Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

The ‘in’ things!

After 2 hours of deep thought process, I am as close to framing up a short story as India were to losing to Sri Lanka in the first test (losing by an innings and 239 runs should give you some idea) – the story neither had a beginning, nor an end or anything in between. As the great authors of the yore would say, ‘I am working on a short story’ and will publish it shortly.

That brings me to write about a topic which I am quite familiar with – talking about the ‘in’ things. In other words, I would be expounding on some of the fads (fashion for the ‘poignant’ folks) that beckon us today in ‘every sphere of the world’ (I have no clue what that phrase means!)

Social Media:

Today, everyone and his uncle’s grandfather are talking about Social Media. Simply put, conversations’ happening over the web is Social Media. However, just like the Communist parties of India talk about the Nuclear Deal without knowing the nitty-gritty’s of it (and neither do I) and raise a hue and cry about it, so do everyone I talk to nowadays is talking about the deep impact that Social media is having on the society today. On further enquiring what exactly is Social media, most of the people don’t seem to go beyond mentioning Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Twitter and Friendfeed. Even if they know three out these five websites, they claim to be an authority in Social media. But as you can see, it is the ‘in’ thing to talk about – just like everyone in IT wants to work in a startup nowadays, and just like every Ramu and Pinky opened a company in the late 90s and just like every web enthusiast talks passionately about Web 2.0 in every forum they can gain entry to.

Being a Social media enthusiast myself (the ‘in’ thing to say you see!), I find it deeply disturbing (so much so that I can sleep over it for days) that people use and abuse the impact of Social media on organizations and community in general. Frankly, talking about Social media is great, but from a business point of view, monetizing the concept is extremely difficult. I would rather get down to numbers and business rather than jazzy presentations using Web 2.0 tools about Social media and its impacts that I seem to go through nowadays.

Politics:

The ‘in’ thing to talk about is the Nuclear Deal treaty. Inflation can cross 12%, the common man on the street may suffer due to rising oil prices, there might be blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad or any other city in India but all the media and the politicians can talk about is the Nuclear deal. Heck, talking about this deal has brought the horse-trading tactics in the open – a seemingly closely-guarded secret we all knew about all along, threatened to bring down the government (not that the government was any better all these days) and advertisers are having a field day on TV channels focused on this deal where all they talk about is ‘hot air’.

But you see, the ‘in’ thing is Nuclear Deal – it gives us a chance to appear intellectual, morally superior and we come across as knowledgeable about day-to-day affairs. Never mind that this deal will result in actual power only in 2020-25 range, never mind that more than hundred things can go wrong in US elections, and never mind the inflation which has shot through the roof (and sadly, without the corresponding hikes in salary), we have to talk about the pros and cons of Nuclear deal.

Technology:

Specifically, the iPhone. iPhone or its younger brother, iPhone 3G. I can understand the excitement in possessing an iPhone – it’s aspirational. Credit to Apple that over the past 28 years, every product it has churned out, it has turned it into a cult. Brilliant marketing. But, I just can’t understand why people cannot be rational when buying such a high value product. Just because it is aspirational, doesn’t mean I shell out close to Rs. 25k and get it unlocked for another 2-3K.

As Apple would market it, an iPhone is a combination of a phone, iPod and Internet. What’s more, iPhone 3G has in-built GPS. What Apple will not tell you (or anyone for that matter) is that GPS drastically reduces the battery life, you can’t send applications via Bluetooth, there is no MMS feature, certain basic features like cut-copy-paste are not enabled and many more. But nope, flaunting an iPhone and talking about is the ‘in’ thing – how else would I prove to be technologically advanced and up-to-date to the society if I don’t posess it or don’t talk about it.

With the explosion of Internet in India (so says Comscore in their ridiculous report with numbers where the terms ‘average’ and ‘heaviest’ mean the same), there would a corresponding increase in talking about these ‘in’ things – sad, but true. Now, that was certainly an ‘in’ thing to talk about – philosophy plus concern without any data to backup 🙂

Aha moment!

We all have had our Aha moments; something akin to Archimedes ‘Eureka’, though with the clothes on (hopefully!). Yesterday’s Aha moment was somehow special.

I never understood the term ‘love’. People – neighbours, friends and relatives spoke eloquently as well as disparagingly about this term called ‘love’ – unconditional liking is love, love is infinite, there is nothing called love, strength of love, love is blind…and so on and so forth. I, for one, could never get to terms with what it exactly meant. There have been times in my past relationship(s) that I have said ‘I love you’ – although I didn’t understand completely what it meant. I used the phrase in flippant moments, intense moments or just as simple as saying goodbye. I specifically did not know where like, love and lust draw their lines – for me, they were completely blurred.

However, during my sojourn in the blog world yesterday, I came across two quotes which gave me the clarity that noone else could in the past –

The first one –

“Thus love can make us disregard most defects and deficiencies, and make us deal with blemishes as though they were embellishments-even when, as Shakespeare said, we still may be partly aware of them:
When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies.”

The second one, by Richard Feynman, in a totally different context –

“That was the beginning and the idea seemed so obvious to me that I fell deeply in love with it. And, like falling in love with a woman, it is only possible if you don’t know too much about her, so you cannot see her faults. The faults will become apparent later, but after the love is strong enough to hold you to her.”

When I read, re-read and again re-read the two quotes to-gether – it was all apparent to me. I was so overjoyed by the amount of clarity it provided that I immediately pinged couple of my friends who were online with these two quotes, and they agreed completely (or the cynic might read the quotes as ‘Don’t deceive yourself, stupid!’ But, we’ll ignore him for the purposes of this blog). Now, when I atleast have the clarity (if not the complete understanding) of the term, and I look back at my past, everytime I used the phrase ‘I love you’, I realize that I well and truly meant it with all my heart.

Onto some introspection – I undertook the world-famous Myers-Briggs test some time back. In that particular test, the result was that I think more with my head than with my heart. In simpler terms, I believe and trust more in logic than emotions. That is very true – I get convinced most of the time through cold logic, but hardly through emotions. And till yesterday, I believed that there is indeed a separation between ‘thinking with your head’ and ‘thinking with your heart’. I was told earlier that ‘love’ is meant to be emotional, your heart is involved etc. etc. I was convinced, and yet for a predominantly ‘thinking with head’ person like me, I wondered how come I was in love. However, after today’s Aha moment, I realize that this ‘thinking with head’ vs ‘thinking with heart’ is a bunch load of bullcrap (no offense meant to Myers-Briggs). However, to be fair to them, I think the distinction only kicks in when there is no clarity. Lack of clarity in personal or professional lives leads to the distinction (and hence the research) of predominantly ‘thinking with head’ or ‘thinking with heart’. Lesson learnt: Try achieving clarity in every aspect of life – the dilemma of head vs heart disappears on its own.

So, there – my ‘Aha’ or the Archimedes ‘Eureka’ – might be obvious to many but definitely enlightening to me. [and yes, I  took an example of a very narrow definition of love.  I can expand the similar concept to parents, relatives, close friends etc.]

Couples working in the same company!

Heaven and Hell; Life and Near-death; Tolerable and Intolerable; Intelligence and Dumbness; Bearable and Unbearable;

The question for the day is ‘What is common among all these pairs of terms, other than opposites?’

My answer would be ‘Morons who got their better halves into the same company, or even worse, same project as theirs – did they actually think it would turn out to be the positive opposite? Really? What were they thinking?’

For the sake of simplicity, I use the male pronoun herein. The following is equally applicable to the female pronoun too [If only defeating sexism were as simple as throwing in an occasional he/she, her or hers. Kindly don’t look for sexism where none exists].

As has been the sad case over thousands of years now, people have been getting married. What is even more pathetic nowadays is that they are getting married to a person who is in the same profession! Even worse, same company and the most blinding wonder of wonders, same project. Seriously dude, what were you thinking? Has your IQ turned negative? Or, are you on a mission to reach unsurpassed stupidity? What exactly is your problem that you committed such a colossal blunder?

From an Indian perspective (and is equally applicable to almost all nations), the boom in IT industry has created major behemoths who employ close to a million people. This in turn has affected the marriage market in unimaginable proportions. Apart from creating various love-bird colonies in almost every campus, this IT boom has affected the arranged marriage market in a profound manner. A sample conversation between three parents –

Parent1: My daughter did her B.Com. She is now working in a call center

Parent2: Oh! B.Com aa…My son did his Engineering. Now he is in software. We are looking for a software girl who can understand his work too.

(software girl…wtf?!)

Parent3: True, just like platform-language compatibility, the kids should also be compatible in their own sectors…like software…hahahahh!

Parent1: Yes, yes…I am sending my daughter to computer coaching. She will also join a software company very soon…nowadays who wants to work in retail shop or manufacturing plant I say!

That being the case of parents, most of the marriages are happening between IT professionals. As far as I am concerned, since the majority market (and I use the term ‘market’ in the truest sense, no insult here!) is in IT now, I don’t see an issue why the couples shouldn’t be in the same profession. But imagine the conversations at home:

Guy: So, can we go to Gopal’s function now?

Girl: Ahh, I think I can’t make it…I have a problem with this Oracle database…can you help me out here?

Guy: Oh sure sweetheart! So, what exactly is the problem…is there a problem with the Extract process, the Transform process or the Load process!

Isn’t that sad to say the least?

What is even more depressing is if they are working for the same company. ‘Ahh, they go in the same car, they go-together, come to-gether – they save on petrol as well as they spend more time to-gether, how nice!’ and ‘Awww, chooo chweet, no?’ are statements we tend to hear. Firstly, No, it is not sweet…what’s more, the guy is probably going through the worst torture in his life. Don’t get me wrong here – I think a couple working in the same company is absolutely fantastic…as a concept. Practically, it would drive most guys insane.

When Einstein spoke about the infiniteness of human stupidity, I am sure he was referring to guys who have their spouses in the same project as theirs. Imagine a jail – same thing; in fact, even worse. Imagine a noose around you 24×7, office and home – like heaven and hell being one and the same. Absolutely no privacy, and every move being monitored, analyzed and feedback duly passed. The better thing to do here would be to choke themselves rather than get into this afflictment. As Shakespeare says in the Twelfth Night, ‘Observe these guys, for the love of mockery’. Actually, ‘whole-hearted sympathy; is the phrase to used for such people – I like their approach, but definitely would love to see their departure from my sight.

P.S: This blog’s topic was a random idea my supervisor had come up with. All credit to her 🙂

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