Reflections

..of a peerless nincompoop

Height of smartness

Its that day of the year again and I need to write something. I have been writing about my laziness for a long time and there is nothing new about that. To be frank, I am too lazy to think about pearls of laziness that I didn’t blog about. For a change, I have decided to write about an innate trait of mine. Yes, you guessed it right (from the title, obviously!). I always knew that I am smart. I often wonder why people don’t realize that I am the epitome of smartness. Enough is enough. I am going to write about an incident so that people will no longer call me stupid.

Ever since my laptop charger stopped working (from an incident that deserves a blog post of its own.. but I am not doing that because it may make me look stupid :-?), I have been using my work laptop even at home. It has been only a few months and so I still haven’t got a new charger. I was on gtalk call with parents as usual when my cell phone rang. Adhering to telephone etiquette, I pulled out the microphone jack from my laptop before attending the other call. After I hung up, I resumed my gtalk call. Parents asked me who was on the other line talking in Malayalam. I told them it was my friend and continued talking..

Moments later, I was shocked as if struck by lightning. I could sense a path to greatness in front of me! I just discovered (ok.. not exactly, but at least witnessed) a new and totally innovative way of capturing sound without a microphone! This is my god given chance. I should not miss it. I just need to discover how my disconnected microphone could capture sound and my name will be talked about in the same breath as Newton and Einstein. I could even picture myself with fluffy white hair like Einstein. It looked a bit out of place on my head, but it may be because I haven’t completed my research on the million-dollar microphone mystery. Gravity and relativity need just one more great invention to complete the great trilogy. And here I am, almost on the verge of greatness. This is not the time to get distracted.

You need to be systematic when approaching science problems. First I made sure that I didn’t disconnect my headphones instead if microphone by mistake. No I didn’t. Can it be interference of signals that took the sound to the laptop through my headphone jack? I disconnected both and still it works. Oh my god, it is something even more powerful than what I had thought. Who knows, I may be counted as the greatest among all inventors! Countless nights without sleep followed. I was buried under a pile of papers with complex mathematical calculations like addition and subtraction. I was surrounded by such powerful tools of science like calculators and pencils and erasers. Hard work never gets wasted. Who cares if it took a few weeks or even a couple of months! I solved the greatest mystery of 21th century by myself! Yes I did it!!

I didn’t want to shock all of you when the Nobel prize for Physics is announced next year. I want to be nice even to those who think I am stupid. Hence this post. Now for those of you who are passionate about science, let me announce the greatest invention of all time. Hold your breath.. T61 laptop has an inbuilt microphone!

I knew I am smart ๐Ÿ˜€

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August 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Expensive cars, affordable bikes, cheap bicycles. That is India. Things are slightly different on this side of the world. Everyone has cars, the rich buy bikes, and some kind of crazy people buy bicycles. Bikes are called motorcycles and bicycles are called bikes! No wonder it is called the other side of the world. Or is it because everything is crazy here? A weird game in which you hardly play the ball with your feet is called football, and the game in which you mostly play the ball with your feet is called soccer. Can’t blame them. If they can call that thing a ball (I think someone miserably failed while trying to make a real ball and it ended up like this!), they can call the game football also!

Two years on this crazy side of the planet is all it takes to make one crazy enough to buy a “bike”. Buying a car is day to day stuff, but buying a bike needs lot of money and careful planning. Test riding bikes at Sports Basement is fun too. If you are not too much into biking, you don’t need to sell your car to buy a bike. You get slightly cheaper ones too, like the one I got. If you pay more, you may even end up with just a handle or a saddle. Yes, the more expensive the bike is, the less stuff you get on it! First you lose the pedals, at about $1000 or so. Rich guys can pay more and watch bike stripping ๐Ÿ˜€ . If you are not that rich, they almost strip you instead! Well stripping is better than getting everything measured from head to toe in front of others (for the REAL mallus out there – It is almost like our dummy to body, body to dummy, dummy to dummy thing. The only thing missing is CID Dasan and CID Vijayan ๐Ÿ˜€ ). Once it gets over, you should collect your carry on baggage and proceeding for boarding. Oh, sorry! You are in a bike shop. Just make yourself comfortable while computerji fits the bike for your size.

More about bikes here while we wait for computerji. Bikes are super light. But take it with a pinch of salt. They make you buy everything which you find on a normal bicycle and attach it to your body! What is the point of giving a saddle that reminds of a police “lathi” and then making you buy a shorts that has almost a seat attached on its butt! You just look like a joker with a light bike and a bulge on you bottom as if you soiled your shorts! Once you buy all the accessories like jersey and biking shoes, you are heavier by a few pounds. But don’t miss the point, the bike IS light ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Computerji is ready with your custom sized bike. And you are ready with your custom fitted accessories. You even have a portable pump, water bottles, saddle bag with a quick repair kit! All set to go. Oh! wait a minute. How do you ride this thing without a pedal? You need to buy custom pedals. The rule of thumb holds here too. The smaller it is, the more expensive it will be. Who is crazy enough to buy a pair of minuscule pedals for $250? It is ridiculous to pay almost one fourth of the cost of your bike for two small pedals! You could as well get temporary ones and wait for a week for those “cheap” $60 pedals to come. It is a little bit of circus using biking shoes on temporary pedals. But who cares! A few days of circus is all it takes to get used to the crooked handles and blade like tires.

In a week, the temporary pedals make way for the $60 Shimano R540 pedals! It’s so easy to fall down with them! Basically it locks your feet on the pedals, and it won’t come out. When you want to stop, you put your nose on the road to avoid falling down ๐Ÿ˜• . The sales person sounds like he is consoling someone who spent $60 to fall down for fun. “The first few times when you fall down with these pedals, you will feel sad. But that is ok, you will soon get used to it”.

I still haven’t figured out whether he meant getting used to the pedals or getting used to falling down ๐Ÿ˜• . Crazy world indeed!

September 7, 2008 Posted by | On the lighter side | 5 Comments

Running for a cause

Aug 6th again! I need to write something. But I am too lazy to think and recollect what all funny things happened last year. So I have decided to write about recent things.

Prologue
I knew I was not made for running. So I never tried it! To be precise, I never tried running till May 2008. I was happy playing all sorts of games that I could. To hide my fear about running, I always pretended to be a good athlete. Pretending sometimes helps ๐Ÿ™‚ . I was happy being myself till I learned that my teammate (who was my classmate in grad school before) is training to run a Marathon for charity! I don’t want to run. But some guy called ego started playing mind games on me. How can you let someone else trump you? That too when it is for underprivileged children in India. Just two years ago, you were doing active volunteering! I tried fighting, but had to give up at the end. On one fine Monday in May, a few weeks after the training started, I joined Team Asha and turned up at Baylands Park to start.

The Struggle
Being lazy, I didn’t enrolled in the mailing list. The effect: No assigned mentor since they didn’t know about a new person joining the group! I made good use of it though. Anyone who helped me was my adopted mentor. Chakri, Vijai, she-Kiran.. I had more mentors than others!

My only enemies for this pursuit were my laziness and sleep. Running buddies and evening running group helped fight them though. On the first day, I was with Kiran’s group and they were running 3 miles!! It didn’t feel difficult as I thought. May be I am made for running 3 miles. Who knows! Anyway, I am sure that I can’t run more than that ๐Ÿ™‚ . In a couple of weeks, I was running 5 miles! One fine Sunday morning, there was something called tracks. This time my sleep won and I missed it. Everyone had something called an MTT to boast, and I had my laziness to curse! I was told to run with group 4 (slowest group) and I ran with them. I was running a bit faster than the group, at about 95 seconds compared to the group’s average pace of about 180 seconds!. Coach Raman kicked me out to join a faster group. Looks like I was made to run a bit fast too, who knows! Anyway, I did my MTT before tracks the next week. Coach Tony Fong took away my watch when he saw me starting the stop watch before MTT. “We time, you run!”. I started off slowly and then I heard coach Tony telling me “You will never finish if you run this pace” and I took off. First lap was fast, I had energy for the second lap, but realized I can’t finish if I run at that pace. So I slowed down in the second lap and then coach Tony paced me through the last two laps. At each lap, the crowd was cheering which pushed me forward. When I finished, coach Tony said “6:21.. 22”. It looked decent to me. I didn’t know that it was the fastest MTT of this year’s group until Venkat and Lakshman told me a few days later. Now I ignore the fact that I am not made for running. I just run!

Then What?
In case you are wondering what this post is about, this is not what I was planning to write. I realized that I am too lazy (as always) to write and post it before the clock turns 12 AM on Aug 7th. This is just a preface. Watch out for the real post..

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

An eventful boring year that made a whooshing sound as it flew by

It has been a year since I wrote something. Lots to write, but nothing worth writing! It was one of the busiest, yet most boring years of my life. And here I sit, too lazy even to type, instead of celebrating the 5th anniversary of what I wrote in the last post.

India’s loss is United State’s gain. People call it brain drain. I am not sure what they mean by that. I am still searching for my brain and can’t remember whether I took it from India. I don’t even remember having one of those. All I brought were two suitcases and one cabin baggage. I could easily fit all I need to live in that cabin baggage. But it was a struggle to pack my stupidity into one big suitcase and my laziness into the other one. There was so much to pack that I had to leave my badminton racket in India ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But you can’t restrict me for long. Within a couple of days, I found a place where I can get rackets and play. Our own sports complex! I didn’t have to try too much to get company also. All of us were new to the US and there we were, going to make that swooshing sound!

People win and lose in badminton. People who watch may cheer or boo. Its all part of the game. But I am different, and the game too is different when I play. All I remember is trying to hit a smash. Then I heard a loud cry followed by the sound of something falling behind me. No, it couldn’t be a shuttle cock. The sound was too heavy for that. There lies my teammate! How can someone pass out so fast ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I didn’t know that things are so different in the US, or that it is so easy for me to make my mark! Soon came the police. The ambulance and paramedics took a bit more time. Doctors came soon after that. Wow, the US is so cool! ๐Ÿ˜•

What an eventful evening! Within a couple of minutes, one more sound. One of our brave friends fainted seeing all these! Thank god, she didn’t need medical help to get up. Poor me! All I wanted to do is to play some badminton. And here I stand, responsible for two fainted souls! All attention back to the original casualty. Once in a while she woke up and blabbered something. Total confusion.

[Police Officer]: Is she always like this?
[Me]: Yes Yes
[Another helpful soul]: No.. no.. only when she faints!

[Fainted soul wakes up]: (smiles at me and says) murderer! (and faints again!)
[Me]: (looks for cover)

The mess continues.. I thought to myself; “hmm.. didn’t know its so easy to reach “safe hands” after coming to the US. Police-ne kandupidichavane thallanam! No no.. badminton kandupidichavane thallanam..”. People around me would have been thinking.. “Ivane okke ingottu varan sammathichavane thallanam!”

It will take another big page to write all that followed. Now that its past, let me take a deep breath. All I remember is a whooshing sound and a boring year when I look back ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: I am still as dumb as ever!

August 6, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

This day down the years

August 6th has got a significant place in the annals of world history. For some, it depicts pain while for some others it depicts gain. For some, it was the harbinger of doom while for others it was the harbinger of glory. Historians across the globe have talked a lot about it. I don’t think I need to talk about it, or that I am qualified enough to talk about it.

I am here to talk about less significant things that nobody else will talk about. This day, four years ago, I had just started the seventh semester of my B.Tech. This was the day, on which I attended the first job interview of my life. This was the day, on which I got the first job offer of my life. The day on which my name appeared atop a small list of 5 people. I consider this as a lucky day, the day on which I found my place among the first few who got job offers from my batch. Though I didn’t take up that job at Tata Elxsi, my luck in interviews continue to this day. I have never fumbled a job interview till date and I hope I continue like that. I should thank my teachers and friends who helped me to be what I am.

I was unemployed four years ago. But there was no uncertainity or insecurity. I didn’t have any work experience. But still I was very confident. What have I achieved in these four years? Today I am unemployed, though I left my job at my wish. I know it is very easy to get a job now. I am as confident, if not more, as I was four years ago. However, I feel the so called insecurity. A jobless 24 year old is a lot different from a jobless 20 year old. Responsibility and 3 more years of life brings a lot of change. In hindsight, I wasted lots of opportunities. I never tried as hard as I should have. I have been lazy from the time I can remember.

I want to be a bit less lazy from now on. For myself, for the people I love and for the people who love me.

Disclaimer: I will still be lazy enough to sleep that extra hour in the morning or do things like this

August 6, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Communication Skills

Scene 1

Babes are a rare sight in our male-dominated* company. So rare that the ladies’ restroom in my floor doesn’t know what it is supposed to be. For us, its just another gents’ restroom. So the extra energy and life that my floor gets at the sight of babes is justifiable.

We were so excited when two babes occupied a corner of our guy-dominated floor that the traffic through that corner was unusually high. They were sitting in the same cubicle since morning. A dude who sits right opposite to their cubicle tried to build a conversation after much hesitation and contemplation.

“What are you doing in the same cubicle?”

I guess they didn’t hear the first word (“What”).

He is hospitalized! ๐Ÿ˜€

*There was some hidden agenda not to hire ladies. I guess it was in the best interest of the company.

Scene 2

A friend of mine and myself went to the RTO office today. He had his driving test scheduled at 11.30 AM. To make things smooth, he had gone through some agent. They can get driving license for people who can’t even distinguish between a car and an autorickshaw.

After about an hour of waiting, he finally came to us. He pointed to a guy in pink shirt standing in the third floor of the RTO office building (it’s some 100 mts from where we stand) and said “^%$^%$%$%^$^ pink shirt *&*&^*^*&^&^^”. The ciphered text was in Hindi. Since my Hindi proficiency is well-known, I generally switch to ignore mode when people talk in hindi. But now I had this friend with me who understood what he said.

We were told to follow that guy in pink shirt. There we go, with all the information needed to trace him. We just need to find that guy in pink shirt in a crowded building (as if pink shirt is as rare as a blue-colored mammoth!!). We started our mission like troops chasing an enemy. We reached the third floor in no time and located the guy. He was moving so fast that we had to hurry not to lose sight of him. Dark corridors, left turns followed by right turns, fast straights, until he vanished somewhere in the crowd. We were lost, in a maze not knowing how to come out. But troops are no strangers to such situations and they have radio equipment(read mobile phone) at their disposal. My friend contacted the base station (read agent) for further steps.

I sensed a blunder when the phone call ended with a sheepish grin on his face. We were in fact told to wait where that guy in pink shirt was standing. The mistake the agent made – he assumed that we know Hindi :-?.

Soon we were waiting where we were supposed to wait, with an artificial calm on our faces and looking around to make sure no one else has noticed it. ๐Ÿ˜€

July 6, 2006 Posted by | On the lighter side | 36 Comments

The Pump 2.0

In 1989, Reebok introduced the original Pump performance shoe and within four years sold more than 20 million pairs. Fifteen years later, Reebok unveiled the Pump 2.0 – the first shoe that automatically custom fits to the foot. The evolution of the original Pump, the Pump 2.0 features groundbreaking customization technology to truly revolutionize the sport of running. Created by NASA and MIT-trained engineers, the Pump 2.0 provides runners with a customized fit for all foot shapes by surrounding the athleteโ€™s foot with an automatic form-fitting air chamber.

So it would be really special to own one, huh? What if it is the flagship model of the Pump 2.0 range? You flaunt your new pair of shoes wherever you go. You become complacent seeing your friends envious about it. You conveniently forget all those batterings you received from your dear ones for wasting so much money on a pair of shoes.

Five months and lots of wear and tear later, you miss a heart beat when you feel a pressure difference between the right and left shoes. You know the warranty has expired two months ago and all you can do is to throw your Pump 2.0 away and whine about $xxx going down the drain. Or you can just get it replaced with any merchandise worth its cost. You can pick up another pair of shoes, a couple of T-shirts and umpteen pairs of socks, all without paying even a single buck extra.

Hail Reebok!!

June 22, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Afternoon thoughts

I am feeling sleepy. So sleepy that I may fall down from my chair. I can just go to the restroom, wash my face and come back.

But I have reasons for not doing so. I believe that there should be some benefit from whatever I do. I don’t see any benefit from warding off sleep. Sleeping is anytime better than staring at the monitor. But the real reason for not washing my face is different. I am too lazy to get up and walk 15 metres.

I may fall down any moment. I may get hurt if that happens. But I am unfazed. I am bold enough to defend my decision.

In the meantime, you can start showering your “get well soon” wishes in advance. ๐Ÿ˜•

Note: I have started accepting “get well soon” wishes in form of cheques, drafts, cakes, cookies, grapes, iPods, Ferraris(only red ones), Lamborghinis(only yellow ones) and all expense paid Alps holiday packages. I may also accept other Ferrari-red cars*

*Conditions apply

May 22, 2006 Posted by | Taking laziness to the next level | 20 Comments

Nostalgia, and some associated thoughts

I sold my Bolero. We shifted from Autobahn to a new place at Marathahalli. Roomies have christened the new place Corsica. But somehow I feel that the place lacks the energy associated with that name. Its more apartment-like when compared to Autobahn. Autobahn had the excitement and energy of an F1 motor home. It was home to Geo, Sand and me. We shared two cars and three bikes. Each one wanted to extract more from these machines than the others did. Every weekend was like a race weekend. We used to explore the unknown, be it speed or terrain.

Life has changed, but the man hasn’t. I still can push these machines to their limits, and I love to do that. But the responsible driver in me says not to. I may not rev it up when I have pillion or passengers. I may not rev it up in city traffic anymore. But I still have the same driver within myself – playful, wild and raring to go.

Going forward, life is dotted with uncertainities. I don’t know where I am heading to. Perhaps I am taking a risk, at the end of which there can only be two results. Either I will be broke or I will be rich. I may never be the same driver if I am broke. Be afraid if I am not broke, for you will find me behind the wheels of a devastatingly fast machine. Be very afraid, for you will never be able to compete with me. Never.

Forgot to mention something. I still can’t swim ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

May 8, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Swimming Classes

No man is perfect till he learns to swim. Especially if he doesn’t get time to play cricket or badminton or TT. So I decided to learn swimming. I got two friends for company. They wanted to lose a few pounds. I wanted to gain a few :).

Day 1
We were being taught to float. Wiki says you need some fat to float. I pretended that I haven’t read that. That’s a good way to avoid sinking. The trainer told us to hold our breath. We did. I thought I was floating until I touched the bottom of the pool :(. Those plumper ones had already started floating. Some more tips and the circus repeated. The day ended with everyone except me floating. who cares? I have 20 more classes to go.

Day 2
Its time to learn moving. Press against the wall, then shoot yourself and float. Everyone did, till their momentum ceased. I did too, till I reached the bottom of the pool. ๐Ÿ˜• I must be the first one to introduce touchdown in swimming.

Day 3
Its time to learn kicking. Float and kick so that you move forward. People started trying it, moving at varying pace. They kept moving forward until they could hold their breath. My turn came and I did it religiously. Took a deep breath, closed my eyes (the trainer says don’t close your eyes) and started kicking. I didn’t sink! I was sure that I have almost reached halfway by the time I lost my breath. I got up and to my surprise, found the trainer and others around me with bewildered looks. I hadn’t moved a bit. I just hovered around where I started ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Day 4
The day started with a surprise. Till date, we stayed near the three feet deep end of the pool. On day 4, the trainer asked us to jump into the sixteen feet deep end of the pool. We had to somehow survive and reach the adjacent side where we could hold on to a pipe. It was fun to see people trying to swim, like cats being put into water. But I was still sceptical of the sixteen feet depth he said. I thought it would be less, until I jumped in with butterflies in my stomach and measured the depth :(. It was exactly sixteen feet deep :-?.

Day 5
Synchronizing your hand and feet movements with taking breath is the key to swimming. I forgot to kick when I tried paddling, and gulped down water. Next time, I made sure not to forget kicking. Kicking and paddling, but then I forgot to take breath and gulped down more water from the pool ๐Ÿ˜•

I still have 16 more days to learn swimming. The water level in the pool has come down by about a foot since I started learning. I drank the rest :-?. I would be surprised if the pool is not empty by the time I learn to swim. The circus continues..

Expert(?) says: The water in the swimming pool doesn’t taste good, especially at the deeper end.

May 2, 2006 Posted by | On the lighter side | 35 Comments