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Sunday, October 10, 2010

How and Why I became a Computer Engineer



The School



Vijayawada, my home town is famous for having the best educational institutions in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also known as Vidyalawada i.e. Land of Education. I was very fortunate to study in Kennedy High School which was kind of hip and happening with computers and all. Our family was not very well to do at the time and my parents struggled to pay the fee for all four of us kids. It was a very difficult time. My mom fought with my grandpa when he thought its just a waste of money to send us to private schools. He wanted to send us to public schools where the medium of instruction was Telugu and not English. My dad obeyed everything my grandpa said but this time my mom fought against it and won. Eswar Prasad, the principal of the school was kind enough to waive some fee off for us as we all did well in the entry tests and we were four kids joining the school from one family. Enough with the sentiment, let's get to business - Shall we? This is a story of how I got introduced to computers and how my life changed from then.



The Heat


Our school purchased 2 computers when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. They were very slow and had 32Mb RAM I think. They ran Windows 95 and MS DOS. They took a hell lot of time to boot up but surprising took very small amount of time to heat up. It took longer for us to see the desktop after the boot up than to bake an omelette on the heated CPU. Our school was not air conditioned at the time. Heck, we did not even have fans in the classrooms until I reached 9th grade. Our only source of air and light were the unfinished walls that were built 8ft tall leaving a 2ft window from the 10ft ceiling. It sounds bad when I put it in words but it was actually quite ok. We got plenty of Vitamin D (thanks to the sun) and we got fresh air too. And when it rained we had the day off. What more can you ask for huh? (thanks to global warming and shit, it didnt rain much anyways). It also saved huge electric bills for the school management which kept the school fee still affordable. What a brilliant idea huh? Anyways, even though our school didnt need much electricity for its daily operations, the computers needed air conditioners which hogged the electricity. They brought in ACs just for the computers to function without burning down the whole school. So, it was always cooler inside the computer room even though it was hot as hell outside which gave us more reasons to go to computer classes. We were there for all the wrong reasons.



The Teacher



They also hired a new teacher to teach us the computer stuff. This is not any teacher but DA TEACHER. Her name was Rajani. She was probably the most beautiful woman I have seen till then. She was gracious and very patient. She had a way about her. She was very soft spoken and genuinely liked kids. She was about 20 years old at that time. Every boy in the class wanted to do good and be the best. We all instantly fell in love. I was no exception. They say - "Behind every successful man, there is a woman" right? I don't know if I am a successful man or not but I am pretty sure I am a man and this woman was in front of me not behind me in this journey (well, not through out but the much required head start). Why did I mention that here? that quote does not really apply to my case. So, my adaptation of that quote would be "Infront of any not so successful man (but ok type of success - mind you {credit is due when it is due} ) there would be a really Hot teacher"



The TypeWriter



My dad's job as a Manager of an Orphanage required us to have a type writer at home and it also served as a fun toy for us kids. We used to type crap for fun (I guess Geeks are born not made). It was somehow fun back then. When my dad first brought it home, we had a power outage that night (power outages are part of life when you are in India) but that did not stop us from playing with it, we typed crap in the candle lights. Can you imagine? We were so obsessed with it. Let me rephrase, I was obsessed with it for a while. I felt like an Einstein sitting in front of it. This magical machine would write for me and all I had to do was to punch some keys. Not only does it write, it also writes it in color red sometimes which was a major miracle in my life. Needless to say, I got better at typing without joining any institute. This helped me in a lot more ways than I thought.




The Ambition



One day in my 5th or 6th grade, the teacher was feeling lazy and she wanted to finish her allotted time. So, she decided to cover it up with the masquerade of picking pupils' mind. She started a small survey and asked every one in the class to describe what they wanna be when they grow up. In India, you dont have much choice - you are either a doctor or an engineer, That's it. And when I say engineer it's mostly civil, mechanical or electrical/electronic engineering. Those are the only respected career choices. Everything else is just a waste of time according to popular belief. Oh, there is also Army/Navy/Airforce (every boy's dream). So, everyone just picked something out of that allotted choices of career. But I was the outcast. I said I wanted to become computer engineer. At the time, it was unheard of atleast among the kids in our class. So, some kids laughed when I chose such an odd career which made me more stubborn and at that point I decided to be a computer engineer no matter what.



The Supremacy



The primary purpose of computers at school was to play some educational CDs and some fun games. The most popular game being Typing test. We all used to bang on the keyboards to show off our incredible typing skills. This put me on advantage and I was virtually unbeatable coz of my homework. I got a head-start in this fight to supremacy.

The Teacher was very very impressed by typing skills and it only lasted a few days. I had to come up with something new to win her heart. So, I started poking around the OS and learnt a few things like how to install some softwares, run some cool dos commands like deleting files that other teachers stored. The teacher taught us how to write simple programs in FORTRAN I think. Although I dont remember any of it now, I remember her teaching. The school principal's wife was always in the computer room with only one book in her hand that had a BIG title "JAVA - the complete reference". We were not allowed to touch that book and she never taught us that Java thing. When I first heard we had Java in the curriculum for my engineering, I jumped. I knew that's what I am gonna master coz I was not allowed to touch that book. I still remember reading that book cover to cover (yes, the whole 1172 pages) in two days (and nights) when I took up that course. Now, I am neck deep in Java although I cant swim in Java, the pit is not that deep that I have to swim. Pffh, Geek Humor?



Life aftermath



As you can see, my career choice was driven by

1. Childhood stubbornness to prove ignorant kids wrong
2. Hot Teacher who left the school after a while and got married (broke hundreds of little hearts into million pieces)
3. A Typewriter that started it all.
4. Indian Heat - that's the main reason to spend hours in the Air Conditioned Computer room at school. In order to stay there I had to do something with the computer and while messing around I learnt a lot about computers.
5. The BIG java book that we were not allowed to touch.

It might seem strange that my BIGGEST choice in life was driven by such idiotic stuff. But all this silly stuff helped me spend a lot of time around computers which helped me to be really good at it later when I went to college. You might think that I chose the right field for all the wrong reasons but there is a bit more than that to it. I normally stick to what I am good at, it's a natural trait of all normal humans. So, when I had to choose a main stream for engineering I chose Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) even though it was all crashing at the time coz I was really good at computers. The millenium bubble happened and everyone said computers are not here to stay long. Parents discouraged (rather condemned) their kids from taking computer engineering. Amidst all that chaos, I asked myself what am I gonna be and the ONLY answer i could think of was Computers.

Here I am now, happy and content with my career choice. I cannot imagine what I would have been if I had not taken up CSIT. Not a bad choice after all huh?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to lose friends and alienate people (part 1)

I have always had friends. All kinds of them - friends, best friends, just friends, friends of friends, friends that use me, friends that abuse me (not physically -dont get any ideas Ok?) and friends that I use. Sometimes, I think I have too many of them than I'd have like to have. Even my parents and siblings would agree that there are too many so called "Friends" in my network. I abuse the word friendship in the way that I call any relationship : Friendship. I don't know why - may be coz friendship is the only relationship that can be associated with anyone without any changes to anything. I am the kind of person who would walk into a restaurant, order some random thing and eat whatever they prepare without even adding any condiments to it. I dont like to change anything much. I am ok with whatever it is and however it is (as long as it is to my liking :) ). Most of the time, I dont even order for myself - I let the waitress pick out something for me. It sometimes ends up being a total disaster but that's life. I do not do this coz I am too lazy to choose but I do this coz I want to experience what the other person is like - what he/she would like to eat or what he/she would order if it was up to them. This is my way of escaping me and being someone else I guess. Or may be I am just too confused to order anything for myself. That being said, I am also a control freak in other aspects. I am a complete set of paradoxes. Not necessarily a Hypocrite but a self-contradicting entity driven by the context.

I have always been good with people. I think I can go as far as saying I understand people (including some women) to a fair extent (I think). Although I misjudge them at times but I am right to most extent. I have seen lots of types - stereotypes I mean. In my short time here on planet earth I have had chance to interact with so many ists - extremists, conformists, objectivists, pessimists, activists, atheists, religionist, sadists, enthusiasts and The Closet Depressionists. The most amazing thing about me is that I can relate to all of them. When I am with one, I completely understand what they mean and can relate to what they are. Infact, I saw a movie (Little Children) the other day about a cheating husband and I could totally (or thothally as my russain friend says it) relate to that even though I am neither married nor the cheating type. It's like I get into the other person's skin with no effort at all. It comes very naturally to me. This might seem a bit proud and all but it is true. Well, true* (with a star!)

The point is, my ability to relate to people got me a lot of friends. People confide in me or ask me for advise or dump their troubles or just wanna talk to me coz I seem to care/listen. As crazy as it sounds, it is very hard to find people who can listen. I do and hence I get to listen to a lot of crap from a lot of people. Although, I am quite a bit of a talker too. So, when I am not talking, I am listening - makes sense right? (See, I was not lying after all).

The other day, I looked at the variety of age groups, ethnicities, backgrounds of the people in my network and it's pretty interesting. I have so many kinds of people in my network - Americans, Canadians, Africans, Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Nepalese, Korean, Haitian, Nigerian, Black, White, Young, Old, Adolescent, Male, Alpha-Male, Female, Women, Girls, Boys, Pastors, Atheists, Virgins, Sex Addicts, Cabbies, Waiters, Millionaires, Actors, Photographers, Bloggers, Coders, Geeks, Hotties & Notties, Scientist and a Murderer among many others in my friends list. I understand this is not an achievement but just the variety of the people in my network is mind blowing. I am not kidding, this is my network for real.

When I moved to USA, I had 2 business contacts (my employers Sreenivas and Nagesh) to call in case of emergency and 2 friends to call who would care to talk to me (Wesley and Gordon from InsideView) - that was pretty much it. You can imagine how difficult it must have been for me to come down from having a massive directory to call to just 2. Back home, I had just about everyone calling me to play cricket or watch a movie or just hang out or doing something really stupid like staking out a friend's locality for hot girls. My day was packed with meaningless events and idiotic randomness to say the least. The people in my life drove it in all directions although it was MY life. I took charge only when it is required. It was fun that way. I loved every moment of it until it all came to a complete halt when I move to the United States of America.

to be continued.....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Most beautiful opening and closing lines for a movie : The Switch (2010)

"Look at us : running around, always rushed, always late - I guess that's why they call it the Human Race. What we crave for most in this world is Connection. For some people it happens at first sight, it's when you know, you know! It's fate working its magic and that's great for them. They get to live a Pop song, ride the express train but that's not the way it really works. For the rest of us, it's a bit less romantic, it's complicated, it's messy, it's about horrible timing and fumbled opportunities and not being able to say what you need to say when you need to say it - at least that's the way it was for me." - From the move "The Switch" (the most beautiful opening line for a movie I've ever heard)


The movie closes with this note :
"But sometimes it slows down just enough for all the pieces to fall into place, Fate works its magic and you are connected. Every once in a while, in all the  randomness - something unexpected happens and it pushes us all forward and the truth is - what I'm starting to think, what I'm starting to feel is that may be  the human race isn't a Race at all"

Isn't this beautiful? Great job by the writers, I love it!

Allan Loeb (screenplay)
Jeffrey Eugenides (short story)

Just thought tats

I know that you are wondering what the title of this post means - right? No, it's not a typo and It's not proper english either and that is exactly the point here. I used this beautiful gibberish phrase in a video interview the other day. To give you more context, let describe the event more.



The context



I was interviewing a real nice lady (Linda) from Ohio who is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Brain Tumor and still helping a kid in India get a decent education. She cannot walk and is confined to a wheelchair. She can only see through one eye and that too after opening the eyelid with her hand. She finds it in her heart to give others while she is yet to receive. So, I was interviewing her to find out what drives her to help others despite her condition while we are lost in our own selfish world. She is as Christian as it gets, although I am not much of a Christian myself, I wonder why people do what they do and this curiousity drove me nuts until I interviewed her. She said something funny in the interview, if I remember correctly - she said "I never did anything wrong" - which was a joke obviously but I was not sure if that was a joke or not. As soon as she said that, I thought to myself that "Yeah right, that is a BIG LIE and you know it but go on it's YOUR show." I did not say that out loud (Thank God!) but I was thinking it. She continued to say "that of course would be a lie, I am Human!" and laughed. I felt a sigh of relief that she was just joking and was not seriously try to imply that she's all godly and divine and did the right thing her whole life coz you never know with the people in pain - they either turn extremely bitter or freakishly divine and I am not good with either extremes.

Here's the video of the interview. FYI, the video skips to the part where I utter the stupid phrase. :



If you watch the video, you know that she started with "I wish I could" but obviously I missed that part. I only hear what I want to hear sometimes. :)



The Phrase


Anyways, I wanted to share my feeling of relief (that she is just normal like us) with her by telling her that I just thought the same thing (i.e. the big statement being a lie) and to put it into words, I had two choices - I could either say
1. I just thought so too. Or
2. I just thought that.

and what do I do? I combine both while speaking it out, the result being "Just thought tats ". Wait, if you are paying attention - you would notice that I said "Just thought tats" - the letter "I" is missing here. Where is the "I"?



What happened to the "I"?



I normally do not say "I" alot as I think it is selfish to use it much. I will explain in a bit why I think so. (if you read carefully, I used "I" 5 times in the last 2 sentences. So much for not using "I" huh? Don't worry, I already know I am a hypocrite. I saved you the trouble. There I go with the "I" again. hahaha! ).

Also, my mentor Rodney taught me email manners long ago and he said "If you have to describe something you did or something about you (i.e. you are the subject/actor) and want to start a sentence with the letter 'I' - just omit 'I'. It is implied coz people talk about themselves all the time. If you are talking - chances are you are talking about yourself and hence no need to specify that it is indeed you who did that great little thing and no one else. People get it so dont stress on it."

Let me show you an example of what he meant. Both the following sentences describe a simple in event in a person's life but notice the difference it makes when you put it in a certain way. Think of this as your friend's facebook status update :

Sentence 1:
"I watched a movie at my house and I had a great time with my friends"

sounds a bit too arrogant although there is nothing wrong with this sentence. If you are an immigrant, you are more likely to use this form of sentence as you are basically translating from your mother tongue (coz we think in our mother tongue first) and in the enthusiastic effort to be more clear in communication, you appear arrogant unintentionally. When some American (whose mother tongue is English) hears it - it sounds like : "It is you (not someone else) who watched a movie, at your house (not anywhere but in your precious little mansion) and with your friends (not with someone else's idiotic friends but with your own bunch of idiots)". As you can see, the whole point is lost - now he thinks you are too full of yourself as you did not need to specify each and every time that it is you, it is implied. This is more of a cultural difference than language. You can just let go the "I" and "my" and say it in a non-arrogant way.

Sentence 2:
"watched a movie at home and had a great time with friends".

You can see I am not referring to myself so much here and which makes me sound normal and not like an egoistic emperor. Although there are times when you must use 'I'. Like when I am blogging. I must use 'I' and cannot do without it. :)



More Wisdom



I can just stop here with the "I" lecture but since I already put so much effort into it, I'd like to add another important point here. I tend to avoid "I" in email communication involving team or even just me. I either omit it or use "we" instead if there is a partner in crime. I use "we" even though the other party did not do much but thats between him/her and me. Isn't it? (Well, if your mate is a pain in the ass - then you can just use "I" but normally using "we" gets you more points as it shows that you are a team player)

Some example emails :
"All, deployed a build - please test" // when I did it alone.
Instead of
"All, I deployed a build - please test my build"

"All, we are planning a potluck this friday." //when there are other people involved even though it's your idea.
Instead of
"All, I am thinking of having a potluck this friday and everyone agrees."



Back to the Phrase



Now that you know what happened to the "I", let's move on the rest of the sentence.

The Original sentences :
1. I just thought so too. Or
2. I just thought that.

The amalgam :
"Just thought tats"


Breaking it down, I think I started it out with "I just thought that" but changed it to "I just thought so". We already know that I dont use "I" much and hence the absence of "I". But what in the world is "tats"?. I have no idea where the "tats" came from. I guess my mind thought that it was a fitting end to the changed phrase. Anyways, the result being some garbage that even I didnt understand. I would have totally missed it if I hadn't recorded it and would continue to do so for the rest of my life without even knowing that I was SME (Subject Matter Expert) on gibberish.

Bottom Line : I talk gibberish even when I am sober. Don't pay too much attention to it, as I will break it down later and blog it for you. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A celebration of Life - My Father!

He was not the best dad in the whole world, not even close
Although not the worst by any standard, I've seen worse

You see, I did not have a choice but to I love him as he was my ONLY dad
He did love me back although I was NOT his only kid

He was always curious to know how much money I made
I never told him for the fear of spreading the word

Although it was peanuts here, but when you convert it to rupees - it was millions
As soon as I told him, the whole neighbourhood knew and that costed me big bucks

"He had a unique way of boasting about you" - my brother rants
I blame my dad for ruining our brotherhood with his pompous contrasts

He was so proud of me for being a success in everything I did
I guess, he lived his life through the ambitions I fulfilled

"My son lives in America" - he used to proudly say
Made me feel like I went to Mars just by moving to USA

It was his dream to explore the world and see things far far away
Never really happened, but boy did he try?

Almost married a Finnish lady he met on penpals
Quite a ladies man I remember my mom kicking a fuss

I wish I had his charm or whatever it was that attracted ladies
Unfortunately, I only inherited his curly hair and nothing else

He did not have the best sense of humour
But Man, did he did like to laugh!

I still remember painting pictures just to impress him and win a reward
He'd appreciate it even if it was the same green parrot every time I doodled.

I feared his Big Leather belt every time I fought with someone
But when I was in trouble, he was my own private 911

He was always too honest and never lied
He helped people in need when he was full and satisfied

He hated my guts when I disobeyed him and did things my way
He drove me nuts with his save up and donate policy

He was never too greedy except when it comes to food
"Food was his first love" my mom repeatedly complained

Never heard him complain much, he was always a happy camper
"God, just give me enough" - that was his only prayer

He loved me even when I hated him
I could never completely understand him

He listened when I talked about all sorts of things
He wanted to talk to me but I was too busy with my friends

He had a cynical laugh that would piss off mom
But that was his revenge for cooking the crap that she fed him

He was paralyzed for thirteen long years and never could run again
But even then, I dont think he ever felt sorry for his condition

His name was Daiva Prasad translates to God's Gift
He lived a peaceful life, departed happy and content

I owe my every breath to him and He is the reason I am here
He gave me life, He's my Father!

Dear Dad, wherever you are, near or far
You will always be remembered for the man you were.

Rest in Peace!
Love you Dad!

John

Monday, August 23, 2010

Being John- Early Morning

Since you know why my name is John (i.e. after reading the world's longest article on the shortest name here), I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to the real me and show you what it means to be John.

Let us start with the daily routine, what does John do from the moment he wakes till the moment he goes bed, Shall we?



Daily Routine : Wake up (6:30AM to 8:00AM)



Contrary to popular belief, My waking up is not an event, it's a process similar to a Satellite Launch. It has T-3 stages and each stage is separated from the other by an alarm. I have three alarms on my iPhone at 6:30, at 7:30 and at 8:00 on weekdays.



You might ask me why three alarms? Well, they are not just redundant alarms but each alarm has a purpose as you will learn. When the 6:30 alarm rings and starts the Stage 1, it does a deserving job of destroying my idiotic dreams and reminds me that it is a weekday (i.e. I actually have to drag my ass to work). As soon as it rings, I struggle to find my phone and turn in off and in that struggle I transfer myself into a lucid dreamy state. Translation : I pause the dream for a sec to turn off the alarm and resume it where I left off but this time I control them - if there is something I do not like about them, I start to change it now. For e.g. If there is Brunette, I change her to Blonde. You get the idea right? ;) I am such a control freak that I try to control even my dreams. If it was up to me, I'd like to control my Manager Lori's dreams too.

Why Lori?
Ans: Two Reasons
1. She's my boss and Thou shalt suck up to Thy Boss (First commandment of every employee).
2. She asked me to blog about her the other day so here's a blog about you Lori. Happy now? Where's my BIG BONUS? I need it RIGHT NOW! (BTW, she reads my blog so this is totally gonna work or I'll be out of work - only time can tell!)

This joy ride goes on while I prepare myself for the next stage of this journey when the alarm at 7:30 AM. And when the 7:30 one rings, I struggle to end my dream and hit the Cancel button. At this point I am almost 40% awake.

Quick question : What does a Geek do as soon as he wakes up?
Answer : He checks his mail and Facebook (i.e. if he has a virtual social life)

Since I am a Super Geek, I check my mail even before I am awake enough to realize that I have drooled so much that my pillow is soaking wet. (I am only kidding, am I?)

Anyways, I pull up the mail client on my iPhone 4. I specifically mentioned iPhone 4 coz I am so damn proud of purchasing this piece of shit after standing in a really long queue for 8 long hours on a work day. People keep telling me to return it if I hate it so much but I fail to understand why. Sure, I hate it. Sure, it drops calls, Sure, it crashes apps. Sure, it has connectivity problems. But its from APPLE and I love APPLE. This one reason beats all those arguments - doesn't it?

Thanks to Nagesh Puli for sharing this video that explains perfectly how I feel about iPhone. FYI, If you haven't figured it out - I am the retard in the video. :)



Ok getting back to the story, I check my mail with eyes half shut ( when I say mail, I mean all my 6 mail accounts and all the folders in each of them including SPAM/JUNK/BULK).



There's an alias (i.e. a backup account) for each mail provider as you can see. If you are wondering why this madness, let me put your mind at rest. I am the type of guy who buys two tickets even when I am travelling alone coz I am afraid I will lose one. Imagine what a mess I would be if I was on a roundtrip coz it will be four tickets even when I am the only traveller. :)

Anyways, if there is an important email, I read it again after reading everything else. If something requires my input - then I reply but only after saving it a million times while I draft it. To give you an idea on the kind of serious mail I receive, let me name a few of my frequent email associates, the list includes big names in every industry - Macys, Amazon, ebay, GAP, Levis, Dockers, Java Ranch, Citibank and Bank of America with all the offers in the world. I am a proud recipient of all the spam that they ever sent out. (Yes, I do know that they provide a 'Unsubscribe' link in each of those emails but who has the time to click it right? Besides, if I stop this spam - I might have to wait for days to get real emails from real people. I dont know if I have that kind of patience and I might give in and start spamming all my 1000+ gmail contacts asking for emails)

Here's are some emails that I receive almost every day:
Exhibit #1:




I would have totally missed out on Champion Underwear if it wasn't for this spam from Macys. Thank God!

Exhibit #2:




Did you read that? 10% off on Kids and Baby styles - Oh My God! I gotta rush to the store RIGHT NOW! Wait, I don't have any kids! (Maybe I did in that dream a minute ago but that does not count, does it?)

Exhibit #3:




The funny part about the above email from Citibank is that I keep getting these emails asking to sign up for an account that I already hold with them for the past 2 years. Failing to understand the logic behind it, I think I have signed up for all their different types of accounts NRO/NRE/Savings/Current etc but nothing seems to stop these welcome emails. :)


Once I am done with knowing what kind of offers we have in Macys, GAP and Dockers - it's time to move on to know what my friends are up to. So, I log in to facebook - and here are some intriguing updates that I get from my network.



You can see how useful it is to know what my friend Prasad Kolapalli thinks of his profile picture or about the opposite sex. I have a million more similar updates to skim through before I can see any real news on my Facebook network. Even that amount of spam cannot stop me from doing this daily. I do this every day from 7:30 AM to 8:00AM until the alarm rings again.

This is the Final Alarm and I must getup now. I have to get ready for work. As you can see, my waking up process is similar to a Satellite Launch - it has T-3 stages and each stage plays a significant role and is required for the next stage to be successful.

to be continued.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movies, Books, Me and the Original Sin

Blogger's Golden Rule : "All posts need not be funny and all funny things need not be blogged".

Disclaimer : I know you are here to have some fun and get a few occasional laughs. But I'm afraid I am serious at times and this is one of those rare occasions.



Movies and People



A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a story conveyed with moving images.

Movie is not just an art of story telling. There's more to movies than just song and dance. It gives people ideas, emotions, entertainment and inspiration. Most importantly, it sets you free. Free from those work tensions, free from your wife/husband, free from the parents, free from the problems of life, free from anything that is bothering you. For those 2 or 3 hours that you are there -you are transported to a whole new world where anything is possible - you can fly, you can walk in space, you can be the top secret agent licensed to kill, you can be Prince Charming or you can be Cinderella.

Now matter who you are in real life, for the length of that movie - you are unstoppable. You cry, you laugh, you think, you dream, you sing, you dance, you fight and you love. You experience so much in such a short time. It's amazing what you can feel by just sitting in a theatre and letting your senses go wild.




Movies Vs Books



Now, this is an interesting discussion. To judge the contest between Movies and Books - we need to first understand how they communicate with us. As crazy as this sounds - it is true they do communicate. After all they are both nothing but a medium of communication.

How does this communication happen?
Books communicate through language (i.e. text) while Movies communicate through audio-visuals ( i.e.motion picture). You experience this communication in your own way.

What constitutes this Experience?
If you take a sentence of any language - it generally has three parts i.e. Subject, Object and Verb/Action. Similarly, if you take an experience - it can probably be broken down into three similar parts stimulus (Subject), Senses (Object) and Perception/Imagination (Action). I'm not throwing fancy terms here but just trying to understand (along with you) what really happens when we read a book or watch a movie.

To understand the experience, we need to understand the constituents first :

Stimulus is a detectable change in the internal or external environment.

Senses are the physiological capacities within organisms that provide inputs for perception.

Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information.

Imagination is the ability of forming mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses.


To summarize you experience a book/movie based on the stimulus that it provides to your senses which causes you to perceive/imagine something.

For me, Books are one dimensional in the sense that there is only text while movies on the other hand are multi-dimensional with audio, video etc. And the new age 3D movies make the experience almost a complete feast of senses. Movies work with more senses than just plain text in the books. For e.g. If you see a child walking - you not only see the child but the environment surrounding the child, the way that the child is walking, whether the child is happy/sad, the time of the day and the bells ringing in the background etc. There's a lot of detail that is captured in the movie that is not possible to capture in text.


But if you take your imagination into account. Books guide your imagination and do not block it. For e.g. If I write the following sentence -
"The child is walking alone on a bridge"
For you - the bridge could be a wooden bridge on a river, for someone else it could be Golden Gate bridge, for someone else it could be a very small rope bridge across a stream.
The child could be Black or White or Chinese or Indian depending on who's reading it.
The child could be male or female
The child might be happy or sad or limping or jumping while walking.

So, the same book might create a whole different perspective for each reader. They do not share the same visuals or sounds that their mind creates based on their individual preferences.

Movies block Imagination with the visuals and audio. You are surrounded with sound and bombarded with visuals. For e.g. If you see a child walking alone on a bridge - You only see that bridge and that child and walking with that expression and you will only hear that background score. There is not much room for imagination. The choices are already made by the film maker. You just witness the creation.

Movies are more stimuli and hence the experience is more perceived than imagined. Books have fewer stimuli and hence more imagined than perceived. Now, it's an individual preference which one is better.

As a lazy bugger, I prefer movies to books anytime because
1. Movies are over in 2-3 hours and you can get back to your life knowing that the story ended unlike books which I never seem to be able to finish even after years and I am still curious to know what happens in that novel I started reading when I was 18.
2. Movies do not require a dictionary for you to understand what the heck is going on as you can clearly see when two people are fighting as opposed to reading any of the following words that can describe a fight - "battle, combat, duel, struggle, tilt, war, wrestle, fight altercation, bicker, clash, contention, controversy, debate, difficulty, disagreement, dispute, polemic, quarrel, run-in, spat, squabble, tiff, word, wrangle, contend, dispute, quarrel, quibble, spat, squabble, tiff, wrangle, bellicosity, belligerence, belligerency, combativeness, contentiousness, pugnaciousness, pugnacity, truculence, truculency, fistfight, fisticuffs, scrap, scuffle, tussle" and a million others.
3. You can watch movies with your friends. Well, you can argue that you can read books with friends at book clubs or whatever but who does that really? Have you ever read a book cover-to-cover with any of your friends? If you did, may god help you and your friend.
4. If it was such a good book, then it must have been made into a movie by now right? And I can get that great story in just 2-3 hours as opposed days/years. Speaking of which, I cannot wait for this movie Atlast Shrugged as my Russian friend handed me the printed version of it that has 1170 pages and the first thought that came to me was - maybe there is a movie already? let me imdb it. (Trivia: How many dates end with her handing you a HUGE book on capitalistic ideology? You must be thinking none but think again - I am still here! )




Movies and India



Indian Cinema is one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Movies are the ONLY form of entertainment in India after Cricket (or is it before Cricket?). It not just a livelihood for a few but it decides how, many people lead their lives. Let me tell you an example of how much Indians love movies. While shooting the movie Gandhi (1982), 300,000 extras appeared in the funeral sequence. About 200,000 were volunteers and 94,560 were paid a small fee (under contract). The sequence was filmed on 31st Jan 1981, the 33rd anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's funeral. 11 crews shot over 20,000 feet of film, which was pared down to 125 seconds in the final release. We loved Gandhi and we love movies, so when they were making a film about Gandhi - everyone in that locality showed up.

As a Kid growing up in India, you either play cricket or watch movies for entertainment. There is not much to do otherwise. If Sharukh Khan (Brad Pitt of Indian movies) or Sachin Tendulkar (the best cricketer ever) ran for government, I am pretty sure, they will win unanimously. There is no national religion of India but if there has to be one then it would be Movies and Cricket combined. Ok, if you are wondering if there is a point to all this... there is.



Movies, Me and Christianity



John till age 15, sucked pretty bad at cricket as all my friends were dicks and they would never let me play. They would just let me play coz they needed someone to field the ball ( but now, I rock at it ofcourse - not that I have better friends now { I still am friends with the same bunch of idiots, some people never learn} but I just got better by practicing). So the only other thing left to do was to watch movies. However, my family is pretty Christian, actually as christian as it gets ( Note. Indian Christianity is completely different from Western Christianity, just so you know). As Indian Christians, we are banned from watching Movies - Movies are bad, movies teach you nonsense, Movies are the devil and whatnot. Needless to say, my parents did not take me to any movies whatsoever. That's not true actually - my Dad took us to a couple of movies in my lifetime - If I remember it correctly, he took us to watch the following movies: (He was a huge hollywood fan too)

1. Jaws
2. The Spy who Loved Me
3. Thuderball (I think we saw it, but I am not sure)
4. Jurassic Park
5. Batman and Robin

So, correcting my earlier statement - According to Indian Christianity - It's ok to watch movies under parent supervision and on television but not with your friends -OMG, that is such a sin! You could go straight to hell for that - ( I never get this statement - "straight to hell" - like there is a stop in between where you party and then go to hell - what's with that? really? )



Movies and Me - The Original Sin



This is the sin that lured me the most as a kid and there were plenty of sins to choose from like not showering after school, eating without washing hands etc. I call it the original sin as this caused the fall of me - i.e. fall into the dark side (movies). Also this was the most perfectly planned sin of my childhood although it ended up being a disaster. I had to wait till I was 12 to have the balls to lie to my parents and go watch a movie. It was not that kind of movie (you pervert -we were kids) but a bilingual blockbuster hit in Telugu and Tamil called Prema Desam. I came up with a master plan to commit my first real sin. Here's the plan :

1. Get my brother involved coz then the punishment would be less if we get caught. Somehow, parents think the elder is to blame even when I do all the shit. Also, I love my brother. He was my hero. ( He was also my Wikipedia. JetLi can walk on water, Jackie Chan can climb Mount Everest - guess why? coz my brother said so. And I completely believed him. There's no other answer to any question after my brother enlightens me with an answer. PERIOD!)
2. Steal money from dad's secret locker - I never stole anything from others but just from my own house. The way I looked at it is, it's the family's money and I am family so its my money - isn't it? ( Once I took the last 100 rupee note in the locker and my mom asked me if I found any money lying around coz we really need it and that made me realize what I did and then I never stole again. She could have beaten the shit out of me and took it but she did not and hence the change in me.)
3. Come up with a story for being late from school - that was easy - Tutoring! In my school time, I've had more tutorials than actual classes in school but my grades DID NOT get any better though. (FYI, I was in the top 3 always so it was not such a big deal)
4. Catch a train back home from the movie theatre as we live right behind a railway station and the movie theatre is just a minute away from the next train station - Who buys a ticket for a train really? It's government property - In democracy, government is a servant of people and I am one of the people so the train is actually ours i.e. mine to ride for free whenever I want and to wherever I want.

It was a difficult job to get my brother into the whole grand scheme of things. He is not that big fan of Telugu movies - he likes action flicks and hollywood stuff. Convincing him to watch a Telugu romantic movie was the hardest part. After that was accomplished, everything else fell into place. We lied and we went to the movie - had so much fun eating a Re.1 popcorn packet - it actually lasted for a whole 2 seconds and the samosas we bought were gone before we started eating it. My brother still thinks I ate it all - and he's right. I am such a pig sometimes. Well, if you had one of those - you will be too.

The movie was really good, it was about friendship and love triangle basically Pearl Harbour without the war and without someone disappearing for a while and without all the cool graphics and without the love scenes. It was a classic. Like all movies, even this movie although a classic came to an end and then reality sank in. We had to go home.

We were singing the songs from the movie while walking back to the train station little did we know that this night was not over yet. As always, my fate interrupted and the train was delayed by an hour and half. Now, we were going to be in deep shit. Our parents were surely waiting for us to get back home and we were in soo much trouble. FYI, when Indian parents are mad - the kids have scars. Not that they are necessarily evil but those scars are reminders for us kids of the bad things that we have done. I am now such a good person coz my parents used to beat the shit out of me when I tried to even think of doing anything evil. Even today, I think of my mom before doing something crazy. Don't worry it's a good thing. Trust me!

Anyways, getting back to the story - we reached home at 11:30 in the night. We were stupid enough to think that we could just sneak in and wake up next morning as if nothing happened. But as soon as we snuck in, all the lights in the house came on. My mom was standing right in front of us. I still remember her face very vividly. She had this expression that I have never seen before and I normally manage to squeeze out a lot of expressions out of her. I knew I was in shit deep up to my neck - heck even my brother's neck (he was taller than me at the time but now I have out grown him ) for that matter.

I was ready to get crucified and say my last prayers when I saw my Mom bring out my Dad's BIG leather belt. That was the ultimate weapon. Anyone who sees that belt must have done something really, really bad. I was pretty sure I deserved it and that my funeral will have my own meat curry. I once saw my Dad hit someone with that belt, I do not remember who but I remember that he cried for days. So, THE BELT was gonna be used on us anytime now and there was no escape. My Mom was standing at the only exit to that room and she had a weird look. I knew it was the judgement night and my first sin ever awakened the evil in my Mom. I closed my eyes and prayed that it ends with the least amount of pain and scars.

One minute passed and nothing happened. Two minutes passed and nothing happened. I opened my eyes looking to to see God or the Devil as I was pretty sure I was dead and was actually happy that I did not suffer at all. But to my surprise, it was my Mom. She was handing us the belt and she said "Go on, take it and hit me!" I could not believe my eyes and ears. How was this possible? I mean HOW? A minute ago, I was pretty sure she was gonna kill me and now this? What is going on? This must be a trap. What do I do?

Amidst all this confusion, she spoke again. She said "It was my fault to raise you like this. It was wrong of me to trust you and give you the freedom. How stupid was I to think that my sons would never lie to me? blabalababla ..... more blalablalba ..... even more blabalalbbla...

My ears shut down at that point and I was brain dead already. If you think I am a dramatic, you should meet my mom. If I am a soap then she's the opera. And a grand one that lasts forever. Needless to say, there were dialogues, punchlines, tears and a lot of promises that we made. Fortunately, there were no scars from that night. No physical scars at least.



Movies and Me - The Original Sin (Aftermath)



From that day on, I wish I can say I never lied to my mom but who am I kidding? I did lie even after that, I did go to movies even after that, I did sneak in even after that but I just made sure my mom would not catch me again. May be she knew but she did not bother. Well, that was my first sin folks. My first movie without permission. And since then I have become a huge movie buff and even now I watch a lot of meaningless crap and continue to enjoy it.



THE END

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Indian Idol 5 - Best Performances

Shreeram Chandra - Khwaja Mere Khwaja



Shreem Chandra - Breathless with Shankar Mahadevan



Swaroop Khan - Jau kahan




Rakesh Maini - Tumne Mujhe Dekha



Bhoomi Trivedi - Meter Down



Swaroop and Sattar - Bhawra aaya rey




If you want the mp3s some of the best performances, please find the link below. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

http://www.mediafire.com/?4yykin9o5io5s

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My name is John - yes it really is!

You guys have been so patient reading all my idiotic stories and hence I've decided to give you an executive pass to have an exclusive "behind the scenes" look into my life. What makes John, John? What drives me to do such stupid stuff? and Why am I so irritatingly interesting? (wait, I am? you just agree with everything, don't you? you loser!) FUN FUN FUN. (It's ALT+F4 in case you forgot).

Well, for those who are still here - I'm gonna have to start somewhere so I will start with my name. You are thinking, how long can a story about a simple name be right? With me, every story is long - you should have known by now. If not, you are either really slow or you've never read my blog (new user? yay!).

My name is John - yes that is my real name and not something I gave myself after I got off the boat. I am for real John and that is what my parents named me. It is my birth name. It is my only name. I donot go by any other name coz I donot need it. I have a perfectly good firstname, middlename and a lastname why would I need another name? Isnt it annoying to read all this fuss about my name? Now, imagine telling it to everyone you meet for your entire life coz when I introduce myself everyone says "Really? what is your Indian Name?" or "What's your name in Indian?" and I am like "Dude, I do not have an Indian name. And, there is no language called Indian. Get it?".

My name has been my biggest problem for my whole entire life. Even as a grown adult I still deal with these idiotic questions on a daily basis. You can imagine how much fun it must have been as a kid in INDIA where you can count the number of Johns on fingers even though there are 1.18 billion people (and counting) there. Back home, everyone around me had a indian sounding name like shyam, venu, viseshu, pavan or sarada but that was a luxury I could never have. My parents loved me soo much and made me uniquely precious with an alien sounding name (for India that is) - JOHN. Interesting thing about this is when you call the name "John" in India - people immediately turn heads to see who this kid is (I'm not kidding, they really do). As if that wasn't enough, my parents gave me the middle name Jimmy (can u feel the love?) - now, you HAVE to see what John Jimmy looks like amidst prasads, mohans and what not. And I was quite popular in school and college - may be partly coz of the unique name. I turned more heads with my name than with my looks. No, I dont blame them.

My full name is a bit interesting for the lack of a better term. I was pretty sure my parents hated me but one day not so long ago I asked my dad (thankfully I did ask just before he passed away) why the heck did he give me this name and why he hated me so much and he asked in return "you dont like it?" and I am like after 25 years you will like anything, ANYTHING really. You can name me a freaking BATTERY or something and I would learn to live with it and love it. Just for the record, I do like my name very much now. I really do coz I realize that it could have been much worse (relatively speaking) i.e. something like SukDeep or something.

Did I mention that all my siblings have perfectly Indian sounding names - my brother is Anand Prasad, sisters - Swaroopa Rani and Prasanna Rani. Yes, it's true. I think that is what makes me so angry. My parents decided to experiment with me. Lucky me yay! They had my elder sis Swaroopa first, then my brother Anand and decided to go crazy with me and then got their senses back with my little sis Prasanna. Had my little sis had an American name like Lucy, Jenny or whatever - I would have been less pissed off I guess. (Consistency people - is it to much to ask for?) But they cherry picked me to mess with. And that's why I thought my parents hated me. When I tell people in India my name, they get curious and ask what my siblings names are as if we're a freak family or something like - "you have this disease, lets see what your siblings have" sort of thing... and when I tell them my sibling's names- they always go like, "What's wrong with you then?" and I just smile. I dont know why honestly.

Anyways, here's the big moment of truth - It turns out, my dad watched a Bollywood film "Disco Dancer" which was released around the same time I was born and he liked it so much that he decided to name me Jimmy as the lead character's name was Jimmy. But my grandfather had other plans for me. My grandpa wanted to name me something from Bible and that too John to be specific. You see, everyone had a say what to name me - except ME of course. Well Einstein, I see your point - I was a toddler right? But they could have atleast asked me to point at names written on paper or let me choose from a raffle right? I'm pretty sure, they did no such thing given how stubborn my dad and granddad were. Finally after a lot of going back and forth - they ended up naming me both John & Jimmy and I am still paying the price.

Kids in school used to tease me as Jimmy is a common name for a dog back in India. Interestingly or Unfortunately, all the dog names in India are American/English be it Jimmy, Tommy, Jacky, and what not. And to add to that I was not that easy on looks. I was never the cutest kid in the class. Whenever they call my name, as expected people turn to look and they have this disappointed look in their faces - like "This is John Jimmy?". I did not understand what they were expecting, were they expecting Brad Pitt or something? I took me awhile but I got used to the turning heads and disappointed looks. It did not bother me for long. I am too positive to be bothered by such trivial stuff - except when the girl's hot. But I always wanted to say this to all those people - "Look, I am sorry I am not Brad Pitt and quite honestly I dont understand why I have to be Brad Pitt - I am John Jimmy, DEAL WITH IT! If you think you can be a better 'John Jimmy' - then please be my guest!"

Life is not that easy when you name your kid without considering the environment he grows up in. I think, there needs to be atleast a bunch of laws on what to name a kid.

Louis CK nails it in this video :

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Britches

We had a test release the other day and I sent out an email informing the team to test the new build. Here are the people involved.

1. Lori M - my manager
2. Yong L - my colleague
3. Kimberly B - my crazy colleague
4. Christi B - Kim's manager
5. John D - Me ofcourse!



The Emails





From: John Dondapati
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 11:12 AM

Guys,
We’ve just deployed the new build onto the development server. Please test!
--
Thanks,
John




From: Yong L
Sent: Fri 5/21/2010 11:27 AM

I’ll be on vacation from 6/18 to 7/10. Let’s do as much as we can before that time frame.
Happy clicking… :-)
--
Yong




From:Kimberly B
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 11:34 AM

Who approved that vacation??? I want one those!!!!! hehe
--
Kim






From: John Dondapati
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 11:49 AM

Well Kim, are you gonna go home to China? I don’t think so!
Besides, you work from home remember? Heheh!

And that’s why you don’t get a vacation. So, there - I took care of it for you Lori!
--
John




From: Lori M
Date: Fri, 21 May 2010 12:00:50 -0400

Thanks John!!
Sometimes Kim gets a bit big for her britches eh??? Hahah!!
--
Thanks!
Lori M, Project Manager




The Autocomplete





You have to understand how human mind works in order to understand why this harmless email chain has caused a chaos. I normally have "Autocomplete" ON in my mind. I do not read anything completely and just try to complete it with something I already know. That's how everyone thinks/reads normally so I am normal -thank you! And when I read the above email, I missed the 'r' in the word 'britches' which is an honest mistake right?

Hence the original sentence :
"Kim gets a bit big for her britches"

became
"Kim gets a bit big for her bitches"

And once my mind is set on something, it will only see what it wants to see, so no matter how many times I read the email, I read bitches instead of britches. I clearly did not understand what my manager meant. And when I do not understand something, my creative side of the brain kicks in and I try to assume and create. In the process, I tried to dissect the sentence and understand it.




The Grammatical Analysis





The original sentence :
"Kim gets a bit big for her britches"

The new sentence after Autocomplete :
"Kim gets a bit big for her bitches"

Breakdown :



Subject : Kim
Objects : Bitches
Verb : gets a bit big

Reconstruction :



Who is Kim?
Ans : I know Kim. Kim is my colleague/friend.

What happened to my friend Kim?
Ans: She's got a bit Big.

Big for what?
Ans: Big for her bitches.

Who are her bitches?
Ans: There are five people in the email - Kim, Lori, Christi, Yong and Me. Since lori sent the email it cannot be her. Since she is talking about Kim, it cannot be kim. Christi is Kim's Boss so she cannot be Kim's bitch, it has to be the other way around -i.e. Kim has to be Christi's bitch if at all there needs to be some kind of bitch-hood between them. So, the only two other people left on the email are Yong and me. So, Yong and I have to be Kim's bitches. (But why? )

Reconstructing the sentence : : Yong and I are Kim's bitches? What the fuck?



The Chaos





With the new developments in mind, I walked up to my good friend/colleague Ms.Calendra P and complained with a sad little puppy face "I think my manager just called me a Bitch!" which completely takes her by surprise and she's like "I'm sorry, what did you just say?" so I repeat again "I think my manager just called me Kim's Bitch along with Yong".

Calendra says "No, I am pretty sure - Lori would not call you that - what happened?" and I said "I am pretty sure she did, look at the email yourself" offering her the email to look at. She reads it and blasts out laughing and tells me that she actually used the word Britches and not bitches which means pants/trousers.

But it still didnt make sense and in my mind I am still going crazy. Kim's too big for her trousers? What does that mean? Why would Kim be too big for her trousers? She has another thing coming? (are these two expressions related?) Is the joke on Kim? So, yong are I are safe but why is my manager calling my friend Kim a transvestite? May be Lori meant Bitches and misspelt it? Who made Calendra a Linguistic expert? What does she know?

Calendra goes on to explain that it's a southern expression to say that someone's Conceited (excessively proud of oneself), a.k.a self-important and saved me from doing yet another analysis/breakdown and reconstruction although I was mid-way by that time.

That seemed to make sense and I was satisfied with the reasonable explanation that Calendra offered me. So, I called Kim and explained her the confusion and that the Joke's on her (haha). So, Kim in-turn conferences in Lori as she thinks this is hilarious for some reason and we all have some good laughs for a solid 15 mintues. Although, Kim wanted to conference in Christi who is totally intimidating even for a grown man like me. I'm really scared of her and if I must explain how much then it's something like this - I can walk up to the devil and and look it in the eye and say "Fuck you!" but I would not walk up to Christi and say "You look good!". She's that intimidating. Thank god she didn't call her in.

At the end, it was all good. I am no one's bitch and I still have my job. yay! :)




Moral of the Story





Be careful when u read important emails from important people but not too careful that u overanalyse the situation. And use a language that is more common when you have immigrants like me working for you and for whom English is a third language although the medium of instruction is English in our schools. We think in our mother tongue first and then translate it and there's a lot that gets lost in the translation.

Meet the Neighbours

This is me in the pic - you can tell how nice I am from the look - cant you?



And this is Jane - my neighbour and resident evil. I am sure all her friends would agree!



And here's the story of how we met!

All the readers of my blog ( that is a pretty big number - two to be precise i.e. including me) read it religiously and are up to date with my life. So if you are reading this, chances are you are the other and you must be already familiar with my Blood Rice Cooker Triology, if not read the part 1, part 2 and part 3 to understand my perspective on the random events that happened on one night when I met my neighbour. (please, read it -for the love of god. please! )


Interestingly, it turns out that I am not the only one who's writing about that night. My neighbour (the evil in the image here) also thought it was the greatest moment of her life too and decided to write a story to share with the world. Although she was very unwilling to share it with me coz she thought there might be something in there that can offend me (as unlikely as it sounds - sure, I get offended too sometimes). Little does she know that there are so many few things in this world that can upset me. That's a whole different conversation and we are not discussing my self respect or the lack of it here.

I had to rush and finish the last installment of the Bloody Rice Cooker triology just to get her to send me her story. That was the deal we made as the good old "persistent nagging" did not do the trick this time. FYI, She's pretty good at ignoring stuff and that's an useful skill.

I think my version is much more colourful and dramatic while her's is a bit dry with formal language and reporterisque (did I just invent a word? yay! ) narrative. To be fair, she wrote it on the same night and for a limited audience who had a life unlike me who has to entertain the world (i.e. you my friend - you can stop looking over your shoulder now! ). So, you can imagine she lacked the creative juices and the will to entertain.


Without any further blablabla, I present you "Meet the Neighbors" (thats the title - but that does not mean I am the focker. Also, she's american and hence "Neighbor" and not "Neighbour" - I can see you are paying attention to detail.). Here's her perspective on things.




Disclaimer : No, I did not edit anything. This is totally her version. Yes, this is what she sent me!

Meet the Neighbors



preamble:
i came back from the park and was walking into my apartment complex
as some random guy from the first floor suggested me to lock both
lower and upper locks (since we had a string of burlglaries in the
complex). he said that when he locked himself out of the apartment
using the lower lock the maintenance guy only took a second to open
it.
i said, "i see" as i continued up the stairs...

main part:
on the second floor i passed by a sad sad indian guy with bare feet
dejectedly sitting next to an apartment door. his head was bowed low,
his eyes bloodshot as he looked up at me with an expression of utter
despair...

i got home and jumped on the bed with a sigh, stretching next to my
computer when i heard a knock on the door. the sad indian guy was
standing outside. i opened the door, wondering what kind hopeless
situation he may be in, looking pretty disheveled and sweaty in his
button down blue shirt, khaki shorts and no shoes...

sorrowfully he related to me how he locked himself out of his
apartment when he bended to pick up a package delivered to him... he
did not even have his shoes on. he's been sitting outside and
wondering the streets for the past 2.5 hours, while waiting on his
roommate who went for swimming lessons. and could i, please, give
this dying man a glass of water and my cell phone so that he can call
him and ask whether he is ever planning to be back. of course i gave
him water, tea, cookies, frozen yogurt, phone and use of my computer
so that he could look up his roommate's phone number (damn smart
phones we never remember anyone's numbers anymore). i also offered
the comfort of my home, my company and gossip girl on tv until such
time as his roommate would show up. for that he told me his sad story
of waiting, when an old lady ran from him because he had no shoes (he
explained to her that indians don't wear shoes) and a boy on a golf
course wanted him for a target practice "daddy, can i hit the homeless
guy?"

in 30 or so minutes he left to check whether his renegade roommate has
shown up and promptly came back as i was sticking corn into the
boiling water. in another five minutes came a knock on the door.
another indian guy, with shoes on entered my apartment. it was the
long lost roommate. "i locked myself out", he pronounced and went on
to explain how he opened the door, put his swimming gear in, and went
outside to pick up a package sitting by the door as it swung closed
and locked him out... with his shoes still on. as i slowly slid down
the wall laughing, the barefoot indian programmer lamented that nobody
will ever believe the story. the second indian programmer said "speak
for yourself, i won't tell anyone" and i added "no worries, i will".
we sat around for a while chatting and eating cookies until the
maintenance guy came and finally let the guys back into the
apartment... my barefoot visitor looked down at the package and
sighed: "i read the instructions to this damn rice cooker in spanish,
and i don't even speak spanish!".

conclusion:
in 5 minutes there was another knock on the door, they wanted my phone
number.........

continuation follows?




In my defense, She's offered me the phone number - I just cashed it. But I'd have totally asked for it if she hadn't offered it but that didnt happen - did it?

That's that. What do you think? Vote and let me know which one you like. And as my reader I'd expect you to vote for me. I hate to block out my only reader so dont make me do it.

Show some Loyalty soldier - get down and give me 10 RIGHT NOW.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bloody Rice Cooker - Part 3

To the Critics: I know I am dragging this but I dont have anything else to say on my blog so read it or not..

Quick Recap: I was locked out of my apartment without my mobile or footwear or anything on me and my attempts to have fun while I wait are turning into disasters. Finally I have some company in the form of a really nice/hot neighbour who was crazy enough to entertain me while I wait for my roommate whom I instructed not disturb me while I try to get to know this girl. Ok, you are now up to date. Go on - read this final installment and let me know how much of an idiot my roommate is.


I was having a good nice quality time with my upstairs neighbour for a while when I remembered that my roommate might be home so I checked downstairs to see if he's home. Actually I did not care and he was the last thing on my mind but it was getting kind of late and the hot girl suggested I should check coz I seem to be making the couch pretty much home. She's right in a way coz I used her mobile, laptop, restroom, tv, couch and ate her magic mushrooms in the 30 mts I was there so she might be thinking "Why dont you just move in?".

So, realizing that I cannot just move into her apartment on the night we met (not to mention in the most idiotic circumstances) I was walking down the stairs and saw my roommate waiting for me in the hallway. Touched by my roommate's genuine care and concern for me, I wanted to hug him (one of those, awww! sorta moments) but restrained myself from doing so as it's gay in almost any country not just USA. So, I told him "Dude, its really sweet but you dont have to wait for me in the hallway. I am a grown adult locked out without slippers thats all!"

And he turns to me and he says "Dude, you wont believe what just happened!" which got my instant attention as he went on to explain that he came home and went in put all his stuff on the coffee table like he always does like a well programmed robot and remembered seeing the parcel out at the door (I left it there after reading the spanish instruction manual for the bloody rice cooker), so stepped out to check out parcel and put one step in the door but the door slammed (its a heavy door, you dont wanna put your leg when it slams shut- trust me I've been there and done that) and he had to take his foot out resulting in yet another classic lock out for the night!"

It took me a minute to process the information while my roommate smiled at my void face like he finished first in a pie eating contest or something. When I realized that my dumb roommate did the same exact mistake I did just a couple of hours earlier, I could not do anything but to sit there and laugh my ass off. It was laugh of relief that I am not the only idiot on the planet. It was laugh of "what an idiot" type of rejoice. After two minutes of complete cacophony of deafening horse grunts (thats the closest natural sound that describes our laughter) we went up stairs again.

Same song and dance - I knock on the door, she comes out with that weird expression in her face but this time add "Now, what?" to the previous expressions. And I was laughing at the stupidity of my roommate and its more fun this time coz its not me who's the idiot for a change. I finally catch my breath and told her "Guess what, my roommate is also locked out!" and I am sure the first things that went in her head is "Is this guy for real? This is the world's worst pick up ever! Do I look that dumb? "

Realizing how difficult it is for a normal sane person to comprehend this insane sequence of random events - we sat down while my idiot roommate explained her how it all happened and she goes "I can believe that!" and I am like "Are you serious? How can u believe that he did the same exact stupid thing I did on the same exact night?" to which she says "Yes, it is possible that two idiots can live together!" Very True indeed! - I told u she was a scientist right?

Finally, we all sit down and laugh about it and call the apartment maintenance to come rescue us. Half an hour later, we got into our apartment along with the Bloody Rice Cooker!

-----------------------------THE END------------------------

I called my mom and told her the whole incident (not focusing on the hot girl though) and the first thing she says is "You gotta get yourself a new roommate - that kid's dumb!" :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bloody Rice Cooker - Part 2

As I was waiting in the hallway for someone to rescue me, my neighbour from upstairs who I only know as the HOT-GIRL walked in. She was on phone so I didnt bother disturbing her. But she gave me a funny look (u know the routine "what's wrong with you" look) as I was sitting on the floor barefoot outside a locked door in the hallway.

As time seemed to freeze, new troubles started for me. Now, I have to take a leak and I am thirsty. It's weird how you need input and to output at the same time. My body needs water which is why I am thirsty but I also have to take a leak which means my body has too much of water. Human body is not something I understand so I left it at that. But my body did not. I really had to go. So, I knocked on my single-african american-kind of hot-neighbours' door but no response. She's not home. Perfect! My luck was laughing at me and I could hear it. Anyways, I know that the other apartment is vacant so my options were :
a. the old chinese lady across the hall (really? I dont know why I am counting this as an option either)
b. the vietnamese veteran from downstairs (I am sure he had shot gun handy)
c. the pakistani couple that never smiles from downstairs. (well, he is pakistani.. and I am an Indian so we are already enemies before we even met)
d. the hot russian brunette from upstairs. (hell, yeah! if u ever heard a russian girl speak, u know why I am so excited. Their accent turns even gay men on.)

It's anyone's guess who I picked. No, its not the old chinese lady. I chose to knock on the hot Russian's door duh!

She opens the door and has this puzzled look which I can only summarize as "Who the fuck are you? What do you want? Why dont you have any slippers on? What's with that beard?" kind of look. So, I opened my mouth but no words came out. I guess my brain is trying to come up with a story to explain my current situation but it is having a tough time as the eyes are too busy with visual feast right in front my eyes. Finally, I pulled it together and said "Hi, I live downstairs. I know this is gonna sound crazy but I am locked out without my cellphone, footwear and car keys. Can you help me out?". She said "Sure, come on in. You could use my phone to call someone". I took the phone and said thank you - only then I realized I dont know my roommate's number. Who remember's numbers right? So, she was like - "Well, do you want me to guess the digits for you?" and I remembered why I bought my iPhone.

It's mainly because I can find it if I ever lose it through mobileme. It's a service which can locate your phone and store your data on the cloud. I periodically (more like religiously to be honest) sync my contacts, bookmarks and mail on me.com which is real useful if you ever lose your phone. So, I asked her if I could use her laptop. She was real nice and let me use it. Needless to say I found the number and called my roommate while my new friend is making a cup of hot tea for me that I could drink while eating the frozen yogurt and crumbled cookies that looked like magic mushrooms. She was more than happy to have some company as she lives alone. She constantly kept apologizing for the mess which made me think how much organized I am regardless of the crap I seem to accumulate around my bed. We had some nice time together watching some "only-for-young-american-teens" drama on the antique 21" Television from 1950s that she might have stolen from a museum in DC coz there's no way you would have TV that small yet HUGE these days.


So, we had some time to kill so I started poking around and asking her questions about her and stuff in general. She plays piano (or is it keyboard? now u know how much I know music) and has a lot of paintings hanging around. Interestingly, one of them is her portrait. Hmmm, she said her friend tried to paint her once and that was the result. It was close, I can see the resemblance but I would have never guessed it was her. A hot girl with paintings, portraits of her and piano - who would not wanna find out what she does for a living right? So, I asked and get this! She's a Research Scientist. A SCIENTIST for real - I always think of either Albert Einstein or Tom cruise when I hear the word scientist. That's as close as I can get to that word. Why Tom cruise? well, coz of the scientology and stuff. Anyways, the point here is she's beauty with brains.

So, I called my roommate and told him to take his time and should not rush returning home. I gave him clear instructions not to worry about me and not to disturb me either.

to be continued....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bloody Rice Cooker - Part 1

As the title suggests, its a story about a Bloody Rice cooker which caused a turmoil yesterday.

It all started when someone knocked on the door at 6:45 last night, but by the time I opened the door there was no one so I looked around and found a parcel at the door - curious to check it out I stepped out and accidentally locked myself out. There have been a few robberies recently in my neighbourhood and we made it a habit to keep the lock on so that it automatically locks when we step out. Hence the lock out. Interestingly, I dont wear any footwear when I am home, that's a habit I brought with me from India. So, now I am locked out, with no key, no car, no cellphone, no money, no wallet and worse no foot wear. This would have been a problem for anyone but not me. I am too positive to be bothered by such trivial things besides I know that my roommate who just stepped out is gonna be back in an hour or atleast that is what I thought at the time. So, I decided to make good use of my time and take a walk, yes barefoot (good catch, so you've been paying attention I see).

I live in an apartment complex surrounded by golf course - it's pretty scenic and that was one of the reasons why we chose this place. So, I sat on the golf course laughing at my stupidity and enjoying the beautiful sunset coz there's nothing much I can do without any mechanical help. It was a much needed time off the routine things. I took a stroll down the memory lane and remembered how I used to play cricket barefoot back home and how it never bothered me much back then. We actually had a life without mobiles and computers and what not. We were just kids and there was nothing that could stop us from having fun. We did not need no fancy gadgets or anything to have some good clean quality fun with friends. So what happened to all that - how did I turn out to be a gadget freak with my iPhone 4 and mac book? I actually stood in line for 8 long hours to get me the brand new iPhone 4 on the day it was released. What went wrong? So, I kept thinking all this sitting on the golf course barefoot while the joggers who passed by were looking at me funny.

To make things more interesting, a dad was teaching his kid golf and the kid was getting bored hitting a tiny ball in a small hole on a huge patch of grass. So, the kid must have asked the dad "Can I hit the homeless guy sitting over there instead?" pointing at me. And dad must have said "Knock him out son!" coz the kid started targeting me. You see, I am not much of a golfer but I know that there are no moving targets in golf. So, it didnt take long for me to figure out that I was the target after all the kid was shooting at me. So, unable to come up with a reasonable story on how I could explain the situation to the doctor if the kid actually succeeded in his mission - I decided to get out of there before I get hurt.

Now, deprived of some quiet time alone - I was forced to come back home and wait in the hall way. Bored out of my mind, I decided to check to see if the parcel that caused all this was worth the fuss. It's from Amazon.com and that is where I normally buy books from. So, hoping to find a good read I opened the parcel. But to my surprise, It was Rice Cooker. And guess what, we already have a rice cooker. I dont know why my roommate ordered another one. Anyways, needless to say there was nothing to read in there except for the Rice Cooker Manual. So, I did the right thing and read the whole manual for about an hour. I even read the instructions in Spanish and I dont even speak spanish. You can guess, how bored I was.

to be continued....

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Happy Birthday Sis!

It's my little sister's birthday today. Spoke to her this morning for a while - she wants me to come home for good. Her words stir up a storm inside my head. I've been thinking for a while about it and when my little sis said those words, I just wanted to pack and go. But I can't - not yet. I have some stuff to take care first.

Anyways, It's her birthday today - so let 's talk about her. She's the purest thing in my life. When I think of her - I always think of this cute little 8 yr old kid with pig tails and innocent smile through wide teeth. She's my little sister. She does not want much from me. Whenever I talk to her - I ask her if she wants anything but she just doesn't want anything. She's happy where she is. She is a happy little bee. She's gonna be a doctor soon. Wow, my little sis is gonna be a doc! Time just flies!

When I gift her something, it feels soo good inside. It's like I want to give her stuff just to make myself feel good. Her smile brightens my day. I remember taking her to school everyday and making her tell lies so that we can skip school sometimes. She was like my little side kick when we were in school. Once I got hurt doing something stupid in the school and I remember her crying so much. I did not cry until I saw her cry.

It's a shame i cant be there with my family to celebrate her birthday. As kids, we used to look forward to July sooo much coz both our birthdays are in July. We would get a new pair of clothes and we get to be soo special for one whole day. We weren't that rich growing up so it was a pretty big deal.

Anyways, this brings back a lot of memories as you can see. Happy Birthday Prasanna - I hope all your dreams come true and I will make sure that they will. I love you soo much and you mean a world to me. I miss you.

Love,
your brother
John

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I Pray For you!

I haven't been to church since I don't remember when
Things were going great til they fell apart again
So I listened to the preacher as he told me what to do
He said you can't go hatin' others who have done wrong to you
Sometimes we get angry but we must not condemn
Let the good Lord do his job, you just pray for them

I pray your brakes go out runnin' down a hill
I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill
And knocks you in the head like I'd like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you're flyin' high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are, honey, I pray for you

I'm really glad I found my way to church
Cause I'm already feelin' better and I thank God for the words
Yeah, I'm gonna take the high road and do what the preacher told me to do
You keep messin' up, and I'll keep prayin' for you

I pray your tire goes out at 110
I pray you pass out drunk with your best friend
And wake up with his and her tattoos

I pray your brakes go out runnin' down a hill
I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill
And knocks you in the head like I'd like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you're flyin' high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are, near or far
In your house or in your car
Wherever you are, honey, I pray for you
I pray for you

Courtesy : Pray For You Lyrics by Jaron And the Long Road Ahead

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random Thoughts

I've been doing a lot of "nothing" these days even when I am busy doing something. My mind seems to do a lot of touring around while I just physically sit there in my cube doing routine stuff without any thought to it. Not that i am being dishonest to my job duties but its just that it has become second nature and I dont seem to be needing any brain activity for that routine mundane tasks.

I dont really know where it goes, what it does, how it manages to disappear and reappear without my intervention. It's amazing what a mind can do. It can wander off to places far far away in a split second and then resurface as if it never left.

I once read Human Brain is the only living organ that monitors itself. If it is true, does that mean that the surveillance and monitoring system of my brain has a loop hole? Does that mean my mind has evolved so much so that it can skip being monitored? Am I a mutated human? Am I a superior Organism?

You see, these are the sort of things that keep my mind busy even while I am doing something important. Some of the other thoughts being :

Topic : Death

Where does the soul go after death?
What happens to my facebook profile after I die?
Who will get my gmail access? // Banks are pretty straightforward
What happens during death? We always thought of it as a painful experience but what if it's the most beautiful and real experience ever?
Why do we die? To make room for the new ones to come? Or just simple session TIME OUT?
Why is death feared? For the loss of life that we all seem to waste anyways?

Topic : Movies

Where is this 3D revolution taking us? the more the merrier I know but in the quest to entertain we might miss out the heart and soul of the movie i.e. Drama

Topic : Jobs

I have doubled my income every year in the past 3-4 years. And it looks like I have come to a point of stagnation for a while unless I do something really fantastic or utterly stupid. Should I be satisfied with what I have and just go on with the routine for the fear of losing this or should I be more pro-active and keep on the look out for new things and waste my life in a never ending quest?

Topic : Marriage

Why do people get married? Is it coz they are afraid of being alone for the rest of their life? Is it coz it has been labelled the "right thing" to do when you reach a certain age?


Topic : Charity & Life

We are all moved by the life that the disabled lead i.e. the blind, mute, deaf and challenged. They are all out there unable to help themselves even to do the most mundane thing like walk or see or hear or talk. These people need help 24/7. They cannot do most of the things we do. They all have major problems unlike us. Their life is a struggle from the start to finish. The things that we take for granted are a dream for them. Most of them would never be able to do what we do with no thought. We all know someone like that. But do we help them. Apart from a once in a year feel-guilty-hence-donate or feel-good-like-to-share type of charity stuff, do we care for them at all? We go about our routines forgetting everything else and immersing ourselves in our own world that we created for ourselves. Is it selfish or just normal? I am not saying we should give our lives to help them for the rest of our lives but what can we do? What is our purpose in this life?

Is it to live our life the way we want to and just go about minding our own business turning a blind eye to the less fortunate? Is it about helping everyone and finding happiness in other's? Is it stupid to live your life for others? Is it possible in this new world? Can such thing be done especially after you have seen all the good things that you have seen? How far should one go in helping others and not losing one's self? How can I care for myself without being selfish? Being charitable is one thing and living life for others is another. I am very moved by the film Beyond Borders (starring Angelina Jolie) but would I ever be able to do any such thing? Would I be able to forgive myself if I dont? Can I live being just another human ?

Does it matter how much I earn here and how happy I make my family in afterlife? Who are my duties and responsibilities towards? Was Gandhi right in ignoring his family and setting a country free? Was he wrong for leaving his kid to ruins and taking care of strangers? What is the purpose of this life? Why are we here?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Online Dating and what to expect!

It's funny how I landed in the online dating world. I was being interviewed awhile ago by the creator of eharmony.com for a position in web 3.0 company and I was checking him out just to see what his background is and stumbled upon eharmony.com. After that excruciating zillion questions about me and my partner preferences, I was exhausted but at the same time I wanted some ROI (Return on Investment) for the time I wasted and was never getting back. So, I started browsing and noticed how many people are out there trying to find that someone special. So, I joined the league and ever since I've been on this quest to find that super smart/caring/loving/intelligent/kind/cute/smoking-hot girl.

Here's alittle theory I have on Online Dating. It helps you to understand what to expect there.

Disclaimer : I am not a veteran in the online dating field but I have been watching and closely observing this space for a while hoping to build a desi dating site someday. My intentions are purely business related and nothing else. Also this might be a good point to mention that I did not stalk anyone to come up with this theory.

I noticed that online dating sites are like Mangolian Grills. There are five kinds of people (broadly speaking) in there.
1. The hungry a.k.a. desperate //the label is self-explanatory
2. The smart/cheap //who want a big meal for small price (call it smart or cheap)
3. The bored //who are bored off routine sandwiches.
4. The adventurous and humanitarian. (you can totally tell - I belong here, cant you?)
5. The silent observers a.k.a stalkers and spies. //I DONT belong in this group although it looks like it - just so you know!

The hungry/desperate ones are there for a reason and they know it well. They try whatever looks good and sometimes they lie and cheat just to satisfy the hunger. Once their hunger is satisfied they might not be a good partner. Rule of Thumb - desperate people are dangerous!

The smart ones are there coz they dont wanna spend too much out there and wanna get money's worth. In this context, going out to a bar daily and trying to fish for girls is just time consuming and an expensive affair. Besides, who has time and patience right? The problem here is that they are here to fish but they dont want any fish - they have their preferences and biases. They want certain height, weight, complexion, caste, creed, religion and income. Preference is good but bias is not (well, not always). They walk in there and see a decent amount of choice but in their mind they know what they exactly want. You cannot reason with them unless you fall in that small circle they draw around themselves.


The bored ones - now there is a story here. They have tried all things possible and are just bored. They are tired and exhausted. They wanna settle down. More often than not, these people have a great story to share but they often tend not to share it. They tend to hide it for reasons very personal sometimes reasonable and rightly so and sometimes afraid of judgement. They dont have that fresh enthusiasm and outlook to life that is quintessential to keep a relationship fresh and interesting. They have this "Whatever" attitude which is quite boring at times.

The adventurous ones - also the humanitarians - They will try everything atleast once before they say no to it. They are open minded, fresh and interesting. I probably fall in this category We dont have a closed mind but we do have certain standards.

The silent observers - They are mostly observing the space looking for something. They might be here trying their luck or they might be too shy and insecure or their might be evaluating the business value of such sites or they might be spying on someone or they might just be stalking someone. You never know and You should not know! Sometimes, It's invasion of their privacy that pisses them off!

So, there you go - Online Dating, what to expect 101 for you. Hope it helps you. Guns and Roses are welcome!
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