Speech in response to the Mumbai Terror Attack

Yesterday, our beloved country was placed under attack.
Without any provocation, we were invaded by a small force that aimed to disrupt normalcy and peace in our effervescent city of Mumbai. Their force was too small, and their acts too weak to shake the spirit of our Mumbaikars, but they will rue the day they decided to take the lives of our citizens, our visitors, and the brave souls that defend the freedom and the way of life in India.
We do not yet clearly know who the perpetrators of this cowardly act are because unlike people with honor, they chose to cower under the veil of anonymity.
We do not yet clearly know what cause the perpetrators are waging this war for, because unlike people with a true passion, they are unable to articulate their desires.
Our country has a long history of tolerance, and is renowned the world over for it's staunch opposition to being the first aggressor under any degree of conflict. We are patient, we are calm in the face of adversity, and we are committed to a fair process. But the perpetrators of this unprecedented attack on our soil, have misunderstood this for weakness.

Now we will answer these merchants of terror.
We will answer them with a force they have not yet seen.
With a speed they can not comprehend.
We will smoke them out from their hiding holes and bring them to justice.

A deluded gang of thugs have brought disquiet to the peace loving citizens of our country, because they misunderstood the strength hidden in our humility and the ferocity of our resolve. Every grain of this land's soil - every last quantum of our boundless energy - will be used to bring them to book.

We will be strong.
We will be firm.
But we will be just,
Because we are the Sovereign Republic of India

I wish our PM would make a speech like - and preferably forceful than - the one above.
And then I wish he would mobilize the country's resources to follow up on the promises.
I am sick and tired of these violent sons of bitches waltzing into my country and wrecking havoc in any city they chose to.
Fuck 'em.
Fuck every last one of them.
Bloody spineless motherfucking insane bastards.
I say lets bring Rumsfeld over and make him defense minister. Lets bring Bush over and make him president. Lets elect to authorize a tripling of our fiscal deficit. I dont care what it takes. Raise taxes, let inflation go back to 10 percent, let the traffic jams continue to fester like open untreated wounds, let apathy in government offices continue to increase the days taken to open a new business, let FDI go up or down, let the stock market do it's dance, let all of that go. Because none of that shit matters if we cant stop events like the one happenning in Mumbai.

I say we stop every industry incentive plan, every policy development and infrastructure development plan. Let everything be status quo for a while. I say we make every fucking minister a defense minister or a home minister. Lets find these sisterfucking sons of bitches and bring them to justice. THEN we'll see about the rest.

Rambling On

I had decided not to post anything again about the Bombay attack, but I'll put that decision on hold to just say one thing: A message from me to all the politicians from Pakistan and India who have been posturing and blowing hard over the last two weeks.
Guys - You haven't done shit about solving the problem. Either the short term one or the long term one. So do us all a favor and save the fucking hot air you're blowing back and forth. Maybe you can use it to inflate your girlfriends.

Back to business.
Speaking of hot air, I frequently find myself in the company of hot air filled know-nothing managers who have to disguise their ignorance with a cliche every time someone with common sense points out a gaping hole in their chosen plan of action. I call these people Phrase Managers - Managers who go around managing by cliche.

What are these cliches, you ask? Here's some

  1. You must look at the big picture: What the fuck is the big picture man? Something from Reliance's stable of non-products? I hate this. And the thing is, this big picture doesn't really exist. It is complete fiction. Metaphorical. Like saying "You must look at the unicorn". Next time somebody uses that on me, I'm going to say "I've seen the big picture, and it's Hrithick Roshan fucking an aardvark with his seventh finger."
  2. You need to manage expectations: Isn't it funny how when managers are talking about spending money on your project to meet some customer demands, they say you need to manage expectations? Fucking bullshit, if you ask me. Next time I'm in a performance review and the manager says I didn't meet expectations, I'm going to tell him that he needs to manage his expectations.
  3. Think outside the box: What box? The box that YOU fucking put around me? You put restrictions on money, time, people, travel, training, collaboration, and everything else. You fucking boxed me in, in the first place. Now you ask me to think outside the box? What the fuck is this? A lab rat experiment gone awry? How about tearing down some walls for crying out loud
  4. Hit the ground running: How about I just hit YOU and start running, moron? Hitting the ground running is something that you either do or you do not do. You can't walk up to people and say, hey I want you to hit the ground running. If they can do that, they probably already are running. Away from you, that is...
  5. Don't reinvent the wheel: I get they feeling managers say this just because they do not want you to claim that you did anything innovative. So before you apply your brains, they want you to spend a few weeks dredging through out inadequate process/product documentation, and uncooperative senior employees who will not share what they know. What better way to hit the ground running?

RIM Shot

My boss got a Blackberry three or so months ago.
Fucker's so addicted to this thing that I get replies to emails in less than 5 minutes. At any time of the day. Even in the middle of the night!!
was sitting at work attending one of those meetings where the on-shore tyrants begin by exhibiting their fake empathy for you having to stay late, and then go on to talk about stupid and irrelevant details for hours on end. I usually entertain myself in these meetings by first finishing off my emails, and then entertaining myself with online games.
In going through my email list, I came across an email sent to the entire staff of my department, telling them that the new t-shirts had arrived. My boss had replied to that email. "Thx", he said.
Then I saw an email that had been sent out by production support to members from my division who had requested a particular software install to be completed, telling them the job was done. My boss had replied to that email as well. "Grt work", apparently (even though the damned thing was done 5 days late.
There were many other spurious emails which should actually never be sent: over-eager reminders, meaningless internal surveys, hyperactive celebrations, unintelligible information updates, unnecessary announcements and so on. And my boss had replied to every one of them, expressing satisfaction, dissatisfaction, agreement, disagreement, or enforcements and exhortations.
He was making a mockery of himself. Coming across as a trigger-happy, clueless, mindless, nitwit, who had nothing better to do than send out unnecessary comments on things that didn't matter to anybody.

There were two causes.
The first was obviously the Crackberry. In the new Crackberry universe, every email came with insta-alert, and for the frail minded, this means every email comes with a reply. And in this universe, every reply came shortened spellings that mocked the wonderful and whimsical relationships between vowels and pronunciation in the English language. 'Thanks' becomes 'Thx', 'Great' becomes 'grt' or *shudder* 'gr8', and 'Please do not ever confuse efforts with actions' becomes 'Pls efforts <> actions'
The second was that so often when bastards send out emails, certain key points of note are buried in obfuscation of tons of words. The job has progressed, but will will miss it's deadline? There will be an email of Vikram Mehta proportions about how the job is being done, while the risk to completion on time will be in an incomprehensible sentence in the middle of the email and surrounded by conditional words and false platitudes. E.G "While the team realizes that the detailed analysis necessitated by inanities may cause us to finish on December 14th, quality always comes first." (Note that nowhere else in the email, will the original commit date of September 1st, 2007 be mentioned). And when these emails require you to scroll down till your thumb bleeds, there is only so much you can take before you reply: 'Thx, gr8 tmwrk.'

Just because of his inability to deal with the immediacy afforded by technology he was not earlier used to, my otherwise brilliant handsome and ever so effervescent boss who only rarely, but sometimes does, read blogs, was turned into a caricature of his former formidable self.

I fixed that yesterday.
He was out of his office, and his berry was on the table. I modified his settings that emails don't have any audible or vibrate alerts any more. Last night was probably the first night in three months that he has had uninterrupted sleep.
I did him a service.
And hundreds of employees will agree.

How to Hire

I posted yesterday about how I was doing interviews the whole day.
An interesting thing happened the week before. I was asked to take a class on management, hiring and team building.
This consultant, teaching the class, had a great job. We paid him upwards of 10K (INR) a day per person to go over obvious homilies from a PowerPoint presentation so old even the electronic projection looked faded and dog eared. Fucking motherhood and apple pie bullshit.
So I decided to have some fun with this guy.

One of the truisms he bandied about repeatedly while in the hiring section of the mind numbing exercise he called a class, was "A good manager always hires people smarter than himself".
Fucking turd.
When the turd masquerading as my teacher repeated that for the thousandth time, I asked him a question, and the following conversation ensued:

Me: That means, if I'm a good manager, my team is smarter than me.
Turd: Yup
Me: That means the boss is dumb?
Turd: Uh
Class: titter, titter
Turd: Uh... Ha?
Me: And his boss is dumber still?
Turd: err...
Me: That means the dumbest person is the CEO.
Turd: Now..
Me: Either that, or they're all bad managers, huh?
Turd: We can't take the messages too literally, now...
Me: Yup. Excuse me while I use the bathroom.

Two Unrelated Items

Item Number 1:
The VD government (Vilasrao Deshmukh, not venereal disease, although the difference escapes me ) is plotting to reserve 80% of the jobs in the Maharashtra government for locals. Locals being people who have resided in Maharashtra for over 15 years.
I do not know how many people migrate from the corners of the subcontinent to come work in the MH government. I don't think it's that many. My gut tells me (by way of my ass) that it's probably around 20%. So I deduce that the government is just doing this to take over the spotlight from MNS honcho Raj Thackerey. VD is probably thinking that nothing will change. I think what his government is missing is that this is going to make Raj and his cronies livid with anger. I predict that they will carry out some outlandish acts in the name of protecting the sons of the Maharashtra soil. Watch the news this week...

Item Number 2:
I just spent a long time interviewing multiple candidates for multiple positions in my company. Every one of the guys I interviewed had exaggerated his accomplishments. Some guys lied, some guys embellished and some guys committed non-full disclosure, but in every case, there was some reason to probe further. For example the most impressive team projects on each guys resume was something that they had contributed the least to. Like maybe sit on the wall in one meeting, or carry documents from the company to the vendor. And in at least one of the software packages they claimed expertise in, the expertise came from a 3 day certificate course conducted by a fly by night school. And 99.9% of them listed Microsoft word, excel as areas of expertise. One even had Outlook on there.
Interviewing in this country is tiring.
My question though, is what the fuck is HR doing? Shouldn't they be able to dig a little bit and ferret out the weasels or weasel out the ferrets so that I don't have to talk with 548209 candidates before I find the one guy who is competent enough to do the job and ethical enough to admit it?

So this is what happens...

...when you're out of commission for a month: The whole fucking country turns surreal.

To start off, smoking got banned in public places.
The ban was educational in the sense that it taught me that restaurants and bars are public places too. I spent multiple hot afternoons a couple of weeks ago trying to chill out inside one a/c restaurant or the other without ordering anything, and the restaurant owners turned hostile - even more so when I pointed out that since this was a public place, I was free to come and go as I pleased.

A couple of days later, Rahul Gandhi stated the vicinity of alert journalists that he was not opposed to the idea of becoming Prime Minister. I've got something to share with those alert journalists who thought this was news enough to print in their newspaper:
Your newspaper is just a fucking tabloid that relishes pasting semi nudes in color pages in the back to increase sales.
Give up the pretense and stop fucking printing this horseshit.
You want news? I got news for you. NOBODY is opposed to being Prime Minister themselves. It's how many OTHER people are opposed that matters, you dumbfucks.

And, then, if you hadn't already noticed, the entire fucking economy turned decisively toward shit. Which, I believe, is a good thing.
I think it's going to be a good thing for those snot nosed fresh graduates, and those job hopping frenzy feeders who have never seen a serious downside in their short lived careers. When the 50% pay raises for switching and the I'll-give-you-800K-to-start-if-you-can-fog-up-this-mirror ends, I think we will all have some sanity back in our lives.
Now don't get me wrong. I realize the coming months are not going be easy. Most companies have already started doing the detailed analysis that comes before massive reductions in force. (The word analysis, in this context, comes from combining the Latin root anal, meaning 'of the ass/arse', with the Greek root ysis meaning 'to pull a number').
As a result of this analysis, a lot of good people are going to fall on hard times. And I feel for them. In their honor, I believe the Investment Bankers who perpetrated the sub-prime crisis* should be shot. Or at least taken to jail. The bankers who gave out these sub-prime loans should be taken to jail. Or at least given 50 lashes. And the bastards who falsified documents to spend a month in a million dollar home just to leave when the first payment came due.... Those guys should be sent to work as menial labor for the guys who are going to loose their shirt in the next few months.

*Note: If you do not understand the sub-prime crisis, perhaps this short explanation will help. Hapless service industry employees are routinely driven around in call center vehicles by spastic uncouth drivers in a rash and unsafe manner, on roads full of potholes, where traffic is managed by cops who don't understand the larger traffic control needs of the city. This can lead to serious damage to the property of innocent bystanders, and perhaps their lives.
Similarly, Mortgage Backed Securities were stuffed into Special Investment Vehicles, and driven around by spastic uncouth Investment Bankers in a rash and unsafe manner, in an environment full of potholes, where transactions were managed by regulatory bodies who did not understand the larger impact of certain regulatory decisions they made. This HAS caused damage to the property and lives of various innocent bystanders.