Saturday, 31 October 2009

Its been a Week!

This happened on the first day here! I was walking along with my roomie at six in the morning. It was going to be our first day at work. And so we were walking with our heads held high. The larger footprints are mine. Obviously!

29th October 2009

I live in a place called 'Infocity'. It is a township in itself. A stone throw away from my apartment is a spectacular mall. It has all the brands on Earth and every kind of eatery. It has pizza parlours, cafes, South Indian joints, snack bars, kiosks and every other thing. There are a bunch of cyber cafes too and the surfing rates are lower than those prevalent in Mumbai. The people here are nice and surprisingly soft spoken by Gujarati standards! This place can easily double up as a sanctuary though. It definitely has more species of animals than the zoo in Mumbai. Cows, bullocks, squirrels, dogs, cats, pigeons etc form an integral part of Infocity. The weather here is extreme. It gets really hot in the daytime and chillingly cold during night. But for a guy who has spent most of his summer vacations in Oman and winter vacations in Canada, extreme weather is not really a concern. The hostel is an epitome of national integrity. It has associates from virtually every corner of India. Seeing a techie dressed in a lungi or a kurta for that matter, is not an uncommon sight here.

Since I share my room with a Jain, I have decided to stay off non vegetarian food for as long as possible. Now that is tantamount to Paris Hilton taking a vow of celibacy. But three days into it and I am going strong. Actually forget non vegetarian food, even swatting flies becomes an issue with him!

I am writing this post at 5 30 in the morning on my laptop and this place seems like a graveyard. Apparently no one here gets up before 7. Now that is really strange when you consider the fact that four people need to share one solitary bathroom!

Coming to work, wearing a tie is mandatory. Supremely talented though I am, I modestly admit that knotting a tie is not something that comes naturally to me. So most of the time I end up wearing what looks like an inverted noose round my neck. Our superiors at work are very understanding and sweet. That is not really surprising because at Tata's, work ethics are of utmost importance.

31st October 2009

Couldn't remain chaste. Ate lovely chicken curry yesterday :)

Quote for the day: The greatest wastage in life is using two words when one suffices.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A lot of Firsts

It is my third day here at Ahmedabad, but mentally I feel like I have been here my entire life. I leave my studio apartment at 8 30 in the morning and return only after sunset at around 7. The poet who wrote 'We have no time to stand and stare' must surely have been referring to the training programs of these software companies. I have taken my laptop along, but I don't have internet connectivity in my apartment. And as expected these sites are blocked at my workplace. These two days largely consisted of introductory sessions. Some monotonous, some very interesting. Today we got our bank accounts made. Net banking , phone banking, e banking, the jargon just doesn't stop. It feels good to have started earning though! I shaved for the first time in my life here. We have to shave everyday. Part of the corporate look, I guess. Shaving would definitely feature in my 'not so favourite things' post, if I were to update it! Wearing formals was another thing I detested, but now two days into the program and it has already stopped bothering me that much. My apartment is not luxurious, but borders on the 'more than enough' side. I share my apartment with three other trainees. The HR wanted them to be from different colleges, but I was fortunate enough to have one of my classmates as my room mate. The evenings are by far the best part. Everyone unwinds and hangs out at the local cafe or plays some game or the other. We don't have a television in our apartment, but we do have some commons ones. Only cricket matches and movies on HBO are placed. The latter, I guess, is largely due to the fact that it is the only decent English movie channel to have sub titles. Our lectures haven't started as yet, but seniors here tell me that it will only get more hectic. The pass percentage for the precious batches has been 19%. If you fail, you get a week's extension. I like this place, but not that much! The morning person that I am, I get up at around 5. It quiet and cold and peaceful. A lot more to write about, including my journey, but I got to leave now. I am sorry if this post has been random, but that reflects my present state of mind.

Quote for the day: It is never an issue of time. It is always an issue of priorities.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


28th June, 2008.
HR Interview for TCS,
K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering,

--After a series of rather innocuous and boring questions like how many visas you have, what are your hobbies and some dumb case studies, the interviewer asked me--

"So Shawn, to all the students before you I asked some real tough questions. I am sure you didn't expect me to ask you such easy questions with no right or wrong answers."

"Sir actually whenever I go for an interview, I do so without building up any prejudices from what you asked the previous candidates. In this way, the answers come from my heart and not from my mind. And genuineness is always more appealing"

--I crossed my fingers. Not for the first time in the interview. For I had lied. I had rehearsed this line long enough for it to sound convincing--

"Alright Shawn, you have a GRE score of 1480 and your academic aggregate is 80%. Straight from the 'heart', will you join TCS?"

"Yes Sir, I will"

--I crossed my fingers once again. And the bad part was that even he knew I was lying. Little did the two of us realise how wrong we both were--

This Saturday, the 24th of October, I will be leaving for Ahmedabad to undergo 'training' for TCS. Well that is how unpredictable life is. Updating my blog in Ahmedabad will be tough, largely because I won't have a 24 hour net connection and partly because I might be inundated with work. But whenever I get the opportunity I will definitely post something.

Quote for the day: (In honour of my article being published on Rediff)
The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and to put it back in your pocket.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Emptysea goes Global

That may be an exaggeration, but I'm damn happy! My blog post got published on!

You can read it all here

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Oh bummer! He just won the Nobel

'I thought the only thing you get for making empty speeches on world peace was Miss World'

- A post on Twitter

Alfred Nobel was a rather clever guy. The inventor of the dynamite didn't want himself to be remembered as the angel of death. And so he left a handsome amount of his estate to establish the Nobel prizes. It sounds pretty similar to what Einstein did. He spent half his life working on an apparently innocuous looking equation. And the other half trying to quell the destruction caused by it. Coming back to Nobel and his prizes, I feel the jury proved to be a step ahead of the master himself.

When Barack Hussein Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the world looked on in shock. After all, what did the first citizen of the world do in a mere nine months to merit such an honour? And to have his name in the same bracket as Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa? I then read that at the time the nominations for the prize were filled, Obama had just completed his first week in office. And then it dawned on me. It wasn't Obama who won the prize. It was the President of America! The jury could have so easily given the award to some activist protecting exotic species of birds in the Amazon rain forests or to some global warming activist. But instead they chose to give it to someone, who over the next few years will take vital decisions with regards to world peace. And every time he has to make such a decision, the fact that he has been credited with such an honour will definitely be at the back of his mind. And this can only be good for the rest of us.

Obama didn't win it for what he did, but rather for what he can and should do!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

These are a Few of my Not-so-Favourite Things

Commas: I just don't understand when to use commas. And when not to. I'm told that a comma is used when you want the reader to pause. Then what is a semicolon for? A longer pause, they say. But isn't that the job of a full stop?
I, never; get it.

Talking on the phone: I don't quite know what the reason is. But I find it really difficult to talk to people on the phone. I think it is because even the slightest pause in the conversation leads to an awkward moment. Because of which you always have to think of something to say. Which makes me nervous. And it shows. Sadly.

Stripes: Looking at stripes makes me giddy. The first time I realised this was in junior college. The girl sitting ahead of me had worn stripes. That sent me in a tizzy. I thought Cupid had struck. It was only on the next day when she wore another top did it dawn on me that the actual culprit was the stripes and not Cupid.

Indirectness: Hints. Insinuations. Suggestions. I get none of it. I hate when people don't come directly to the point. And beat around the bush.

Shopping: There are a number of reasons why shopping irritates me. Primarily it is because I find it really hard to choose stuff. And then when I happen to like something, they either don't have the size or it is obscenely priced. And when neither is the case, you realise that the thing doesn't look half as good on you as it does on the mannequin.
Besides, there is something mysterious about those lights they have in the trial rooms in the malls. They make clothes look so much better on you.

Shoe Laces: I still struggle to tie my shoe laces. They invariably come off every hour. In school, my doting mother used to tie them for me. Now I buy shoes which are a size bigger. So that I can just slip my feet in them. And I don't have to tie my laces every time.

Noise: I can't stand noise. Whether it is in the form of loud music in a car/club. Or the guy in the car next to you who has his one hand permanently on the horn. Or the Gujju lady standing behind you in a queue, whose vocal cords put loud speakers to shame.

Post Script: That ends the series on my favourite and not so favourite things. It looks like a very odd list to me. But just in case any of you dear readers, think that our likes and dislikes match, stay away! We'd make for horrible company.

Quote for the day: Life gives you exactly what you settle for.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A Living Funeral

A living funeral is a gathering centered around someone who will soon die.

I first came across the concept of a living funeral in the book 'Tuesdays with Morrie'. No, I haven't read the book. It is just another bit of reflected knowledge that I have. Morrie was diagnosed with some critical illness and the doctors had given him three months or so to live. It was then that Morrie was struck with the idea of having a living funeral.

A month or so back my mother's college principal expired. He had been instrumental in coaxing my mother to major in English Literature. And majoring in English Lit truly changed my mother's life, in more ways than one. When my mother was reading her mentor's obituary, she learnt things about him that she never quite knew. Her principal had majored from Oxford and then done his doctorate from Harvard. But he chose to leave all that and come and teach students in some nondescript corner of India. And while I was reading the glowing tributes paid to him by his very many students, there was only one thought in my mind.

If only he could have read all this...

Writing flowery obituaries is nice, but honestly dude, you missed the boat. These tributes will be little consolation to the bereaved family. And since not all of us will be fortunate enough to attend living funerals and tell that special some one all that we have felt, I feel a simple 'Thank You' card would be just as effective. Which is precisely why I bought a bunch of them and gave them to my favorite teachers. One friend of mine remarked that since college was over I need not butter them any more. But my relationship with them goes far beyond marks and subjects I couldn't care less about. And as write this piece I see that I still have one card left. One more chance to put a smile on someone's face. Before I buy another set.

Quote of the Day: Time always has some reconciling effect. On every ruin there
eventually grows grass, and then some shrubbery, and finally, before
you realize it, what is really an old hideous ruin becomes a romantic
sight and legend.

Article dedicated to every one of you who has written me a thank you card and shown me the way.