Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NY to London

Some bit of Google fun I found in my e-mail today.

1. go to
2. click on "maps"
3. click on "get directions"
4. type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type "London" in the second box (the "to" box)
6. hit get directions
7. scroll down to step #24

Yes, read the point #24 on directions - thats important.

If you are too lazy to do the above,
click on this link, since I have done so for you. I respect your laziness.

Those guys at Mountain View have some sense of humor eh?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Interviewing Exposed

We had a little relaxing moment at work where my group sat down and spoke about random stuff. And one such topic which came up was when each one of us had interviewed at the company. Since none of these guys were around when I had come in to interview, there were no fun stories about me that they knew of. So I thought of telling them this funny incident.

It was a few days before X-mas in 2004 when I drove to Baltimore to interview. It was a cold day and from the schedule, it seemed to be a long day, starting at 8 and ending by 4. The last interview being with my current boss and manager, who would make the final call. When I arrived, there was some scheduling problem and my to-be-boss would be my first interview. Not a good thing - I was being thrown into the ring without any warm-up. We made small conversation as we walked to his office and when we got in, my boss asks, "Hey, I forgot to ask, do you want some coffee?", which I politely refused.

"You sure? Coz I am getting some for me."
"Yes, I am OK"
"Fine, have a seat and I'll be right back", he pointed with his hands in a particular direction, to a chair and walked out.

The slightly-tense me walked in the direction he had pointed out and sat down. And looked around the office.

"Hmmm, nice office. Nice view, windows on 3 sides", I thought. "And this is a very comfortable chair. Very relaxing." And I looked around the office rotating the chair around its axis as I sat on it. A 90 degree rotation to the left and I was staring at a computer screen. "Very weird", I thought. He might ask me to program something on the PC perhaps. And then I looked across the desk and saw two chairs on the the other side, not-so-comfortable-looking as the one I was on.

"Hmmm. Comfortable chair, access to the PC. Something is fishy. Ahhh... I am sitting on his chair"

And I jumped out of it like a jack in the box, just as my boss entered the room. Fortunately he did not see me and I moved across and occupied one the chairs on the other side. Close one.

A funnier interview episode was when a friend of mine interviewed. I had told him about the opening and when he asked if I had any do's-dont's, all I told him was just stick to the point. Dont answer more than what is asked. He however, took this advice to a whole new dimension.

We had an initial phone screen with my boss, my friend and I in conference.

Boss: Hello
Friend: hello

Boss: So, can you tell us something about yourself?
Friend: Yes.

(long silence)

Boss: Hello, X?
Friend: Yes, hello.

Boss: Can you tell us something about yourself?
Friend: Yes.

(again, long silence - my boss looks at me and smiles)

Boss: Hello, X. Can you hear us?
Friend: Yes. I can hear you.

Boss: So can you tell us something about yourself?
Friend: Yes.

(silence - and my boss is making this 'whats going on' face)

Me: X, what we want is you go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us about your past experience, what you are looking for blah blah.
Friend: Oh. OK, I am a certified..... (and it goes fine from then)

Yes, we did hire him. Eventually! And I remind him everytime of this incident and we laugh.

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Like Son, Like Father

Few days ago Dad mailed me a write-up (MS Word doc) about this small city in Gujarat called Mandvi. As a background, Mandvi is where Dad spent a good part of his childhood and teen years. My grandmom and grandad spent a good part of their life towards the build-up and progress of a school in Mandvi (called - Khimji Ramdas Kanya Vidyalaya).

I visited Mandvi once - in 1993 and loved the entire experience. Loved the city, the people and the general warmth of the place and its surroundings. For a while its been on my mind to write about Mandvi, or just that trip in particular but I dont do too well with travel-blogging.

Anyways, coming to the point, my Dad sent me this word doc which had a small article about Mandvi. I read it, found it to be nice and sweet. And then I read it again after few hours, and few days, and somehow felt I identify with some parts of this. And sent my Dad a reply, asking, "Did YOU write this?"

"Yes, who else could?", came the reply which was followed by another write-up, which could be a stand-alone but went well as a continuation to the first one. Excited as I was (perhaps since Dad was doing what I had wished to do since a long time - yes, we work differently in my family. As they grow up, usually kids fulfill their parents wishes, here its the other way round), I told Dad he needs to publish this somewhere.

"Who will want to read this?"
"If you dont, I will paste it on my blog"
"Who on your blog will want to read about what I did in Mandvi?"
"Then publish it where someone would want to read! Else I will post this on my blog!"

I guess that scared my Dad enough! And he sent the first article to Times Of India. And lo! What do we have today? Its up in print in India's leading newspaper!

Click here for the article.

Heres to hope - that they continue printing the follow-up articles.
And that someone does a movie on it and it gets famous like Harry Potter and Dad becomes a Billionaire which indirectly means I can realize my dream of retirement by the age of 30 and open a tomato farm.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


You take up a job with the immediate benefit of compensation. The larger picture (in many cases) is to provide a certain service to millions around you. Sometimes you take up a job for the personal challenge it has to offer. And somewhere down the line, a certain level of frustration kicks in as the going gets rough. And you might wonder if this is what you actually set out to do. Is it really reaching out? Helping someone? Are my 12 hours a day, 7 days a week worth it?

And then your customer service will send in this email to your group (drug, personal and company names masked for obvious reasons).


Hello. I am a stage II breast cancer patient. For the first 4 weeks of my dose-density regiman, I was on a weekly treatment with XXXX and YYYY, along with the anti-nausea medication OTHERDRUG. I had a lot of difficulty with nausea, a little vomiting, but just generally like a constant state of morning sickness. I took OTHERDRUG at home, also. Last week, I was switched to OURDRUG to better manage my symptoms.

I just wanted to let you know that I had my chemo today. I also caught up on the laundry, did the dishes, and went out for dinner!!! I love OURDRUG! It's really making it possible for a very impatient woman to make her way through 24 weeks of treatment. I have N children and M+ grandchildren. I have lots to live for and cherish the opportunities to spend time with them. I sincerely thank you for your gift to the cancer care world of this wonderful medication!

Patient, XXX Cancer Care Alliance


I guess its worth it. Definitely, worth it!

Note: Those unaware of it, I work in Drug R&D and not Software or IT. And Drug R&D is not trying different forms of grass.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Life is full of contradictions! Us humans, we do and undo. We build and break. We have a wise saying for everything and a wise saying against that very thing.

Love like you've never been hurt.
Once bitten, twice shy!

Beat fire with fire.
An eye for an eye, makes the world blind.

Come to think of it, the human body is full of contradictions.
The brain.
The heart.

When life contradicts, what do you listen to?
The present, or the past?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Should Update More Often

OK, I know - I suck at blogging these days. Somedays I come very close to quitting. Its not like I dont have much to blog, but some things are so personal that I would rather go anonymous and blog with a I dont give a damn about the world, or I continue blogging here and try to be as diplomatic as possible.

Anyhoo - whats new, or rather whats routine is for the last one month I have been doing 12 hour days at work which include weekends (hence the lack of blogging). While at this, my boss is been very helpful in keeping us on a high calorie, high fat diet. However one incident made me realize the dramatic change which can be once you are married. For now, if my we feel - "We want this today", I'll sit till midnight and get it out. However over lunch this Saturday - it was with my entire team at Olive Garden, some had come with their significant other. My boss asked my colleagues wife (they got married few months ago), on how she is enjoying married life? "Enjoy? We are recently married and you keep my husband at work 12 hours a day. How am I supposed to enjoy? I still feel like I am single" Both my boss and my colleague were in shock!

Good I am not married. I would feel so guilty. About not working extra when required (what? you can get a new job with a salary hike - getting a new wife is very expensive).

On a different note, I turned 68 last Thursday. Its ok, you can wish me now. I had anyways forgotten. However, they ordered pizza at work, which was my birthday treat. On regular days we goto Olive Garden and Joes Crab Shack. On birthdays, we order pizza. I think my team does not like me.

I actually managed to look up at the way I have evolved. Working in statistics, looking at data and noticing a trend to predict future models is something I am breaking my head over. So I thought, lemme use moi as a test subject.

1979: The nuisance is born (and someone is fiddling with my private parts). The very happy age where you could pee on any and everyone without getting rapped for it. As a matter of fact, people used to get excited about you peeing on someone!

1981/2: I would have carried on, but I thought, lemme give Sachin a chance and gave up what would have been an illustrious career. The way India has blow its chances in the World Cup, I think I should have continued playing.

I remember starting off left handed, and Dad came and flipped me around. After a while, again I went to left handed and Mom laughed. "Oh, he seems to be left handed". And then I picked up a pencil and started writing my first few letters. And my great grand-mom took the pencil from my left hand and put it in my right hand.

After all that, I now bat left handed and write right handed. And people feel amused. I also play chess right-handed.

1990: My first medal and broken teeth. Picked up a bronze for boxing.

1997: Making my first ever extortion call.

2001: I have no clue why that pose! But the stomach seems to have expanded.

2007: What someone called as 'The Grudge Look'

2011: Lets not forget the main idea of this post - to take all data till now and model it to show how I would look into the future.

Just more bald than he looks!

Hope everyones having a good one!

Labels: , ,