Saturday, May 27, 2006


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

All I want is everything

or at least, 49% of it. I want 49% of admissions into kindergarten, 49% of college seats, 49% of jobs in every sector, government and private, I want it all. But that's what I'm not ever going to have.As of today, a little under half of all jobs, educational oppotunites, choice of careers... is gone. I just need to fight for what's left.

Every morning, when the train comes in, there is enough space for around 100 people to sit, and a thousand to stand. Every morning, five thousand people actually occupy this space. Every morning, around fifty people abandon trying to get into the compartment becasue it's too crowded / difficult / dangerous. Every morning, three or four people fall off and get maimed or die.

Every morning, I am able to get a sitting place in the same compartment, under a fan, and go to to work reading or listening to music. I can do this because I taught myself how to use the timings, the spacing, how to swing around the bar while the train's still doing 20 kmph and use that angular velocity to curve into the seat I want before it's too late. I've taught myself to break bagstraps, knock off specs, and twist elbows while making it look completely accidental to get in. It's nothing personal. It's just the way the system works. I broke a guy's nose once, and nearly lost my fingertips another time. I do it because I need to.

Every morning, I know that two years from now, I will not be doing this anymore, because I will have moved beyond Bombay, I will have upgraded myself to the point where the daily commute like this is not needed.
It's nothing personal. It's just the way my career works. I start low, try out combinations, fight to get to a level and go beyond it. I don't care about the train. It has it's moments, good, bad, exhilarating, nightmarish. It also has its lifecycle. I'll use it for as long as I have to.

Every morning, I know that five years from now, fighting for 51%, or 25%, or 10%, or one job in a hundred, or less, will not be an issue. I will have moved on. Whether India adopts a reservation system or not; whether human beings fight like animals for basic necessities or not; it won't matter. I - or my family, my kids - won't be part of it. They'll have their own battles to fight, of course, but this is one that will have been already won.

I did ok. I might have done better if I'd gone to the engineering college here someone ten percentage points lower and with a different surname unfortunately got that last seat, but I did ok anyway. I guess it's how you look at life. You can cry over it and say you've been robbed of something that should have been yours by right, or you can accept that the only things that are yours by right are what you've worked for, fought for, and got. Nobody owes you anything. Not your ancestry, not your country, not your government. Only you owe yourself a life. You work for it, you get it, and you move on.

What happens to the train, the college, the government, the country... it doesn't matter. They don't owe you, you don't owe them.
It's nothing personal.
Update - May 26th
Another poster reads: "I am leaving for the US. I was disowned by my own country."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

have a bad day

This is very clearly getting perverse now. Not only does the Person Upstairs not like me, but he seems to be deriving vicious enjoyment in making me suffer, the way I used spend hours of enjoyment with large ants, some string and a GoodNight.
Not only am I working my butt off the last 2 weeks and returning home at midnight each night every night, I finally get a heaven-sent opportunity to be home early. A meeting ends, barely a 20-min drive from home... at exactly the tipping point, where it makes as much sense returning to office as it does going home... and as usual, I froze.
Office? Home? Work? Sleep? Presentation? Blog? Client call? Kill Bill?
flip, flop, flip, and so on until 2 cigs and a chai later I took the plunge and went home, screw everything, will deal with it early tomorrow. Happily and relaxedly reached home and took out keys to open front door to discover said keys were not said keys, said keys were actually in office desk drawer.

There is nothing more frustrating than standing at that door, knowing that half an inch away is cold beer in the bridge, a soft mattress, DVDs, and best of all 4 hours of uninterrupted me-time. Half an inch, but it might as well be in Kathmandu.

Oh, well. Take the bike and go to some friend's place? Good idea, if helmet wasn't locked inside house and bike papers still incomplete.
Call roommate? Produce cell, find battery dead.
Grind teeth.

Recall number from memory and dial fromPCO. Get an old man. Of course, it helps that my roomie's name is also an impolite slang for 'old man' if pronounced that way. Get abused by said old man.
Take extra key from broker? Excellent. Broker gone to gaon. Even more excellent.
Grind teeth again.
Recall from memory with more concentration, get roomie. Tell him to get ass here.
Wander shop to shop begging for nokia charger. Sun went down hours back but temperature still sauna, only more humid. Take refuge in cybercafe. Realize I'm paying by the minute for a service that I get better, faster, and way way cheaper on the other side of that half inch thick door. No new mails. Nobody online. Pay credit card bill and stare aimlessly at screen. Force owner to charge phone and chainsmoke while chatting up people I've not spoken to in years for the next 2 hours.
Find I have booked myself to catch up with people I don't want to ever see again for 3 lunches, 5 dinners, a party and 12 drinks in 2 days. Not including what I already had planned. This is going to be an interesting weekend.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

nobody likes me

Especially whatever god that may exist of technology... he's stopping short of casting e-thunderbolts upon my greying careworn head but that's about it. After the entire cable internet episode, which I would still consider the crowning glory, here's what else he's done -
  • blocked the oil feed to my engine when I was about to take out one of the hottest girls I know
  • gave me a job in the Internet industry and then had my IT department firewall me
  • got my MP3 player stolen
  • made all my interfaces produce perversely wrong reports, the kind that look oh-so-innocent until a question is asked, whereupon the entire structure of your conclusions collapses like a House of Usher and clients screech like the undead
  • turned my cell to a screaming demon that I can no longer use; every call is additional stress
  • made me IM-deaf&dumb by disallowing the Y!M network proxies
  • when I bypass that with meebo, the net itself gets cut off
I seem to have seriously pissed him off at some point.
How do you appease a vengeful modern god? Can't be animal sacrifices or that would've worked by now. Should I sacrifice my roommate? Can't imagine why any god might find him appetizing, and I might lose some more brownie points. Maybe his Dell.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Who am I?

Came across one interesting little online test - it's a quick Myers-Briggs personality type test. Normally I dismiss most of these as conmplete crap, but this struck me for two reasons.
1. It matched with 2 others that were linked in as part of the same community discussion.
2. It matched with a full formal personality-assessment done four years ago by our MBA institute director, who also happens to have specialized in this field for several years.

(I was an INFJ, by the way)
Quietly forceful, original, and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people, and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perserverence in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following.

Pretty interesting reading. Good timepass if you're into this kind of stuff... although this seemed to be painting me as this seriously intense background person, someone watching and evaluating, and if necessary, steamrolling over everyone else to get what he wants... and it doesn't help the other test describes the personality test as a 'Mastermind'. I keep remembering Police Academy VI and silhouttes of mysterious masked figures in fedoras and hearing maniacal laughter.
And I don't want to keep a large white furry cat.

Take the test here, if interested.

no more messenger either

Y! Messenger at office has stopped working, and I'm distraught. Never realized how important it had become... it's like losing a sensory organ. It's like going deaf, or something.
It's such a cut off feeling.

We communicate in so many ways. Mails. Phones. SMS. Blogs. Communities. Offliners. IMs.
Oh yes, face-to-face interactions. Almost forgot that one.

Don't you feel the way we stay in touch has gone through a complete paradigm shift? Five years ago, we would have groups like school friends, college friends, school friends, neighbours, family... now, it's all of the above. People that aren't online... you just don't stay in touch with them. Earlier, we used to write letters, call up people when visiting, catch up; now, everyone is either always-there or completely-gone.

no more sex

I don't remember where this discussion came from, but it turned into a fascinating one... We already have nuclear fission techniques (I'm talking biology, not physics - the entire take-a-cell-and-zap-it-till-it-splits thingy, the Roslin Technique) which they used to clone. If we can come up with something similar for fusion - where you can get 2 cells to mix their DNA - and use 23-chromosome cells only, then that's it. We will have made a new human being, made life. Not a clone, but a genuine new person. At the genetic level.

Cadaver Aspirin thinks you can't fuse anything except 2 egg cells - i.e. and XX+XX only. An XX+XY... there's more economical (and fun) ways of fusing those. XY+XY will still need a donor egg cell to continue beyond nuclear fusion.
Which means a world without men (and with continued evolution, not the genetic dead end of simple cloning) is possible but not one without women. We could of course use non-human egg donors but that's just too Omen (and he will be born of a jackal)

The cadaver finds that a ghastly idea, and I agree... besides, the tendency so far seems to have been towards an increase rather than a decrease. F'rinstance, there's already three sexes in Bombay needed to create and raise children - men, women, and bais. It's just not possible otherwise.

But on the serious note - cloning will very definitely be as common as GSM tech in the next fifteen years. You already got Lifecell with simple tissue-level regeneration; the next step will be a Michael Marshall Smith's Spares scenario.

Andre feels cloning is a doorway to immortality, but I disagree. Cloning is still all bout biology and genetics. Moving memory - and feelings, and conciousness, and identity - Soul Transference - is still a long way off. When the clone wakes up, will it be me? Or just someone a lot like me who wakes up with readymade memory but his own identity, who'll watch his memory donor still die a separate person?
I thought of having a second body grown (heck, I'm not that fussy, I'll take any that's available) and having my brain transferred when this one wore out, but the brain is also ultimately the same flesh; it'll degrade. Besides, the brain may not even be the answer. The Romans believed the soul resided in the liver. You can remove 90% of a mouse's brain matter and it will still remember the fastest way through the maze. The brain's just hardware, where do the memories actually exist? And I'm not even thinking about self-consciousness yet.
Man, this is fascinating. Can you even transfer souls? Gibson's ROM-construct characters - That's immortality, but immortality for the individual means death of the species. It's Catch-22.
and besides, sex is fun.

Friday, May 05, 2006

generic snarling

Seriously pissed off. For the 6th day in a row, I've had to sit in office until a time that makes going for a run the next morning an extremely unpleasant if not impossible experience. My cardiovascular system is degrading, the BMR spike I'd managed to get over the last 2 weeks has flattened out like my client's alphawave patterns, and the headaches are back.
Too much coming together. Rejection in 4 separate lives in the space of as many hours is not a pleasant feeling.

Don't know when I suddenly became an ops servicer. This is very definitely not what I saw myself doing, 15 months ago.
Waiting for June now. If that works out... let's see. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

And I guess what is pissing me of most is that something this trivial is succeeding in pissing me off. This is nothing. Why's it becoming so important?
I know what I need to be doing... it's just a question of time. Time to get back on track, shove everything back where it belongs... is that even possible? Can one make life a series of discrete, demarcated events, or is it one continuous intertwined mess that maliciously tangles itself up faster than my headphone cables?

I guess this is what rabies feels like. Loud, bright, dry, restless, and an overwhelming compulsion to bite.
mmmm... that would be nice...
bite till your jaws ache so so much you can't open em anymore and the freshblood smell, the metal taste the slickness the gristle wetripping off bone


I'm going to need professional help very soon like this

I'm caught between too smart for the simple happiness of tunnel vision and not smart enough to get beyond looking at the walls. I just hope it's a progression or I'm royally fucked for life.