Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sweet nothings

NO..I am not talking about those sweet nothings that take place between..ahem..a couple [i am the least experienced in that domain :( ], but those which should not be treated as nothings. I am speaking about those words which are left unspoken, under the notion that they should be conveyed without saying -'Thank you', 'Please' and 'Sorry'. One of my friends sent me an article where a management thinker says, "A good leader should not be hesitant in using these three words". I believe, for that matter, no team member should be.

There are very few people, I have found, who 'say' these words when needed. We are generally under the belief that, if you thank a person, you are demeaning his help or distancing himself from you.(The Friends-do-not-thank attitude..). Similarly, we feel that the other person is bound to perform the task given to him and you don't need to 'request' him for that. Or they think, "I will be embarassed if I apologise". Worse still, there are people who can never think of using these words with their juniors (in whatever sense). But we forget one basic point. We ourselves will like to be thanked for our good work. Then why wont others? Yes, these words are motivational, but they shouldn't be used for that purpose. That's just a by-product. The crux is, when in doubt, say it. We should not assume that the other person will 'understand' our feelings.

When I learnt about the importance of the need to express, I tried to cultivate this habit myself. Once, when I was part of the society in my college, we needed some documents to be xeroxed. But then, all of us were busy and I had to ask a (non-organizer) junior to get it done. It was during our break, and I myself knew how boring the task was (given that we were on the 4th floor!!). But then he did the job within 10 mins. When he returned, I said "Thank you for getting it done." He smiled and that expressed everything he felt. It actually worked.

There are also people who take it to the other extreme. They thank people for EVERYTHING, whether appropriate or not. We need not be so generous with our words. Then, the real feelings will get subdued and its importance suppressed. People may not realise, when you mean it and when you do not. It would be the case of the boy who yelled 'Wolf! Wolf!' all the time. When you actually mean it, people will ignore it.

When you feel grateful, Thank. When you are at fault, Apologise. When you want some one to help, request. And by the way, Thank you for reading this post. Sorry, if you felt this was a waste of time. And please, do post your comments.

Where there is a will ..

I know the title sounds cliche,'s true! Now that I am done with my vivas, I wanted to tell you stories about how I trembled during all of them, but, then that would have been the same old story. But, one important incident during these was when, during my project demo, the external examiner remarked "You have done only this much of implementation? You could have done more...".And then, I was immersed into thoughts the whole evening. Could I have actually done more? If yes, why didn't I do it in the first place...

We always talk about capability and willingness, going hand-in-hand to achieve any result. And, if we are not able to succeed, we simply say-"I was not capable..". Worse still, I have seen people, who doubt their capability even before they start.(I myself do it sometimes! :) )..So how far does 'will' let us push our capabilities to the limits? Atleast in my life, I have found many experiences where I could have done much better had I pushed myself hard..(I seem to be a loser, don't I?). But the realisation after some very crucial incidents of my life (the IIT-JEE, the GATE, my extra-curriculars..) actually point to the same.

The difference between the winners and the 'others' (yes,I do hate to call myself a loser!!), is that drive to win. That lack of motivation, that absence of focus-on-the-goal attitude, is what we suffer from. There have been tens of instances where, I know, only because of a person's never-say-die spirit, has he been able to complete his task. Even a highly capable man easily gives up, if he does not set his eyes at the target. And there are always lots of excuses, in terms of short-term objectives, to account for the failure. But then, one who desperately wants to achieve can even learn the most difficult skills in order to win. The only capability then, is the 'desire'. That's why, I feel, companies sometimes openly reject the distinction-holders for the willing first-class-ers when they look out for employees.(the academic %age in no ways determines the skills, but then, it's just an example).

So, does it mean that, even if you are the least skilled but highly 'willed', you can win? Probably not. Because, everything is bound by time. You can, of course, learn the skills, but it will surely take you time, which may prove costlier than the other person's lack of will. Which means, you need 'some' capability, but that's not the only thing. If you are not interested in the task itself, it's obvious that even the best of your capabilities are not useful. I know, there are some who believe, it is easier to instill that willingness in skilled people, than to wait for others to learn. But, I feel the inverse of it to be true. Atleast in my case :). So the next time onwards, I hope my projects be 'completely' completed on time...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A tear to shed ...

My friend Vishwanath remarked that some of my poems were 'unselfish' in nature. On the contrary, almost every one revolved around me (such a selfish soul I am!!). So I thought of writing something besides my own life. (btw i have also changed my mind since none of the earlier ones achieved their 'secondary' motives). Did I ever care to think beyond 'my' life. I do it daily, but then this care is just momentary..Here's how I felt on hearing about the recent Meerut accident, claiming 10s of lives and injuring hundreds...

Do I not have a tear to shed?
For these ailing bodies, for these dead.
The corpses, uncared for, lie here,
Charred to death and mourned by their dear.

Children clinging to their mother's chest
They do not know, in total peace she now rests.
Wives call out their dear's names
Little they know he is already one with the flames.

Why has this happened to them, I ask the Almighty
You have punished not one, but fifty.
They may have been sinners in the past You say,
But such a cruel fate they met; was this a price to pay?

But even in this moment of grief
The leaders mock their death; I'm in utter disbelief.
The dead have to fight even for column space,
Coz stars make headlines, being jailed for 3 days.

My heart cried for them, it was in utter pain,
But it was just for a moment; and thus in vain.
Life moves on and I may not care. But I still ask myself,
Do I not have a tear to shed?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Fare (space) Well

As it would have been obvious, when everyone around me has only one thing in their minds - the Farewell; how could it not be a part of my blog.. The day, when we bid each other good-bye. The day where we wish to enjoy every second to the max. The day we wish to be remembered throughout our life. But, typical to my reflective (or call it insane) mind, I have some more thoughts on it.

The farewell at some other places that I observed, had been just a day. A day of blazers and kurtas. Of make-ups and jewellery. Of perfumes and glittering sarees. Of cameras and snapshots. But then, I fear that behind all this glitter, the real essence should not take a backstage. ( I know it does not, but then I just fear...).Speaking of photographs, I still wonder, why do they hold so much significance, when they can't capture memories, emotions, feelings or events. Yes, they are a way to represent all of these, but then it's a snapshot. Even a video is a series of snapshots. More important than these are the actual incidents that take place before this snapshot, and no camera can capture these. I don't deny that photos are associated with valued memories, but then, without remembering the actual memories, the photos, by themselves are nothing. You can't capture, what happened 4 years ago, by taking a pic now. I know again, that I am being too cynical, but life's like that.

This is similar to the debate of whether 'ends justify means', or whether 'a project is more important than the product itself'. And as known universally, both are important. One without the other is useless. Someone remarked the other day that this day marks a celebration of the 4 long years that we have spent together. But then, is this day representative of the 4 yrs? Or is it that if one does not celebrate this day, he wishes to forget those moments of togetherness of the past? Have we ever thought of celebrating when leave this country for 'greener pastures' with EVERY single soul who has been a part of our lives.(yes, you do have a party with selective presence, but, does that mean that you have forgotten those who are not part of it?). Or do we even think of a celebration when we leave this world?

It is also important, as I mentioned, not to be selective in enjoying this moment of 'togetherness'. I distinctly remember the day, when a person remarked this week that 'fortunately, this was the last lecture' of a senior prof. Yes, we did not 'enjoy' his lectures much, but does it mean that all those that we 'celebrate' with, have been 'good' all the times? Or there has been not a single moment of bitterness in the past? But, on this day, we learn to 'forgive and forget', albeit selectively.

These comments may give an impression that I do not appreciate this celebration (and probably this reasons my absence), which is totally untrue. Just that,we must celebrate it in the right spirit, understand the importance of it and most importantly, remember that this does not 'represent' those pleasant memories. It just marks an end of these good (and bad) times, temporarily. And before we bid each other farewell, I wish all of us, in our future endeavours (including the short term target-the exams), 'fare well'.

Opinions. Beliefs. Facts.

( The post references the reader as 'you'; it may seem to be a 'lesson' or a 'lecture', but then I couldn't put it in a better way. )

opinion noun view held as probable.
belief noun what one accepts as true.
fact noun thing known to exist as true or reality.

I know I (as a non-GRE student) can't precisely spell out which one is 'stronger' and things like that, but then I have somewhat undestood how to differentiate between them. Rather, more importantly, we need to know why to differentiate these. Everyone holds an opinion about almost everything; when his opinion grows stronger, he starts believing in it; and if his beliefs are proven (by earlier-know facts, of course), then his belief transforms into a fact. People 'give; opinions, 'express' beliefs and 'state' facts. That's why it is essential not to mix up the three. I have found people being affected by others' opinions or adapting to others' beliefs. I believe (note the verb), that we must accept others' opinions; think over their beliefs; and adapt ourselves to the facts. Remember that facts are universal and do not need an 'adjective' (his/their) even in English usage, which simply proves the difference.

Some say that if you don't care for others' opinions, then you are arrogant or egoistic. But then, you should just listen to them, analyse them and then try to find out whether the opinion is valid (even before thinking about their usefulness). Similarly, beliefs are also to be thought about, more rigorously and then taken into consideration. But facts are facts. Beliefs can become facts, only after they are proven, by logically reasoning it out. 'A theorem is a fact, but only after if it has valid proof'. But remember any wrong assumption can prove the whole theorem wrong. If you yourself can reason out others' beliefs/opinions then it becomes a fact for you and NOW you need to think about applying the fact. You need not prove a fact's validity but test their usefulness or relevance.Relevance is very important, because we very easily associate any negative quality of ours with our failure. Any effect is present onky dueto some of the causes not all (80:20 Pareto's principle :)). The software engineers should now understand why a fish-bone diagram is so important in debugging.

During many incidents that have taken place with me or around me, I have found people trying to confuse between the three and that has become the major concern. People take others' opinions to their heart and that affects their life so much that they don't even think twice. The Joshua experience of my friends was one of them. ( for all those in the dark, this is some anon guy posting some nasty things about people on orkut.) It's simple. He can't prove it,that's why he's anon. Which means whatever he says, is just an opinion. Look within yourself. If you feel even a bit of truth in his 'opinions' then worry about it. Else go on with your life. And this is what I feel is extremely essential for any team to work together. But remember, you need objectivity in your thinking for deciding the validity of opinions. Else, you will be one more arrogant guy, who doesnt change himself for anything in this world. And remember, all that I said is just my 'belief'. Yes, ther is some reasoning behind this, but then, unless and until it is universally accepted, you still need to think about this before accepting these comments.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

No Man's Land ...

One of my close friends had this conversation with me some time last year, wherein he was desperately in need of a shoulder to rest his head on. His words were so emotional that they touched my heart and I still remember those moments. This is how, I thought, he would have felt and had wrote it then..

Lonely this life is, I now understand,
Suddenly I feel as if in a no man's land.
My friends, family and all are far, far away,
There's no one around, to whom I can say.

"I feel lifeless, helpless, O Dear!
With your gentle hand, can you wipe off my tear?"
I feel blissed when I see you smile,
But even that pleasure I can't feel for a while.

Come, hug me. Say you are there for me,
Standing by me, wherever I may be.
Let me feel that joy, that happiness.
That invaluable moment of speechlessness.

I ask nothing else, O pal !
I won't mind anything else at all.
The time is now; I need you,
Hold your hands, I want to.

Else I'll drown in this ocean of gloom,
Forever. My life will be doomed.
Searching for you and all the others,
My heart broken, eyes full of tears.

In eternal darkness, on dry sand,
I don't want to live in this no man's land...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Silken Thread ...

A silken thread in my hands I hold,
Which keeps me from falling down.
I am hanging from this huge cliff,
The river below waiting for me to drown.

I had come this far with all the ropes,
But none of them are now with me.
Some I threw; they were heavy and worthless,
Some fell themselves; alone they let me be.

I fear, if this thread breaks
I'll have nothing to hold.
Thousands of feet I'll fly down,
My body will lie in this river; Cold!

But I believe in the suppoet I have,
And my hands that grip it tight.
I know it'll take long,
But then, the goal is in sight.

One day I'll conquer this mighty mountain,
Overcome any storm or rain.
Others have either gotten there sooner or left,
But I find pleasure in this enduring pain.

It's almost impossible, but for this thread
I may still tumble down the slope.
But I know the peak is calling out for me,
For I hold this thread of HOPE...

Monday, April 10, 2006

The sound of silence ...

There are times when you feel to be left totally alone, miles away from everyone. Here are some lines that aim to capture that feeling (btw this interspersing of poems between the posts is intentional..if you didnt like these poems, atleast you can enjoy those 'prosaic' posts..)

Let me enjoy the sound of silence,
No mortals around; not even friends.
A thoughtless state for my mind to attain
Let this soulf feel no joy, no pain.

Let me break free of all desire,
From this meaningless life, let me retire.
Let me rise above this material world
Where hatred grows, abuses hurled.

Every move driven by wants, backed by false notions,
Not a man here is ready to live for his conscience.
No more of this I want now. No pressure or stress.
I am fed up of the false smile; when my heart is in distress.

Let me feel closer to God; to that utlimate goal.
Your words are just words; they no more console.
Let me leave this lifeless desert; let me go now,
And swim in that dropless ocean; that's the ocean of love.

Let me touch that morning mist,
Let me see the sun set hence,
Let me smell those thousand roses,
Let me hear the sound of silence...

To err is human..To learn divine !!

This is an incident that happened last year during my term as Senior Technical Officer at SFMC,which i a sense 'awakened' me. During the SE quiz that the society conducted, I was responsible for the software which was essentially required to conduct the quiz. I had been working for the whole of previous week(with just 4 hours of sleep, which defines my 'maximum effort'). I had tested everything at home, and it was almost done but, during the break, I found out that some things didn't work as desired, and I continued debugging till the start of the quiz.But typical of me then (and probably even now), my mind couldn't work under so much pressure and the software didn't work for one round of the quiz. We had to do with manual display and scoring, (which was the last thing we wanted to do given that the interactive-thing was the essence of the quiz)..

I was heart-broke. My first big assignment as an STO and I failed! The event had almost failed I thought. I just left the comp to my juniors and left.My senior Sriram prepared some last-minute alternatives and the event concluded with his help. I couldn't stand up or even say a word. I doubted my own capability given that I had Deepan,'the God', as my colleague,but I took the whole job onto myself and failed miserably. Probably I was the least worthy for this job. Probably I shouldn't even have attempted this task. I was being way too over-confident of myself, I thought..I went to the first floor and literally started crying. Setu Gupta, another senior of mine came to me. 'I'm resigning tomorrow, I said'. And the rest of the conversation are those golden minutes of my life...

Setu calmed me down and said..'You have failed, you want to leave. What good had this done? What have you gained as a council member? Have you learnt nothing from this? Do you want to fail again when under a similar situation? Whatever has happened, has happened. The event is over now..You tried your level best, only that you needed to be more disciplined and should have tested everything earlier. The next time, you'll never make such a mistake again and that's what is the positive result of this incident. You'l fail not just because your s/w didn't work, but because you didn't even care to learn from it.'.. I just thought about these words as I returned home..Never in my life have I faced failure with this attitude. Yes..that's how this post will benefit me and the forum. Once you fall into a pit, you don't stay there forever..but stand up and see to it that you don't fall into it again..

It was as if I had got a new life from the next day. From that day onwards, whenever I fail (or for that matter, if anyone around me fails), I stop, analyse, learn, improve and move ahead. This
has helped me improve myself not just technically, but on other fronts too. I am not perfect, but it's good that I come to know of my imperfections early, so that they do not show up in the future. Those golden words from that genius let me see life differently..

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Joy Of Giving...

This week was full of hectic project work and I needed to wait almost daily till 5 pm in the college in front of my project PC. But a few days back, one of my friends had some BIG problems with their project work and approached me for help. I was almost totally exhausted both mentally and physically (My back was paining as I was sitting for the past 5 hrs in front of the comp. But then, I could not go without helping them, I never had done before...) So I waited back till 8.30 at this person's place and atleast gave them some idea to proceed..When I was returning home, the following lines flew out of my pen..(the metaphors are used in poetic sense..NO offenses meant!!)

Looking at me is a man in need,
His empty stomach he wants to feed.
He stares at me with high hope
But I have other priorities to cope.

For a moment I think of passing by,
Need I help him? I ask WHY?
Others may come after me, I feel.
Am I responsible for his wounds to heal?

But then I can earn the money that I give,
But he wants that penny just to live.
For me, not a great loss it is,
But the gains are worth lakhs of rupees.

A rupee I give him, the least I can do
From the bottom of his heart,he utters 'Thank You!'
The smile on his face enchants me
This is the happiest I could ever be!

My heart filled with ecstasy
The truth if life I can now see.
I now understand what's selfless living,
I have just experience the joy of giving...

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Google! The 6 characters that have been a part of an engineer's life for almost every single day. Atleast for me, it is where I head to for any info on earth, before even giving it a thought about it(in my own li'l database). Though, google has its own flaws ( I have spoken about the absence of context/meaning-identification in my papers)..but still google rocks!!. This Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded company started in 1998 has had phenomenal growth and is synonymous with search for most of the PC users on the earth!!

Here are some more services that google is expanding into..( I know it's kind of advertising for google but then, google is all over my mind
  • Google Calendar (An excellent way to plan and let others know of your schedule)
  • Google Analytics - Provides some kind of statistical techniques to analyse traffic on your website

Other services include,
  • orkut-Probably the only thing for which VESITians turn in their PCs or attend labs!!
  • Joga- A collaborative effort with Nike for football fans, in a run-up to the World

Rumours are also abuzz about Google OS. According to rumours it has started testing a variation of the open-source OS Ubntu and projecting it as Goobuntu, currently rumoured to be tested on Dell PCs.
There are also rumours of Google Browser, since it has registered a domain name for it (
Google's Online Word Processor is supposedly under development(It acquired Writely,which was developing this word-processor).
Google is also heading towards home entertainment, so even your TVs could now be googled..

There are many more that may be in the offing..check out for periodic updates. There are also a group of google critics who say that it may run out of steam after some years, due to its random diversification (altavista tried similar thing in the late 90s and it failed in it).But then, it WILL prove them wrong..
As you must have known till now, I would luvvv to be part of such a waiting for the right opportunity...(any google employers listening??)

Friday, April 07, 2006

The mighty river...

Some months back, I visited a place where I saw this mighty river separating some hutments from the meadows. The river looked so beautiful, but the villagers did not understand this. They were literally defacing the river with their daily chores and that's when I thought to pen the following lines...

I am that mighty river
Through the village which flows.
With hutments on one bank,
And on the other, the meadows.
The villager, his wife and others,
Bathe, wash and go away.
They see me daily in the eye
Not a word they have to say.
The green grass, on the other side
Drink me; drop-by-drop, day-by-day.
When they dance with the wind,
Thank you! They wish to convey.
I have put my soul into them,
And joy they shower on me.
Not like the man and his brothers,
Heart-less! They may be.

The sun shines on me all day
And I shimmer like gold.
A dark cloud covers it all,
The sorrow is then two-fold.
When you see me everytime
Gushing and joyful I may seem.
But that's just a robe I wear,
The truth is the other extreme.

Still I wait for the lightest ray
So that the smallest drop may glow.
And search for that smallest seed,
Tomorrow, whose friuts may show.

The sea is far, hope I lose never.
O Mother Nature! I wish I smile forever..

By the way, this was just before I got placed into this company, whose punchline I liked very much...Beyond the Obvious and which in many ways describes my character...

Jewels of India

The very first thing that I write about can be nothing else than the two stalwarts that India is proud of today -Our President Bharat Ratna Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam and Infosys Chairman n Chief Mentor N.R.Narayana Murthy. They have inspired me a lot throughout my engineering career and will continue to do so..(I also admire JRD Tata a lot..I'll write about him later..).
Abdul Kalam's story, as he says, portrays how a person from a small village and ordinary family can reach great heights with the support of his family, friends and his mentors. His vision India 2020 says it all. He wants India to grow as a superpower by 2020 and he doesnt only say it; he has chalked roadmaps for achieving that status on many fronts. He has faced failures so many times in his life, but still has risen above all that and given India its defense prowess. I'll always remember his golden words
Dream, Dream, Dream!!
Transform your dreams into thought and thought into actions.
You'll surely succeed.

Narayana Murthy is another such great achiever from an ordinary background who reached great heights with sheer hardwork.Infosys's story is, as he says, 'the story of India's progress post the liberalisation era'. Yes, he was not the only one who founded Infosys (there were 5 others), but he was the one who spearheaded the startup and motivated the others to go on. His story is more inspirational because of the strict disciplinarian that he is and the importance he attaches to the value system. This is an exemplary example of how our values need not be compromised for profit. He had so much confidence in himself that he rejected the proposal, when a company wanted to take over Infy in 1990s for $1mn!! And then, the rest is history. Though some other Indian IT giants were started before Infy, it is almost the face of the Indian IT industry to the world. And he believes truly in paying back to the society. Infosys Foundation is working in improving the lives of the poor in 6 Indian states.
I am one of those thousands of Indians who adore these Jewels that India has produced and would be blessed even if I reach a 1 % of their greatness.

Why Blog?

For a long time now, I have been wondering about a lot of things that surround us. Throughout the 21-odd years of my (ordinary) life, I have gone through so many experiences. But more importantly. I have learnt something or the other from each one of them. This is what prompted me to share with you, how life is the best teacher you can ever have.
I have been following blogs of many people I know(and some of them whom I never knew), but one thing that interested me in all of them is, what I could take out of it. That's why this blog will be some kind of a food-for-thought where you'll never return empty-handed (or rather,empty-minded). I have also attempted to weave some of these random flow of thoughts into a couple of verses. And hey! you'll also find those "sad PJs" of mine,once-in-a-while.
I hope you enjoy this blog. Feel free to comment on anything you like (epecially anything you don't like)...