Monday, August 27, 2007


Wanna make friends with me?? :-)

You Are a Good Friend Because You're Accepting

No matter what a friend says or does, you try your best to understand it.
And your friends feel like they can tell you anything. You don't judge.

You know that friendship is a journey - with a lot of ups and downs.
If you and a friend grow apart, you get over it quickly... and leave the potential for future friendship open.

You tend to have many friends from many walks of life. Anyone you meet is could become a friend.
In fact, you are especially interested in people who are a little different than you. Seeing life from another perspective is something you cherish.

Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else with their secrets

You really can't be friends with: Dogmatic, stubborn people

Your friendship quote: "Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What is your relationship status?

Single / Committed / Married??

Ok… half of you, who have read the title, and the first line, will have already made the connection! And the rest of you will relate to it, when I tell this word: Orkut

Rings the bell?? That question in the profile description on the most popular socializing website around?

Started a few years back as a small online community for the youth to socialize, by a genius from Stanford, it has today become a HUUUUGE rage all around the world, inspiring a plethora of other such communities in the web world, and hogging enormous amount of bandwidth – enough for almost all corporate companies to be forced into banning it at office before long… including mine:-( (those who are still lucky – enjoy!! You too would join us soon!)

And among the several things it has revolutionized, is the paradigm shift it has brought into common parlance. From adding new meanings to ordinary words in normal English, to adding new words to our slang lexicon, to being a part of a person’s identity, and changing the way they keep in touch with people... life's changed so much, since Orkut. Among the new concepts it has enlightened the hither-to ignorant common man, is a person’s relationship status.

One of the fields that get displayed with a person’s profile summary, along with, his/her profile photo, name, age and place, it has gained so much prominence, that it has become an integral part of the picture, a person draws, about another, at the sight of the latter’s profile summary.

A “Single” status – especially if you are a cute guy / girl, and have spiced up your profile – would possibly invite lot of scraps, from ‘interested’ people, who want to make ‘friends’ with you. No offense meant… although this is one of the prime purposes of such an online community, the observation made, is in the perspective of the person’s relationship status. If you are “committed”, statistically, the chances that people would be interested in making ‘friends’ with you, and add entries in your scrap book, of the likes of ‘Your profile looks nice. Can we be friends’, is definitely less.

While the “married” status is normally the poorer and insipid cousin of the first two, the response that evokes curiosity, and raises eyebrows, probably to the greatest extent, is – ‘No answer’. Apart from those young, fresh, or unaware users, who just don’t know what it means, any other user, leaving that question unanswered, would most probably belong to the category – single and mingling :-) – someone who is going around with a person, but isn’t sure of the relationship, or doesn’t want others to be conspicuous about it – yet, cannot “bear the guilt” of claiming to be ‘single’. In other words, it is the silent way of saying – I am not available.

Open marriage, and open relationship – are status messages, which are very rarely used genuinely, alteast in the sub-continent. A person seeing this on your profile, most likely, will probably think you made a mistake, or will know, from the rest of your profile, that you are either acting too smart or funny. The bottom line is that – it is almost always ignored.

Amazed by the degree to which, this question forms a part of an Orkut-user’s cognizance, I decided to put my theory to test, by changing my own status from single, to other different options. These are the conclusions I have drawn from my experiment.

  • Changing from Single, to ‘No answer’ mostly, only raises eyebrows. As if to reflect the person’s preference about answering the question, scraps, probing about it, are minimal and normally only from the most active (read jobless) orkut-user-close-acquaintances of the person.
  • Changing from Single to Committed (or vice versa) normally sees a huge influx of scraps – manifesting either as curious and congratulatory messages like “Wow!” “Congrats!!” “When? Who?”, or sincere condolences like “Oh… what happened” “Sorry for ya mate!” “Cheer up” – based on which way you change your status.
  • People who want to avoid all this attention, showered by the above two cases, normally prefer to not try to be too honest to their own conscience, and show up as Single. So, if some one isn’t too nice to your overtures of ‘friendship’, despite being ‘Single’, this might well be the reason!
  • Changing from any status to “married” is just another event, if it is the truth. Since, normally there will be a lot of hullabaloo regarding your wedding, especially in terms of the increased traffic of good wishes (and condolence :-)) scraps, the people who ask you “Oh! Wow! When?” or something similar, are usually far acquaintances of yours, whom you either forgot to invite for your wedding, or knew you once upon a time as a hi-bye friend.

So next time you look at some person’s relationship status, you’ll definitely know to take it with a pinch of salt. For all you know, it could be as much, or even more deceptive than the rest of his profile.

PS:By the way. I am ‘married’ :-) and really lucky, that my parents belong to the not-so-web-savvy generation. They definitely would not take my answer(s) to this question too lightly!! :-)

Closing statement:

Due condolences to Mr. Adnan Patrawala, one of the unfortunate preys to the ugly side of this extremely cogent online community. Please make sure, that your personal security will be your prime concern while using them. Be responsible, stay safe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love is...


"What if I love you enough…

Still I feel the need to love you more….

And what if I realized you are my life…

Still I think of you more than my life

What if you are not with me always…..

Still I feel you around here everytime…

May be I am crazy…

So what … you won’t get anyone better than me :-)"

An email that made my day... at the fag end of it...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Top 10 things about my Sunday - the 5th of August


Deciding to take our helmets with us, all around on the hill, rather than depositing it at the counter – They came very much in handy, and saved us from being frost bitten by the cold showers and even-colder wind.


The photo of the three of us, with helmets on – ala Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty, in Herapheri – shot, while we were taking respite from the heavy downpour, on the verandah of an un-occupied guest house, just before starting back. The best souvenir of our trip.


The bowl of hot and spicy tomato soup we had at lunch, which brought the much needed warmth into our bodies, and revived the energy in us that had been sapped by the cold on the hill station.


Deciding to go to Nandi hills, which would have more people, and where atleast MaaNi had been to, once before, rather than the KalaivarihaLLi beTTa which, despite being our initial planned destination, would have been completely alien to us, more likely to be deserted, and a not-so-wise choice for the rainy day it was today.


The drizzle at noon, and the heavy showers in the late afternoon – both, which spread a blanket of thick fog on the hill, which truly made the experience of being there today, akin to strolling in the heavens…


Going on a bike trip after a long time – almost eight months, since my last bike trip to KemmaNNugunDi.


Escaping with almost no injuries, from the fall, at a railway crossing, on the way back, where the track was dangerously displaced from the level of the road, and worse still – was extremely slippery, coz of the rain. Had it been worse, it would have spoilt the wonderful day, we had had, until then.


The mesmerizing picturesque beauty of, and around the hill… the brilliant birds-eye-view from the various cliff edges of the hill… the intoxicating breeze which makes you want to sit there... forever, and let it speak with your soul… the paradise called Nandi hills…


Waking up at 8:30 am, deciding all at once to go biking, making an ad hoc plan, without a route or a destination… Setting out, with an always-up-for-an-adventure friend MaaNi, and a sweet-and-sporty sweetheart, @mmi… and making it another red-letter-day in life.


Today being Friendship day… receiving friendship messages in the densely foggy and romantic environs atop the hill… being there with two of my closest friends, and enjoying with them… And most importantly… having some really great friends in life, who make life much more worth living, than it would otherwise be…

Happy friendship day friends!

More photos from the trip, below

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A team outing at Golden Palms

We were supposed to start at 11 am.
We finally started at 12:30 pm.

We were supposed to travel three hours max, both ways, to and fro, the Golden Palms resort.
We got stuck up in bad traffic jams both times, and ended up four and a half hours in the cab.

We were supposed to play a lot of team building games and get to know each other much better.
Time permitted us to play just one game, after an elaborate round of introduction.

Ideally, the entire team was supposed to be there.
Team members in Phoenix, Madurai and those who could not join, were present only in spirt.

Hmmm... Murphy's law ruling at large, you'd say?? On the face of it, maybe yes... But just as Murphy's law didn't say the other half of the story - what other than or after, what could go wrong, did go wrong - the above half of the story, tells only the most forgettable (and at the end of the day - insignificant) part of our team outing.

Our team - the Test Tools and Test Executive team - under Sumit, had suddenly swollen up from eight members to twenty one, within a span of three months, with the commencement of the ambitious and unprecedented Core ATE project, and the existing projects getting more people on board, to handle the burgeoning work flow. And suddenly, the small conference rooms, in which we used to have our team meetings, seated comfortably, now started looking like a BTS bus in the rush hours!! So, along with the decision to move over to bigger rooms, came the plan, to 'build' the team and become more familiar with each other (read - know about their dark secrets, so that we can pull their leg some other time!! :-D )

VJ mailed to Admin team to begin executing the plan. He got replies. Mailed again. Got more replies. Sumit too mailed. He too got replies.

Finally, we, the team, got the announcement - 31st July, 11 am to 6 pm... we were going to build :-) in the Golden Palms Resort on the outskirts of Bangalore city.

31 July 11 am... came.. and went... Everyone was so busy at their desks, that it looked liked they were struck by a bolt of amnesia. Except for VJ (and may be those, who would not be joining us :-P ). VJ played sentry, and hovered all around, looking for the all-elusive cab that was supposed to ferry us. Sumit walked around to see everyone so immersed in their desktops, that he looked partially frustrated, and i guess, partially doubtful, if he had got the date of the outbound wrong!

12:30 pm. Cab apparated (refer Harry Potter!) in front of office building. 13 out of 21 from the team, after some cajoling, boarded the cab. Anamika, from the HR team joined in. The spirits of the unavailable 8 members, floated in through the windows :-) We drove off.

How about Dumb Charades, called VJ and Rama. Yeahhhhhhh... hooted the others. Start Dumb C. Everyone got a chance to mime (and the rest, to laugh at them, and guess the answers!) Sumit delved into the huge list of movies he'd watched, and came out with some real toughies... Ashish got frustrated miming the movie 360 degrees. Manu found it difficult to be dumb!! (How dumb!! he he) Lot of movies got mimed and guessed in between. And before we knew, we'd travelled a hour and half, and reached the resort.

Camera... click... click!!
Thank you!!

Tummies growled loudly. None of them spoke much. Everyone headed for the dining hall in the resort, without worrying too much about other things around, driven by hunger.

Food was good. Time was short. All ate well. I mostly talked.
Saranya ate pulav, Shenba devoured rotis, Manu had chaats... i ended up only telling stories.
Time up! called Sumit. Ashish, followed by VJ came to gag me and carry me out.

Tummies full. Smiles all around. All looking smug! The thought definitely crossed all our minds, for a moment... that we wouldn't mind getting a good fluffy bed, for an afternoon siesta.

We'd expected to be playing some games, being close to nature... may be in a lawn or garden. Instead, we were shown to a conference room, whose big deep chairs refused to lean back! Probably they expect people to doze off during conferences, if such comfortable chairs are provided, and have steered clear of taking that responsibility!!

We began with some 'Animal talk'... I mean... Anamika suggested that we identify an animal / bird / reptile / any living creature other than human, which we felt resembled us the most. Not many were ready for this, with the lights in the upper chamber of the head gone out, after the wonderful meal!! I got ragged into going first, after desperate attempts all around to make the others, the first bakra!

"Chamaleon", I said... It took a moment to sink... Why? echoed voices all around... Coz i change my colors often (what the hell was I blabbering, a voice in my brain asked me) - and before I realized, loud applause and hooting from friends, passed this resolution unanimously... I maintained a dumb silence.

Prashant went next with 'Elephant'. Everyone gasped. You need to eat thrice what you eat now for that, suggested Sumit. 'It is for the calm demeanour... i meant' Prashant continued... hmmm... we all agreed... It sure does take quite an effort to unsettle him!! :-)

Then there were the sleepy polar bear, the focussed hawk, the free-to-roam whale, the calm-until-provoked bear, the industrious ant, the sturdy horse, the kingly lion.... a tweety bird... a Superman-monkey (no guesses who that is!! )... Wow!! felt like in a zoo, with talking animals and birds!!!

A tea-break later, I was again ragged - This time, to sing a song. I obliged with 'Nothing's gonna change my love for you' and i actually got an applause for it!! And then... i did not mind having been ragged!!

Next.. it was time for a formal intro, with a rider - to tell something what no one else in the room, knew about oneself... Skeletons came tumbling out of the closet... and so did, some hidden talents, some deep desires, and some great achievements too... There was someone who had proposed to a teacher (wohhhh!), some one who could write on grains of rice, some great players of hockey and cricket, some one born in Angola (woohhhhh!) some leaders of clubs... And all of a sudden... it felt like sitting inside a talent power-house... with a pack of extemely gifted and unique individuals... A super team we are, we all realized...

The only game we played, was the one in which we had to build a pyramid with paper cups,
split into three teams. The cups had to be picked up with a lasso having multiple threads tied to a rubber band, and which needed to be pulled and released to emulate the holding action.

Strategies made. Practice done. Contest started. Prashant's team was well organized, and built an awesome pyramid. VJ's team was almost there. Our team thought out-of-the-box and came out with an innovative ploy - pulled out a loophole out of the rules, built a huge base using glass cups from the conference tables
, and made a big pyramid. VJ's pyramid got blown off, Prashant's pyramid held on, and got hailed... Ours... ?? tch tch... not everyone values "different" ideas!! :-P how sad!!

We all discussed what we learnt out of the game... Resource planning, co-ordination, leadership, strategy, knowledge of constraints, etc etc... WOW!! I never knew common sense had so many synonyms!! And then there were some other observations, which were derived by relating to life at office... but, ahem... ahem... can't reveal them here... coz they belong to the the category 'Those-which-must-not-be-named' and 'You-know-what' !!

After all this, Anamika and Amal left early, while the rest of us killed some time playing some snooker and carrom, and started back at around 6 pm. Somewhere on the way out of the resort, we all got "heady" and got this...

But the true team building and fun, was on the way back... After another round of songs I sang, we switched to Antakshari... An hour later we got tired of that... And then came the brilliant idea of singing songs, simultaneously, in two languages... While the Tamil buddies sung some of the most popular songs in Tamil, the rest of us, went in harmony, with the Hindi version of the same - Roja, Saathiya (Alaipayutha), Jeans, Hindustani (Indian),.... Unity in diversity, team building any one?? See HERE... See HERE!!

The rain came down hard and fast, outside... the cab crawled back through the evening traffic on the flooded roads... and the mood and songs inside... reached a crescendo, and stayed like that, until we got back into the campus.

8:30 pm. The curtains came down, on one of the best Tuesdays in my two years here at Honeywell. We sure were had grown into a closer knit team over that span of 8 hours... Now, if that was the end objective... it had, for certain, got an E - exceeding expectations...