Thursday, 18 September 2008

Perils of a software engineer

“So what’s next?” Asked my boss.

I looked at him. My eyes piercing, trying to gasp what could be coming in the next sentence! will the next sentence blow a deathblow to my career, will I be laid off, will I be given the pink slip and told “Many thanks for your service which were of no use to the company, and you with all your dignity may leave us now.”

Was this question a rhetoric one? the answer hidden in between to indicate, there was, actually, nothing coming up. We finally  were standing at the end of a road, which suddenly without giving any prior notice plunged into the ocean from where we stood. There was no way out. There was nowhere to go. I was the puppet of a closed system, and suddenly that system was dying. It stopped circulating blood and things got deteriorated.

“Well?” Came a probing voice. From the same source. With the same kind of pre-destined sense of finiteness in itself.

“Could be anything. There may be an escalation. Or there might be a complaint.” I vaguely tried to reply.

We were standing in one of those numerous glass rooms of the IT park I work in. It was a bright day literally, although the outer brightness did not bring any happiness to me.  glass-rooms were scary. And you go in them seldom. It was like a federal jail really. There were stony faced Project Managers, angry tech-leads, and in some cases when things went really wrong, group leaders. I had never been to a glass-room before. I had heard all sorts of stories about it.

One of my friend told me his horrific experience, where one glass-room visit had brought down his rating from an impeccable top to the dirty ground, in spite of clearing all the trainings in time, in spite of being the first one to fill in timesheet. Such are the perils of glass-room. Another friend told me, how he felt like inside a glass-room. The AC can not cool down a glass-room. Its usually like a blast furnace. Temperature grows up, up and above. Extravagant jargons fly around. The youngest person in the room is really fried on hot oil, messengers of satan beat him with harsh words, and the listless hapless fellow is reduced to dusts, with all his defense broken, all his mind crooked.

And there I was, in my short IT career, for the first time, in a glass room. I could see my project manager asking me questions impossible to be answered. Obviously I ain’t a clairvoyant fortune teller. I am just a mere coder, who can never foretell what will be the output of his code, leave alone this sort of turmoil filled earth where your whimsical client may kill you (not literally you but the contract) the next minute or he may himself go bankrupt.

I was afraid. I was thinking of all the gargantuan effects my mistakes can have on the company, the industry and the economy of the country.

These days its a fashion to go bankrupt for US companies. Who knows my American client will grab this smallest of opportunity to go that direction, and declare himself as one. US govt. in turn will have to come in rescue. They might see a deep conspiracy by Indian economic powerhouses in doing so. They might declare a war against India which will turn into a world war III demolishing economy of India in turn. OMG, demolishing indian economy is a bit too much I thought. Isn’t that the new avatar of invincibility ? Like they at Dalal street say so coolly?


My boss, turned his bespectacled, rude face towards me. “Do you even know what this can turn us into? We will be called novices by the client!”

Errr.. Novices?? Is that what this thing all about is?

After much ado I found out…

There was an error message I wrote in my code, “please do not provide garbaje values in the xml as it will be difficult to read by our production support guys who will read it manually.”


It was sent to the client who did not read the document. It was tested by professional testers (or so they claimed) and they did not find anything wrong with that. Now when it has gone live, a user has raised a defect stating that the spelling mistake in garbage is so eye catching that, there has been a million complaints about it.


And now we were, in the glass room! Doom looked at me with disdain. A million years of zero rating if I still manage to save my job, is sure to be the next best punishment.

The perils of a software engineer continues…

Sunday, 14 September 2008


I am nervous. Its been 3 long years since I had seen you. Since I held your hands passionately and kissed your lips. Its been 2 years since I had talked to you over the phone or on internet. Its been 1 year since the last of the emails reached my mail box, and the reply to which got lost in oblivion.

I have heard about you, in every friend gathering. I have handled zillions of questions related to you.. quite diplomatically. Without having to say the obvious which I kept hidden like a little secret like so many we had. Those little secrets we always had. I knew you are alright. I knew your life grew out of the path that I had chosen and that, divergence was the fate we had, was pretty clear to me.

I had relinquished the company of known faces. People with unknown names and background gave comfort to me. You know, when you keep on meeting newer people, you don’t have to answer personal questions. I had even confided in those people whom probably I would never meet again, to talk about life, to talk about the pain it throws your way. In many ways those strangers were a man (woman in some cases) with golden heart. Many of them told me the eternal truth of Geeta, that whatever happens is for good. I wasn’t looking for reassurance though. But it was relief for me, to let some oxygen enter the closed ventricle of my heart. Where there was nothing, now there is a bit of blood circulation.

For three years now, slowly but steadily I had to meditate to get my mind back on living. I was depressed for a long time. I was mad at myself. I felt guilty and at the same time tried to reason out my own bail. I remembered all that was said between you and me. I thought of all the close moments once the bulb is switched off in my bedroom. I thought of all the fights that torn us apart. Most of the cases I felt it was my fault. But that was too late for a confession. Or rather, that self acknowledgement was a mere act of reconciliation, something to get things straighter than what they were at that time.

I wanted to feel you by my side by taking deep breaths and the smell wasn’t there anymore. I wrote down numerous mails…then deleted them. I never called as all the previous efforts of talking had failed and turned into a dull exchange of silence.

Now that I am waiting here, at the arrival lobby of this airport, I do not know whether you will glow up seeing me there. Whether you will recognise me here. None told me you are coming. I came on my own. Overhearing someone saying this. You may choose to ignore me. You may even turn away if you happen to see me by chance. I felt a sudden surge of adrenalin rushing through my body. The tea cup I was holding was too hot to be held in control. Hence I threw it out. I looked away, there you were.

And then you smiled at me.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Rock On

I am not a good reviewer. Neither am I a good watcher. Plus I suck at memory. Guess most of my upper compartment is made of highly volatile memory stuff. Hence what I see in a movie gets evaporated with a speed faster than light. Unless it’s a real crap movie, I seriously can’t remember any bloody thing about the movie. Be it Godfather be it the dark knight and be it the lord of the rings. 

Hence I am typing fast. But alas, nothing can beat the speed of light. Now after having written the first paragraph of this blog entry, I no longer remember what it was for if it was not for the title which I have written at the top. Yes, things are that desperate with me! Now before I forget anything more, let’s go back to business and talk about this movie.

Rock on is a refreshingly different movie. For a change no boy meets a girl. They don’t sing a song where invisible musicians and angel dancers flock around. The characters are not invincible. Shades of grey are aplenty. And yet, could not classify any of the characters as a dark one. That’s why I classify this to be a feel good movie, however the good feeling is not only about the story and the user experience (err, forgive my IT lingo), but about the movie itself. It’s well made. It talks its hearts content without any pretension. It is there to warm your heart. It does so effortlessly.

The characters are played quite flawlessly. Apart from one or two minor actors everyone has done well. Special mention is required for Farhan and Arjun Ram Pal. Farhan is charismatic and plain at the same time. Sings effortlessly with absolutely delighting expressions and has all the symptoms of a rock star. At least those I have seen during my college days, those fossils, kaktus guys, they are assimilated in Farhan. Yet when he is back in today’s world, as a successful executive, he glows there as well. He doesn’t talk to his wife, he is disturbed and nowhere he makes it over-emphatic, his simple dialogues and his sincere delivery makes it all too natural. He if he wishes to, can become a great actor like Irfan Khan like Rahul Bose and likes of them.

Arjun Ram pal astonished me. For years that have passed, I have seen this mountain of muscle sink into more obscurity from obscurity. And suddenly he rises and in what style. The failed guitarist Joe is a delight to watch. He fights with his wife, he fights with friends yet talks less, keeps his pain to himself, and does perfect justice to the role entrusted to him.

While KD is normal, I believe Rob was the weakest link among the cast. Prachi comes in a similar role to her sas bahu roles and she excels. The others are quite normal.

Now the movie doesn’t have a great story and all. It’s a normal winning story. But what it gets is a great making. And a brave director.

The movie is a winner and gives us a lot of insight on how to make a successful commercial movie.

The draw backs I would say, dialogues and the songs. When you are making a movie on music, the songs should have been a bit more authentic rock music and I seriously expected at least one punk/trash rock number in the OST. The dialogues are no where near what they were in DCH. But then DCH was a cult movie. And I have no grudges to keep it that way. This is a commercially successful enjoyable movie. It is nothing more than that, and it never pretends to be!

Now what I did not write about the movie is this is also a movie about friendship. Heart warming friendship. this movie talks about breaking up, coming together back again. it talks about how to shake hands give a hi five and forget the past and move on. this movie talks about life, and living on. This is the reason I like this movie.

Phew, writing down all that you wanted to write, is a difficult thing. But thank God I did it. Cheers.