PReSeNT

Whoa!

If you have ever been on a wild roller coaster ride, then try to recollect the feeling you get when the roller coaster is nearing its halt; after the twists and turns that made you scream the hell out.

Are you there yet?! Good πŸ™‚Β  because thats exactly how I am feeling about 2010.

I am officially on my vacation now (yippee πŸ™‚ )Β  and its going to be one with lots of leisure and rest.

I have been pretty busy this year, primarily because of all the wonderful work that came my way. I dont want to write about it here, rather I just want to get it out of my head, empty all that code cached in my head so that I can look forward for a really peaceful and stress-free vacation. I am really glad that I got an opportunity to learn, design, code, test and debug more than 10,000 lines of code; and thats a lot of code !!!

There have been lot of ups and downs this year, but enough of that here .. let me wrap all this up by recollecting the (valuable) lessons learnt so far:

2008: There are no great jobs … only people who do a great job!

2009: Dont worry about (PBC) results, merely demonstrate excellence in completing the task at hand, results would take care of themselves.

2010: Take full responsibility of the situation you are in. If you dont like the way things are, you should have done something to change it.

 

I finally have some time to write the story I have been doing research on .. wait and see (sorry read πŸ˜‰ )

 

Happy holidays πŸ™‚

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*Clock starts chiming 8*

The Beige curtains flew carelessly, as warm breeze danced across the large open French windows. The sun smiled mirthfully as butterflies hid in the blossoms occupied with their hide and sip game. The trees swayed in joy experiencing the avian concert.

The golden rays seemed to lend gold to the sizzling pan cakes, while the water droplets sparkled on the tall glass of iced tea like carefully cut diamonds.

The lady of the house stood dumbfound as juvenile laughter exploded amidst bits of torn paper. Half shivering, she frantically looked at the clock then towards the bedroom door; then she looked back again at the little imp, who laughed merrily, not realizing the importance of the papers that lay torn. Her gaze shifted towards the bedroom door as the click of the shoes ushered the man of the house into the scene.

The man, aptly dressed for an important day at his office, noticed the baby standing against the table and about to tear the report he had painstakingly prepared for the day’s presentation. The baby screamed again with joy as it ripped the paper into pieces. The man, half disbelieving his eyes looked towards the lady whose eyes were now moist with tears.

The man rushed and grabbed the lady…

“Honey, dont worry! I have another copy of the report .. ” he said, as he gleamed and continued, “Now look, junior is standing πŸ™‚ “

Of late, I have a new found respect for BSNL and what it does.

I moved to a new place and had to get my BSNL Landline/Broadband transferred. In the span of over 25 days which included several calls and trips to the Customer Service Centers and the Exchange, I have uncovered the subtle meaning their Caption tries to tell us.

On one instance, I got to meet a person who told me to go right (while pointing to the left) to reach BSNL exchange (which was actually right in the front !!!). I was fortunate enough to have learnt the vector arithmetic back at school. I also saw two BMTC buses crisscross each other in a way that seemed to suggest Rajani was the conductor on both of them. If you are wondering, how a conductor can drive a bus that way … kanna .. think again!! Its Rajani we are talking about. Nothing is impossible for Rajani .. Mind It πŸ˜‰ !!

Perhaps, the most singular of the events was when I stepped out of the exchange, disappointed. To my astonishment, I saw people outside staring up in the sky. There eyes had the same emotion as the ones expressed by Bhuvan and the villagers, when it started to rain in the movie Lagaan. Having been in this wonderful city *sarcasm definitely intended* for the past 3 years, I know the weather a bit too well and so did everyone staring at the clouds. I tried to look in the general direction of their gaze; I found nothing unusual. It was only when I lowered my gaze that I saw something happening on the streets. Some people with long blue nets were trying to fish for street dogs. I was a bit relieved thinking the canines of these canines would not harm people around anymore; but I was rather wrong. These people caught the dogs, one after the other, gave them a nice pat on their heads and let them go. Instantaneously, I looked towards the heavens asking why the hell canines had the canines ! Only to realize why people were staring at the clouds !

 

BSNL does live up to its tag line .. “Connecting India” .. I really got connected to parts of India where people give you directions as a vector sum, where people drive like in the movies just because the posters were on the adjacent walls and where people catch animals to pat on their heads as a crowd offers prayers to the heavens. BSNL is doing great work by connecting India (without the telephones actually πŸ˜‰ )

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“Oh god!! Where am I?! Please help me ” I cried, as the dusk lay before me. I was seemingly lost ! I had wandered far from my home and into the wilderness near it. I was tired of all the walking and running I had been doing, in order to figure my way back. I cursed myself as I recalled how over confident I was, when during noon, I thought I would surely find something to eat in the wilderness. I thought perhaps a fruit or a berry.

As I stood there, panting, my legs were sore .. “Thank god I am not a spider !!” I thought .. since 8 legs would have hurt more. Look where may, nothing looked familiar. There was no one around to help me out. As I stood there staring at the heavens, I thought what would happen of my family. If I were not to return home today, “perhaps I should pray for my family” I thought.I took deep breaths, and indulged in my prayers.

“Hello!! … HELLO!! can you hear me?” screamed a voice. I looked around a bit and saw a man trying to talk to someone on his mobile phone. The man was tall & well built, but slightly obese. He wore pretty old clothes. His shirt was wrinkled and had a button or two missing. I was a good deal away from him, yet I could notice that his face had the same wilderness that surrounded me. Like the grass around, his beard had grew. He wore a pair of glasses which seemed to complement his rather round face. “What kind of a person was he?” my mind began to calculate. But perhaps it was too late, as he noticed me & started walking towards me. His eyes had a faint arrogance, but glittered in a manner that seemed to suggest a man of learning. The slight curve of his lips along with the manner of his walk suggested that he had understood my situation. As the fading rays of the sun, fell on his face, he looked like a man marked by determination, yet his rather out of shape belly, seemed to suggest that he was lazy. His voice and manner of his speech sounded a bit funny, for it seemed innocent for a man of about 24. As he came nearer, one could notice that he looked tired, yet was eager to help out. Friend, I thought as I looked him approach me. If a man of that personality were to fight me, I sure did not have a chance.

As I tried to regain my strength and move towards him, he stopped all of a sudden and ran back to his house. “What happened? Did I scare him off? or am I so hideous that he strode off in disgust? ” I thought. My hope of being rescued, were fading along with the rays of the sun. “Was it my illusion?” I heard myself say and before I could think of an answer, I saw the man return. He looked to carry something in his hand. As he came near me he sprinkled the contents of his hand around me. As he smiled, I realized that he had sprinkled sugar around me. Without uttering a word, he turned to return. I wanted to follow him, when I heard someone calling my name .. “Anthony!! Where are you?”. As I turned to see who it was, I heaved a sound of relief. It was my family. They seemed to be searching for me. Never was I so glad to see my family, that I started to run towards them. When we met, I narrated the story to them. After a few moments of rest and a few nibbles of the sugar crystal, we started back for home, carrying the sugar crystals my kind friend had gifted us. We ants have it tough, but once in a while, a few friends help us out πŸ™‚

Part 1: The Ends

“Gattimela .. Gattimela ..” shouted the purohit as he handed over the Mangalasutra to Rajesh. It looked very astonishing to me, that Rajesh immediately knew what to do. As Rajesh was near completion of his error … err.. errand .. all the guests stood up and started blessing the couple with the saffron rice.It was only days earlier that I had met Praneeta, who seemed so much different now in her traditional attire. She was from this moment, officially Mrs. Praneeta Rajesh.

It is strange how life makes us cross each other’s paths. Stranger still is how seemingly unrelated things may have huge impact on such crossovers. I have known Rajesh for quite sometime now. “You look like you did not want to return to India” I remember saying, as I noticed his uneasiness. This was two years ago, when he returned back to India from his international assignment. My friend explained, that he had been bitten by the love bug, just as soon as he landed at the Bangalore International Airport. He started describing the girl, whom he saw at the airport and how he managed to stalk her a bit before she reported for her boarding. “Man !! I had half a mind to get a ticket for that flight ” my friend screamed “but I was told there were no more tickets available aboard flight 739”. I tried to impart some sanity into this crazy guy and I must confess it was quite a task!

Days and weeks passed by, until he once suddenly asked me “Why do you suppose she was headed to Atlanta?” . I did not quite get whom he was referring to, and on inquiry he told me “you know.. the airport girl !! Why do you think she was going to Atlanta in the US?”. It took me sometime to recollect all the description my friend had so excitedly given me about her. After my futile attempt to convince him that she could be married or may be in a relationship, he answered “.. but I am just curious. I dont seem to get her out of my mind!!”.

“Well, Atlanta is popular for many things !!”, I exalted, and slowly added ” she may have gone there for a vacation, or on an international assignment like you did “. It then occurred to me that Atlanta is in the state of Georgia, which has the famous GSU and GIT, and so I added “..Β  or she may have gone for higher studies, as well! “. My friend’s face became gloomier at the mention of that possibility. Perhaps, he was expecting her to return to Bangalore sooner, I never know, as I did not ask. I thought it was best to leave him alone for sometime.

Part 2: The Narrative

I was in majestic today morning, I had planned to roam around Bangalore since I had nothing better to do on this Sunday. I had no specific place in mind and hence thought BMTC’s ‘Bangalore Darshana’ package would suit me. As I was entering the bus station, I happened to observe a lady, foreigner I thought, talking to bus conductors. As I approached nearer, I could hear her ask “Where can I book a ticket for Bang-gawl-ORE there-shunn (Bangalore Darshan)?”Β  as the perplexedΒ  conductors looked on. One among them said, “Bengaluru darshana busge hogabeka neevu?” (Do you want to catch the Bangalore Darshan bus?) leaving the lady confused. Clearly, I knew what was happening here. I stepped up and asked the lady, “Ma’am, do you need any help?”

“Oh! Thank god someone speaks English here!! I want to buy a ticket for this bus – Bang-gawl-ORE there-shunn. Could you please help me out with it?” She asked. Her accent seemed to suggest that she was from the US. She wore a loose fitting shirt, that seemed to resemble a salwar and a jeans pants, suggesting she was used to travel in India. She was taller than average Indian women and was slim and healthy. Her face had the genuine expression of relief, as she must have thought I would surely help her out. The light dimple on her face, as she smiled made her look more attractive than she already was. “why?! yes, I would be glad to help you. I am here to catch the same bus too” I said.

I helped her buy the tickets and led the way to catch the bus. It was pretty early for me to be all up on a Sunday but nevertheless I was excited. At 7:30 am, the bus started onto its journey and in the meantime, my fellow traveler had spilt out a great deal of information about herself. “Women!!” I thought, ” cant stop talking, can they? “. She was from Tennessee in the US and was in Bangalore on work. She loved to travel & photography was her favorite pass-time. In Bangalore, she was put up at Indiranagar and did not have many friends around. Tipu’s palace, our first destination was not far away and soon we were there. My companion clicked several pictures on her sophisticated camera and even offered to click a few pics of mine. She seemed interested in history & heritage of India, for she asked me a great deal about Tippu Sultan, The Wodeyars and the British Regime in Mysore. Though not an expert in history myself, I managed to tell her whatever little pieces of information I knew.

Bull temple was our next destination and she was a little curious as to why not many people were present at the temple. I had to explain that unlike Christianity, there was no concept of a weekly mass for Hindus. Hindus are free to visit a temple whenever they feel the need for direction/blessings from the divine. She also was full of appreciations for Indian customs and also noticed that she felt lighter when at the temple. Even though it was a bit out of place to see her pray at the temple, I must confess she looked pretty cute and innocent trying to fold her hands and start her prayer.

“This is a nature photographer’s heaven!! ” she cried, as she frantically tried to capture the flowers and plants at Lalbagh, our next destination. I was a little amused at the working of a photographer’s brains; for where I saw nothing new, she captured something unseen earlier. She was well prepared for the photographic feast, because, when she ran out of battery on her camera, she prompt replaced it with a spare one, she had in her back pack. Something similar happened at Ulsoor lake too.

After buying a few things at the Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium my fellow traveler seemed to be content with this short trip. I could not, but wonder, why was it that women all round the globe loved shopping, soo much! As the noon grew hotter, we ended up at the Museum after stopping at the Vidhan Souda. Soon it was going to be 2 pm, and I already was hungry as usual. As we had almost completed the tour of the museum, I told my companion that this was our last destination, and that we would return soon to the place where we started.

“Do you mind joining me for lunch?” she asked me. “Well, I am already hungry, and I was thinking I would depart for a good restaurant from here”Β  I answered. “Oh! please, can I join you then?” she cried, her manner suggesting she was hungry herself too. I had thoroughly enjoyed my morning, thanks to my cheerful companion. She was friendly and though she talked a lot, I enjoyed every word of it. I was only glad to accept her request. Moments later, we found ourselves at “Ada Hind ki” on Museum road for a lunch buffet. My companion wanted to experience Indian food, and someone had told me about this place a while ago.

“It was nice to meet you Rajesh .. you are a good guy! Thanks for everything you have done for me today ” she spoke, as I was busy finishing my dessert. “Uh! thanks for the compliments .. and it was a pleasure knowing you too” I mumbled with a ton of chocolate pudding inside my mouth. “Please keep in touch, here is my facebook profile name ” she said writing it out on a piece of paper, “please add me as your friend”. “Sure Rachel, thanks !!” I said.

Part 3: The Party

Rajesh had narrated the story of his day out with his new friend about an year ago. He had from then, kept in touch with Rachel and both of them had become pretty good friends. I had a chance of meeting her once we were in the vicinity of Indiranagar. Six months earlier, Rachel invited Rajesh & me to a party her firm was hosting. It was the first time I learnt that she was actually working for a firm whose goal was to help Tourism department improve the services offered to tourists and especially to those who have a problem speaking native languages. The party was being organized as a harbinger to the launch of a new service by the firm. The director of the firm, Mr. Krishna Mohan was full of praises for Rachel who had brought the idea to the table. Since this was a special moment for Mr. Mohan, all of his family was present at the event. Rachel who knew Mohan’s family offered to introduce us to them.

“Do you have a younger sister?” screamed my friend, as we were introduced to Priyanka, Mohan’s elder daughter. “Why?! Yes, its me” came a voice from behind, “Hi .. I am Praneeta, you must be Rajesh, Rachel has told us a lot about you” said the beautifully dressed girl, who appeared as if by magic. I apparently did not understand the reason for which Rajesh was soo excited and why all of sudden he looked so happy. Rajesh looked to be too much attracted towards Praneeta, since he kept staring at her. He tried to extort as much information about Praneeta as possible from Rachel. We soon learnt that Praneeta was indeed pursing her masters at Georgia Tech and that she was back in India for this event.

Once out of the party, Rajesh started dancing, shouting, behaving as if a tarzan and it was hard for me to get him back to his sane mind. He screamed, “Buddy !! She’s the one ! Praneeta!! She’s the one I saw at the airport ! She’s the one I cant seem to forget !!”.

Six months passed since that night, and my friend was head over heals over Praneeta. Praneeta had left for US a week after that party. But in the mean time, Rajesh was able to take her out on a date, thanks to Rachel. Praneeta also seemed to be inclined towards Rajesh and both of them had kept in touch over internet. Finally, Rajesh proposed, Praneeta accepted and their families met.

Rajesh & Praneeta were wedded now, into a holy matrimony and people queued up to congratulate the new bride & groom. When I reached them, I excitedly shook their hands and screamed “Wish you a very happy married life πŸ™‚ ” to which they answered back in unison .. “Thanks Aditya”

Preface:

Summers in Chennai are rather extreme. Temperatures tend to increase on an hourly basis. Last I heard, a team of professors and top students here at Chennai are planning to build a turbine that would make effective use of the rising mercury for power generation *pun intended ;)*. But technology apart .. everyone knows Chennai is hot. I am used to the scorching Chennai sun, as I spent most of my childhood summer vacations at Chennai. I and my cousins had mastered the art of survival and we did that with loads of ice (from the juice shop next door), lassi and the one of its kind pannir soda (pannir = scented .. but it was actually rose flavored soda). Somehow, being at Chennai brings back a lot of memories for me .. esp. the sepia toned photos of my parents and my grandparents and aunts that hang on the walls of my grand parents’ home. I love my grandpa a lot πŸ™‚ and I was excited as I had just reserved my ticket to Chennai. I was supposed to take two of my MS papers at Chennai. I only wished, I could prepare for them.

Chapter 1:

“Sir yenge pownuu ?” (Sir where do you want to go?) asked the conductor of the legendary MTC bus (legendary cos its pretty old service fleet, MTC = Metropolitan Transport Corp.) I was in. “uhm!! Perumbur sir” I said handing over twelve rupees for the ticket. I had finished one of the papers and was returning home. Luckily, this bus was not very crowded and I could manage to find a seat with a good view πŸ™‚ As the bus stopped over several stops, I tried to read things like street names and some office names. Least did I know that the bus was getting crowded enough now, that people were standing around me. Sometime after the Mylapore temple, I saw an elderly gentleman, much like my own grandpa standing in front of me, gripping whatever support he could find, so that he wont be affected by the bus driver’s thaliavar style (Thaliavar = head, boss .. which is Rajinikanth when in Chennai) driving. I look around, look at the ceiling of the bus to see if it has any senior citizen reserved seats. Sadly, everything was in Tamil and I don’t know it that well to read the seemingly loopy script. I stand up and offer my seat to this elderly gentleman, as anyone else would have done. I cant let my grandpa stand when I am sitting, can I?

Chapter 2:

“Taata, tanni vennumaa?” she asked (Grandpa, do you want some water?). I must say her bindi complemented her earrings with the same elegant simplicity that her face and posture projected. One would not be able to take their eyes off her, since her face had some magnetic quality that would make you forget the way to move your cranium away from her face. Not that I am expert in reading faces, but in some manners she looked like a Tamil Brahmin (Iyengar I think). She wore a greenish white dress, that, to a large extent suited her manners. Her hair were tied, I think more to help with the heat, than to follow a tradition, since a few strands hung loosely and flowed like a small stream of water, whenever the bus moved. From the look of things, it appeared as if she knew the elderly gentleman whom I offered my place. As she handed the bottle of water to him, she looked at me, and with humility smiled at me, as if to say thank you. You are more than welcome, I wanted to scream, but considering that I was amongst the overcrowded & easily reactive crowd, I simply nod, as if trying to say that it was not at all a problem. All this while, she sat right behind the place from where I got up and had a small bag along side her with a bottle of water among few other things.

Chapter 3:

My other paper, was early in the morning (c’mon 10 am is pretty early πŸ˜› ) and I was trying to read .. er.. revise some encoding algorithms. I was so much involved with it that I hardly took any notice of the things around me. Fortunately, no one disturbed me either, perhaps I must have looked like I was going to write the exam of my life πŸ˜‰ . As the conductor’s whistle brought the bus to halt somewhere around Nungambakam, I saw that she was getting into the bus. She happened to notice me and occupied the seat that was right across the aisle from me. She gave me a smile and started frantically digging into her bag. She looked a little different today.. as she was getting into the bus, her face implied something was worrying her .. but she seemed to be happy at the mere sight of finding me in the bus. I was confused asΒ  she pulled out a ruled note book and started turning the pages. She tore one page, the last one she must have written and gently folded the piece of paper. “This is for you.. please accept” she said handing over the piece of paper to me. She seemed to be at ease now as she handed the piece of paper to me.. and smiled at me, as if implying that I should read, what seemed to be a letter, now. With a wry smile, I open the letter, to find beautifully written blue cursive English letters that somehow seemed to be poetry in its own accord. Written in a standard format, I could see that it was dated yesterday. “Dear sir” it started, when I look up towards her, more to understand what she was expecting from me. With her eyes gleaming, her manner of smile implied that I should continue.

Chapter 4:

… my teacher says that the best way we can preserve something that is good in someone, is by appreciating it. Yesterday, as you offered your seat to Taata, I felt that is a good quality, one that needed to be appreciated. …

…… my teacher had asked my class to write a letter to an anonymous person whom we saw doing a good deed. I am worried you’d never get a chance to read this letter. Nonetheless, I really appreciate the good deed and hope that someday Indians would be as polite and disciplined as our books say they should. ..” .. perhaps this was the first time I observed the very first line of this page, that read “Assignment #3: Write a letter appreciating someone who did a good deed, while you had a chance to observe.

As the bus started to approach Adyar bridge, my destination, I had read the entire thing over about 3 times. I could not but wonder at the possibility that India could be a better place, if only people would be more appreciating of good deeds. As I finished reading and extended to return the letter, I read for the last time the signature ….

Yours Appreciatively,

Ananya Krishnan,

Class VI, PSBB Chennai.

I smile and return the letter saying .. “thank you πŸ™‚ It is a good thing your teacher taught you and I appreciate your letter πŸ™‚ … This is your homework, right? So you should show your teacher this one …. it is well thought and written. All the best to you in life … and yes lets make India better”

As the bus slowed its pace, indicating that my alighting point was approaching, I bid goodbye to this beautiful little girl whose manners show that humility is a virtue one should have. She waved at me .. before asking me .. “sir, unnoda peryenna ?” (Sir, what is your name?)

I smile and reply back “Santosh .. and you are Ananya Krishnan, right?” she nodded with a smile and waved as the bus moved on to its next destination.

Closing Notes:

Thanks for reading through πŸ™‚Β  It could be hard to believe that such a thing would actually happen in life. But it has a good possibility of happening πŸ™‚ . This work however is a filament of my imagination … based on some real-life experiences. Let me know what you think πŸ™‚

I figured out what permalink is all about .. turns out its no rocket science .. a permalink is just a permanent link to an article. At the first glimpse of this definition.. I heard a big .. loud *thud* in my head .. it felt as if someone had hit my head very hard with a mongoose bat forged from the finest titanium. It was only moments later that I could regain my consciousness and ask the all important question … “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

On further enlightenment,Β  I reached a point where I found a mini-nirvana .. the supreme sense of being …reaching which .. one’d say .. “I dont care anymore” πŸ˜›

In very simple terms a permalink is just another link .. and does the same .. but it helps moving aroundΒ  the pointed resource without changing its link. For example .. the permalink to this post will always be https://prsnt.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/things-done/Β Β  no matter at what place wordpress moves it to.

As to the question of whether or not it was really required .. I would honestly say screamΒ  … “HELL NO”

*Perumal : In Tamil, perumal means god. Perumal’s Ink is to be thought of as something that cant be changed πŸ˜›

Students often like to bunk classes .. PreSent helps you with proxy attendance :D

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