Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An ode of an... impending disaster???

An opportunity… (red herring, is it??)

An ambition… A dreamer

Lots of expectations – most of it from the self

A vacuous ground-work, close to naught

Mostly… just Crossed fingers

A frail framework of communication

A mind barricaded from external inputs by obstinance and paranoia

A “decision”…

A talented and extrovertive, but naïve and gullible betrothed,

A shared ambition and dream

A few personal ambitions and dreams

Lack of clarity

A misplaced sense of respect

A conviction… (or is it??)

A graspable, but hazardous immaturity in handling relationships

A best friend

A witness to an edifice being built on a hollow foundation

Lots of good intentions.

Desperate attempts to save the bacon

An out of the way attempt

A punching bag for abuses from a swellhead with an inflated ego

A wounded heart…

An ‘outsider’ ... a 'conspirator'

An abettor to schemes with underlying noble intents

A maverick strategist

The chief architect of a futile attempt

A geographical separation from 'the' loved one

A sinking feeling of helplessness.

An act of benevolence given up...

Lead kindly light...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Short Story: Crossroads - The story beyond...


She bent down to pick her handkerchief. Where did it fall from?? Wondering about this, she raised her eyes and stood up. Along the way, she saw a pair of dusted, rugged blue jeans standing in front of her. And then, her eyes saw him. They smiled, and her lips followed suit. It was Akshay.

“Hi… mmm… mmm”

“Hi… uh… mmm.. What’s next hour? Rao sir taking it?

“Uh??... Oh… I’m not sure I’m going… uh… coffee?”

“Oh sure… Infact, I wanted to grab something to eat too, before Rao sir’s class”

“Oh! Great… What’ll you have? Veg Sandwich?”

“Uh... Ok… but I’ll pay for mine…”

“Hey… its ok… today its on me… “ – but” “ - … and you can treat me tomorrow, fine?”

“…. Uh… ok!”

They sat on the corner-most table of the canteen, biting into their sandwiches. Nobody spoke for some time. Then Akshay cleared his throat and started to say something…

“Ahem… uh… Sanjana… uh well…”

“…? What??”

“Uh… I don’t know if this is the way I have to tell this… uh… but… uh..”


“I love you” (Sh*t!! I could have done better than that!!”)

She, stopped, mid way through her last bite of the sandwich. Her brows, furrowed first, and rose after that.

“Uh… I mean… you know… its ok you…” His left hand clenching his hair, and his face twisted into an embarrassed frown.

She placed her hand on his other hand, which was in his plate.

(She wants my sandwich??!! …. Owww… sh*t!! What the hell am I thinking… Ow… is this real? Did she touch my hand? Ow…My heart will pop out now…) “uh…aa… I…”

“I was just waiting for you to say it”. A warm smile lit up her pretty face.

He took a deep breath, and sighed with a relief… None of them spoke… for God-knows how much time after that. Sanjana missed Rao sir’s next class, and she didn’t even come to know of it. Even if she did, she probably wouldn’t have bothered, either.

Finally, they both stood up, and slowly walked out of the canteen, hand in hand.

Akshay said “Uh… just wanted to confess… Uh… It was I who dropped your handkerchief there. I had flicked it from your desk yesterday.” He grinned sheepishly.

Sanjana gave him a brief glance, and then looking ahead, as they walked, she said, in a rather nonchalant tone “I guessed so”

Akshay’s face turned red, but Sanjana did not notice it. They walked into the park.


Six years of courtship later, finally the day came. Akshay and Sanjana, both got the permission from their families, to get married – a year since they had first sought the permission. Neither of the families were in favor of it initially, but after sustained efforts from both Akshay and Sanjana, they gave in, albeit, not fully willingly.

Meanwhile, between themselves, it wasn’t all roses for Akshay and Sanjana. They bickered over little things, every now and then. He didn’t like her taking too much time to get ready. She didn’t like his undisciplined way of life. He didn’t like her talking to too many guys, especially a couple of them, with whom he wouldn’t get along well with. She in turn, found fault with him drooling over girls who weren’t ‘appropriately’ dressed. He felt disappointed when she couldn’t come out with him on a Sunday. She felt sad, that he couldn’t understand her helplessness in not being able to come. He didn’t like her going to office on weekends. She didn’t like him giving more importance to his inter-corporate TT matches, than her. He felt that she was over-possessive. She felt, he did not give her as much personal space she would have wished to have.

But then, they were in love… Right?

Occasionally, it would go from petty arguments to big fights, and then, they wouldn’t talk to each other for a few days. Then either of them would make up – flowers, cute sms’es and mails, a surprise visit… and then all would be fine. Atleast they felt so. And that too, inspite of not having a cordial environment in their homes, since the day, they spoke about their marriage.

But then, they were in love… Right?

Even so, since the day they got the green signal at home, the bickering seemed to get more incessant and intense. Each of their parents had their own plans about how and when the engagement and wedding would be held, and weren’t too appreciative about the views from the other side. Akshay and Sanjana were strewn between supporting their own parents, trying to convince the other and nursing their own personal ambitions.

Finally one day, the argument between them, over the venue of their engagement went over the top. They came down to shouting and even abusing each other and then their parents. Had it gone further, Akshay probably would have even beaten Sanjana. But he held himself back, and turned and left in a huff.

It was 8 pm already, and Sanjana would need another hour to get back home. On any other day, Akshay would drop her, even if it meant riding 14 km one way in bad traffic conditions. Today, he had left, and Sanjana was still there, numb from shock, and recuperating from the fight they had for the past hour and a half.

When she finally came back to her senses, she looked at her watch. 20:32. It was the same watch Akshay had gifted her, two years back, when he got his first salary. She slowly caressed the beautiful white dial of the watch, momentarily slipping into a flashback. A drop of tear from her eye fell on the glass, blurring the display. She wiped her eyes, looked up and cringed.

How was she to get back now? She didn’t know that area very well. This was the most recent meeting place, Akshay had got her to, a week back.

She didn’t want to call him. If he could leave her like that, without bothering about how she would get back, and how worried her parents would be, she felt, she would not ask him for help. She had no intention of making up, and ‘accepting defeat’ this time. Definitely, not this time!

There was no one around. She suddenly felt a chill run down her spine and hurriedly walked towards the road, she felt, would take her to the main road, from where she could catch an auto.

It was quiet, except for the clip-clop of her sandals, echoing from the walls of the park, on either sides. Five minutes later, she reached a crossroad. There was no one around to ask directions. She strained her ears, to see if she could make out which direction the main road would be in. No use. Seemed like she’d gone deaf, or the entire world had gone quiet.


Sanjana took the road to her left, hoping that the sound of the Sunday evening traffic on the main road, would soon reach her ears. She kept walking for what seemed like eternity, but the main road never arrived. Several times, she stopped to wonder, if it was the wrong road, and if it’d be better to go back to the crossroads, and try another road, but she did not have enough courage to go back to the haunting silence outside the park again.

The silence was deafening.

Her phone began to ring… ‘Nothing’s gonna change my love for you…’ Akshay!! She was relieved… For a moment, she forgot all about their fight, and eagerly picked the phone.

“Hi honey…”

“Hi Sanju… I just called to say, that we probably need to rethink if we want to go ahead with marriage. ‘Coz the way we fought today, that too, even before being married… well I don’t know where this would go… if this continues this way… So, just give this a thought… Good night”. Click

Sanjana froze in her tracks. She couldn’t believe what she heard was right. She wanted to move. She couldn’t. She wanted to call him back. She couldn’t. She wanted to scream. She couldn’t. She felt faint, and just collapsed on the dimly lit side walk, and began staring into the darkness on the opposite side of the road. Her mouth was wide open, in disbelief and shock.


Sanjana was startled. She looked up, and saw an auto, which had stopped for her on the side of the road.

“Madam… what are you doing here at this time? Where do you want to go?”, the driver asked from inside, craning his neck outside.

Sanjana was mum. The auto driver got down, came close to her, and saw her ghoulish pale-white face. He shook her gently and said “Madam… where do you stay?”

Sanjana looked at him, still in a sort of a trance and said in a voice which was barely more than a whisper and something she could not recognize as her own, “Bank Colony…”

“Please come madam, let me drop you home”

Sanjana walked like a zombie and sat in the auto, and the driver started off.

What had gone wrong? Six years we have been together, through all the thick and thin… and today, he says, forget it all?? Is our relationship that weak? Have I never fully understood him, all these years??

Paapa and mamma had agreed for this, only for my happiness. They’d asked me over and again, if I was sure that I wanted to live my entire life with Akshay… They weren’t fully convinced about him. But they had given into my stubbornness. They’d invoked the ire of all the relatives, and agreed for the marriage… All my friends and neighbours knew about it… I could not step back now…

And now… how am I to tell them, that they… or rather Akshay, had called it off?? Paapa and mamma would be devastated… What will the people say?? Who will marry me after this?? And what about Chutki? Would she have to the bear the consequences of my mistake? Who would marry her???

“Bhaiyya… please stop here”

“Madam… but Bank colony is another two kilometers away…”

“No… my aunt lives here. I will go to her house”

“Ok madam… as you say.”

The auto driver stopped the auto. Sanjana handed him a 100 rupee note and asked him to keep the change. The auto driver thanked her, wished her good night, and left.

* * * * *

Early next morning, at 3 a.m., the police found Sanjana’s body, hanging from her red dupatta, from a tree in Swastik Nagar.


Sanjana took the road in the middle, hoping that the sound of the Sunday evening traffic on the main road, would soon reach her ears. She kept walking for what seemed like eternity, but the main road never arrived. Several times, she stopped to wonder, if it was the wrong road, and if it’d be better to go back to the crossroads, and try another road, but she did not have enough courage to go back to the haunting silence outside the park again.

The silence was deafening.

She began getting a sinking feeling in her heart. Immediately, she took her phone out of her purse, and called Akshay.

Four rings later, Akshay picked up the call, and said roughly “Yes… what is it now??”

Sanjana was so relieved to hear his voice, that she began sobbing. “I’m sorry honey… I shouldn’t have talked to you like that…(sniff) I was being so silly… (sniff) I’m so sorry… we shall have the engagement where your parents want… I’ll convince my parents (sniff)… I’m so sorry…(sob)

Akshay mellowed down. “Its okie sweety… I knew you would understand. Now… now… you don’t cry…You’re my sweetheart right?? Don’t cry… Where are you now? You reached home?”

“No honey… (sniff) I wanted to take an auto, and started walking towards the main road. But I think I’m lost. (sniff) I’m on the road straight down the park, where we met. Can you come fast? I am feeling very scared…” and she began sobbing again.

“Hey sweety… I’m coming there in 5 minutes. You stay right there, ok?”

Ten minutes later, the sound of Akshay’s bike reached a totally-sapped Sanjana’s ears, and it felt like music. Akshay came, and Sanjana ran and hugged him tight, even before he unmounted. Akshay held her close, and kissed her forehead. Sanjana took the pillion seat, clasped her arms around his shoulders from underneath his arms, and they rode into the darkness, towards Sanjana’s house.

The engagement was held in the wedding hall, and on the date that Akshay’s parents had wanted. Sanjana’s parents had to spend several thousands more than they had intended, on that day.

The wedding was held four weeks later, and it seemed like the entire town had turned up for it. Sanjana’s parents also gifted Akshay the latest MUV in the market, as per his parents’ demand. By the end of the extravaganza, Sanjana’s father was broke, and he had lost a great part of his lifetime savings, and was fraught with the worry about his second daughter’s future.

Sanjana was distressed seeing her father’s plight, but didn’t have the courage to say anything to Akshay or his parents, to alleviate it. But then, her parent’s had invoked the ire of all the relatives, and agreed for the marriage. All her friends and neighbors knew about it. After all this sacrifice, she did not want to say or do anything that would irk her in-laws, and make them step back.

Soon after wedding, Sanjana resigned from her job, at the behest of Akshay and her in-laws, much against her own wish. Even in her wildest dreams, she’d never thought that she would have to see a day like that. But she kept quiet and became a housewife, from then.

Two years had passed since the marriage, and Akshay and Sanjana still did not have any children. Sanjana’s mother-in-law used to taunt her at every small opportunity. Even Akshay started taking the cue from his mother, and would behave rudely with her. She lost all her peace of mind, and her life became a living hell. Although she was still in her late twenties, she started having heart problems. Her health began deteriorating rapidly. But she kept quiet.

* * * * *

Six months later, Sanjana’s parents immersed the ashes of Sanjana’s body, who had died of a heart failure, on the banks of the Ganga, in a small earthen pot, with a red Swastik on it.


Sanjana took the road to the right, hoping that the sound of the Sunday evening traffic on the main road, would soon reach her ears. She kept walking for what seemed like eternity, but the main road never arrived. Several times, she stopped to wonder, if it was the wrong road, and if it’d be better to go back to the crossroads, and try another road, but she did not have enough courage to go back to the haunting silence outside the park again.

The silence was deafening.

As she walked as fast as she could in the dim light of the street lamps, her foot accidentally landed in a pothole on the side of the road, and she sprained her leg. She gave out a cry of pain, and collapsed on the sidewalk. She was in tears, both in pity of her state, and the swollen ankle.

A couple of minutes later, she saw the flash of a torch light, and felt a man walk towards with a dog on leash. The man came close to her, and flashed the light on her face.

“Hello beti … what happened? Why are you sitting here this way?”

The man was around 60 years old, and about the age of her father. He had a pleasant countenance and a concerned smile on his face.

“I sprained my ankle, Uncle”

“Oh! Where do you stay? Is there anyone else with you?”

“Yes Uncle, one of my friends’ is coming. I just called her. She stays nearby” she lied. She was not sure if she wanted to trust a stranger at that time of the night.

“Oh! Is it? I live in that house there…” he said pointing to a verandah a couple of compounds yonder. “Please come with me. It is not safe for you to be here on the road, now. You can wait for your friend there. Or else, I will wait here, till your friend comes”

Sanjana opened her mouth to say something to object, but by then, the Labrador which was with the man, slowly came close to her, sniffed at her ankle, and licked it lovingly.

Sanjana remembered Timothy. He would be waiting for her at home, like her parents.

She stroked the dog, scratched its ear, and got up. Somehow, the dog’s gesture had softened her, and she agreed to walk up to the man’s place.

Once they reached his house, he called his son. A handsome young man, about 25 – 28 years of age, and about six feet in height came outside, and smiled brightly at Sanjana. He went in, got the first aid kit and began nursing Sanjana’s foot.

“Do you live somewhere close by beti ?”

“No uncle, I stay in Bank Colony”

“Bank Colony? What is your father’s name?”

“Uh… Uncle his name his Radheshyam Trivedi”

“Oh!!” the man exclaimed, “you are Radhe’s daughter? I know him very well. Both of us are members at the Gymkhana at Gandhi Chowk … My name is Ramprakash Dubey. You don’t worry at all… Call him up, and tell him you are at my home. I will drop you home now, or else, if you don’t have a problem, you can stay here tonight, and I will drop you, early in the morning tomorrow”

Sanjana was glad to hear this. She called up home, and told her parents not to worry. Ramprakash Dubey also spoke to Sanjana’s father. An hour later, Dubey and his son, dropped Sanjana at her house.

It was a week since they had fought. But neither Sanjana nor Akshay had made an attempt to make up. Both of them were resolute on their stand, and were waiting for the other, to call up and apologize.

It was Saturday. Sanjana was busy cleaning her room, when her phone began to ring… ‘Nothing’s gonna change my love for you…’ Akshay!! She picked up the phone.

“Hi Sanju… I just called to say, that we probably need to rethink if we want to go ahead with marriage. ‘Coz the way we fought the other day, that too, even before being married… well I don’t know where this would go… if this continues this way… So, just give this a thought…”

Sanjana didn’t say a word, and hung up.

That evening, when she was listening to music, and grooming Timothy’s hair, in her room, her father came in.

Beta… what are you doing? … Oh… Timmy’s also here”

“Yes Paapa… I was just checking his body for ticks”

Beta, I happened to meet Dubey uncle today at the Gymkhana… And as we talked about you and his son Rahul, he suddenly asked your hand for Rahul… uh… I didn’t know how to tell him about you and Akshay, so I just brushed aside the matter, and didn’t tell him anything… but…”

“Paapa… if you feel Rahul is a good match for me, then I don’t have a problem”

Mr. Trivedi was shocked. “Why beta…What happened …”

Sanjana raised her hand, as if to stop the flood of questions her father wanted to ask her and said “ Please Paapa, don’t ask me anything more about this. You weren’t very happy with me getting married to Akshay right. Even I have decided, that it may not work. Maybe he was not meant for me… Trust me. Say yes to Dubey uncle.

Mr. Trivedi hugged his daughter, and left without a word.

* * * * *

It is two years since Sanjana is happily married to Rahul. They have a one year old son, named Swastik.


Somewhere, another Sanjana bent down, to pick up her handkerchief…

(Inspired by “Roads of Destiny” by the one and only, legendary, O’Henry)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Name: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

Misc: 304 pages, Rs 125

Genre: Self-improvement

My rating: 5 /5

Highlights: The ENTIRE book!!

For a book that I consider holy, ardently swear by, and have gifted to more than 20 people to-date, and suggested to almost every other person I’ve met, and for an author I consider my idol, and remember, every time his principles have impacted my day-to-day life this review comes very late. My apologies to the spirit of the book and Dale Carnegie.

If you feel, that the above lines are an exaggeration, I can bet you one thing – Read this book, and try and follow, if not fully, atleast, a part of what he suggests, and see the results for yourselves. Then you will know that this book has not sold more than 20 million copies in 90 years, and continues to be one of the all-time favorite self-improvement books, for nothing.

Ok! Enough of rhetoric. Let me tell you something about the essence of the book…

The thing that makes Dale Carnegie and this book so different from most other books of the same genre is his style of explaining concepts. Dale does not preach at lengths, or speak in vague terms. Rather, he just explains his point briefly, and then gives a slew of real life examples, to endorse his technique. And these examples are related to different people – ranging from the common man on the street to the Who’s who of all time, which depicts that the simple principles of influencing people is the same for everyone. And for all these people, the result is the same – they tend to profoundly impact the people around them when they implement these principles in their life.

The following, are the salient principles as mentioned by Dale Carnegie, in this book:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Win people to your way of thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Take my word. Read this book once. And try and follow it. You will thank me for this!

To read more on Dale Carnegie, visit:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

KemmaNNugundi bike trip video

This video is dedicated to the 670 km bike trip, that i had been on, with my gang of 4 friends, on 13 and 14 Jan 2007. We covered HaLebiDu, bElur and KemmaNNugunDi on the two days of the trip.

It took me 9 hours and several versions, to concieve this 90 sec video

See also: My Kemmannugundi Bike Trip

Friday, February 9, 2007

Review: The Power of Six Sigma

Name: The Power Of Six Sigma

Author: Subir Chowdhury

Misc: 126 pages, $12 (

My rating: 4.5 /5

Highlights: Short, Concept explained through a conversation between friends, nicely paced, good narration.

Two Words for this book: MUST READ!


“Process” – A thing, that an average engineer in the software industry does not think very highly about. For him, its all about filling loads of excel sheets on metrics, and reams of documentation which he feels, if not all useless, is atleast, way above what would be “required”!

Had I not read this book, I too might fit the above description, but luckily, I have come to believe, that it is otherwise atleast when it came to this methodology called Six Sigma.

It all started with this book, about six years back, when I was suggested this, in my second year of engineering, by my friend Smash. I had never even heard about the concept until I read the book, except for the words “sigma” which I, being a statistics student, knew, had to do something with Standard Deviation. I decided to give it a shot, primarily because it was like a short story – spanning just 126 pages, which would take me 2 ½ hours for me at max.

I liked the book right then, and even absorbed the concept very well, thanks to the great narrative. But it sunk in better, after I took up Statistical Quality Control as one of my electives in final year of engineering. And since I have joined Honeywell, which pursues this methodology actively, the concept has begun coming into practical everyday use.

You must read this book, because, One – As I feel, it is the best way to understand a new concept – thorough a nice little story. Hats off to the author Subir Chowdhury for this. It is one of the best books for beginners on Six Sigma.

Two – It is ‘n’ times better than the normal training sessions which make it look like a monster, and make you resent it, before you know its power and innate simplicity.

Three, it is a concept which has revolutionized companies from Motorola, GE (under Jack Welch), and is the backbone of all companies in chip design and avionics and many many others – So it must be a really good idea.

Four – It is not just a methodology for the workplace, but once you absorb the details well, it can change your attitude and thought process in all the things you do, and help you do them, more efficiently.


Joe Metter, a manager at American Burger is laid off after 20 years. Being too distraught to go home with this bad news, he calls up his old buddy Larry Hogan, who long back, used to work with him in the mailroom at American Foods, but now, is a top executive at American Pizza, which is a great success story.

Joe meets Larry over lunch, where Larry shares with him the reason behind the phenomenal success of American Pizza – the Six Sigma methodology.

For a second opinion, you might want to check some other user reviews on


A memory peg Larry mentions, to remember the process flow in Six Sigma – DMAIC – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve Control – being - Dumb Managers Always Ignore Customers. (How true, and easy to remember!!)

Friday, February 2, 2007

The essence of life...

I'd received this in a forwarded mail, long time back... Received it again today morning from my friend Revs... One of the best I have seen... something which best describes how i look at my life, and try to achieve...

Thanks Revs...