Saturday, November 30, 2013


Darkness stretches its arms and holds me close,
Out of sight of the blinking lights of the highway,
And whispers into my ear tales of untold woes,
Of faith and strength abandoned, Of people gone astray...

It beckons; seeps into my heart - a friend, unbidden;
Envelops my thoughts in a warm embrace;
From the eyes of the world, safe, I am hidden,
For a few blissful moments; a few precious days.

Darkness retraces its step in the dull dawn of day,
Bows in grace and gives itself up to the lights,
Life must and will go on, forever cold and grey,
Leaves me with memories of many solitary nights...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The root of all misery

"Money," this dude tells me, "is the root of all misery. We walk around carrying a wad of grief in our pocket."
I liked the way he put it, though I did not like the way he put it.
"Then use credit card," I said.
"That's one hell of a card to sorrow," he insisted.
"Then why is it so popular?"
"Because barter system is outdated and no one has come up with a better system yet."

"It's a matter of perspective." I wasn't ready to give up, not just yet.
"No, it isn't. We want money, then more money, and so much more money."
"If we work hard for it, then we deserve the money we get," I said. I wasn't quite sure where this was headed. I could lose myself in arguments if I so wished.
"But people are tempted to break the law or break someone's neck for it."
"That's true. There is a good and bad side to everything."
"Tell me about its good side," he said. "We all know the bad."
I suspect he was a little drunk or something.

"For instance," I said, "folks pay money for something they would not normally do otherwise, which is actually good for them."
"Yeah? Tell me more."
"I know a person who has paid a certain amount for gym classes and forces herself to go, just because her money is at stake. I can think of at least two others who do it just because they have spent money on it. They're taking care of their health because they have the money to, because they owe something to the money they spent. Then I know a rich loner who spends money on expensive materials because seeing the new purchases brings a certain peace of mind or even happiness. Another person donates to charity. Unhappiness comes anyway. If you have money, you can be happy at least temporarily."

He chuckled. "So you are saying Money is the root of all happiness?"
"I am saying, money could be both. Just like anything else. It could do good and bad, it depends on whose hands it is on - or not on."

"Money has brought me misery," he said, "and now I use money to drown my miseries in my drink."
I was right. He was indeed drunk. "So now you agree money can make unhappiness go away for a while."

I was wasting my argument on a man who would not even remember this discussion tomorrow. Why should I waste my time and my happiness on worthless debates?

I could go home and relax, and watch the DVDs my money has bought me, read books my money has bought me, recline in the couch that my money has bought me, and find satisfaction for the day.

Take each day as it comes, as some other clever dude has said. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Of not wanting to remember

It's 26/11 again.

It seems like a date from the last century. A date from the pre-independence era. Something we had not witnessed, like pictures we see in an old magazine, of a burning palace, of a callous youngster in black, of a scattered and blood-stained railway station, of terrified, spell-bound citizens crowding the roads, of an entire world glued to the television.
Of names that popped up. The Taj. Girgaum Chowpatty. Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus. Leopold Cafe. Oberoi Trident. A little Jewish boy named Moshe wailing for his parents in the hands of his nanny.
The surge of hatred, towards the only one who survived. The hatred and pain that refused to fade even after his end. An end that was too merciful in the eyes of some.
Of calling up relatives to know if they are fine.
Of heroes. And heroism.

Of not wanting to remember.
The fear. The horror. The panic.
The quivering of the knees, the relentless pounding of the heart.
Of scars that remained.
Of hearing about the Indians and foreigners who were alive just moments before. Of wondering where their Gods were, at that moment.
Of the 26/11 that happens every day, everywhere, to every one of us.
Of never forgetting.

No, it was all real. It was not from the last century or before our time.
It was here. And it was now.

Monday, November 25, 2013

That's when you walk away

First you are fascinated,
You begin to appreciate.
Then you are awed,
And you become passionate.

Soon you are exhausted,
Because you are bored.
When you're disillusioned,
You stop believing in it.

You become unmotivated,
And you ask yourself
What you had seen in it;
And you've no answer.

And you then blame it
After you laugh at it,
You totally despise it.
That's when you walk away.

Friday, November 22, 2013


In Life of Pi, when young Pi goes to feed a piece of meat to Richard Parker, his father tells him: "What you see in the animal's eyes is your own emotion reflected back at you."

Sometimes (or perhaps, always?), that's how it is with people too. What you see in others is your own actions reflected back at you. You accuse them of ignoring you, maybe that's what you are doing to them.

The question is, are your actions/emotions reflected in their eyes, or are theirs reflected in yours?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Done to death

It died; Before
It was even born.
Conceived to its death
By the ones that're gone.

Fear was the trigger,
Knowledge the enemy;
Learning was its undoing,
Wisdom the weapon.

Innocence could've saved it,
Sincerity protected it,
Curiosity kindled it and
Love could have nourished it.

It died; Unfed,
Uncared for, By
Memories that turned sour...
By the ones that're gone.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Success - an observation

Today, "success" is measured in numbers. Numbers that signify the attention we get, numbers that indicate the "success" we have given others. It's the result of effort we spent on bringing attention to ourselves, not merely the output of talent, or hardwork. Well, can't complain. Bringing attention to oneself requires talent and hardwork too! Not everyone can go all out and make others notice us.

If you don't do your work today, your "success" falls by a certain number. If you don't help others to attain "success", your own "success" would fall. Everyone knows what this means, but no one is unduly worried. If this is what it looks like today, then this is the one we would like to have.

This kind of success gets addictive. I had it yesterday, I want it today. I would want it tomorrow and for all days to come. And if it is not found, it becomes frustrating, depressing. I would work harder on pushing others to their success so that I can attain mine.

It's certainly about skill and talent and hardwork. But not on our product, but on getting it out for all to see.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I shouldn't probably be writing this. This could offend someone. 
But I think I will take that risk. Because, as a wise person once said (in an entirely different context): What needs to be said must be said. If I think too much I might edit it out. 
I must publish without thinking.

There are many ways a group of people can work together. When they are working for the benefit of the product or for each other, they could focus their energies in different ways. One of them is to identify who is going to do what and not to bump into each other. Respect each other and trust that "the other person is going to do their work as well as I am going to do mine". I do not have to ask them if they have done their work. I trust that they will and leave it at that. I will never go back to check if it was done. Another way is to once again identify the tasks for each, but to intentionally bump into each other once in a while. If something new comes up that I know the other person is responsible for, ask , acknowledge. "By the way did you see that email?" It doesn't mean we step on others' toes, but it is an indication of support and ownership. The product is ours to work on, I need to know if all hands are healthy and strong. I am not the owner or the manager but I own the product just as the rest of the team does. There are several other ways to work as a team. It does not matter how we work or which method we choose, what matters is the attitude. The ownership. The responsibility that comes from within. It is contagious. If it dies, everything else will begin to wilt.

There. That's all I wanted to say. 

Monday, November 11, 2013


It's not anger frothing over,
Nor impatience breaking through;
Just that life has such to offer,
My rage has naught to do with you.

It's frustration that emerges forth,
It's despair on the run;
No, I haven't forgotten your worth,
It's nothing that you've done.

It spills across, the futile wrath,
It pours out through the cracks;
And once we're on a warpath,
None can halt us on our tracks.

Remorse, regret, have no place
When damage has been done;
Quickly may you pass the phase,
Bad lessons swiftly forgotten.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Complexity of Simplicity

To know how simple computers are today, we need to go back to twenty or forty years ago. (I can only vouch for the twenty years ago, though.) The way things are headed, in a few years the concept of computers will be as simple as our thoughts, or breathing itself.

Those days (twenty years ago), claiming that you attend computer classes was a sure way to instant celebrity status. There was nothing personal about computers. They were merely used in computer labs to write programs that said "Hello, World!" or to print out prime numbers until infinity. They also sometimes added one and one, and confirmed that humans had got the basics right. You could also try to divide by zero and make sure the computer knew its computations well. (It would burst into a series of expletive beeps if you try to pull that one).

We celebrities switched on our computers in the specially air conditioned labs (we also took off our shoes at the door in reverence) and waited until all the Greek text ran up, and stopped at a command prompt (also known as DOS prompt).

We proudly typed "chdir" and told the feller to go where we wanted it to go. Then we typed "dir *.*" just to show off, and also to make sure that none of the other fools who used the computer lab had deleted our files for fun. One of our biggest jokes was that we will go to C: (C-colon) one day and do a "del *.*" We would roll on the floor laughing, but we did not ROFL yet.

There were commands to open a file, to edit, to copy, to make or remove a directory, oh there were so many of them, and if you spelled one wrong, this feller would reply, "Command not understood", with another aggressive beep, sounding just like the robot that he was. No auto correct, no suggestions like Google does, nothing. Command not understood, and then the command prompt reappeared, waiting. It would wait as long as we wanted. If we returned one hundred years later, it would still be waiting, and it would not even ask, "Where have you been??"
Such insensitivity.

Then one day came Windows (I think it was Windows 3.x). But it did not have its own existence yet, we still had to login to DOS, type "win" at the command prompt and wait for the Windows desktop to show. The rest, as they say, is...

Sounds terrible, doesn't it. So many commands that one had to know by heart! But believe it or not, no one complained. People attended computer classes to learn them (sometimes not even knowing why they were learning those).

Today, there is no complexity related to computers. Anyone can use them. It was designed to be used by anyone. You are a celebrity if you do not use one - you probably use an advanced thought-processor or something, embedded directly in your brain. No one needs to know any commands. If you make a mistake, the robot slave makes suggestions. Politely. He is no longer the boss who says Command not understood.

And yet, possibly owing to the difficult path I had taken to learn the beast's language, today's simplicity (or the appearance of it) seems too complex than the complicated commands of twenty years ago.

If you haven't yet figured out what I am driving at, here you go, in the simplest terms: I installed Windows 8. And imagine my nerve - I then upgraded it to Windows 8.1.

Even though I was prepared for the Windows 8 interface, I was taken aback when I finally met it face to face.

I think of Windows 3.x - the complex, simple, old Windows. Then I look at Windows 8.1. Where has Simplicity taken us, people? Where, where? I don't know about you, but it has brought me right to the doorsteps of Google.

For every action I need to do on Windows 8, I need an equal (and step-by-step) explanation on Google. ("How to log out of Skype on Windows 8", for example, was the top scorer. Worse, "How to open Notepad on Windows 8". Then as time passed, I would scream at Google, "Where the hell is Calculator??" "How do I close this @#$#@@!! app?" and so on).

Windows 8 is so simple that no one knows how to do anything. I think the idea of Simple comes into existence when the version is somehow derived from the older, much familiar version, so that the users of the older version (especially people who have seen Windows in its rawest and crudest and immature form) are not at sea in the new one. Fortifying the underlying architecture is one thing. It's perhaps robust on the inside, complex and powerful and 'nothing like anything' everywhere, but if a user can't use it, what's the purpose?

Suffice to say that Google has saved me from drowning inside the chaos called Windows 8.
In its defence, I will say that - it works. It hasn't broken yet. It works just like Windows usually does - somehow. And for people who like a change, oh yes, you will have it in plenty.

However, if the creators intended it to be simple, if that was their goal, then I have no further comments.

Well, maybe just one more. If this is how Simplicity looks today, I wonder about the future. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

If it's unfair...

If it's unfair,
Could you soften it
Before you deliver?

If it's unkind,
Could you polish it
Before you utter?

If it's in anger,
Could you let your scowl
Do all the talking?

If it's pleasing,
Could you let your smile
Show you're happy?

If it's in love,
Could you let your eyes
Tell the story?

Only if it's kind
Let the words flow,
Slow and gentle, meaningful

Also if it's soothing 
Or to offer comfort
Let them flood 

Like a river into sea
Like a storm,
Incessant and free...