Sunday, January 31, 2010

Salary Hike on a Friday!

On Friday, the managers rushed to announce the salary hike. The manager’s manager insisted on sending out the letters before the clock stuck 6 pm on the Friday. They also insisted the manager call up each of their managed after sending out the letter.

Overloaded and stressed out with the more-with-less burden, my friend was trying to douse the fires on Fridays. In between the firefighting, he milked out enough time to send out the revised salaries to a few of his managed and also talk on the phone with them. Sensing his discomfort and the barely noticeable trace of sweat running down his face, I offered my sympathies.

He said, “My boss insists on finishing this today itself. If there are any negative sentiments, it will be over by Monday!”. I nodded along although I was unconvinced with the theory on erosion of negativity.

On Saturday, a friend who received the raise called me up. She was very happy with the raise! More than the raise, she was happy to receive the salary hike letter by Friday. Now, she can happily go with the new letter to the walk-in interview conducted by the rival company over the weekend!

Picture Courtesy: Rediff

Tags: Musings,Salary,Hike,Manager

Movie: Drona 2010

Guptan(Thilakan), along with his sons, Gireeshan(Manoj K Jayan) and Jayan, plots the murder of Kunjunni(Mammootty). According to their plan, a drunken Kunjunni visits an old Brahmin house in the middle of the night in order to survey the place. The best laid plans go awry and Kunjunni returns home unscathed, much to the relief of his mother(KPAC Lalitha), caretaker(TP Madhavan) and Thulasi(Kaniha), the caretaker’s daughter. Thulasi is madly in love with Kunjunni.

Kunjunni learns about the feud between his family and Guptan’s family that dates back a few generations. In the meantime, Kunjunni is also adviced to stay away from property deals by his sister-in-law(Navya Nair) as per his brother’s request. Kunjunni visits the Brahmin house once more with an intent to unravel the mystery behind it without heeding to his brother’s advice. This proves fatal for Kunjunni.

Kunjunni’s brother, Pattazhi Madhavan Namboothiri(Mammootty) arrives to receive the dead body of his brother. Madhavan decides to find out the culprits. The rest of movie focuses on how Madhavan solves the mystery.

Shaji Kailas directs this thriller. He uses his trademark style of multiple angle shots and slow motions to enhance the thrills. But none of this is able to sustain the interest of the viewer because of a lackluster script. Shaji uses several scenes to deliberately confuse the viewer. This technique backfires and questions the credibility of the director in telling a thriller.

A K Sajan scripts this movie. The story is spin off from other movies which deals with feuding families. Here, he has added a bit of black magic, vaasthushastra etc to give this movie a different treatment. But, the script is not structured and events are added conveniently to prolong the movie. So, the movie becomes boring after a while.

Mammootty performs well as the suave atheist Kunjunni and the learned sadhu Madhavan. Their appearance and dresses are contrasting. But, in spite of the best efforts, it is Kunjunni who is endearing because of the humor and the arrogance. Madhavan, despite bearing the torch of title role, ends up as a caricature because of the stale script. But for Mammootty, this movie would have been more boring!

Thilakan is excellent as the patriarch thirsting for revenge. Manoj K Jayan impresses despite hamming at several places.

The background music is loud and irritating. This works for the movie as none of the audience will fall asleep through the mumbo jumbo.

Language: Malayalam

Genre: Thriller

Rating: *

Picture Courtesy: www.keralapals.com

Tags: Movies,Mammootty,Thilakan,Manoj K Jayan,KPAC Lalitha,Kaniha,Navya Nair,Shaji Kailas,AK Sajan,Thriller

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book: Ford County Stories

John Grisham’s latest offering is a collection of short stories dealing with people and events in a fictional town named Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi. The book comprises of 7 short stories.

In order to help a neighbor who met with an accident in Memphis, three men travel to the big city from Clanton. Two of them have never left Clanton. Their mercy mission turn eventful even before reaching Memphis.

Inez Graney and her two elder sons – Leon and Butch – loan a van from the local upholstery shop to visit their youngest brother, Raymond. During the trip, all three start reminiscing.

Mark Stafford is a divorce lawyer running a small office in Clanton. Of late, he is behind on various payments including the mortgage on the office. To top it, his wife is constantly fighting with him and he can sense a divorce round the corner. On a sleepy afternoon, he gets a call which may alter the course of his life.

Bobby Carl Leach is a successful businessman who is adept at having his way in means which are not socially acceptable and bordering on illegality. Exploiting his lineage, Bobby is able to set up a casino in Clanton. But, he is not prepared for the silent wrath of Sidney, a data collector for an insurance company.

While walking out of the local supermarket after buying medication for his wife, Lawyer Stanley Wade is kidnapped by masked and unnamed men. Frightened and helpless, Stanley realizes his kidnapping may be related to a litigation case he represented years ago!

Gilbert arrives in Clanton to take up a job in Quiet Haven Retirement Home. Although he poses as a uneducated youth, Gilbert is a man with an agenda.

Adrian returns to Clanton after falling prey to the deadly disease of AIDS. As his family despises his lifestyle, he is entrusted to Emporia, an elderly black lady living alone in the black section of the town.

The seven stories deal with various human emotions and bonds. John Grisham writes in a simple manner which makes this easy to read. As this is a collection of short stories, you are hooked only for a short duration. This is a blessing for someone who has little time to read and hates to carry the cross of suspense for longer time.

Picture Courtesy: Landmark

Tags: Books,Videos,John Grisham

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Attrition and Exodus

“Attrition?”, the last alphabet in the word trailed for an eternity when he repeated the word questioningly. The rest of us – comprising of me and 2 other friends – were shocked to find out the absence of this word in his vocabulary. Under normal circumstances, we would have forgiven and forgotten his malnourished repository of words as the word “attrition” was not related to two of his favorite subjects in the world namely food and girls.

But, recently, this friend had appeared and scored high for GMAT and TOEFL. “You really do not know the meaning?”, we teased him reminding him of the high scores in the exams and his disdainful treatment towards us during the time of exams. He defended himself, “This word might be too simple for those exams”.  The retort was also a veiled attack on our command of the medium. “Okay”, I said recovering from his verbal assault, “Let me make it a bit easier for you. The word is similar to exodus”.

“Exodus”, he repeated and the last character trailed while he continued to stare at us puzzled. This time, I was not ready to forgive his ignorance. “Aren’t you a Christian? Don’t you read Bible? Haven’t you come across this word?”, I demanded answers.

“My Sunday schools were interrupted because of the dinosaur program on the TV”, he defended. He explained, “Sunday school started at 10 am and lasted for 2 hours. The dinosaur cartoon started at 11:30 am on Sundays. So, I never went to Sunday school preferring to see the dinosaur cartoon on the TV”.

Meanwhile, another friend who also possessed a frighteningly undernourished vocabulary came to his rescue. The birds of the same feather indeed flock together. Their approach to the solution was different from normal people. When the normal people take up a dictionary to find more about the word, these birds of the same feather referred to the Microsoft Word and the synonyms feature associated with it.

The synonyms of attrition were displayed as abrasion, slow destruction, erosion, wear and tear, eating away, gnawing away, wearing away and grinding down. The synonyms of exodus were mass departure, migration, emigration and evacuation.

After staring at these words for a long time, my friend replied with a beaming smile, “Yes! I got it! Attrition means the rate at which new employees join the firm!”.

Footnote:

Later the friend defended his mistake, “I mistook synonyms for anonyms!” Now should I explain what he really meant by anonyms?

Picture Courtesy: http://www.agent00.co.uk/

Tags: Musings,Attrition,Exodus

Friday, January 22, 2010

Movie: Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year

Harpreet Singh Bedi(Ranbir Kapoor) is a laid back youngster hailing from a middle class family. After securing 39% in B. Com exams, Harpreet decides to pursue a career in sales. While one of his friend persuades him to dream and achieve higher, the other encourages him on his pursuing his decision.  His dad, PS Bedi(Prem Chopra), an honest hardworking man,  is very supportive of Harpreet. After applying for several jobs, he ends up on the doorstep of the firm named AYS. Here, the managing director Sunil Puri(Manish Choudhary) is impressed with Harpreet when the latter tries to sell a pencil to the sales manager Nitin Rathore(Naveen Kaushik) during the interview process.

Harpreet joins as a trainee in AYS. As soon as Harpreet settles in his new work place, he gets a glimpse of the AYS world. Everyone goes into a frenzy discussing targets. They are also overly protective about their customer base. All of them live in constant fear that their colleagues will snatch their precious customers. In the new office, Harpreet notices three people - Koena(Gauhar Khan) the receptionist who dreams of becoming a office manager, Girish (D Santosh) the engineer who is good at fixing at computers and Chhotelal Mishra(Mukesh Bhatt) the office peon.

While submitting a proposal,  a customer asks Harpreet for a kickback. Enraged by the unprofessional attitude, Harpreet lodges a complaint on the customer. After coming back to the office, he proudly tells this to Puri and Nitin. On hearing this, Puri is enraged and abuses Harpreet verbally. Since they lost an important customer, Harpreet is assigned to cold calling and the rest of the sales force are given unachievable targets. This makes Harpreet the most hated man in the office.

Feeling sorry for Harpreet, Koena passes information about a potential lead to him. Then, Koena urges Harpreet to take initiative, convert the lead into a sales and take the credit to wipe out the bad name. So, Harpreet goes to meet the lead Sherena(Shazahn Padamsee). The meeting results in an life altering experience for Harpreet and that forms the rest of the story.

This movie is produced by Yashraj films and directed by Shimit Amin. Shimit has chosen a theme which is difficult to be categorized into any one genre. He has once again displays the command on the medium and also on his actors. He has extracted earnest and believable performances from all his actors. Shimit has effectively captured the emotions of a group of friends coming together to start a company.

Jaideep Sahni writes a story of an average Joe who wants to do something different. He keeps the melodrama quotient low except towards the climax. As his characters are normal people - someone whom you might meet around the corner, he makes us dig deeper into the situations to find heroism in their acts.

The hero becomes successful based on an act which is unethical in a professional world. But in reality, this happens a lot. So, Shimit and Jaideep deserves a pat for not changing the particular act in order to make the hero righteous and virtuous.

The performances are good with all the actors giving their best. But the director and writer deserves more kudos than the actors.

This is relaxing and entertaining.

Language: Hindi

Genre: Drama

Rating: ****

Picture Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama

Tags: Movies,Ranbir Kapoor,Prem Chopra,Manish Choudhary,Naveen Kaushik,Gauhar Khan,D Santosh,Mukesh Bhatt,Shazahn Padamsee,Shimit Amin,Yashraj Films,Jaideep Sahni,Drama

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It’s mine!

Talk about possessiveness to me! I have two little girls – a daughter and a niece. Most of these tales about this topic does not amuse me as I have seen it all. But today, a friend recounted a tale about possessiveness in which adults acted more worse than kids.

As with all Mondays, hell broke out as soon as it stuck 9 am in the clock for my dear friend. In his official capacity, he interacts with two different departments – Dept A and Dept B. He takes requirements from Dept A and rolls out the requirements with the help of Dept B. Today morning, there was an issue raised by Dept A and in order to troubleshoot, he needed Dept B. In order to get all the key players on a common platform, my friend needed a bridge. For the uninitiated, I’m referring to a teleconference bridge.

Being Monday, Dept A had scheduled multiple calls and all the bridges were in use. Sensing trouble, my friend wanted to close this issue sooner before everyone get bogged on by other burning problems. So, he proactively called a person from Dept B.

My friend queried on the phone, “Do you have a bridge that we can use to discuss this issue?”.

To his surprise, the person at the end replied, “The issue was raised by Dept A. Why should I open my bridge? They should open their bridge!”.

My friend said an expletive under his breath. As soon as he took the lord’s name in vain, he regained composure. He pleaded again, “As everyone in Dept A are in other calls, I decided to ask you. Finally, don’t we all have to close this asap?”

After carefully considering my friend’s plea, the Dept B honcho continued, “If Dept A is not able to provide a bridge in 10 minutes, call me again. I will open my bridge”.

The telephone line was disconnected immediately after delivering this piece of advice. My dear friend exercised all restraint and spared the telephone from his wrath.

So, finally how do you think this issue got resolved? Well, the issue was not resolved! Within moments, everybody got caught up with other fires and worries about dousing them. As a  result, this issue was forgotten. It may surface again in another couple of days. Till then, everyone can keep their bridges!

Picture Courtesy: http://www.untitledarchive.com

Tags: Musings,Possessiveness,Bridge

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Movie: Sherlock Holmes

On a dark night in London, Sherlock Holmes(Robert Downey Jr) runs through the secluded streets in pursuit. After finding a mysterious building, he breaks into it by attacking and disabling the guards. Inside the building, a caped man is performing a strange sacred rite where a woman is being sacrificed. Slowly and steadily, Holmes disables most of the villains protecting the caped man with the help of with Dr Watson(Jude Law), who appears on the scene to help. Within no time, the caped man is overpowered. The caped man turns out to Lord Blackwood(Mark Strong) who is arrested by the police Inspector Lestrade(Eddie Marsan).

After solving the Blackwood mystery, Holmes idles away his time at his 221 Baker Street home. Seeing the chaos in the house, Watson urges Holmes to take up a new case. Watson is also moving out of the partnership with Holmes in order to marry his girlfriend Mary Morstan(Kelly Reilly) and venture into business. Holmes resents Watson’s decision. Around this time, Blackwood requests a meeting with Holmes before the former is hanged until death. During the meeting, Blackwood accuses Holmes of unleashing a series of supernatural events. Being a scientific man, Holmes ignores Blackwood.

Soon, Holmes meets his old girlfriend Irene Adler(Rachel McAdams) asking him to search for a missing red-haired midget. Three days after Blackwood is hanged and buried, the tomb is broken into. After opening the coffin, Holmes, Watson and the police find the body of the red-haired midget. Holmes tries to solve this puzzle while not fully trusting Irene and battling his own convictions. For the first time, Holmes struggles to find answers with the help of science as supernatural events unfold around him.

Guy Ritchie directs this thriller and in the process, reinvented the man, Holmes which is different from previous adaptations. Guy Ricthie’s version is a very “visual” movie. This is evident at many places in the movie. When Sherlock Holmes explains the mystery, Guy Ritchie swiftly takes the viewer through the scenes while the explanation of Holmes serves as the voiceover. Using this technique, Guy Ritchie narrows down the perspective of the viewer and forces the viewer to see what the director wants to see. Guy Ritchie also scores on the scenes where the viewer gets to see how Sherlock Holmes plans his attack on his opponent before actually executing it. In the restaurant scene, Guy Ritchie show how Holmes is able to concentrate on single events and also multiple events depending on latter’s choice. In sum total, Guy Ritchie’s Holmes is cool!

Robert Downey Jr. redefines Holmes while enacting the lead role. Holmes is sharp and agile in accordance with the popular image. But, Robert Downey Jr. brings in an eccentric tinge to the character. In accordance with the eccentricity associated with the character, Holmes is always shabby in appearance in direct contrast to the earlier portrayals of Holmes by other actors.

Jude Law as an handsome and skeptical Dr Watson is a perfect foil for Holmes. He is not a bumbling idiot anymore. Though not a match for Holmes physically and mentally, Jude’s Watson is strong and sharp despite the limb.

The rest of the cast lends able support. The background score is excellent. It helps in building the suspense and the excitement.

This Holmes is a modern day adaptation and is cool. Don’t miss it.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: ****

Tags: Movies,Robert Downey Jr,Jude Law,Mark Strong,Eddie Marsan,Rachel McAdams,Kelly Reilly,Guy Ritchie,Thriller

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hired, But…

While talking to a friend at a recent party, I brought up the subject of hiring. He works in a multinational company who are on an hiring spree. In order to an effective campaign, they conduct walk-ins during the weekend. At present, my friend is serving the notice period, having decided to cross over to another multinational company! “So, they are hiring to fill in the vacuum created by you?”, I enquired jestingly. After obliging me with a laugh in response, he said, “Yes! We are hiring. At the same time, we are only giving out conditional offers!”.

What are conditional offers? That might have been the look on my face. So, my friend explained. The multinational is expecting big projects to be kicked off soon. So, they are hiring in anticipation. Since these offers are tied to these projects, the selected candidate can only join if the project realizes!

The definition was clear for me now. But, I thought through this from the candidate’s perspective. The candidate is looking out for two reasons – to trade a frustrating job for a challenging yet peaceful one or to earn a fatter paycheck. For the reasons mentioned, as soon as the candidate receives the new offer, he runs into his present office, types a resignation and sends it across to his superiors. If the candidate is given a conditional offer, what would he do? He still can run into his office and type a resignation letter. Instead of sending it immediately, he will save it. Now, what? Does he begin the waiting game? Does he follow up with the giver of the offer daily to see if the conditions are satisfied?

Like the ads that say “rates are subject to market conditions”, this is “You are hired, but…”.

Picture Courtesy: www.canada.com

Tags: Musings,Hiring,Offer,Conditions

Movie: Death at a Funeral

In a village in England, Daniel(Matthew Macfadyen) prepares for his father’s funeral. He is already shocked to see the undertakers deliver the wrong casket. At the same time, he is overly worried about the eulogy that he prepared. Everyone in the family assumes the eulogy will be prepared by his brother, Robert(Rupert Graves), who is a successful writer settled in New York. Jane(Keely Hawes), Daniel’s wife, is worried about their plan to purchase a flat and move out of Daniel’s parental home.

Martha(Daisy Donovan), Daniel’s cousin, is on her way to the funeral with her fiancĂ©, Simon(Alan Tudyk). Simon is apprehensive about meeting Martha’s dad, Victor(Peter Egan), who disdains him. Martha assures everything will be in order when she announces their plan to get married. They stop at the apartment of Troy(Kris Marshall), Martha’s brother, to pick him up. In order to calm Simon, Martha gives Valium to Simon. The valium turns out to be a hallucinogenic concoction prepared by Troy.

Howard(Andy Nyman), a friend of Daniel, is also driving to the funeral. Howard is driving with Justin(Ewen Bremner). Justin had persuaded Howard to take him for the funeral in the hope of meeting Martha, with whom he had one-night stand. On the way, Howard picks up Uncle Alfie(Peter Vaughan) for the funeral.

At Daniel’s parental home, everyone convenes and Robert arrives too just in time. But, Daniel is crushed on hearing Robert will need more time to pay up his part of the funeral. A furious Daniel also finds a mysterious dwarf(Peter Dinklage) attending the funeral. What ensues in the funeral with these oddballs forms the rest of the story.

Frank Oz directs this comedy. The treatment is similar to a theater play as most of the movie happens in Daniel’s parental home. It is the characters and the situations they end up in which makes us laugh.

Don’t miss this!

Language: English

Genre: Comedy

Rating: ***

Picture Courtesy: Yahoo! Movies

Tags: Movies,Matthew Macfadyen,Rupert Graves,Keely Hawes,Daisy Donovan,Alan Tudyk,Peter Egan,Kris Marshall,Andy Nyman,Ewen Bremner,Peter Vaughan,Peter Dinklage,Frank Oz,Comedy

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book: Pirate Lattitudes

In September 1665, a new ship docks in the harbor of Port Royal, the capital city of Jamaica. Sir James Almont is the governor of the Jamaica at this time. While spending the night with an young lady who arrived on the ship, Sir James Almont discovers vital information about a Spanish ship containing treasure during the conversation.

Sir James Almont enlists the help of Captain Charles Hunter, a well known and successful privateer, to steal the Spanish ship. After reaching an agreement with James Almont, Charles Hunter rounds up a crew of ruffians. Together, they hatch a daring plan to attack a Spanish island fortress which guards the ship. They embark on a journey where they have to fight humans, ships, weather and creatures!

Michael Crichton is the author of this book which was published after his death. Since the manuscript was uncovered and published after his death, some of the characters are underdeveloped. The writing style is similar to his earlier novel, The Great Train Robbery. The suspense is underplayed by the style of narration. The twists are predictable and hence this is a brisk read but not a compulsive page turner.

Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia

Tags: Books,Michael Crichton

Movie: Gulaal

Dileep Singh(Raj Singh Chaudhary) joins a college in the city of Rajpur in Rajasthan. After enrolling in the college, he finds a run down British era pub for boarding while in college. Ransa(Abhimanyu Singh) stays in the same building. Ransa is a prince who disassociated with his dad and is a rebel.

Fearing Ransa’s free thinking, Dileep goes in search of a room in the hostels. Here, he bumps into the ruffians of the college, namely Jadwal(Pankaj Jha). Jadwal and his cronies strip Dileep and locks him in a room. Inside the room, he finds a naked girl named Anuja(Jesse Randhawa). Anuja is a college lecturer who has been humiliated by Jadwal and his gang. Later, Dileep is hospitalized after the hazing exercise. Dileep’s brother asks him to forget the incident. On Ransa’s insistence, Dileep decides to confront Jadwal. But, once again, Dileep get humiliated.

Ransa goes to Dukey Bana(Kay Kay Menon), who is a local bigwig. With Dukey’s and his right hand man Bhatti’s(Deepak Dobriyal) help, Ransa and Dileep is finally able to take revenge on Jadwal. In return, Dukey asks Ransa to contest for the college election. The opponent in the elections is Kiran(Ayesha Mohan), Ransa’s half sister and Ransa gets killed by his step brother Karan(Aditya Srivastav). After Ransa’s murder, Dukey asks Dileep to contest the election.

Very soon, Dileep gets embroiled in the political maneuvers that is beyond his comprehension. What is Dukey’s interest in the student politics? What is Kiran’s interest in Dileep? The rest of the story solves these mysteries.

Anurag Kashyap directs this movie. He concentrates on telling a good story backed with powerful performances. In this movie, he stays away from his normal abstract style of direction. Yet, the movie is unpredictable and surprises you on many occasions.

Kay Kay Menon steals the show as Dukey. Raj Singh Chaudhary is perfect as the coward who is driven by others. Deepak Dobriyal plays Bhatti proving again that he can portray a mundane character differently. Abhimanyu Singh gets to play an easily likeable character.

Watch this for the performances, unconventional story and direction.

Language: Hindi

Genre: Drama

Rating: ****

Picture Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama

Tags: Movies,Raj Singh Chaudhary,Abhimanyu Singh,Jesse Randhawa,Kay Kay Menon,Deepak Dobriyal,Ayesha Mohan,Aditya Srivastav,Anurag Kashyap,Drama

Friday, January 8, 2010

What color is your bra?

Black. Black. Pink.

So read the statuses on the Facebook. I was curious after reading them. Some of the beautiful people on my friend’s list were playing a game by displaying colors as their statuses. It took me a while to figure out the game - What color is your bra?

Later in the evening, this topic was brought up while catching up with a friend on the internet chat. He was unimpressed with these Facebook statuses. He explained the disappointment, “I have not seen anyone saying Nothing on their statuses”.

If the men were to respond to the question “What color is your underwear?”, I’m sure the status “Not Applicable. Without one today” would surely have found it’s way onto the Facebook status!

Picture Courtesy: www.facebook.com

Tags: Musings,Facebook,Bra,Underwear

Waiting on the bridge

“Let’s talk it on the bridge”, said my friend while discussing a problem a few years ago. He continued, “I will ask others to join us”. I was confounded by this statement. In order to discuss this issue, we can use a huddle room instead of wasting time to assemble everyone and walking over to a bridge! When I put more thought into this, I remembered the often used adage. Workplace stifles creativity. My friend may be opting for a change in environment for enabling the team members to think out of the box. The annoying ring of the telephone woke me up from my reverie.

“Why haven’t you joined us on the bridge?”, my friend asked accusatorily. Sensing something amiss, I refrained myself from snapping back. “Bridge…”, I repeated his last word in a drawl imitating a busy man trying to search something. My friend continued in an irritated tone, “Check your email. The details of the teleconference bridge are in there!”. The hope for escaping the workplace was thwarted on hearing this. I mumbled an apology to my friend, connected to the bridge and greeted everybody sheepishly.

A bridge is a structure or something that makes connection. However, I associate bridge to a structure connecting two pieces of land over a water body. This association is primarily due to the influencing images of bridges during my childhood. If you look a teleconference bridge, it is also structure that make connection. Here, the connection is between the thoughts of two human beings! Kudos to the person who coined the word “teleconference bridge”. Due to the ease of use, we have shortened it to bridge for ease of use. But, this shortening has also made life hell for some! Here, I’m not referring to the challenges I faced in understanding the context in which this word was used.

Recently, another friend was waiting on the (teleconference) bridge for his customer contact in order to discuss important matters. After waiting for five minutes, he sent a brief SMS to the customer. The SMS read, “Still waiting for you on the bridge”. Now, he is busy convincing his wife that he is not having an affair and he is not experimenting with his sexual preferences since the customer contact was a male.

Picture Courtesy: http://www.appliedlanguage.com

Tags: Musings,Teleconference, Bridge

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Submitting a leave application

What happens when your workload is more than you can handle? What happens when you are clocking more time than your organization’s working hours?What happens when you are burning the weekend oil in addition to midnight oil?

I have seen the outcomes of the above symptoms. There are flare ups and also nervous breakdowns. Sometimes, the concerned person searches for greener pastures and also finds it.

Recently, a cool headed person in a similar situation recounted his conversation with his manager.

Cool Headed Person(CHP): I have a problem.

Manager(M): *concerned* What is it? Tell me.

CHP: I want to apply for a leave.

M: *panics, recomposes himself, keeps a straight face*

CHP: *waits patiently for M’s response*

M: *clears his throat after a very long pause*

CHP: *waits expectantly*

M: *weakly* Submit your leave application the intranet and I will approve it. By the way, how long will you be gone and when?

CHP: 2 days!

M: *hides his disappointment with great difficulty*

CHP: The problem is the intranet portal.

M: Then, you will have to contact the intranet helpdesk. *exhales after having successfully diverted the issue to someone else*

CHP: The intranet portal does not allow me to submit leave applications for weekends!

Picture Courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Tags: Musings,Leave,Manager

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big 10 ride

It has been a while since Bengaluru introduced Big 10 buses on it’s streets espousing direction based services. If you live in Bengaluru, these buses are hard to miss because of the higher frequency (between services) and their light green color. It is the high frequency that led my friend to recommend this service to me on Saturday. On that day, I had to collect my car from the service station at Kasturba Road. I had decided on an auto rickshaw ride when my friend suggested this alternative to me.

It was pretty easy! I waited hardly for 5 minutes before the green colored bus arrived. The fare was Rs 10.  The bus was not crowded. But, all the seats were taken. Before long, I was able to find a vacant seat as some of the passengers reached their intended destination. There were adequate spacing between seats. As soon as I sat down, I stretched my legs and placed my backpack on my lap. After seating comfortably, I began to enjoy the sights along the bus route. Big 10 has big wide glass windows on the sides covering almost half the surface area. So, during the day, the interiors are brightly lit from the natural light streaming in and also provides a good vantage point.

I have taken the same route on numerous occasions on the past. But, I had a vague recollection of some of the building that I (re)discovered during the bus ride. I found a Safal outlet with a Mother Dairy logo near the Regional Passport office in Koramangala. Safal and Mother Dairy was a common sight in Gurgaon. In a car or an auto rickshaw, I don’t get a chance to enjoy the surroundings. I’m concentrating on the road while driving a car. While I’m being driven around in a car, I’m either taking part in a conversation or surreptitiously watching the traffic. In an auto rickshaw, it is different. I’m always looking at the fare climbing up on the meter and wondering if they are rigged!

During the bus ride, I discovered the consequences of taking away the burden of maneuvering the traffic and a ticking money meter from one’s shoulder. It has a very relaxing effect. I was neither interested in the traffic nor the time taken at the various stops. After disembarking from the bus, I had to walk a bit towards my final destination. To my surprise, I enjoyed the long walk.

I am thankful to my friend for the suggestion. During that journey, gazing outside the window, clutching my backpack resting on my lap, I was transported to the school days and the bus journey to school.

Picture Courtesy: http://www.bmtcinfo.com

Tags: Musings,Bangalore,Big 10

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Interview with Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino released his latest movie, Inglourious Basterds, during the latter half of 2009. Luckily for his fans, the gap between his latest movie and the previous one was not huge.

Prior to the movie’s release, Quentin appeared on Fresh Air and talked to Terry Gross. Here, he explains some of the rationale behind his latest movies and other influences on him.

The uniqueness of his dialogues – pedestrian yet interesting and intriguing – is also discussed in the interview. But, Quentin do not have an answer for it. The brilliance is inbuilt!

Enjoy the interview.

Tags: Audios,Quentin Tarantino,Terry Gross,Fresh Air

Friday, January 1, 2010

Whom were these protests directed at?

On 30th December 2009, the great Kannada actor, Vishnuvardhan, passed away in the early morning. Since he breathed his last at 2:30 am, the morning papers did not run this news.

I heard about it when I dropped my car at the service center. The service engineer apologized for he will not be able to return the car on the same day. He cited Vishnuvardhan’s death as the reason! Then, he explained the road blocks in several major areas of Bengaluru because of the funeral arrangement. As a result, some of the engineers have not shown up for work!

There were more surprises in front of the office when I reached there. A mob had gathered in front of all the shops near my office. They were shouting and threatening the shopkeepers to close. The cart vendors hurriedly closed their establishments with fear. They did not want the mob to turn violence and cause destruction.

Later in the day, vehicles were burnt in protest. The reason for the protest is clear. Vishnuvardhan is no more. But whom were these protests directed at? Is it against the government for failing to give adequate medical treatment to Vishnuvardhan? Since Vishnuvardhan was being taken care by a private institution, the government should not be responsible.

So, the question still remains. If not government, then there is one person who is responsible. The god! Were these people protesting against him?

Picture Courtesy: http://www.deccanherald.com

Tags: Musings,Vishnuvardhan,Protests

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