Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hide and Seek for the Peek a Boo

Since getting the peek-a-boo comment-feature up on our shiny New Blogger has left Hem feeling "finicky" and me scratching my head like a monkey for quite some time, here is the solution, once and for all!

(Thanks to Stephen Paul Weber for this great stuff)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Anti-Climax

The scene: one of those Bangalore-Kerala trips for the vacations
The venue: a random semi-sleeper bus with LOUD t.v.
The thing: I was making my way, to and fro, between those blurry states of sleep and wakefulness when I notice that there was a new tamil movie playing on said television. Hmmm... here's something new. I see the villain going around with his somehow uglier looking sidekick. What's this? It seems that baddy is looking to take a wife! And surprise of surprises! He is actually quite decent about it by going about visiting families and formally asking the girls' parents etcetera. I am wide awake due to this unusual turn in events and resolve to see this through. An hour later, the hero has not shown up and I am drifting to dream-world... when WHAM! I am feel this giant psychological whack on my head and suddenly realize that it was not the bad guy I was looking at this whole time but the hero! That's when my system finally shut's down early in the morning and I get back to my world of sweet, zipped z's.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wings Over The Seas

(For my sister Reni)

Little bird,
Your wings are grown
For a long time, you were our baby,
the youngest, the apple of our eyes

We see you take hesitant steps
into the outside world
That heart in you is growing stronger
and those arms are willing to be tested

You swoop down,
and for the first time
no help is needed
Be steadfast, we encourage you

Step out of our shadows
O fiery one
Fly yourself, guide yourself
and do not forget the prayers
that we learned together
Chirp and sing out, trilling
Let your songs be heard
in all valleys
And may the mountains be your resting places

The world waits for each of us
Choose your part, do it well
Go! God Himself has sent you

Our prayer is that
you will find the Way
Our desire is that
our little one will remain True
God is all around
and mankind waits for healthy springs of Love

We give our blessings
may He multiply them
May sorrow strengthen you,
allow Joy to lift you up
And let peace be that
constant companion
who never deserts you, O flying one
as you soar above the seas

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Born of the Stars

My journey into self-analysis using astrology began when a former colleague pushed Linda Goodman's Sun Signs into my hands a few years ago. Now, the book remains un-returned but I have made amends by using the book every time I need to remind me of myself or when a prospective friend or girlfriend walks over the horizon into my life.

Although I pride myself in using reason as my only choice of weapon for my day to day interactions with myself and others, I have found that the personality analysis of the twelve star signs are an accurate portrayal of the various mass of humanity I have encountered so far. Initially, I did try to explain it away by telling myself that it was just a variation of the placebo effect or self fulfilling prophecy or some such explainable science which was interfering with my thought process but the evidence was over-whelming and even allowed me to understand the motivations that drove my friends. More importantly, it did provide enough fodder for my own mind and ways I could reduce the negatives that could arise out of my personality makeup and lay traps to discourage the same. And to also celebrate my own uniqueness and not be ashamed for the wonderful Leo and Rooster (Chinese sign) I was and will always be.

Here's some for you:
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

The "External links" section is worth pursuing.

And for those who want to try Chinese: I found that it had some useful stuff to offer too. First, go here to find your Chinese sign and then here for detailed information (Click on your corresponding animal). Have fun!

PS: Other ways to know more about yourself are by doing the various personality tests which you can find for free, floating round the web. Just google "personality tests"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Cygwin: Getting Linux on Windows

I started using Linux after reading about how Microsoft used to conduct its business with its customary "pain in everybody else's ass" attitude. The blue screen of death kind off helped too. I then began to experiment with various versions of Linux including Redhat, SUSE and Mandrake(currently Mandriva). They were neat but they always lacked something or the other. Like the inability to play great looking windows games. Or when you needed to use the internet and you had not figured out how to configure the connection configuration between Linux and the web yet. It is kind of annoying to reboot every time you wanted to switch between these two operating systems that I was seriously considering trying some other options to make my life and open-source philosophy click together. And thats when I came across Cygwin. Its a great piece of code which you can install on your Windows XP (or NT, 2000, 2003 Server) machine which allows it to act like a Unix terminal. It can even run those graphical applications as long as you have installed the required software. Installation is easy and intuitive. If you don't know Linux or any of its various *nix cousins but want to give it an experimental shot, then here's the chance to learn one without undergoing the torture of having to partition your PC disk or having to totally abstain from using Windows while you are at it. Since I am currently trying to teach myself development under Unix, I selected the whole programming package during setup. Try it out some time.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Ideal Form

Those who have watched me grow into the equivalent size of a small elephant have mixed reactions on my shrinking back to almost human proportions (@ 75kgs). My school buddies and collage mates are pleasantly surprised when they see me grinning back to them on my orkut profile pic. My work colleagues don't know about the transformation since it happened before I got my sorry ass in to any form of career here in Bangalore. But when I do mention to some of them that I had been over a 105 kilograms at the peak of my weight gaining lifestyle, their mouths go wide open and hit the floor. On the other hand, my relatives went berserk with rage when I got back to Kerala after the diet. They then proceeded to try to pump me up to my former self from which I somehow managed to escape. Whew! That was close!

(Me looking sheepish): Well, the only clue I can give to explain for my current state of "lean and mean" body mass is the movie Just Friends.

Back to serious matters, if you want to find out what's the ideal weight for your body type, go here. All the best to those who are gonna want to make themselves leaner. You'll need it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An Ode to My Friend (this one's for you Sampath)

I have this addiction for writing orkut testimonials as those who were at the receiving end would testify. Its not orkut per se which gets my fingers go typity-type on the keyboard but the intersection of my skills with psycho-analyzing people, writing and my God given talent to bug people no end. Hmmm... hopefully my friends are not aware of the last point. Anyways. I had always wanted to write one for my dear friend Sampath but the fellow, for some strange reason, doesn't want to get himself to sign up a profile for himself. Even gentle probing to ferret out the reason is met with polite diversion of said topic. So, here's my revenge! One testimonial coming right up, served hot and piping:

My initial assessment of Sampath happened when we both were being trained in SRIT where we started at the botton of the career ladder (or at the starting point of our hamster wheeled rat race. Take your pick) as project trainees. We were both freshers then, filled with enthusiasm to be all and give all. Back then, Sampath struck me as an easy going character. That was the problem. He seemed TOO easy going. Like those banana-skin-on-the-floor-OOPS-slip-CRASH kind of people who disappear into the mists after landing on some similar shit and finally landing very hard on their ass.

When we were being alloted our PC seating arrangement, we got to sit near each other. And thus began the slow odyssey into learning about each other. While we worked, we took the occasional break together making the usual office chit-chat or picking our mugs up for those memorable rounds of coffee/tea time. And since most of our other friends were placed in the opposite corner of the floor, we also took time out to make regular visits to them and begin leg pulling some innocent soul. Lunch time had us herding into the canteen queue like two peas in the same pod and many frustrated waiting-for-lunch-to-arrive-from-disneyland was bearable just because we had each other. Or more precisely: We did our verbal bashing as a team and pounded our colleagues as if we were the office version of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. And like that controversial pair, we did have disagreements. But that didn't stop us from accepting each other for who we were since we both shared one important goal. And that was self-improvement. Many were the days when we used to walk from Brookefields to K-Gate, a distance of one kilometer, having conversations which were deep or shallow according to what tsunami was playing havoc with our minds. When one of us needed encouragement, a listening board or just plain old cheering up, the other gave it to him in accordance with the rules of demand and supply. We were so inseparable that if by some fate of luck/unluck we were caught alone by our colleagues we would naturally be asked: "Where is ?". And before this turns into the slightly embarrassing moment Joey and Chandler experiences in the sitcom Friends after they have done their hugging bit, I better clear my throat and think of getting myself a can of beer.

It would be reasonable for the reader to now ask the important question: "How did you guys ever get work done?". We almost didn't. But then, unlike many of our friends, we had brains and I will say no more on that topic ;).

And after that long introduction, here is my bit on the Sampath of 2007. Its not much, but its the least I can do:

1) Sampath has this very relaxed body language. This was immediately observable to me when I used to watch how he interacted with others. Its very easy for anyone to just walk up to him and start a conversation and many people do just that.

2) He has a soft corner for Rahul Dravid. Not just because he is a great cricketer but because he is a very good human being. Plain and simple. I don't think I need to elaborate on this one. Its easy for us to understand a person based on who they look up to. I didn't give a damn about cricket before I met Sampath and I still don't. But "The Wall" has earned some of my admiration with a little help from Sampath.

3) I also learned much about Swami Vivekananda's teachings from him and another common friend we shared by the name of Sanal. I realized that many of his teachings were on par with many western philosophers. But that was not the important point for Sampath and me. We both agreed to the view that we would pick up what was right regardless of who was teaching it.

4) As already mentioned before, there is a bit of playfulness in this guy which enables him to say something funny or make people laugh often. Its something he picked up from his school and engineering days.

5) And that sense of humor he will definitely find useful alongside the seriousness he has adopted for himself to achieve some major goals in his life. Don't ask me what they are. Its enough that each person know his or her own. I am proud, as a brother, to say that he has claimed some very good ambitions for himself and that I wish him luck in all those heavy but delightful endeavors.

Yes. The so called "initial assessment" of mine of Sampath (mentioned in paragraph 2, line 1) was right. But the mistake I had made was assuming that he would stay the same. I forgot to remember the assumption that "people do change..."

And so Sampath, my friend: Here's to what life will bring you and what you will bring out of life. All the best and Congrats on the Mindtree offer. May we all go to greater heights. Goodbye. For now.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Some Timely Opportunities, I Do Not Need

Sometimes, when I am on the Bangalore road, minding my own business and going someplace where I can do my... er my own business, I get asked what time it is. At first, I thought I could at least be polite and give them what they asked for using my trusty Casio AW-80 (check out the pic on the left).

Imagine my surprise when this seemingly helpful gesture from my side lead to some surpisingly unpredictable results. Like when I give him the time and the person furrows his brows questioningly. I guess he doesn't understand english. So I thrust my watch to his face. Sometimes he asks me whether I know kannada and is offended when I don't. Some of them give me long lectures on the concerned topic. These sort of situations are easy to handle since I look elsewhere and pretend that I cannot hear what they are saying. And since they are preaching to me in kannada, this doesn't help their case anyway.

There has even been times when its the middle of the night and someone pops at my side to ask me the innocent question. Now, I am sensibly paranoid during such hours since we never know when some gang of thieves would want to jump me and take of with my valuables including my watch. When I keep quiet in such cases, they start getting verbally violent and ask me louder while vigorously pointing to my wrist watch.

That was the last straw and I vowed that I would not wear the damned gadget any more. Nowadays, you might catch me whipping my mobile like some old western cowboy when I want to know the time. Come to think of it, that might be the reason why dad doesn't wear one. I'll be damned...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Of Desires and Tendencies *

*Note: This post contains mature themes such as homosexuality, child molestation and homophobia. Ask yourself whether its okay for you to proceed reading this article. Its a short history of how I, a heterosexual, had to learn to deal with my own fears regarding gays, theoretically and experientially. There is only good reason which justifies my posting this and that is the possibility that someone else is also trying to figure out his/her feelings on the same and that a little help might be useful to get them in the right direction.

"It got Lawrence to thinking. From an evolutionary standpoint, what was the point of having people around who were not inclined to have offspring? There must be some good, and fairly subtle, reason for it.
The only thing he could work out was that it was groups of people - societies - rather than individual creatures, who were now trying to out-produce and/or kill each other, and that, in a society, there was plenty of room for someone who didn't have kids as long as he was up to something useful."


Since things like these usually have a story behind them, here's mine:

Scene 1: I must have been around my middle-teens when I had my first encounter with a homosexual. This was while I was living in Sharjah and I was walking back home from the bus-stop. A man stopped me and asked for directions. Since it was nearby, I walked him to my building and told him to go further on and he would reach his destination. As I entered my apartment complex, he started following me. While I walked up the stair-case, he runs up to me and starts to touch me near the area below the waist while at the same time making indecent gestures at his own pelvis. I am scared shitless so I run to the elevator, get it to open and jump abroad leaving the pervert on the ground floor. Thankfully, that's the last I see of him.

Scene 2: While I was working in Accenture for its BPO section in Bangalore, a colleague started sending weird messages to my cellphone. It did sound strange and I told him frankly that his sms' were sounding gay. He denied it was anything like that and so I told him that I didn't have any problems with people being what they were but please leave me out of it since I was happily hetero. At this point he confides to me that he's actually not gay but that a male friend of his did get him drunk once and took advantage of him. After I left Accenture, I never heard of him either.

Scene 3: This happened a few days back while I was traveling in a public bus (in Bangalore again). I am standing inside and holding one of the bars located on the roof with my right hand. After a while I feel that the person in front of me is staring at me so I look back. He has this strange look on his face and continues looking me in the eyes. I don't know what to make of it and I gaze away. Then he positions his hand near my right hand and tries to put his fingers in my hand so I just pull my hand back. The message is still not clear for him and he tries to get my attention by hitting my elbow once in a while with his own. I feel my anger rising but I act as if I don't understand what's happening and get out as quickly as possible when my stop comes over.

It was unfortunate that my first experience with a homosexual should also be with a child-molester. Of course, scene 1 is not a clear representation of most gays but that doesn't register in my mind then. Thus begins my aversion to men who prefer men the way I prefer women. My Catholic upbringing also reinforces the idea that they would all go to hell some day and I didn't have to bother myself by thinking about them anymore.

After I start college and get myself a more "liberal" education, I start opening my mind to the fact that gays and lesbians are people like us and that they were just wired that way through no fault of their own. Since I was not still fully convinced with the scientific reasons of such cases (is it nature or nurture?), I resolved the case by telling myself that since everyone could do what they wanted with their life, so I wouldn't have to mind what they did so long as they didn't want me in the picture. That's how I could handle scene 2.

Scene 3 was not pretty. It triggered my initial fears and homophobic reaction. And I suddenly realized that one of the reasons why some heterosexuals beat up homosexuals is that they, on some level, harbor the fear that they might get raped by gays and that the best defense would be to attack. I tried thinking it through but it was real difficult for me to get myself to think logically for two days. After a while, I got a different track and started thinking about some of the crushes I have had on some of the beautiful babes I had met in Bangalore. I also recounted to myself of some cases where some girls had taken a special liking to me too. This led me to remember a particular lady who I liked at my work. I had sent her an sms expressing my feelings when I left the place but she didn't reply to it. Emails were unanswered and when I tried to call her, she didn't pick up the phone. While I am going down this memory lane I suddenly realize that my previous feelings of homophobia were gone. Poof!

Here's what happened. In the bus, it was gay-boy and me. While I was thinking about the girl who didn't return my calls, I actually stepped into the shoes of the homosexual for a moment. The scenario was the same. I was not showing any signs of reciprocating the gay's feelings which was similar to the girl's psychological rejection of my own feelings for her.

This made me regain my original state of mind and I could finally see things clearly. Rather than be angry at him, I realized that the other person was just different and that I could not do anything about it. And that was okay since that's how it should be.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." - Elwyn B. W.

You got it almost right, buddy. The answer is to improve the world by doing something that you enjoy :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

One Wedding Reception and Almost a Funeral

I got to meet Denny yesterday for his sister's wedding reception in Bangalore. For the uninitiated, Denny was at first, my father's friend's son. Later we claimed each other as friends too. So, it kinda becomes "like fathers, like sons" ;).

The reception was at around 7 in the night. I hop around, clutching my gift and waiting for Denny to show up. After some time, an old man shows me his wedding invite, particularly pointing to the section "No bouquets or gifts, please". He has this wide grin on his face which I (being in one of my impatient and pessimistic moods at the moment) decodes into "I am gonna get myself a free dinner unlike you, sucker!". Now I am hoping mad, not for spending my money, but wondering how I would give the gift. Tube light! I will give it to Denny, I say to myself and I cool down. Ofcourse, I stay as visibly cool as James Bond the whole time.

Finally Denny arrives and we do the whole "hey buddy" thing. I push my wedding present to him telling him of my situation and he accepts it. He asks me to enter the reception hall. Guests and I do the waiting game. And then IT happens. The bride and groom waltzes in. We all clap. Some of us let our cameras go click.

Fast forward the toast, family introductions, Denny's singin' a wonderful song, meeting the bride and groom on stage, and finally the part where we stuff ourselves with food. Before I meet Naveen and Dessy, however, Denny tells me that its okay for me to present the gift to them. He hands me what I had given him and I present it to the happy couple. Naveen tells me that it was not necessary (just like the invitation card read) but I assure him that it wouldn't happen again (Right! Like he's gonna get married a second time :). During dinner, Denny and I catch up on what we are doing and I explain to him that I am having a blast in my current state of unemployment so he shouldn't worry about me.

And by the end of the show, its 10.30 pm and I am having second thoughts on going home using public transport. So I call up my uncle Simon and asks him whether I can come and stay over for the night. He says okay.

Denny's family is kind enough to drop me near some showroom in koramangala and I start running the minute I see a huge rectangular piece of metal on rubber circles sporting the number 164. Pant pant pant... and I jump aboard the bus. Somehow I get to my uncle's and go to sleep after the customary half hour chit-chat with my aunt and uncle.

... and then this post spills over to today.

Nothing eventful except the fact that I tried to save a drunk man from a looming crane-sorta-vehicle. He looks at me and tells me its okay, pries himself away from me, places himself unsteadily in front of the mechanical beast and starts waving around like a forlorn white flag declaring surrender. The driver has enough sense to slowly back away and drive the huge thing around the drunk. I just couldn't help feeling amused.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Real Big Boss

While I used to work at SRIT, I had the privilege of having Mrs. Shefali Bhalala as my supervisor. She taught me the value of perfectionism and rigorous software testing.

Once I met her and her hubby while I was shopping at Ragam supermarket in AECS layout. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Hello Shefali!
Shefali (surprised): Oh! Hello Rejoy!
Me: I guess you shop here too.
Shefali: Yes I do. Here's my husband.
S's Hubby (comes over and extends his right-hand to me): Hello!
Shefali: This is Rejoy. He works in SRIT with me.
Me (shakes hand): Nice to meet you. Actually, Shefali is my boss at work.
Shefali smiles
S's Hubby (warmly looking at his wife): She's my boss at home, you know?

We all burst out laughing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Beating 'Bout the Bridge

So I get into the bus from the Kundanahalli Colony bus-stop on my way to Majestic. It stops at two more places before it reaches the K Gate. And then, it suddenly takes a U-turn. Maybe the driver had seen Speed , the movie, and had put it down as one of his New Year's Resolution. Some of the passengers panic at this turn of events but I keep myself calm as if this happened every day. After the bus reaches back to my stop, it goes ahead another kilometer and takes a left turn. That's when our brains sediment back from their cranial juices and we understand the reason for the detour. Its due to the construction work near Marathahalli Bridge, that the buses going towards the place from ITPL had to be routed in this kind of non-intuitive way.

But we don't get to keep our wits about for more then a minute since the bus is presented with the bumpity-bump-style road. We get shaken and stirred to the core but which is still second rate when compared to what happens in hindi movies when the hero's father is shot but still gets time to put down the villian's equally bad father/uncle while still sparing enough minutes to say goodbye to his whole joint family system before breathing his last. At the same time, we are presented with loads of dust which is blown directly into our faces and we quickly close the windows but not before we got ourselves enough of the sand dancing inside our respiratory system. The whole ride was tiresome enough to give me second thoughts of returning home and spending the day in peace and quiet. Give yourself a break, it is Saturday! Nope! I just had to go along and ride into the scorching-and-not-setting-anytime-soon yellow star called the Sun. The End

Friday, February 02, 2007

One More Extension to Your Orkut Ego

Rummaging around my friends' orkut profiles could be called a favorite past time. Besides what they write up on their profiles (as in about me, passions, sports, activities and so on), you could also check to see what communities they have joined and are hence interested in.

And now, orkut aka google has provided us with another tool to help us dig a little more deeper and that is the videos option (effective from today). Me thinks, thats a more dynamic way of looking at people (and being entertained in the process) instead of just staring at some static pieces of their souls (don't get me wrong, I love text but crave the spice once in a while).

Here's a peek into what makes me go woohoo!