I'm NOT Available

I was at this dinner yesterday. One of my friends that I had not seen for a while invited me. He had also invited another one of our mutual friends. So that’s 3 of us, and then there were 3 acquaintances of the original inviter who also showed up. I say acquaintances because I don’t think my friend would BE friends with people like them, and I say showed up because I like to think that my friend would not invite acquaintances like them

The three of us who were friends from our engineering college days displayed a startling number of common and, I hope you agree here, likeable behaviours.

One, we all came (arrived, you dirty minded troll) on time. We did not have to message the others 7 times or call for directions from across the street. Is it that fucking hard to find your way to a popular restaurant in an upscale hotel? I don’t think so. What is more likely is that they neither thought it important enough to look up the venue, nor leave on time.

Second, we did not look at our cellphones during dinner or drinks. I say cellphones because I think smartphones is a misnomer : the phones are not smart, and neither are most of their owners.

This is a pet peeve for me here, but I think if you are out to talk to somebody in person, that person should be more important that some piece of news that was sent passively for you. Are your real friends more important than the ones you have on facebook? Are those people connected to you on facebook really your friends? Do you know what these so called friends will do if you die? Send out a fucking message for somebody’s wall and add a frikkin bunch of screwy punctuation marks to symbolize the emotion they feel for a fraction of a second. Fuck the friend who won’t lend you money and to hell with the wall you can’t piss on, I always say.

And I don’t care what Rehman says, har ek friend zaroori nahin hota hae.
In fact, har ek friend, friend bhi nahin hota hae chootiye!

And replying to email? Really? Do you really have to answer your email as soon as it comes? You know who needs to do that? Insecure people. I’m sorry. I wish I could make up a joke here or something, but this is just not funny. Chill out on the email replies people. Unless you’re on the shitter, constipated, waiting for the turd to drop,  and you just pissed on whatever crap newspaper it is you carried into the loo with you, that email reply can wait.

And not just replies. People just look at their phones and READ email while there is a conversation going on. If the conversation at this table is so fucking boring, why don’t you take your interesting self to wherever it is the email message came from?

UNLESS you are expecting an email from a VC informing you of whether or not he is going to give you half a million bucks for your social media startup, checking for email every few minutes with the fervor of a monkey checking for lice on his brother's head is disrespectful and annoying.

And like I said, these are passive messages. These are messages that are sent out without an expectation of when you will read them. Unlike say a phone call, which could actually be a real living and breathing friend calling to ask you for money. Even with those, we have sunk into such a culture of availability (especially those of us who have had a cell phone from before college days), that people take your availability for granted.

Save yourselves before it is too late. Train your family and friends to respect the minimum time to response they should expect for every mode of communication. I’m not saying this is the minimum time that you will take. You will respond to all of them asap. But if you tell everybody that they should not expect a response - or at the very least that they should not get mad if they do not get a response by – the following times, then you will be free of the shackles of this availability expectation that we face…

Personal Invitation: On time (inside 10 minutes of stipulated time). Cancellations well in time with appropriate groveling attached

Email: 1 day turnaround. I'm writing  a post on just email, so more details there
Text Message/Phone Call: Call back inside of 4 hours
Second Txt/Phone: Immediate, but if you ONCE try me a second time for a stupid reason, all responses default back to 4 hours.
Facebook/Twitter/Myspace/Friendster/Orkut: Middle finger


As I walked out from a pitch so soporific that I thought I had died and gone to hell prematurely with a dissatisfying lack of flames, I realized that though much has already been said about the impact of powerpoint, I was just going to HAVE to add to the blather.

I feel for PowerPoint. I really do. It was not meant to be a tool for destruction, but in the hands of the inept and mind-numbingly unimaginative, it turns into a device for brain cell death. They don't call them bullets for nothing, I guess.

“Just because the spawn of Gates and Lucifer CAN rotate your text boxes on the way in doesn't mean you should ya fucking moron!!”, I wanted to yell. And I probably would have, if I hadn't been put to sleep with such astounding swiftness.

The guy spent 30 minutes telling a room full of managers and employees absolutely nothing. And for having no content, there was a startlingly humungous amount of text on his slides. And that’s where the rub is. All these people spewing mildly humorous venom at PowerPoint and Bill Gates need to realize that’s it’s not the PowerPoint to blame. It’s the idiot with the clicker in front of the screen.

If that moron who preparing to take your eye out with the laser pointer had something of import to say, you could have given him a thin stick and a pile of horse manure, and he would have made his point.

If that no good hack had any talent at communication, you could have given him a crayon and a coloring book and he would have shown you the world in Eastman Colour.

PowerPoint is just a magnifying glass that can make a passionate speaker look better, and a going-through-the-motions manager look worse than either of them really are.
So don't blame PowerPoint. Just walk out.

Here. We. Go. (Again)

It's been a long time since I last posted anything... 3 months and then some actually

As you know I was working on a project that didnt seem pointless, with a team that had an IQ, in a city that didn't close it's bars at an arbitrarily appointed hour. I didn't have any reason to blog.

Job done, I am back in Bangalore now, and was immediately seized by a burining desire to bitch about the fantastic parking lots masquerading as the highways of Bangalore. I barely managed to keep that down and that by quaffing large quantities of Mallya's finest (which, by the bay, is not ultra) at a dangerous speed egged on by an annoying maitre d' wanting to shut sop and go home at an early time. The traffic and the fuck-off-at-11-pm rule aren't going to change any time soon, so I'm sure that will keep my bile levels steadily on the rise. 
And now my responsibilities now are significantly higher, and I will be making a bunch of changes. This should also pit me against the banalities of corporate procedures and the stupidities of individuals in powerful offices. That should give me adequate levels of indigestion as well.

So I think some blogging will follow.
I have to watch what I blog about and when, so I do not know if I'm going to be able to vent with the fervour of yore. It will behove me to stop calling colleagues bitches, whores, dumbfucks, and the like, even if they verily might be the same, and I fear that I do not have the talent to spew vitriol and make it entertaining without using scathing insults and expletives as a crutch.

I will try. Lets see how it goes.
This post is just so a note goes out to the people following this blog saying I'm back.
Thanks for following and I will be happy to get your emails denouncing my lack of regularity, my insistence on not using spell/grammar checks and other sundry faults.

It's good to be back. Again.

Leadership Behavior

Barack Obama presented a last minute deal that - as I understand it - gives up on the balanced approach that the whole country had wanted. The tax breaks to the super rich are going to continue. The social programs are going to get screwed. The most powerful man in the world was held hostage by his own parliament, and he was forced to give up on something he promised. How refreshing would it have been if he was able to dare the demagogues and the frikkin deadbeats who want to put off paying their bills to actually come out into the public domain and state their reluctance in plain English. But he didn't dare dare the con men.

Closer to home, the chief minister BSY, in a city I still think fondly off, refused to leave office after being asked to. The leadership of his party was made to look like distressed heroines from 70's bollywood flicks, while he calmly kept extending his stay in office by hours and days and simultaneously put conditions on his resignation being sent. How interesting would it have been if Advani flew down, made a public statement saying we do not tolerate this nonsense, smacked him in the face with a dismissal and dared him and his cronies to walk out of their party. But they didn't dare dare the allegedly corrupt.

I'm sure both Obama and Advani thought about doing so though. I'm sure they did. They just couldn't act it out.
Elected people become wusses in powerful positions.
On the other hand selected people become tyrants.
Maybe it's time to think of a third way of appointing these people.

Bombay se aaya mera post

As some of you already know, I'm in Bombay setting up some offices for a new product division of my company.
This is exciting stuff.
The primary fun factor is that the products we will be working on here are going to be developed in India and are in an area that my company does not participate in right now.
The next yay factor is we have some tremendously smart people over here and everybody is really pumped about this move. Its terribly enriching to have motivated intelligent people focused on how to solve some problems that will have an exciting impact on the future of many people inside the company and outside.
And last but not the least, this city is pretty awesome. It smells like ass in some places, but it's pretty awesome nonetheless.
That probably explains why I have not been ranting for so long. I was actually happy-busy instead of being stupid-busy.
I should've known this was all too good to be true.

Have you seen what happens when a giant well-fed heifer wants to take a steaming dump? The bull continues to walk nonchalantly down the path it is going, merely twitches it's tail and a warm pile of shit exits the dark hole at its rear and sploshes on to the floor. The bull keeps on going as if nothing as happened, and if you're an ant caught under this green glob of goo your world has changed for ever. And if you're an ant actually trying to help the bull in some way (I know the analogy is breaking down here, but bear with me...), then your soul has probably taken a severe beating as well.

Well yesterday I was the ant, my company was the bull, the corporate real estate team was the tail, and corporate finance was the dark hole.

The mistake we are making is taking a fledging operation and applying the full might of corporate standards to it. We can (should) not burden a startup organization with rigid rules. Growing a startup requires freedom. It almost requires a bit of anarchy (although that may be too strong of a word). I really can not think of a major startup that was successful in spite of being watched over by corporate hawks to ensure that they bought the right color chairs, had the right sized cubicles and used company standard desktops and corporate approved courier services. I can think of startups that succeeded despite having very little money, but not under the watchful scrutiny of spreadsheet mongers and fucking trolls who only know how to read something written in a corporate policy document and enforce it without any consideration of context.

This may be different for hardware products, but in software, one more thing I have learnt by working for a major company is that if you have a new product idea, select the right people, put one clear leader at the top, give them 20% less than the money they asked for, ask for 20% more market share than you think is reasonable for your business, and let them learn how to fly.
And as they're getting ready to leap off the precipice without killing themselves, dont put a lead cylinder of corporate standards and unnecessary nonsense like executive reviews on their backs.

Cricket World Cup Update - March 31st

This is breathtaking.
So much so that I am breathless.
Some of you know that I have been on a world cup cricket watching spree.
Although I have yet to watch a single match in Bangladesh, I have watched more live cricket in this past month than I have in years.

Mohali is a beautiful ground. Any of you that gets a chance to go watch a game in Mohali should go. Especially if Pakistan is playing.
By far the most enjoyable game for me. And for those who were following my 5 over emails, I apologize. After I saw Dhoni turn his back, I just couldn't keep my nerves calm enough to let my fingers do the typing.

And after that - I was too engrossed in the situation to get back to typing.
The game itself was interesting but the stadium was infinitely more so.
The energy in that place was absolutely killer. Everybody was just turned ON. It was a great experience. The closest a cricket game has ever come to a music concert where you and the crowd around you get in the same zone.
I highly recommend this.
I know a lot of people can not watch a 5 day match. That is because it takes a love for playing the game to follow a 5 day match. A test  match is not a spectator sport for spectators. It's a spectator sport for players.
And I know a lot of you prefer the 4 hour version. That is because you are morons.
And for the many of you who like to watch a 1 day match. Get yourself tickets to a day nighter in Mohali. I recommend it highly.

And yes, I'm going to the final. I am in Mumbai already, writing this from Jazz by the Bay on my phone.
I do not think I will be sending updates on the final. I'm not going to mar my experience of being at the cricket world cup final by sending out cynical short bursts of angry pancreatic fluid disguised as reports.

You guys enjoy the game.
And as a parting note - if you belong to the group of people who believe the match yesterday was fixed, then while I applaud your cynicism - after all it is a trait I base many of my own judgments on - I also pity how much of your soul you have lost to this most dangerous of traits.
Regardless of your cynicism, you should retain the ability to enjoy a good emotional ride. Keep your cynicism in check my buddies. If you do, it will guide you. If you don't, you'll become a cold, mistrusting, shifty eyed, soulless, paranoid freak.

Catch you after the game.
UPDATE - March 31, Midnight
Sorry just now got through a bunch of mail.
1. Which matches did you watch?
Sun Feb 20 - Kenya v New Zealand, Chepauk, Chennai       
Thu Feb 24 - South Africa v West Indies, FSK Delhi   
Sun Feb 27 - India v England, Chinnaswamy, Bangalore   
Wed Mar 2 - England v Ireland, Chinnaswamy, Bangalore   
Sat Mar 5 - Sri Lanka v Australia, Premadasa, Colombo   
Sat Mar 12 - India v South Africa, VCA, Nagpur   
Thu Mar 17 - England v West Indies, Chepauk, Chennai   
Sat Mar 19 - Australia v Pakistan, Premadasa Colombo   
Sun Mar 20 -  India v West Indies, Chepauk, Chennai   
Thu Mar 24 - India v Australia, Sardar Patel, Ahmedabad   
Sat Mar 26 - Sri Lanka v England, Premadasa, Colombo   
Wed Mar 30 - India v Pakistan, Mohali, Chandigarh
Sat Apr 2 - India v Sri Lanka, Wankhede, Mumbai

2. How did you get tickets to all the matches?
League matches were easy as you will imagine. I just bought them as soon as I could, and I bought the nicer seats so I didnt really have problems with the ticket issuances in the early matches.
I had decided early that I would not go to Bangladesh, so I didnt buy any tickets for that country knowing that I would miss the India quarter final if we were going to play in Mirpur. Thankfully that didnt happen
Here's the crazy part. Semi's I bought tickets to both. I couldn't possibly make both (Colombo to Mohali in one early morning ain't happening.) So I thought I'd buy both and pick the one that promised to be a better game. No brainer there.
And the tickets to the finals is a gift from a close friend who is a senior executive at one of the major sponsors.

3. How did you manage time off from work?
I don't understand this question. I told them I will be taking the following days off as soon as I had the tickets.

4. Why didn't you report out on all the games?
I'm not a reporter. I'm not good at it, and it takes away from my own enjoyment. And frankly I didn't spend my hard earned money so that I could get YOUR nuts off.

5. Please Report on the Final.

6. Get on Facebook/Twitter/Orkut/Friendster/MySpace
I dont see the point. I'm open to convincing arguments, but I doubt there is one.

7. You're a lucky Sonovabitch for getting all those tix.
Not to be condescending, but you could have done the same. There is a small percentage of you who would probably say you can not afford the expense, and you may be right but I doubt it. If you really wanted to do it, you could. Work, Money, Travel and Time are excuse. So no. I'm not lucky. You're a dumass.


Cricket World Cup Rant - March 4th

After my last post where I expressed sympathy for the bottom four teams, Ireland took it upon themselves to outdo what we did against England. On the backs of the world cups fastest ever century, they made the English look kinda silly. Immediately I thought of how if my blog was more popular, tons of people would write in saying "A-ha! See! Moron!" or some such unintelligent, badly constructed attempts at witticism pointing out how I was wrong and too quick to judge.

And then Pakistan almost capitulated against Canada.
I still stick by my stand though. The poor sons of bitches in the bottom four are just the whipping boys of the tournament that are making the watching of it longer and boring-er than should be legally allowed. (And yes I am aware of all the things that are legally not allowed but yet commonplace in our country, and that is an aside I do not want to get into right now, sorry.)
My point is, those freak games prove nothing other than the fact that on a good day a strong man can make inept bowling and fielding pay. And that if you play your high school team enough times, you will eventually lose one.
And Pakistan versus Canada? Please. Pakistan is Pakistan. This kinda shit happens to them all the time. They are sometimes exude effervescent brilliance and sometimes terrifying dumb.

New Zealand relaxed around a woeful Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh were insulted by West Indies in full public view in a match that failed to last 32 overs in all, and barely put a 100 runs on the board
Speaking on Pakistan and West Indies though. Here's a headline from Cricinfo:
The first thing that ran across my mind, was a picture of a bus riding slowly with a lazy smile and half closed eyes going "this is some good shit mate.. toke it up!!" And that disturbing thought later I was wondering why the Bangladeshi's throwing shit at their own players? They're the ones that sucked..
On closer inspection, I found out that some upstanding citizens had indeed mistaken the bus for the Bangladeshi ones and had taken it upon themselves to hand out justice. 
Fucking idiots.
Isn't humanity amazing?

Cricket World Cup Report

In other news, dont you just love how everybody is enjoying beating up on the poor hapless souls who have been flown in from near and far to act as punching bags of the top 6 teams in word cricket.
As I type this England is cruising along against Ireland and Cricinfo is telling me that the Brit middle order is laying a solid foundation. 200 is 35 over is more than a solid foundation.
It's a fucking thumping.
When I last heard "beat under 10" that meant losing before you reached 10 points in Table Tennins. Now it means your opponents overhauled your total in less than 10 overs.

And TV has promo shots where commentators (which actually comes from the French and Latin roots "comme" meaning like, "entat" meaning intestinal and "ors" meaning outpourings) are telling me how Sri Lanka are taking on Kenya
If anything it should be Kenya taking on Sri Lanka you babbling fools.
David took on Goliath not the other way around, ya fuckin moron.

Maybe if you had said Sri Lanka pick on Kenya tonight, it would make a bit more sense, but then if you had sense, then you wouldn't be spouting shit in between deliveries and filling in space between commercials.
Look, I feel bad for you. The TV guys put gel on your head and force you into suits and make you talk in English and on top of that some people in the audience actually want you to think for your money. Fuck 'em, right? I get it.
My question is, how do I get in on the action?

You gotta love the Times of India

Some of you know this already, but I love the Times of India. I especially love how their campaigns such as Lead India and such have led to everlasting change and imbued the cynical population of our country with renewed hope and vigor.
I also love how they will not tolerate corruption by our elected representatives regardless of how minor the errors of their ways might be.
Just look at how they went after Mr Raja

If you read through this scan from the front page top half article from today's Times, you will notice that even though Mr Raja only took in the pitiable sum of Rs 3000, and went through the trouble of hiding it in his wife's accounts in island nations, the Times got to the bottom of it.

Thank you Times of India. Now that you have found out where they stashed the 3000 rupees, maybe we can find out what happened to the other 2999.9997 FUCKING CRORES you lazy proof-reader-less tabloid monkeys!!!

The Tie

What a scary fuckin match, huh?
I thought matches were tied when both teams deserved to win. In yesterday's case, it was because neither did. They both played some terrible basic cricket. Admittedly they both displayed flashes of greatness, but overall I think they both threw away the win.  .

And I heard today that Dhoni was pissed off with the UDRS decision. I don't understand what for.
Here's what happened.
Bell got rapped on his pads; Bowden said not out; Yuvi convinced his Mahi to appeal; Fourth umpire said looks like it would have hit middle, boys, but the dude was 2.5metres out in front;Bowden said - Not out.

Everything here happened according to the rule book. The rule book says that if the batsman is that much out in front, then the fourth umpire passes that info to the on field umpire and the umpire is allowed to factor in whatever uncertainty he sees when the dude is that much out in front. Bowden was uncertain. Bell stayed in, bashed another 52 and played an important part is scaring the shit out of screaming India fans in the stadium.

Now Dhoni goes about saying he's upset, and there's some adulteration of human and technological judgement. Bah humbug, I say.
He says either use technology or humans. Look, if there was no UDRS, we would have still got Bowden's original decision. Not Fucking Out. So there,I know it sucks, swallow your rage, and regurgitate it back up against your lazy ass fielders, who let the English milk them for singles. And you know when they say "milked for singles"?? When fielders move like fucking COWS!!

And here's a couple more messages I would send out if I was friendly enough with these - "players" - to call them and express my consternation:
Munaf Patel: You gave out 12 runs to tailenders. Shame on you.
Yuvraj: Don't gloat about that 50 - you ain't outta the woods yet bro. More than half of your runs were streaky and I'm not so convinced you've hit form
Piyush Chawla: What the fuck? What was that celebration for the wicket off your last ball? Relief? You gave away 3 fucking 6-ers, you shmuck! Did you forget that part? No really, what the fuck is the celebration FOR??

Sachin: Field dude Field. And Bowl. You wanna win this one? You better not just bat, you hear me?

Eating Crow

I do not know where that phrase orginates. It sounds like quite an unpleasant thing to do - munch on a scavenging ugly looking and ugly sounding little critter... But I know what it means. To accept that you were wrong and admit to your foolishness.
I was wrong about Virat Kohli.
The way he played against bangladesh was a revelation. His cover driving was Dravid-esque and I found myself almost wishing him to throw away his wicket like he has done in the past just so I would be vindicated.
He didn't.
Damn him.
But if he can continue in this vein, he's quite an asset in the middle order.

And talking about changing application: Sehwag, that rambunctious swiper outside the offstump, played an innings so good, I shuddered. Can you imagin what will happen if he could curb his malevolence when the spinner is brought on, and saved his disdain till the batting powerplays?

Granted, both these guys showed glimpses of surmounting what I despised in them against minnows. But Bagladesh is the biggest of the minnows. And I am (as always) cynical about whether they will show the same combination of thought and gumption against more accomplished bowling.
But if they do, we're in for a treat of a world cup boys.

So Kohli, here's to you. Good job. I eat my words. Keep it going. Even though I still think you're ugly, you're now a key player in our side in my reckoning. You can't do anything about that hirsute face and short forehead of yours, but you can win us the world cup. And for that, I'm sure many (more) women would be forgiving....

Hello Ladies!

I spent the last four months in Brazil. Awesome beaches, beautiful women, good food.. just all around great experience
Even at the office everybody was nice and accommodating; forever pointing out good bars and taking me places.
But I'm back now. And while there's not enough hatred in me yet to spew over this wasteland of blather also known as the internet, I'm sure I'll be pissed off at something soon enough.

I went in to the India office office yesterday after this long gap, and I had a great time catching up with people till I saw this guy walk toward me. He's one of the senior managers who has the amazing knack of simultaneously doing nothing and appearing busy. Lots of people think he's doing a great job carrying an entire department on his shoulders while there's some of us in the know who realize he's just a guy with a furrowed brow and a file.
People like him bring the company down. And worse, they make my stomach acids churn.

I had to take immediate evasive maneuvers to avoid him walking up to me, ask me some question, and then even before I begin to answer, walk away claimng to be going to do something of tremendous importance and diarrheal urgency. Thankfully, I succeeded that time. But this isn't going to last...