip-flaps (what else do you call them?) sag in the wrong direction, and their canines are accidentally bared.

One would think the bugger is so smugly a-sleepin'.

Friday, February 05, 2010

One night last week

Me to the husband: Wouldn't our dogs be quite disoriented right now? I've used a face cream, a foot cream, a perfume, the mosquito repellent is at work... so many different smells!
The husband retorts: Yeah, and Mojo's fart and Fibi's fart and your fart and mine. It's a wonder we haven't died of gas poisoning yet.
Me: Drat! Let's never light a matchstick in our bedroom, shall we? Our Final Destination might just be an explosion.

Thanks for the prodding, momofrs! ;-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scoot

One more visit to a relative-in-law
...and I'm ready to fled the country.

One a different note, which genius keeps grapes and a coffee machine side-by-side in the same pantry? Talk about sending mixed signals to employees!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Glut: make a pig of one self

...says WordWeb, and I agree.

Aside from the fact I have made no silly resolutions this year, I also seem to have subconsciously devised a plan for doing the opposite of what I hoped to do last year. Now, I can blame it all on the fact that my in-laws are staying with us for a month, and 90% of our conversations (and apparently our lives) revolve around food. It's paradoxical, really:
  • MIL keeps telling the hubs and me to lose weight.
  • She herself is about 10 kilos overweight.
  • I'd lose more weight laughing at her exercise routine than she does by performing it.
  • We have two maids who do the cooking--one for lunch and one for dinner, so that I don't have to enter the kitchen while MIL is here, and she gets some relief from 35 years of cooking and feeding the family and the endless list of extended family members and friends.
  • Despite the availability of maids, we still have more cooking related tasks to do.
  • Conversation on food is playing on a continuous loop, almost like the background score of a movie, or like the universal ether; it begins just before bed-time--about what's for breakfast the next morning.
  • If the plan isn't fixed, the question arises again; after some mumbling on my part and/or escaping to the bathroom, MIL prepares something which I may or may not eat (I'm always in a rush to leave home in the mornings).
  • I have come to dread weekends and holidays because then I also have to talk about and help with lunch.
  • Although dinner is almost ready everyday, there's still the important task of re-heating everything. Oh, and preparing a salad, and giving tadka to the daal.
  • Then there are days when either of the maids does the vanishing act and poor MIL has to cook 80% or more of the meal--I go on a guilt trip and chip in a little.
  • Every few days, we run out supplies, and then go grocery shopping.
  • Food is brought home and stuffed into the fridge; when that real estate runs out, the remaining is piled onto veggie baskets and fruit trays.
  • Non-perishable items are stuffed into containers; when that real estate runs out, the remaining is piled into one big can of extra-stock items.
  • Hubs and FIL make a special trip to the veggie market every Sunday to hoard a week's worth of subzis.
  • Also, most of the guests we ever have are during the time frame when the in-laws are around, so there's always more food/snacks to make/buy.
  • A social transaction is incomplete if only one family visits another and the favor is not returned, so we travel to however far and long it takes to... guess what???--meet them for breakfast / lunch / snacks / dinner!!!!!
As if that assault on the senses is not enough, the mind constantly nags and plays a tug-of-war with itself:
  • I shall not have a morsel of food for the next three days.
  • Warm water is all I should ingest--helps detox, ya'know?
  • I can lie to whichever other lady is in charge of nutrition at home (mother or MIL, in case they're visiting) by saying that I'm having all the meals at the office (too much work, you see?)
  • Well, maybe fruits will do no harm.
  • While you're having fruits, what's the harm in having milk--you need all the calcium you get, after all.
  • Also, don't forget the assorted raw veggies you can eat--carrots, beetroot, etc; if they're too much to shove down the throat, douse them with salt and chilli powder and lime and crushed groundnuts and...
  • Who the hell has time to arrange all that healthy stuff? I've gotta rush to that meeting now, let me grab a bag of chips and I'll deal with the diet plan later.
  • Aaargh! All this talk about food. I don't ever want to eat anything till I lose 5 kilos. (Munching on roasted peanuts in the background.)
  • (In the morning...) I'm not gonna go to the cafeteria with my colleagues. I end up eating that which shouldn't be eaten. I will rush home as soon as it is time to leave. I will stick to my desk and drink warm water till then.
  • (Few hours later... while a colleague is ordering snacks) Nope, I don't want to eat anything, I'll just take a bite off your sandwich to taste.
  • (Few minutes later...) I realize I'm downing a big cup of coffee / tea and eating chaat. How the hell did that happen?!
  • (As I'm drifting to sleep...) Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life... I will not eat a morsel of food until I am REALLY hungry. Warm water is my favorite food.
Now, the story that made me write this rant-filled post:
As ALWAYS, I woke up and was in a hurry to leave home, to go do my investments in time for the upcoming "taxable income declaration schedule" (I call it the universal law of karm-oney: what comes to you shall be partly snatched away before it reaches you, and you cough up the rest yourself). Coming back to the point. I did not finish those tasks in time for my weekend class. I admit, rather regretfully, that it wasn't possible for me to cross 15 kms of city traffic in 7 minutes. So I came to the office instead. All the while contemplating whether I was hungry enough to eat. I parked the car and just as I was about the take the stairs and go straight to my desk, my own personal devil who's hell bent upon inflating me to the point of bursting mind ordered my feet to turn around and go to the cozy little neighborhood café instead. I ordered a Garlic-Mushroom Tostato, a Yule Log, and a Frappe Royale. A Rs.330/- meal (after a 15% corporate discount) for one person.

Mother earth is now officially invited to open up and swallow me right now, while I'm all meaty n' chocolaty. If that doesn't happen, someone please shoot me in the head. Only make sure my dogs are properly taken care of for as long as they live. As for my husband, well, let's just let his mother feed him to death :P