Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is there life beyond football?
Yes there is!! Yes there is a life beyond football! But, it's a nightmare, it's the worst the life can get, it's was beyond my imagination 1 year back, but it all came true. Every single second, every moment I felt my blood stream losing its energy, losing its red color, becoming lifeless, colourless.....

Getting up in the morning, daily routines, office work, food, drink and an unrelenting desire of playing, and a guilt of becoming so weak, that going out and playing seemed like a big task! How could I ever think like that?! Lots of introspection, lots more of guilt but not a single game......

The dry month of May 2010 was to be cursed for getting me to this state. But, alas came an angel, to drown me and several others in a ocean of joy....

The sight of goals and ball rolling was enough for each one of us to jump with joy, run around like wild animals let loose; of course some of us were alike wilderness tamed, what else is marriage synonymous for? ;)

9 men went on to play the game that they loved, kicking around the guilt of past, dribbling around the daily routines, saving the best moments from getting lost ....For an hour, each one of us got lost in another world. Each one of us lost the bad memories, and the child in us came out in full force. I could again feel blood rushing through my legs, mind and heart. The sweat poured on us, as if from the heavens to cleanse us of the rust we had put on in the past months.

An unsaid pledge was taken by us, not to go back to that black hole of life! To live a life and not just the usual "Chal raha hai..."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Glory of an Inch

In a material world such as ours, few measurements have more selling power than the inch. Cars sell on the basis of mileage, the more the kilometers per hour the better the selling proposition. The closest that comes to inches is kilograms. It is able to sell from vegetables, rice, noodles to nutrition programs. They trigger the horde to move from “more-is-less” to “less-is-more” paradigm. But, nothing even comes close to the almighty inch, which is an inch away from glory than all the others! My notebook has a quote boldly written on its face:

Inches make champions!

Well, inches make billions too! Only the inch is responsible for billions of dollars and crores of rupees in sales for fitness machines, weight loss programs, penis enlargement, bust reduction or augmentation, height, sexual paraphernalia, food and god knows what else. In fact most of advertisement channels won’t work, if not for the sake of inches!

When someone invented the measurement system, then little would have that person thought that inch will become the most important metric. No other measurement is as malleable in its applications to sell.
All the fitness programs promise one unique thing, one can lose fifteen inches from waist or increase two inches in biceps. In weight loss programs, remember the before and after? The before and after are again bound by an inch tape draped around the belly! Of course the famed Body Mass Index (BMI) depends on the measurement of body weight and height and build. And then the penis enlargement, well its self explanatory because rarely if ever will one see anyone wants to trim anything from their pole vault. Breasts are for the ones from Venus, but they too want the inches added on. The search for the perfect bust can last several years thanks to the sheer materialistic excellence of plastic surgeons saying less is more and more is just wonderful. In fact, some of the corner-eye advertisements show busts which can shy away watermelons. For height, heels are sold to varying degrees thanks in part to the size of their heel and size dictates needs, tastes, trends, and personality. Men don’t stray too far behind because often times they need that inch, in height (Come on! we have moved on from the Penis) to look reputable. 

Food is altogether a very tricky category. When the packaged products show the calorie count, they tend to show the minimal. A low fat food product is always eye catching to even the slimmest of the persons. And while we were busy reading this, some markets must be busy in making something “extra low fat”. But, when it comes to pizzas or subs, then, the more the inches the better it is.

But the obsession over the almighty inch when it comes down to genre is just awe inspiring. If you’re not too keen to accept this hypothesis, then by all means tell me what you think about when I mention 36-24-36. If you’re thinking about the person whose phone number it can be, then you have a problem. Most likely you’ll think of those fictitious Savita Bhabhi or Pamela running around on beaches or better still the pretty famed Sheelas. If I happen to say 6 to 10 inches, what do you think about? Odds are that something meaty comes to mind, and I’m not talking value menu items.

The funny part is that in the obsession competition, I really don’t know who wins. I don’t know if the freaky looking penis enlargement programs win. I don’t know if at all given free to someone, will he take such a program? Cause, who will want a prick that sometimes reaches one-arms-distance??? And for girls, I am not sure if someone wants a trolley to carry the watermelons!! Of course, the waist line inches may be approachable, and I think it will be the biggest category of “inch” product selling in the market.

What’s best is that the base reason for the obsession is the same. Call it vanity, self pride, self worth, confidence or what have you; the quest for the perfect inch is something that crosses demographics, religions, boundaries, race, age, gender, etc. I’m not saying everyone in the whole world is obsessed with inches, but what I am saying is that inches are somewhere in the top of our mind and rising inch by inch….

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fill in the Spaces

I hate the spaces between my fingers,
I hate the air flowing through my hair,
I hate the rainbow with just seven colours,
I hate the smell of all the perfumes,
I hate the best food that I have,
I hate my tears for they won't stop flowing!
Fill in the spaces...
Flow through my hair...
Be the colour...
Be the smell...
Satiate my hunger....
Wipe off my tears!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


कितना है यहाँ अपना ही शोर |
गाड़ियों का, गालियों का, अपनों का, अंजानो का, मेरा, तुम्हारा, जीत का, हर का | 

कितना है यहाँ अपना ही शोर |
सुबह को, शाम को, दिन को रात को , अन्दर भी, बाहर भी |  

बेचैन हम घूम रहे हैं  
खुद ही शोर कर रहे हैं |

दूसरों को दोष क्या दें
हम खुद कहाँ निर्दोष हैं |

एक दिन चौराहे पर बैठ,
मैं यूं ही सोचता रहा, 
क्यों नहीं है शांति किसी ओर ?
क्यों मचा रहे हैं सब ये शोर ?
क्यों हैं सब इतने विचलित ?
क्या नहीं मिल सकता दो पल का सुकून किसी कोने में ?
क्यों बदल गयी है दुनिया इस तरह से ?

आँखें बंद कर, रखा मैंने अपने कानो पर हाथ
तब जा कर सुना मैंने अपना यह शोर |
शोर एक तूफान का, एक उफान का 
दुनिया को जीत लेने के अरमान का |
मैं भी, तुम भी, हर कोई लगा है इस दौड़ में
फिर क्यों ना हो शोर हर मोड़ पे |

आखिर समझा मैं
थम गयी शोर कि वो गर्जन 
शायद समझ जाएँ बांकी सभी जन |

कितना है यहाँ अपना ही शोर |
आओ प्रयत्न करें कल हो एक शांत विभोर ||

Sunday, January 23, 2011

मैं आज़ाद हूँ ( I am free)

मैं आज़ाद हूँ
मैं परिंदा हूँ
मैं आसमान को छू सकता हूँ
मैं धरती को चूम सकता हूँ |
हर रोज़ मैं निकल पड़ता हूँ एक नयी मंजिल की खोज में
हर खोज घरोंदे से ले चलती है एक नयी दिशा में ||

एक नया आसमान
एक नयी धरती
कुछ फासला और
कुछ उम्मीदें नयी |
हर रोज़ मैं देखता हूँ एक नया सपना 
हर रोज़ मैं बनाता हूँ एक दोस्त अपना ||

एक नया अजनबी
एक नया यार
कोई धोखा 
कोई सहारा |
रास्ते कठिन, कई ठोकरें, मोड़ कई, मुश्किलें नयी
कुछ अजनबी यार, कुछ यार अजनबी ||

ज़िन्दगी आसान नहीं होती
जीवन ना है बुजदिलों का खेल |
बस बड़ चलो अपनी दिशा की ओर
बस बड़ चलो कुछ फासला और ||

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

तू cockroach की मौत मरेगा |

I came back from office, drained of every bit of energy. I felt like just crashing on the bed. I badly needed a cup of coffee. So, I put the water on boil, picked up my coffee mug, put in a tea spoon of coffee, another tea-spoon of sugar and water. Off, I headed towards my durrie grabbing a pack of biscuits and some chips along. I sat down like a king munching on the chips. The first sip went down like energy booster, and I felt better. I took out my laptop, opened media player and put on a random play list. And, had some of my blues playing....

Suddenly, I saw some movements on the top right corner of my room. Another king strolled out on my floor, straight heading to my durrie. I almost forgot the annoying feeling that I had whenever I saw one of these, since this was the first sighting in this room! This is not cool! The two fangs were swaying as if, they were tracking my coffee smell, or maybe the chocolate biscuit smell, or maybe the chips. I don't want to part ways with anything, for this. Cockroaches have always been criticized for being all over the places kitchen, toilets, bathrooms, almost everywhere. People make efforts to any extent to get away with them. But, they are always there, boldly walking everywhere, as if there is no fear of dying. In fact, they are so irritating, that Lakshman ji wanted not just Sita ji to be out of their reach, but the whole humanity to be safe from them. That's why we have Lakshmanrekha available in every Kirana store

But, whatever, this is my room, at least clean to some extent, and I didn't want this cockroach to invade it. I did not want to squash the beast as well (Don't know what all will spill out of it!!!) So, I picked up the broomstick and kicked it out of my room, down to the farthest point, out of my room, out of the house, out on someone else doorstep, go bug someone else! ;)

The bloody cockroach made my coffee go cold! The music played on, the chips were still inviting. So, again, I sprawled on my durrie and munched on my chips. Thinking of changing some music, I picked up my laptop and looked around for new songs. But, couldn't get the cockroach out of my mind. So, off I went around looking for cockroach facts.

I didn't know that cockroaches have been around from the time of dinosaurs. Famines, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, lakshmanrekhas....damn everyone on this earth tries it's best to get rid of it and still can't! It can live for 2 months without food, 2 weeks without water and 40 minutes without breathing. That is survival at it's best! What more, it can survive without its head for more than a week. Well, a human will look so creepy, without a head.....but the plastic surgeons will have a gala time....
"Doc, I need a new head....I lost the old one...This one is a 2nd hand and not looking so good. Please take my measurements, When shall I come for trails?" OMG!

Or better still,
"Doc I want a head with Android, 4 sim card slots and extendable memory" :D

I was wondering what else will a person look for in a head, when once again the devil was doing its round. The antennas were rolling around, again. I could see the bold walk, no fear of anything, after all it can survive the extremes. Maybe, it is the perfect contender for Roadies X.0. But, this pissed me can it be!

I picked up my slippers, squashed it, then and there itself! That must have hurt and killed a small thing like a cockroach. But, it was just upside down, it rolled over and again started walking. A king's walk! This took my anger to the next level. I could see that it was still heading for the chips.

This would have woken up the neighbours too. And the cockroach was down. It was upside down and not moving. Finally, I had my own little victory. Myself being a photographer, I could not resist picking up the shutterbug to capture the moment. I clicked a few shots. And there kit was moving again, its antennas were again in motion!

The fight for life put up by the cockroach was amazing....I put down my camera and watched the great cockroach for some time. The fight was gone. The antennas were down, the cockroach had finally given up.
Some people say in anger, as an abuse, "तू cockroach की मौत मरेगा |"

I say, if this is how a cockroach dies, fighting the world, fighting all the odds....fighting everything the life can throw at it, then it is a life worth living. People tend to give up so easily, one set-back and they are down so badly, that everyone around them tries to revive their spirits. If they are alone, then they feel lonely, they feel the life is not worth living. And here, the great cockroach fought alone......I have no hesitation in giving a salute to this devil.

I picked up a newspaper and swiped the cockroach off the floor. I threw it in my dustbin. The legs were again moving.......It was still alive.....It was beaten up, but only physically, its spirit was still would again fight....fight for survival.....fight to live the life to its fullest......

Friday, January 07, 2011

Desperate Males on House Hunting

I did not realize the desperateness of the male species till I started looking for a room on rent. The moment I searched on the innocent looking website for rooms on rent, I came across hordes of advertisements for female species from the desperados! I smiled at the first one, laughed out loud at the next one but could not stop rolling on the floor for the ones that followed.

“Amaan” demand was simple:
a north Indian female roommate preferred

“Abhi” was a bit more “sharing”:
I am looking out to share my flat with a female partner, open minded.. free individual..
All amenities included in rent, have a car also, can share.
Regards, Abhi"

“Pradeep” was more straightforward, 
Looking for north Indian girl only

An unnamed male wanted, 

“Salman” got way too excited and expressed all his needs in a few short lines,
"Urrrrrrgently needed! Open minded Punjabi girl. North Indian negotiable. No Smoke. No drink. Fair, beautiful and very open. Sharing everything. Bathroom, Toilet, Rooms, Balcony, Fridge, Internet, Maid, Milk, Food, Bike.
2 Bedroom Apartment.
If more girls interested. Welcome."

Wow!! That was awesome! So, this must have been written in the heights of the man’s desperateness. And then whil writing the “gentle”man must have realized that just in case he is getting one, why not more! And while I was reading it, the sharing of maid looked “ewwww…” :D

And point to be noted my readers; “open-minded” seems to be the most abused word online. As soon as someone writes open minded, people think that it’s an “open” invitation as well to check out the “open” buttons maybe ;). They think that all the gates to heaven have been opened by the “girl”.

And while crawling the www and coming across such blatant invitations, I also came across a fact that, if the male is looking for another male flatmate then I get to see all sorts for nationalities being asked for, “only telgu”, “only north Indian”, “only Jains”, “only Mallus”; but, if a male is looking for a girl, then it will definitely be "a North Indian" or a "fair girl"!! No wonder Fair and Lovely shows increasingly more sales as one moves from North to South.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What's your password?

Yes I accept that I am not good at remembering numbers, names and passwords!

When I started using the mailing systems my passwords were as simple as abc123, helloworld, ankushsamant, iamankush and the likes. But the happy days didn’t last long. Soon I was introduced to the world of credit cards and debit cards. I tried my best to simplify this world too by making my passwords (2222, 1111, 1122, 2908 (My birth date), 1983 (My birth year) ) easier for me to remember. And once again, the quote, “And then they lived happily ever after!” failed miserably!

RBI came up with more circulars. Companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Orkut, Gmail came up with stricter password setting rules. Banks came up with their own security measures……BTW the banks’ login name itself is no better than a password, it is a whole 9 digit awkward number!

I still remember the good old password setting rules:
1.       Password should be between 6 to 12 characters
2.       Password should not contain any  special character.

The rules have now changed to something which can give nightmares:
  1. It should not contain your name.
  2. It should not contain a common dictionary word.
  3. It should contain one or more numbers.
  4. It should have both upper and lower case characters.
  5. It should be over 8 characters long.
  6. It must be different from your old passwords.

These seem to be so much easier on me when I look at the password policy of my bank:
  1. The Passwords are case sensitive i.e. Upper Case e.g. PASSWORD123 is differentiated from Lower Case e.g. password123.
  2. Your Password should be alphanumeric i.e. should contain both digits and alphabets.
  3. The Password should contain a minimum of 6 characters and a maximum of 28 characters.
  4. Spaces are not allowed in the Password.
  5. Your new Password cannot be the same as the existing Password.
  6. Only the following special characters !, @, #, $, %, (, &, *, ., ), +, =, ? are accepted as part of the Password.
  7. All characters in the Customer Id should not be present in your Password e.g. If your Customer Id is 000011120, the Password abcd012 is not a valid Password.

By the time I kept a password, noted it down in my diary and remembered it, the red alert message slapped me hard. The season changed. The sun set down. The password expiry policy came up!

Then I came up with a clever idea of keeping the same password in a season for every login. But, if only the life would have been so simple!

Banks started asking 2 passwords, the login password and the transaction password!  If I was lucky enough to remember both the passwords then I was asked for a TPIN every time I called up for an assistance on phone!

Now, I have a diary full of passwords….my transaction passwords, my login passwords, my email passwords, my social networking passwords, my TPINS…….my old passwords, my new passwords……..

I just hope my friends, my family, my girl… do not start asking for a password….

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Honda Design Philosophy: What we can learn

One of the world’s most successful car companies: Honda.

The lessons that one can learn from such a success are innumerable! Here, I would like to highlight their design philosophy and how it can help us in our work.

It is the design which lifts up the imperfect to something attractive or beautiful. In addition, true design means a design which perfectly satisfies the need for practicality.
-Shoichiro Honda, 1977

Many a times the requirements that we get are imperfect and vague. The customer is sometimes not even in a position to define what is required. It is up to us how we design the business case, the technical architecture, the user interfaces and bring out the best value possible. But, we should not forget the practicality of the solution. Nonetheless, the practicality may not be understood by all, therefore, it is our responsibility to keep it in high priority.

Design has to be a symphony for our eyes. Individual positions must be designed one by one while maintaining a good overall balance. Having said that, if we worry too much about overall balance, there is a risk of making it a please-everyone design with no unique characteristics.
-Shoichiro Honda, 1977

We can re-phrase the line to, “Design should be a symphony to our senses”. The way we work and the work we do should give us a good feeling. Even a simple work such a making a ppt is sometimes ignored by many. We should realize that every small step towards a project builds up the image in the customer’s perspective. Hence, every detail should be designed well to maintain an overall balance. It is important to note that our objective should not be to get a please-everyone design but to get a good overall balance while giving attention to details.

Man Maximum, Machine Minimum

How many times, we notice that we depend a lot on jargons and technical terms. These jargons and technical terms are no more than machine parts for us. They are necessary but not in excess. In the end we should ask, have we conveyed our idea to the consumer? A consumer for a BA can be the technical lead or programmer. A consumer for a consultant can be the client. A consumer for a UI lead can be the end user.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Marching towards extinction

"Only 1411 left"

When we saw this, we all wondered what was it all about. And then we were enlightened that India is left with just 1411 tigers, and if we don't do anything about it, then in some time, we will be able to see them only in photos and videos.

The long Christmas weekend was enlightening for me as it brought such thoughts to my mind. There was just a small difference, I was not thinking about tigers, rather, I was thinking about Bachelors. The species of bachelors are being eliminated at such a rapid pace that by the end of 2011, I don't think there will be a single one left.

This year the most tragic month was November. Every single day, my hand used to shiver when opening my FB account. One or the other mutilation story was up there. There were nightmares of a world without Bachelors. What will the world look like?!

Interestingly, the world  around disguises itself to make us feel better. In one of the discs, there were a good number of "Bachelorettes". But as one inched closer to them the ever honoured Sindoor nicely touched up by the make up was in your face. I could see a live example of how Lakshmanrekha would work on Bachelors. There is no better repellent that a simple vermilion.But my full sympathies go for the species of my kind. Where else do we go?

The few of the kind left in this wilderness, find no peace on the weekends. They wander about in shopping malls, movie halls, FB, gtalk or they huddle around in closed group booze parties. They keep away from their phones and never think about going homes to see their parents. They know that they will be slaughtered at the first sight! They keep hearing news that another relative came down with a proposal from a neighbor. When they call back home, out of guilt for not calling for long, only one line gets repeated invariably every time:

"अब तो तू settle हो गया है | लड़की देखना शुरू करें ?"
("Now that you are settled, shall we look for a bride?")

They worry about what will happen if they agree to lie on the deathbed. They ask around in hushed tones.
"How is the married life? How is it going?"
And they get the answers in even more toned down voices,
"Everything is great man!" (As if We don't know!)
"Life is good. We went to @$$%$#& and had loads of fun!" (Ya ya, no daru, no ladki. You have always been a naturalist!)

And then they give us the impression that they are really enjoying their life. So, just as old friends we invite them over a party on weekend. And as usual we get the replies of why not, see you over the weekend! But friends change a lot.....

On Saturday morning you get the msg: "Not possible, got some work"

So, on monday morning on a gtalk chat you ask what happened and you get the reply:
"यार महीने का सामान लाना था |"
"उसके मम्मी पापा, चाचा मामा, बड़ी बहिन, छोटा भाई......आ गए |"

You sort of get the feel of the life to come. And you start wondering how long before you will also be caught....Just then you see the municipality van coming to your neighborhood. Someone must have complained about the increasing number of stray dogs menacing on the streets. The municipal worker chases the dogs, puts a ring around the head of the dog and ruthlessly pulls it towards the standing van. The dog gives the best fight possible, but the metal ring only gets tighter, tight enough for not even the bark to come out. The van finally leaves, and the dog looks back at the streets, only a few minutes ago the dog was running around jumping with joy!.....

The feeling lingers on for the day......And then you get call form one of the rare species,
"आज रात कहाँ पार्टी है?"

You forget about the weird feelings. You don't dare check the FB status messages for the fear of getting another bad news or the same old rhetoric question,
"When are you getting married?"

You just put on the fist T that comes to your hand, pull out one of the jeans from the to-be-washed clothes pile, pick up the bike keys and leave for the streets...............