Thursday, November 30, 2006


A chapter in a software engineers life

A two month sabbatical was to have cured me from a lot of ailments, and i guess it did too....I am not hating my work.....Maybe i was not doing any.....My depression is more or less gone...In fact, I am on a high most of the time...No, I do not use pot...But there is one thing that seems to have gotten worse and that is my abhorrence of Management speak...JARGON!!!!

It is a phenomenon that you get to see more in the software industry...People trying to reinvent the wheel...Why use catchy phrases, when a simple word can do the same in a much more understated way..
In my managers words "It is all about perception matching".
"You mean satisfying...rite?"
"No....Perception matching..."
"oh ok!!" and a vigorous nod of the head.

The higher you go up the corporate ladder the amount of well dressed crap that goes around is humongous...sample this...
The best practices awards are coming up, why dont we pitch process evolution as a paradigm that has helped redefine the way offshoring has helped the client get more baing fozh the quotes in the air " Pezzh se" close quotes in air..vis-ahhh-veeee the competition.....and so on and so forth...Bewilderment...Brain cranking to decode....a smirk as the realisation dawns..."Bang for the buck","Per se", "Vis- a-vis"...all in a texan twang...and the speaker (originally from Madras) lost me...

This was one of the first things I heard as i was settling in to my seat on the first day after my vacation. And all I could manage to mutter was..
"mmm..can be done"....

Though felt like standing up and apploading the seamless way in which seemingly disconnected words formed apparently meaningful sentences...More of the same for a couple of more days and I decide to rate my tormentors on a scale of 1 to 5. This but then had to be based on a few normalized parameters that also took into consideration the innovation and the Out-of-box thinking that they brought to the job.

I set about formulating a methodology and the standardised unit that I arrived at was "Jar-in-Hundreds"...(subtle Pun intended)... Jarring Hundreds ...Get it?...No???...better stay away from the IT industry then..It measures the number of Jargons in every hundred words..(will patent this forget it)...
And i think i hear my manager calling me for a Re-org meeting to discuss specific niche' as i try and figure out what it all means and perfect my scoring system, let me leave you pondering on your career paths....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ode to Madraaas....

As I stood there in the dimly lit platform at K.R.Puram, at the fag end of a ligthning quick visit to Bangalore, I was left ruminating on something that came up once too often during my casual banter with friends - Chennai. It inevitably started with a comparison between the traffic in Chennai and Bangalore.....and quickly veered to the topic of weather, which everyone seems to hold against Chennai. Standing there, on that windy cold night, wearing a wind cheater and still shivering as the cold bit into my bones, through the non existent layers of fat, I couldnt help dreaming of sweating away to glory in Chennai.

And as the announcer blared that the special to Chennai was going to be further delayed, and with nothing much else to gawk at, I decide to look for some fodder for thought. I realised that every time Chennai came up for chat, I was prompt in its defence. This, despite me complaining all the while I was in Chennai. What was it that made Chennai. Especially for a person from outside like me, who had spent just 4 years of his life there...

My initial thoughts suggested that it had a lot to do with my small town upbringing in Palakkad. A place which hardly qualifies as a town. A meltpot of communities - Nairs, Menons, Christians and muslims, Chettiars and Nadars and of course the Pattars(the tam bram community), from which I hail. Contrary to expectation, the place is a picture of harmony and every stroll out of your house will be met with a gentle tilt of the head and sometimes the half uttered "Oo". A greeting, which when coupled with a few winks of the eye and the appropriate facial expression can convey a thousand thoughts. The whole place generally feels like your home.

This being the case, me accepting Bangalore in the remotest ways was out of the question. People often question my "stupidity" sometimes..Bangalore is "Hot" and "Happening" you know...My career could really take off too...but then it misses that one ingredient that i would luv to have in a place (irrespective of whether it is a city or a town) underlying rhythm. All I hear is the daily grind of a human mass racing against itself....

The rude fact that the train was slowly chugging in to the Majestic Chennai central, struck home fast....first through my nostrils, and then the excruciating pain as i tried to extricate my face from the rexin and sweat on my berth even at the ungodly hour of 4 in the morning. Chennai is a lot more in your face i tell experience for all the senses. The smell/stench of the cooum, the brash auto drivers, the majestic buildings from an era bygone,the extra large cut outs, the strong scent of Filter coffee in the morning, the very feeble sound of a carnatic compostion that u seem to hear no matter where you are. Have had people telling me that it is because i am comfortable with tamil...but then I am more comfy with malayalam but never did like Kochi much. Even had a sense of vulnerability while I was language never was the problem I guess.

Despite being one of the biggest cities in India, there is something here that appeals to me ...the rhythm of this city...This is something that is very dicey to put in words. There are days when I get out of home while on my way to work, and there are times when i instinctively tilt my head to the right to the guy supplying drinking water to our house. To the retd. Collector of 80+ years who doesnt even know my name, despite staying above his house for more than a year, a gr8 man who unfailingly returns the complement with a generous "Good morning, young man". The kolams in front of houses, though sometimes right next to a big pile of garbage. An underlying serenity that is very unlike a big city...

The people here seem to have a sense of belonging which is largely amiss in Bangalore. Does it belong to the North indian, the kannadiga, the madrasi or the mallu...The city seems to be perpetually struggling to sort this out....Chennai unquestionably belongs to the Tamilian, but then it has been magnanimous enough to accomodate people from all walks in its fold. This has meant that every race has left its mark on the face of the city and continues to do so..

So what exactly is the rhythm of Chennai or is it madraass...for me It is characterised by a lot of vibrant notes, but set to the tune of people who at the end of day are happy going back home to catch the serial on SunTV, the Thayir saatham, looking forward to the next day - filter coffee, The hindu.. a partying scene that is conspicous by its absence, the vibrant cultural scene that sets many a wintery night alive, and a society that places the intellect above all..

Now, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else would I?

Monday, November 27, 2006

updates on updates!!!!

- CAT is the long wait for the more nails to moved on to better things

- Reported back for duty at work...but this being the festive season in the US of A ..not much work relaxed...BTW blogs are enabled in hoping to keep the creative juices flowing

- Enjoying my new found freedom by planning trips out of chennai every weekend...mmmm...

- Just back from a ligthning visit to blore..called up all my friends there...forgot to wish a friend at blore on her birthday....I AM THE SORRRRRRRRY........but still managed to get 4 scoops of icecream out of her..something inside seems to be stinging me now...i think it is indigestion :-)

- Have extracted promises from friends to keep reading my blog and LEAVE COMMENTS..
However boring and trivial the post might be...someone suggested that i write a program to automatically pile on the hits...which will save me from checking out the site every few minutes

- GYAN FYI - Only one hit from an IP is recorded every fifteen minutes, how many ever times u may login....trying to prove it wrong now

- Working overtime to revive my comatose creative cells and come up with fodder for thought...
suggestions are welcome...the trickier the better...subjects of social relevance and national importance will be given a miss......

- And the small matter of the missing Computer is still not recolved...looks like i might have to go to court after all...thinking of being my own lawyer.....(smirk on my face)

- Your truly also contibutes to a new and more slanderous blog called PAASHAANAM. Check it out at

P.S:- Over the past two days something did strike me as blog will put my thoughts online soon...Bloreans gossip will find its way here...."Hitler" are u happy now????

P.S. S :- For people tracking this blog for over a year, the roads in K.R.Puram have been improved and now look a bit like the Autobahn. Slush is nowhere to be seen, though the stink remains. Claims of speeds upto 60 KMPH were heard from residents around the area..