Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Conductor's Conscience

A beautiful college girl entered the bus and stood near a seat, the bus was a little crowded. The Conductor came near her, she showed a 50 rupee note and said, "2 Tambaram Ticket".
The Conductor sternly asked, "change?"
She shook her head, the conductor's face turned red and he shouted, "How do you expect me to give you change for 50 Rupees! Do you've any sense!"
The driver turned back for a second and the whole crowd looked at them and the girl's eyes became moist with tears.
The Conductor continued, "You college girls have all the time to make up and do fashion stuffs but don't have a couple of ten rupee note?"
Couple of guys who were near giggled, the girl hung her head down in embarrassment. The conductor said taking away the 50 rupee note, "Here take this change", he gave back 4 10 rs note and 2 tickets and proceeded to the next passenger. He looked back at the girl and murmured, "These ppl are coming just to irritate me!"
45 mins later the bus was going towards Guduwancheri and the bus was almost empty and the Conductor came near the Driver and sat in a seat near him.
The Driver said without taking his eyes off the road, "You picked on her rite?"
The Conductor asked, "What?"
"That college girl"
"She dint give me the change so I shouted back at her"
"You picked on her"
"What do you mean?", the conductor asked, "Do you mean to say that I deliberately.."
The Driver nodded, he was still seeing the road.
The Conductor asked, "How could you.."
"She looked beautiful and you wanted to embarrass her. Just to make you feel good"
The Conductor remained silent, his face red with anger he wanted to tear the driver to pieces, but he was just waiting for the right words to show his offense.
The Driver said, "Yesterday morning a girl came and showed you a 100 rupee note and asked for a single ticket and you gave it to her without telling a single word"
The Conductor said, "Yep.. I was in a good mood at that time."
"Its not about mood", the driver quipped, "I know how she looked. She looked very ordinary, so you identified her as someone as you, but this girl looks beautiful so you thought that she is superior. And you want to crush her.. so that ppl will know .. that you are great. You embarrassed her b'coz you had inferiority complex"
"You are building castles in air", chuckled the conductor, "You can write stories"
The Driver laughed, the conductor thought that the Driver will do a reply, but the Driver immediately changed his topic.
The Next Day, at almost the same time that girl entered the bus and she nervously looked around and saw the Conductor and immediately buried her face in her friend's shoulder.
The Conductor came near the girl and looked at the men sitting in the ladies seats and said, "Ladies Seat!".
The men stood up and gave way to the 2 college girls. The Conductor took the rupee note from her friend and gave back the change and ticket and looked at the Driver, who was watching this scene through the rear view mirror. The Driver looked at the mirror and smiled, the conductor smiled back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Am I having another one?

Richard woke up in the morning feeling grumpy. Richard thought, "Another working day! Have to submit the proposal today else the manager would tear me off. Appraisal around the corner! Got to go to office before the traffic picks up! Life Sucks!!". He sheepishly moved around doing his morning chores. His wife asked him to check if their 7 year old daughter, Jessica had woken up.
Richard went to Jessica's bedroom and saw her sleeping and he woke her up. Jessica smiled as she woke up and asked, "Dad! Am I having another one?"
Richard dint get it, he looked curiously at her. Jessica exclaimed, "Yes! I'm having another one! I will be having more fun today", she kissed her father and jumped out of her bed.
Richard smiled and murmured, "Yes! I'm having another one as well!"

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Tribute to Randy Pausch

If you’ve a massive heart attack, you know that you may not live long. But you dono whether you will die in a month or will you go on for another 5 years.
But there are deceases where doctors give you a date!!
Pancreatic Cancer is one of them.
Randy Pausch was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer on August, 2006 and on August, 2007 he was given a date by his Doctors. He died on July 25, 2008.
He gave a couple of lectures after knowing that he would die soon, one was ‘Last Lecture’ that made him an accidental celebrity! Let’s take some time and try to absorb his Lesson’s Learnt and Philosophies. Ppl say that when a person is dying he will say the truth, the guy who died was a highly qualified Professor and we should definitely have something to learn from his life.
In “Time Management” – Lecture in University of Virginia on November, 27, 2007:
He said (on Doctors giving him a date), “I like the way they say, 'you've 3-6 mnths of good health left’, optimism in the way they say it. Its like going to Disney world and asking, 'When will it close' and they say, 'its open till 8 P.M'”
He noted that if a student comes to his office and asks, “I dono whether I spending $60K for this course was a correct decision?”, then he will just throw the student out of his office, but he says that if the same student comes and asks, “I dono whether I spending my 2 years in this University was a correct decision?”, then he will speak with the student for hours, b’coz that was the right question.
Randy observes that we all have finite time, money can be earned but Time which we spent cannot be brought back. He ends the lecture by saying, “Time is all we've and you may find one day you've less than you think”
In “Last Lecture - Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” - Carnegie Mellon University – September 18, 2007:
Before speaking, Randy received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, "Make me earn it," some in the audience shouted back, "You did!"
He knew everybody will be shocked seeing his upbeat mood. He said, “I’m not in self-denial”
He added, “We can't change the cards we're dealt, just how we play the hand”
One of his advice, “you might've to wait for a long time but sometimes even years but ppl will show their good face, just keep on waiting. Nobody is all evil everybody has a good side.”
He believes in enjoying what you do or putting it the other way doing what you enjoy, he said, “Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day because there's no other way to play it (the game of life)”
On Road blocks (Brick Walls) that stops us from achieving the Goals, he said, “Brick walls let us show our determination, how badly we want it (the goal). They are there to separate us from ppl who do not want to achieve it”
What was very romantic was he saying that yesterday was his wife’s birthday and bringing a cake to the stage and asking his wife to blow the candle!
What shall I say about his wife’s reaction, I can see joy and grief in her face and she was laughing and crying at the same time!!
He ends his session by asking, “Have you figured out the head fake?”
Then he said, “Its not about achieving your childhood dreams it’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life well the Karma will take care of itself…. the dreams will come to you.”
Convocation Address - Carnegie Mellon University – May 18, 2008:
Randy was in the 9th month after the Doctors gave him the date, so he was living more than expected (3 months extra).
He noted, “We don’t beat the Grim Reaper by living longer. The Reaper will come to all of us. We beat the Reaper by living well and fully.”
He said on regrets when looking at life from his death bed, “it is not the thing we did which we regret in our deathbed it’s the things that we did not.
I've done many stupid things and had many embarrassments but that dint bothers me now.”
He ended his talk by talking about Passion and Love, “you'll need to find your passion, I've learned that you will not find the passion in things and money. When you use things and money as a metric you will always find ppl who've more of them. Passion is something which should come from inside. Whatever the work you do the Passion will be grounded in ppl and what they think of you when your time comes. I had waited for 39 years for my marriage, b’coz it took me that much time to find someone where her happiness is more important than mine. I hope you find that kind of passion and that kind of love“
In Time Magazine Interview:
He was asked whether he thinks that he was a messenger sent to earth for delivering the message of hope.
He said, “Gosh!! I've never really thought about that. I attribute to bad luck (cancer) and nothing else. If I had the choice I give it all back(celebrity status) if I can give cancer along with it. I know that I'm doing the best use of my bad situation but I would not have been in bad situation in first place.”

Note: Originally written a week after Randy Paush's death

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


She heard the calling bell, she looked at the clock and it was showing 4:15. She knew that it would be her son. She was a little worried a minute ago, because her son would usually return home from school at 3:50. She opened the door and saw both her son and her husband. She looked at her husband and exclaimed, "You are very early today!!".
Her husband smiled gently, but she could see something very different in his face. His face showed pain! She asked, "What's wrong?". Her son went inside the house and sat on the sofa and placed his school bag in his lap and he bend over his bag and stared at the floor. She looked at her son and asked, "Why are you looking very gloomy? What's wrong?". Her son dint answer, he kept on staring at the floor.
Her husband walked a couple steps in and looked at her and said, "I very well know that today is your birthday". She blushed; she also knew that he cannot forget her birthday.
He continued, "I thought I could give you a surprise". She raised her eyebrows.
He said, "You were asking me for a cycle. I thought I could buy you a scooty"
She smiled and looked at her husband affectionately. He continued, "So I put a couple of hours permission today and I thought of buying the Scooty in the showroom which was opposite to our son's school"
She immediately rushed to the window and peeped outside, she was neither able to see his bike nor a scooty. She asked, "Where is it?"
Her husband replied, "I wanted to make your birthday memorable. I know I made this birthday memorable.. but not in the way I wanted"
She exclaimed, "What happened? Why are you looking sad? Why is he staring at the floor? What happened?"
He said, "I was on my way to the showroom. I was just 5 mins away I took the turn to the school road when a lorry which was coming in wrong direction hit me!"
She exclaimed, "What happened!! You look alright..Did the Bike got any damage"
He remained silent. She said, "I'm happy that you are ok. I want nothing.. tell me what happened.. why are you looking sad...."
Her son replied without taking his eyes off the floor, "Dad died!!"
She wanted to rebuke her son for talking rubbish but she was not able to speak, she felt heaviness in her heart, tears were rolling down from her eyes, she don't know why!
She looked back at her husband, and saw in his face the pain.. the pain of bidding farewell to loved ones. He smiled and disappeared.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Varnasi - Travelogue

Cow shits all around, narrow streets, dirt unhygienic all around that's Varnasi.
Its an Old City which has very huge buildings. Buildings very narrow and tall and seems to be unapproved.
The streets are a maze, it will take a couple of days to really understand the route to your hotel. But after that the fun begins, you seem to have unlocked the matrix and wherever you go.. you know how to explore and how to come back safely. You see shiva lingas everywhere in varnasi. Not to mention the teas served in mud cups and also the jalebis served in the road side.
The Ganges:
They have this Ghats which it seems are some 100 in number. A Ghat is nothing but a set of staircase leading to Ganga and all streets have a Ghat.
The most famous are Harischandra Ghat and Ganga Ghat which is where the corpse pyres are burnt!! I heard they burn some 400 corpse per day.
If you are in the street you will see many corpse taken away every hour and they cover the corpse with a beautiful shawl.
In Ganges bank you see everything.. corpse pyre, ppl bathing, Children playing cricket in the ghats, boats with the travellers, Some ppl performing rituals, Buffallo bathing ..
I was in Varnasi during Muharram time and Varnasi has a high Muslim population. The Muslims constructed a structure with wood and some decorative clothes.. it looked like a tomb. They took a procession of that structure in all the streets finally they came to a Ghat and took a boat and dumped that structure in Ganga.
There I saw Her!! Saw Ganga embracing everything.... right from the Muslim's tomb model structure to buffaloes excrete to ashes from human pyre and also the small boat with a diya offered as prayers from Hindu. She embraces all!! and She is the epitome of patience!!
Clapping Hand:
In one of the Ghats I saw one guy clapping his hands left hand over right.. I thought this was some kind of prayer. Then I heard some more claps when I was walking in the street.. I thought someone was calling me ...and then I realize this clapping was to powder a material which they will put in their mouth. These ppl always have paan in their mouth!! I think everyone will die of throat cancer!!
The Vishwananthar and Annapoorni temple had a lot of security.. mobile, camera and pen were not allowed. You will be physically checked at least a couple of times (in addition to passing through the scanning gate) before going inside the temple. I later came to know there was couple of blasts in Varnasi in recent years.
The Vishwanathar temple has a Saptharishi Pooja and you can get a ticket for 50Rs. If you ever go to Varnasi get a ticket and watch this pooja which happens at 7 P.M everyday. A very interesting ritual. 7 ppl first do abishega and decorations to Shiva linga and they sing a song in between , this song I can compare only to the scenes in Mongol, in that movie the soldiers after every victory gleefully hum with their jarring voice.
My parents say that it was Sama Veda which these ppl were uttering. Towards the end of the ritual there was a Deepa Arthi were the 7 ppl move arthi to the linga and ring their bells, the ringing of the bells were well supported by a percussion instrument and they sang a song.. should be Sama Veda. It was a scintillating experience. If you are in Varnasi don't miss this Saptharishi Pooja.
After visiting Vishwanathar and Annapoorni we were taken to a small temple, they said it was Vishalakshi temple. I just can't believe it. Such a small temple!! A far cry from Madurai Meenakshi and Kanchi Kamakshi temple...but what to do as the saying goes, "Moorthy siridheninum Keerthi Perithu".
Varnasi temples art seems to be very rudimentary.. the Ganesha and Hanuman idols in the temple were usually done in a red stone and they seemed out of shape. In other temples the Idol is just a brass mask!
The Rickshawala:
Cycle Rickshaw is still the main mode of transport and they don't have motors in it. Runs just by human power. On Makarsankranti I decided to go to BHU (Banaras Hindu University) Birla temple. I was told by my hotel caretaker that it would cost Rs 15 for 1 way trip to the Birla Temple. I went to the Rickshaw stand and they said Rs30 I bargained for Rs20 and sat on the rickshaw and then I realized.. the Birla temple was more than 4 km. It took about 15 mins to reach the destination. I knew Rs20 is not the correct amount but my ego prevented me from giving the rickshawala extra amount. In Chennai auto driver will start murmuring during the last mile usually to get more money but this guy dint!! Finally I got down from the Riskshaw and gave him 20 Rs and I looked at his face and I see contentedness.. peace in it. He took the money and made a namaste and told something in Hindi which I infer to be, "Have a good day".
I roamed around BHU for sometime and I saw Art everywhere. There were some students in Birla temple who were practicing some songs may be some event is coming up. Some more ppl doing a skit. I came out of the temple and walked around BHU campus and saw 1 person sculpting a statue another girl having a big chart were she is drawing a picture. Art.. art everywhere
The Kite Runners:
Children were flying Kites all the time, but it peaked on Makarsankranti. Do these children have any other option other than Kite..no. With narrow roads and tall buildings, this seems to be the only sport to pursue. I gleefully saw the Kite festival scene from the kite runner little did I realize the inconvenience. When I walked in the street my slippers were usually pulled by the kite thread and also the threads kept falling from sky all over the streets.
Some more places:
If you are in Varnasi try visiting Sarnath, the place where Buddha started his teaching. Also Choli Amman, Kalabayravar (the place where you get Kasi Kayiru). Also take some time to roam around the Ghats and if you are there in the evening have a look at Ganga Arthi.
The Tail Piece:
Remember you can never get Bangalore Thakkali in Bangalore. I went to a big sweet stall in Varnasi and asked for 'Kasi Halwa'. The merchant replied, "We don't sell Kasi Halwa". I pointed to a sweet which looked like Kasi Halwa and asked what it was. He replied, "Karachi Halwa"

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shivaji – The Real Boss

One day in the court of Chhatrapati Shivaji a messenger came in and said, “Your Majesty! We’ve a war booty as a present for you from one of our Marathi Commanders”
Shivaji said, “Show me that”
Four people carried a big box and placed it near the centre of the Court and one guy opened the box.
From the box came out a very beautiful young Muslim lady!!!
Shivaji stood up from his throne and came near the lady and said, “I’m completely mesmerized by your beauty!!”
The lady knows about the fate of women who are in the loosing side of the battle. But she does not know about Shivaji!!
Shivaji continued, “I see Mother Kali in you!! Please tell me who you are?”
The lady said, “I’m the daughter-in-law of the ex-ruler of Kalyan. Your army annexed Kalyan 2 days ago!”
Shivaji turned towards the messenger and thundered, “How dare you call a woman as a War Booty!!! And how dare you to say this in front of me!!!!”
The Messenger droop his head in shame.
Shivaji continued, “Tell your commander that I severely condemn his act!!!”
Shivaji then turned back to the lady and spoke softy,” I apologize for the inconvenience caused by my fellow men. Oh Mother!! Please tell me what I can do for you”
The Lady asked with tears in her eyes, “Can I please go back to my home?”
Shivaji said, “Of course!! My army will protect you in your journey to your home!”
Back home when ppl ask the lady about Shivaji, she always says, “Shivaji……he is the real boss!!”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Almost two years ago, I accompanied my mother to a clinic.
We went inside the clinic and reserved our name with the nurse and sat in the reception area.
The Clinic was pretty crowded with patients, there were some 25 chairs and almost 20 were occupied.
After some 5 minutes of our arrival a young girl in her late teens came in and occupied one seat. She seemed to be an Anglo-Indian, she seemed to be kind of any normal girl in her age, but something was fishy!!! I dono what it was…..but I know something was wrong with this young girl!!!
She was having a bag in her right shoulder, she took the bag in her hand and opened it and scanned all the ppl in the reception area. There was a kind of naughtiness when she saw all the ppl.
There was a table near her chair, she took each items from her bag and placed it in the table. All the items were snacks!
Then in came her grandmother rushing towards the girl, grandma said, “No you should not take everything. You can take only one at the time”
“No Grandma!!”, the girl cried as a 3 year old!!!
Then I noticed her face once again and understood!!!!!
Her face was so different from other ppl’s face….she was mentally retarded!!!
I cannot imagine how charming she might look if she was a normal girl!!!!
I think this is what they call “Face is the index of mind”
Can you just look at yourself in a mirror right now?
Can you see how beautiful you are?
Just imagine how your face will look if you are mentally challenged!!
So it seems beautiful face is just a reflection of beautiful mind!!!
OK back to the event, this girl was speaking fluent English. Whenever the nurse called the name of a patient, she echoed the same name and then she would laugh out loud.
The Nurse called my mother’s name “Sita”
The girl echoed “Sita…. Go inside”
My mother and I started walking towards the Doctor’s room and we’ve to cross the girl. I always have a great amount of fear towards mentally challenged ppl. So I took the longest de-tour!!
My mother followed the correct path and she was about to cross the girl. The girl suddenly snatched my mother’s hand and said, “I’m the doctor”
The girl looked at my mother’s hand for some seconds and said, “You are ok. You can go”
We both went into the Doctor’s room…… my heart started beating normally only after coming out of the clinic.
I asked my mother, “Why you went close to her? What would’ve happened if she did something?”
She said, “Poor girl! Why should we apathy her!”
Looking back the incident now, it seems that my mother was able to connect to the girl and I was not able to!!!
That’s the reason the girl snatched my mother’s hand!! She was able to feel the connection!!!!!
It was really foolish on my part to fear mentally retarded ppl!!!
I cannot forget the face of the girl I saw in the clinic!!!
I personally think that she was a divine angel!! She came to the clinic just to bless my Mother (“You are ok. You can go”)
Oh girl!! I apologize for being apathetic towards you! I’m sorry I was not able to understand you!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We need an outlet

One of the basic issues with Indian Culture is submissiveness. We neither show our happiness nor our anger, sadness etc. We keep these things to ourselves and become more depressed.
Today morning we had a chat in our car about Women’s Parliamentary Reservation Bill.
One girl said that it was tried in the assembly but failed and another guy said it dint. He asked her whether she had proof for it. He is a kind of guy who needs proof for every information, b’coz as Senthil says in Boys ‘Information is Wealth’.
He also doesn’t believe in scolding Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha b’coz we don’t have solution, we are not jumping into politics we are not supporting new people coming to politics and hence we don’t have rights to talk about it.
Nothing wrong with his attitude but it seems he is punishing himself too much.
Then once we reached the office the girl emailed her proof and this is what I replied:

Kaasa panama….
Everybody is free to share their views.
I want everybody to open their mouth and shout on top of each other, b’coz this is going to be the outlet for them.
Eneme daily bayangaramana controversial topic eduthuntu kathalam.
Who really cares whether one is right or wrong we all need an outlet that’s all and I hope we don’t have ego within us.
So ethavathu thappa sonnalum thodachunu poyinde irukala.
Daily Carla silenta varathuku ethu saiyalam.
What you say?

We all need an outlet we cannot shout at our colleague, our friends and relatives directly. We are not free to laugh, cry or exhibit anger, only a 3 year old child can do it…. not us.
So we keep things to ourselves, why can’t we go ahead and shout at some public notaries?
Or speak up some controversial topic which never had a solution like “Gents are Superior to Ladies”
Just do this experiment with ppl close to you and make sure you don’t have any ego issue with them. Just have some heated conversation about some stupid topic and then forget it after sometime.
Tell me how you feel……. do you feel light, rejuvenated?
You should be b’coz you got an outlet to pull off your emotions.
Many ppl will say go for exercise… pray to god .. do some gardening .. etc
Yes they are good outlet but is it really possible to do that everyday?
How many people jog everyday?
There is nothing wrong in doing this above stupid exercise, we will shout at karunanidhi Jayalalitha etc etc
We will continue to vote for them nothing really will change but the end of day you will be very lite.
The only thing to consider is you have the right people with you for this experiment.
You may consider doing this experiment alone in a bed room but your room mate may call Mental Hospital ;)
So just be beware :D
Osho once said in a book that people in a country are generally active and happy when there is a war, this is b’coz they have an outlet they can finally show off their anger. They read the newspaper daily and shout on top of their voices for sometime and go ahead dong their job, but they will feel lite.
In my previous project we’d a small third party vendor in France .
One day some developers from our project went to France to meet them. This company is a small team of 14 people and their office was very innovative.
In one place they had the “boxing bag”.
One guy asked why they had this here, the French developer replied "everyday after the conference call I will be here hitting you people here" :)
Also when they have a bug which they don’t know how to solve they go over to the boxing bag and spent some good time :) and then come back!!
I had totally cut down myself from news from India and for that matter any news at all.
I’m just thinking of going back and reading some news so that I can shout at some of them :)

Note: Originally return during my stay in US