Friday, November 19, 2010

A Great Poem - Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Friday, October 15, 2010

Let the Audit Begin.

14 October,2010.

Ladies and Gentlemen, believe me it's true. Your ears are not betraying you. Yeah, it's true, Delhi has successfully hosted the nineteenth commonwealth games and got a pat on the back as well, even from the die hard critics. Against all the odds - which were more than of considerable size - Delhi once again proved to the world what we Indians are already aware of. What exactly?? Well it's simple.. We are known for our ability to improvise at the last moment - The Great Indian Jugaad. Nobody can match an Indian to raise the level at the last moment to get things done. It might be shoddy or even hollow from the core, but things generally get done. Anyways, lets just be more fair and objective in the analysis.

Lets first concentrate on the positive aspects. One of the most important aspect of the organization was the security of all the delegates and sport persons and safe congestion free transport. It goes without saying that Delhi was spot on in that area. Over 7000 policemen made sure that Delhi is not shamed by any uncalled for unfortunate event. Moreover, most of us who are well acquainted with the never ending traffic jams of NCR found the roads to be well managed and traffic police on its heels in order to keep the things moving. Another areas where games won accolades were the opening and closing ceremonies. Opening ceremony was applauded as befitting for showing India as a united nation treasuring its diverse culture and the closing ceremony was meant to exemplify the advent of India as a global power which can not be neglected in world affairs.

Once madam president and prince Charles jointly declared the games as open, there was no looking back. It was action time and we saw some arrangements were not able to withstand the tests of time. Games website which is the first point of contact for many games lovers was disappointing to say the least. For a IT giant such as India, it was a piece of cake to build a simple site for games. Believe me, we are capable of handling much complex systems than a simple dynamic website. Anyways, barring a few such major glitches the games went more smoothly than any Indian could have imagined. We even managed to grab the second spot and 101 medals. The performance of Indian players is something that we must be proud of. Well, now the show is over. What next??

What do i mean by what next?? Isn't it simple to understand that life goes on and we should resume our busy lives with same pre-game conditions. This is the general notion that has ruled Indian hearts for so many years. Time and again we have let corruption off the hook, specially when it was staring us in the face. Lets try something different this time. In all the merrymaking, lets not display how shoddy our memories have become. Lets not forget the blatant corruption and apparent dereliction of duties that plagued the games from start. If we keep the fire alive and spread the message, we might be able to force the government to take strong steps. By strong steps, I mean exhaustive and transparent investigation by an independent and competent authority and tangible punishments to the guilty.

In order to accomplish this gigantic task, Media needs to rise to the occasion. We all know the power that media holds in a free country such as ours. But it needs to realize that this power gives birth to an equal amount of responsibility. The responsibility to do what is right and at the right time. And it does not take a genius to figure out that the time is right. Government needs a prod or may be a slap and media, with all its power, can simply oblige. Let the Audit Begin !!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


"Your mind is the scene of the crime".

Inception was one of those movies that I was desperately waiting for. Being a Christopher Nolan movie, it was highly anticipated and much hyped. Before going for the movie, my expectations were high and so were the apprehensions that come bundled with an over hyped movie. But Inception made to list of those rare cases where a movie delivers what is expected out of it or probably more.

(No Spoilers)

Right from the start Inception keeps you occupied. There is too much happening and you consistently try to solve the puzzle that it throws at you. A story unfolds within a story. By the time you figure out the first one, the second one is in the process of giving way to another one. The first of half the movie goes into building the framework and laying out a detailed description of the phenomenon that rules the movie. And the second half is too hot to handle. Just imagine yourself completely glued to the seat, constantly formulating answers to all that Inception had to offer. The second half is packed with all the ingredients that make Inception ever more special. There is enough action and special effects to make any Sci-Fi feel proud; enough thrill and surprise to keep your mind occupied and more than enough complexity to challenge you. Moreover, the emotional depth that the main protagonist has exhibited makes Inception stand apart from similar kind of movies. Barring a few scenes where the set up looks absurd, Inception does not offer even a single dull moment. Well, there is always a scope for improvement J

Anyways, let me come to the artistic side of the movie. The phenomenal blending of the background score makes the whole presentation very engaging. As usual, Christopher Nolan delights the viewer with his uncanny skill and imagination in storytelling and direction. Leonardo DiCaprio, once again, has proved his ability to understand the intricacies of the situation and to devote himself to the character he is playing. Michael Caine, though plays a small role but, is as composed as the Alfred in The Dark Knight. Ellen Page charms like the smell of the fresh air with her little assignment. Joseph Gordon-Levitt rises much above his role of a confused and grieved lover in ‘500 days of Summer’. Overall, the cast delivers all that is expected from a Nolan movie.

After watching the movie, I wanted to know what Mr. Masand had to say about Inception. In a nutshell, he described Inception as a movie that challenges its audience and expects them to dive in for a mind boggling ride. And I just couldn't agree more. I hate to say this but I do feel that you need to watch this movie twice to understand all the subtle things that make it really special. It might remind you of Memento and Matrix, but it goes into an even deeper and more swirling matrix. If you want to see a movie that is simple and unsophisticated action, then please don’t watch Inception. You will come out of the hall with a frustrated and tired mind. But if you have the willingness to try something new & weird and you are bored of the mundane movies that have nothing to offer except archaic concept of love, then Inception is made for you. Go and judge it for yourself. You may or may not like it, but you will have an experience of different cinema and that is the USP of the Inception.

I will go with 8.5 of 10 for Inception.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Two years of Irony

The clock had struck twelve and officially a new day had begun – 30th June 2010. Exactly two years ago, I was being inducted into TCS in an Initial Learning Programme (ILP) at Trivandrum. A week into the programme and realization of my mistakes had struck me. It was shocking, frustrating and confusing to find myself in a place where i thought I would never go. But there was no time to waste or to brood over past. I had to move on and pessimism had to go to make room for hope and optimism. Thus, a plan was in put action that would make sure an early and successful exit from TCS. Plan was an unambiguous one and all efforts to make it successful were unadulterated and synchronized. But the results were ironical. The exit strategy was supposed to work but it did not. Consequently, I found myself in TCS after two ironical years.

Looking back, I do see a lot of anguish, pain and hopelessness in these two years. I find it hard to remember the number of times I felt like a loser. Perhaps it was a reality check. But it does not matter anymore. Whatever it was, the good it has done must be taken into account e.g. I never knew I had the courage to go on and on even after feeling uninspired and I had no idea about my ability to fight till the last moment. I had never restrained and disciplined myself so much. These two years have tested me in many aspects and have made me resilient.

Moreover, I have come to a better understanding about what drives me and satisfies me. I do realize that nothing can satisfy me more than a fully exhausting, dedicated effort towards something meaningful even if I don’t get the desired result. The hard work that goes in pursuit of a Goal energizes me and helps in saving me from the negativity that a failure brings with it.

Well, irrefutable fact of life is that the bigger and painful the fiasco is, the more it toughens up you for the game called life. And something called ‘HOPE’ keeps driving you towards a purposeful goal.

Hmmm.. I must sleep now. Once again, I have poured more than I initially set out to do. If I have to recapitulate the whole thing in one line then i would just refer to this dialogue:

“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And the dawn is coming” – The Dark Knight

:) Signing off.


PS: Next time I go to an Interview, I will say that I am passionate about the dialogues of the movies that really captivate me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Greenland and Global Warming

Someone like me, who is obsessed with his own little world and its vicissitudes, hardly finds time to explore what lies beyond his little world. But when I do, the feeling that comes with this newly acquired knowledge is of unadulterated satisfaction, achievement and amazement. At such times, I feel that vastness of this planet earth is beyond comprehension by a mere mortal and all that I can do is to explore it and admire it. One such moment of exploration happened on this weekend - courtesy National Geographic magazine. I read two wonderful articles about Greenland and impact of global warming on its geography, economy and future. I would like to share some of the most fascinating aspects from those articles:

1. Greenland, the largest island on planet earth (except continents), has some 80% of its land buried under ice sheets which can go as deep as 2 miles. It is one of the world's least densely populated nations. It is largely dependent on other nations for even the most of basic resources like fodder for sheep and wood for buildings. Its economy is largely dependent on sea food exports, which are not consistent enough due to unpredictable weather conditions. Greenland also attracts its share of tourists but numbers are not very high, owning to lack of proper conditions for stay and costly travel expenses. Fjords, that dissect the land and pop up many small streams, make it impossible to travel by land.

2. Although Greenland is an autonomous country but it is still considered as a part of Kingdom of Denmark, which controls its foreign policy and pumps hefty amount of money to help the anemic economy of Greenland.

3. Greenland has always been a hot spot for many glaciologists, who want to study Global warming in action. Increase in pollution in other areas has adversely affected the melting patterns of ice in Greenland. In general, ice has a tendency to reflect most of the light that falls on it. Its albedo is high. But with air containing all kinds of impure particles, volcanic ashes and by products of industrialization, the ice that is melting turns black in color. Resulting tar like liquid, also called cryoconite, has lesser albedo and absorbs higher amount of heat, which in turn melts more ice and sets off a chain reaction. If all Greenland ice melts sea level will rise will inundate coastlines around the planet.

4. Another interesting aspect of Global Warming on Greenlandic ice is formation of superaglacial lakes. These lakes, formed by rise in temperature around the region, vary in composition and size. While it may take days for a small pond to acquire the status of a lake, it generally takes only a few hours for a lake to be sucked by a Moulin - a vertical hollow shaft in sheets of ice. In 2006, a team of glaciologists documented the draining of a two-square-mile lake into a Moulin, where 11 billion gallons of water disappeared in just 84 minutes.

- Courtesy National Geographic - June 2010 issue.

I hope the reader enjoyed the information as much as i did. For more, get hold of the main source. Cheers!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Australianism Prevails

"Australianism, means singleminded determination to win - to win within the laws but, if necessary, to the last limit within them. It means where the 'impossible' is within the realm of what the human body can do, there are Australians who believe that they can do it - and who have succeeded often enough to make us wonder if anything is impossible to them. It means they have never lost a match - particularly a Test match - until the last run is scored or their last wicket down." - John Arlott

The semi final between Australia and Pakistan was a true exhibition of the attitude known as Australianism. It was sheer class, mental strength and ‘never die' spirit that zoomed Australia into the Final of the competition. Once again, Australians proved themselves and delivered the goods when it mattered the most. It was just another match where the result could have easily gone against them but they snatched an improbable victory from their opponents.

After the match, I kind of felt sorry for Pakistan. Although they played poorly throughout the tournament but they performed really well in the Big Match. They batted superbly to host a Target of 192 in 20 overs and followed that with an excellent start. They did all right things that a team does to defend a high total. They got rid of Warner and Watson early and reduced Australia to 67/4 in 10 overs. Their spinners bowled their heart out to make the chase look impossible. Australians looked on the verge of being knocked out of the world cup. The edge was becoming thinner and thinner with each passing ball and an Australian defeat looked inevitable. But as one would expect from them, The Australians held on to that thin edge. They had that last ray of HOPE that never leaves their sides till the last ball is bowled. The task was arduous and they pursued it relentlessly. White started the onslaught with his lusty hitting and gave Australia the momentum they were looking for. But even after his marvelous innings, the goal looked far way from their reach when they required 48 runs in 3 overs with 6 men down. Their hopes were lingering on one Batsman who has been the epitome of consistency, Mike Hussey. Mike Hussey had delivered most of the times when the team required him and he did not disappoint his team mates this time as well. Some big sixes, superb running and cool batting reduced the equation to 17 of last 5 balls with Hussey on strike, already playing the innings of his life. Pakistan employed their best bowler in Ajmal to contain the deadly hurricane but things fell apart for them miserably. Couples of sixes, a sliced upper cut to fetch a boundary and final blow over mid wicket for a six were all that Australia required to pull out one the best international T20 chases. Hussey completed a miracle and expressed Australianism yet again.

Kudos to the spirit and attitude that form the core of any Australian cricketer and sets him apart from rest. And all the best to England for final game because they will need all the luck they can afford. There is no doubt in their ability and form but they will have to produce something special to stop the Australian juggernaut. No matter who wins in the final, we can be sure of one thing that the final will be played among the two best performers of this World Cup.

Friday, April 30, 2010

In a Traffic Jam

Yesterday would have been just another day in my already not-so-happening office life had I were not saved by a lunch party. As usual, the break from office was more than welcome. The food was delicious and Sandeep's witty one liners kept everybody happily occupied. Anyways, this post is not about those one liners or that delicious food, but it is connected with something that happened during the course of my journey back to office.

Having been lived in Gurgaon for more than a year, I don’t get surprised by everyday traffic jams. And same was the case when we got caught in a bad one. Once again, I found Murphy's Law apposite for a Traffic Jam. (Murphy’s Law for Traffic Jam - The row, you just left to get into a seemingly faster one, starts moving faster than the one you just came into). While I was occupied in observing the chaotic system, a friend said, "What's that!!” I turned my neck ninety degrees to my left and witnessed an unexpected scene. For the first time in my life I saw a group of nearly twenty Muslims performing their Namaz in a public place as a single entity in total harmony. It is quite likely that many will find this event a commonplace and mundane one. But to me, it was a symbol of freedom of expression. And what I felt, after watching that scene, is a tough thing to explain. I experienced tranquility amidst all the chaos and a feeling of admiration for those people. In that very moment, that single moment, I felt extremely proud to be living in such a country where all the colors and shades are accepted and respected, where you are free enough to be yourself, where love has been the way of life. I wished to see a world where that harmony will be perpetrated unconditionally.

Well, that was one traffic jam that, for a moment, made me laugh from inside.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happiness and Others

Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket....

Everyone points to the other man, who, according to him, is happier. But the only one, who has the courage to declare that he is truly happy, is he who has relinquished all his passions and hungers from within.
-- Swami Chinmayananda

I came across this wonderful message while browsing Times of India. Liked it and felt like sharing it. What prompted me into quick action was the connection that I felt with first line of the quote. It is absolutely truthful that consciously or unconsciously, most of us tend to equip others with the key to our happiness. Thoughts like, ‘What others will think about me’, ‘Will they think bad if I do this’, ‘Will he like this dress’ etc, give rise to anxiety and fear of being rejected. At times, we tend to elude ourselves by denying this fact. But in reality it keeps on dwelling inside, slowly to come up again without the knowledge of our conscious mind. Because the truth is everybody desires to be accepted, appreciated and liked by his or her sphere of society.

Sometimes, we become so much engrossed in these thoughts that we forget that the real source of happiness lies within us not with people surrounding us. Having said this, I don’t intend to imply that one should stop listening to others or behave as if there is only one soul left on this planet. We must respect and regard others opinions and point of views. But at the same time, it is extremely important to understand the subtle but substantial difference between flattery & true appreciation, between sincere criticism & disparaging words and between positive and negative influences. If we succeed in keeping a balanced approach, then the quotient of happiness lying in our hands will be much much higher.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm Back !!

A LONG HIATUS -- This might be the right phrase to describe my blogging activity since Oct, 2007. Yes, it has been over two years since I last wrote about myself, since I poured my thoughts in here and since I enjoyed writing about a movie that I saw. Come to think of it, I do realize how erratic and ephemeral my blogging has been. I have been too lazy and too busy to write. Moreover, I was entangled in my web of thoughts, frustrated with my present job, apprehensive about my future, uncertain about my career and dreamy about my aspirations. And one can also add some guilt of unfinished tasks and some pity (after a glut of ineffectual results) to already overflowing emotions that I was experiencing. Having said that, I will be doing injustice with myself if project everything as dark. Because happiness can be found even in the darkest of hours and my situation was no way near the darkest.

Surely, the final year at Thapar was a turbulent one but even then it was the most memorable time that I spent with my college friends. The scenes of our last party, those watery eyes and a deep nostalgia still engulf me whenever a thought of that life rambles into my mind. Without a shred of doubt, the college time is the best and the most happening time of one’s life.

The transition from college to job happened all too fast for my liking and I found myself in Trivandrum, for Initial learning program of TCS. Undoubtedly, it was really an amazing and delightful experience to travel and explore Kerala. Trip to Munar and Kerala backwaters, late night stay at TCS to complete tasks for EC-2, Dancing in a TCS bus on south Indian songs and enjoying company of some really good friends are some of the most cherished memories of my ILP. But life was never the same after ILP.

Ever since ILP, I found myself in a race with life. Each and every day, only one thought traversed my mind and I was too full with it to realize slow recession of happiness from my life. All I wanted was the misery of a Job at TCS to end as soon as possible into a fruitful career path. What exactly constitutes a fruitful career path is a question that still haunts me. Its answer eludes me all the time. After many unsuccessful attempts at getting into a foreign university for either MS or PhD in Biotechnology, I finally decided to bid farewell to the idea that clogged my mind for all the time since I joined TCS. I am still unsure that whether it was my passion and love for Biotechnology or my hatred for IT sector that motivated me to pursue this idea. Whatever the reason was, I did give my best shot at it and when all those doors slammed shut before my eyes, I realized that it’s a break up that I must get over with as soon as possible. So as of now, I am planning to shift to contingency plan A i.e. MBA. This is motivated by the fact that I got calls from IIMB and IIMS on the basis of my strong academic background. The results for the same are still awaited.

During the past two years of my life, I have been through some tough lessons and realizations. Some of those shattered me to my core, changed my perspective of life. And all the chaos that ensued in my life made me believe that most of our apprehensions come from our desire to control our future, from efforts to control our little sphere. On the contrary, there is so much that a mere mortal like me cannot understand and the best thing to do is just to give his best without worrying about the result or consequences. And it is extremely important to be flexible enough to accept change because the only permanent thing in life is change. Well, it is so easy to put these thoughts into writing but their true essence lies in practice, something at which I find myself quite inconsistent. I just hope that with time and with some meditation, I can put these lovely thoughts into action more often.

That’s it from me in my come back post. I have scribbled more than I expected. Bye.

PS: I read my previous posts today and cherished them as the gifts life bestowed upon me.