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Showing posts from 2011

Enjoy Your Sunday Before Monday Gets Here

Today is a Sunday. The holy day for all those who have to work Monday to Saturday, the day we sleep late, eat comfort food and just generally spend it by being lazy. This program is not acceptable to those who stay at home, at least that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn watching my mom for the last 10 years or so. Around 12 noon, the doorbell rang. Not my favorite way to start a Sunday but I didn’t get a choice in the matter. And something told me it would be my mom. I’m not prone to flashes of intuition but when I do get them, boy am I right!

It was my mom back from a week with her parents because my grandfather just had surgery (he’s doing great, in case you’re wondering). The first thing she says is not howI am or something on those lines but I get the usual spiel of how can I be waking up just now, how could I skip breakfast (funny but she wouldn’t object if I said I’m fasting for religious reasons), how could I not take a bath etc. Yeah mom, it’s great to have you back too!
Not that it …

Quitting Time!

The world’s best resignation letter -
While I didn’t give that in writing, I did quit LIC on the first of October. Seeing as how they have a 3 month notice period, I can sit back, relax & enjoy going to an office where I don’t have to work! For about 68 more days (yes, I have a widget on my home screen for it). They’ve even announced my replacement, waiting for her to get here so I can drop the pretence of working already. The office looks way better now that I’m leaving and putting thousands of kilometres between us. I could say I’ve learnt a lot of things working here but you and I both know I’d be lying. While I may not have learnt anything professionally, I’ve managed to figure some stuff out about myself. I’ve realized maybe a job isn’t the best thing for me. Working for someone who isn’t as smart as me but just got promoted to the level of his incompetence just pushes all my buttons. I’ve also realized that I absolutely hate filing and sending letters in triplicate. I abhor …

LIC Terms Of Service

Any self respecting website or software service has a Terms of Service and privacy policy; they are the Internet’s equivalent of what we used to call the fine print. You have to agree to accept them before you sign up for an account. I have to ask though, when was the last time you actually read through any of those? It’s tempting to just scroll down to the end and check the little box saying “I agree”. Most of the time this is pretty harmless as they’re all standard boiler plate text, just shy of being copy paste affairs. But sometimes blindly clicking through may have consequences! Every time you buy an insurance policy from LIC, you’re agreeing to some awful T&C. I hereby present the unwritten  yet completely loophole free and airtight Terms of Service of the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Every customer hereby agrees to abide by the following Terms of Service set in force by the LIC of India herein after called LIC, when purchasing any insurance policy - Responsibility for…

Third World Problems

By now hurricane Irene would have made landfall on the Eastern seaboard of America. Enough has been said about the biggest storm to hit New York, marked by it’s first evacuation. Amid all the hysteria and confusion which usually accompanies such an event, what strikes me as most hilarious is how some people seem to be most worried about internet access. I wouldn’t be surprised if people include some sort of wireless dongle in their emergency kit! Probably want to check in to Foursquare, post retro pictures on Instagram and follow Irene’s progress on Twitter. If something is not tweeted, checked in or Instagramed, does it make a sound?
We, who live in the third world, have our own set of problems. While New Yorkers are worried about internet access during a hurricane, getting a connection from BSNL takes 3 months even without one. I wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me last year. And the journey to get one was both arduous and hilarious.
The first time I went down th…

The Future Is Here

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C Clarke Sometimes it’s even better than magic. Even Harry Potter had to lug books around in a bag at Hogwarts. But not me. I got myself the Nook. In a gadget the size and weight of a single paperback novel, I can now carry at least 200 books! Many a time what we wish for and what science gives us, turn out to be poles apart. 10 years ago I never wished for a pocket sized phone which lets me access the internet whenever/wherever, yet that’s precisely what I got. Similarly, Asimov’s robots & the robots we now have are poles apart. It’s very rare that you get exactly what you wished for.
But the latest crop of ereaders including my Nook is the stuff every bookworm has dreamed of. When I was a kid, I used to have to go to the library practically every day to have enough reading material on hand. I dreamed of the day when science would invent something which could hold more books than I can read! Fast forward …

Deeply Real Or Superficially Normal?

Now that the puducherryfellow turned out to be a bust too, my grandfather has started championing his Salem guy again! He calls my mom, then my dad and now finally its my turn to talk to him about why I do not want to see a guy who is short, old and lives in Salem for god’s sake! According to him, I have no real reason to say no. I mean if that’s no reason, I don't know what is…I heard him tell my dad that we know the family and such (we’re actually related; but quite far off thankfully). And I'm like so what? Am I marrying the entire freaking family??!!
Of course this eventuality is covered by one of the laws of getting married.In that the only reasons I can have to say no to a guy (provided he’s rich) is if he’s a chain smoker/alcoholic/womanizer! And how would I know if he is? All the guys my parents have sifted through so far have squeaky clean profiles. Everybody is a goddam vegetarian, never smoked or tied one on and of course never even looked at a girl in college. What …

The Road Less Travelled…

2011 has been a particularly good gadget year for me. I started out by getting my laptop in January, followed it up with my Samsung Galaxy S 2 this June and to top it all off, I’m finally getting my Nook reader next week!
The laptop and phone acquisition process were pretty straight forward: walk into store, pay and take it home. Not so with my Nook. For starters, you can’t get it in India – offline anyway. So I had to find someone else who could buy it in the US and then getting it here. That was solved rather simply by my dad. His boss was on vacation there currently (serendipity or what!) and he bought a Nook colour for my sister and Nook Touch for me.
Now came the next phase of the problem. How do I get it to Hyderabad? Sending it through courier was not an option. Again, I found a solution in the unlikeliest of places. One of my friends Kunal, had just asked me if my dad could get a package for him to Delhi from Hyderabad. While that didn’t happen for a whole lot of reasons, I real…

Evolution

It is often said that Change is inevitable. Anything that doesn’t change, dies. If you think about it, it’s self evident. A tiger cannot always outrun its prey, sometimes it has to use stealth mode. A deer cannot always rely on camouflage, sometimes it has to outrun the tiger. Every species of animal, bird, insect on earth has adapted through out millennia to occupy the specific ecological niche that they now do. Even homo sapiens changed & adapted; albeit at an ever faster pace. It took us thousands of years to come down from the trees, hundreds to evolve agriculture, decades to expand science and now  technology which is changing our society every couple of years.
Yet…certain people refuse to adapt. Not surprisingly these are the same people who stand to lose the most from any sort of change. In fact they even say it’s good to not change! This slow death is called ‘tradition, culture, morals’  and what not. When I point out that change is good, they point to our 3000 years of tr…

The Origin Of Traditions

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything, anything, be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. -Sam Harris Tradition as a subject has always had equal parts fascination and horror for me. Fascination because it is interesting to trace their origins, the changes they’ve undergone and most importantly, how ludicrous they appear when taken in today’s context. Horror because it is now incumbent upon me to follow and uphold the ‘Great Indian Traditions!’ *cue sarcastic drumroll*
I once read this little gem of a story I don’t know where, but which will shed light on the origin of traditions -
Once upon a time, in a small ashram, there lived a guru & his students. Their days were spent in learn…

To Be Or Not To Be?

Americans have a tradition: Grow up, go to college (if you can afford it!), figure out what you want to do with your life while you’re there and then well, you can do it or you can change course. After all that’s what life’s about. Einstein was a clerk in a patent office while Bell taught deaf people. But it’s not their day job that they’re known for.
Meanwhile Indians also have a tradition: Grow up, go to college (study that which will pay well) and go get that well paying job. If, horror of horrors (!), you discover that you want to do something other than what you are studying and/or working on, well tough luck. You already took the road well traveled and you are not allowed to change it willy nilly! As if an entire society’s anti-risk tendency & fear of failure wasn’t enough obstacles, if you are a woman, then you have a whole new set of problems. Don’t believe me? Come, take a trip down the rabbit hole (bring something to eat, this will take a while)
If you’ve been following my …

Top 10 Signs

Geeks really love their lists. At every tech blog I read, not a single day goes by without a list of some sort – ‘Top 10 iphone apps,’ ‘Top 10 Android apps,’ ‘5 things you can do to speed up your shitty netbook’ and so on. While my list has nothing whatsoever to do with one of the loves in my life (which is if you didn’t already know  - Tech), it has everything to do with the blight/scourge/bane of my life! Yeah, my list is called *drum roll please*
Top 10 Signs You are an LICian You don’t have a life. No, going home at 6 and doing nothing till bedtime does not qualify as a life. You feel, think and act like you’re 45 years old. And do not realize it till you meet your friends IRL. When asked for something by your boss/colleague, your first instinct is to search the paper, not the system! Whatever query a customer might have, you start shaking your head NO even before he finishes, coz you already know it can’t be done. If your assistants don’t work, you know you have to ‘counsel’ them, you’…

The ‘n’ Laws of Getting Married

Way back in 2009 (Feb to be precise) I wrote this post on the Great Indian Tamasha aka The Arranged Marriage. At that time, it was merely a rant brought on by reading some random blog I had come across. I was just getting acquainted with the theory of marriage – as concerning me – while my parents were about to embark on the Search. Almost exactly two years later, my parents are still looking while I’m getting a crash course on Marriage 101.
These then are the first 5 Laws of Getting Married – applicable to most Indian Girls - I have to tone myself down – far as I can tell, it means I talk too much. Once upon a time, my mom used to bemoan the fact that I don’t talk, now she wants me to shut up. Go figure! Of course what she really means is that I’m way too outspoken and frank which do not bode well for my future as a wife.
I am expected to demonstrate my ability to talk in Telugu while conversing with prospective grooms; never mind that the groom is an NRI and talking to me in English. …

Palms Away!

Something unusual happened recently. My mom and I visited a friend of her brother, who just happened to be a Palmist. (See Palmist). He has some rather sensible T & C before he agrees to read your palm; sensible for a palmist anyway! Although my mom was pretty disappointed with his ‘predictions’, I was fascinated by his description of my personality solely by looking at my palm. Here’s a short version of what he said, translated from Telugu: Revolutionary..not a general hand..High level of self respect..no need of external validation..as long as I’m convinced I’m right, I don’t care for the majority.. feminist.. dislike explaining myself in respect of allegations.. love driving, like solving puzzles.. good cook but do not like to cook.. strong sense of justice.. retribution rather than mercy.. loyal, hate traitors.. frank and straight forward.. do not like hypocrites.. good managerial ability.. talker.. high levels of persuasiveness.. aptitude for marketing,judiciary,military/law e…

Who Knew?

I was getting ready to go to the office today when I saw an article on Wikipedia in the paper. Not the latest news or anything considering it wasn’t even today’s paper but it caught my eye. I tend to notice tech related articles in our papers, since they’re usually hilarious. Not in a ha ha funny sorta way but more along the lines of ‘OMG! are we still in the 20th century?’
In fact this particular article was so poorly written and obviously a fluff piece, but I’d have thought even those have some standards. Apparently not. 
The article was titled ‘The Downside of Wikipedia’; fair enough, every website out there has one – at least. But the first sentence was enough to give me an idea of what followed. The writer said users frequently complain of errors and/or incomplete information. 
And who else but Raveena Tandon would qualify as a typical user of the site? She complains about some films said to be on her currently working list, which were in fact her husbands’. Next up, a student compl…

Elephants In Chains

Once upon a time, a tourist was wandering around a temple and came across an elephant. It was a huge beast, munching on his food, flapping his ears and generally being an elephant. Then the tourist noticed that he was tied to a post with a rather flimsy metal chain. He was aghast and asked the mahout if it was safe. The mahout said it was perfectly safe & that he would not try to break free. The tourist was surprised & asked why not. This is the reply he got: “When this elephant was a baby, this chain was strong enough to stop him. However hard he tried, he couldn’t break free. So after some time he stopped trying. With time, he grew stronger than the chain but he will never try to break free cuz he’s used to it!” Thousands of years ago, while men hunted & gathered, women protected & raised the young. Naturally the former was far more exciting than the latter. In order to give their women something to do (& probably to transfer their fears/headaches to someone else)…

My Valentine’s Day Debacle

This V-Day was supposed to be different. After all, it’s been 24 years in the making, at the very least. What we didn’t suspect was just how different! Since in all probability we’ll all have our very own ball & chain in place for the next one, it was supposed to be the one V-day to rule them all. There we were - single, swinging & loving it! In theory. Instead it simply served to accentuate just how different our lives had become from what they were meant to be.
Onward then, to how it came about. For Khushboo and I, it was the first time we were on our own. Literally. In a strange city, with a place of our very own, and most importantly no relatives cluttering up the place. An adhesive family can be quite hard on a girl. The exception for Shruti being of course, that she did have relatives messing about in the city.  Not that we were expecting to whoop it up, but somehow doing the same everyday things on a special day makes it worse.
Let’s get to it one by one. Shruti, quite u…

A World Of Difference

A couple of days ago I got a forward in the mail. You know one of those things which always seem to make the rounds of the internet. Usually I let these things by but this time I saw red (of course didn’t hurt that I never have anything to do in the office). So off the top of my head, I just dashed off a few lines and hit reply. And the rest, as they say, is history. Not quite, but I’ve always wanted to say that. Q:Thoughts from Man's heart
When we are born, our mothers get the compliments and the flowers.
When we are married, our brides get the gifts and the publicity.
When we die, our widows get the life insurance.
What do women want to be liberated from?
The average man's life consists of:
Twenty years of having his mother ask him where he is going,
Forty years of having his wife ask the same question;
and at the end, the mourners wondering too where he is going.A:Thoughts from Woman's head
When you are born, we get the pain and the drugs,
When you marry, we get the drudgery &…

LIC Ads–Coming Of Age?

The Life Insurance Corporation of India has been around since the dawn of time, well not exactly but to someone like me born in 1986, 1956 is the dawn of time! And its ads have always seemed to reflect it. Of course, considering it was the undisputed king of the hill – much like Microsoft once was – it didn’t need the ‘fancy new ads’ used by others. All that changed with the entry of private players. Not that they were any better than the state insurer, but their ads sure were. For the first time people started to notice insurance advertising.
Gone were the days of staid, stale run of the mill ‘We take care of widows’ spiel (not all employees got that memo though!). Yet, while competitors ran ads emphasizing financial security & independence, disaster planning and being prepared, what was LIC doing? It was running ads which looked like they were made for and by 50-55 year olds. Like someone in my training batch said “LIC ads are like art movies while the rest are like commercial ci…

Phase I - The Honeymoon

I just bought myself a brand new laptop, plunking down 50k of my hard earned doubloons. Months of wanting it, weeks spent researching it, and one trip to the mall later, I’m now the proud owner of a Dell XPS 15. To say I fell in love at first sight is an understatement.
The specs alone were enough to make a girl drool. But the extras? Now they were something else. JBL speakers deliver sound that’s out of this world. 1 gig NVidia VRAM to play anything my lil heart desires. HD Skype certified webcam and mike mean video calling is a cinch. And the HD screen? 15.4 inches of pure gorgeousness! After the mandatory oohing and aahing, I unboxed it and started making it mine.
And wasn’t this a doozy, by a long shot. First I had to de-crappify it, which took me the better part of a day. Then I had to scour the interwebs for my favorite apps and install them. Then I had to transfer all my media across from my old laptop – surprisingly took only a few minutes. Finally I set up my backup with Genie…