Thursday, June 30, 2005


The mantra I chant every now and then:


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

HeartCurry has a new face.... unfortunately the author is the same ol' boring guy! Yea, you cant escape him!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Interview Anecdote - Part I

Interviewing can be stressful at times. And sometimes it can be great fun. The conversations you have can leave you wondering.... and sometimes make you say, "Proud to be an Indian."

Me: I can see that you have expertise over a lot of programming languages. C, C++, C#, SAS, etc. etc. I am sure you are aware that this position demands a lot of SAS. What makes you get deeper into SAS? Basically, why SAS?

He: Sir, I think its one technology which wont be outsourced to India.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Robbing Apoorva - Part I

To the guy/gal who robbed me off my money on Wednesday - THANK YOU!

You gave me something to blog about.

And now....


Yeah, its been a screwed up week. First I get this court notice from my landlord saying I dont pay rent and should appear in court and vacate the premises. Heh! The man is drunk! But thats another story which I'll save for another day. Rest assured for now, I pay my rent much before due date.

After all these events I still managed to put up a happy smile as I walked into Bally's today. After an hour of working out I returned to my locker and found the happiness disappear. My lock is missing. Funny I thought. Did I forget to put it on at all? First thought in my mind - Is the wallet + cell phone okay? I open the locker and find my wallet. But the money is gone. Cell is intact. Backpack has been searched through.

Those of you who used to tease me about being a order freak & being in love with sorting algorithms (read: everything should be in a certain order) can go eat some dust. My habit of placing my credit cards as per a certain order in my wallet finally paid off. The order had been changed and the cards had been kept back. So I knew the guy had happily gone through the cards, my license etc. Damn, need to get my cards cancelled out. Ahhh... this sucks!

This is the reason why each day of the week I wear certain color underwear. This way if someone stole my underwear, I would know....

I walk up to the entrance. That cute little attendant I have been so shy to talk with is there (Thank You Mr. Robber). I tell her my sad story and she directs me to this bodybuilder of a guy (Screw You Mr. Robber!). After filing a complaint with the Bally staff I put on my saddest face which finally evokes some sympathy from cute attendant. Suddenly this other guy pops up outta nowhere saying he is been robbed. Within 20 minutes there are good 6-8 people who are in the same boat. The cops are called.

Lets talk about Hindi movies. No, I am not going off topic here. In the movies the cops come after the action is over. The cops here are better. They dont come at all. I waited for a good 2 hours before dialling 911 again and telling them some dozen people have been robbed and they were supposed to be here like 2 hours ago. Whats the reply? They are too busy right now. I could go to a police station and file a report. Thank You for the 2 hour long wait!! Not that I was complaining. I used that to cancel my cards off and talk to cute attendant. I also tried to sell her my colored underwear theory. She didnt look too impressed. Not surprised, women dont understand me anyways! All this talk about underwear theory with cute "cannot understand my theory" attendant made me hungry.

So off I went to get some food at Taco Bell. I place my order and realize I have cancelled my cards off. I'll pay by cash I thought. And then I remember once again, someone stole my cash. So there I am staring at fat scary lady behind cash register telling me "6.57 dollars" and looking amused as I shuffle through my wallet. I wondered if I tell her my sad story would she gimme some free tacos. No luck! Fortunately she didnt kick me out.

So this is how I got robbed. Mr. Robber, if you do read my blog, remember, you owe me 50 bucks and some cancelled credit cards and one nice purple colored combination lock. Do you know how difficult it is to get a weird colored combination lock these days? In the stereotyped world of silver+black colored combination locks, my purple lock stood out so well. I never had to remember the locker number. Just look for the lock.

Once again, Mr. Robber:


May the drugs you buy outta my money kill you ASAP.

And now I'll figure out how to live 2 weeks without cash and credit cards (my closest bank is 70 miles away).

Sunday, June 19, 2005

CTRL+Z. I could do without it.

Sometimes some things just happen for the better. But we dont realize it. Luck disguises itself and we are unable to recognize it. When they happen, you feel like shit! Why me? And like Iyer would say, gimme a CTRL+Z (undo) on life. Maybe, maybe not. When I think about it, maybe it would have been nice to have an undo button. I might have become a Stanford Grad co-owning Google at this moment.

Anyone seen "The Butterfly Effect"? Great movie. Stars Ashton Kutcher. Its basically a story about him and his 3 friends. He develops the ability to go back into the past and change things which he feels would make the present perfect. The first time he does that, the present ends up getting worse. So he tries going deeper down memory lane and changing a particular incident. That results in him losing both his hands and the girl he loves falling in love with his best friend. So he keeps trying to change things in the past hoping the present would shape up the way he had hoped for. But it never does.

Today was the US GP (Formula 1). I had previously written about heading down to Indianapolis. I had almost booked the tickets. And then something came up and I couldn't go. I was cursing my luck, considering the fact I might very well not be here a year from now and it will take a while for F-1 to enter India (and when it does tickets will sell in black). Also, my favorite team and driver, McLaren with Kimi Raikkonen was firing with all cylinders. Disappointed I was.

And what happened at the race? Seven teams pulled out due to tyre/speed problems between Michelin and FIA. Three teams were left, Ferrari and two minnows. The crowd booed, threw trash on the tracks and Ferrari walked to the finish line - a result my 12 year old cousin would have been able to predict. And if I had spent my time and well-earned money in flying down to Indiana, I would feel cheated.

My plans getting cancelled and Iyers post almost had me singing the tune of having a CTRL+Z in life. But today I am glad there is no CTRL+Z. Really, life is sweet the way it is. Everything probably happens for a reason. Sometimes you know the reason immediately, sometimes it takes a life-time. I say just give it your best. What happens then, happens!

The last exam you failed miserably.... As long as you gave it your best shot, the rest doesnt matter. All successes were built on failures.

The friendship I made, that gave me a foe... as long as that taught you how to keep your present friends, as friends.

The last peg I had, that made me puke.... as long as you didnt puke on the person next to you :-)

We are humans, if we had a CTRL+Z we would spent most of our lifetime hitting CTRL+Z. Till such a point where someone would come up with a CTRL+Z for the CTRL+Z.

Learn from your past mistakes, but live your present to the fullest (and if you dont drink till you puke, you haven't drunk to the fullest).

PS: Maybe I could allow one CTRL+Z. If we could CTRL+Z the moment
Bird was born.... and this movie which Abbs is planning to make on me.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Honey gets Horny

This one goes back to my good old days of Syracuse. My roomie then, Sharma, who I have mentioned about in one of my previous posts was a food court work-horse. Everyone worked on the food court, but Sharma almost lived on it. Sometimes hitting more than 60-70 hours during summer.

Anyhoo, this particular incident was when he was working on the Deli stand making sandwiches. This person walks up to him and says he wants some MixedUpConcotation sandwich. Pumpernickle bread, lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, blah blah blah. I should mention here that this person speaks with a heavy Russian kinda accent. Lettushhh for Lettuce and all. Anyways, as is customary, Sharma asks him, "Would you like some dressing?"

The reply:

"Yesh. Shum Horny Mushtardh."

"Come again?"

"Horny Mushtardh"

"Excuse me for a moment sir"

Sharma goes, gathers everyone working on the food court for that day, gets them near the deli and again asks,

"What dressing was that sir?"

"Horny Mushtardh"

Yeah, I know, Sharma rocks!
(By the way, that was honey mustard for those of you who didnt get it. Now read it again!!)

By the way, everyday when my
current roomie gets on the phone and starts conversations with his girlfriend with a "Good morning honey bunny...." you know why I am having those early morning splurges of laughter!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

GAP goes Amma style

Overheard in GAP. Two south Indians checking out the new summer wear.

If you are in a habit of reading my blog aloud (not recommended, but still if you do...), kindly read the following in a strong south Indian accent.

Southie 1: Look at these shirts da, what color and material.

Southie 2: Reminds me of my fathers lungi (pronounced: loong-ee).

Southie 1: Yes da, a lungi which is not ironed.

I love summers!!

And those of you wondering what a lungi is,
check this out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Cheap Desi? Bad... very bad!

I had been to this place called Lancaster in PA last weekend. The idea was to visit an outlet mall which Rama had been talking a hell lot about. So it was Jugs, Rama and myself. Lancaster also happens to be the dwelling grounds of the Amish community. People who live just like the ancient times. Houses without electricity, horse-carts instead of cars. You wont believe it till you see it. It gave me a whole new opinion of mankind.... and America.

Anyways, back to the point. We get into the Van Heusen outlet. I like this shirt, so does Rama and so does Jugs. And it says 30% off. So all 3 of us say, we are gonna buy it. But after exploring other areas.

Now another part of the mall has another Van Heusen outlet. Same shirt, 40% off. Brilliantino! But here is the problem - only one piece is left. And its XL. None of us need XL (yes people, I have moved on from XL to Medium/large, so no more jokes about my weight). Suddenly Rama spots the shirt on a mannequin. The mannequin is stripped and the shirt is a medium size. Now the big question - who gets it? The one who spotted it (Rama) or the one who stripped it (Me). After making use of all my convincing powers, threats and "I'll wash the dishes for a week" dialog, I manage to grab the shirt. The cashier rings me up when Rama gets the brilliant idea. Lets goto the 30% one. If we buy more than $75, we get an additional 20% off on the whole purchase. All three of us buy the shirts, plus any other stuff we want, the bill is gonna hit 75 bucks (after the 30% discounts on each item). On that we will get an additional 20% off.

This is where I feel I should have paid attention during my mathematics class. The calculations were too complex for me so I gave in, made the cashier cancel my order (I have never got such mean looks ever) and headed to the other store. Now the tragedy begins. No Medium size here. All XL. Also, no mannequins to strip. Rama better wash dishes for a week now! (I have no clue why I am talking about washing dishes, when Rama stays in Wilmington and yours truly in Baltimore. Its just that washing dishes is been something I have been frightened with since I was a child... no wait, was that filling buckets o' water? Mrs. Khandwala, can you clarify? Thats another story, another day, or maybe Bird might oblige by typing it out as a comment).

Anyways, where was I? Yeah, so I drove 150 miles to Lancaster and all I got was an opportunity to strip a mannequin.

By the way, anyone close to that area, I suggest you check out the outlets there. They have all the brand names and stuff which sells for 50 bucks regularly sells for like 35 bucks there. Of course, if you are like me who buy stuff which is only $10 or less, it really makes no difference. And if you are amongst those who believe, "Why wear clothes when you can wear none" and belong to the opposite sex, send me your phone number.

Okay, I realise I am typing crap. Yes, I always type crap but I dont realise it till I post it. This time I realize it as I am typing it. You see, I am improving.

I need sleep.

Hugs, kisses and a pillow!

Friday, June 10, 2005


Those rumours of my demise on the blogosphere are so very untrue. Yes, I am still alive and kicking. The last few weeks at work have been highly intense. Firstly a new strategic decisions team (SDT) was created which made my life living hell. And then we had a huge lay-off. Surprisingly I survived (at least as of now!). But amidst all this is an interesting story.


Is it good to multi-task? Your obvious answer is, of course it is. A less obvious answer is, depends what you are multi-tasking. And probably thats the answer I am looking for.

Apparently my company is in a process of implementing some cost cutting measures. There has been a shift in responsibilities and a change in the way we work. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I am put in-charge of the pilot project which would serve as a model for the other projects to follow. All seems well and good. Finish pilot study in 1 month and revise our model for the other studies (wherever we screw up). Thats my plan and it sounds simple.

Now the SDT comes up with a brilliant plan. Instead of doing the first study in one month, second in the second month and third in the third month, start all together and get all done together by the end of three months. Multi-task, its simple they tell me. By now I am jumping up and down making weird noises like steam coming out of a cooker. When you are in a room with people whose mean age would be 45, the only way you could get any attention is by jumping up and down and making noises like the aforementioned.

No multi-tasking I say, it will kill us. Fortunately I had read this paper somewhere about multi-tasking in the corporate world. I ask for a 10 minute time out, brainstorm with my team and come up with a quick power-point presentation. The core of the matter - "No Multi-Tasking"

Here is what I tell them:
If you have Task A and Task B, both which take 10 minutes to complete.

Scenario 1:
I first complete Task A and then complete Task B. Total Time: 20 mins.
Average time: (Time for task A + Time for task B)/2
= (10+20)/2 = 15 mins.

Scenario 2:
I multi-task. Alternate between task A and Task B every Minute.
Task A completed after 19 mins. task B after 20 mins.
Average time = 19.5 minutes.

So a brilliant guy from the SDT says, "We dont care whether you give it to us 1 minute before schedule or 5 days before schedule." I wish I could have just ignored him, or asked why he was in the SDT. But well, now I bring in my killer dialog.

"How long does it take you guys to task switch?"

And then I go into a sales pitch to save our programmers & testers (indirectly myself). We have a zillion computations going on in our puny brains when we are developing something. Everything from names of variables to data structures and all the other hogwash. When you ask us to jump from one project to another, it takes us time to make that mental shift. I wish they had rules like marriage. You cant get another one without getting a divorce. So assuming it takes 5 minutes to switch tasks, in scenario 1 the average time is 17.5 minutes. For Scenario 2, its 57.5 minutes.

"But if you have a model, all you need to do is implement changes to the model and it will run across all the three projects" says a person of the SDT. By now I actually was jumping up and down making those aforementioned noises. My friend, you can put wheels on your aunt, but does that make her a truck? Have you ever written a program in your life? Have you spoken with your wife and your mother-in-law at the same time? (all these are thoughts going on in my mind). By now my boss gets up and says we should talk about this later (he probably saw my frustration). SDT says, no later, we work simultaneously and just incorporate changes to the model. I say if we mess up the [expletive deleted] model, we mess up three studies simultaneously.

A week later we have a splurge of lay-offs. Someone tells me the SDT exists but the members of the SDT dont. My life gets simpler and I have some time to blog.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Where there is a "woof", there is a Dog

Didnt I mention before that I love dogs? And dogs love me? And this love is spread across cities, countries, continents.

My first day in USA I was chased by a dog who I would rather call a pony. He was too large for a dog. Fortunately no calamities. And then there is today. First off, this weekend traffic is crazy. What should be a 15 minute drive turns up being 40 minutes. Even after you leave work early to beat the rush. Then you get home and see a "past due" notice for your rent. You walk into the leasing office (which fortunately happens to be 30 secs away) and try to figure out what they mean by past due? Does it mean the same in USA?

"Sir, you gave us two money orders. One of $X and one of $Y and you still fall short by $19."

Heck, I always give one simple check. So I am asked to show some bank statement or something. Now that requires me to go to office and get a printout. So the matter is postponed to next week. I am sitting home, fuming, when the techy in me thinks my wireless signal would extend till the leasing office. I could show them the online statement on my laptop! So off I go with my laptop.

Did I mention that the apartment below mine has a dog. A black pomerenian (very similiar to the white ones you find in India - just paint them black). So as I walk out of my block Mr. Black Dog is sitting there with his master. First the eyes meet. Then there is a "woof". Now I have got reasonably good over time in interpreting dog language. I can distinguish one woof from the other. This woof was more of a "You dont annoy me yet, but who the heck are you?" woof. So the black canine comes and sniffs me all over. The owner is sitting on the lawn, smoking a cig. I am very close to peeing in my pants.

"Your dog okay?"

"He's okay. He aint do anything"

When Apoorva is around, do not predict dog behavior based on prior expereince. This chap was about to learn it the hard way.

To my surprise the dog allows me to go through without creating further ruckus. Ah, things have changed I thought. I enter the leasing office and tell her about showing the statement online.

"Oh, I need a copy. Need to send it to Godknowsthename land."

Damn, this just aint my day. So now I am walking back to my block, with laptop and all. Mr. Black Dog and Mr. Dog owner are still at the entrance. Now Black Dog runs up to me and stops right in front. And now I can read that look in his eyes. It says, "I need a bite of flesh." I could even predict what was coming up next. A low intensity "Grrrr..". Bang on target! I know these canines so well I thought. I could sense him eye my left leg. Up goes my left leg (yeah, langdii style). Then down goes my left leg and up comes my right leg. Now I know why Jamnabai Narsee School had 1 hour dedicated to Physical Training back in Grade VIII. Black Dog is barking all over alternating from one side to the other as per my leg movements. He is too close to outrun him. Finally I am jumping up and down and I think I managed to confuse the beast. Almost. I have to veer off topic here and tell you all that I am very proud of the fact that I managed to balance my laptop amidst all this.

Fortunately Black Dog owner saw my funny movements and caught hold of the beast. He was also helped by the fact I was shouting something like "Yo, Hello, Help!" The saga continues. Lucas Arts has decided to start a new series after the finale of star wars. This one is gonna be called Dog Wars. The first, no the last, oh, some part of the series is gonna be called "DOG WARS: Revenge of the Bitch."

But yes, one day I shall have my own dog! Someday....

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Devdas -v/s- Apoorva

In Sanjay Leela Bhansali's epic Devdas, Shahrukh Khan (who plays the central character of Devdas), stares at Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dikshit) and says something like:

"Ek aurat maa hoti hai, behen hoti hai, beti hoti hai, patni hoti hai. Aur inn main se kuch na ho toh woh vaishya hoti hai."

Apoorva says:

"Ek aurat maa hoti hai, behen hoti hai, beti hoti hai, patni hoti hai. Aur inn main se kuch na ho toh woh AVAILABLE hoti hai."

Who is more romantic?

You decide.....!