Badam and Ra.One

[Consider reading this before you proceed]

Badam became very fond of movies in a very short time. So I decided to take him for Ra.One. As luck would have it, we reached early and Badam started asking me questions again.

Badam: What does Ra.One mean?
Me: It's a sci-fi movie. Ra.One is the name of a Robot.
Badam: So it means nothing. Finally a name that is just a name.
Me: Not really. It stands for random access one.
Badam: What is that? Are they connected somehow?
Me: Not even remotely. Dude, it's just a name.

[The crowd that had turned up was huge]

B: It seems to be a really good movie. So many people have come.
Me: You bet.
B: The acting must be amazing.
Me: Don't bet on that however. Heard SRK plays a Southie nerd who can neither manage the accent nor a believable nerd characterization.
B: Ohh, the story must be amazing then.
Me: Nay, the story doesn't make any sense.
B: Oh, I get it. It's sci-fi. The special effects must be great!
Me: I think everyone here has seen far better special effects; courtesy Hollywood.
B: Why are we here then?
Me: Dude! It's SRK! We have to prove he is bigger than Salman.
B: How come?
Me: You don't get it do you? Salman made a movie that didn't make any sense. It was a blockbuster. Now it's our turn to show them who the star is.
B: But it doesn't make sense either. Anyway, what are we going to gain?
Me: [exasperated]. You materialistic savage, not everything is about gain. There is something called loyalty. [I am furious by now].
B: [mumbling] I don't quite understand....
B: Okay, tell me what I am supposed to say at the end of the movie?
Me: How about this? "I enjoyed Ra.One. I don't know what people are complaining about. Anyway if Bodyguard can be a hit, so can Ra.One".

B: Did you read that on facebook?

Me and Badam - I

That morning was weird. I always knew that. Even before I met him.

He was this half naked dude and he introduced himself as Badam. I asked him what that meant and the following conversation started:

Me: What does that mean?
Badam: Nothing. Why should it mean anything?
Me: Come on, a name's got to mean something after all.
Badam: What? A name is used so that I can understand when I am being called. What's your name?
Me: Mahul.
B: And it means something?
Me: Yep
B: What?
Me: It is a fruit.
B: So you are a fruit?
Me: That's not the point.
B: Then what is your point?
Me: I mean everybody has a name that means something.
B: I still don't get it. Give me another name.
Me: Okay. Let's say Nilesh.
B: That's also a name? What does that mean?
Me: It literally translates to "BLUE GOD".
B: You know someone named Nilesh?
Me: Yep, I do.
B: Is he blue?
Me: [frowing] No
B: Is he a God?
Me: Please. No.
B: Then why is he called blue God?
Me: Forget it. So why are you called Badam?
B: Because my grandpa was named Adam and he named my Dad Madam and he named me Badam.
Me: Was your grandpa out of his mind?
B: He kinda was you know. He ate the apple.
Me: You mean THE apple? In THE garden of paradise?
B: Yep.
Me: That's impossible. You can't possibly be here.
B: I know it is. The world is going crazy. There are brown people named blue god.
Me: Don't start that all over again. So how do you pronounce that?
B: Bad-um.
Me: That's better. Luckily it's not pronounced Bud-aam.
B: Why? What's wrong with Budaam?
Me: You know. It's the name of a nut.
B: So what's wrong with nuts? They are perfectly good to eat.
Me: You know. NUTS, NUTCASE and you can't say "My Nuts" cause that would mean something else altogether.
B: Why does nut mean all that? This is crazy and confusing.
Me: [Tired by now]. Has anybody ever mentioned that you ask too many questions, you dumb psycho savage? Get lost.
B: Don't get angry man. I'm just curious.

[The phone, a Galaxy S2 beeps. I bring it out]

B: Wow! What's that?
Me: That's a smartphone.
B: What's that?

[So I spend the next fifteen minutes explaining what a what a smartphone is.]

B: Awesome. Is that like the coolest device on the planet?
Me: No, I think not. It's the iPhone.
B: What does that do?
Me: Pretty much the same things.
B: Then why is this not the best?
Me: You know. Android and iOS. iOS is very easy to use.
B: How come?
Me: You can't do many things with it. But what you can do is right there in front of you.
B: So you can do more things with Android? Then that is better, right?
Me: No. Like I said, you have to be curious to find all that out.
B: I don't understand. People are not curious? Who uses this iPhone?
Me: Pretty much everyone in the developed countries. From homemakers to stock traders.
B: What do homemakers do?
Me: They cook and clean and maybe go shopping.
B: And?
Me: That's all. I mean things like that.
B: And they are still never curious?
Me: What's your point?
B: I don't know. What do stock traders do?
Me: They buy and sell stocks.
B: That sounds cool. So they negotiate and try to prove their products and do stuff like that? Man, I must tell you, my Dad made javelins and he was such a good trader that he could trade them for jungle hens.
Me: It's not like that. They don't negotiate.
B: How come?
Me: They just buy the stocks that they think are going to gain and sell the ones they think will lose.
B: And who decides if the stock will gain or lose?
Me: Traders decide that. When they buy more the price goes up and when they sell more it drops.
B: So what happens if all traders mess up together?
Me: I don't know. Recession maybe. Man, I'm not good with this stuff.
B: You guys are crazy.
Me: I gotta get out of here.


Diya Mirza (the poor man's Aishwarya Rai) , once revealed in an interview how she would skip meals to be able to afford the cab from her way back from work, back in her struggling days. That was long back, but I guess the information stayed with me because I thought the story was kinda inspirational.

Or was it?
Diya Mirza could have taken a bus/train/tram from work as well. That way, the whole skipping meals sob story wouldn't have been essential any more. But that was Diya Mirza. Or was it?

Our generation suffers from a weird insecurity. Let me give you an example. Back when I worked at a consulting firm, everyone came to office in Levi's denims. Well, to be truthful not everyone did, but more people did than otherwise. Now that I work at a product based organization (where the average pay is considerably higher), most people I come across dress in more sensibly priced brands. I once went for an interview at Google India, and the interviewer came dressed in a fluorescent orange turtle neck that I'm sure came off a flea market for not more than 150 bucks.

We seem to have reached a stage where we do what the market demands of us. Another example? How do you explain the obscene percentage of students who chose
1) Engineering degrees
2) Software Jobs
3) Management degrees
in that order? Hell, software doesn't even pay more these days! And I have lost count of the number of people who hated their engineering courses, went on for management degrees and then hated those even more.

Personally, I always feel the pinch every time someone goes for higher studies in the US. Why? I have no idea. I would enjoy creating an android app or optimizing an SQL query far more than say, mugging up a network packet structure; but the market tells me that the action is abroad.

I recently bought one of the best (and the costliest) phones in the market. The price was certainly way out of my league, but I still did. And now I think:

1) The screen is definitely huge and gorgeous, but I spend almost 18 hours a day in front of a screen which is 4 times larger; the PC monitor. 9 hours out of these 18 are spent in front of two such display panels.

2) Games do run butter smooth; thanks to a dual core processor, but I would prefer the FPS games that run a tad awkwardly on my single core PC any day.

3) My office is just a 20 minute walk away, and I could do without any music during this journey.

4) I really do not need most apps on the go, as I have better softwares installed on my PC; and I am in front of it most of the time anyway.

Point is, I still love the phone. Forget love, I am crazy about it. That's in part because I can appreciate the elegance of the product and the design of the software, which a big section who buy such phones cannot. (Not because they are dumb, but because they aren't into engineering per se).

And buying a phone is just the start. After the phone, I bought an elegant case for it which incidentally cost me more than what I would get for reselling my old phone. Now, I have realized that the 2G data connection on the phone can hardly do any justice to its abilities, so the solution seems to be an obscenely priced 3G data connection. Next, I would be buying 500 bucks apps on the market. At the end of the day however, playing Need for Speed on my PC is still going to be a hands down better experience.

I remember a health drink ad which talked about how we should run or fall behind. Well, we are running, but where are we running to? And what are we running for? I completely advocate running for a goal, but truth is, most of us are completely clueless. I still remember when a trainer asked this question to a training room of 15 people.

What do you want to become in life?

It's a simple enough question. One that I am sure every 5 year old can answer at the drop of hat; Pilot, soilder, actress, teacher and the like. Most people out of a class of 15 answered what sounded like,

"I want to fulfill my responsibilities to the best of abilities; rise up the value chain and network across my peers".

That's one answer that my simple brain cannot make any sense of. Is that what you are running for?

So what are we losing out on? Relationships? Perhaps values? Baba Ramdev can tell you more about them.
What I feel that we as a generation are losing out on is creativity. I know that for sure when I look at someone wearing a (fake) solid colored tee with "being human" written in a simple font in white, and I feel, "this doesn't look bad".


How do you sneeze? Yes, you heard me right. How do you sneeze?

Do you go all aa-aaa-AAA-SNEEEEZEEE!! or one of those "fich" sneezes that a person would miss if he happens to be opening a can of soda?

Why? Because my friend, it's important.
Now that reminds me of that Dabur Lal dant manjan ad where Sunil Shetty tells a beefed up guy (who cannot bite an apple) how teeth should not be neglected. Well, neither should the sneeze.

A sneeze is more than what you think it is. A sneeze is an extension of your personality. Think of the chick who sits 10 cubicles from you in office (and despite your extensive efforts, you haven't been able to get introduced to). She knows how you look, and she knows how you sneeze. If you are capable of sneezing loud enough, that is. Btw, if you are one of those guys who thinks that women do not go by looks, think again. How many good looking girls have you told that looks don't matter for you? You can do the math.

So what does a sneeze tell about you? Lots actually.
There are the lion heart sneezes that threaten the window panes and there are the sheepish weak "fich" ones that get you all irritated. There are indecisive "aa-aa-aa-chhi"'s that will take forever to come and there are the violent "HAN-CHHI" that speak of anger and frustration in the underlying souls. In short, there are as many types of sneezes as there are people.

Just as websites have digital signatures, human beings have sneeze signatures. You can copy the content of the website but you cannot copy the signature. Just as you can copy a human, thanks to modern cosmetic surgery, but you cannot copy his sneeze. You might ail or age or be sad or happy, but your sneeze will sound just the same.

Luckily, I happen to be blessed with a powerful sneeze. When I sneeze, one floor below and above know. When my Dad sneezes, two floors above and below know. When Grandpa would sneeze, half the village would know; I attribute the degradation in sneeze quality to the adulteration that has crept into human civilization over time.

So my friend, this rainy season, work on your sneeze. For you never know, you might get caught in a little drizzle and start sneezing. And you will never realize when you let out a sheep sneeze and lose the girl. You look cool, fine; you dress cool, great; it's time you sneezed cool.

As Grandpa would say, "A tiger fears you only as much as you fear it. Where it wins is strength and desperation". It's in moments like these than a tiger sneeze could turn the balance.

What is Success?

- Success.

- What is Success?

- Who is supposed to define what success is?

- Some hot-shots would say is a success.

- I would say linkedin is dumb.

- I am aware that linkedin is valued in billions of dollars.

- There was time when I was little and innocent and what I do today was success.

- There could be a time when what is success today will no longer be success.

- That is, if I get there.

- Does Bill Gates feel the need for more money?

- I am pretty sure the rest of the people on this planet do.

- Who is Successful?

- Is he delusional?

- How happy is he?

- What the heck will he do now??????????

Normal, Genius and Frustrated

There are three types of people in this world - Normal, Genius and Frustrated.

To illustrate further, I would like to give you an example.

Three people named Normal, Genius and Frustrated walk into a bar. There's a band playing a very catchy tune. None of them has ever played any musical instrument before, but they're all impressed with the music. All of them develop this desire to learn to play the guitar.

So far so good. The story was uniform. Not any longer.

- Normal toils hard to learn the guitar. Ten people say they do not want to teach him because he understands no music. Ten others refuse to teach him because he is not gifted enough. Normal doesn't give up and after what can be called a fair amount of time, he is able to play the tune decently well.

Normal invites his friends for a party and shows of his skills. His friends clap and Normal is happy. He goes off to sleep contented. End of story.

- Genius picks up a guitar. After some time alone with the guitar, he is able to understand how the thing is supposed to work. Some more time, and viola! Genius, is able to play the tune. But does Genius stop here?

No. Genius has a great inspiration and he creates a new tune that is kind of groundbreaking stuff. Next the story can go in two directions.
Rockstar Genius goes on stage somewhere and plays his tune. Instant fame and recognition. End of story.

Shy Genius hides his tune somewhere until a smoking blonde manages to dig it out. She coaxes him (:P) into playing it in public. Instant fame and recognition. End of story.

- Frustrated is kinda lazy so he takes a long long time before he actually picks up a guitar. During this time he is very frustrated because he is not picking up the guitar. When he finally does, some pretty teacher agrees to teach him. She is fairly impressed with him because he is able to learn it really fast. After what some people would call a small amount of time, he is able to play the tune.

Frustrated (like Normal) decides to invite his friends for a party where he wants to show off his skills. Another associated desire is to ask his Teacher out after the play (She is also invited). Frustrated plays and all his friends clap.

But this isn't Normal's story, so it gets complicated. Teacher tells him that he is really cute and talented, but she already has a boyfriend. Some *&#$@? friend tells him how the rendition was almost as good as the original. (Incidentally, he had mentioned this to Normal as well, but weirdly enough, he seemed fine with it).

All this is too much for Frustrated. He continues to go to sleep jittery and frustrated.

I rest my case. :)

P.S. Not to be taken seriously

To AnimaTe or Not to....

Some days back my manager came up to me and asked me if we could show a particular stock animation on the Interface at some particular event in the hardware. What happened to that is another story saved for some other time, but what happened a week back is interesting.

I was trying to connect my PC to the internet using a nokia phone and nokia PC suite. This was something my mom and dad had tried sometime back at home (without child supervision :-)) and failed.

Whenever that happens, I get a call explaining the problem and expecting a fix. I had never seen that software at the time, so all I could come up with was some 'useless beating around the bush' which, needless to say, failed (My Dad, as usual, thought my engineering degree was a waste of money).

So coming back to previous week, at the climax of the connection activity (while the PC was trying to connect), there was a decent, neat animation showing waves travelling from the PC towards the tower (You must have seen it if you have ever connected to the internet using nokia PC suite). My Dad, who had been watching wordlessly till now, commented -

"As long as no waves come back from the tower, this cannot possibly connect."

Animation brings life to UI's and has enormous potential to confuse simple people.

Once during my first experience of Windows OS, something that I had put for copy hung. The progress bar wouldn't budge a millimeter, but I was happy because I could see bits of paper flying from one folder to the other!