Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Munnabhai - Reel over Reality

Sanjay Dutt aka Munnabhai MBBS has been sentenced to 6 years in Prison for illegal possession of arms in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Apparently, there are many Indians who believe that Sanjay should have been let-off with a warning instead of being given a jail sentence. And do you know the reason for such sympathy towards him? He is Munnabhai and he taught every indian Gandhigiri. So, does this mean that if Osama Bin laden acts as Gandhiji in a movie, then his crime should be condoned as well? Where else other than India do movies influence a society so much. We build temples for our actors & worship them even though the actors themselves haven't done anything good for us other than running behind trees with a co-actor. And now, we want to absolve a person of criminal actions just because he acted in a movie in which he preached the virtues of Mahatma Gandhi. Are you reading, Osama & Al Jazeera? :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

One Fine Day

This happened more than a year back and I started this blog site when I was sitting in my room and typed the first post with just my left hand. So much for craziness. If you want to find out why I typed with a left hand, you have no choice other than reading on.

It was a clear summer day in Phoenix, AZ. It was an odd day because we did not have our car(a white Ford Escort 2001) which we had given to Bruce, the mechanic for repairing the transmission. It was a weekend and there were no groceries for the coming week in our room. So, we called up Sarma, who incidentally had got a Blue Kia Spectra 2006 model recently from his friend and asked him to help us with the week's shopping. So, Yours Truly, Siva & Suresh,Sarma & Dhruv started off to Asiana Market situated on 43rd Ave & Union Hills Drive. We generally go to Asiana Market to get rice, pickles, dal and any other Indian items. Incidentally, that week we needed to get rice so we went to that place. We had made quite a big purchase that day. Sarma was at the wheel of the car. We were coming out of the store and were heading to Fry's where we purchase the other groceries like milk, juices,etc.

Now, Sarma was a little new to driving on US roads. For all those, who are not aware, on US roads, it is right hand driving/left hand steering.There is a weird rule there that when taking a left turn, in certain junctions which are not busy, when it is Green for the person taking a left turn, it would be green for the person who is coming straight-on as well. The person who comes straight-on has the right of way to move first and the person taking the turn has to yield and then turn. Our friend, somehow had forgotten this rule or whatever happened I don't know but, this is what happened. He started to turn left and was in such a situation that he couldn't have come back. Every one of us(5 in all) could see an SUV coming from the other side. The driver of that car would have been drving at least at 45mph. And she had a right of way as she was coming striaght-on. We were not fast enough to move away before the SUV hit us. And HIT us it did on the right side. The impact of the hit was such that our car went and hit another car with the momentum which in turn got damaged in a major way.

And what about the poor souls inside the car? We couldn't even come out of the car because it was badly mangled. Suresh, couldn't move his two sides, I couldn't move one side & Dhruv was the worst hit. He was almost unconscious with blood coming out of his head. Siva & Sarma were free of any injuries, thankfully. Next thing we knew, a fire engine was on its way. The firefighters somehow pulled out of the debris of the car and put us all in the ambulance. I had previously seen these scenes only in a movie. Never had I thought in my wildest imagination that I would once be taken in an ambulance in front of so many people. Believe it or not, this was the thought in my mind when I was being taken in the ambulance. We were taken to an emergency room in a nearby hospital and X-Rays were taken. It was finally revealed that I had a minor collar-bone fracture. Suresh had broken both his collar-bones & Dhruv was put into ICU because of his situation. He had multiple fractures in his ribs, shoulders,etc. He later came back to India and I wouldn't like to discuss the situation in which he came back. Poor Siva ended up taking care of us for many many weeks after that incident. I was able to use only my left hand as the other hand was in a sling. After a week of rest, I started going to office but using only a single hand.

So, all those going to US in the near future, do remember to follow the road rules. Its very easy to drive in US but, following the rules is a must because of the speed at which people drive vehicles there.Even today, I can't help but thinking what could have happened if we hadn't given our car to Bruce, that day!!It was one hell of a day,literally & figuratively!!

PS:-I would be attaching the police report on this incident which is there on the internet as soon as I find it out. So, that would give a more visual picture of the accident to you :).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Checking into a Rehab Center, A Fashion Trend?

I don't know why I am blogging about something as trivial such as this but all the same, I am. Some people just can't get enough of Rehab centers. It seems to have become a fashion statement if you have been to one of California's famous rehabs. Of late there has been a steady increase in the number of party-holics, socialist & pop singers checking themselves into these so-called clinics across the United States.

First there was Britney Spears who seems to be sufferring from mental problems caused out of her divorce with Kevin Federline & her wild partying manners. She came to a point in her life where even attempted suicide & even ended up shaving her hair off her head. Then there is the social-butterfly, Paris Hilton, for whom life just means partying-rehab, partying-rehab & more partying-rehab. Not sure if anyone can count the number of times she would have been to a rehab. And what does she do in rehab. Taking a wonderful sunbath in Malibu beach in bikinis. The papparazzi just don't seem to get enough of her. If you thought that her recent jail stint for driving with a suspended license would have sobered her up a little bit, think again. After her release, she has been seen hitting the beach with her new bodyguard-cum boyfriend & also seen attending a lot of social functions(parties). Then, you have Lindsay Lohan, a perfect example of how an 18 year old girl shouldn't be. She has now been charged with multiple counts. Driving under the influence of alcohol & possession of cocaine. Just to add a bit, she has been charged of these offences when she has a suspended license. Can you get any better example of recklessness? I haven't been able to. Then there is the case of Nicole Richie who has been charged with driving under suspended license. She is lucky in that her case has been put on hold for a while. She is sure to get a jail sentence as well. Well, the first thing any of these girls do once they are out of jail is to check themselves into one of the posh rehab facilities. Maybe they do this so as to create public sympathy for their earlier actions and that they are on their way to mend themselves. But, doesn't convey the message at all.

It seems like rehab centers are no longer meant to rehabilitate people from a certain addiction, whether smoking, drinking or drugs, they are meant to provide relaxation to that individual so that he can go out once again, rejuvenated to do the same things for which they were in the rehab in the first place. Well, who is the next celebrity to check his/herself into a rehab?I am certainly not queueing up to see that!!!. But one thing is certain, this is my last post on these personalities!!!

We Will Miss You, Mr.President !!

Yesterday(July 24,2007) was President APJ Abdul Kalam's last day in office. For all practical reasons, he could be hailed as the best President we have ever had. The closest, any other President I can think of was Dr.S.RadhaKrishnan who was another exemplary First Citizen. Dr.Kalam had all the qualities which one can associate with a President and a perfect role model for the youth of the country. An 'F'(the highest) grade Scientist, he emphasised that its upto the youth of the country to make India a developed country. The kind of speeches he has given in various forums has always emphasised that youth are the future of the nation. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the speeches given by him when he visited our college. It is his dream to see that India becomes a Developed nation by 2020 and has also laid out a vision 2020 plan for the government to follow which could take India to great heights. Whether his vision will be put to task or not, that is an issue which we would not discuss here.

One more point I would like to discuss here is the manner in which he was insulted by the political parties. Having been told by Congress that they would not be supporting him for another term, he was very much ready to step down from his post, before the UNPA decided to float his name for another term. And for his part, he made it clear that he was ready to contest in case it was sure that he would be win the contest. I can't see any mistake in his statement here but this did not go down with the powers-be and a lot of hue-and-cry was raised over this issue. The effect was that the President's name was tarnished. Such is the state of Politics in India that even a person of Kalam's stature is not spared.

There is a thought process that it was in some ways better that Kalam has stepped down. He can give to the nation far more being a scientist than being a President whose role in the Indian politics is nothing but a farce. Now that he has stepped down, we can hope for some big contributions from him in the field of science & technology. I would also like to congratulate the new President, Prathibha Patil on her election, the first woman President of India, though her credentials for the post may not be spot-free. Anyways, here's wishing Mr.APJ Abdul Kalam, a very best in his future endeavours. He can live peacefully in the knowledge that he has given to the Indian public more than any other President has ever had. Thank You, Sir!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Attrition Rates in The Indian IT Industry

With the recent declaration of the results of the leading Indian software companies has once again brought out the issue of rising attrition rates in the Indian IT industry. While it is a known fact that this has been a perennial issue for the big companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro & the others, I am not sure if any steps have been taken by these companies to reduce the attriton rates. The demand of higher salaries seems to be the primary cause of high attrition rate. In this scenario, its imperative on the companies to bring out employee-friendly policies which would make the employees think twice before they quit. There are a number of expectations which a would-be employee would have before joining an organisation. Some of these are salary, wok satisfaction, brand name of the company & on-site opportunities. It is a well-known fact that that Indian IT companies would not be able to match the salary levels of their multinational counterparts because of their revenue limitation & their huge employee base so it makes even more sense for the indian companies to make up in other areas like work satisfaction & on-site opportunities. There should be a strict rotation policy when it comes to on-site opportunities which when not implemented causes a lot of dissatisfaction among employees leading to exodus from the company.

The management should be open to the suggestion of an employee and not impose themselves. I am not saying that this happens in everyplace but the immediate management has a big role to play in a employee sticking to a place. As has been found out in many surveys, the number one reason for an employee to leave a company is "the immediate supervisor/manager".

If this was not enough, there is the problem of the rise of the rupee which is hitting not only the Indian software companies but all the export-based companies. I have seen recent reports that some indian companies, namely, Wipro are planning to introduce Saturday as working day in order to compensate for the loss due to the rising rupee. As correctly put by a Wiproite, "Were they asking us to work only for 4 days when the rupee was doing well?", this arrangement can potentially be hazardous both for the companies & the employees too. The one elusive luxury on every employee in the IT industry is Work-Life balance and how to achieve it and working on saturdays is certainly not going to solve this issue.

Taking a leaf out of the way Google operates would give companies an idea as to how to keep employees happy. 24-hr food facility, 80-20 working hours wherein each week, you put in 20% of your efforts on an area which interests you, employee stock options are just some of the facilities which a Googler is given. Obviously, we cannot implement each and every idea which Google implements but just goes to show the levels to which they are ready to go in order to maintain employee satisfaction. The attrition rate puzzle is one which is yet to be cracked. One hopes a solution is right around the corner.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

I was wide awake at 2:00AM on Monday early morning. I was reading HP7. The action was nearing the climax and the suspense was palpable. The secrets just kept tumbling out of Snape's memory as Harry looked inside the Pensieve. It had been Snape all along. It had been Snape after all, the only person apart from Voldemort himself, that Harry hated the most, who had protected him from the Dark Lord all these years. That revelation was enough for me to shake off the sleep.

No one would have expected such a spectacular turn of events in the final book. That one twist was enough to proclaim this the best book of the series. Hat's off to JK Rowling to have completely stumped all the gossip-mongers and the fakes who were spreading rumours ranging from the death of harry to someone even mentioning a further eighth book. How can anyone have possibly imagined that it was Snape who had sent the Silver Doe Patronus & help Harry find the Sword of Griffindor. How can anyone have imagined that it was Snape who had sent Lord Voldemort after Harry on the day he was being transferred from the Durseley's to The Burrow only to make sure that Harry is safe. And Snape went ahead with these actions JUST because he LOVED Lily James. Amazing, what things love can make you do. Its not like he really liked Harry. In fact, Snape used to detest Harry as much as Harry used to hate him. This was imagination & creativity at its best from Rowling, the billionaire author. The other revelations like Dumbledore's life history & The Deathly Hallows were shocking too but The Prince's Tale takes the cake with a nice cherry on top. I could sleep for only 2 1/2 hours on Monday, knowing fully well that office beckons, early on Monday morning. Sitting in my cube and typing out this blog makes my bloodshot eyes burn. But, they are not as red as the Dark Lord's.This book was one helluva adventure ride and I have to admit that I am going to miss Harry Potter,Ron & Hermione, as much as others around the world are going to miss them, if not more. Long Live Harry Potter & his friends. Long Live JK Rowling.