Wednesday, June 21, 2006

After Three Years

Prolouge: This post is a letter I wrote to six of my friends a while ago. The six of us joined the same company after college three years ago. We had a blast in the initial training days, which lasted for 10 weeks. Now we are scattered all over the globe! We were a great gang except for things like only one person read my mail! etc. I would blame the self-centred-blog nature of the mail instead of them though. We have 'grown' a lot as individuals since then though! This is a nostalgic one.

Well some people are not very good at letting the past go.
Especially when the past has been so dreamy with all
its ups and downs, with people taking you to the skies
and leaving you there, only to watch you fall !!!

Now, would I trade in 10 weeks of roller coaster in a place full
of friends, full of learning, full of excitement, full of open alleys;
a place where the dreams were bigger than the obstacles,
where money was just what it has be: sufficient.

For 10 weeks in a place, where friends are rare, dreams are
a ramshackle, money is a plenty raising the bid on your soul,
where boredom is the most exciting thing, and dreams are
just what they are: dreams.

Would I trade in...
Incorrigible hope for clear vision?
Unsolicited advice for calm apathy?
Juvenile mistakes for cynical maturity?
Glory addiction for soothing resignation?
Waves of the ocean for ripples of the lake?
Gusto of the winds for sturdiness of the mountain?

Would I trade in
Enthusiasm for experience?
You name the price, because I know I can not pay it.

- RakA

Friday, June 16, 2006

The milestones you do not see coming

Along the path of life, there come milestones.

Well it is beaten-to-death sentences like the above that make me hate metaphors. Well but then for every million attempts of mankind at metaphor, there comes one that makes all the mediocre oft repeated crap worth it. Well I should not be complaining about metaphors, my name is one after all. Thanks to the ingenuity of the Sanskrith language at forming words.

The usual milestones are like your first job, your first suit, your first mobile phone etc. I make sure that all such materialistic milestones are as ignorable as possible, by say, not buying mom and dad a nice gift with the first salary, resigning your first job as soon as possible etc.

Then there are the 'turning big' milestones like, the first time you felt a women, the first time you touched her breasts, the first time you had sex etc. Well I am an Indian and I am ashamed of my non-existent record here. Hence I try best not to think of it.

Some where between or above or below the two kinds of milestones mentioned above are the ones that I care for.
The first stage performance. The first tournament participation. The first cheering a bunch of girls gave you (you should see me blush here) . The first class trip. The first flight. The first time you talk on stage out of popular demand etc. .

After coming to the US, I have been having a lot of milestones in quick succession, I guess its because of the average speed of traffic is higher here. There are the usual milestones that all foreigners count like, First time overseas. Getting the damn SSN. Getting a Credit card. Getting the Driver's License etc. .

But on the more beautiful road of American life and the more exciting ride of a global life , are stones that read
The first snowfall. The first ski trip. The first ice skate. The first road trip. The first time you dance ballroom. The first time you surf. The first time a girl gives you a quick teasing hug (you should have seen my face then).

These are all the things you see coming. Off late there have been milestones that I never saw coming. Some of them good some of them bad, but all of them memorable.

1) Spending an entire day without meeting anyone who knows your name!
Well, in this remote suburb of North Carolina, I had to spend a couple of weekends all by myself. It was a very weird feeling and I would not wish it up on even an enemy. And I swear by my life and my love of it that, I will be there for the sake of another man or ask another man to be there for mine.

2) A foreigner asking you 'Baagunnara?' (How are you doing?) and 'Dhanyavaadam' (Thanks)!
Well, I went to see a Telugu movie here in the USA. The lady at the counter with her heavy American accent asked me, in my own mother tongue 'How are you?' . Well that is the power of being a consumer I guess. But cynicism apart, it feels great to see a foreigner trying to speak your language. After all language is a very endearing thing. Alas the English miss this feeling.

3) Getting drenched completely on the way to office
4) Discussing racism at lunch table with three white guys.
This June the monsoon hit India pretty early, eager to see their most ardent lover. Alas! were they disappointed at not finding him after raining heavily North, South, East, West. Well then the little rains of the American east cost wired them about a guy here. The next thing you know it stops raining in India and there are thunderstorms here.

As I started walking to office in the slight drizzle, the excited clouds on spotting me, could not control their love and started being very generous. So there I was fifteen minutes in a down pour. When I reached office, I had to remove my shirt and shoes. Thankfully I was wearing a brown sleeved vest bordering on T shirt inside my shirt. In an office where you can wear punctured t shirts, I was dressed enough to go out to lunch.

At lunch, a world cup match started playing. A colleague of mine remarked how racism is more prevalent in European soccer according to a report by ESPN. We engaged in an interesting discussion about racism, the best part of it being; they were never like, "Oh ok this guy is an Asian so we should be careful in what we speak."

It is good when people are not worried about being politically correct and speak their mind. That is the least racist way to be!

I gave my own 'refreshing' insight into it; which premises on the fact that 'racism is as much in the white head as in a black or other minority head'; its only a natural tendency to group. Instead, we could be counting on how welcoming societies can be rather than trying to spot those black dots on the huge white wall.

Sorry for that banal metaphor again! Its hard to control an age old river of tasteless water in a single day! Ok... Not another word...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Quarter Life Bliss

About me: I used to grab life by the horns.

First things first, I am not in requited Love or on Marijuana, so I am not the best qualified person to speak about Bliss; but then when has 'not being qualified' started being a reason not to do things? George Bush for example.

Right from the day my birth was complete five years ago, I wanted to excel. My birth started about eight years ago, when I was transfered to a class with a lake-side view in junior college (some places refered to as high school) and ended as I said five years ago. The start of this process was marked by my making some of the best friends for life and the end of the process was marked by my psychologically manipulating some of the best friends for life.

Now into my sixth year, I am undergoing quarter life bliss. People who have been following my life closely may choose to call it among aother things, 'crisis', 'mess' or even 'chalupas'. But I would rather stick to bliss. It all started when I friggin gave up!

I and the guy I replaced five to eight years ago were always perfectionists, glory addicts.
I did what ever it took to be 'successful'. I did or tried to do all the things people write in their 'about me's. Like 'living life to the fullest', 'living life king size', 'having life all figured out' etc. and some things that they do not write in the 'about me's like 'failing in basic subjects', 'loving one sided.. again and again and again', 'learning slang in various languages' etc. etc.

It all payed off I guess. By the end of college I won the oscar equivalent of the sex-ratiotically-challenged college; that is a bunch of girls form my junior class came and talked to me. Here stress is on 'came' and 'talk'; because girls in junior classes are generally like you 'go' and they 'do not talk' to you.

Well all this continued, I was party hopping from job to job, being a 'star'; was kind of enjoying it. In those days I chose money over love, destination over journey, GDP over Olympic medals, Bangalore over Mysore and milk shake over beer. Yeah I can hear you say to yourself 'Oh all wrong choices! hmmm'

When I reached what is the Mt. Everest equivalent of 'Aadarsha Telugu abbayi's' life, ie. the highest GPA at the best MS schools, I gave up. Right now I do not have any major aspirations in life. When somebody asks me "what are your plans?", I say "Well, good question". Which transltes from Well-lish to "I do not know". I am more concerned about "where is the next dance party?" or "Where is the nearest skating rink?", "Where do I buy a cheap car so that I can go around?"

About Me: I am forced to live life in the moment.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Techie Found Dead in Code

Client machines Sita and Gita are suspected of killing their patron Raka.

Raka, a 6 year exp programmer from C-Land has been found dead in code at the return of function dbgLog(). Raka uses this function frequently in his code while working on computers Sita and Gita. "But in that Run of the unfortunate program, it was not mandatory for Raka to be single stepping trough dbgLog", friends lament. "We used to envy that he had two machines, both 64 bit Athlon, with flat screen LCD monitors and a combined 150GB! But we never thought they would do this to him" they added.

Raka's baap Munna says that Sita aur Gita were never happy with Raka and his patronage and were schemeing to kill him for a long time. They run him down with a huge stack, as he was about to leave dbgLog for the entry ramp to the freeflow of main . Investigators how ever think Munna's comments have no basis in virtuality; but the agents Nagraj and Mukundam were lost for explanations themselves.

Meanwhile, Techie groups domain-wide have stepped up protests against the glim lines of code they are made to dwell in and fix when necessary. They also demand a full fledged investigation in to the incident and bringing the culprits to law. "It is time the aristocratic machines, with pull, and hard-coding techies are treated equal", a techie protester appealed.