Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Decade Gone By...Happy New Decade!

This is intended to be funny. So I expect lolz, rofl and all their derivatives in the comment section. Failing to do so would imply that you are hurtling through the depths of despair and darkness. ;) 

Before the decade started I was just an un-germinated seed whose aim was not to become a tree but a juicy fruit like an apple. Darn, I should have been a leaf then. I would have modified myself into a full-grown onion. I would be now priceless. Only later would I understand the repercussions of dreaming of an apple which you will too soon find out.

1.Sparkling School Days
Anyways, the decade started with a bang. A mix of improbable physics, concentrated chemistry, bilious biology and 13 girls. Yes 13 girls. That was the first time when I had to spend time in a single room with 13 girls along with 46 other guys who were more or less on the same page. Most of the 47 of us were from all-guys-and-no-girls-classes till then. The result - I learnt two important lessons.
  1. You can never understand any of the three subjects. They are supposed to be mugged up. The teachers don't tell you this secret directly but to their credit they do throw ample hints like writing illegibly on the frame of the blackboard or by drawing larger-than-life size figure of a frog's digestive systems or by whispering during the lecture. 
  2. The previously believed assumption that in presence of opposite-gender, you tend to score more was burnt to ashes and the urn was thrown in Sabarmati Tiver to ensure there are no future ashes contests in this regard.
2. Out to be an engineer
The first thing that they tried when I entered college was try to teach me drawing. Of course they did not say it upfront. They called it Engineering Drawing. Unfortunately they didn't know that I was incapable of any kind of drawing. Bet a third grader can still beat me in drawing. Yet they wanted me to draw something more complex and more intelligible which was simply out of scope for me. However, they never lost hope. I responded in kind, scoring an improbable 2 out of 40 in spite of drawing on both sides of the drawing sheet given to me. Might have let the sheet alone and they would have given more for cleanliness. Yet, they persevered and finally they taught me to draw straight line an incredible achievement after 12 months of training.

3. Journey in Electronics
They still hadn't given up on me. So then they tried teaching me electronics. I started enthusiastically dreaming about having a small shack with all colors bulbs creating strange sounds and radio transmitter similar to the one seen in old Hindi movies. However fate had other plans. Whenever I tried building anything, the only output I would get was an eerie silence. Now a civil engineer can see a building that he is building, a mechanical engineer can see what is going wrong. An electrical engineer would either see a smoke like that after a pope is selected indicating something went wrong or he gets electrocuted. A computer engineer gets an error message or the blue screen of death as a last resort. But for an electronics engineer, nothing. Only an eerie silence. Nothing blowing-up, no shocks as maximum voltage only go up to 5V. So I did the next best thing. I took up projects where you just need to give presentations and stayed an two arm's length from the soldering iron.

4. First job in Reliance
Despite the utter failure in engineering, Reliance somehow thought I was just an unpolished diamond and picked me up. Once there, they again started teaching me a new philosophy. They said  - 
"customer ne baatli ma utarvu aavu joiye"
That literally translates to  "learn to insert a customer into a bottle". It is more nearer to pulling a fast one on the customer to get your work done. I started working on acquiring on this skill. But instead of me putting the customer into a bottle, it was the customers who put me in hole, not once but twice by sending e-mails to Mr. Anil Ambani. :( . That was the beginning of a great friendship between us as teams from Mumbai headquarters, bosses of Gujarat state, and my boss all started asking for my well-being. So when it came to third time, instead of trying to put a customer into a bottle, I challenged the customer to put me in hole. :). After all I had Anilbhai's backing. But the next morning, my boss called me and told me - Dude, I guess you enjoy digging up a grave for yourself. But pal, why are you digging my and my boss' grave alongside yours?  Well I got the drift, and jumped ship from there.

5. In Cognizant, Chennai
Well here again they wanted to teach me. It now started getting on my nerves then. But they promised, this is different and this is JAVA. So I learnt and I learnt well. I learnt how to appreciate a good coffee, even if it comes from a dumb machine. Don't roll your eyes. The java logo always shows a hot coffee and they always talked about java beans which I took it for coffee beans. You can't blame me here. This was as good as I did anywhere before.

6. Blogging
Meanwhile I started blogging. I started with a bang by writing a java code that I learnt recently. Was big show-off then :). But soon my manager called me. It seemed he didn't like the piece code that I wrote. It was something on these lines. Eventually they decided I was not meant for writing codes, so they put me in testing. Here I had to find bottlenecks. The old bottle reared up its ugly head. However, I felt good. From all the past experiences, I knew I have never built anything. At least I can break what others have built. Things finally were falling in place for me. At least it seemed so.

7. My First Project
I had received the most challenging project that was possible. I had to work 11 hours daily on it. Coffee-breaks, tea-break and lunch-break constituted 4 hours interspersed with 3 hours at cubicle and finally a continuous stress of 4 hours of table tennis with no manager's supervision for either of the activities. The bottlenecks - Well the project had many bottlenecks that I never had to look for one. Finally after 5 stressful months, the project was scrapped ending the dream run. Yet that project is still on my resume still glittering in all its inexistent glory.

8. Pune beckoned
I moved to Pune or was I moved to Pune is still a mystery. Theoretically after mutual agreement between my manager and me, I moved to Pune - is probably the politically correct way of telling it. Unfortunately here the bottles started haunting me again. I had to find the bottlenecks. That was my mission. I went after the mission with great zeal. However, they never described the catch in finding bottlenecks. This did me in. The catch is the famous - apples to apples comparison. They told me I was comparing apples with oranges and so all the necks that I was shoving were not of any bottles. Never mind, if you did not understand the above statements. In short, it means I goofed up again. Until some days after the incident, all I could see was apples, oranges, bottles, bottleneck and bottles without bottlenecks.

9. Recession
It was the biggest conspiracy hatched up by the underworld to end my blissful project-less a.k.a no-work period. My manager told me that you are committing a big crime by sitting on a bench (an IT euphemism meaning no work) during a recession. So he sent me to the Yerawada jail (not exactly but very near to that and very similar to that) for all my past deeds. Got a new manager to report to. He was a nice guy with decent expectations from me. But then again I managed to do the improbable.

The actual completion percentage  (red worm) dropped off instead of trying to catch-up with the expected completion (blue worm). It was looking like a horrible run chase by the team batting second in a limited-overs cricket. My manager only told me one thing - Either the red worm should start looking up or your salary will start mirroring the red worm. I took the cue and I jumped ship again. :)

10. Mumbai
Mumbai is complex, exciting and unpredictable. The pot-holes and the mumbai rains share a special bonding. They both mirror each other in every way possible by just turning up when least expected. Later I realized there was one more thing that was mirroring these two things. It was the project I was mapped to. Every turn was a new pothole and sometimes it would be big pit. Its sole existence is to remind you off the pit stops in life as in F1 race. However, it would be the kind of pit, where you only realize that you are in a pit after you fall in. So here in Mumbai I fall in pits and potholes in search of the illusive necks, bottles and bottlenecks.

So now anticipating a more exciting journey ahead starting with the current pit in which I am in....Happy New Decade to you all (if you are still reading :P )