Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just keep talking.....its gender equality era....

It was lunch time and i had a call, i just waved out to people, requesting them to be quiet. The boys said - hum to chup hain, ladkiyan halla macha rahi hain. Full time bad bad karti rehti hain. Gals said - shutup, you guys are shouting aur ladkiyan bekar hi badnaam hain. Infact, guys talk more than girls do!
They finally quitened and i continued with the call. Sometime during the day, i came across the word, physicst. That reminded me of an English langauge chapter I had in school or college. Dunno if any of you ever read it - My Son, the Physicist, by Isaac Asimov.

As per wikipedia, My Son, the Physicist is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was commissioned by Hoffman Electronics Corporation and appeared in February 1962 in Scientific American. It later appeared in Asimov's collection Nightfall and Other Stories (1969).
The story goes like this -
Gerard Cremona, a communications engineer with an American space agency, is trying to maintain communication that has been established with an expedition that has apparently reached the planet Pluto after four years in space. The difficulty lies in the significant delays for the radio signal to travel back and forth, making timely and meaningful interaction impossible.
His proud mother, who happens to visit his office whilst he is wrestling with the problem, ultimately advises him to keep talking and get the expedition crew to keep talking as well. That way, although it normally takes twelve hours for radio waves to cover the distance, it's possible to have effectively continuous conversation.
As Mrs Cremona points out, all women know that the secret to spreading news is to Just Keep Talking. Thus, by constantly transmitting data and instructions from both ends, and interjecting questions or responses as needed, no time need be wasted.

So, all i am saying is, Asimov(who is considered to be one of the finest brains of the world) and I do not agree. I have myself seen cases where women just sit quietly for no reason while men go on blabbering..... :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stupid, if you ask me.....

We both took the left turn leading into the Rabale village at the same time. The Thane Belapur road is seeing a lot of container traffic of late and hence this narrow road is preffered by a lot of small vehicles. Now i just acclerated and went ahead - straight,there was ample space. Did not cross his path, was still on the left side as i went uphill. But for some reason - made a lot of noise as he came next to me, started moving left, made sure i slowed down and stopped, glared at me and showed the middle finger and raced away. Was a young chap, looked educated. But i dont know what i should call him - honestly, you never have anything to prove to a biker when you are driving a Skoda Octavia!
Maybe stupid, because in 30 secs he was stuck in the Rabale village market and i caught up with him, tapped on the window, waved and smiled. And then zoomed straight, left turn and into the maze of lanes in sector 6. Even if he followed me (which was impossible, he was badly stuck due to oncoming traffic), he would never make out where i went.
But, i dont get one thing - why do i meet so many people of this type??
Some time back i met a guy in the bank. Rock star t-shirt and all that. 2 mins back he was on the phone telling someone he has got the job, sal 16k, and explaining ' package kam hain par oppurtunity acchi hain'. Then, for some reason, he asks me, 'why you using this cheap phone?' or something like that. I had to very politely tell him, 'the phone costs more than the salary you havent earned yet.' but he did not get the point. ' but you should use a blackberry if you want a business phone'. I thought ignoring him would be a better idea.
And i am not even thinking about the guy i had gone with for my MP trip - he evidently thinks the world is as he has seen it, and i have learnt the hard way that it may not be so. I guess even he will learn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the middle of it all....

Madhya Pradesh, as the name suggests, is in the middle of our country. Indore and nearby regions would be more or less at the the centre, a bit to the left. But when you are travelling to rural areas in those places, you will be forgiven for thinking you are in the middle of nowhere. You have a road (if at all) and land all around you. With fields, fields and more fields all around. Soybean, cotton, wheat grain, chili waiting for harvest. Did i observe all that? And all the things that were on offer to be observed? Except for some things on the last day, no. All because I was distracted, no actually mindf*#@ed throughout the trip. But by the end of it, i got a valuable insight : you cannot help who you are with or what situation you are in. But you can try and not let it affect what you are doing. Guess I am still to learn that. some more things : importance of flexibility, protectionist (??) superiors, inspiring confidence, affluence and poverty in rural India, Indore - a mini Mumbai, ignoring hunger, theory of relativity (as i understand it - the UP trip seemed to be over in a jiffy, the MP trip never seemed to end, despite both being of same duration), solitude, peace and thinking about where your life is headed (had to do something na, reached the airport 3 hours before takeoff!) and so on.......may or may not be continued......

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Jeetne ka jasba........

"Main dhanda fayde ke liye karta hoon. Agar fayda na hota, to main dhande main aata hi nahi" So spoke the guy who had got into the bus at SEEPZ. Did not seem very educated, was about 45, seemed to have done good for himself in life, but not good enuff to own a private vehicle. (said, kaun traffic main atakne ka jhanjhat lega).

Was giving this gyaan to a young chap with him. His further gyaan was about how you can win anything in life if you have the right attitude (he used the word jasba).

I looked up from the book i was reading. He reminded me of an incident that took place in 2002.

When I was in engineering sem 3 (Elec 3). It was sports week. Couple of girls from my class and good friends of mine, lets call them A & D, participated in ladies doubles badminton. I saw them win the first round match easliy and then come and sat near us. Discussion veered towards the next match with the plump girls from Electronics sem 5.
Some one told A - all the best, they are good players, hope you win.

A (fresh from her confidence boosting win) : Mujhe agar haarna hi hota, to main khelti kyun
Me : you mean u'll go on to win the tournament?
A : ofcourse.
Me : are u sure, you guys have hardly practised.
A : yes
Me : that sounds like overconfidence.
A: no, thats a winners attitude. I am not a pessimistic like you. I play to win. Nothing else.

We all looked at her. She was serious.

Me : great, all the best!

Next day, they lost 7 - 1, 7 - 0.

UP and about...... (continued)

I have heard a lot of quawwalis over the years. Mostly filmy. But some original too. Like "dhalta suraj dheere dheere dhalta hain dhal jayega...." But over here (thanks to the cab driver) i heard some new ones, with topics ranging from "shauharparast" biwi to the praise of Mother. The driver had a pen drive full of such songs. When I got bored, he said aur bhi hain... and then started the bhoole bisre geet (as only drivers can play) - songs about judaai, bewafai, sangdil sanam - the best being the songs from Kishan Kumar's debut (and i think only movie) - Ishk main hum tumhe kya bataaien, kis kadar chot khaaye hue hain & Accha sila dia tune mere pyaar ka, yaar ne hi tod dia ghar yaar ka........ sob.....sob....senti ho gaya main.... Thank God for my mp3 player,Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali, Rafi, P.L.Deshpande and even Bryan Adams! Else i would have never survived those 1000 kms i covered....

For the first time in my life, i crossed the River Ganga. Twice, once near Hardoi, next time near Kannauj. Mom said I should put some coins it the river, dad said i should have prayed on the river (The driver did). I just wondered whats the big deal,looks like a big nalla. But the driver had immense faith in the river. Says the river is God (ok, agreed it gives water for irrigation and all and was a source of livelihood many centuries back), it can sure diseases and so on. It seems the water tastes sweet even at Kolkatta despite travelling over 1000 kms from Gangotri. Well, I believe him, just so that I don't have to test the claim.

The biggest disappointment for me was visiting Amethi. Its the the constituency of the crown prince - Rahul Gandhi. The Gandhi family has represented it for over 30 years in the Parliament. Yet, there is hardly any development. Even basics like roads are in a shabby condition. They say it was once a hub for small scale industries (In Rajiv Gandhi's era), but now there isn't much commerce, just agriculture and politics.

I always wondered from where do all the grains, potatoes, and other things we consume actually come from. Now i know. Never knew Farrukhabad and Kannauj are the potato capital of India. 50 kg available for Rs.135. Malihabad is the mango capital, the dasaheri type. You can actually see those mango trees as you land over Lucknow. Rows and rows of trees. In Malihabad,you are not big by money or the size of your house. How many trees in your plantation?Some of the bigger ones have 1000 - 1500 trees. Just outside Malihabad, you have rows and rows of bungalows. Holiday homes,people come here and stay in the summers enjoy the cool shade and the mangoes.

Chikan - Famous Lucknovi karigiri on cloth. Lovely but expensive.

Apart from government officers, UP is one place where Brahmins are respected. And rather expected to act like Brahmins. The driver couldnt believe i eat egg! The hotel boy - "aap to Tiwari hain, sharaab kabaab nahi lenge!" Now who will tell them, even if i don't, loads and loads of other Brahmins do.

I like Mayawati's interest in the Ambedkar Parks, some people said almost all government officials, politicians and goondas are gaining something or the other from them. And they are huge! I did a aerial inspection of the parks as i took off from Lucknow. In the distance i also saw Mayawati's helicopter doing the same. It seems its a Saturday routine. But the elephants look funny!

Now, lets see where I go next.......

Monday, September 6, 2010

UP and about......

UP = U.P = Uttar Pradesh (Which, if I am to believe Maananiy Mukhya Mantri Su. Shri Mayawati Ji, is on its way to be an Uttam Pradesh)

I have always maintained I am a Mumbaikar. Born and brought up. Despite numerous trips to Jhansi and Jabalpur, i never really related to these places. But, somewhere, I am whats called as a bhaiya. A part of me is from UP/MP. I am somehow related to these places - though, i admit, this came to my notice only after Kajrare kajrare (Bunty aur Bubli)and Beedi jalaile(Omkara) were released.

Last Monday, i left for Lucknow in an emergency situation (which, by the way, was the biggest work related emergency i had faced - half and hour after being told there are no emergencies declared in this company. And its true, everyone from the MIS guy to senior consultants expressed surprise at me travelling at such a short notice. I feared i may spoil the culture in the new company, but just blamed it to being my life - all people i know who joined the company recently went abroad, i went to rural UP. Places like Lucknow, Kanpur, Bittur, Malihabad, Itaunga, Kannauj, Hardoi, Farrukabad were all just names till last week, now they are all reality. I am hoping for some other names like London, Singapore, New York etc to will also turn to reality soon :) ).

Took a circuitous Mumbai - Delhi - Lucknow route. By the time I reached,the emergency had subsided. BP was normal and i was looking forward to doing some relaxed work. Which i did. Only i traveled like 1000 kms. In rural UP (plus Lucknow). And saw and learned a lot.

Whole of UP seems content with their lot. Even the richest of farmers and businessmen hardly do anything out of the way to help thier lives. The poor are content being poor. Met some retailers who had sold just 1 TV in 3 months. And they are doing nothing about that. Difficult to believe unless you see it.

The rich in UP live like rich should. Huge kothis, lawns, multiple cars and so on. The upper middle class lives like the way they would live if they were super rich. The government servants are the new royalty. UP is one place where being a government servant is still rated highly. The general population looked fairly better off - but 30 kms out of city and there is contrasting poverty. They say Kanpur, 90 kms away, is pathetic and real representative of UP.

People are nice. ask anyone for directions. Google maps wouldn't be as precise! Every one from driver to hotel guys and people i met seemed co-operative soft spoken nice guys. (Maybe this was a Lucknow region thing). One would say Lucknowi tehzeeb is no longer seen, but believe me it is. Not conveyed in chaste Urdu, but general behavoir, normal conversations, even arguements happen very decently. Traffic in general seems disciplined, but the general rule is the other person should look before i cross! Groups of young girls and guys would be 'hanging out' at CCD's (the one at Gomati Nagar is awesome, also at Hazratganj) and it was fun to listen to them saying silly things just to be talking to the girls / guys in the group. Interacting with the opposite sex doesn't come easily to them maybe. A lot of beautiful people too, stylish, urban. But that was just one section of the city.

My Hindi has been thoroughly exposed. I am lousy. Wanted to say 'disappointing' in Hindi, thought for about a minute and still did not get the word....

People in Lucknow love cash, ATMs across the city, every corner. And most payments to be done by cash. No debit cards. Give them cash, they will happily count!

The trip's timing was good, rains and greenery all around. Fairly good roads too, so travelling was a joy.

Also went to the Bhool bhulaiya in the Bada Imambara. It was fun to listen to a matchstick being lit or the guides whispering into the wall at a distance of about 330 feet. He attributed it to "deewaron ke kaan hote hain".

Btw, in between all this, I also did some work.....and met some intresting people.... some of those NGO's and self help groups are doing really good work in the rural areas....