Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Those feared questions...

Since I have joined an IT company after completing my M.Tech.; there are few questions that which I fear, few which annoy me a lot.
Probably the most annoying question I face is, which platform do I work on? I feel like answering "hey, I don't beg like you."; I know it might sound rude, but why always assume that an engineer in an IT company must always be doing coding or testing.
Success in an IT company is measured by number of times you have been onsite, normally parents who have their children in IT company and IT people who have been onsite, will always ask this question "So, when are you going abroad?" or "How many times have you been abroad?" following with remarks like "what? not even once?", "what, you don't have chance, what work you do there?" (here they really don't want to ask me what work I do, they are just doubting the fact that I work in an IT company). It starts getting funny, when they start telling stories of how well their son or daughter were doing and how many times and how different places they have been. Now, being in an IT company I know how exactly people live there, but I still have to say yes, yes etc.
One question that always left me speechless is "what exactly is the work you do?". In fact, after my futile attempts to explain satirically my work; one of my cousins simply concluded that I don't work (well, it might be different issue that she might not be that far from reality). Being part of an IT company everyone expects me to be doing something in some programming language and I not doing anything like that just shocks them. On top of that saying something like working in research group ends up in a disaster leading to questions like, "Oh!!! so you develop some technology?" then I try to explain something related to modeling. Unfortunately nobody has yet mistaken it as modeling as in 'fashion modeling' (probably my physique is too good to believe something like that for somebody), and one who doesn't understand modeling give me the look 'what the heck is that?". I have always avoided telling something about 'systems thinking'; anticipating that might prove to be last thorn in the flesh.
Another of those dreaded question is, "So, what are your next plans?", an annoying version of the same question is, " So, when are you switching?" (for ignorants and unfamiliers, switching here means switching the jobs and the frequency with which most IT people change jobs I think you can't find more appropriate term for changing jobs by IT people) . And what is really the most fascinating is the look these quizmasters give when I say "No, I don't have any plans for switching?" and that look is nothing when I say " Well, I want to do PhD, let's see how it goes?". Except my very close friends and my family who know me very well, I haven't yet seen anybody who is familiar with IT scenario and able to digest that statement. The obvious questions follow, "what the heck, why do you want to leave field like IT which is full of money and do something like PhD, do you want to become lecturer or what?" Going into deep, just worsens the situation, so I normally stop by answering "You know, how crazy I am?" to which nobody argues, afterall I have earned this reputation by hardwork of so many years.

So, if you happen to be one of such quizmasters, please don't ask me these questions.

Writing dilemma

I posted some blogs in a hurry and now I am wondering what to write on. Yes, last two- three I am trying different topics but couldn't come up with anything nice to write on. I have about 10 incomplete drafts now including some things about my work. Now you ask me, why to worry about writing something nice, when you have already written so much of junk. Inspired by curious gawker and silverine, I also thought of writing something very good and funny, but needless to say I couldn't. I don't think I will be able to reach the level of imagination of curious gawker and viewing with comedy angle for day-to-day happenings like silverine. Nonetheless, I tried and almost wrote a good half page as a story and then couldn't think of any more.
I guess I should be happy writing some normal stuff like this, but couldn't help keeping my desire down for writing good blogs; especially when no one seems to read my blogs.
Some other options are like writing on social issues or writing fictional stories. Writing on social issues is not an easy taks, as it always some or the other way gets related to politicians and whenever it comes to politicians, I get psyched out and feel like using lots of bad words.
Writing consistent good blogs is huge challenge, of course at this time I think I should worry about wrting good blogs then I will worry about being consistent.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I don't know what is going through my mind now... Yes it sounds weird. I don't know what I should do and therefore I am trying to write something here.
I saw "shawshank redemption" some 2-3 days ago. It's a great movie, the way last twenty minutes change your whole perception about the movie and impression it makes is just amazing. However I don't know it was the right kind of movie for me, it teaches one to keep hopes alive and work towards it. That's exactly what I am trying to do with my work, of course I don't know how well or whether at all I am working towards my hopes. I know practically, that what I am doing is not going to help me much except on the knowledge side or my reaserch mind and one can not survive just on knowledge or thinking. Only hope is some miracle that can sore my chances of survival and spirit. And obviously I am hoping for such miracle though I don't believe in miracle.
I don't know what is that makes me believe that a miracle can happen... Is it my passion for research? or Is it my hate for the routine IT or manufacturing jobs ? or Is it my faith in my superboss? or Is it my arrogant belief in myself that I can survive in any situation? or Is it combination of all of these? Whatever it is it's amazing how I am able to survive myself before survive the world.
Reality bites and it bites hard!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I don’t normally preach anything to anyone or give advice. However, some time back I gave some ‘gyan’ to one of my colleagues and she actually follows some of it (well, at least she says so). Now, I know you are wondering that how the heck somebody can listen to me, but let’s assume it to be true. Well, the point is when you preach others you realize how hopelessly you struggle to follow it yourself.
Another thing is when you try to preach suddenly you realize that what you just preached is rewording of some saying you learnt somewhere in third or four standards. It just struck me how those ‘sayings’ I learnt out of fascination (some of them are extremely funny) hold so true in the real life. It is just amazing how the simple things conveyed through these saying can make our life much easier if we are able to follow them. Hmm… that’s the catch, ‘if’, when will this ‘if’ go out of everything?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I am flattered....

Just read this and this, I am so flattered by it. I didn't know it can be so good. Well, I had taken Meyer-Brigges test once and rather than being happy or sad was simply amazed to see how much I can relate to the results and what are good things about me.

Reservations again...

Yesterday I wrote something about the reservation quotas, however not really looking it from all the directions. One thing that I realized while talking with my friends is that, really how much difference is it going to make? In some states like Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, etc. the percentage of people on OBC categories is already too much and state level colleges already carry the reservations. If you have to get admission in OBC categories in these states, you have to struggle almost as hard as open category. Why do we need these reservation at the national level then? Some castes are under this category in one state while other state they are not, then how are we going to decide while caste is OBC for the national level? We have to go through all kind of stupidities to answer these questions?
There is one arrangement called 'creamy-layer' certificate which stops rich OBCs to take admission through the quota. Why not make economic terms as the basis for quota rather than castes?
Lastly one of the funniest things is if you are meritorious student who is capable of getting the seat based solely on merit but belong to the caste which comes in the quota you have to take admission in the open category and not through quota. So, not just the percentage of quota but the whole system itself is completely biased against the open category. Where shall people in the open category must go? I think after some time only people who need reservation quotas; will be the open category.
For example, in Maharshtra if you born as a boy in a poor or middle class family which does not come under any of these quotas, you are extremely unfortunate. Why? for engineering colleges (and I think in all kind of degree colleges) in Maharashtra, there is total 52% reservation based on castes and 33% for women.; so you must be good enough to be in the best 15%.
At one end we want to end these caste based discrimination and at other end things like quotas made it more explicit and strengthen the discrimination.
Meanwhile greatbong has come up with post on reservation. I wonder how he can keep writing quality posts all the time?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Reservation and caste politics

With, all these debates on the increase of reservation in IITs and IIMs; I was also collecting my thoughts and put them here. From the beginning I am of the opinion that reservation is not the solution to the concerns, well not at least today. It might have been a very sensible solution when we got our independence.
Let's go back to the time, when all this started that is the time when Dr. Ambedkar suggested it though the constitution I suppose. At that time caste being a major differentiator (it might be so in some areas even today) it was very important to give these socially deprived people opportunities to better themselves and raise their level to come neck to neck with upper caste ones. But, how long opportunities should be given and is today it is relevant to discriminate based on caste?
Dr. Ambedkar himself has proposed this reservation only for a limited period and if I remember correctly this limited period was something like 7 years. Now, how then this reservation continued? The answer is probably very simple, the great caste politics which has started with the independence itself.
Let's see whether the reservation helps. To be honest with my observation reservation helps to the individuals in the reservation quota while it does not help the society. One of the reasons why reservation makes a difference is that in country like India where there are so less quality institutions and such huge talent pool, if you are above some cadre only thing you need is to get noticed and that's what happens when you are quality institution. So, if Mr. A is more intelligent and hardworking than mr. B but due to reservation Mr. B could go to some great Institute like IIT while Mr. A had to settle on normal engineering college then at least for 10 years Mr. B or even for whole life will be at much better position than Mr. B, because of getting very good first opportunity than Mr. A. On the other hand all the companies, government etc lose simple because they have a less capable person for the job than they can have because it is easy to trusts an institution than an individual. I am sure people who have gine through the struggle of engineering, medical and management admissions will see the point I am trying to make.
Now, if reservation helps people in those category, why shouldn't it be done. First at foremost because we as a society and nation is losing because of it, second it is shaking the faith of younger generation in India. What we are doing through reservation is going to create a chain of new problems, bulk of which already exist. This rediff article to some extent explains different problems coming out of it.
Also more importantly, while you can have reservation for good degree and higher education for getting good primary and secondary education you need to pay thousands of rupees of donation and thousands of rupees fees, how ridiculous is that? So basically the people who are suffering are the poor people and it has nothing to do with the caste.

"Then, would the Indian government have played games with reservations in the
complex world of jobs and educational institutions? No - it would have been
forced to invest in good quality primary and secondary education for the
poor and nipped the rhetorical use of reservations in the bud."

This is extract from a mumbai mirror article and something like gives the more sound solution than a myopic fix like reservation quotas. The article is really about something else but related to this issue perfectly.

In the end also do read this post. It gives a different way of looking at the whole issue.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Who is the real culprit?

Just few days ago, in the Lakme Fashion week, two incidents of 'Wardrobe Malfunction' happened and there were two news channels showing these incidents again and again and also newspapers carried these stories and debated them in detail. Now, I feel there is something wrong here; at one end we are outraged about distribution of clips through mobile and at other end these two incidents at the fashion week openly shown and publicized by media. I agree, that news channels blurred the sensitive parts or shown black stripe, but does that make it less painful for the two models or is it something diferent than distribution?
How does this act of media different from some person distributing some private photos or clips? Don't mistake me, I am not saying that it is ethical to distribute, my point is just that shouldn't we be more responsible towards media or media should be more responsible? Just because nobody could do anything to media people, do they have rights to do anything they want? Is this the way we want to shape our media?
There is something horribly going wrong with we the humans. The people distributing private photos/clips or news channels publicizing such things more than the real social issues, these are just the symptoms, the real problem is something else; it lies between the way we are, the way the global culture is developing. We are very good at blaming others, we all will conviniently blame technology or older genrations will blame young generations and so on... but we all have to change ourselves
Note: It does not mean, that the guilty should not be punished, they must be.