Thursday, May 31, 2007

1st June, 2007 - Last Day @ Infosys

One Thousand and Twenty Six Days ago, on a bright morning, I along with 90 others stepped on the campus of Infosys, Hyderabad. Seeing the Infy DC was a pleasant shock for me. Never in my life had I seen such a big office campus with glass buildings and lush green environs.
But I have seen that the romance with the surroundings last only for a few days only – be it the first time of Hyderabad DC or the gargantuan Mysore DC. Slowly, as you are immersed in other aspects of a professional life, the beautiful surroundings take a back seat. You need some moments – peaceful and lonely to enjoy the beauty. And that, sadly, happens rarely. But it is important to relish those moments especially in a company like Infy, where so much stress has been laid on aesthetics. For me, I have many times enjoyed beautiful sunrises over SDB’s and lovely sunsets from the pool side at Mysore. And will always cherish that time, most of which I have logged in this blog over the last one and a half years.
The training time at Hyderabad with 16 people of same college occupying all the 4 flats of a house was an incredible experience. Basically there was no time when you were alone. That was the closest I came to a Hostel Life. To make the matters better, we were earning and the gossips, shopping @ Lifestyle, and the newly acquired independent lives were the highlights.
Some friends, who were transferred to Mysore after training at Hyderabad, hurriedly left the city within months – may be finding it hard to adjust to the city and the life. But I guess you have to give time to a new place to accept you as you gradually accept it. Honestly, I am glad that I too didn’t get desperate to leave because those 2 years bear a significant influence on my life to come. Whereas the fun filled training time in Hyderabad helped acquaintances become friends, Mysore time brought complete strangers who later became important part of life. It always happens that you don’t relish the time when you are living it but when you look back at it, you realize how much you enjoyed it.
It was home coming last year with transfer to Chandigarh. One thing the experience and nature of job here taught me was communicating with a wide range of people – over the mails, Messenger and Phone. Messenger was always used for chatting with friends before this. It was the first time it was used for real official purposes. The contacts nearly doubled in the past one year. Earlier it was always like you were with the team at the same location. Here the teams are spread across all DC’s, hence the need for communicating over the satellites.
Overall there were those times of ups as well as downs. Comfort as well as Struggle. Satisfaction as well as Disappointment. But that is Life. Isn’t it? These things will not cease to exist. They will keep on showing up for the rest of our lives – just the form will differ.
I can say that Infy played a part in bringing changes in me – making me somewhat different from that 22 year old that passed out from the college – that difference I can not explain but only feel.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Amazing Effects of Technology..

I have had some really nice birthday experiences in the past 24 years. But nothing was like the one I had this time on the silver jubilee celebration.
It used to be the landline phones at one time where you waited at 12.00 AM to pick it up quickly so that every one else at home is not disturbed. Then came the mobiles where many times it happens that while talking to someone you see a call waiting and later on you have to dial out to your friend to ‘get’ the wishes. Not that I am complaining. Just that it happens. Sms’es also form an important part. If you are feeling sleepy and your friends phone is busy for long time, just sms him(so that he knows you waited till 12) and then call him in the morning. Well, all that has happened over the years.
But another aspect of communication was added this time. We 4 – 5 friends were chatting across geographies in a conference call through Skype. The call started at around 10.30 and at 12.00 a countdown was marked and a nice Happy Birthday to you song was sung to me by Makhan, Sardar and Trainn…Guys, Thanks very much and 1 suggestion – never try your hands at Indian Idol. Hahahaha..
So in this way technology invaded in my life in one more aspect.
We went on to chat till around 2.30 AM. And guess what we did? All of us got on to the Google Maps and Makhan showed all of us his apartment and office in Dallas. Then we came to India and paid a visit to Sardar’s home and School. Then we carried on to our college and had some samosas in the PEC Market. Well, see the benefits of technology. 4 guys - 2 in Chandigarh, 1 in Gurgaon, 1 in US, visiting college together at 2 in the night. Thank You Google !!!!

Highlight of the Day..err Night..
A Happy Birthday to you song from an old movie was put on repeatedly by Train.
Well, I guess the reason I mention this will only be understood by the 4 guys who happened to be in the conf.

Joke of the Night – Side effects of too much technology
Tanny, a first time Skype user was trying to join the conference call. But Train who was hosting the call was having his dinner so Tan was not able to join the call. Moreover he didn’t have a mike also. So in a different chat window, Sardar and I told Tan to call Train on Mobile and tell him to add Tan in the conf. Tan’s reply came “But I don’t have a mike and I am new on Skype. How should I call him?”
So we said, “Bhai. Call him from your Mobile and tell him to add you”
Tan said “OK”. But then after some time he again asked, “But Train is Offline. How will I call him?”
So sardar and I had a BIG laugh and again wrote, “Tan, call Train’s Mobile Phone from your Mobile Phone. Forget Skype for a moment.”

I don’t know how many of you will find it funny, but we had a ball over this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

LTA Part VII - Jugads

In our 6th Semester, we had a manufacturing processes project involving all processes involved in manufacturing a basic tool. Unfortunately, even if one wanted to do something, there were some internal problems always in workshops. We faced the same thing. Chunnu, Thakur and me were together and decided to make a Screw Jack (the one used in heavy vehicles – trucks, jeeps and all). The steps involved making a pattern - outer structure of wood and then use it to cast a metal structure out of it and so on.. (I won’t get into the details).

There was a lot of wood rotting away in the workshop but to get a small amount of it we had to get forms sign from n places, plead to workshop people who had their own inside politics on who owned the wood. None wanted the responsibility. At last we went to the market and bought wood on our at a pocket burning Rs 600 for a small quantity. We brought it back to the workshops and started making a pattern of the screw jack out of it. After successfully doing it, again the struggle started to get the molten iron and other things to cast the jack into a metallic form. After weeks of this struggle, few days before the evaluation, we decided we had enough. We stopped “Engineering” and started the process of “Reverse Engineering”. A ready made Screw Jack was bought (at 1/3rd the price of the wood!!). By roaming a whole day in the industrial area, we found out some private workshop. We asked the person to machine it and remove the paint on it and do the machining like some naïve person has done it – you know a bit scratch here and there, roughness and irregular cuttings made by the tool etc. In the meantime we worked upon the things we had to say in the viva so that we all have the same version and not bungle up. The machinist had done a good job – literally so we had to roughen up it a bit more in our workshop. At the end what we had was quite exclusive. The wooden pattern which we had reached from normal engineering processes, the screw jack which we had reached through what we called reverse engineering and a story to tell the prof how we had made it. (Though I believe the prof would have known that it was readymade. That kind of stuff was impossible to produce in the age old workshops of the college). But There was a lot of hard work involved in our project, roaming whole days to find wood from some furniture shop, finding shops to get a screw jack and searching for workshops in the industrial area (which we realized is 1 hell of a big place with hundreds of small units). I guess the college was the place where more than fundas of Mech Engineering we learnt how to do jugads… Well, ‘I Guess’ would be the wrong choice of words. If I also consider how we did our Major Project (and in fact a lot of other projects and assignments), I can say for sure that we did learn to do Jugads in college. And if you think Jugad is a negative word, a bad thing – May be you are wrong. It is another way of saying “Nothing is Impossible”. It's a word signifying that there are many ways to reach your destination. You need not take the normal, regular one everytime. ;)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Metallica ROCKS!!!!

I had been introduced to rock music by Tanny in college. To build the interest it was recommended to me to carefully listen to the instruments – Guitar and the Drums. I did and started enjoying the genre of music which I thought (and many people still think) to be just ‘shor-sharaba’ or unnecessary noise.

Rock was kept in the genre list just to listen at times of a particular mood. You know when you feel a bit disturbed, strangely empty inside.

But then Amit introduced me to “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica and since then Metallica has replaced all the songs on my playlist. The highlight has been the shift of focus from the instruments to the lyrics. What I found is that the lyrics for these songs are simply terrific – a particular theme in every song with thoughtful words put together with so much energy and everything directly coming from their souls.

A brief preview of my playlist for the past month and somethings about each song (Most are the relatively soft songs of the band)

Nothing else Matters
This is addictive – Literally. You Listen it once and you want to listen it again. And then again..and again.. Its 6 different varieties were the only songs in queue at office and at home. So it was nearly 12 – 14 hours of Nothing else matters for around 1 – 2 weeks. This is supposedly the only ‘love song’ of Metallica written at time when James Hetfield got married. One of My All time Favorite songs. Your life is incomplete, if you haven’t heard this.

Wherever I Roam
Lolly introduced me to this song in his car. And the first few seconds are enough to love this song. It starts off with an electronic sitar and the riff [riff: continued pattern of a rhythm] moves on to an electronic guitar. Listen this song just for the music.

A soldier’s story – who in a war has lost everything – his limbs, face, eyes and his will to live. The song expresses feelings of that poor guy on the bed. Metallica won their first grammy for this song and it is worth it! Towards the end Kirk Hammett plays the “machine gun” on his guitar which is awesome.

Fade to Black
The song that made Metallica famous. The lyrics are supposedly from the point of view of a person who is going to commit suicide. A trivia from wiki: This song was written after almost all of their equipment, including a very rare amplifier, given to singer/rhythm guitarist James Hetfield by his mother just before she died, was stolen in Boston, MA,

Enter Sandman
This is the story of a child who has trouble sleeping and Hetfield urges the child to sleep and not be afraid of the nightmares that come. Its tough not to continue mumbling the words “Exit Light.. Enter Night.. we are off to Never Never Land”

Mama Said
This is a relatively soft song, written supposedly for his mother by James Hetfield.

The Unforgiven
For this I would like to copy a comment from a site. The person says it all.

This is a song that changes lifes. In this song you have someone who doesn't challenge his parents. So he becomes what they want him to be. By the time he gets the courage to face them. Hes already an old man and his whole life is gone. Anyone who really listens to this song. When I say listen I mean LISTEN. Blast this song as loud as possible. Think about what you wanna do. Not what people expect you to do or what makes the best money. What do you want to do with your life. I plan on getting some of the songs lyrics tattoed. This song is just insane I have heard it so many times. Its all about free will.”