Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Random Vs The Objective

A few days ago, not very long ago I was searching for a "topic" to write about. This search continued for quite a few days. Nothing seemed to be happening in the world around me and I was waiting for the life to inspire me. That didn't happen. It was then that I had decided to get "random".

Getting "random" meant that I had the freedom to talk anything on earth from my bike tyre to the foreign policy of the U.S. I did not have to know about anything in full detail given the fact that I would only touch the issue without dwelling too much on it and end the matter in one or two sentences. I could also immediately shift to some other unconnected issue. Naming the blog was a fight initially but then as I got used to it and in a course of time even the title of the blog turned "random".

Getting "Objective" is the opposite. You need to stick to one single topic and the more you want to write about it, the better you need to know the subject. No issues with the name of the blog since it can every well be the "subject" of discussion itself. The title of this blog "Random Vs The Objective" tells the entire story. Objective is something very concrete, very definite aided by the definite article "The". "Random" doesn't seem to have any purpose and hence is not even accompanied by an indefinite article. :):):)

I have got used to writing random that I find it difficult to write on a particular topic(and stick to it). Flirting with the various happenings in the world around me seems to be an easier option at least for now and hence another random blog.

My thought on this blog: Saaala... I have just about 20 posts and I talk about getting random and objective as if I have 2000 posts and have been writing since ages.

Ha ha... after all it was just a thought that occurred a bit too early.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Random thoughts

Many of the roads in Hyderabad have a wide look now, especially the one curving road from Madhapur that leads to Jubli Hills (or vice versa). I was often disturbed when I was saw the numbers being marked on the houses which indicated the number of feet that the house needed to be moved in. "Such a beautiful construction... pity that it is going to be distorted" I used to think. I was also pained when many of the huge trees which provided the cool shading had to be cut. But then "All is well that ends well ". It is not too bad after all. That's what I feel now as my bike speeds away enjoying the new found freedom of space.

I am happy that I am not in Delhi. I was shocked when I heard the news that about 80% of Delhi has illegal constructions. If the Municipal corporation of Delhi takes a tough stand then the capital of India would be a city of ruins. But I doubt if that would ever happen. Almost every big shot of Delhi seems to be possess an ICA( my acronym for Illegally Constructed Assets)and the Government authorities in India are usually known to soften their stance in such cases. Whatever be the decison of the authorities, I feel that the destruction has already been done.

The word "destruction" reminds me of the destructor, Virender Sehwag. I can't but go ga ga about the airy off-side cut shot that he hits above the cover and the point region. Ironically that was the shot that brought about his downfall and a smile on the faces of Pakistani bowlers. It was great to see so many batsmen hitting tons, but what about the bowlers? Thanks to the one day game, cricket is alredy a batsman's game. More and more pitches like this will make the "bowler" a extinct species like the dinosaurs of yore. Come 2020, and we will be having 11 batsmen in the team with machines doing the bowling job. India, the technology super-power ( in 2020) will be churning out scientists who in turn will develop the Deep Green ( something like Deep Blue) bowling machines. The MRF Pace foundation would transform itself into the some AI( artificial intelligence) centre where young scientists all over the country would strive to produce Deep Greens with a higher BQ ( bowling quotient).

The leader of the pack will however be the United States with the NRIs there doing the batting and the Indian scientists in Silicon valley developing the Deep Greens to do the bowling job. India, despite being a technological super power and a cricket maniac nation will be a close second. The current non-cricketing nations like Japan, China, Germany will come next thanks to their respective bowling prowess'(read AI prowess). Australia, though technically equipped for playing cricket would'nt play. Instead the entire nation would be busy fighting for justice having filed a case in the International Court of Justice against the ICC for "machinizing the game" and thus negating Australia's strength. Pakistan, which claims to have the one of the best bowling attacks in the world would be forced to reliquish cricket due to lack of AI infrastructure. The Politicians in Pakistan would be in a dilemma unable to decide whether to allocate funds for military or AI infrasturture. All the former cricketers in Pakistan would be launching protests and strikes against the Goverment for not encouraging cricket ( Of course they wouldn't file a case like the Aussies) . The whole country would be in chaos. My dear cricket authorties of Pakistan, do we really need all this? Wake up and prepare a sporting pitch for the next test.

Monday, January 9, 2006

The Helmet

Helmet!!! What sort of a name is this? I believe it is weird when you consider it's applications. "Helmet" is a device which helps you to prevent fatal accidents. Assuming that many of the homo-sapiens are mean and bad, 'helmet' protects you from meeting "Hell". Now then the name "Helmet" seems to suggest the opposite. This reinforces my belief that English is a funny language. ( I love funny things by the way).

The person who had coined the name "helmet" would have thought of something more than the skull-protecting function of the helmet. In fact if he had thought like I am doing at the moment, the name "helmet" couldn't be more appropriate. Hmmmm... let me tell you, the helmet is a disaster ( a hell with a single 'l' ) as far as my hair is concerned. I somehow did not have the passion for long hair during my college days. The passion struck me after I started using my bike. ( and using my helmet). But then long hair and helmet don't go together. The helmet doesn't let the hair have its say, it doesn't let it sway, it keeps it on a tight leash. As a result of the bloody stress, and the heavy press the hair is forced to bend down. Bend down!!! My foot !!!(should have been My Hair!!!) It is almost as if the backbone of the each of the hair filaments ( couldn't find a better word) is broken and as if the hair is paralyzed for life. What a sad story! I told the same to my hair stylist ( euphemism for the word "barber"). He listened patiently and convinced me that he had an idea which when implemented would ensure that my hair is long as well as stress-free. It was only later that I had realized what he had in mind. He cut the hair short, so short that almost everyone in the office today seemed to find it funny. Grrrrrrrrrrr....Huhhhh... @#^@!^#*@!&#@(# the barber. ( This is how anyone would react when a pretty girl calls you a "Onida boy ( courtesy my round face and of course the #^^#(#*# barber))

Thinking ahead, can't we find something better? Why doesn't anyone think of any innovations? I suggest we make a device which stays 2-inches above the hair while driving and lands on the head only when it comes into contact with some material ( not air ). You know a "sensor" kind of device. This makes me wonder what they would call it? I would call it the "Gelmet" because it gels so well with the hair.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Food for thought

Good food. One of the necessities in life for me. Although I don't belong to the category of "Live to Eat", I am definitely a connoisseur of good food and a critic of not so good food. What I eat does matter to me. When I land up in a some distant relative's place ( as in.. a brother of the cousin of my aunt's husband's sister's husband ) I tend to get very circumspect about food. "Oh..please God..let the curry taste the same as the one cooked by Mom back home" is usually my first reaction when food is served on my plate. Back home at the dinner table, the situation is different. Eating is more a mechnical process devoid of any thought since I know that I will like the food.

Girls and food. This is an interesting combination. The amount of food consumed by a girl ( of age 13-30) has often left me bewildered.( Let me not generalize say most of the girls most of the times..). One of my friends who was supposed to be "very hungry" gets full after eating a mere two rotis. And it's not just her.. I have seen most of my cousins do this. To put it straight in the Hyderabad lingo , "Ladki Khana aisa kha ti hain jaise uspe "aisaan" kar rahi ho" ( girls eat food as if they are bestowing a great favor on the food particle by consuming it).

Hey .. I am eating you. You know ...such a big favor. Don't you have any courtesy . Why don't you blush like the boy next door!!! This is what a girl seems to say. Watch a girl playing around with two rotis in her plate for hours together and you will more than agree with my thoughts.

Hostel life makes one adapt to the "just about eatable" kind of food. One gets to see different kind of "eaters" in the hostel. Cribs about the quality of food is a daily phenomenon. There a few however who gobble just about any kind of food. While the rest just wait for the meal to get over, the glutton seems to look at the "morsel of food" and say " What the heck will you do? No matter matter how you taste... I will eat you.". Gulp..goes the food down his intestine. Ahem.. spare a " thought for the food".

8:30 am . 1:00 pm. 8:30 pm. What are these? In the same hostel, I came across a few souls who just did not care about the quality of food. The timings mentioned are the times in day a where you will find these souls in the mess.( Unless held up by a critical assignment or project). The quality of food just doesn't seem to make any difference to them. For them "you eat to survive" and " you survive when you eat food irrespective of its taste. They have this "monk" kind of attitude. There was one occasion when the breakfast was horrible and there was a monk sitting next to me.

"How does the food taste?" I asked, expecting him to join me in the crib.
His face did not betray the slightest of emotions.
"It is normal, just like it is everyday. It tastes like food", he replied.
I was stumped!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Within the box

The Man and the machine. What's the difference between the two? The ability to think. The ability to act depending on a particular situation instead of acting in a pre-meditated manner. That's what separates a human from a machine which is always programmed ( Huh... The job effect) to behave in a particular manner. But I wonder if we behave in any way different from a machine. We do the same things day in and day out to such an extent that we have almost mechanized ourselves to act like machines.

Just before coming to the office, I wanted the check the calendar since my relatives were scheduled to arrive next week. I checked the date. But I would not have noticed even if it was a 2055 calendar. My eyes were trained to read the year as 2005 for almost an year. ( The eyes don't even want to realize that it is 2006 and the brain obliges). I got on the bike. My bike was in the garage and I had to use my cousin's bike. It's 2 days since I am doing this yet the brain refuses to forget the gear system of my bike and the my cousin's bike complains making all kinds of odd sounds ( Grrrrr.. Urrr sounds). Is something wrong with me? Why don't I remain consicious? It's snacks time in the evening. I order "chat" and instruct the guy not to add curd ( I suffer from this thing known as curd-o-phobia) . But then he gets mechanical and adds curd to it forgetting my instruction. So we all act the same.

All these things seem to happen more at the sub-conscious level. It takes sometime to get used to new things and new ways. But the brain seems to enjoy doing the routine job even at the conscious level. My physics teacher in Class 12 would definitely agree with me. Despite his best efforts, my friends and I always used to try to solve a problem using the method used for the previous problem. ( however different the new problem might be). Our brains I guess were too lazy to search for a new method and instead settled for the latest one lingering in the brain space. The education system also stresses too much on the aspect of "revision". The focus is on the data ( which is repeated "n" number of times ) instead of the idea which needs to be understood. The examination again repeats the data instead of playing around with it ( keeping idea or 'funda' as it is called intact).

I was complaining about the documentation work that I got yesterday. I learnt working on a new tool today. The first time around I struggled. As I tried working on it again and again, I was more comfortable. It was a pity that the brain seemed to enjoy the repetitive task ( after I had mastered it after trying it out n number of times ) instead of relishing the challenge of learning something new. It was then that my heart intervened and prompted me to write this stuff.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Documentation!!! It's a pain

"I was born to write not to code". I am clear about that. The terms are also loud and clear. Writing and coding are as different as chalk and cheese. But then there is something known as documentation and believe me it is no joy . I need to rephrase my statement now. " I was born to write but documentation is definitely going to kill me".

People call me a developer. But what I am developing ? If I am developer,is development work so mundane and mediocre? I have added one line of code last week. Two days of this week have gone in writing something known as a Test Plan for that single line of code.( remember I haven't tested anything yet)I have reworked on that description ( or scenario as it goes in the Test plan) all these two days. My first draft bears little resemblance to my final one. When I compare both of them , I wonder what I had in my mind while documenting ( not writing) the first draft. It's a pity that I didn't go through the standards document( the word "document" again!!!) when I embarked on my task. But I doubt if the story could have been any different.

I now understand what a powerful tool my dear companion parenthesis ( ) is. It often comes to my rescue while blogging. ( ) helps me express any kind of subtle feeling or any kind of chatter going offtrack . I tried doing the same while documenting. " Why parenthesis? What's the difference between the condition inside it and the one outside it" came the comment from the reviewer. I never thought of that while blogging. Sorry dear paren ( pet-name for parenthesis), but I had abandon you.

Documentation is definitely a pain. I had to change the "is" to "should" , present tense to future tense, the language to pieces of code and what not. I worked and re-worked on it and finally when everything seemed fine, I realized that the template was not the latest one. Good God!!! When and why did the template change?

When I think about it, I realize that I am not alone. A huge chunk of the IT industry does it day in and day out. One of my friends in the canteen was explaining how his fingers have got used to the CTRL+C, ALT+TAB, CTRL+ V commands .All this in the name of development!!! Hmmmm.. then India is a developing nation full of developers like me.