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…….