Saturday, November 04, 2006

PURE MAGIC…………………………………..

I was coming back from the ATM in building one when I saw a face that warranted a second look (decently put) go in the opposite direction through the other door. I cranked my neck to give it what I thought it deserved (a second look) when my eyes caught another poster “SPB concert on Oct 30”. I first thought that it must be some concert somewhere in the city whose collections were to be donated to some charity organization and that it was just advertisement being put up here.

Then I realized that it was talking about A LIVE SPB CONCERT at Infosys Sholinganallur. My joy knew no bounds as I planned my work for that day even about a week back, thanks to the predictable part of our project work. I carefully followed all the mails from HR regarding this happening before shift deleting them as is the usual process for all HR mails. I was a little disappointed that it was being shifted to indoors because of rain but then I said what the heck man its not going to be one bit less interesting.

We went out to punnu for lunch on the day of the concert and my cousin asked everyone if they would be staying. One said no and I almost blurted out “Are u nuts ??”. She is one girl who keeps quoting someone as “thank god, the world is not filled with sane people, otherwise we will miss all the fun”. I wanted to tell her that but just held myself back, because for me, missing SPB live is perhaps the most insane thing that one could ever do.

We got to a nice place in the front row seats and were waiting with bated breath for the great man to appear and when he came on to the stage it was just another level of happiness or bliss. The whole of the audience came on its feet and gave him a standing ovation even as he entered and to get to see him a few meters away in flesh and blood was just unbelievable. I had to pinch myself to assure that this was happening.

Any talented person (in any walk of life) whom I have come across has an air of authority and carries an aura of pride along with him in his behaviour. As for this great man there was no question of his talent but if there was any authority that one could see in him it was his authority over music. The first thing that he said as he came on stage was “This is not live recording and so I apologize for the mistakes that may be committed and I request all of you to bear with us and encourage us even if there are any so that they will be less in number in the next song.” This coming from a man of his stature is just what simplicity is all about.

There is simply no one in the world who can match his talent in music and he could have easily answered anyone who dare find any flaw in the concert. I just could not keep it to myself and I kept msging all this to two other SPB maniacs that I knew though I got replies only from one of them. He started off with ‘Attindom” from Chandramukhi and went on to Ilaya Nila. Senthil nearby me said “Who better to listen to this song from than the great man himself.”

After every song he picked up one person from the troupe who played one notable instrument and introduced them to the crowd. There was no need for him to do that but he did it time and again with all respect, another gesture that made me awe at this person’s mental stability. Success had not gone even one bit to his head. He went on to sing “Malayoram veesum katru”, “Valayosai”. He sang “pottu veccha malliga mottu” and even requested the troupe to play the music once again as he was very much impressed with the notes and he repeated it again.

“Which is your most favourite song of SPB” is perhaps the most sense less question one can ever put to a SPB fan cause no one can “not like” any of his songs. But if there is one song that I would want to listen live from the man himself then it is “Shankara” from Sankarabaranam. I just told Senthil that requesting that song would not be a great idea cause here was a big crowd which obviously did not like much of karnatic kind of music. I just sighed in despair and turned to the stage to listen to the next masterpiece when the voice reverberated across the hall “SHANKARA………………………MANASA VEERA PARA”. I fought back the tears which forcefully came out but managed to somehow hold them back.

He went on to sing “Anthi Mazhai”, “Sangeetha jaathi mullai”, “Sippi irukkuthu”, “Malare Mounama”, “Manguyile poonguyile…”, “Tere mere beech mein” and others. When went “Anjaliiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……….. Anjaliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……………En uyir kaadali” the crowd just went berserk. He signed off with “Devuda Devuda…”.

There was just no difference between listening to him sing live and listening to his voice in a proper processed audio file recorded at the studio. Such is the sweetness and mesmerism in his voice that it is no wonder that becomes filled with magnetism. I think no artificial improvement to his voice would even be attempted by music directors at the studios when they do all the mixing with all the current day gizmos because perfection cannot and need not be improved.

I felt like “Softwarum venam oru mannangattiyum venaam, ivaroda pattellam pottu kettundu irundhale podhum da vazkaila”. Wish that could be possible………..

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Vettayadu Vilayadu - My perceptions.....

If u dont mind chopped fingers, criss cross cuts over faces, decomposed bodies etc, then its worth a watch. Definitely not a family film, it has its share of obscenities as expected in a Gautam movie and a LOT of morbidity (I think it was a little overdone). Its definitely worth a watch one time in the halls if you not the kind who goes "oh gawd, what is all this....." and can c it as just a film. Agreed that psycopaths can be as cruel as one cannot even imagine but that's no reason to portray it in a film that reaches the masses in the name of reality.

Negatives : A little morbid. Has no spls from kamal hasan as he normally delivers in all films of his. So dont go expecting something different. Made in the same template as kakkha kakkha but is not as gud as that was, that film was just fast moving and there was not one dull momnt in KK but here there are some drags, next pt is abt that
Jyothika, for no fault of hers (she has done a decent job, no evident overacting business), is the biggest blunder of the film, she is in NO GOD FORSAKEN way connected to the film's so called story but she is there for a song and some emotional dialogues and polambals. She grossly slows down an other wise very fast and pacy film at exactly all the wrong places. These kind of subjects (intense, suspense psycho thrillers) need to be fast and need to finish off fast. Else one loses the intensity. The best speedbreaker who has ruined the film. Gautam could have done away with Kamalini mukherjee and used Jo in her role. It would have been more sensible.
Stunts and fight sequences are ultimate but look out of place coming from a huge mass of flesh. Even though he has made a lot attempt to hide his monstorous fleshy tummy and body in general he is no where near anbuchelvan's physique. Looks like a pumpkin in the song partha mudhal naale, kamalini looks like his daughter. Looks like he has been bit by the Rajini bug. Very ordinary music, but apart from Karka Karka (Kama intro song) the only other song that is even worth mentioning is the song with Jo in newyork. Forgot the starting lyrics.

Positives :Even with his 100 kg frame, Kamal haasan just steals the whole show with his awesome body language and the talent that he is known for : ACTING. The guy has just cruised through the whole episode so effortlessly as one would finish of their morning coffee. We could see Surya trying hard to be anbuchelvan in KK. He changed his body language, he toned his body, he treid to look impassive, he tried to pack so much expression into his eyes. All of this was pretty eveident and he had put in a lot of effort that showed, he was successful also and warrants credit for that but here is the difference between a new hardworker and a pro. But for the massive looks, given any day Raghavan as a DCP of chennai is better than Anbuchelvan. But I would still vote for anbuchelvan just for the looks, a policeman has to look trim not just fit, a heroine has to look pretty, a villian has to look strong and a beggar has to look pathetic. Stunts and fight sequences, a small correction from my earlier observation, kamal looks out of place in stunts but in fight sequences he is awesome. It is well taken. Newyork locations look better in this than in KANK or any karan johar or aaditya chopra movie.
Karka Karka is THE SONG OF THE YEAR, visuals are superbly edited, dont go late for the film, u will be sorry if u miss it. Ultimate editing, chanceless lyrics and the build up to the song ---- just unbeateable.
Jo is pretty and has not ruined it more by overacting. (Mind you when she is not overacting, she is good, the same kind of performance as she deliverd in KK). There is diff between the minus pt and plus pt that i have mentioned abt her. The minus is abt the character that has been given to her. Thats the mistake of the director and screenplay guy and is no fault of hers. the plus is abt jo herself.

Nice and fast pacy entertainer,the two villians have done a great job as psychos, and have managed to earn the dislike and anger of the ppl who watch the movie. Definitely warrant a mention.

Overall the film is a Gautam film and not a Kamal haasan film. So adjust your expectations accordingly.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ode to the greatest circketer the world would ever see.

I have been watching cricket for about 14 yrs now and ever since i have started watching it with full of passion i have always managed to get a lot of old matches that were played earlier in various telecasts, CDs and through other mediums. I think I can safely say that I have watched indian cricket's current generation of cricketers and the pervious one in action. And India, unlike the west indians and the English, has had most of its cricketing greats from these two generation of cricketers.
Of these, we can sight many such palyers who warrant a mention in this kind of a discussion. Celebrated ones (from both angles by the media) Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vensarkar, Mohinder Amarnath, Krish "Cheekah" Srikaanth, Bishen Singh Bedi, Chandrashekar, Azharudding ( the best slip fielder that india has produced) etc from the pervious gen (forgive me if I missed out someone very important).
From the current generation we have to mention Sauvrav Ganguly apart from ppl like, Srinath (The fastest and most disciplined bower India has had), The accurate Kumble (the workhorse, The wily old fox, the smilin assasin and what not), Rahul the great wall Dravid (Well he has the greatest temperament among all players), Yuvaraj singh, Sehwag, Pathan and fielding sensations Ajay Jadeja, Robin singh and Mohd Kaif.
Ganguly was one other man in the team who could be easily looked up to as a mtch winner. He had all the qualities - talent, class, arrogance of a captain, man management.... etc irrespective of his current form.
But above all this there has been no one and will be no one either who can stir every one of the one billion in this country as THE LITTLE MAESTRO. I somehow cant bring myself to comprehend the command that HE has over the game. I am not going to say anything that people have not told about HIM so far. HE has been much celebrated, criticised, idolized and what not by a nation where democracy and freedom to express is rightly misused by the media regardless of whether it is used up properly for the right things that warrant such a sensationalisation.
The most important thing about SACHIN is that HE got into the team when most of the pervious generation of match winners had collectively retired from international cricket and still pulled up india into reckoning as a great force in the world of cricket. I am surprised cause I have never seen anyone see HIS gaming stlye from this angle though many, unfailingly do this for Rahul the Wall Dravid.
With due respect to the really great talent of Indian cricket, "Dravid has been and such a slow scorer", brings out hues and cries of him being a team man and having structured his game for the need of the team, to stabilize matches when India loses a few quick wickets. Spare a thought for "THE LITTLE WONDER" when all people used to do was to switch off television sets once they witness the fateful finger go up all though the nineteen nineties.
HE has always been the guy to look at in times of crisis. HE has stabilized many a innings in his personal style. Whenever HE gets slowed down on reaching a century people seem to say that He is selfish. What the heck man, HE is getting slowed because there are no more people back in the dressing room who can score the same runs in the double the time as HE could. HE slowed down because HE is being looked up to by a lot of people to take the resposibility of safely finishing the match rather than to gift HIS wicket away trying play some sensational shot.
No other cricketer in the whole world has ever been in such a predicament where in HE has had to think of the whole team rather than his own game and has been so successful at the same time. And HE gets to be called as a selfish cricketer in return. There are so many ppl who are now rooting for the latest senstion Sehwag. Agreed that he is a complete devastater on his day, but why isn't his weekness to hold himself against temptation, to realize his importance and responsibility in the team being blown out of propotion as is being done in the case of The Richest Cricketer In The World ?
The very fact that HIS slight slump in form is being noticed by a horde of media men, public, politicians etc stands testimony ot the fact that no one is capable of working up a frenzy on the feild as HE alone is. HE is a GOD in the land where the only religion that unites all the one billion into one shelter is the religion of cricket. How can one explain the commitment He showed when HE returned in a couple of days from HIs father's funeral lest the nation should lose faith in this religion.
Sachin's retirement, when it happens, will create an unfillable void in the indian team that will not be cemented until the very facet of Indian cricket changes, until the very attitude of Indian crickters changes, until there is a drastic change in the approach of the media towards the game, until there is one more person who can force one from the media to say
"One Raised finger can break a billion hearts".
I really doubt if this can and will ever happen.............................................................
Jai Hind.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

SATHYAM Cinemas......

I did my BSc in vivekananda college chennai. This college is situated in one of the most accessible spots in chennai, Mylapore. Bus stands all around the college, we had services to every possible corner of the city that we wanted to "VISIT" strictly during college hours. All theatres were accessible from our college as none other presenting us with a lot of oppurtunities and temptations. But one thing mattered most and that we were still in the age where every penny above 10 Rs of pocket money a day cost us as many questions. So we somehow managed to save enough money (sometimes skipping lunch) to go for movies. Then started my love story with Sathyam cinemas, the best cinema hall in chennai by all considerations.

I have been seeing movies in Sathyam complex ever since there were three theatres there of which two were in pathetic state then, only sathyam with its six channel DTS effect sound rendered some respectability to it and it used to show only english films uptil one point. If I rmbr correct then Indian was the first non english movie to be screened in sathyam.

Sathyam cinemas has come a long way from that state to about 6 theaters today all of them in a class that is not found anywhere else in the city. Agreed that they are costly beyond a certain level but the very gloss of the complex makes you overlook the costliness without second thought. Many a time we have gone to the theater without even having a slightest idea of what film we wud want to see. We wud end up seeing even the worst of films there just for the ambience of the whole structure.

I have long since given up trying to understand the maze inside this structure. I just go there, show the ticket to the person at the entry and blindly go the way the way they tell us to go. Such is the level of management that ppl even give up smoking when they are inside (Strictly no smoking insde sathyam compound). The only thing that is always nagging is the torture that we are subjected to while trying to park our vehicles. Fools are those who take this road in front of Sathyam theatre enroute to gopalapuram for they are sure to be delayed beyond their imagination. Hope they do something about this.

Wonder why more such halls have not come up in the city. Naan paathu valattu vitta theatre, inniki ennadana enakke ticket kudukka mattendran....... Ellam kali kalam.....
Cricket VS Football.... The Argument Continues.......

I always felt that cricket was THE game that anyone could come across. I never got to the heck of understanding why it is not the most popular sport on planet earth. I have watched cricket non stop right from the benson and hedges triangular series in 1992 in australia prior to the BIG tournament. Indo-Pak matches have been the best source of adrenaline for me.

Then came the advent of espn and star sports into our lives and I came to know that some stupid game where 22 guys fight for one ball was the most popular and most watched game in the whole world. They call it football. I was never able to understand how ppl could withstand one and a half hour of torture where sometimes all the guyz did was to keep kicking the ball anywhere but near the goal post just to make sure that the other team guys didn't get to have the ball.

I dreaded the game and all its fans too. Early this year i got some forwards containing pics of the new stadiums in germany that had been built to host 2006 football world cup. I was just astonished at the amount of enginerring and effort that these guys had put in to make these state of art stadiums. Only then did i start wondering "What makes this sport so passionate ?". We are as passionate about cricket in India but we still have to put up with stadiums where there are no adequate drain facilities also in case of rain.

I recd one more fwd where they had built a bridge in germany in the shape of Oliver Khan trying to save a kick. I said "ok, so me going to watch this yrs world cup, appadi enna than irukkunu patte aaganum". When i saw ballack play against ecuador, even me, a total illiterate about the game of football, could see that he was a great player. Man, I realised what major level football was all about. It was germany for me all the way from there, too bad that they lost to italy in the last moments of the extra time but their match with argentina was the best professional match i had seen in the whole tournament.

So me geared up EPL, Hey wait, when is the champions trophy in India.........

Come what may, Cricket will be the game for me, Football has to wait until i have relished every aspect that this religion in India has to offer.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Five Point Someone

I am not an avid reader and it was not a surprise that I had not read even one book so far by an Indian author. First time when my cousin named the book to me I heard it as “Five point summon”. He told me about the book but I did not realize that it had a story backdrop through which the author wanted to talk about “Life at IIT”. I got to read the book after some time and I was only too disappointed only to have missed out on having read it much earlier.

The main part of the book is not just the narration but the very concept. Others who have read this always feel that people from the IIT may be able to relate more to this but I have a slightly different thought. Scores of those in our country who have tried to be part of this institution, people who had been mature enough to take up other option of study and still managed to excel in their fields would be able to relate more to it is what I feel about the book.

I had been a workaholic( tamizhla sollanumna oru padippu pazham) until my 12th std. I worked hard (sollikalam) for my IIT entrance dreams and attended classes with a lot of expectations about life in that institute. I have no doubts whatsoever that I would have probably ended up as a 7 pointer (in the context of the book) at the most had I been in this institute, I wouldn’t have had the guts in me to be a five pointer and try things that these get to do. I somehow feel (with due respect to all IITians who feel and have proved to be different) that life at IIT instills an entirely higher level of workaholism in its students making them forget about so many other beautiful and important things in life like relationships, family etc.

Reading this made me feel as though I revisited those memories of my preparation classes, I was sitting in one corner and endlessly smiling away to myself that mom came up a couple of times out of curiosity just to make sure I was not reading some love letter from some gal. "En payanukku ennamo aiduttu" was what she told patti time and again that day.

Moreover the book has certain things every college hostelite would be able to relate to. Pity those ppl who have never experienced hostel life. Things like hesitation to convince oneself whether what he/she feels is right or wrong, whether to accept another person’s views, finding out stupid reasons to convince the stubborn one in the group, knowingly manipulating one die hard academic (read 7.5 to 8.5 pointers in the context of the buk, cause guys who are above 8.5 are unconvincable, so we dont try) and then winking at ur best frnd for having convinced the dumbo of the group..... all was just heaven.

If you want to read a book that brings out the exact mental state of a guy just out of school, who has no idea if things are going his way, in fact what is it that he can call “His way”, how he hyperventilates the first time some soft spoken girl approaches him, how he feels insecure when he feels a little different from his group, how he matures to understand that its one own life after all and its only once own courage an confidence that matters etc and that too in the most possible hilarious way such that it lingers on in your mind as an enjoyable read then do try out this book. Itz too gud………..

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tiny tots of today, Careful, the damage they inflict to your image is beyond repair.

Sooooooo cute ……… Cho Chweeeeet………………..Ennama pesardhungare…….

Today’s generation of toddlers get more exposure than even the ones a few years older than them. Television has invaded our lives in all possible ways and has had all sorts of results - good, bad, hilarious, boring, academic, encouraging………… the list is endless.

My sis is eight yrs younger than me and has given me the greatest number of “bulbs” or “buns” or whatever.

Sis: Coffee kodhikardhu.
Me : Coffeeya sooda thaan kukdippanga
Sis: Coffeeya sooda kudippanga, kodhikka kodhikka kudikka mattanga.
Me : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Chittappa cannot forget this from my sis. She was in fourth std then…….

Chittappa : (Trying the age old trick of asking someone to sniff their palm and hit them on their nose to make them sniff camphor) Un kaila karpooram smell vara vekkatuma ?
Sis: veingo pakkalam.
Chittappa : (After completion of the trick) karpoora vasanai vardha ?
Sis: aan vandhudhu chittappa. Ippo naan ungalukku panren
Chittappa : (in the belief that small children do the same things that u do to them) ok pannu pakkalam
Sis: kaiya mondhu paarungo.
Chittappa: (held her hands together so that she could not hit him) Varliye …..
Sis: (without any attempt to hit him) varla illa ? varle illa ? kandippa ?
Chittappa: illa endha vasanayum varla.
Sis : Eppadi varum, kazhudaiku theriyuma karpoora vasanai.
Chittappa : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was my mom’s turn

Mom : Dei pasangala, 11:00 mani aayduttu, vango sappidalam
Me: Enna ma avasaram, 11:00 thaane aaradhu, ippo thane konja neram munnadi choclate ellam saapittu, coffee kuducchom, porummaya sappidalame ma….
Mom : enna porumaya, idha vida enna porumaya ? 11:00 manikku kooda sappdalena eppadi.
Me: Yen frnds veetula ellam leave naal la 2:00 manikku thaan saapiduvaalam, theriyuma ?
Sis: Cmon da anna, ava aatula ellam pasiccha saapiduvala irukkum da. Namba aathula thaan time aayduttunu sappadunumacche…………..
Mom : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me : Harp Harp Harp Harp Harp………………………
My Passion, my obsession and my greatest drive.

Well, decided to bother everyone again (ppl don’t read it anyway, so no issues).

14 yrs ago, On a Sat Eve……

Time: 6:15 pm

Place: Hindi Class

I was waiting for hindi mami to finish off a lesson in Gadya vallari (prose book) impatiently looking at the clock once every half a second. All that mami said that day was just going over my head. The class had already extended beyond the normal time because of another guy (Stupid…..), he had been late by 15 mins to class that day. The moment mami said that we will continue tomorrow, I just raced out not even waiting for everyone to finish thanking our guruji.

It was 6:25 pm and I ran like a mad fellow through the streets of Gokulam colony to reach my home, bumping into 4 ppl all of whom couldn’t even call back to me cause I didn’t stop to hear them. I made it to my home at 6:29 just in the nick of time to be there for that day’s episode of Street Hawk only to see someone else seeing something else on doordarshan channel 1. I was just irritated and changed to second channel in our Solidaire CAT 1000. The second channel was supposed to be luxury those days. Some times it was even taboo (it showed some age old English serials and too much movie related stuff).
Appa used to claim “Edavadhu ubayogama kattarana adula, eppa paaru kattu koopda kattinderukku (it sometimes played Michael Jackson’s BAD album’s video)”

I didn’t heed any of these. The very sight of the black colour bike speeding upto 200 miles an hour in just under 6-7 seconds was just enough excitement for me to even give these things any thought whatsoever. The guy sitting at the computer (in the serial) pushed a button and the doors opened letting out the guy onto the roads after which the countdown started

10….9….8….7….6….5….4….3….2….1 vvrooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmm

Every hair on my body was just standing up. I literally started driving a pseudo bike in front of the TV making accelerator kind of sounds myself. Appa said “Enna bikeo ennamo, idellam nadakka kudiyadha, avan number soldranaan, ivan vegama poranan, paitiyakarathanam irukku”. I said “computer patti ungalukku enna theriyum. Ellam pannalam computer vecchu, theriyuma ?”

The punch line for the serial was “The Man..… The Machine…. The tyre.” The second one of the trio captivated me the most, in fact it was the only thing that attracted me.

I promised to myself “I will own this bike one day”.

Such was my passion for driving bikes right from my childhood. I went on to finish college and in the process learn a lot about bikes, biking and so many things about fast riding, only to have my biking fantasies increased manifold with every new fact that I accumulated in my mind.

My friend Jaikumar had told me that YAMAHA was the best bike in town by any standards, but for one parameter “Mileage”. I said “Who cares, I want speed, pickup, the thrill of riding at 100 kms/hr”. But alas YAMAHA had stopped producing RX 100 series due to some production issues and I had to console myself with my dream modified to own a RX 135 series bike, which were supposed to be much better in pickup but lesser robust than “The Real Thing”.

I went from West Mambalam in Chennai though Pondicherry and Velachery in my journey to Sholinganallur to join a software major. I started saving money from the second month and ended up buying my own machine a black YAMAHA RX-135 in March 2005. I wanted to go for a long drive to Pondicherry on my “Mayil Vahanam”. I had already been through the stretch a couple of times with a frnd of mine, both of us sharing the driving pleasure on a Hero Honda CD -100.

Then came the Big opportunity. Two of my classmates were getting married to each other and it was happening in Pondicherry. My frnd accompanied me and we started riding at about 70 kms/hr in the beginning of the journey. The autumn sun was not too punishing and I slightly accelerated to 80 kms careful not to frighten my pillion rider. I then slowly increased it over about 10kms distance to 100kms/hr.

There was no reaction from my pillion rider. Such was the smoothness of the ride. I was proud that my frnd had not even noticed the speed in which we were traveling. We went on to dodge a few other lesser mortals (motorists driving anything but a new Yamaha ;-) cause I was just invincible……). I even slowed down a little very now and then deliberately to let some of the riders get back near me and try to overtake me when I used to cut the gear and go vrooommmmm. “Avanta poi yen rouse vittutu irukke” said my frnd from behind.

We reached Pondicherry in under 150 mins in time to attend the wedding. I was so ecstatic about the longest ride that I had ever had in my life and at that time seemed inconvincible that something could be even better. How wrong was I.

The marriage was over and we started back to Chennai on the next day afternoon. Te sun was up and at its best and was just boring down on us. We reached somewhere near marakkanam when the air suddenly became a little cooler. We were passing though dense vegetation and we could not see beyond about half a kilometer ahead of us.

We drove for about 10 more mins and the whole East Coast Road opened up ahead of us. The next stretch of about 20 kms was visible from that spot with no many trees blocking our view. That particular moment will forever be etched in my memory. We saw the darkest clouds that we had ever seen in our life hovering over the horizon.

It was raining in Chennai.

For a person who had grown up in congested places and in flat complexes as though his life in crowded Chennai where the horizon is always very much near (often the next street) this moment was just unexplainable. I was spell bound by Mother Nature’s splendour. It was as though I was looking at a customized screen saver jpg file created using one’s greatest imagination and photoshop. It took sometime for me to sink in that something like this was indeed possible.

The air had become chill from cool now and streaks of lightning split up the dark clouds lighting up the sky. I had never seen such long streaks of lightning in their full swing and I was easily convinced that a stronger one could render someone lifeless if borne in its full vigor.

I was having the thrill of my life that I cursed myself for not having brought along a camera so that I could keep these things alive in photographs to gape at them later. I stopped at the side of the road to admire the scene a little and let the significance of the moment sink in properly. I then started again only to be met with big droplets of water splash on my face with such force that I felt a thousand needles prick my face within about 10 secs.

I was drenched skin deep within under a couple of minutes and I could not carry on. My frnd had to catch a train from Chennai to Mahe and we had started according to his timings. We waited in a shop on the side of the road me secretly relishing our unanticipated delay and my frnd, his mind relishing it partly and partly praying that the rain subside soon so that he could get to the station.

But it was just unrelenting and I stopped an ECR bus and sent him in it. It subsided after some time and I started my ride back at about 7:00 pm. It was so cold and I was freezing beyond control and I had to ride at 45 kms/hr only to keep myself from shivering beyond control. All the clouds were no more and it was a full moon lit that I was driving through. That topped it all. There was no soul in the whole of the road until any vicinity. The road was lit up so well that I switched off my headlights for a stretch of about 10 mins. I drove with my head lights off for such a long stretch and put them back on, only when I saw some movement at the horizon (some vehicle was coming).

I have since made more trips to pondy but my first ride will always remain special.

Maybe I am just too crazy about my drives in my vehicle. Maybe its just the fact that my frnds who have pulsars and unicorns say that my bike is just out of the league. Maybe it’s the dhoom film that I saw even recently. Maybe its my passion and obsession for this great invention by man that has made me write this. Maybe everyone reading it will not be able to relate to it so much as I do. But who cares, its my blog. J J

Do give your comments………

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My first walk-in experienceFirst of all..

I just recently read some books that talk about the day today problems and lives of indian youth (Fundu eh .....?? ). Moreover I have recently started blogging. So bitten by the new “writing” bug I have just penned down some crap. If u r looking for interesting things, I suggest u try some other link……:-))

But if u still want to bore urself uncontrollably then ……. What can I say, I sympathize with u… go ahead and do let me know at which places do u feel like banging on my head.

As is the case with every software enggr in the arguably best land of workers in the world, so are my frustration levels in working with a software major. They say money isn't everything in life, you need job satisfaction, you should enjoy your job and blah blah blah.....All of this to a certain extent is fine when you have your salary account showing credit transactions of over Rs.60000 on the penultimate working day of every month.

So just like every frustrated worker (no, not software enggrs...., we are actually factory workers in the true sense of it) I too decided that enough is enough and I am going to seriously try for a job with some pay master (u find so many of them from outside, only when u see the real picture do u get to realize that it was just the screen saver) in the software market.

I told my friends "matchi, naan decide pannitten, veliya kelamba vendi thaan, inga irundhu oru useum illa".

One of my frnds also exclaimed,
"next year end thak mere ko koi chance hi nahin dhik raha hai, dec thak dekhega,
varna TCS bhi jaayega mein, koi matlab hi nahin hai, mein nikal jaayega, mere ko bas onsite jaane ka hai".

Though he had said the same thing some six months earlier too with the only exception being "June thak dekhega......". But he had a valid argument or at least a valid reason to explain why June had become Dec, his visa process was initiated and its always easier to get your H1 stamped if u attend the interview representing a big IT major rather then apply for it from some smaller firm.

For me though onsite was not as enticing (sollika vendi thaan, kudutta poga mattena solla porom, aana adhu vera vishiyam). I argued "Whatz the use ? U get a few extra bucks allright, but u wud miss ur home made food, ur frnds, ur family.....Cmon man its just not worth it."

Hence started my quest for a better (paying) job. Another one belonging to the same breed as mentioned above, forwarded a mail about an Oracle walk-in happening at Le Royal Meridien,Chennai. It was on a sunday. It took an Herculean effort from me get up reasonably early on a sunday morn, it had been ages since i had been up at 6 AM on sundays, the last being a couple of years back when we used to go to IDPL for cricket matches.

Just then my frnd called me up and asked my opinion on which digital camera model would be best as he had a frnd coming back from a foreign trip and wanted to get one for himself as electronic items were cheap in that country.

frnd : "Matchi, nee enna camera da vechu irukke ?"
me : "Illa matchi, yen ta camera eduvum illa."
fnrd : "Enna da, ........ la work panre, oru digi cam vecchu illiya da, naane vaangaren"

I got up, shaved, got dressed up in formals,dug out all my certificates and mark sheets and set off in pursuit of a big pay packet. Never did I realize that I was going to experience one of the funniest, (with due respect to all the people who had earnestly tried, sorry guys, but I have always been a happy-go-lucky sort of guy) mornings of my life.

I went to Le Royal Meridien, asked for the directions and reached the hall where some people were writing some sort of a test. A long table was put outside where some 5 to 6 people from Oracle had set up camp for the morning and some chairs were arranged in front of them seating some 30-40 people. I had heard of walk-ins being always crowded but had never been to one and so was surprised to see as many people waiting.

One guy with "Oracle" written on his denim shirt came up and asked me like a police or security gaurd at a ration shop "Which stream ? Java or PL/SQL developer ?". Even tough a litlle offended I said "I want to appear for PL/SQL deveopers interview".

He said "First Que". !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I almost blurted out 'Hello Boss, I am not here for cinema tickets'. Only then did i realize that all the people who were already seated had gone though this process, the first hurdle. I was feeling exactly like standing in a ration shop or a railway reservation counter. After two years of working experience with an IT major you tend to expect to be treated with some dignity after all. But I consoled myself "what the heck, they also have to filter a lot of people, maybe its not so bad in the interview".

I stood in the line with my resume in my hand. I reached the table in about 10 mins time where "Registration" was going on and some guys fromoracle were seated. they were scanning every person's resume and rejecting some of whom they felt were not "priviledged enough" to even attend an interview.

On just reciveing my resume (he did not even bother to go through it) he gave me a
"YOU-want-to-be-at-oracle ????? Jesus-Christ!!!!!!" look.
Probably my face did not lead him to think that I even had any relevant experience.

Oracle Guy : So Shyam .... You are working somewhere now ?

But before I could answer, he got to look the point in my resume "Currently working with ........"

Oracle Guy : Oh , ...... , so y do u want to join oracle ?

Me: I want to work in a product based environment. I am not very much interested in a career in a service base set up.

Oracle Guy : Y do u want to come into a product environment? (After all his job that day was to ask questions, however stupid they may be)
I made up something about me in production support and blah... blah.. blah... i didnt have to talk too much after the person saw my current employer.....

Oracle guy : so you dont have any PL/SQL progamming experience ?

I wanted to pull him by his shirt collar and ask him "Hey, what's the idea man ? I have given u something called a resume, and u r supposed to read it."

Me: My current project is in PL\SQL and I have worked in another project in PL\SQL as well. I have mentioned it there(showed him the place where I had mentioned it).

Oracle guy : Ohh.... Microsoft Sql server ......(with a lot of contempt in his face, something to the effect of eating raw mustard) hmmm.....hmmm...... So u dont have any Oracle PL\SQL programming experience ?????

Me: No

Oracle Guy: Hmmm..... Hmmm.....(Shaking his head like a pendulum) We are actually looking for Oracle PL\SQL experience..... Ok .. u please get inside (gesturing towards the test hall with an air of having provided me with the greatest favour that one can ever expect.....)

I said to myself "Saale, ehsaan kar raha hai kya mujhpar? "

I entered the hall and a much more younger guy (about the same age as mine) came up and politely asked me for the stream for which I wanted to be considered. Once I told him he asked me to take up a seat somewhere. I just looked around before taking up the seat to find out how many more colleagues of mine had secretly turned up, hoping that their PL wud not turn up there as well, and if I could recognize any one else.

What I saw almost made me laugh out aloud.

It was a typical scene that you get to see outside the exam hall in a college semester exam, except that here books were allowed inside the hall. People were studying until the last moment of the "Qualification Test" and with almost little experience one could easily single out ppl where were almost freshers, people who had come up with a lot of aspirations, ppl who were just so desperate and other classes of people.

My frnd told me that a lot out of those could be ppl faking some experince so that they shuld be allowed to appear for the interview. It could even be because of that but if its possible for a person who has not interviewed anyone or hasn't been part of any selection process so far, to identify the ppl with that anxiety written fully on their faces, I wonder how difficult would it be for seasoned campaigners to filter out guys who fake experience.

One guy got up and asked an oracle person who was supposed to distribute question papers and answer sheets"Sir my pen is with my frnd who is appearing for Java stream interview, cani get it from him ? "

I felt like shaking that guy so that he woke up and understood that its an interview and not a school examination, damn it.....

This is one thing that software culture has taught us."however big a person may be he is also a collegeue whom u address by their first name."

I somehow feel that as small and insignificant things that these may be, when a person has to judge another, it leads the former to form an opinion or notion about the latter that he/she is not confident enough. I have always felt that (maybe I am totally wrong but kya karoon aisa hi hoon main) the image a person gets about you is very much dependent on how confident you project urself to be and pleeeeeeeaaaaaase i amnot talking about the confidence in technical knowledge. Images do matter however proficient u may be otherwise.

I got the paper, the test started, I answered some, I did not know some of them cause they were totally oracle related stuff. I did not have any experience with oracle and so i did not give a mind blowing performance that guaranteed "automatic selection". But once the time was up the answer sheets were collected back and it was a couple of minutes before the question papers were collected. Within this time i was astonished beyond a certain level to see people discussing the probable answers for each of the questions that I started having doubts about the attitude that I was exhibiting.

It made me wonder if I was not serious enough about my decision to appear for the interview, a one minute self retrospection, which even three years of college were not able to instill in me (hope u realize that I am referring to the academic perspective here).

I did not get selected but when I got out of the exam hall I saw a whole lot of people occupying the same queues than what I got to see before I went in. The number of people had increased enormously and there were people everywhere sitting on fountain structure edges, steps, tables that had water glasses and all of that. I wondered if oracle expected to conduct tests and interviews for all these people.

Just then a few guys, most definitely students, came up to me and asked me “Sir how long will it take for each batch?” I was puzzled and I told them that I was there to attend the walk in too lest they should think of me as an oracle guy and that I didn’t find the exam very difficult. One of them said “Oracle is always difficult. Can you please tell me questions that you had attended?”

Bottom line (ya, it’s at the bottom of the entire crap that u have just finished reading)
So why am I writing all this? This walk in helped me get an idea of the workforce that is available for free in our land. So many people with such a lot of credentials and with such an attitude to work, we have completely brought down our own worth.

Employment and everything is ok but what we are ultimately ending up is at doing some work which richer people don’t want to do themselves and we are fully committed at that.

Saala Khuddari ka sawal hai yaar…. Kya kar rahe hain hum……..

Ye sab cheezen sochne par majboor kar deti hain…….