Sunday, August 29, 2010

'A' Thoughts

I have 3 As here on which I want to share MY views - Adaptability, Acceptability and Attitude.

Few of you may not like or want to agree on what I am going to say; but you don't necessarily have to agree. These are my views strongly supported by incidents :-)

The one quality that sets us apart from all other creatures on this earth is ADAPTABILITY. The one character that has made MAN the dominant and superior creature on earth; facilitating him to survive and grow.

How fast you get adapted to new environment and habit is the key here. The world is ours; doesn't take long time to adapt and adopt. Its the man made rules and regulations that I find interesting to ponder about and discuss.

Having traveled outside India; if not extensively but decently fair enough; I got to quickly learn the dos and donts of the place I visit. I did not start off boom! I did have my share of feeling awkward and realizing blunders and learning not to repeat them; instead commit new ones!!

Adapting to new place, new set of rules, new culture is one thing; a bonus rather. But ACCEPTING and respecting the order of the land is mandatory; irrespective of you liking it or not. Are we(Indians) too adamant to adapt? Do we lack basic courtesy and discipline? Please note that I mean no offense to anyone. These are my views after repeated observations.

Is there something lacking in the way we were brought up? Our surroundings, the people; all contribute to our up bringing. We create ruckus over trivial issues; but when it comes to us; its different. Few incidents from the past week is the reason for this post.

A Chinese-American friend here sometime back amusingly asked me "Why are Indians always in a hurry? They push through you, nudge you off and walk away. I feel sad for that their life is so hectic". Trust me, he seriously thought every Indian pushes his way through as he has something really important and critical to take care of!!

I was left red-faced when one of my colleague felt that it was OK to go for a meeting 20 minutes late. I could not go without him; which in turn got me late. I am very punctual and I respect people's time. But yesterday was disappointing. He barged into the meeting hall giggling; no signs of apology of any sort. I had to apologize for our late arrival on his behalf as well. :-S

A colleague of mine has come from India; this is his first ever time outside India. His attitude has been pathetic towards the rules here. Jump queues, barging into lifts, pushing through the crowd, arriving late for appointments, jaywalk.....Its absolutely normal and right for us, is it not?

Pedestrians are given utmost importance here. Jaywalking is a NO-NO. But when have we crossed the road only at ped-xing and when have we waited for the ped crossing signal? He kept walking as a car was approaching. The driver waited and signaled me that I could cross. Once I reached the other side of the road, I told him "You did that yesterday as well. Dont cross the road unless there is a ped cross. And even if you want to, wait for the signal from the driver. They would stop for you; the rule says it so. Get their clearance"

For which he said "They anyway stop! Why wait for their permission?"

It was disgusting. I had to remind him that he was visiting some other country and it was apt to follow the rules of the land. He took umbrage for the same.

Some may ask me "Do I always follow these rules?" Yes, I do follow the rules of the place I visit. But back in India; I dont. Has anyone tried to wait for the vehicles to stop for pedestrians there? I bet there's no person more foolish as you are as you would end up waiting eons and eons to cross a road.You have to break and maneuver your way across; else I bet you are stuck forever.

Old habits die hard I agree. But aren't we equipped with analyzing capability and bit of common sense?

There are other funny moments as well. Marveling at litter free roads, neatly manicured walk paths, honk-less traffic , everything organized; things done in orderly manner. Above all, converting currencies!!! Oh man! I did that years ago; and literally starved myself to death. :-P

Now let me share my views on ATTITUDE. We are a complex lot; Indians have an exotic attitude :-) When I say this; let me also make it clear that I am being sarcastic here. Poor me!!! I have to explicitly mention that I am being sarcastic.

OK, we have these preset notion that going to a different country; specifically a developed country; on work is an achievement of sorts. It is as if the company has done you a great favor by sending you on site. Once we end up there, put in extra efforts to show the management that the organization chose the right candidate who would work hard and put more effort than normal. It means, work almost 20 hours a day, sleep deprived, live frugal to save cost to the company and struggle alone.

Now why am I talking about this? Few folks hinted at me that I was having fun at the cost of company here while in the USA. People!! grow up, change your mentality. Roaming around does not mean I am not doing the work for which I landed here in the first place. There is a concept called weekends, remember? And its enough to work for not more than 9 hours a day if you are smart; ain't it?

And the company has not done me any favor by sending me here; in fact I have done a favor to them by agreeing to come here and finish off assignments leaving my home and my loved ones and my city behind. They have sent me here because they find me capable to finish off the work; and I have every right to have fun wherever I am!!

So do I sound AUDACIOUS? :-)

Anyway, few pictures that I thought would share.

This lady is a Korean. I could not get her Korean name. She first came near me and sniffed and licked my fingers. Then I think she realized that I was an unknown entity; so started barking and was jumping over to grab me.

I thought this loosely resembled Pookolam; a natural one. Happy Onam folks..Belated :-)

This road leads to my office facilities the other side, and to nowhere this side. So what should I infer? :-P

Partial view of the sprawling office campus

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random Clicks

No mood to write. Though I want to share few stuffs. Some random pictures that I clicked. 

Across the mountains of Sierra Nevada

A football field...mind you its football and not soccer :-)

A supersonic one?

I loved the various shades of green

A silent flow

Bugs dont leave me; at work or in nature!

Redwood trees...giant ones. They are hundreds of feet high and 8-10 feet in diameter. 1000s of years old

Old era?

Was not at all impressed. Does man require such opulence and luxury?

One more

Tram. In Downtown San Jose

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Weekend that went by

It was a feel good factor for me. I am returning to this place after 2.5 years. Somehow California seems to be my second home. This is the only place where I have spent considerable time of my life apart from Bangalore.

My previous trips here were frequent and long. This time, I am coming back after quite some time and this trip is relatively short. I find that nothing has changed. The landscape, the buildings, the infrastructure; even the restaurants and the billboards are the same. Contradicting to India, India is fast; very fast changing.

Leave your city there for 2 months and get back, you are sure to see a new flyover started, or a new underpass that has come up. The same happened last time I was away from India for 4 months. Before I left, never even read anywhere that Hyundai had plans for a new car; I came back to see lot of Hyundai i10s on the road.

Silicon Valley is in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area in northern part of California. Home to well known and largest technological companies like Apple, HP, IBM, Oracle, Google, Adobe, Agilent, Cisco, AMD, Google, Facebook, eBay, Netflix, Yahoo, Brocade and many many others. You name it and its here. Its also home to the Stanford University.

I have changed 2 companies and somehow these company's headquarters are based out of here and I always end up in Silicon Valley. These last 2 days; I went to restaurants I always went; it was surprising that few folks recognized me. I could not believe it. Met few friends; a friend commented as well that I am a "Bay-ite" and I belong here. What was I doing back in India. All I did was smile.

For a techie as me; it is an unexplainable joy to see these technological companies all located one beside the other. No where in the world would such a nerdy environment exist. I just have to walk 10 steps from my hotel room to reach AMD's HQ!! Such is the surrounding here.

Apart from that; one thing that treats my eyes are the cars. I am a car maniac and its a glee to watch all these funky and swanky cars. Been enjoying my friend's BMW since I arrived :-D. He was kind enough to take me out for dinners and to buy essentials.

 This place has always treated me well; I have learnt lot of things. Saying that the place has treated me well; but not few people. Sorry if its sounding offensive, especially the Indians. The FOBs in particular. They behave as if they are Gods and have achieved something unachievable by landing in America with a job!! I dont like them and neither do I get along with them. I keep myself away from them. Others are nice; helping and kind. Talking about people; I have a Mexican lady; a Pakistani and a Chinese in my list of strangers who have helped me.

It was nice to meet Harpal Singh once again; my regular cab driver. Poor guy was waiting for me at the airport for 3 hours and was not ready to take a single cent for dropping me. I had to force him to take money. We did catch up on his things and mine; he finally succeeded in bringing his entire family to the USA. I am very happy for him.

Caught up with Gautam finally!! Yaaeeyyy!! He was in his best clothes to meet me. He hugged me as soon as we met; I didn't expect that and my lips kissed his shirt :-P Smeared his shirt with my lip gloss. Sorry Gautam!!

We had a wonderful Saturday; we talked a lot and it was fun. Clicked few pictures and watched a movie - The Expendables which sucked. Gautam; you are gonna get spanked for taking me to that movie. Went to his university; rested for a while. A squirrel was trespassing; or rather we trespassed into its territory. Tried capturing that fella; but he didnt stay at one place. Somehow got this one best.

Went to a flea market; bought a bag made of Lama wool from Peru. Wanna go to Peru!! :-( But when? My time will come. Took some pictures there.

The Red Indian got my attention. Why is he sulking?

Do you see a horn on the right side of The Last Supper? 

How every lady wishes to have this perfect bod as these mannequins? Sigh!!

Ballet dancing outfits I think. Very colorful

Myriad of T shirts.

Gautam found this interesting. Our Hindu Gods amongst skeletons and devils. 

False alarm and there were these 2 fire trucks with paramedics.

A light post in San Jose downtown. Loved these flowers. 

Overall, things have not changed a bit here. People are the same; doing the same things. The place is the same. I am at work; yeah; blogging instead of doing something constructive. I am going to do something productive now. Whats that? Go lunch!! :-D

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Nothing can get more pathetic than being 17 hours non stop on a flight. Adding 5 more hours of first flight and the transit.

Jet lagged and tired, mentally bruised and battered; landed at SFO at 1.15 PM local time which is an unearthly hour in India where I would have slept cuddled like a baby!!

1.5 more hours in immigration and baggage collection and finally when I checked into the hotel and entered my room, I hit the bed, literally!

Long flight journey is one thing. The air sickness, pressure difference, that cold and bland food, dehydration. At the end of it all, you feel pale and lifeless, groggy eyes, chapped lips, bloodless skin.......

My first encounter of getting treated indifferently(read discrimination) was at the Dubai airport. Its not something new, it seems to be a norm. Indians are treated with some sort of indifference thanks to the infamous impression that we lack civic sense and discipline. Sad but true. Coming to the getting indifferently treated part; I wanted to use the rest room before taking my flight to San Francisco.

The queue was long. As I was waiting, a janitor pointed towards me and said "There is a toilet free. A squatting one; I think you could use it". Hmmmmm now all I wanted was to use a toilet, never mind if it was the Western or the Indian. You may ask what was indifferent here. Nothing was until this. When I was out of the toilet, a white woman wanted to use the toilet. The janitor warned her "Its a squatting one. You may not want to use it"

What the heck? Anyway, I have always ignored such things. My next encounter of being treated indifferently was in the flight. My request was ignored by the attendants. Now I am not sure if it was unintentional or not.

It was once again time to move from IST to PDT. Once again time to get used to right-hand traffic, priority to right of way, yield, priority to pedestrians, freeway and expressway. Once again; start stopping at compulsory stop, stop at pedestrian xing,  use specific lanes for carpools. Once again time to brush up the forgotten facts that switches work opposite, fridge doors that open the other way, walk paths and hash browns and large trucks. Once again time to start greeting strangers and stop jaywalking.

To admire preference given to people with physical disabilities; at the cinema hall, at hotels, in the metro services; special parking areas for them.

Welcome to America where you see signs as these and sigh! when do we get to see such signs in India

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Born Again

How many times do we feel "I am born, again"

Everything being new around us, fresh and waiting to be explored. Kicking alive, bundles of surprises waiting to explode.

It need not be any life wrecking incident to make one feel new. Need not be any drastic change that life should bring to feel born new again.

Learning to appreciate simple things in life, to laugh at ourselves for our stupidity, to smile at something beautiful; be it a person or a thought or an incident you witness.

Say "Shame!! shame!!" to yourself when you lose your cool.

Learning to count your blessings, believing that any bad phase too shall pass; its just a passing cloud.

The birds chirp as soon as they wake up, they are happy to see the day. The bees buzz, the flowers bloom all over in its full glory again.

I have always believed that if you have been facing any trouble, it has come to you because you HAVE the strength and capability to solve it and come out strong.

Every moment is a BORN AGAIN moment. Why am I sounding so philosophical?

Today I am Born, Yet Again. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Rainbow

There was quarrel, there was commotion,
It was a nasty sight and there was emotion

Said GREEN with pride
I am the hope, I am the stride.
I am chosen for grass and leaves
And on trees I am heaves
So I am the majority!

The BLUE interrupted
Consider the clouds and water he muttered
Look at the sky and the sea
There is serenity and peace you would see
Without me, you are nothing!

The now silent YELLOW chuckled,
"Common, now get buckled!"
The sun, the moon and the stars,
You see them, smile; and forget your scars,
It proclaimed, I am the color of sunflower!

It was time for ORANGE,
Think of carrots, mangoes, orange,
Look at the sunrise and the sunset
With my extravagance, everyone is besot
I am the color of health and strength.

RED would not keep mum,
You are all dumb!
I am the color of blood, the color of fire,
I bring bravery and I mean danger; so admire
the color of roses, of poppy, of passion
And to spread love is my mission

Now spoke PURPLE; I am the power,
I define wealthy who are in clover,
I am the sign of queens and kings,
I am the authority everyone sings,
How could you all ignore my royalty?

At last breaking silence INDIGO spake,
Why this noise you all make?
I am the balance, I am the inner peace,
Without me, you all break into piece,
I am the thought, the reflection, the twilight.

Unannounced, they heard thunder,
Lightning stuck and they did shudder,
It began to pour incessant
The rain was non-relent,
The colors, to one another drew close,
Huddled and unloose.

The RAIN now spoke,
You foolish blokes!!
Why among yourselves dominate and fight?
You are made to remain at peace; now unite.

Each one are unique, special to be,
Hold each other and come to me
Now on, whenever I come, all you fellas in peace,
hold and stretch across the sky as one single piece

You will be called the RAINBOW
You are the sign of hope for 'morrow

Couldn't choose between the two rainbows, so added both. Enlarge this photo to see double rainbow :-) Pictures are Gautam's. Thanks dear for letting me use it

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Please to meet you

Last week, I had a discussion with my senior director at work. He is an American, he greeted me with a Hello and we shook hands. The grasp was firm, neither lousy nor crushing; and it was neither a blip nor a drag.

OK! The discussion went fine. Once I got back to my place, my mind started recollecting some of my handshake moments. Oh! not those moments when I won accolades all the time but those moments when I felt miserable. Ouch!! or Awww!! types.

As a kid, each one of us would have won some prize or the other. Be it for academics, sports, extra curricular or cultural activities. And it required you to walk on the dais and collect the prize from guest of honor. The earliest I could remember is when I was in Upper Kindergarten. I collected prize from a guest of honor; he offered to shake hands. I still recall his hands were so huge and me with a teeny-weeny hand could only grasp his index finger.

Hmm but why shake hands? Why not legs? Errr....:-P I know!! Handshaking was practiced in Greece as early as 4th century B.C - History of Handshake. To think of it. why would they have initiated a handshake? Hmm, to prevent the stranger who they are meeting from attacking? The best way to prevent a stranger from clobbering would be to hold his hand firmly? Never know!!

Anyway here are few handshakes that I have experienced and I am going to categorize them. Yup!! there ARE different types of handshakes and unique set of practitioners.

The Crusher Shake - Those types which you dread. The sadistic types, when the person crushes your palm like a nutcracker cracking your knuckles. Your fingers are crushed with a vicious grip; and all the while you have put up a wide grin. Grin on your face, tears ready to flow down...what a pity! Your palm is minced like a pulp and you wince with pain but with a wider grin :-P Worth an Oscar for putting up this normal behavior.

The Frenzy Shake - Very similar to the crusher. But the intensity ebbs and lows as the excitement of the person shaking your hand varies. The most effervescent the mood is, the more effusive the handshake would be. Your digits wilt under the grip; aah this is like being in a boot camp.Your wrists take the toll due to vigorous shaking and swirling.

The Superficial Shake - Such shakes leave you perturbed. Was I supposed to forward my palm? Did I do a mistake? Oh!! how embarrassing. These shallow ones are so flimsy that you do end up feeling awkward. I remember one of my teacher at school wished me for my birthday and when I forwarded my hand, she hardly grasped my hand. Maybe her school never taught her handshake etiquette!! Oh but she studied in the same school :-S

The Wrenched Shake - You want to loosen your elbow and shoulder joints? Go shake hands with this group. They would twist and turn you arm so much that your nuts and bolts at the joints would need tightening. And not to forget the aches. 
 The Clinger Shake - You are in a pitiful situation here. The hand shake done, you get into conversation and your hand is still clasped onto. Your palm gets sweaty, it blends with the other guy's sweat and creates a thin film around each others palm. Yet, the clinger just clings on and on, never letting it go!!. Either you try to unclasp in an artful way or enjoy the massage your palm gets in the process :-)

 The Soft Shake - From the ladies of course. This would be the soft, delicate and dainty one. They bring the guys into the line :-P

The Misfired Shake - Your hands and the his hands don't come together; yet both stick them out and it doesn't sync. Hurriedly, you pull it off together but nevertheless its not done!!

Do you folks have any more to add to this list? Please be free to shake hands with me!! :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Compliment Please

"Compliments. Give us some compliment"

This is the usual hullabaloo in any store after the final billing and packing of the things bought. Its the colloquial word for "complimentary gifts".

This concept might not be native to India, but the way the gifts are demanded is. :-) Generally, complimentary gifts and take-aways are given off in stores as a token of appreciation for the business and also that customer loyalty remains. But we here take it to a different level, anything FREE is not spared; even be it consuming acid if its available for free :-P

Its our constitutional right to demand 'compliments'; whether they are being given or not. And to think of the manner in which people demand it, its somehow incomprehensible to me. I mean, you shell out thousands of rupees to buy a diamond necklace; get some discount after much persistence and everything is done. Now after the billing, you fight with the sales person about the choice of your compliment.

"Such a small purse? I need that bag. Why dont you give? I bought a lakh worth of jewelry!!" - you can hear such grumble. At that precise moment, the diamond necklace is so trivial in value compared to that bag that the salesman is refusing to give as a compliment.

Buy a washing machine and fight for complimentary washing powder, buy a sleek smart phone and fight for complimentary free talk time.....

We fight tooth and nail unless we get the 'compliments' we want. We forget where we are, who is looking at us, whats the circumstances.  Well, I just caught myself on time yesterday trying to fish for a compliment at a store. I paused, looked around and saw people staring at me; for the way I was close to fighting,

This post is the result of self-realization and got me thinking.

How about complimentary gift at a dentist - "Buy a service of filling one tooth and get a complimentary gift of getting a healthy tooth pulled out. Our complimentary package does not include anesthesia"

Complimentary gift in a salon - "Pay for trimming beard and get a complimentary gift of tonsuring head"

Complimentary gift at a cold storage store - "Buy 1 kg of chicken and get 1 egg free"

Complimentary package with a lawyer - "Take counseling service and get service for divorce as complimentary"

Complimentary with a software product - "Buy our latest technology and get bugs free"

All that we are concerned is the 'compliment'. But any takers for the above?