Wednesday, December 31, 2008

“What are you doing?”

“What are you doing?”

Many people ask me this question. In fact I have to answer it almost every day. I go home and sitting there is some relative or family friend whom I don’t have any recollection of, and the conversation is something like this:

“Hello. How are you, son?”
“I’m doing good. How are you?” (The real question in my mind : “Who are you??”)
“What are you doing?” (Walking into my own house, obviously)
“I’m working for Cognizant.”
“Oh, is that a software company? Where is it?” (What else can it be?)
“Yes. Our office is at Hitec City.”
“Oh, so far! Isn’t it tiring to travel so far every day?”
“It is, but I got used to it.” (But not to this. I don’t exactly like interviews in the middle of the night)
“That’s nice. So what is it that you do? Write software?”

This is the question I had been dreading all along. I feel like shouting, but for what? What exactly do I do anyway? Am I simply someone who writes code? Or am I something more? I try to get into my mind the definition of “software” from my college text book. It goes something like “a collection of computer programs, along with associated documentation…”.

So is that what i’m writing? A collection of programs? And what part of it exactly? And what happened to all the things we had learnt in our four years of engineering education? Gone… evaporated without a trace?
Then I realize that the real question is not what I’m doing, but what I want to do. Am I doing what I wanted to do? The answer still eludes me. Again I realize that there is planning to do. Priorities to be sorted out.

My dad is passionate about my higher studies. I was too. Until I started working. Until I was too busy even to go home, leave aside study and prepare for the exams. I read a few articles about how to strike a balance between work and life. I am still clueless about how to implement the ideas they convey. Maybe i’m not paying enough attention. Maybe I’m plain stupid, thats all.

One of these days, I will have to wake up from the long reverie that life has become. I will have to wake up and take action. To chase my dreams. To achieve my ambitions.

I have a feeling that day is coming soon.

Happy new year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something Fishy?

I don't know why I am downloading stuff without the need for it. Maybe its because I have unlimited Internet. And why do I have unlimited internet? Not that I need it. I would do just fine with a limited connection. Its just because I can have unlimited.

Why do humans have this tendency, this craving for things beyond their reach? We have a thing which will satisfy our needs. Why then do we go buy something that we would have been better off without? As I said, its because we can. We have the means to buy things. We have the mobility and the spending power.

When was the last time we went to a grocer and asked just for the things we need and came back home satisfied? We have super (and hyper) markets where there are tons of things on display, which we look at and feel, “maybe I should buy this”. Its good in a way, we might see something we never knew existed before, which might be helpful to us. But that is a one in ten cases scenario.

Dad and I walked into a new shop selling vegetables near our house. I say “walked into” because the place is as big as a supermarket, and sells as much stuff. Its owned and run by one of the biggest business conglomerates of the country and lives up to the name, unlike some other similar establishments. Looking at the quality of the vegetables and fruits there, we thought it wouldn't hurt to spend a little more on these, because they were of a much better quality than what you get out in the market. And why not? The store is air conditioned, the goods are fresh and of good quality, and most of all, its a stone's throw away from home. Well, you would need an exceedingly good arm to throw something that far, but I think you get the point.

Anything for a better life, eh?

By the way, if you're wondering what that picture is, thats the lake behind our office. Its called Durgam Cheruvu or Secret Lake. See a small hut like structure there in the corner? It used to be a restaurant. Now its submerged in water, thanks to the heavy rainfall this year. Now the restaurant lives up to its name: Something Fishy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ramble #101

It's old news now, but I did top the batch in that test.

Its old news that Upen bhai left the team too, but not without making us promise not to lose the spirit we've had all along. Reinforcing that with a spicy lunch buffet the day before leaving was even more effective! Namaste anna!

Father writes something everyday. I don't know where he gets the patience or the ideas. Ask me to write something once a month and I scratch my head thinking of things I have done, things I could have done, things to do... and none of it makes through in the end. All I come up with is meaningless chatter.

People are in a state of gloom all over the place. The market keeps falling. Spirits keep falling. Bugs keep coming in, and fixes keep going out. Well, maybe they aren't so gloomy after all, they don't have the time for it. The team beside me, for example, keep working even when I am getting bored with nothing to do. Take a break, Chennai!

I wait for Jassi paaji to get off the phone so we can talk a bit about things that matter and things that don't. It just feels good to talk. If only there was a purpose to it. But is it better if there wasn't?

Meeting the SLA these days proves a tough task. Even if the other party tries their best to spare time for support, they simply don't have enough. Well, Chin-kun.. I don't blame you. You're an important person.

People come back home, but not from the place I would like them to come back home from. Why should they? Should I return what is not mine? Should I wait for the right ship (plane) to land here?

A lot of unusual talk, rambling, as the title suggests. Just to vent the steam. Explanations may follow. Don't count on it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Time check!

Did I just miss something? How long has it been since my last post here? 11 months? Wow.

Remember that something I was talking about? The something big that might be coming my way? It came and went. Unlike anything I've ever seen in my life. The biggest challenge I have ever faced till now. And now its live. People logging into our client's website will be seeing and experiencing the results of all the hard work we put in these last eight months. I hadn't realized this last year. It was actually my first live project for such a well known and prestigious client. Back then, I was so busy trying to complete my project that I didn't understand how and why we were doing it.

It all began with a "small" set of requirements for enhancements in an existing application, sometime in late November. Bala was asked to travel, and he refused. And later he agreed. So did Surya. Two of the best people in our team vanished for the next eight months. Of course, we could talk to them for a couple of minutes (hours?) everyday, but was that the same as their being in our midst and sharing our jokes like they used to? They were only voices from the VOId. It became a habit for us to encroach upon their sleeping hours to pester them about project work. Well, things became routine after that.

Lets not talk about projects here any more. They go on and on. It will just suffice to say that this project, like no doubt any others that I may work on in the future, had its unique points. Every project always has something we can learn from. This one showered us with such situations. There were times I wished I could run away from it all, and there were times when I wished I could have that feeling of achievement forever. We made some friends and some not-so-friendly acquaintances on the way. Just when you think its all done and try to take a breath of fresh air, a gust of wind blows your way, bringing with it new problems. Well, thats how it always is, I guess. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot of places to go. For now, the project is done with.

Meanwhile, something amazing happened. Let me first tell you that these events are in no way sequentially ordered in time. I write them as they come to my mind. And that mind of mine has a mind of its own. As I said, something amazing happened. I was asked to learn Japanese. Well, not exactly, but I nominated myself for the course in response for an invitation. Anyone who knows me for the last couple of years will very well know that Japanese is my latest "thing". The language had fascinated me ever since I started watching anime. (Shravan-kun.. you know what i'm talking about, don't you? :) ) .

Anyway, for the last three months, I have been trying to understand what things are, ranging from hon to hatsuon, from bento to nihontou. I have been traveling to office on my bike (yes, I bought one last year, if you don't already know), and have recently made it a habit to listen to Japanese podcasts on the way to office. Thanks to Sensei, the podcasts and anime, I can speak a little Japanese, understand quite a bit (although I would attribute this ability to my continued anime watching habit) and read and write just a wee bit of Japanese. The only thing I feel shortage of, is that of people to practice my new found skills with. Someone to ask me new things and help me whenever I feel like it. Dare ka, benkyou ni tetsudatte kudasai! (Somebody please help me with my studies!) :)

This week is the last week of our course. Tomorrow we have the final test. Time to prove my absolute dominance in the class. Time to overstep all barriers and enter a new world. Time to.. er.. sleep. You see, I need to get up early to leave in time for the class. So, I leave this story half finished, this chronicle half told. I will come back and tell the rest!