Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yet another cliched Mastercard moment

Working 15 hours straight, every single day, 7 days in a row, month after month.


Being too tired to carry-on with social niceties and being labeled a social recluse.


Realizing that being on-call every Holiday and every long weekend in the coming year.


Having a dream and believing in it.


Keeping the faith when all hope is lost.

Harder still.

Living your dream every single second........ Priceless.

P.S. Having no time to blog, sad.

Realizing the dwindling number of footsteps treading the blog, sadder.

Discovering there are still some ever-hopeful souls who visit the blog, amusing.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Dear Blog,

My deepest apologies for having been gone without a trace for all this time.

And may be this does not come as too much of a surprise to you. I know I have been playing this love-hate relationship with you for quite a while now. I post in a frenzy. Then I get depressed. Or stressed. Or both. And ignore you for a bit. And then I bounce back in a flurry of apologies and hope to be received with wide open arms.

So here I am. Yet again. Hoping to be welcomed back.

And to be honest with you a great deal has been going on with my life lately and someday I will sit down and tell you all about it. Someday when I have the time.

In short, I am back. From a quick trip to Calcutta.
And I changed my career path. Yet again.
And no time or energy to blog. So you will have to be patient.

But do you believe in Miracles?
I do.

Hang in there. I'll be back.



Friday, June 01, 2007

Give the Spouse a Break

Is it just me or has anyone else ever wondered why we need to celebrate every Mom and Dad on the face of the Earth on Mother's Day or Father's Day, irrespective of who's Mom/ Dad they might be? I mean I do understand the purpose behind celebrating 'Motherhood' or 'Fatherhood' and I am totally with you on the fact that we should celebrate our folks for everything that they have done for us and keep on doing whether we want them or not. But what I don't get is why I need to celebrate someone else's Mom/ Dad considering that I have my own set of parents or in-laws to take care of anyway?

You know what I mean, right? Take for example this Mother's Day that we had a couple of weeks back. I was talking to my cousin who said he was taking 3 generations of 'Moms' out for dinner. His own Mom, his Grandmother, and his wife. And this was after he had got each one of those Moms a present. And I was left wondering what the poor guy had done to deserve this. Shouldn't someone else be taking care of the other 'Moms'? I understand that they are all related, but shouldn't his 'Wife' who is most definitely not his 'Mom' be getting the cards and presents and dinners from someone else? Her own children for example? Yes, yes, I know they are still children and cannot afford to go to a store and buy things for her. Yet. Because they are only babies. But how does that transfer the responsibility on to the Dad who ends up footing the bill for the next 15- 16 years until the kids grow up and earn enough dough to buy Mom a present?

Am I the only one who thinks this is unfair? I mean 'Dad' already buys 'Mom' a present for her birthday. And then there is this other day earmarked to celebrate the spouse bit. That's called an 'Anniversary'. So there's enough celebration already. Why does anyone need another day that requires you to buy gifts and cards on behalf of some underage offspring for the next 20 years or so until the kid grows up and assumes responsibility?

I think the people who have newly acquired the roles of Mom/ Dad need to realize that they have to wait a reasonable amount of time until their offspring is at an age where he/ she realizes how important the parents are and can work enough to celebrate Mother's day/ Father's day. And that they should not be laying guilt trips on their spouses to buy them the Every Kiss begins with Kay pendant or the 18 volt Hitachi DS18DMR cordless drill. And that if they need any celebration from their kids they should brainwash their kids to get self sufficient as early as possible. Drill it into their tiny little toddler heads that Mom/ Dad is very important and that they need to find a way of earning money to go buy them a present that says how much they love their folks. Because that's the only way Mom/ Dad will be able to tell that they mean so much to their kids.

Coming to think of it I think that is a brilliant idea. Not only will we have more motivated kids earning their keep by mowing the lawn and doing chores and working at MacDonalds, but it takes the pressure off the spouse while teaching the kids that it is not okay to sit around and have Mom/ Dad do all the 'celebration' that they were supposed to be doing in the first place. And it also teaches the Moms/ Dads that they need to live through years of Motherhood/ Fatherhood, survive endless diapers, sleepless nights, constant attention seeking, rowdy and out of control behavior, tantrums and all the other shit that comes with having kids before they are allowed to have a day earmarked to celebrate everything that they have endured and lived through.

Becoming a parent is the easy part. It is being a parent which calls for special skills. And I think everyone needs to earn the right to celebrate being a parent through years of patience and endurance.

Post Script: For my Bong readers/ if you're interested in reading a post laden heavy with Bengali and sepia tinted memories of Calcutta, you could also check my other post on the Calcutta Blog (which by the way was badly in need of a new post).

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Power of Zero: Give or Take a Few

I've never been good at numbers. Especially those which have a long trail of zeros running after them trying to keep pace.
I can count up to 10 on my fingers. And I believe I can count up to 1000 in my mind. But anything beyond that, you lose me.

Which is probably why I just don't get these numbers and how on earth they are supposed to make sense.

This is what we are spending for the War for Oil the War in Iraq.
And then, this is what we are spending for making the Nation free from the suffering and death due to Cancer by 2015.

500 Billion for a War. 5 Billion for Cancer Research. What's the difference? Just a few zeros trying to keep pace.

Didn't I tell you that you'd lose me after 1000?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Rope Question

A long time back a friend had posed this question:

"You have a tennis ball and the earth. You have two ropes. 

One rope ties the tennis ball along its surface. It fits exactly.

The other rope does the same to the earth,

i.e. exactly covers the circumference of the earth.

You now increase the length of each rope by 1 inch.

Form a circle with each rope covering the tennis ball and the earth

Is the distance between the tennis ball and its new circle greater
than that between the earth and its new circle?"

She was looking for the logic and not the Math.

Now since neither my logic nor my Math skills are anything to talk home about, I turned to someone who might have done justice to the problem.

This is the answer I got back:

"Is this a trick question?

If it were, I would ask,

1) What kind of a rope was used, i.e. what was the modulus of elasticity? Did you twist the rope during the process?

2) What was the tension in the rope while it was stretched?

3) What were the temperatures during the experiments?

4) What is the coefficient of thermal expansion, in case there was a temperature variation?

5) How fast was the measurement done? (may become important if we are thinking in speeds near that of the light)

6) The question that has always haunted me since childhood.....how can you tie a knot (to add that 1 inch) without altering the original length?

(That will be close to Heisenberg’s heart too.)

7) Question 6 alone can generate a whole set of debate, like how tight was the knot?

( I won't even get into the uncertainty in measurements!)

8) If you asked my Graduate school advisor he'd ask, "Did you repeat the experiment?"

9) My present boss would ask: "Did you write that up?"

(Just in case you didn't know what writing up is all about, it refers to writing up a US patent)

10) And his boss would suggest," Sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement) before you answer the question!"

11) The Corporate VP would ask, "Can we get the problem solved in China?"

12) Tom Skilling would ask, "Was there a Jet stream in the upper atmosphere pushing the rope?"

13) Dubya Bush would say " Are you sure it is not an act of terrorism?"

14) My Dad who loves a gourmet meal and is a secret poet at heart would ask, " May I hope, to eat the rope?"

15) My health freak brother would say, " Jump the rope 20 min a day to get rid of the extra calories."

16) My sister who is always looking for an excuse to scold me will say, " Who asked you to get in to such a mess with ropes!"

17) My Mom who spent her entire trip to the US trying to find a way to wash and dry her sarees would ask, "Can we dry our laundry on that rope?"

18) And last, my wife who is forever trying to stock up on things will say, " Can we have another rope? Then we can do the experiment with one and keep the other in stock just in case we need it later."

Thanks for asking. Hopefully I answered your question."

Needless to say I was left speechless.

*I'd like to thank AB for the question and AR for sending me the reply.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Measure of Success

How do you measure Success?

Do you look at people who are considered successful and see how you measure up against them?
Or do you set your own standard and see how you measure up against yourself?
Or do you let someone else decide for you? Let some stranger tell you if you are successful. Or will be successful. Ever.

"Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something."

"You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it. Period." ~ The Pursuit of Happyness


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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When it hits closer to home

Couple of months back we visited this idyllic college campus, a peaceful small University town, nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah valley. We loved the campus and talked about how laid back life must be if one was a graduate student there. We met some students and professors in the Engineering department. And we thought it was one of the nicest places to send one's kids to college if one lived in the DC Metro area.

And then, this horrific thing happens.

As I watched the tragic news unfold on TV in utter shock and disbelief, trying to come to terms with what happened and why, and figuring out if all the people we know who go to Virginia Tech are okay, I couldn't help but feel a strong sense of helpless anger at the people who put guns into the hands of crazy, mentally unstable people, capable of such barbaric acts of violence. And deep inside I know inspite of all the outcry and media attention, this too shall pass and people will forget and move on. And we'll still be able to go out to a store and purchase a gun to go kill a few more innocent kids in school. It makes me sick.

For the people of Blacksburg, VA and the students and faculty at Virginia Tech, for the ones who lost a child or a friend or a classmate, for the ones who will be scarred forever with the images of the massacre, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Update: A very nice post that echoes my thoughts can be found here.

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