Saturday, November 29, 2008

Papa Kehte Hain...

I had initially titled this post "Appa Sonna Pechu", but since Papa Kehte Hain happens to be a popular song (besides being a not-so-popular movie), I decided to have it as the title (though the grammatically correct version would have been "Jo Papa ne Kaha" or "Papa Kehte The") for obvious reasons of increasing viewer count and curiosity (by a stretch of conceivable imagination).
Ok, so this is not going to be a touchy recollection of how we forget our dads and remember their thoughts and words on Father's Day or their birthdays or when they die (ala Vaaranam Aayiram). I forgot when Father's Day is, my dad's birthday is on Jan 31 and he is very much alive (and kicking ;-). It's been almost 5 months since I started working and let me tell you - software development for financial firms IS demanding. Probably not especially demanding, since I have no idea of how hectic coding in proper normal software companies is, probably it is in fact. But that's the impression I got here, especially since there's millions of bucks on the line of the software that we write here (currently, I'm nowhere near the line of fire). Still, take nothing away from my performance. (In general) Popular opinion exists that I am a relatively bright fellow who will find his way in more-or-less most places in the world. Ok. But I've been lazy enough for most part of the 4 years of my BE to not spend enough time with code. I believe one of the essential aspects of good coding is that you sit with code - even for highly intelligent souls (I am categorizing myself as moderately intelligent, out of modesty or truthfulness or both, I don't know). As far as my Master's was concerned, I fell in love with Theory here (I was infatuated in India) and fell all out for Cryptography and Network Security-centric Game Theory, Theory of Computation, etc. Somehow, I focussed and was interested in CS-theoretical subjects rather than project-based ones. So not much compulsion to sit with lots of code.
Or this whole issue might not have got anything to do with code at all.
Which is where appa comes in. I am not crudely implying that I have become dumb wrt intelligence. I am not sure I have become less sharp (which is a possibility though). So when I get screwed royally at work, I just have to attribute it to lack of coding skills. I mean it when I say I get royally screwed - some of the coding issues, I feel so damn dumb. Somewhat retarded too. I don't know if it's my colleagues who end up making me feel like that, but I really stutter and feel awkward a lot of times...have been, at least. Which, in a queer sense, somehow rewound the clock to some time around 2000-2005, when I had a partially tempestuous time with my dad, mainly due to academic reasons. Well, there was not much of an issue otherwise, but since the 10th-12th std school-phase of a normal middle-class guy is so crucially important, there is not much to life than academics, during this phase. And since my dad very much believed in my brightness, my regularly appalling and horrendous academic performances left him in utter distaste over me. Again, this might or might not be directly related to what I am going to say, but my thought-process included this bit of past, hence I trust my mind to think something relevant (not sure again :D). So yes, given this not-so-happy stuff between me & my dad besides my bright nature, plus the major fact that I was/am horribly impatient in expecting people to understand things, there were a lot of times when I thought my dad was dumb. I really felt that it was the most obvious thing in the world and my dad didn't grasp it first-hand. (Note here that though my "bright" nature failed my academic pursuits brilliantly, it did, somehow, maintain the light in general issues of life...and to a very faint extent, the thought that "intelligence leads to impatience/arrogance" was true in my case, though to a much lesser extent of intelligence, mediocre amount of arrogance and overwhelming dose of impatience). This actually started to happen quite regularly, especially during my 12th standard (when my academic non-performance was at its peak). I literally used to wonder how my dad could fail to understand what I was saying when it was oh-so-obvious. Then, like all dads, he used to say - "You also one time coming, that time you realizing, now you not understanding," obviously in much better grammar. Though I was not stupid enough to think that I was immune from going through that phase, I hoped and prayed I wouldn't have to go through that. But it seems I am precisely undergoing that kind of treatment here. Now, though, another line of thought has cropped up - that I am OB-adichufying at work [:(]. Which is, again, not entirely true, because I am beginning to like I am doing, and I am really REALLY learning a lot. But I am slow, I am taking time, that probably pisses my manager/mentor(s) off, so sometimes not much work, so browse -> more irritation. Still, my feeling of dumbness was/is true. Of course, I don't blame my manager/mentor(s). In a sense, I am hoping that feeling kind of spurs me on to learn more.
But yes, it did rewind the clock by a few years. I still hear my dad. Again, I don't say what he said has exactly happened, but the symptoms are remarkably similar. Which prompts me to quip - "Paatti sonna pechai thattadhe, Appa sonna pechai marakkadhe."
:D Some thought, eh?

PS: By the way, for two specific souls, I just noticed that my blog contains exactly 2 posts each on Cricket and Politics - one of those on cricket was more out of a national controversy (Bhajji slapping Sreesanth) than something regular - this, out of 30 posts totally. Quite funny actually, considering that the politics blog compared to mine contained 7/11 posts on politics and the cricket blog contained 12/27 posts on cricket. Chippu vandhudhu Chippu.
Oh and btw, this post isn't politics or cricket, right? ;)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Supporting' the Wall...

I am on a high now. No marijuana, no coke. A comprehensive series win against Australia, a wonderful performance by Team India, yes...but both those got me on level ground from a lower ground. The high was a result of a man not much known for 'grace' outside of the off-side of a cricketing pitch, bowing out in style, graciously. I cannot remember too many other recent instances of a cricketer signing off in style, on a high (notwithstanding a Bradmanesque final innings duck) the way Dada did (yes there were a few). Sourav Chandidas Ganguly gave us yet another surprise thus. Not that we ever doubted his talent or ability. Still, the way he retired probably surprised him too, albeit in a pleasant way. Of all that has been said about him, I suddenly felt this about him one fine day - Sourav Ganguly is a monk. Yes, if a monk is a person who has achieved conditioning of the mind and body. Let me unabashedly declare that I have been a fan of him for quite some time now, and I did not like him for the perceived negative characteristics that he possesses. Yes, there are some negatives about him, but the man was much more than those. People (like this one) who like him for his negativities are misguided. I loved his beautiful batting and relegated him to the top of my list of favourite cricketers not very long after he became captain. But even a die-hard fan like me did not think much about what would happen after he was dropped. I felt a sickening crunch, and was at a loss for words. But the emphatic manner of his comeback totally beat me. Here was a man well past his prime who, by sheer will of his mind, forced himself into the team purely on performance. It was quite shocking, what the mind can do. This guy is a monk. For sheer command over his mind.
How I felt when he played his final test, when he looked up to the skies on the pitch one last time after getting out for a duck, these are feelings too personal for me to reveal outside and publicise. Emotion, sorrow, happiness. Period.
But I feel for another man. And I want to make it known. And I want everyone to feel for him. Rahul Dravid has done more for this country than most of us can dream of. He is the epitome of industriousness and hard work. He is not a Sachin Tendulkar with natural brilliance. He is not a Brian Lara with born flair. Yes, cricket is in his blood, and he is one of the most beautiful batsmen ever. But Rahul Dravid is one of the all-time greats of the game simply because of his application. He is not very expressive, but his grit and effort show in his eyes when he plays for the country. He has performed when the chips are down and he has performed when the chips are up. He is more than just a crisis-man. He contributes as an individual, he is an able ally (as can be wonderfully shown by the 318-run partnership with Sourav Ganguly and 331-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar in ODI's, and two unforgettable knocks with Laxman in Eden Gardens and Adelaide AND the fact that he shares the most number of 100-run partnerships), he is the ideal team-man, he is everything you would want from a sportsman, and everything you would want from a warrior. He respects and loves Indian cricket more than most of us. He wants to contribute to the team more than what we know is possible. And yet, even the greatest of warriors sometimes comes up against a wall he cannot scale. This man has been a wall to cricketing opponents, now he is up against another himself. He will scale it. But give him time. Don't prey for his blood. As Sachin said and Dada rightly agreed - Respect the seniors. In a way, each of the Big 5 commands as much respect as any great person in our country. Don't trivialize them by pitting one against another. Don't insult them by reminding them that their time has come. They know. They are more concerned about the future of Indian cricket than us. Simply because they have been that past which is "history". They are the present. In a way, Rahul moves me to tears like nobody else. I almost shed tears for Jumbo. I cried within for Dada, but overcame outright tears because of the manner in which he left. I cannot imagine what will happen when Sachin leaves. I will miss Laxman. But Rahul moves me beyond any of them. This despite me being a Ganguly fan. Coming to think of it, I have never called myself a Dravid-fan. But it seems I admire him and adore him as much as I do Ganguly, albeit in a different light. And I cannot bear to see what is happening to Rahul. I know he will be back. I want him to be back.
No, Please dont read this as an obituary. Respect the man. Feel for him. Pray for him. No, don't do the last two. He wouldn't like it. He is not the Terminator to "be back". He has always been here. He will always be. No excuses for a bad performance, but this isn't his time. It just isn't.
Rahul, whatever anyone criticizes you for, know you are the best and the greatest. These two series are not going to make a difference to someone who truly respects an individual's commitment and contribution. Please don't feel bad. We cannot stand it. You don't deserve to feel bad. After all, you have been an impregnable wall for India. Yes, a few bricks might be falling off. But you are a monument, and will continue to be one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Midnight Madness

Four months since I've been working now, waking up each day at about 5.30 AM. Add to it another 3 months of 3-days-a-week-Internship at Siemens from Feb-May when I used to wake up at 5. Today's comedy/farce/joke hasn't happened once, not ONCE. My phone has been behaving strangely of late, and the anxiety of the phone-alarm ringing or not probably played on my mind. I woke up as usual, looking at the minutes digits of my phone, and (barely) glancing at the hours timer, and convinced it was something like 5.35-38, I proceeded to wake up fully, fold my bed, brush my teeth, make coffee and switch on my lap-top for the morning prayers+mail-checking. Even after having done my coffee, I glanced at the time in the lap-top, and cursing myself that it was a bit late (once again, I looked at the .56 part, assumed it was 5.56, and cursed myself since normal coffee-time is like 5.46'ish), hurried on with the coffee. While drinking coffee, I noticed that the time was strange in my lap top. My lapt-top's battery had actually conked out a few months back, and rather remarkably, after returning from India, it started functioning, although giving powerless life for about 10 minutes or so, hence the time in the lap-top has been proper for a while now, though it was wrong before. Since it showed 12.58 or 1.01, I thought it had conked out again. Just to verify that it had conked out (I was still fairly confident the time was morning), I checked out my cell phone and saw that it too showed the same time. Now I sort of got a little worked up since my cell phone has also been behaving strangely. So I wondered how else I could check the time. I returned to my lap top and typed out to check the time (Brilliance, right?) and it took me to TIME magazine's website. In that early morning sleep, I was making a fool of myself. I then went to check the time in my room-mates' cell phones, but since I got hold of none of their phones, I returned to my lappie with a little bit clearer mind. This time, I got properly and it showed me the same damn time! Now I was clearly panicking and started thinking weird stuff like someone cursing all the watches/sources of time surrounding me to show the wrong time. I wandered around for some more time, saw how the outside world was and thought like a dumber for some more time. Finally, convinced there could be no other option, I finished my coffee and went back to sleep, a total joker. Though I was quite amused with myself, I couldn't quite believe what had happened. The worst deception was because I was feeling surprisingly awake when I woke up, this despite the fact that I had slept barely an hour prior to waking up.
Am I losing it more and more? I wonder.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My two anna's on Obama's Triumph

(Bandha) See here.