From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Archive for October, 2006|Monthly archive page

The disappearing passenger mystery

In blah on October 28, 2006 at 2:51 pm

Ever had one of those Eureka moments? The scene is the arrival terminal of Bbay’s own Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The word ‘International’ in the name would tip one of the cross-border nature of flights emanating and landing at the airport, stating the obvious aren’t we? Of course, the fact the domestic airport is also called the very same thing makes things interesting for the newbies in the city. Anyway, we were talking about the arrival terminal 2C identified by the presence of the not-so-alert security with the not-so-gleaming carbines held at jaunty angles that suggest they’re not-quite-ready to have their safeties off in a flash. Also part of the scene are some chairs for the benefit of the reception parties, three refreshment stands and yes, a huge plasma screen tacked on the wall right next to the doorway through which emerge the newest immigrants. The board above the screen helpfully reads ‘Arriving Passenger’. The use of the singular has the effect of a spotlight on the weary traveller emerging from the concourse.

So, everyone’s gazing at the screen trying to identify ‘their’ own and give themselves time for get excited to the point of delirium. Not actually having looked directly at the screen, I thought it was a nice quaint system in place. Then with time on my hands and nothing to do(you can only read the print on a Coke can so many times and have so many chicken puffs), I decided to try to figure out how far back the cameras had been mounted by gauging the time it took for one to appear on screen to actually emerge in the flesh. Identifying a few distinct shapes on screen (not what you’re thinking, more like a bright orange/pink shirt), I waited expectantly for them to appear…and…nothing. Maybe i missed them. Repeated process for another set of viewables (this time zeroing in on a caucasian family with the head of the household sporting a beard to make any of our ‘holy’ men envious)…and again…nothing. Just when you start to wonder whether the people actually coming out had done my ‘subjects’ in and whether there was something dastardly in progress, it strikes you…the camera is not trained on terminal 2C but on the other arrival terminal, 2A! Just imagine the sick mind that could come up with that…

Confession

In blah on October 23, 2006 at 3:38 pm

“How tedious is a guilty conscience” – John Webster

I’d decided that it would go with me to the grave. Then I realized I’d be going to a pyre anyway so what the heck. It’s something that I did that I’m not very proud of. I mean its only human to err right? Do i deserve to be looked down upon for the rest of my days? My attorney says even temporary insanity sounds too tame to explain what I did.

I saw Don…*cringe*…twice…*cringe+cringe*. Wait! lemme explain! 9.05pm on diwali night when G calls and says he’s waiting downstairs for me. Suitably dressed for such emergencies in my faded t and jeans, i was bundled into the vehicle unceremoniously and told the damning news only when we were there. 3 hours of listening to lines like “Don ka intezaar gyarah mulkon ki pullice kar rahi hai” and wondering how a flight that was to cover 5 miles from take-off to landing was 11,000 feet in the air.

The second time was because I’d already taken a blood oath to watch the above mentioned movie with the family the day after. Led back to the scene of the crime, I further wondered why the likes of Kareena would ‘don’ form-fitting glitter-gowns a-la Helen to only make you wonder if a pregnant woman should be convulsing like that. The car-chase was quite slick though…except the bit where a car in reverse outpaced another barrelling toward it in 5th gear.

So I’m gonna be layin’ low for a while. Changing my phone number and everything. Have also toyed with the idea of going under the knife for some plastic surgery (ok, not for that nose job or facelift that you’re thinkin’ I need smartass). Everyone makes mistakes…come one!

should the best man always win?

In life on October 21, 2006 at 7:05 pm

Page 732…am worried…thinking, especially the contemplative kind gives me a headache. Without making any pretensions that the Ayn Rand masterclass made me do that painful activity, its got me worried…
The moral code: A code that told them to act on the premise of one another’s weakness, deceit and stupidity, and this was the pattern of their lives this struggle through a fog of the pretended and unacknowledged, this belief that facts are not solid or final, this state where, denying any form to reality, men stumble through life, unreal and unformed, and die never having born.

…noone’s happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy…

Boil it down to get the essence, vaporize it to get the quintessence… (Rajeshwar Upadhyay’s words not mine)…and what do you have…the basic tenet of existence is for every individual to work in their best interests (personal, professional, all included) and that all else falls into place.
Completely on board with it all the while that I’ve been leafing through the greatest (and possibly longest) rant against communism/socialism/every -ism except for that spawned by the land populated by people going by the unlikely title of pilgrims – capitalism.

She crashes into the surreal world created by the champions of industry, as their last stand against mediocrity. Understandable that she be dazzled by the personalities she had admired all her career, nay, her life. But did that have to be cheapened by the sudden rousing of base instincts for the man who started it all? By themselves, those instincts needn’t be base at all, quite the opposite actually. What of the bracelet of an unknown alloy that she chose to cherish on her wrist? What of the all-consuming emotions that till just a few weeks before then that arose out of unflinching appreciation for a mind like her own? Was a more refined version of the entity that she cherished all it took to obliterate a man in the only way that is true extinction?

If any of that made sense…you need help!

Operation: Diamondrocket

In consulting, life, work on October 20, 2006 at 6:59 pm

Its amazing how little it takes for the market-leader’s offering to become an also-ran. About six odd months ago if someone asked me about the best domestic airline, would be an equivocal answer – Jet airways. Their flights (usually) left the tarmac on time, service was courteous – both on the ground and in the air, food was palatable. It helped that its closest competitors struggled to get their planes off the ground and had a hard time figuring out where the next flight was off to.
So, I did my first trip on Kingfisher, and all the signed assertions aside, they certainly have raised the bar on air-travel in India. The ground-staff just that bit extra-smiley, the seats just that bit wider, the personal video screen just that bit unheard of. To complete the comparison, the return trip was on Jet Airways and it was brought home to me that the industry-leader didn’t necessary have to be doing anything really wrong to be left sputtering in the dust clouds of a brash new challenger. Nothing that every marketing text hasn’t already said. But it brings home the fact that, for business, inertia, is death. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Mr Mallya’s patience outlasts the time for his airline to come out of the red.
Week spent in B’lore, this time however, not on endless primary research runs, but meeting the new client and getting a first-hand account of their processes. The assignment, to find scope as we go along, and a long one at that, six months. Looked at a few service-apartments to call home for the duration. Dunno how this fly-back thing every weekend is gonna work, guess having that aiplane smell in your clothes is when you call yourself a consultant? Am guessing its more when I can claim to reel off every strategy framework/matrix/pyramid/4D hexagonal holographic analyzer that there is. Have two books on the immediate agenda; Re-engineering the Corporation – Michael Hammer/James Champy and Better Change – PWC. Of course, they come a distant 2nd/3rd to finishing the contractions of shoulder muscles by mythological persons called Atlas.
For now, four days of happy diwali!
p.s: The title is apparently a Kannada blockbuster from the 70’s starring the inimitable Rajkumar as regaled to us by our driver as we navigated the parking lots that are B’lore’s roads.

stoned

In life on October 17, 2006 at 11:18 pm

finishing up with final report for client…4.25am…i want my mummmmmy…. 😦

man overboard!

In life, work on October 14, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Its just one of those days. Nothing untoward about it. The usual grind, except that some days the word gets a l’il too literal. Fragmented thoughts. Thinking about the work deliverable while trying to concentrate on the training assignment on hand. Tying up the loose ends on the current assignment. Also the new assignment starting up and the related trip. Not forming a complete thought at any stage, whizzing between all the sundries, without a momentary pause. The mind, wearing down as each blurred thought ends in a cul-de-sac, then restarts, wheels spinning, a tortured engine being made to roar and then brought to a crunching halt, asked to reverse direction. making rasping protests about the pointlessness of the demands being made. In the backdrop of all the tumult…the wisp of the thought that its all momentary…that what really matters is there…reassuringly so…and you know how central this person is… to your functioning…your sanity…your life…

spurt

In blah on October 11, 2006 at 5:36 am

Almost been a week since I last posted. Not that I’ve ever been religious about posting my own brand of balderdash online. Read an article a fortnight or so ago in TOI about how there were approximately 3 million posts added every second to blogosphere. This article was about how the web let the unitiated and the clueless post their half-baked and mostly ludicrous opinions online, overwhelming, with sheer numbers, all credible sources of information (the use of the word ‘information’ immediately excused my scribbles from the maligned pack :). True that there lies a potential for misuse of ‘free-speech’ by lets say paid bloggers extolling the virtues of products that while packaged to appear like cars/consumer durables/electronic items are in reality round, yellow and sour…namely lemons.

Thats not to say that .coms with a reputation for candid reviews don’t sell their souls. cnet.com being one such example, up until a couple of years ago that site would be my go-to for reviews on any new laptop/cell phone/thingamajig. Then it went through a revamp post-broadband where the site was suddenly only about ads in streaming video that played inexorably before taking you to the contents. The real-estate on the site too went through major overhauls with sponsor logos sliding and pirouetting all over the place. The reviews started to get suspect when a couple of laptops I’d seen in action and knew to be expensive paper-weights (and extremely weighty ones at that) were rated as ‘Outstanding’ with the ‘Editor’s Choice’ accreditation and everything while some very decent models were panned. Today, you see prominent ‘Advertisement’ panels with makers like Dell and HP right under articles called ‘Cnets top ten laptops’…and they’re not lying, they are certainly their top ten. Only means more work for the likes of me when it comes to tft-matrix-shopping (as opposed to window) shopping for the latest 9MP reality-captured-breathtakingly-onto-screen monster from Canon(oh yeah…)/Nikon(umm..ok…am listening)/Sony(yeah right!)

Damn! so much keyboard diarrhoea…must be the hangover from singing along to ‘chubte kaaten yaadon ke…daaman se…chunta hoon…’ in the car on my way home yesterday…god bless ipods and audio-in jacks in car stereos…

meter down…stay down

In life, rant on October 4, 2006 at 6:19 pm

you see them all the time…mostly in bunches at strategic locations…sometimes the odd solitary ones in the far reaches. fairly docile…non-threatening.. until you do the unspeakable. and you dont necessarily realise the folly of your ways at first. coz they maintain that laid-back demeanour…positively sopophoric. then you approach a crossroads…not the figurative, but the literal kind. they sidle up…on either side…sorta the precursor to the pincer move made popular by the…umm…pincers?

so they’re on either side…and the caravan..like some smoke-belching millipede inches forward…its legs rippling forward in sequential movement. but there’s something not quite right…the distance on either side seems to’ve diminished. you do some quick mental math involving some extrapolation and it doesn’t compute…three bodies can’t occupy the same space at the same time…unless…thats when it occurs to you…you look at their sides…scarred…fissured…beaten tin foil has better finish..and you think of the mirrored polished mirror-like feel…the sculpted jewel headlamps. you sense the complete disregard…the stony gaze tells you that here is something to be feared…something with nothing to lose…and coz you can’t even bear the thought of seeing those scars on your beloved…

so you apply pressure with your right ankle…followed by your left…your left hand follows…you downshift..and let them squeeze by…frikkin’ cabbies!
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