Saturday, May 27, 2006

The meaning of life, the universe and everything

I formally declare my sincerest and most humble respect, admiration and obeisance to all those superlative humanoids (dead or alive, past, present and future included) who have mastered the art of cutting potatoes into perfect cubes of the same size. I have been at it for quite a few years now and this morning as I tried it for the zillionth time, I knew that some are born to cut potatoes, some acquire it and some have potatoes thrown at them.

I have been reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the past couple of weeks and the absolute nonsense of it has shocked me to the last bone marrow. Are we Earthlings, as the author claims a part of a huge organic computer commissioned by rats, which are actually the most intelligent race in the Universe?

The author also claims that the art of flying consists of two parts: the first easy one, which is to fall, and the second seriously tough one, which is to miss the ground. Since I have already proven my expertise in the first one, methinks a good way to gain lead over fellow fliers would be to start from the second part.

Further, the author claims that forty-two is the answer to the meaning of the life, the universe and everything. This was the result obtained after a million years of processing done by the greatest computer in the Galaxy (it wasn’t an Earth computer ofcourse) and the answer was so baffling, that nobody knew what the question was. Since death is the reverse of life and the answer lies hidden in the question, I have decided to work on my little question. Describe in 42 different ways, means to assassinate Anwesha Chatterjee.

Now, for reasons unknown to me, this has been bothering me for quite sometime. I surely know that I am not yet famous enough (never stop hoping) to merit an assassination and that murder would fit the bill more, but what if somebody really wanted to kill me.

#1. Easy target: Every morning at a known time, I set out of home. Though the driver drops me to a vantage point, I still have to walk a small distance along the walls of a factory. Somebody/anybody could hide himself in the factory terrace at that time (for a whole 5 minutes I am to be found walking alone) and take a long careful aim. Bang! Crash! Boom and I am gone. Should our predator miss his target, he (I am extremely friendly with women and since the female of the species is deadlier than the male, I make it a point to maintain good relations with them. So the killer’s gotta be male) he could hire an assassin and repeat the exercise in the evening.

#2. When I sit in the bus at a fixed time every morning, my unknown enemy could take another bus (state buses are difficult to highjack I think, but the same cannot be said about private buses) and in classic Abhishekh Bachchan - Yuva style (Yes, stilleto, I agree he is HOT) shoot me. The problem there would be that a lot of witnesses could be found, and since I am sure no son of a minister is going to shoot me, so chances of witnesses turning hostile are highly improbable.

#3. A still more interesting way to kill me would be to wait till I went to the open-air smoking lounge in office. Now, I do not smoke and but our colleagues who do, are gracious enough to allow non-smokers get a breathe of fresh air in the lounge overlooking a lake. The lake has small islands with straw parasols and coconut trees. Our hired assassin could wait and watch in one of those islands, till I come out for a break from work and give me a permanent break.

Thirty-nine far more innovative ways to get myself assassinated were lost along with a little red diary somewhere in the galaxy during leak in a time wrap. I have decided to figure that it is an SEP (Somebody Else’s Problem)

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Nobel Bong and my Internet connection

Pathetic is a rather polite way to describe my Internet connection at home. An ugly-embarrassing-deranged-moody-blot on a landscape full of broadband and baseband and DSL ISPs maybe halfway close to the truth. For the past six months, I have been make doing with a dialup connection that threatens to sleep off after 30 seconds of brilliant byte transfer. I have been reduced to a state I used to be in school 10 minutes before an exam was about to start. "Oh God, may whatever I study in the last ten minutes come in the paper". Crossing my fingers, I watch with bated breadth as my mailbox opens halfway through and then suddenly goes silent. Instant Messaging is about getting disconnected after every two minutes and I have now become butt of jokes among my friends. "AC-DC" they call me.

So, I have been toying with the idea of a broadband connection. Now the problem with that is that the parents are so disillusioned with technology that they do not understand how a thicker cable can be a panacea to my miseries. When I convinced them a year ago that a new computer would help the Internet connection get better, they had listened. Now, I'm afraid, its no use crying 'Wolf! Wolf!" Blogging is now getting increasingly difficult, but I refuse to submit meekly.

Among other things, 9th of May was Robindro Jayanti - birthday of Rabindranath Tagore - inarguably the greatest poet of Bengal and the first Nobel Laureate of Asia. Since we are predisposed to ignore a person until he attains international recognition, Robindronath has made it big while there are quite a few extremely talented and accomplished writers who have languished in the background. For one, I do think Munshi Premchand is one of those authors who should have been awarded a Nobel. Limiting myself to Bengali authors only, Tarashakar Bandopadhaya, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhaya, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhaya (my clan! ha ha) Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (more of my clan hee hee hee) are authors whose birthdays we never celebrate. On 9th May, our canteen hosted a photograph of Tagore, garlanded with due respect and played some morbid and depressing Tagore music. In the afternoon, we sang songs of Tagore (yes, yes, I was one among those who sang and busted the microphones!) and some people danced to his songs (no no, I was not among those thankfully - can't damage a newly constructed auditorium).

I was left wondering. They usually award the Nobel to authors who have written (to put it the way I perceive it) about poverty, misery, death and the triumph of man's will against all odds. The authors I mentioned above have done that rather successfully, and unlike other less successful writers, have made interesting reading at the same time. Sarat Chandra Chatterjee in particular has gone the further distance by empowering women in his novels. In most of his stories, women play the chief role and pull a family out of tragic circumstances even while sacrificing their own happiness. This he wrote during early 20th century when women's liberation was unheard of and the general plight of women was miserable. So, why were these people deprived of the Nobel Prize?

I suppose it’s too late to think about it, because unlike the Param Veer Chakra they never award the Nobel posthumously. But it is also an indicator why great writers like Vikram Seth, Amitava Ghosh, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri have elected to write in English and not in their mother tongue. Somewhere down the line, we seem to have got something horribly wrong. When and how did it happen?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Paradise Lost

Annual appraisal over.

Over the past one week, I have learnt that:

I do not seek solutions proactively
When I get stuck with a problem I ask for help!

I am irresponsible, because I do not claim ownership of mission critical tasks.
I usually prefer to go home rather than spend all night doing something that I know needs a fresh mind and eight hours of sound sleep

I have been branded as lazy because I do not seem to take interest in innovation and problem solving activities with the adequate amount of enthusiasm.
When there’s nothing to do, I blog and google

My communication skills will do for the moment (read: I talk too much) but I must hone them so that in the future I can handle external and internal communication more effectively (read: I must learn to talk a lot, but say little)

Additionally, I do not baseline any strategies while approaching a resolution of a defect, so I am not much of a planner.
Okay okay, I admit. As a result of inadequate planning, I did not prepare a progress report of my activities. I just went ahead and finished it; well before the deadline

I am okay at the documentation part of business
Looks like somebody from the enemy team read my blog and was thankful that I do not put that stuff in my reports

My idle time is not utilized appropriately
If I did something why would it be called idle time???

And I must make it a practice to share and transfer knowledge with seniors, juniors and peers.
What??? Make them realize that I know nothing????????