Mar 26, 2009

IT Phobia's ...

Here are some of the phobia's that exist in this IT industry, just scribbled something which came on top of my head. Request the readers to post their phobia's which they think would make more sense, even you can correct the definition of my phobia's...

1. Test-O-Phobia - Fear of their code being given for testing which we ourselves know it will not work.

2. Development-O-Phobia - Fear of reading specs and coding as per the specs.

3. Manager-O-Phobia - Fear of talking to managers who believes that everyone other than him or her is an idiot.

4. Management-O-Phobia - Fear of managing all managers who act as if they are managing everything.

5. Plan-O-Phobia - Fear of putting dummy project plans for projects which would never come up.

6. Date-O-Phobia - Fear of working towards a dead line which automatically changes once reached or crossed.

7. Mail-O-Phobia - Fear of forwarding those spam emails where we will be asked to forward to 7 people within 1 minute.

8. Food-O-Phobia - Fear of eating the food served in office cafeteria, which is what I call, "Suicide Attempt".

9. Appraisal-O-Phobia - Fear of filling in those appraisal forms where we tend to write lots of things that we have not done.

10. Rating-O-Phobia - Fear of Ratings, whatever you put the managers are going to change it.

11. Meeting-O-Phobia - Fear of attending meetings where no one knows what the agenda is.

12. Figure-O-Phobia - Fear of seeing 40+ old "figures" coming in jeans and tight t-shirts with a contrasting lipstick color.

13. Presentation-O-Phobia - Fear of giving presentation on a topic which you have no clue of what it is all about.

14. Excel-O-Phobia - Fear of drawing bogus graphs to show-off a positive image to the management.

15. Housedrop-O-Phobia - Fear of being put on a route where you will be the last one to get down.

16. Hike-O-Phobia - Fear of being given the lowest hike all the time.

17. Coffee-Tea-Phobia - Fear of drinking those vending machine coffee / tea where water will be more than powder.

18. Laptop-O-Phobia - Fear of being allotted a laptop which would have been rap** enough by its previous users.

19. Security-Phobia - Fear of being stripped by the security just because you have your ID card inside your back-pack.

20. Advice-O-Phobia - Fear of getting advice from your manager on an issue which he would have never faced in his life and talks as if he has seen that issue day in and day out.

21. Onsite-O-Phobia - Fear of being sent to onsite on a cheapest airline which does not give you the guarantee of landing.

22. Websense-O-Phobia - Fear of all the important websites getting blocked, including your orkut and facebook

23. Conference Call-O-Phobia - Fear of being pulled into conference calls exactly at the time when you decide to leave office, just because they run out of 1 person.

24. DressCode-O-Phobia - Fear of asking you to wear formals just because a client has visited some other office in your campus.

25. Treat-O-Phobia - Fear of colleagues asking you for a treat, just because you got an appreciation email for something which you have not done.

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Give me a Break ...

There are times where I feel why the hell I chose to be on the Technical Line, I should have gone into Management. Whole of last week I was working for 18 hours a day and I am still working. Today when I got up from my bed, I said that I am not going to stay at office any time after 4:00 and I made it a reality as well, yes, I came home by 4:00 today, adding on to the fact that this being a long weekend and I am all pumped up to go to Chennai (my hometown)....

If you were working on my technically challenging issue, then it would have been fun and you would not be bored, but this hectic work is not of that kind, I have to work with another team and it is full of new comers and one team lead, none of them tend to understand what I wanted to do and they were doing things on their own, imagine how the situation would be, if politics join hand with this issue, man, I was mentally tired, that team lead has some serious attitude problem and he refused to take whatever this architect says, I have a fellow colleague of my who is also an architect, he just got wild and said "Get Lost", but ultimately you have to do that stuff and keep the ball rolling or else my boss (who is the director of the company) will royally screw me at the back.

Attending meetings and conference calls have become a routine for me, lucky me, I am not working for any services company, hence I don’t need to worry about appraisals and buttering my manager, this being a product company I have been given full freedom to do whatever I want and whatever decision I wanted to take, so slowly I could control the swing and somehow brought things under control, but still there are lots of bombs placed under my seat and I have to un cover all those technical challenges, this project is more like a minesweeper, I gotta be very careful in all my moves. Anyways, long weekend has come for my rescue and I am not going to carry my laptop to Chennai and I am not going to reply to emails via my Blackberry, I just wanted to spend some quality time with my folks at home.

I wish I could get back to those blogging ways where I used to blog at least 15 posts a month, let’s hope that kind of free time arrives, till such time, I will not be disturbing you guys with those stupid stories of mine :)

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Mar 14, 2009

You - I - We & Me - Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

Time and tide waits for none, that dreadful Saturday too came and Varun seemed to be very nervous. He first wanted to confess certain things to his mom and he was sure that he could convince Kavyaa by some means, but he is too hesitant to take even that first step. Varun made a promise to his mom saying that he will marry the girl whom she decides, may be its too late to go back on that promise, but that was very much on the cards till he met Kavyaa. "Love is torture" he told himself. He has no one to blame other than himself...

Varun's was asked to stay at home in the evening as the girl's family along with the girl is coming to meet him. Varun was physically present and mentally absent, his heart was searching for Kavyaa and the reason for missing her in his life, but he still had some ray of hope in his heart that he can confess this to his mom, like how every Indian cricket fan would hope that the last pair would win matches for the country. The family which Varun's mom has asked to come home are related to them by some distance, and they came to know about Varun and they approached his mom regarding a probable alliance, Varun's mom too liked that family and above all she has that promise Varun has given her that he will not object to her choice of the girl, so keeping all those in mind, she decided that this family could well be the one she was searching for.

Neha is very beautiful girl, who has done her bachelor’s degree in management and is taking care of her dad's business. Varun has absolutely no reason to say a NO to her, but his heart refused to listen to his mind. He was working on finding reasons / excuses to avoid this girl, but his mind returned him with a blank response. Neha was the first one to open the conversation, she was non-stop in her conversation and by the time Varun came back to his senses, he did not know what she was talking for such a long time, his mind and heart was choked with thoughts of Kavya. It was his turn to talk something to Neha, he tried his level best to speak few sentences coherently, but was not sure of what he spoke.

Once they all left his place, Varun decided to confess his love to his mom, he was rehearsing his dialogues that he needs to tell his mom. His mom came and gave him a tight hug and told him on his ears that the marriage has been scheduled for next month. He could see his mom visibly happy, she brought a small laadoo from the kitchen and then inserted into his mouth, though the laadoo was sweet, the news was not that sweet for Varun to digest, but the happiness that was there on his mom's face, mentally prepared him for a sacrifice, all certain done, life is all about keeping others happy and the thumb rule is, you can't keep everyone happy. Varun could sense that he is missing his love of his life, but his priorities were different.

Varun lived the life of a zombie for the next 1 week, one fine morning, his mobile vibrated, "Kavyaa Calling", he picked it up in a hurry, and there was a call wait on his mobile "Neha Calling ..." (ah!! director's touch), Varun could just be silent as he knew he is the one to be blamed for this relationship to be split. Kavyaa started with a "Congrats" and as expected, her voice was broken when she said that, and that really made Varun feel so embarrassed over the mistake he did in his life and that has spoilt a girl's life. Varun could not reply with a "Thanks" instead he said "Sorry" in an equally broken voice. Kavyaa asked him if she can meet him for one last time in her life, Varun was reluctant to say a Yes to this, as he does not want to face her eye to eye, which he cannot do, but his heart gave him the permission to say Yes and they both agreed to meet at their usual meeting place.

That evening is the one Varun wanted to forget in his life, and that place he hated to visit again in his life. Kavyaa was already waiting for him and she ordered their usual chat item "Paani Puri" and for a change, this time Kavyaa paid the bill. Varun did not have the guts to see her face, but Kavyaa did not have such problems, she knew that she was not responsible for this mess. Varun said "He was helpless" and Kavyaa replied back saying "But I am the victim", Varun looked at her, which meant "Please don’t kill me by your words". Kavyaa too did not want to hurt him, because she still loves him, she loves his innocence. She changed the topic by asking details about Neha thinking that this would lighten the mood and she wanted to bid adieu with a good smiling note and heart to this relationship, Varun just maintained silence, Kavyaa grabbed his mobile and browsed the images folder to see her snap, she just reacted saying "Wow, what a pair, you guys are made for each other Varun, I am so happy for you". I will pray for your happy married life.

Normally Varun used to drop her till her house, but this time, Kavyaa decided to take an auto, she took out a small gift from her bag and placed it in Varun's hand, with tears and smiles trying to play a happy scene on her face, she faded into the dusky evening of Mumbai. Varun felt some oblivion setting into his life and that will be there forever. He stood still in the direction Kavyaa's auto went and he just could not digest the fact that he is not going to see her forever in his life. Both that day’s evening and Varun's life started to set.

Time is the best healer, years rolled on, both Kavyaa and Varun lived happily forever .... wait, wait, wait ... Kavyaa is the name of Varun's Daughter and Varun is the name of Kavyaa's son, most untold love stories becomes the name of their kids, that's true naa ?. But I am still wondering why I named this story like this ? May be one more blabber from this iyerpaiyan ... :)

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Mar 3, 2009

Trek to "Kumara Parvatha" ...

It was a much awaited trekking for me, and I was all excited about that. I read couple of other blogs after accepting to come for the trek, and those reviews were really scary. I actually thought of backing up from that trek after seeing such horrifying reviews. Every blog had one thing in common and that is "It will be very risky and a dangerous trek". But I made up my mind that I am going to go there and experience those things on my own. I would have been the most unlucky fellow if I would have missed this trek. This is how the entire trekking experience un-folded...

We had planned well in advance for this trek, all necessary transportation, food, tents, sleeping bags, medicines etc. etc were all made ready. I should say that our trekking gang is one of the most well planned gang and we generally don’t miss a point. The workload was equally split and allocated to all the individuals and each one of them have to complete their task and report the status to our team lead, so by the end of Friday evening we had everything ready and we were all set to roll. I was given the responsibility of carrying the tents and the sleeping bags from a house which was very close to my office. I paid them an advance by cheque and took those stuffs in my car and came home. I had one of my colleagues who will be joining me for the trek, accepting me to pick me up from my house and reach the common pickup point. He came to my place at 9:30 PM and by 10:00 PM we reached the common pickup point at Marathalli.

Our trekking gang consists of - Nachu (Team Leader), Sundar, Satish, Arvind & Aruna, Anu, Madhu & Sushma, Pradeep, Naveen, Anil, Puneet and Madhav. We went to Madhu's place as that is the first pickup point. We were delayed by 30 minutes as it took us more time to push all the tents and those sleeping bags into the cab. The cab started from Marathalli around 11:00 PM and we had a list of people to pick-up. While we were picking up the other folks, Madhu and Sushma distributed the edible items that each and every one needs to carry, we had 13 plastic bags for each one of us and each bag would contain, 10 chapattis, jam, tomato pickle, apple, 5 chocolate bars, Amul Masti butter milk, Gatorade energy drink, Glucose, and Biscuits. This bag has to be carried by each individual all thru the journey, adding on to this the individuals should bring 2 liters of water. We were told that once we reach the peak there are no water bodies and hence we have to equip ourselves with a good storage of water, which is very vital during trekking.

By 12:00 the cab reached the outer of Bangalore and since most of us have not met each other, we all had a formal introduction and moment I saw those folks, I could sense that this is a bunch of happy and wonderful people and everyone were simply cool, we all gelled as a team and within hours we all became very close as if we know each of us for years together. The journey overnight was peaceful; we folks have to take shifts to sit next to the driver so that he is not falling asleep. I took care of that duty around 3:15 and had a lengthy chat with the driver till 4:30, then Nachu took care of that and I took a power nap for 30 mins. By 5:30 we reached a place called "Kushal Nagar" where we book two rooms to refresh ourselves and also it would give all of us one last chance to attend nature calls. We also had our breakfast in a nearby hotel. The gang left Kushal Nagar around 8:00 and reached another place called "Somvarpet" which is actually 2000 mtrs above sea level, we took a very scenic route on the hill and it was wonderful.

We reached Somvarpet around 9:00 and then we unpacked all the stuffs from the cab and got ready to start our trekking journey of 8 kms inside the forest. Sun was climbing fast and it was very hot as well. We reached the forest office and paid the fees to get us permission to enter the forest. We had two cute puppies playing there and I as usually fell in love and offered them with the stuffs that were given to me to carry while trekking, one puppy was so cute and I just could not miss him. We started marching into the forest and the feeling of going inside the forest made all of us jubilant, we actually had a very good team leader (Nachu) and he was our guardian angel for this trek, he had been to this place before and hence it was no difficulty for us to find the route inside the forest. We first reached a beautiful stream where water was gushing thru the rocks and the excitement we had on seeing that water is something I cannot express in writing, some people refreshed themselves by taking bath in that. We all spent close to 45 mins in that stream. The puppy to which I served my food was following me and he came all the way up to the stream. I again bribed him with some more biscuits and perk chocolate and gave him a good by kiss on his nose and sent him back to his hut.

We climbed thru a very hilly terrain where there is no defined path, it was all rocks and gravels and it really made us tough to walk, but the greenery inside the forest made us forget that strain. We heard lots of beautiful sound made by various un seen birds and my friend Sushma who has got some knowledge about birds she explained me about "Coppersmith Barbet", "Red Headed Barnet", and various other birds, there sounds were simply too good to hear, also we had Aravind who is an ornithologist and he too gave me lots of interesting information about birds, the only worry is we could not see most of the birds in that dense forest, all we could hear is there sounds. Forest gave us some surprises like few rattle snakes crossing our path and there would be a sudden noise on your side where some creature would be running inside those thick bushes, but walking inside a forest is a boon, you should feel that experience to believe that. Our team took sufficient breaks and I and Sundar became the partners to carry those heavy tent bags. Sundar will carry it for 10 minutes and I will carry it for 10 minutes and we marched deep into the forest.

Our leader Nachu warned us saying that we have to cross two steep rocks, we being software engineers conveniently ignored that warning, but when we saw those steep rocks, we were simply shocked, but the enthusiasm and the jubilance in the team was excellent, which really made all of us to climb that very steep rock which does not offer anything for you to hold, but the surface was hard so that you can easily get a grip on your shoes, as a team we all achieved the first mile stone of crossing that peak. We all had our lunch on one of the rocks, after walking for a very long time on those hilly terrains, we were all very hungry, and those chapattis which were hand made by our great Madhav tasted like "Yummmmyyy" to all of us, chapattis and tomato pickle was the best combination for that lunch. We then started climbing further and we were greeted by another steep rock which was even tougher to climb than the previous one, but Nachu gave us the motivation and strength to climb that and once again as a team we achieved that peak as well.

Anil is one man in our team who always goes much ahead than the group, he was the first man to reach the peak and hoist our Orange flag on the hill top, GOD only knows from where he draws such energy. Sundar was visibly tired and Aravind's wife Aruna could not manage to climb the mountain as she was very scared to climb, but she is a person of sheer grit and determination, and really did a tremendous job of climbing all the way to the top, in spite of the cramps she developed. Hot SUN did not detour us from stopping the trek, we took that as a challenge and we all reached the peak by 3:00 in the noon, which according to Nachu was a record timing. We covered 8 kms in just 5 hours. The jubilance we all had after reaching the peak was out of this world, we all threw our bags and literally fell down on the floor as we just could not walk any further. By 3:30 we decided on the place where we would want to place our tents and the exercise of erecting the tents started, and it took almost 2 hours for our folks to assemble that and at last we did it. Evening clouds started to cover the hill top and it got smoky in the evening, that cold wind and that foggy mist were a treat to my eyes; I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the pleasure offered by Mother Nature.

It started to get dark and then our gang started to go and look at few view points, while we were sitting in one of the view points, we heard the noise of elephants screaming in the wild somewhere inside the deep jungle and we were able to listen that at 5600 feet above sea level, the biggest joke here is, we all walked only thru that forest during the day and fortunately we did not encounter any wild animals. By 7:30 we all came back to our tents and had the same chapatti and tomato pickle, by 8:00 myself and Sundar decided to hit the sack as we both were very tired, but the team had different plans, they had started a camp fire and dragged both of us out of the tent and we all played Dumsharads for a while, by 9:00 we all decided to disperse and head to our respective tents. We had the understanding of not to use any lights in the night as it might attract the wild animals. Spending your night on a hill top is something one must experience, it was pitch dark and you could see the stars in the sky if you are lucky and wind would roar with its utmost ferocity and that feeling would make your spine go chill.

We all were dead tired and hence we slept immediately, around 12 in the midnight, I started to suffocate as there was no wind and I am very scared to look out of my tent, all I could see is darkness and nothing else. I somehow managed to get some sleep, around 2:00 in the morning, I could sense that some thing is walking near our tents, my god, I was frozen and I tried sneaking out thru the small hole that was there in the tent, but since it was very dark I could not see anything, but I could hear the sound of the someone walking on those dry leaves. I started saying some prayers and without my knowing, I fell asleep. That was the end of day 1 in our two day trekking cycle.

Next day morning we all got up as early as 5:30 and went to one of the view points to welcome the sunrise. Sight of a sunrise on a hill top is treat to watch. If you are lucky enough that day where there is no cloud, you will be blessed with that awesome scene, and we too were blessed, we were gazing at a point where it looked very hazy and we almost lost the hope that we will see a sunrise, as it was already 6:52 AM in the morning, when we were all so dejected, all of a sudden from nowhere, there appeared a small nail like SUN which grew to a bigger size in no time and it exhibited the beauty of nature in all possible ways, that orange sun was a treat to watch. We felt satisfied and all the pains that we took to walk to this hill top vanished in a flash. It was an absolute treat to watch that sight. We then came back to the tents and our gang started making some hot tea. Nachu had brought milk and tea powder and Anu helped him in making those lovely teas, which was a refreshing breather for our morning.

The team had a long photo shoot session on the hill top and with a very heavy heart we decided to climb down. There was a small shivan temple on the hill top, Nachu offered some prayers and some pooja to the lord and we all prayed for a safe return back to the roads and started our journey back to the plains. Nachu gave us one more shocker saying, we all have to climb down 14 kms and also the path will be very slippery and difficult. When you are carrying huge weights on your back, climbing down would be very difficult, also Nachu told us that there would absolutely be no shades while getting down and we all should be ready to get fried up in that hot sun. We already were running out of water stock and we used that as minimal as possible. We all started trekking down and after 2 kms of walking over a steep terrain, we found a water body where the entire gang completed their morning duties, that water pond was tasting so sweet and it was crystal clear, that’s the beauty of Mother Nature.

We were mentally preparing ourselves to brave that hot sun and reach the plain before it gets dark in the evening, walking 14 kms is not an easy joke to cover within 8 hours, you have to literally sweat it out and that is what we did. I would want to appreciate all the 3 girls who came with us, all of them have pushed themselves to the limits and did an excellent job to climb down to the pace of guys. Walking down was not so pleasant to our eyes as we were not walking inside the forest, it was all under the sun and all you could see is just rocks, rocks and more rocks. When you climb down you tend to put a lot of pressure on your toes, especially when the terrain is so steep. We were instructed to walk to "Charlie Chaplin" style so that we are not stressing our toes. I being a ligament torn fellow, I have to be doubly cautious while walking down, as this might tear my ligaments further and injure me. Though I had several slips, but by God’s grace I did not fall down. By 12:30 we came across a water body which actually took us by surprise. It was a welcome relief to all of us who were struggling to find water. We all jumped in joy and refresh ourselves in that COLD water which was offered by Mother Nature.

We all started to feel very hungry and we were told that we will be having our lunch at a place called "Battermanae" where a poojari will be serving us food. After a very long walk of 5 hours we reached his house and we were all visibly dead. None of us took bath for two days, the sun and sweat made us go even stickier and me being a person who does not like to touch food without taking bath, was forced to eat that day as I don’t have any other option. I would want to mention about the sambar that was served to us by that poojaari, Oh man, that was out of this world and I would say that I have not tasted such a lovely sambar in my life, and adding on to that, we had this onion-mango pickle was more like an icing on the cake. I expressed my happiness to that man who served me that food; he too managed well to talk in Tamil. Our team took a nap under those banana trees at battarmanae and by 4:00 PM we started our last lap of the journey and that lap is the most difficult to cover as we all were very tired and there was an added pressure of reaching the roads by 6:00 PM as it is not advisable to walk inside the forest once it gets dark.

Our gang leader Anil took off well before us and he was given the job of walking the extra mile to get the taxi to the point where we all will be getting out of the forest, so Anil was all set to achieve his mission. I, Sundar, Madhav and Anu started our lap around 4:00 and we had set a target of 6:30 PM to reach the bottom. We walked like crazy in spite of that pain on the knees and the toes, adding on to that I had the tent bag with me which was much heavier than my shoulder bag. We took constant breaks and by 5:00 PM we entered the forest once again, it was getting dark and all the birds and insects were returning back to their nests, forest was busy in its own style. Sundar decided to take some more break time, but I, Anu and Sushma started walking, exactly at the strike of 6:30 we reached the plain and we were so happy to see Anil, Puneet and Navin receiving us near the cab. We once felt that we have lost the way and we are gone, but luckily we all had whistle to blow and we got a response from our other gang folks to indicate that they are behind or ahead of us.

This trek gave me the courage and also proved me a point that I am still having that good amount of stamina in me, above all, it gave me very good friends. I would love to go to any place with this same gang, as this is a bunch of happy unit. We all went to "Kukke Subramanya" temple and started our journey towards Bangalore, just to add an interesting twist to the tail, our van got punctured in the middle of the ghat section and we all were left stranded in the dark for almost 1 hour, finally we somehow managed to get that repaired and we all reached Bangalore on the morning of 2nd around 6:00 AM. On the whole it was a very good trek and I would cherish every moment of this trek all thru my life.

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