Saturday, January 23, 2010

...and it finally happened.

It was july. It was 2005. I remember walking into the room of a bespectacled man reading lord of the rings. I remember knocking on his door and seeking permission to come in. I remember him flashing a smile,requesting me to enter. I remember him with hair like Jim Morrison.

and since that day at a residential institute at Bangalore, where we had been sent by our company for training, we have shared a friendship that has seen our lives change, derail, re-align, but somehow keep chugging on. From discussions on failed appraisals, to successful musicians, actors, films - films that were memorable and have a connection with Malayalam film makers (one that i doubt greatly), to finally marriage and the ensuing "responsibility". somehow marriage talk didn't really lead us to any other topic.

but as i sat a few feet away from the Mantap, watching him with his fantastic Jim Morrison like hair, go through the rituals of the wedding, i couldn't help but nudge a friend sitting next to me and say, " I can't get away from the feeling that they seem so perfect together." and my friend concurred as she nodded. and we looked at the Maptap again and Mr. Morrison and his wife smiled back as though they concurred too.

And when i saw the final ritual which made the two of them man and wife in the eyes of God,with his teary eyed father blessing them and clasping his hands together against his forehead thanking everyone who had come, I tried to remember what the fuss was all about. The responsibility that we had made such a mountain of, seemed like such a mole. our parents may not be of the i-pod, PSP age, but they can do somethings so much better than us, i thought.

As i looked out of my garib-rath window on my way back home, I reflected on having had a tremendous time at the marriage. I marveled again at how perfect they seemed together. and i then i went a step ahead to wonder if she too had 200 orkut fans and just as many on facebook (if FB were to have that feature).

strangely, even to be the 200th person be be called on seemed rather gratifying. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What we have and what we dont.

Funny place we're at.
someone just bombed a couple of grand hotels,
in a grand place.
Media Media and more Media.
It's a nice name for a woman - both caring and heartless at the same time.
Anger and loathe are distributed like pamphlets.
I watched it burn,through a beautiful camera angle.
wonder if they fought over the best seats to capture the image,
or over the interview of the orphaned child.
or perhaps they competed on outshouting each other,
or on who had the most accurate estimate of the dead.

I didn't know anyone who died.
I didn't know the twenty year old who killed them.

If they ever meet in the afterlife, I wonder what they'll say to each other.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The infinite God

No posts after my last one, are we giving up on this? I was thinking of writing another, just had to decide if to write on own blog or here. Finally deciding to go with the latter as i know, this topic might be interesting for at least someone like Easwar :)

I happened to watch a BBC video "Dangerous Knowledge" this week. Heres the you tube link to the first part In this documentary, David Malone presents the life of four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing all of which have two things in common, the greatness of their work and the tragedy at the end of their lives. Its a very subtle attempt to compare their lives and see what might have driven their lives to madness and such a tragic end.

Why i got interested in their theories was because i had studies a few of them in college but had completely forgotten after three long years in this software industry which has left me with only one thing that i still know to do - code and my language has perhaps changed from english or mathematics(i simply loved mathematics from my old school days and which in itself has a simple story behind it) to java and c++. This documentary sparked off some dormant love i had for the Incompleteness theorem, the infinity and the Turing machine.

The documentary starts with the life of Georg Cantor who took mankind to the depths of infinity and the great continum hypothesis which shook the fundamentals of mathematics which was considered a complete science at one point of time. In mathematics, everything is so concrete, we study every thing with solid proofs. But still there was this one concept of infinity which was first introduced to me by our dear Korah sir (easwar, hope you too remember that one class) whose words still linger i my ears - "We can all start counting from 0, 1 ,2 and go on. As a child you may know to count only till 100. For him, any number greater than 100 is infinity." What simple way to explain one of the deepest concepts in mathematics. But my stint with computer science changed my outlook to infinity and mathematics quite drastically. It was not the engineering mathematics in the first couple of semesters, but the theory of computation paper i got to study from Pathari sir and Muralikrishnan sir. Computer science was born out of mathematics. If you dont agree with me, listen to the story of Alan Turing, the father of computer science in the above documentary. A computer itself was one of the graetest experiment in mathematics that still tries to solve one of the greatest unanswered questions before us. "Is man's intelligence limited?" I dont know if this question can ever be proved to answer "No" with a solid proof within the axioms of mathematics. But sure, if this has an answer yes, it'll be proved the day we perfect artificial intelligence. Now if this is one of those questions that can ever be answered, we might continue solving this till eternity until someone proves this is unprovable.

Btw, i forgot about the topic i put for this post - "the infinite God". The sole purpose of most of the scientific experiments around are to unravel the mysteries of this world which we hope will inturn lead us to god. My views on the concept of God was always different from what we all tried to make out of our religious preachings. For there is one common truth in all religions : God is omnipresent. We all believe in this but most of us dont try to read into the inner depths of this. Let me try to explain this in the context of infinity.

What Cantor wanted to unravel was the depths of infinity and what lies at infinity should be nothing but god. Lets look at it like this. I draw a line joining two points. How many points do you think are there in this line? infinite? So now think about levels of infinity, and what that could mean to our beliefs. Lets look the greatest physics experiment ever : the big bang exp by cern. What they are trying to do is recreate the nascent stages of universe, though may not the 'real' origin. Let us look at universe as a system which had no mass or 'particles' at some point of time. What it would have had is purely huge amounts of powerful energy. This energy might be what got converted into all the mass and life as we see it now. So what is omnipresent is energy and which exactly should be the power called God that we worship. And what man is trying to do is unravel this knowledge that can lead him to knowing God. The depth of this knowledge is too much and that must be the reason why each such great scientist was in the end driven to insanity. Human minds might be limited after all. who knows. but so is every natural number. 1 is limited, 2 is limited, but 2 follows 1 and 3 follows 2 and this still leads to infinity.

P.S. This is purely my thoughts and not intended to hurt anyone's feelings or beliefs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The start up dreams....

Its my first posting to this league of extraordinary bloggers, though i remember joining it ages ago. I know what you are thinking, "why the hell does this guy have to write one now". Can't blame you guys for that, its all my fault...

What i'm gonna tell you today is about a dream hidden somewhere in the depths of our conscious or subconscious minds of one one day sitting in a pretty CEO cabin of a successful company that you have brought up. I have seen quite a lot of people in my short professional life, who have taken the bold decision of going after this golden dreams. It feels so sad to say that out of them, only one has seen success and that too in a big way. The rest have perished into the cruel wilderness of reality....

What i had been doing all this time was to study their cases and figure out what went wrong. May be one day when i'm at the juncture of spending my money to chase my dream, these experiences are going to come pretty handy. I just wanted to jot down a few points that had been crossing my minds over this.

First let me jot down about the most recent story i heard, its about VJ, my project mate in Trilogy where i have learned quite a lot about how to build a company to last, how to change your business model with times, how to stand up from glaring falls and not just walk, but run. Few months back when i was working VJ, late nights in office were pretty common(thats truly a trademark of trilogy). With nightouts come the pain of ordering food at office, which is such a common thing in our "hard working" IT industry. This certainly struck an idea in his mind...why not we have a food ordering software, why always call up these guys and place your order. The idea was to develop something and sell it across the multiple food chains out there, something that can fetch you money from not just one client. I dont know to call what he did after this foolish or brave, but he just went out there, took an office place on rent, got systems, recruited few ppl and just started a team working on this. Idea was to have income inputs through works on small assignments from abroad along with their main goal. But things neednt always go according to plans, his sources of income started to dry up like our rivers in summer. He started taking loans to keep his business running, mounting credit card bills, debts and over everything his project plan overshoots itself. He went on until his electricity connection got disconnected! On the whole, it cost him 6 lakhs, every penny of his savings (being a 23 yr old, you cant expect much savings)and so much debt left to clear off. My first response to his story was "wow, what an experience man!!!". So easy to spit out those words...rite. What he has gone through surely requires a lot of courage and will. People say he learned a big lesson from that experience. True, i would also say that to him, but only to console. In my opinion he was brave, but a lot more foolish. He went after his heart, never thinking of the need to consult his mind. At times such reckless things might prove a great success story, but in probability terms, your chances are way below even 0.05. Also, keep in mind that this guy kept working in trilogy all along this. You can catch his story here.

Lets view a success story on the other hand. We had a tall mate who joined alongside in Trilogy, for the great TU2K5 (Its the Trilogy university, which i would rate among one of the toughest induction programs that ever existed in our industry). Working our asses out, 24 hours for 3 months we were all working on businesses of our own. The whole theme of our TU batch was to bring business from e commerce in months.a business worth persisting and valued not below 10 million in the long run. That was our first taste of what it takes to start a company (luckily it was at Joe's expense ) I still rate those three months as my most memorable, productive period in my professional life. Now coming to the story, the hero's name is Vishnu. While we were all working all the night he made it a point that after 1'O clock in the night, he made it a point that he spent sometime towards his personal projects. He built a simple elegant GPS navigation system, and believe me this was in 2005 and one of the first attempts at this. He soon realizes the potential of his creation (lots of things like puttting it up for sale must have contributed to it). Now he is the founder of Inter Chain solutions , an international company.

Both of them had great ideas, which had the potential of bringing success, but do you see any gaping differences in what the two of them did? I did notice a few and let me list them down,
1) One had a prototype before starting off, the other just an idea.
2) One believed in his product making a company for him, the other build a company for his conceptual product.
3) One believed in owning an office, recruiting people to get the feel of owning a company. While the other made it sure that its his product that dictates the terms.
4)Once he had a prototype and wanted to pursue his dreams, Vishnu resigned and devoted his full time towards his dream, while the other wasnt confident enough to leave his job for his dream.

There a lot more when you consider the finer details of the stories which i havent mentioned here. But still, the first mistake someone will ever make in starting a company is glaringly evident here. Believe in your idea, build a prototype, get people to believe in your idea and then think about renting out an office or actual "building of the company". These are expenses that are too much for just building a prototype. Work with your personal laptops, in your apartment until you come up with something solid. Second, dont just go after your heart(i know many of you'll disagree), do give your brain a little bit respect. It not your heart that talks business, its your money that does it, but sure you need a strong will and passion for it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An ode to the triple E

The title has no connection with the contents of this post but its a promise I made to a dear friend ;).

Anyway, I was looking at all these people speed past me, I was thinking of where I had landed and why I had to land there. It was not my fault this time, I swear. Ok I'll give you a clearer picture, actually a gist because I have narrated this story a million times. I had a flight from Bangalore to Detriot (via Paris on Air France) and my flight had got delayed by a crazy 6 hours! And I have to mention that my ultra-patient and ultra-sweet friends waited with me till 4 am. Anyhoo when I went to get on to my flight I was told that I have no connecting flight to Detroit anymore for that day and I would be given a British Airways flight. I made a thousand phone calls like I was some hotshot and told them I was ok with BA. I checked my baggage yada yada yada I changed my flight in London and then landed at Chicago. Thats where the shemozzle began. I claimed my baggage and had to check it in again. I did that with minimum confusion. Then I went from terminal 5 to terminal 3 a tad proudly (keep in mind that it was my first trip abroad and my first trip alone). At terminal 3 they asked for my ticket which I had kept in the pocket of my sweater. Yeah, I dint find it.

I either had to find it or get BA or Air France to do something and I could do all this only at terminal 5. So I had to take one of the transit trains back to terminal 5. My backpack, by the way, weighed some 5-6 kgs, a cabin bag to drag around, hungry, couldnt find a phone, was out of currency on my Indian phone, no one to clarify the 100 questions I had, angry with Air France and myself for always having been dependent on someone. I went to terminal 5, dint find the ticket, BA said they couldnt do anything and Air France counters were closed for the day. That was when I felt pangs of loneliness and fear. The only reason I dint break down was that half my family was waiting at the Detroit airport. So I went back to terminal 3. I HAD to get on that flight because my baggage was there. The only way was to buy a new ticket. I got on the flight finally. And suddenly when the plane took off I felt it was flying reverse. It was pretty funny actually. Or maybe it was my head.

Such things may happen to a lot of people and I also dont have any morals to give you. But if you manage to get stuck at the Chicago airport do remember me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The large stone and a pair of teeth

The jogger

He kept trying for the whole of last week. And at last he succeeded. He woke up at 7 and started the good habit of jogging. He would have hardly ran ten meters when he crossed a bag containing a large stone and a pair of teeth lying side by side.

The fall guy

Every birthday comes with a new hope. A hope: the world will be good to you at least for a day. Sadly, our scapegoat won’t subscribe to that. Not after flying around, getting his butt kicked by every non-Grata well wisher and getting his face plastered with cream. He slowly heads back home, cursing and swearing at all those so called well wishers.

The villain

No story is complete without a villain. This guy happens to celebrate his birthday the very next day and is in need of money so that he can revel. He waits in a dark alley waiting for a prey to jump right in front of him.

The good guys

You find them helping old ladies cross the road even if all they never wanted to. They always prevent children from pelting stones at dogs, and end up getting 14 injections themselves. And the office has a few of them. They keep track of every event and waste no chance to gift magnanimously. It was on one such day that they give a fall guy some gift on his birthday, which was received well.

The reflexes

Reflex never fails. A walk down a dark alley and someone jumps in front of you. All one can do is to throw whatever you have in your hand at the offender.

The schemer

What is life without a conspiracy? Every damn event is a conspiracy. And it doesn’t need much of a time for the conspirator to replace the gifts with a piece of stone which resembles in every respect but for one. All these done in split seconds. Especially when someone’s flying all over. The gunpowder conspiracy has been excelled.

fiction? maybe...

result of reading too many novels back to back :P

"... and all those beautiful evenings we spent together, watching movies cuddled up on the couch... cooking together... laughing together... those nights when you sat up watching me as i slept... those mornings when i'd wake up to see your beautiful smile... every moment was out of a fairy tale... a world untrue but yet it was so true... blissful days and passionate nights... life with you has been an impossible dream lived in flesh n blood..."

"... when you said you have to leave to fulfil your dreams, i wished i could walk with you into your dreams... i bid you goodbye with a heavy heart and there was this faint hope of reliving our magic when you would get back... little did i know this would be the last time i ever saw you... little did i know you'd get so far away that neither my calls nor my cries could reach you... so far away where i cannot come even if i so much want to..."

"... can i? yes!!! i can... i can come over to where you are, my love... we vowed to be together, until death did us apart... i have lived with you though your life... and its now time to walk hand in hand with you in your after life... wait my love, lemme come along..."

love knows not its depth until the hour of separation...