08 December 2006

Mayatha Marivillida

Found this old malayalam song that I used to really like. We used to sing it in the bus on the way to our school picnics. St Josephites remember?

[ watch the video ]

06 December 2006

Work Terms

There are a few words and phrases that people use at work and they make me squirm. Used unthinkingly and usually meaningless. One wouldn't use that in casual conversations and besides, some don't sound very illogical.

You see, sometimes I would like to compare apples and oranges. And I don't want to touchbase with anyone, I'd get in touch with them. I'd love to whack them if they did a 'timeout' on me. If someone thinks we are going down a rabbithole, various thoughts of a dainty Alice or a storming March Hare come to mind. Here's some more terms - a strategic decision, this is Swami's favourite - paradigm shift!

Will add more.

Apparently, the BBC and I share similar opinions. Here, read.

08 November 2006

About three unname-able people

One person in the office has started to wear a coat, suit and tie soon after he was given the title of Lead Developer For X and Y. This, despite the work environment being quite relaxed and dress code rather informal. This is in direct contrast to the behaviour of the third person in this essaylet.

The second person wears thick black glasses, a ring on one ear and his long matted shineless hair is piled up in an unflattering lump in the centre of his head. I have seen him loiter around near the photocopying machine and the printer. He sits at his desk, alone, behind a large green cupboard, sips coffee and ticks off something in a typed white sheet.

The third person, I have seen only once. I had to lean forward, squint and raise my eyebrow to make sure I was not imagining him in my head. He was dressed in a black leather jacket and a black leather skirt that went way above his knees. His head was smooth and oval. Shaved to a pink.

For now, I am not going to say anything about the man who wears a purple and black waistcoat every day (god, he must smell!) or about the girl who dyed her hair blue. Too ordinary.

31 October 2006

Google eBay Ad

I saw it here.

History Lessons

My only and crazy little nephew Sanat, eight years old, is in school and up to a lot of things like being an admirer of Himesh Reshammiya and superman and fighting evil forces. In his academic life, he was recently working an assignment on Gandhi. It so happens that he thinks Gandhiji preached atyagraha (ahem, greed) instead of satyagraha (seeking truth). Now how did he manage to skip the first letter? I can understand how he interpreted the little rhyme here as an encouragement to litter the floor.

Bits of paper, Bits of paper
Lying on the ground, Lying on the ground
Make the place untidy, Make the place untidy
Pick them up, Pick them up

But I sincerely hope he grows up to be less indignant and more understanding of Gandhiji who had wanted only the British to leave when he said 'Quit India' !

Trick or treat?

The pub next door was bustling with grown ups and noisy little children. It was a bit too busy for a Tuesday evening. I certainly didn't expect to hear a knock at the door. Surely not after all members of my family (i.e. Ashok) had got back home. So I opened the door and didn't find anyone in the eye level.

I looked down and there was a little girl in a skeleton costume and an even snaller sack in her hand saying to me trick or treat?. I gaped in unpreparedness. Ashok came through in time and spoke with unprecedented ease and familiarity and the girl stayed standing with her bag. So it came to my information that on Halloween's day, chocolate or any form of sweet is to be given to such twilight visitors. That done, the girl thanked us happily and shot off.

The second knock followed soon enough and I leaped up to open the door. This time there were two girls . Both dressed in red frocks with some red and blue ears, blue paint over the eyes and better looking bags. However, they hadn't said anything. I smiled and then leaned forward and downward smilingly. They stared back at me, quiet and smileless. Now, I could not say Treat! to them. So following their example, I cheerlessly handed the chocolate. They scraped it from my hand and walked away without thanking or wishing me happiness on Halloween.

The third knock came from a little witch in a pointed orange hat and flowing white gown. She had her face covered in green , but I am sure she was smiling when she peeped through the eye hole in her mask. She eagerly greeted me and yelled Trick or Treat. And for my part, I festively handed her the chocolate.

Wonder what the spooky little people would do had I said Trick!

30 October 2006

Proof to Sibling

This is for the benefit of Sreesh some day to convince him that the beach in Poole didn't have many waves and one of the reasons why it didn't irritate me very much. It is so unlike a sand and wave infested beach that it is even called something else, a quay (say kee to get it right, or qway to rhyme with sway and be individual). This is my view of what they call Durdle Door arch.

Artist At Work

The corner of the eye saw another one working on photoshop of something large and fuzzy. The eye may have ignored it, but from where it was, the eye soon discerned the image as that of the very person working on it. The head that lodged the eye looked up, in idle curiousity.

The person, a surly and very senior technical person, was the doer of the deed. The picture was zoomed in fully. Unmindful that the actions were based in the office and very near the corridor on a really large screen visible to the near and far, the person remained absorbed in the task with the eagerness usually attributed to the female. It was as if he was looking in a mirror. Now staring into his own eyes, now scratcing his cheeks, now admiring his large ears.

The eye that watched, narrowed in an errupting smile. The eyebrows, they rose in surprise and amusement. The chiselling was segmented. Slow and careful. Perhaps the blemishes are now gone? Are there not as many wrinkles any more? Is this good enough? One final look. The long needle must have crawled through a half circle. The final nod and click. The intrigue wore off and eye rested!

27 October 2006

Extreme Technology

We are now in a stage in the project where we do a lot of Browser related testing, Mostly to do with look and feel. So the styling experts like us to take screenshots of problems and mail them. This morning, none of us could figure out how to do a Print Screen on the Apple Mac. So, Olawale resourcefully used his camera phone, so much easier!

12 October 2006

Time !

Cannot believe it is 10 years that Desadanam was released. I used to try and learn all the songs in it. Maya Haridas gave me the cassette after much reminding. Memories rushing back. I was doing BSc Maths first year !

11 October 2006

Tectonic Shift

I work with the IT people for the Travel Desk of a well known publishing house and I heard this conversation between two developers at lunch:

developer 1: Where is Salzburg ?
developer 2: Austria, why do you ask?
developer 1: It may not be there anymore!
developer 2: And why not ?
developer 1: Because I added it as a child class of Germany

25 September 2006


Every morning, I walk the same route. Pass the same street with garbage can. Even encounter the same passersby heading my way. Occasionally, there is a white van with men hard at work, digging or loading things. Everything is so familiar, that I can even afford to read a book when I am walking (okay, okay I know I should not) before I reach the signal.

This morning, I noticed a new bright blue sign pointing to what looked like a new eating place. It was just outside that little restaurant opposite my workplace. Laila Cafe, the hand painted red letters declared delicately pointing in the opposite direction. Must belong to a rather cheeky competitor, I thought to myself. So I walked on, instead thinking kind thoughts and feeling sympathy and admiration for the little motherless girl in the book I was reading.

Incessant traffic. People on either side, waiting. Cyclists breaking rules. Royal mail van turning up in the corner with one eye flashing. I looked around trying to pass time. I looked back and glanced up at the name of that restaurant whose name I had never seen. Laila Cafe, it read. My head jerked and I blinked trying to sort out why the painted sign which also said Laila Cafe. And it was there, metallic and small, resting on the footpath innocently pointing to the opposite side.

The lights went red and I crossed the road forgetting all about Laila Cafe for a moment. But it nagged me that the sign board was wrong. It gnawed me just as much when my deskphone cord tangles up. The sheer urge to uncoil the mess. It amused me as if I had seen someone wear a pair of socks one white and one red. It also concerned me that hungry people might go in the wrong direction to fill their bellies. So I crossed the road again and went into Laila Cafe in Farringdon Road.

07 August 2006

Sounds that make me happy

Footsteps when i am nearly awake
Teeth brushing sounds from someone i like.
Radio announcements
Pigeons grunting through the chimney
Newspaper unfolding and being read
Postman approaching my door
Crackling crisp purple onion peels
The reluctant whirr of a fan just switched on till it finds its rhythm
Rain on the roof
Yawn of a baby
The alarm when i have a nightmare
The long groaning wooden swing
Clicking bags shut when its time to go home
Church bells singing with the wind on a quiet Sunday afternoon
A phone call when i least expect one
Chillies and ginger sizzling in oil

22 July 2006


Running on rail tracks. Sand everywhere. Leaping and bounding across tracks. Scorching midday sun. Screeching trains in close pursuit. Rattling rail tracks. Hot chase. Sweat. Heart beats. Lungs on fire. Nerves on end. Not letting go of clenched fists. Still racing. Engine hurtles past. Phew, made it just in time.
It is a massive cylindrical building painted black on the insides. Each floor is circular. The balconies of carved wood are widest at the top and narrow with every floor below. The ceiling is high, there is space in abundance. The missing bit is the stairs. The lone prisoner is on the top floor in darkness. On the bottom most floor someone is engaged in a duel. The mission is to reach the cellar in time for the underground train to escape. The duel is on. The prisoner leaps down each floor, shackled though she is. The duel meanwhile, has been won. Freedom!
The old lady lives next door. I visit her each day. She is disabled. She tells me stories and feeds me good food. She hangs clothes to dry outside her house above the well where I can see. One day when I go to her, she laughs and tells me I can no longer visit her. I am puzzled, or am I a bit afraid? I leave and as I do, the doors I pass suddenly come to life and whack me on the butt and send me flying to the next. And so on till I find myself by the familiar blue rusty gate. At home I discover, we all have to leave. Somewhere. It is night. Bags are packed. The taxi has arrived. But strangely, aunt and children have left without proper direction. Scooter comes trotting on its own. Kalasipalayam is far away! London Open bus arrives. We all sit safely in to leave for an unknown destination.

28 June 2006


Somebody at coffee-machine conversation told me they know that least 1200 Iraqis serve in Britain as Medicos

23 June 2006

Lunchtime at Farringdon Road

Afternoons in the office between one and two.

Activity dims. Chaos and chatter leave. I almost have the place to myself. I can hear stray coughs, heavy breathing and soporific tap-tap of keyboards. A lunchbox is opened. Buses rumble on the street. A train rattles past. I can hear where I sit, five floors above. I eat lunch. Read a book review. The sound of rustling newspapers punctuates the quiet in the room. A phone buzzes quietly. There is a conversation in the next room.

The sound of a footfall entering the room, and the spell is broken!

Windy morning

It has been very windy. My walk from the station to 119. Meant to be summer, instead seems a pleasant winter's day. Hair stood up on end acknowledging the cold wind. Like buckets of invisible water hurled at my ears. Some other people were more shielded from the wind than I. iPods plugged helpfully in their ears.

07 April 2006

Requirements - when I feel drowsy at work

As a Tester (user role)

I would like a Testbed (functionality)

So that I can sleep on it (business value)

25 January 2006

But I found the Post Office

Just wondering how you are. I know it’s a long time I've written. Am trying to get settled. But honestly, I'm feeling quite unsettled. I remember you telling me once there is no time in life where one feels settled down.

I miss a lot of things that I knew I would miss when I came back here. But there are newer and differently nice things and people. There are also some changes I am finding hard to accept. Like for instance, sometimes in the morning, I expect to wake up and go down to meet my mother and Sreesh for coffee downstairs or suddenly chatter away about something odd, I find I am really very far away.

People move on they say. I have moved on from one phase of life to another, each of which I have thoroughly enjoyed living and I have hardly realized the time pass by. I never saw myself as anywhere out of my school. I could have always walked back home every single day from the bus stop back with Rugmini and chatted about events and people in college. I could have always gone on unplanned trips with friends. May be in a few years I would say, I could have always come back home after a long day’s work and relaxed on the couch with music, but now I find myself old with grandchildren, toothless and eating uppuma and pasta.

There’s something weird about being in a software job. Apart from the money and great circle of friends, I find very little fulfilment in the job in itself. This is not to forget that there have been projects I have really enjoyed working on and learnt a lot of things.

I keep asking myself, if this is what I really want. I have been reading lots of papers on testing. Outrageous. So many of them zero-content. The same stale theme repeated over. In different words and very un-refreshingly. And such people come to fame and get celebrated as international speakers and experts. I feel all this corporate world is big nonsense and does little good to the world.

When I teach myself a new programming language for fun, I ask myself, who it benefits. The language by itself is not even anything remotely permanent, because very soon some other next-best-thing in new technology will arrive to solve some so-called business problem. All the software managers will put on their ties and shiny shoes and sprinkle power-points on gullible clients and hypnotize them into paying hefty sums for some crazy application that I test meaninglessly for days on end. Some times I find myself stretching on a task for six to eight days that really needs only a day or two of concentrated effort. Don’t know who I am fooling. Me or the rest of the world.

So I am wondering whether to set myself a purpose. What my purpose is I don’t know. However, I think I need to be looking for something. I went to the town library last weekend. Spent a couple of hours browsing and reading. Then I read bartleby.com which has literature online. And then organized searching on the net. Got me some authors toget started on. Ben Okri, Mitch Albom, Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickenson.

Then I am listening, as always to some carnatic music. Looked on the net for carnatic music related blogs. Also going to figure out how to reach out to people here who have musical interests. Don’t know if Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is a good place to start. Do you have any ideas? I need some place where I can sing. This morning I took the lift right up to the topmost floor and then came walking all the way down because I was itching to sing the JalajAksha-Hamsadhwani varnam. The stairs were very quiet. And I don’t care who heard me sing, as long as I didn’t see them. More importantly, I need a music system. Something I can just switch on as soon as I wake up and will make me happy about while I am living through the day.

I am just back from a walk in the afternoon where I was pretending to looking for a post office. What I do is, I follow my nose. So despite the cold I walked and walked. And despite the cold, I came to realize that I was singing a song Sheila Gomez had taught us in school

How I love to go for a walk along the street
Just to smile along to the people that I meet
And to watch the show of the happy, happy feet
When I say to myself it’s a miracle!

It was a happy coincidence really! Where I had landed myself, was a place called BroadGate circle. There was a decent crowd of squealing children and assorted grown-ups at a huge skating rink with low music playing. Some almost near-professional and some reluctant beginners. I stood there and stared. I imagined that it was dark and that they had glittering costumes - instead of the sweaty back and sticky clothes that i could see – and stood rooted and gazed and lost. I am back now feeling slightly happier, less disturbed about the world around me and more sure of myself.

18 January 2006

In the News

A couple of things in the news have disturbed me over the last few days.

-Trees are now seen as one of the causes of global warming, thanks to the Max Planck University, as they have found to release methane
-Fizz drinks like coke, pepsi are reportedly good for your brain
-Children in several countries are suffering homeless in the snow
-Individuals killed or brutally murdered while walking, travelling and holidaying by thieves or rapists.

I am worrying for the world.

Sunrise in St Albans

In fact there isn't any. Nor sunset. I need to remember not to look out for it in winter. Factually there have been only two occasions when I have seen the sun since the new year. One was when I saw gleaming sun rays in the upper shelves in the kitchen and I shrieked with joy and looked out immediately. The shriek unfortunately worried Ashok at the other room a little bit who lacked penetrating vision through walls. The second instance of sun-sighting was in the afternoon when I went out for a little stroll during lunch. Encouraged, I went out strolling again the next day. Little pellets of snow fell on my unhatted head.