Friday, November 30, 2007

Unfairness in fairness

We Indians tend to have a morbid obsession of people with good looks and a fair skin. I was discussing this topic with friends and this always kind of feels like one of life's unjust moments.

One of my friends put a good example: Consider two chicks approaching. One with a dark complexion and one fair (assuming both are decent looking). The tendency with most of the people is to always give more importance to the fair looking person. The dark person almost always gets ignored.

What it means is that the dark people are always at a disadvantage when it comes to matters of attraction. The reason being a natural tendency of people to judge a person by his/her looks and skin color. Fairness cream companies laugh all the way to the bank after finding gullible people like us.

When there is a search for a marriage proposal, what do people first look at? Always the looks, always the skin. Then there is money, status, family background, etc. I have always heard this from old people whenever there is a marriage, "chedu kashe asaa? sobit asaa gi? gore asaa gi?" (konkani, translated to english, How is the girl? Is she beautiful? Is she fair?).

This surely causes some blood boiling situations for me but I have accepted the inevitable. People say that God has gifted some people beauty so we should appreciate it. Sure, beauty is to be appreciated. But restricting our views on beauty to good looks and skin color just shows how shallow human nature can be. Beauty appears in several forms, not just skin color and looks. But it is much easier to do that than appreciate the real beauty of a person because that takes a little more work.

Now if someone admires a girl because of her beauty, fairness, even I do it (artificially though) because I guess that's the way the world rotates.

Monday, November 26, 2007

So how fair and lovely are you?

Recently, I watched some part of the movie Traffic Signal. In one scene, there is a beggar kid who goes to the chemist to purchase a fairness cream. While I don't remember the conversation perfectly, it somewhat goes like this:
Chemist: "Chal nikal barah rupaye".
Kid (giving the money in coins): "Yeh cream kaam karega na".
Chemist: "Kiske liye le raha hai".
Kid: "Apne liye".
Chemist (looking at the extremely dark complexion of the kid): "He he he he".

Now, I didn't want to bore you with that dialogue but here is my point. I'm very annoyed with Sharukh Khan. Yesterday I saw an advertisment on television featuring Sharukh Khan endorse a fairness cream for men. Not we all know the obsession we Indians have with a fair skin and a pretty face. But when role models like Sharukh endorse such products which all educated people know is a sham, it just pisses me off.

I guess beauty is skin deep but our views are even more shallow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Money isn't everthing... or is it?

This thought about money creeps up several times in the mind. Should life be based on money? I mean if we have money we can have many things in life, isn't it? But then the thought comes to the mind, is getting a lot of money at the cost of our lives really worth it. A quote from the bible says, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?"

Earning money is not at all bad because money is what enables us to live our lives and help other people as well. But greed is what is bad. Not knowing how much money is enough is a problem. Once people get on to the path of making money most of us don't seem to know when to stop. Consider the richest people in the world, the people who's names figure in the top list of millionaires in the world. These people own so much money that they can sustain the economy of several under developed countries many times over. Why be satisfied with 1 million when we can try for 100 seems to be the thought of people.

The important thing is to have a balance somewhere. There seem to be some inspirational people who have achieved a balance and money is just a means for them to achieve their potential of leading a good life. People like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Shahrukh Khan, are the ones who even though they are rich they know the true values of life. They seem to be leading a good life especially considering their family life, their honesty and hard work.

Personally, while I would not mind earning millions :P, I would be satisfied if I could provide for my family, pay my bills, and save a little for my geriatic years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time is Relative

Now I am not going to explain some theory of Einstein called The Theory of Relativity. No. Frankly I don't even know what it means. But there is one quote which Einstein had stated in one of his speeches which often comes in my mind. It goes like this,

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity.”

That is so true isn't it. Now I have burnt my hand while cooking food so I can pretty much imagine what putting a hand on a hot stove for a minute will feel like. Seldom had the opportunity to sit with a pretty girl for an hour but I think I can pretty much get what wise old Einstein was trying to say through that quote.

The same principle is true in case of our work. When we have work and we are interested in doing that work then no matter how much time we spend working, time just seems to run short and then we don't even mind the late stays because time becomes relatively "less" for us when doing an interesting job. But if we don't have work or we find our work boring or dull, then every passing hour looks and feels like eternity.

So Einstein's quote can really help us in our life. We should always try to do the work which we enjoy the most because then work becomes fun. Even if we don't get to do the job we are interested in, we can do another thing. As they say, "we are what our thoughts make us". So what ever our job, we can try and make it interesting. Say we have a job of issuing tickets at a railway station and we feel bored to do it. We just have to make it interesting. Maybe one way would be to compete with the other ticket issuers as to who can issue the most tickets in a particular time. That will make the job somewhat interesting.

Time is relative. We spend a large part of our time at work. So let's use this theory and make our work time not as our hand on the stove but as sitting with a pretty girl.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Life is cricket

A thought came into my mind today how life seems so much like cricket whether we consider it from the viewpoint of a batsman, bowler or a fielder.

The batsman has to face every delivery just as we have to face every day in our lives. Every delivery has to be played on its merit. The bowler has to deliver his quota of overs. Every ball may be different. Some may be poor balls, some good. Just as we have to live every day on it's merit, not worrying about the past or the future.

Also the batsman has a lot of protection: helmet, shin guards, gloves, etc. The bowler has the fielders as his protection. He has the wicketkeeper who enables him to bowl to full potential. Those are like the people who help us in our difficulties in life. Also like our spiritual side which acts as a protection for the troubles that we face in life. They encourage us to do our best and trust us to live to our full potential.

And then there are the spectators. They are like our friends who encourage us to keep on achieving our best. They are ones who empathize with us, grow angry or sad with us.

What we can learn from this analogy of life and cricket is that no matter what happens or how tense the situation is, the only way to get the best out of a match or out of life is to do one thing:
Enjoy the game. Love every moment of it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Be concerned about life but not worried

We worry a lot in life about many things like family, friends, relationships, work, health, wealth, etc. Oh, our lives are full of worries aren't they :)

learned that we should be concerned about life but not worried about it. I know it's easy to say but hard to do when the time comes. But it can and should be done for our peace of mind and happiness.

I pray to God to have the wisdom to do the following whenever I get worried with a problem:
1) Calmly understand what the problem is and accept the worst case.
2) Analyze what caused the problem so that next time I don't repeat it.
3) Try to find out all the possible solutions to the problem.
4) Then see which solution is the best answer for me.
5) Once I get the solution, put it in practice without bothering about the consequences.

So let's work out the difference between concern and worry with an example:

Say I have just written one of the tough engineering exam paper. In case I was worried as I usually was I would do the following:
I would keep worrying about what would happen. What would happen if I failed? What would I tell my parents? What about my reputation?
That is what being worried means. We constantly think about a thing going in a loop in our head.

Being concerned means I would follow the above steps:
1) Understand that I did my best but the paper was tough and I might fail.
2) See where I made mistakes and improve my technique of studying for more efficiency.
3) The solutions to the problem would be: to reappear for paper the next time or to use illegal means.
4) The best solution for me would be to reappear for the paper the next time.
5) So I would put the worries out of my mind and calmly wait for the results without selling my text books to my juniors :)

So the next time life throws us one of those curve balls, let us not keep on swirling our eyes with the ball. But calmly wait for the ball to reach within our grasp and hammer the hell out of it as best as we can.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cleanliness drive starts in Mumbai

So from today a cleanliness drive has started in Mumbai. Now this has happened many times before also and then after a few days the enthusiasm has fizzled out. So what new can we expect this time around. Well, looks like this time marshals have been appointed to fine people and make people do community service. This could be excellent if done with proper considerations.

First of all spitting should be seriously dealt with. I don't know what is the fascination of people to spit on the streets. It is really very disgusting. Then there is the problem of garbage dumping. Before fining people with garbage dumping, better garbage dumping facilities should be provided by the authorities. Part of it is providing lots of garbage cans in public places like bus stops, train stations, etc. Also in case of urinating in public, better toilets should be provided before the fining starts.

It's not that Mumbai is not clean. South Mumbai is one of the cleanest places around. Dadar and surrounding areas as pretty clean as well. It's the areas which house most of lower middle class and poor people that lack basic amenities where filthiness is widespread. Those areas ought to be tackled on a large scale. For that the people who are enforcers should do their work diligently and without corruption. While this seems like too much hope, if at least 10% of success can be achieved, Mumbai will be much cleaner as a whole than as it is today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flouting traffic laws comes naturally to us

An article in the Times today stating motorcyclists riding without helmets. Frankly, the flouting of traffic rules comes right from the acquisition of the driving license. It's so easy to get a driving license. Just join any of the driving schools, pay the amount, learn some basic driving and voila you have a driving license for yourself. No testing of your driving skills, vision, etc by the traffic authorities. Compare this to the stringent methods followed by developed nations to provide a driving license.
Nowadays even minors seem to drive motorbikes. Even though the driving skills of the majority is pathetic. Not to mention, the movies like Dhoom just seem to provide a very bad impression on these jerks and they seem the road as a racing track. Helmet wearing is considered a joke. I mean who wants to take the pain of wearing a helmet. And the pillion rider wearing a helmet is supposedly considered blasphemy.
And no one wants to wait for traffic signals to change to green. The one near my house seems like a joke with no cars waiting for the signal to turn green. Autorickshaws and bikers are the major culprits. Also the zebra crossings were supposedly for people to cross the road on but cars seem to park right onto it.
Only by having strict norms laid and actually implemented can this problem be solved. The traffic police seems to be doing a great job recently of catching offenders of drunk driving and using mobiles while driving. I hope they continue their good work and make Mumbai as accident free as possible.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Can we expect more benefits from the GSM providers?

Well, the latest news is that the government has initiated a plan to allow mobile service subscribers to switch from any service provider to another and keep his existing mobile number. Also if the subscriber moves from one city to another he can still keep the same number. This plan is about to be implemented in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai soon. It will surely increase the competition among the GSM providers as now subscribers will readily switch providers depending on the schemes and services provided by them. This plan seems to have upset the GSM providers for this reason and they are putting the blame on Reliance which seems to be entering into the GSM arena.
I think if this plan is implemented it will be provide a great choice for the people to try out various service providers and use the one best for them. And if Reliance is entering the GSM market, they will surely bring some innovative changes at least in the pricing and user services like broadband, web browsing, etc. Right now the GSM providers seem to kind of have a monopoly as far as setting standards for services and quality goes. That ought to change once Reliance enters and hopefully brings some changes in the existing GSM arena.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Learn to be positive

"Two people looked out of the prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw the stars."

Many times in life we encounter what seems to us as good or bad events. The situation is actually neutral but it is what we think of it that makes it good or bad. The positive or negative thinking is something which people call a positive or a negative attitude. And I am lucky since my blood group is B+ve, so I at least have a positive attitude in my blood :D

When we face a bad situation, we often blame the entire world. We try to change the world which is an impossible task. Instead we just have to change our view of the world and we can convert our disadvantages into advantages. Take for example the situation where my computer got trashed. I was feeling pretty bad about it. Blaming the computer, blaming lack of good repair people and even blaming myself. But then when I thought about it I felt that it wasn't that bad. It gave me an opportunity to know what all things go into a computer. What problems can occur and how to know about them. By courtesy of this event, I was able to meet nice repair people. Also I had been neglecting using the laptop which I had. It allowed my to be more considerate to my laptop.
While my computer and internet were not working, I managed to read more than usual. Also reflect more upon life and the things which hold value in life.

So we need to remember that the next time some event happens in our life and we start feeling like we are down in the dumps, let us not get upset by the situation.
1) Remember that the event is past and we cannot change it.
2) Think about the event. But instead of worrying, try and see how we can learn from the event.

Tribute to the Nice Guys

I was using StumbleUpon and stumbled upon this article. I found so many things matching that I could not resist posting it. Once again it's not my original but many of the things written in it do match with my thoughts about that topic cause I too am one of the "nice guys".

The link at

Ode to the Nice Guys
This rant was written for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

Fu-zu Jen, SEAS/WH, 2003

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Isn't criticism easy for us? We criticize a lot of things everyday. From people to things. It's true that the value of things gets degraded when it is close to us. Only when we lose things that we come to know how valuable they are. Take for instance a simple example as the food that we eat.

There is a story about it: Once there was a lady and her daughter who were farmers. They were poor and could only afford some soup. So one morning as the lady gave her daughter soup, she criticized that the soup was bland and it did not have taste and she did not eat it. Then the mother and daughter worked hard in the fields and returned at night. The mother gave the daughter some soup. The daughter ate it with taste and said that it was the tastiest soup ever tasted. The mother exclaimed that it was the same soup that she had given in the morning.

That is a lesson for us. We don't stop criticizing anything. The salt is more, the oil is more and this and that. But when we were in China, we missed such food and I am sure if the same food were offered to us there, we would find it one of the most tasty meals. Sure sometimes food will not be up to the mark (and other things in life also). We will not get the things as we expect them. But let us try and be more patient to accept them instead of worrying about it. Enjoying what we have right now is the surest way to contentment.

Same goes in the case of people as well. We tend to criticize people not trying to consider their point of view as well. There is a very good quote stating that we should never judge a person till we have walked two weeks in their shoes. Means if we have the urge to criticize a person, let us think as to why that person is as he/she is. Maybe if we were in a similar environment, we would be the same. We should never try and judge people as per our point of view. Trying to sympathize with the person will broaden our views of life and make us more patient to accept life even in difficult situations.

So next time we feel like criticizing anything, let us not be hasty. Let us use our brains a little and be forgiving and patient enough.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thank You

Thank you for my parents, they are most loving and caring
Thank you for my sister, she is like none other
Thank you for my family and friends, they help me through life
Thank you for my eyes, they help me see beautiful things
Thank you for my body and mind, helping me to live my life
Thank you for my pets, they help me respect and love life
Thank you for the job that I have, lucky to work for something I enjoy
And lastly, thank you God for my life,
for it is the most wonderful gift you have given me.

Sermon: Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector

Sermon time again as it's Sunday today. Today was told the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector.

Now during those days, the tax collecter dudes worked for the Romans and collected tax from the people. They would get a profit on the amount of tax they collected from them. So the tax collectors were rich people but they were despised by the public because they became rich by fleecing money from the public. Zacchaeus was such a tax collector. He was hated by the people because he collected lots of tax from them and grew rich on other people's money.

One day Jesus visited the town where Zacchaeus lived. There was a lot of crowd to see Jesus and invite him to their houses. Zacchaeus too wanted to see Jesus. So he went out in the crowd. But since he was of short stature he could not see Jesus. And he did not want to go ahead of the crowd because he knew people did not like him because he was a tax collector. So he climbs a tree so that he can get a view of Jesus. Now in those days only children or slaves climbed trees. But Zacchaeus inspite of being a rich man decided to climb the tree to get to see Jesus. That was the sign of faith he had in God. Jesus managed to see him on the tree and even though he saw him for the first time, Jesus called out to Zacchaeus by his name and told him that he will be staying at his house that day. The other people were upset because they considered Zacchaeus a sinner and did not want Jesus to stay in his house. But Jesus had a view that a healthy man does not need medicine, it is the sick person who needs it. So Jesus goes to stay in Zacchaeus' house. There he does not mention to Zacchaeus to become a good person or to do good deeds or anything. He just stays with him. Zacchaeus himself says that he will give half of his wealth to the poor and if he has cheated anyone he will pay him four times of that. Jesus says to Zacchaeus that his faith has healed him.

Well, the moral of the story is that God is very patient when people do any wrong things. He does not order people to do as He wants but waits so that they understand and become good. And that it is never too late for a person to change or improve into a good human being.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

IT Industry sins

Yeah, so the Indian IT industry is doing well. Most of them provide services to clients especially overseas clients. What they call outsourcing. Someday, the cost factor in which India has an advantage will be lost. Then the same thing will happen that happened after the dotcom bubble burst. Companies will have to cut costs and definitely employment will get hit. Indian IT companies have to start moving towards end to end solutions rather than just providing services.

Companies, especially the larger ones are recruiting fresh engineers from all parts of the country regardless of whether they can provide work or not. These recruits if lucky manage to get in projects or the company doesn't mind keeping people on bench. This is the trend for most of the companies which is a very sick trend. Personally, if I owned a company, I'd rather have 100 experts and 25 freshers than 1000 freshers and 50 experts. But that is what is happening. People who lack experience are not guided by mentoring which is a must to produce quality engineers. Imagine a fresher civil engineer being asked to build a bridge. Would anyone do that? But in the software field, that is what is being done. Instead freshers should be placed in an assistance mode till they become mature enough. Best solution: mentoring but whose listening?

Then there is the issue of services. Well, will we only be a service oriented industry. Depending for much of our revenue on foreign clients who see us nothing more than cost saving machines. The key is to balance it with providing end to end solutions. We need to be independent at least so that we don't land in trouble because of our dependence.

And finally the issue of employee health. Most of the companies have set a trend which encourages people who work late and spoil their and others health. While working overtime is an individuals choice, it seems that companies encourage it for their benefit. Atrocious project estimates seem to have become the key in getting projects. That's why the current generation is facing all types of illnesses like stress, hypertension, back problems, etc at such an age when their fathers and mothers are healthier than them. Sure work is important and IT work is a lot challenging but somewhere we need to draw the line. Right now there seems to be no chalk.

People don't believe me

Today I get one more reason to tell people don't believe things I tell them. It's raining like hell today. And it's November with just a week to go for Diwali. But still people don't believe me when I tell them that the seasons have changed. I could never imagine rainfall on my birthday about 10-15 years back. But now it happens. And I am sure I remember my birthdays well. But people don't listen.