Sunday, January 21, 2007

What does it take be a loser

When does a loser get to know that he is a loser indeed, or does he ever get to know that. I have been thinking about it and this is what I could find online. Didn't help my cause in any way. Unabridged (v 1.1)
- Cite This Source los·er [loo-zer] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.a person, team, nation, etc., that loses: The visiting team was the loser in the series.
a.a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or, esp., a felony: a two-time loser.
b.a person who has failed at a particular activity: a loser at marriage.
c.someone or something that is marked by consistently or thoroughly bad quality, performance, etc.: Don't bother to see that film, it's a real loser.
3.Slang. a misfit, esp. someone who has never or seldom been successful at a job, personal relationship, etc.

There used to be a time when I was a child and like any other child I totally detested even the thought of losing. I could not accept defeat in even the most trivial of situations and would often end up in tears when I lost. But then came a time when I didnt mind a failure or two. Infact I needed an ocassional failure to keep me fired up and perform when it mattered the most. I used to enjoy those small and sometimes big failures becoz I was always confident that I can pull it off when it mattered the most. And when I got to know that IBM celebrates a "Day of Failures", I was totally excited about it. I beleived that failures teach you more about life than successes.

But now I find myself in a rather strange (and pretty annoying) situation where failures dont seem to bother me at all. They dont seem to spur me on as they used to earlier. I dont seem to get bogged down with them either. I dont understand where I am headed. Is this what it takes to be a real loser ???????

I am terribly confused. Please help me if you can.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Grand Prix not to be forgotten - Shanghai 2006

I have been watching Formula One since 1998 and over the years I have watched quite a few interesting races. Rain, intermediate tyres, pit stop strategies, slipstream overtaking maneuvers, safety cars etc etc ... I have seen them all before. But yesterday night was one totally different story. For the first time I watched live Formula One on the internet. And for those who think that I watched it on some live streaming video...sorry you are mistaken. provides something called live timing. All it has is a java applet which continuosly shows(almost real time) the lap times, sector times, fastest lap times, fastest sector times, personal best times and many more for each driver. No audio....just some basic text commentary, but without doubt a hell lot of technical info!!!!! And surprisingly I found it very interesting to watch a grand prix in this manner, I dont know why, maybe becoz schumi won????
But the race in itself was a very interesting one. Alonso was just flying in the initial stages and he had built up more than 20 seconds over his team mate fisichella, who was in second place.
But Alonso had an incident where he went offtrack and probably did some damage to his tyres. Micheal who struggled in qualifying was slowly making up places in the race. He overtook Button and Barichello and was right behing fisichella when he pitted (Poor Raiko....his bad luck with the f***ed up Mclaren continues....lets hope he has a better time at ferrari next season). After the first round of pit stops the positions at the top remained unchanged. But Alonso had changed his front tyres(new intermediate tyres) and his lap times very really slowing down. Fisichella and Micheal both overtook Alonso (how I wish I could see a video of this....should be there pretty quickly on youtube) Right after the second round of pit stops, Micheal overtook Fisichella and was in the lead....and without much truoble...maintained it right upto the chequred flag.
Although Alonso had his share of bad luck in the second round of pit stops, I thought it was near perfect drive by Micheal. Alonso tried everything that he could towards the end of the race when the track had dried out and was continuously setting fastest lap times almost every single lap. But the chequered falg was destined for Micheal, his first and last win at China.
With Micheal and Alonso on same points, I dont think an ardent follower of formula one can ask for more. Kudos to Micheal for this absolutely terrific comeback and lets hope that the last two races are as interesting as this whole season has been.
Long Live Micheal and Formula One

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Hundred Dollar Bill

This is one of the saddest possible things that can happen to a poverty stricken graduate student here at UT Austin. And f***, it happened to me and hopefully not many others.
All students joining the school (this is a requirement in most univs) are required to clear an immunization bar to be able to register for classes. The students have to prove that they are properly immunized, and thereby are not carrying any viruses which might spread and affect other innocent Americans. I was given a form on which a doctor had to declare the dates on which I was immunized and also attest that form. I had taken this form to a doctor in Bangalore and he said that everybody will be given that immunization doze on the day when they are born and a second doze one month after that. So I thought that I need not have to go through the agony of metal reigning supreme over flesh and was happy about it. He signed on that form and asked me to fill in the dates. I filled in the dates as instructed.
After coming here, I went to submit the form at the UHS (University Health Services) to clear the immunization bar. The lady at the UHS office looked quizzingly at me. She said that nobody is given this immunization on the day of their birth and so she wouldn't clear the immunization bar for me. She said that I will have to get the immunization done here so that I can register for classes. And this bloody f***** immunization costs me 100$. I felt like kicking myself. I don't know whom to blame. I don't understand what the f*** that doctor studied for 5 years to get an MBBS. I don't even know whether he was indeed correct and these people here are crazy. In retrospect I feel that probably I should have enquired about it with fellow students here before submitting the form. But it all comes down to the fact that I need to pay 100$ to let an American doctor pierce a needle through my body which has grown up eating Indian food. GOD SAVE ME.

I don't care if my liver is hanging by a thread
don't care if my doctor says I ought to be dead

When my ugly big car wont climb this hill
Ill write a suicide note on a hundred dollar bill

cos if you wanna run cool
If you wanna run cool
Yes if you wanna run cool, you got to run
On heavy, heavy fuel.
- Dire Straits

Friday, August 11, 2006

The last walk

It was late evening on the 4th of August and just a few hours to go for my flight to the US. I suddenly remembered that I had given my bike for service and I had to get it back. Infact it had broken down (midway to the petrol bunk) the day before with an engine seizure and a broken kicker pedal and only I knew that mechanic shop (and I had to pay for it as well). I decided to walk all the way to the mechanic shop. On the way, I saw around four people with some simple percussion instruments (the traditional ones used for playing "DAPPAN-KUUTHU") and behind them were two people clad in red dress and totally drenched. I thought it was one of those mad religious ritualistic processions. So I kept on walking. But the music was pretty good. So I turned back to see. Quite a few small kids had gathered around them and they had started dancing. The band played danda-nakara nakara nakara ... danda-nakara nakara nakara .. danda-nakara nakara nakara.... pakka dappankuuthu. They played it quite beautifully and I also felt like dancing. Infact after listening to it, if a person doesn't feel like dancing, then there is something terribly wrong in that person. But I knew that I had a job on hand. So I kept walking to the mechanic shop. The crowd around the band was increasing by the minute, and the party was getting merrier. The band was also getting louder, so I could hear the music all the way. Simbly Suuper and "The more the merrier". I too felt so happy. I marvelled at the innocent happiness of those kids. They dint have to go to work on monday morning and write C/C++ code to fix a silly bug. They dint have to travel halfway across the globe to attend graduate school. They were happy in their own backyard. I knew at that instant that I was going to miss all this for atleast a couple of years. I was moving to a very mechanical and commercialized world. But I knew that there was a pupose behind that move of mine. So "KEEP WALKING".............

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

June 17th to July 14th

Graduating in 2005 with a B.Tech in Information Technology. You are in a veritable paradise. The Software Industry sports a big grin on its face. And yes, I stand there with three offers (Satyam, Motorola, Infosys). Although Neo says "Choice !!! Choice is the problem" (and quite rightly), my situation was different, an easy choice indeed. I headed to Bangalore to join Winphoria in Motorola (For all those who are unaware, Winphoria was a company started in 2000 and acquired by Motorola in 2003). "Winphoria, Winphoria, Winphoria" - The name had led me to think that my job will have something to do with Microsoft products (I just hate them). But "God Save the king", Microsoft Products were a scarcity here. I was given a linux box, but the sad thing was that it was a Red Hat 6.2 with a 2.2 kernel.

June 17th 2005 was my first day. I was assigned to Mr.Rakesh Agarwal. And fortunately or unfortunately, he was going on a long leave on that very same day for his marriage. I had to spend the best part of my first month without a manager. It was sort of a honeymoon period for me in the company. I would come early (9 - 9:30) in the morning, check my mails and then open Adobe Acrobat Reader. Endlessly and aimlessly scanning through those IS41 and IOS telecom standards without understanding a word. Soon it will be time for lunch. And after lunch, I am never the same guy. Fighting against sleep (called 'mabbu') was the only job at hand. But soon SUDOKU came to my rescue. I solved enough of them, and even had plans to implement one algorithm for solving the SUDOKU in polynomial time (as usual it was a case of OT - Only Talk).

In the meantime I had to attend a training program. Can you guess the duration of this program?? Goodness Me - just three days (I know ppl who attended training for 3 months, lucky ones). Never understood anything though. Ended up sleeping most of the time. But one good thing did happen. Found one of my best pals in Winphoria - Maheshwaran Velusamy. A Tam ofcourse and our conversation started like "endha coll ?"..... "St.Joseph's Chennai"... and then he said that he had quite a few friends in my college and he was asking me whether I knew that Mr.X, then Mr.Y, then Mr.Z etc etc. I knew none of those guys. Then he asked me "Do u know kamini ?"..... WOW!! with a big exclamation i said yes....i know that female... sema katte!!!....and thats how our relationship started.

A month passed and my manager was back. We had a code walk through. And then I was asked to do regression testing (which was followed by a huge truck load of bug fixing and an unsuccessful attempt at feature developement). This was the beginning of the most sadest and trecherous times for me in Winphoria. I shall write a seperate blog on my experiences with my manager. I was so pissed off that I started to look for another job. But after some useful advice from experienced people in the industry, I decided against it. But I had made up my mind that I wont be staying here for too long. Thats when a couple of my good friends came up with the idea of writing GRE. I liked the idea and had to jump into implementation right away (there was hardly any time left for analysis and design). So I moved into an apartment with friends, studied hard during the nights, and finally the results were good. But while all this was happening, my job was increasingly becoming a headache for me. So once I was done with all my application stuff, I put my head down and worked with some purpose for one month in Winphoria. And things changed. My manager suddenly became the Mr.Nice Guy, and I found the work to be more and more interesting. I had some acountability in the team. I also did some night outs and all. I liked all this. While I was getting more and more into my job, a series of events took place (responsible for the state change in the FSM). An admit from UTA, successful VISA interview and the Resignation letter which was accepted with a huge smile by my manager (Will have to write seperate blogs for all these major incidents). In between all this I had this 15 day long awesome himalayan adventure. Quite a few diverse activities sandwithced together to form this beautiful meal called life.......

The time that I spent in Winphoria after the himalayan adventure (Mid June onwards) was also another honeymoon period. July 14th 2006 was my last working day in Winphoria. Apart from learning quite a few new and interesting things in Winphoria (techy and non-techy stuff), I also ended up making a handful of good friends in Motorola (they mite prefer to be called Motorolans), and some for life.

The next state beckons - Graduate Student in UTA.
As Van Halen says, its time to
"Dream another dream, this dream is over....................dream another dream"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The FSM of life

Whenever there is a state change in a Finite State Machine (FSM), there would be some associated processing that would happen, like say the execution of a procedure or in Winphoria jargon, a callback function.The FSM corresponding to my life (not sure whether the number of states here is finite) has just now encountered such a state change. But I am yet to grasp the magnitde of this state change and thus unaware of the processing required. The state change that I am talking about is the change of state from being a Software Engineer in Motorola(Winphoria) to being a Graduate Student at the University of Texas at Austin. But before this state change becomes fully functional, I have to go through a temporary state, a pseudo state. A state of being VETTI at home and the major activities associated with this state are eating stomuch full and sleeping overtime. This state has a remote resemblence with the purgatory between heaven and hell, very remote that there are more differences than similarities. But the thought just struck my mind - a temporary state. From this state, when I look back at my previous state in the FSM, I realise that quite a few things have happened (some great and some to be forgotten asap). On the other hand I am overflowing with zeal (not with logic though) to take on the next state in the FSM. But whilst I am spending my time being vetti in this pseudo state, I thought may be I should pen down some of my experiences in my previous state.