Friday, November 28, 2008

Parinaam kya?

Ro raha hai dil,
Ankhen nam hai,
Kya sthiti hai duniya ki,
Aatank mein fase hum hai.

Ek jut hona hoga hume,
Yeh ek kathin yuddh hai,
Shatru mansik bimaar hai,
Saari chaal atah bekar hai.

Masoom log kyun nishane par?
Jo apne balidan ki vajah se anjaan hai,
Unhe maarkar kya milega,
Jo tumhare maksad se nadaan hai?

Ladai to barabar walo mein hoti hai,
Nihatte par to kayar vaar karte hai,
Udeshya aur parinaam kya hai is khoon ka,
Yeh jaanne ka haq har ek shahid rakhte hai.

Kya chahte ho tum, kyun yeh hahakar hai?
Chahe building urao, underground jalao,
Bandi banao, goli chalao,
Sab bekar hai agar maksad naa batao.

Aatank machana, darr paida karna,
Videshiyon ko maarna, dharm ko kalankit karna,
Aur ant mein apni jaan bhi gawana,
Kis kaaran ke mol hai, yeh to batana?

Kyun naa is pagalpan se upar uthkar,
Kabiliyat ke dam par duniya mein jiyo,
Saaf aur sachche mann se dekhoge,
To har manav mein ishwar nazar aayenge…
Aur tab kya tum goli chala paoge?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sleepy, yet no sleep

I have always given a lot of importance to sleep in my life. In my dreams I have figured out proofs of some theorems, mugged up rules of accountancy or principles of business organisation, dreamt about being running for presidency and planned my future. Having been an academic topper with some other scholarships to my credit, some people have found it difficult to believe that if I have the liberty and any form of couch at my disposal, I have never missed any opportunity to put a bookmark on the book/notes/workbook and go off to sleep. I remember how amazed my mother would get to see me sleeping all cuddled up with a heap of books/notes surrounding me. I remember how friends at college would mock me and challenge me to stay awake late in the night as in hostel studying late night was considered fashionable. I remember how my housemate would get worried seeing me taking small breaks of sleep during the day before exams when I am supposed to have lost sleep.

So in a nutshell I have always fancied sleeping, the greater is the pressure – the more I have slept, the nearer the exams – the more is the sleep. I guess it has been my way to tackle pressure. Some people get into smoking, some start drinking, I believe in sleeping. But you must be wondering how can one fall asleep when one is worried or tensed? That comes with practice. Some of you who might have watched the bollywood movie “Munnabhai MBBS” would have noticed how Dr. Asthana forces himself to laugh when he is angry so that he can control his increased blood pressure and he is successful to a lot extent. Similarly if you can force yourself to sleep (in fact you don’t need to put in too much efforts as your brain is anyways tired of thinking and worrying and would love some rest in any case), you would be in a better position to tackle the worry. And then when you get up, you are bound to feel better as you have just ‘slept over’ your problem.

I have finished my yummy lunch of fried rice and I have two pivot tables containing thousands of data to compare and make a report on the discrepancy if any. There is supposed to be not much discrepancy while I cannot see a single value match. I wonder what report I am going to produce! And to top it all I am feeling so sleepy. No couch around and with no contractual liberty to sleep at work, I wonder if this is why working people crave for weekends!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The new face* of woman

*Dedicated to the unknown face I saw yesterday in London Underground

Like any other thousands of commuters on London tube on a weekend, I was no different. Wearing a red tank top on black jumpers and a pair of black Levis jeans, I was on my way to attend a drink party to bid farewell to a friend who is moving to Melbourne, Australia. This 15 minute journey gave me thoughts which I feel I will continue to think over for some days to come.

Casually, not thinking anything in particular and just noticing human behaviour as an onlooker, my eyes caught a strange face. A very beautiful yet strange face! It was beautiful as it looked very well chiselled out with a perfect countenance and it was strange as it took me a couple of seconds to understand whether it was masculine or feminine.

The train was moving and so were people inside my coach. I saw that face turn sides and roll eyes, probably in response to somebody (may be me) staring at it. And that puzzled me more. I was thoughtless/speechless/motionless for moments that followed. I had figured out something. The face belonged to a young lady who had designed her hair in such a manner that one half of it was a boy-cut revealing her neck (half of the neck), while the other half was a girlish layered cut with hair falling below the shoulders. On further thoughts, I guessed that she must have been or will be a part of a play wherein she is playing both male and female characters in a particular scene. May be she was to perform a one-act play or may be playing multiple characters in a play. The next moments were of respect towards her commitment (to put the character she would play above her own self) and brevity (to travel in a public transport with a hair style so uniquely designed). Just when I was so occupied with these thoughts playing in my mind, I saw her getting down. Had she stayed with me for one more station, I would have probably got a chance to talk to her and confirm my guess.

She disembarked, but I kept pondering. The next thoughts were of the new face of woman I had just witnessed - somebody who is bold and smart, does not shy away from taking up challenges, is committed and goal-oriented, manages personal and professional life with confidence and does not care about the world if it obstructs the way for any of the above.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Darr

Aaj baithe baithe yunhi,
aankhen bhar aayi -
pata nahi kis khayal se,
dharkan tham gayi.

Kal raat dekha jo sapna,
kahi woh sach na ho jaye -
pata nahi khushi hogi ya dukh,
jab jeevan ki dhara badal jaye.

Kabhi kabhi sochti hun,
ki meri manzil kya hai -
achchhi - buri maine har ek,
chot ko saha hai.

Aur kitne kante hai raah par,
jin par mujhe chalna hai -
kyun dekha maine sapna,
jab haar se darr lag raha hai.

Microsoft - Not Responding

I had an unveiling experience. I was working on getting a piece of code working since morning. It was evening and I had just cracked the code (written in VBA embedded in Excel 2003). The joy and excitement was extreme. There was a point when I had completely given up and thought that probably I will have to do it in some other way (which I deemed less efficient). So when it finally got cracked and I saw my code working, I was literally in the seventh heaven. I think, when we feel so happy with ourselves, we do end up doing something stupid the next moment. I was no different. I became a little too ambitious and made some other changes only to realise that my Excel was ‘not responding’. Phew! For heaven’s sake tell me that this is a bad nightmare; that after a couple of minutes of mental agony, this ‘not responding’ ghost on my Excel will go away; that I would be able to retrieve my code I had painstakingly worked on since morning. Someone please tell me this.

In the next couple of minutes I frantically googled starting from “how to save a ‘not responding’ file” or “how to retrieve a document” to the extent of “help on using Excel 2003”. There was some Microsoft help which directed me to go to

Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Office Tools -> Microsoft Office Application Recovery

But as guessed by most of you, I did not have this feature in my machine. I asked the colleague beside me to search (thinking probably insanity had taken over me that I can’t even find Microsoft Office tools), but it was not there in his machine either. Helpless! Demotivated! The grief of having wasted the whole day was worse than having to reproduce the gory code.

I tried looking for ways in which I can contact Microsoft to get some help on this. A Google for ‘contact Microsoft’ led to a Support Microsoft page. I then ticked options for the next few pages to specify with which product (Excel 2003) I had a problem. I was calming down a little during this process, felt some ray of hope. Only to be led to a page wherein I was asked £46 (including VAT) for an e-mail request or a phone support. Gosh! I heard myself screaming! I could not believe it.

A simple google of ‘Contact Google’ leads to so many phone numbers/email-ids/address using which one can contact them. While I found no way in which I could contact Microsoft (for free). I have never fancied their “Was this information helpful?” question with every help they provide, and after this no-way-to-contact-Microsoft-experience, I can only see myself fancying it lesser.

After this long struggle, I finally gave up. I vowed to click on ‘save’ after every significant code line that I would write in future. Dejected I pressed, Ctrl-Alt-Del. The task manager popped up. An ‘End Now’ to the ‘Not Responding’ Excel. Couple of seconds and the irritating message box “You chose to end the nonresponsive program, Microsoft Office Excel." Don’t Send. Everything was over! Sigh!!

While I was opening the Excel sheet again, I prayed that I have not forgotten the important bits of the code which I will need to write again; told myself what a wasteful day I had, and what a torture it would be to write the code all over again. Excel opened. I opened the module to start writing the code again, only to find it already there. I must have clicked the ‘save’ button at some point before I ran the code and before it decided ‘not to respond’. My day was just saved!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The voice - do we really need it?

I have been thinking since some time that I have to write about the whole Raj Thakerey drama that has recently started. Just today when I read the news article which says that Raj cuts his birthday cake with a sword which has “Bhaiya” written on it, I felt amusement and some sense of malignity. Not that I do not want to accept the argument that the news clip may be a little over the top with an unnecessary implication of cutting the "Bhaiya" on the cake with a sword meaning that he wants to cut all the north Indians with a sword, but I just want to say he is on my nerves now.

I recently heard Shobhaa De speaking to Karan Thapar about the whole episode, and albeit the fact that I really look up to her for the woman she stands for, I was let down this time. She did not take any stand, she played safe, she answered diplomatically, that’s not the Shobhaa De I have known and hence the let down. She seemed to be insisting that she is surprised that not a single Maharastrian has got up to speak out against the Raj Thakerey episode. I wonder that if a personality like Shobhaa De could not muster the courage to do so, whom is she expecting to come out to speak? How can we think that the reticence of Maharastrians may perhaps mean that this is what they want?

There is no doubt in the argument that each state should have their quota so that advantage is given to the applicants of those states. And to the best of my knowledge, India is a hugely quota-regulated country. Each state does have their own share of quota, examples can be the state level UPSC exams or the state level lecturership exams (called SLET), or the state level railway exams, all of which give preference to applicants of their own state to some specific percentage. I have personally also taken some of these exams and that is the view I am aware of as an applicant. Then what is the argument for beating up the north Indian applicants on a Railway exam? S/he will only get selected in the category of outsider applicants. And if you think that this is not being done correctly, then sue the government for corruption. I do not see any justification in beating up a student like me absolutely unaware of what’s going on.

I hereby do not just say that the approach used to get the voice heard is absolutely unacceptable and rubbish, but also add that the voice that is being raised is irresponsible and carries no grounds.

The development of any place depends a lot on the immigrants to that place. The natives take their home towns mostly for granted and do not aspire to add much value to it. I wish the number of immigrants that Mumbai has, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal may also have some day. Least the Mumbaikars should do is to feel proud that their state is good enough to attract the crowd of the nearby states. Believe me nobody is happy at the first place to leave their own state; it hurts a lot to migrate to somewhere you have not being born and brought up. I am an immigrant too, and not even a single night has passed when I have not thought of my birth place.

The other argument I hear is that if Raj Thakerey does not do this then there is no way that the other states would do anything to improve their infrastructure. “Jab ghee seedhi ungli se nahi nikalta to ungli tedhi karni padti hai”. Huh!! Do you think killing Biharis in Maharastra is going to make the Bihari government do anything about its infrastructure and development? Our politicians hardly think this way. The first thing they would do is topple the Maharastra government or call for president’s rule in the state claiming law and order failure. And all that we are gaining with this “tedhi ungli” is the harassment and loss of some of the brilliant Bihari minds.

At the end I feel totally at a loss of words in which I can express my disagreement to the voice. Least that I would request the government is to put the man behind bars for claiming himself to be above the law of the land.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are completely personal and no malice is intended. The views have been formed based on newspaper articles, TV interviews and personal judgement.