Friday, September 28, 2007

Bechaara Guddu

Thandi mein paseena chale naa bhookh naa pyaas lage ...
Yaar yahi pyaar toh nahi ??
Daddy se poochhungaaa ...

Daddy says - Abe Gadhey, yeh pyaar nahi ... tujhko tez bukhaar hai !! Chal dawai khaa.

Do karm, don't wait for phal ?

Something has clicked. I don't know how it happened, when it happened, or why it happened. But it has. And while I guess I shouldn't be as surprised as I am, well, I am!! After about a year and a half (well, two and a half if you count my internship - though I wasn't really interacting with anyone but my boss during that time) of working, I suddenly seem to know what the hell I'm talking about.

I shall take a moment to let you (and myself) digest this.

I think it started about six or seven months ago. I was in a meeting, and someone was blabbering on and on about some nonsense, during which times I usually either chat with P, or zone out completely; when I suddenly realized that he was talking total rubbish; which was rather strange seeing as how he had been (supposedly) doing that work for over three years! Well, I pointed out the gaping holes in his "procedure", and was amazed to hear myself talk (those who know me personally must now be quite shocked, since it is a well known fact that I simply loooove to hear myself go on and on ... kind of like the energizer bunny ... oh man, my mind is running in so many directions right now with the "go on and on" bit ... but, I digress) ... specially since what I was saying made complete sense - not only to me, but to everyone else as well.

And it has been happening ever since. Over the last few months, I haven't just been talking through my hat. And it's amazing to see that people actually listen to what I have to say. I guess the reason I find this so hard to digest is because while I know I do my job really well, I also know that I am so not cut out to do what I do. It's too technical ... it's stuff that the "brainy" guys are supposed to do (no, I'm not saying I'm one ... I'm witty and sharp. Brainy - not so much), it's work that my boss is a total hero at. I remember how I hadn't a damn clue about anything when I first started. And while I haven't consciously made an effort to learn more, somehow, I have! It's actually made me excited about work. Even though the workload right now has finally grown too large for me to handle (14 deadlines in the next 28 days), and my boss is doing his best to get me some help (at work!!! *glare*), I am actually enjoying it a great deal.

Some of the stuff that really made me feel awesome (and no, I'm neither making this up, nor have I imagined it) ...

- One of the managers saying the group really needs to give me a raise and a promotion.
- My boss telling me that if I want to look for an intern myself, I need to find someone just like me.
- A senior engineer telling a staff engineer that if I'm saying something about the work I did some time ago, it must be right and there is no need to double-check.
- My director actually changing his mind after I told him how I would prefer doing the work he was asking me to do, and letting me run with it.

Now I must admit that a part of the work that I do has become almost second nature to me. In the sense that I still need to be careful when I do it, but it's almost like muscle memory - I know what I'm doing, and I don't need to think about how to do it. So it gives me the chance to try and improve it, which, I guess, is noticed. The one good thing is that I'm the only one (apart from my boss, who is far too busy) in the entire hardware group who does this work - which is great for job security, but bad since everything funnels down to one person. And the work is going to increase a lot more, since I was just made the project lead for a certain chip for one of the foundries we work with, which is something I am totally looking forward to; even though it is sure to give me quite a few sleepless nights.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a detective - I love to snoop on people. I still want to be a teacher - because I know I'm good at it. I always thought I would be superb at marketing - I love selling crap to people. My secret wish is to be a pole dancer - no details here. All careers which involve constant human interaction. And here I am, waxing lyrical about sitting behind a computer, waiting to start interacting one-on-one with the foundry, excited at the prospect of being a part of a brand new technology right from the get-go.

Once a geek, always a geek. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A profile match

The blood trickled down the knife, and mixed with that on the floor ... still spurting out of the neck, forming a pool that wasn't quite red, and wasn't quite liquid.

Two hours earlier ...

She asked him to spend the night with her. It was the report about the serial killer in her neighborhood that had her spooked. Agreed, she did not know him all that well, but she felt she could trust him. If the killer was out there, she needed someone to protect her ... well, not exactly protect, but just to be in around, be in the house. She knew that if her life had to end, it would ... but she convinced herself that the presence of another person would serve as a deterrent to the psycho on the streets. He agreed, albeit reluctantly. They were at her place, making small talk, when she went into the kitchen to make them both some coffee. He heard her get started, and decided to put on some music. He thought about how she was putting up a brave front, but had noticed the fear and uneasiness in her eyes. Stop worrying, he called out as he selected a song to play, he isn't going to hurt you while I'm there. What makes you think it's a man, was the last thing he heard before the knife sliced through his throat.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Total Gem I've Found

Check out this wonderful-ness:

Govinda dressed as Superman, and Kimi Katkar playing Spider-woman (though called "Laaddyyy" in the song, the reason for which is soon revealed) ... I toh was totally fascinated, and a little bit nostalgic, actually - since I know for a fact that I've seen the movie the song is from !! And while I don't remember the name, I do remember that they were both trapped in this store at night, and they saw these costumes and started imagining themselves to be charatcers from DC and Marvel comics respectively !!

So anyhow, in their all too fertile imagination, they both see themselves flying through the air, and singing the following inane lines ...

Tu mera supermaaaaan
Tu meri Laaaddddyyyyy ...
Ho gaya hai apnaaa
Pyaar all-raiddyyyy !!

See why Spider-woman was replaced by lady ? How else could you get such melodious lyrics, haan?

Here are the bits I thought were the best -

21 seconds into it ... and I couldn't help but focus on who has the larger thighs ?

About 2 minutes in ... and they kiss!!! Well, almost. Their lips are precisely apart so as to make it seem raunchy (at least by the 80s ka standard) without offending anyone. So very susheel and sabhya!

Is Bappi-da responsible for the music? I ask because of the chorus in the background when he's beating up those taporis ...

super super super super supermaaann
super super super super supermaaann

Totally sooper, I tell you!

And right after he's done with those no-gooders, they wave to the happy couple - obviously, dancing the whole time.

I hope you didn't miss Superman's lovely black boots - complete with heels and all. And I'm sure you paid special attention to the incredible special effects - what fun it must be to have your bodies become completely transparent every time you're descending onto terra firma.

There were a few things that did make me cringe, though ...

One - the absolutely horrendrous costumes of the side people. When God gave out fashion sense, did our costume designers stand there with a seive ? And two - that most bugging tyyyooonn ttttyoonn ttyoonttyonyon tune in the background. Uff, my poor ears!

But all in all, such a blast from the past.

More tit-bits ... heehee ... still not grown up!

I see things, hear stuff, imagine scenarios - and always think of putting it down here. But by the time "inspiration" hits, I've lost the mood to write. And right now is the completely opposite case - I want to write ... a long long long post ... about something interesting, something witty ... and I have no idea what to put down. I guess I'm just going to try to recollect stuff I've been meaning to write about, and see what comes out. Though I really should be sleeping - it's almost 1 in the morning, and I have absolutely shitloads of work at work, and really can't afford to reach late.

Speaking of work, I got involved in rather ugly office politics recently. There isn't any point in getting into the details - I didn't want to ... that really isn't my job ... but I guess I could only be pushed so far by this one particular project lead (let's call him FB - which naturally stands for Fukkin Bastard), before I decided to push back. To cut a long story short, I finally showed him to be the FB he truly is in front of a number of people, including his manager (who is also the director of my group). Thankfully I had the complete and total support of my manager, who anyways hates the FB. Will this have some sort of a repercussion on my career ? I highly doubt it. Have I made an enemy in my own group ? Perhaps, perhaps not - specially since FB is universally hated for his sneaky ways, and I did do my part quite diplomatically. Did it feel good to finally have him on the run ? Yes ... immensely. Then why did the whole incident leave such a bad taste in my mouth, specially since he really had it coming ?

Well, I guess the weekend away in Vegas will help distract me away from all of this. Yeah .. I'm off to Vegas for the weekend, along with the flatmate and the Mahatma - people I have a really good time with - mostly because both of them are quite adept at tolerating me! And since each of us has already been to Vegas before, this weekend is going to be all about fun and sin and some more fun. On the cards is three nights of gambling and getting sloshed, watching Ka on Saturday, and definitely visiting at least one strip club. I think it is time for me to admit this - in my five years in this country, I have never ... yes, never ... been to one. I'm about to complete twenty-frikkin-seven years of my life - and while I do a mean pole dance myself, I've never seen one live. Well, that's going to change, for sure - specially since both the fools I'm going with are as willing as I am - and more so, because the real reason to go to Vegas is that both of them turned a year older last week (on the same day!), and what better place to forget you're nearing the "uncle age" *shudder* than Vegas ?!?!?

Speaking of birthdays, I was going to put up a whole post about the flatmate - a suggestion made by The Canuck Engineer (who, by the way, might show up in Vegas too!). I did start to write some stuff, but lost enthu after about six or seven lines. But I guess I will - some day. After all, he is one of the very few people who I'm almost as close to as my school friends. In fact, right now he is the only one who knows about my present crush.

Well, that's not entirely true. The crush isn't quite so present anymore - it's started to die down. Which is both good and bad. Good, coz it wasn't going to go anywhere. And bad because I think it's actually quite fun to have a crush on someone. It keeps the heart excited and the mind fertile - you know, when you think up ways to "accidentally run into" the person you like ... or that feeling - that strange, almost indescribable feeling - you get when you suddenly meet them when least expected. I guess I better find someone else to stalk make the object of my affections!

Of course, that will have to be someone other than Delhi, the city I grew up in, and the city I will perhaps always identify myself with, which is now, just as it has always been, the true object of my affection. I'm not even going to get started on the reasons as to why I love the city, nor am I going to write about what's wrong with it. What I will say is that I am so looking forward to being back this December. It would have been two and a half years since I last saw it - the longest I have ever been away. I don't miss it on a regular basis - but the anticipation of going back is immense. Luckily, I haven't done anything geeky like putting up a countdown counter to the day I fly out (ok, not publicly at least!!), but I know it isn't too long now. Sadly, I will be flying all through my birthday - but really, who cares - I'm going to be back soon, and I know I want to do tons and tons of stuff. What stuff, I don't yet know - except for two things - both of which involve eating. One, I just have to have to have to eat those dal pakodas that you get in Lajpat Nagar. I even know the thhele vaala bhaiya I want to go to. And two, Mom's going to make me her spinach baked dish. Even after all this time and eating food from so many parts of the world, that dish remains one of the best things I've ever had.

Well I guess that's a lot of what I've been meaning to write about. I wonder what I'll feel when I read this blog some years down the line, irrespective of whether or not I'm still updating it then. BT once asked me as to why I write? I couldn't quite give her an appropriate answer - but perhaps one of the reasons is to come back to it some time later - to read what I had written, and to try and recall who I used to be, and how I've grown and changed.

Such deep thoughts - I'm quite wise, really !!

Say it isn't so ...

I refuse to believe this, mainly because it would be too depressing if it were true.

Or perhaps it is that time doesn't heal all wounds, perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all, and instead what happens is that each wound penetrates the body depper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones - the angle of your head, the jutting of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the lustre of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile - has collapsed under the weight of your griefs.

The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Just an Urban Legend

"Vampires? Vampires!! For the last time, there are no such things as vampires ... they're just urban legends", said Constable Mordum.

He was trying his best to control the crowd of frightened villagers, all gathered around the body of Mr. Dullers, who looked exactly like the last five victims - an ashen face and neck, as if the blood had been completely drained out, his eyes wide open with fear, his tongue hanging limply to the side, and those two marks - those distinct puncture wounds on his neck - neat, precise, deep holes - the attacker clearly knew what he (or she) was doing - staring back at everyone like two tiny black eyes, holding a secret within them.

"But this is the sixth death ... the SIXTH death", shouted someone.

Panic had gripped even the strongest of heart. For there was someone, or something, in the village which seemed to have an unquenchable thirst for human blood. The deaths ... the killings, rather, had started a few months earlier, and there were absolutely no clues. Strange, for it was a small village - barely five hundred people, and almost everyone knew everyone else. Granted, there was regular tourist traffic, and then there were those bums who lived by the mines, and those gypsies who came and went as they pleased, but that had been so for quite some years. Talk of the apocalypse and the end of days was now common at the local bar, and people tried their best to be inside their houses (with the locks fastened) no later than sundown. And then there was Constable Mordum, clearly under pressure to solve these crimes, and without a single lead. Word had been sent to the police station in the city to send re-enforcements, but they were yet to arrive.

A week after Mr. Dullers's body had been found, Constable Mordum received a call from Mr. Thicket, the local doctor, who had performed autopsies on all the bodies. He arrived promptly, since the doctor's voice had sounded quite urgent over the phone. A feeling of unease gripped him even as he cycled to the doctor's house ... perhaps because it was getting late in the evening. Dr. Thicket showed him into the back of the house, which also functioned as his laboratory. There were a few cadavers around, their innards visible for all to see.

"Constable Mordum", said Dr. Thicket in his low, controlled voice, "as you know, I am a man of science. And being so, these deaths bother me a great deal. The wounds, the state of the bodies, the absolute lack of blood in the face and neck just does not go down well with anything that I have seen or read in all my years. And given that the same kind of deaths have taken place in other villages as well, I was determined to get to the bottom of this. And so, over the last month or so, I have been digging up some information ... most of which, I am sure, you and your department must be aware of. If not, I'm sure it will be helpful."

Constable Mordum raised his eyebrows.

"There seem to be a lot of common factors to these killings," the doctor continued, "which I found out by talking to some of my contacts and some newspaper editors in these villages. Allow me to list some of them out. The bodies have always been found in the exact same fashion, there have never been any witnesses, and the police is yet to catch any one. Moreover, and this is quite interesting, there have always been exactly seven murders per village - no more, no less. Of course, that may have been due to the increased police vigilance in those villages, but then, there is one more factor, which is more interesting that all the rest."

Constable Mordum stared at Dr. Thicket without blinking.

"And that factor, Mordum, is you. Isn't it strange that you were the constable in each of those villages, and you were the one who got transferred, by your own choice, I have no doubt, to another village once seven bodies had been devoid of life? It appears that some urban legends, are in fact, not legends after all."

Constable Mordum smiled.

"Vampires? Vampires!! For the last time, there are no such things as vampires ... they're just urban legends", said Constable Mordum.

He was trying his best to control the crowd of frightened villagers, all gathered around the body of Dr. Thicket, who looked exactly like the last six victims ...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

India - December - Fo sho!

If he continued his life in New York, he might never see his pitaji again. It happened all the time; ten years passed, fifteen, the telegram arrived, or the phone call, the parent was gone and the child was too late. Or they returned and and found they'd missed the entire last quarter of a lifetime, their parents like photograph negatives. And there were worse tragedies. After the initial excitement was over, it often became obvious that the love was gone; for affection was only a habit after all, and people, they forgot, or they became accustomed to its absence. They returned and found just the facade; it had been eaten from inside, like Cho Oyu being gouged by termites from within.

The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai