If these words don’t mean anything or do not inspire you, head here for more insight from Steve Jobs. (Instead of just giving the link, I felt it appropriate to shamelessly quote the whole speech here). Trust me, it is a gem among all the speeches, and is very inspiring. The best speech I have ever read/heard, and I bet it would leave a smilar impression with you too. Note: bold/italicizing emphasis mine, and if you are too lazy to read, video is –>here<–.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

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Make a mark

July 18, 2006

This short video (03m:29s) is an ad for RedHat Linux, but it drives home a great point (in the generic sense).

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.
– M.K.Gandhi

Make a mark.Footprints:

When does a baby show signs of geekism? When it utters the first word as “F”.
[Ref: Newton’s II law of motion: F = ma]

I dont want to be another Sanjay F(offtrack: what does F stand for?) Gupta or Kapi-kat (meow) Anu Malik. Hence, before I go ahead, like a good boy, I confess: I was hevvilee inspired by this post, of a fellow gultee. It is a nice and phannee phost, I suggest you to read it. I am here all day, go and come back.

thanks for coming back and not escaping when given a chance to, either way I would have hunted you down.

 I thought of kicking the bal-tee after reading that post about gul-tee males, by hanging from my dho-tee, but couldnt do the gal-tee. So, before you do ul-tee on my sick poetr-ee, I pour my side of being guilty.. er I mean a gultee(TM). It is purely based on my experiences, all resemblances to people living and dead (mostly) are bery bery yintensheenal.

Gultee(n): [sometimes refered to as gulti] meaning: Pavan's dictionary defines them as a thriving species from the South Eastern part of India (Andhra Pradesh) who speak an alien language called "Telugu" and are found in laaarge numbers all over the world. They are the second biggest group of Indians in US, after Gujjus (if you havent heard of them, then does motels or gas-stations or Subways ring a bell?). Every saftware company has Gults, and more gults, from programmer to tester to quality assurance department to CEO. From Oracle to MS to Google to Sitaramasastry Inc, they are everywhere. Devon street (Chicago)? check, SFO? check, Fairbanks-Alaska? check. East coast? checkuduu. Hawaii? you are kidding right? yes yes yes re baba, even there check.

Snippet: hint to imagine the scenario: When you are at Niagara falls, you hear only two languages: English and telugu.

First time I heard this word "Gult" was in TamilNadu (the perennial enemy of AP, grrrr). I was introduced to the class on my first  day and they asked me where I was from. Innocently, I replied "High-daru-baad". Oh, so you are a gultaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? (the "-aa-" part was not that long, but even today it echoes in my ears, after 9+ years). I turned behind to see if this guy was squint-eyed, and actually refering to somebody else. Nopes. His eyes drilled a 2-ft hole into my face. So, smilingly, trying to defuse the situation, I asked "gultee? what is that". My feebish smile faded. The person responsible for this invention should be awarded Nobel prize. What a creativity? You have the word-Telugu. You hate it right?. So? reverse it. Not "ugluet" (which again shares spelling with aglee i.e. ugly, damn!) but "te-lu-gu" becomes "gu-lu-te". So, Tamil is milta? Gujju is jjuggu?

That was short-lived, as I quickly learnt Tamil and become "machan" there. I never knew my past would haunt me here. In US, the Indian maps that are sold have the AP region marked as "Gult-land". Your online identity is taken over by this slang. Girls stop interacting with you if they know you are a gultee. It is as if I ride a bullock-cart, with stained teeth and torn clothes, swarm of flies around me, smell of cowdung. ayyayyo! grow up. Why this characterization-oo?

Aaj se theek 2 saal pehle, at US consulate:

Consular general: "So what is your name?"
Gult: " Venkata Ramana Gogula Vara Prasad Reddy"
CG: "huh? Where are the others?"

Snippet: Pavan's probability theorem states that if you go to any gult-land and randomly shout "Venkat", there would be atleast 2 people turning back.

Gult community is a close-knit family. They are present in universities, offices, large corporations. They keep a tab on every other Gult. "You know aa? Subbigadu got an offer from Microsoft. Dont tell anybody. He wants it to be a secret." Rinse, lather, repeat. "What ra, I heard you getting married next month? How much dowry huh?". "Mama, I need some info on this babe my parents are trying to set me up with. Do you know any Madhurima at University of Gult-sthan?". I even have plans to set up Gult Inc here. They are like FedEx, but on a small scale and into micro-economics. You want pickles to be sent from Hyd to Norfolk Virginia? No probs. You want 1 kg Pulla Reddy sweets delivered to Wisconsin-Madison? done. [..are your parents or relatives living in India..] Wanna send $400 to Dilsukhnagar (Hyd)? Not ICICI dumbo, Gult Inc. Call 1-800-PAVAN for further details. The airspace between US and AP is shrinking daily. You know why Concorde was built first place? You didnt read it here, okay? Stats show that there are atleast a dozen gults in air every second travelling the Hyd-US route. You know why telecom shares are rising daily? Try calling Hyderabad on a weekend or festive day from US. Sometimes, it is quicker to fly and wish your loved ones there. Every house in Hyd has atleast one (update: just received, it is actually 2) close relative living in US.

PR and contacts are our best asset. Every other Gult has a fat address book and the phonelist is as big as a telephone directory. Getting admitted to a university, getting reference/reco for a job etc. become easier if you are in the Gult-club.

Rule 1: You never speak about Gult club

Rule 2: You never speak about Rule#1

Rule 3: You never blog about Gult-club, especially in a derogatory tone.

Rule 4: You are so screwed today Pavan, it being a Friday evening. Your friends will have a nice time deep-frying you in hot oil.

This has reached new heights. Just like Indian BPO learn American accent, team leaders and project managers here are attending telugu courses. Really, Chandrababu Naidu kee kasam. NJ and Cal (silicon valley) has numerous of our group members running our mission there. The biggest two clubs in US are: TANA and ATA.

My views are very very skewed due to the fact that I hardly stayed in AP (and with gults). So, before you lift those hockey sticks and brickbats, I would like to proclaim this to the world, by shouting from Sears Towers: "I am proud to be gult, and shall do my best to pass on this legacy, by holding great respect to this institution". Amen. I mean A-Gulti-men.

Background song:

"Chahey koi mujhe Gultee kahey,
Kehne do jee kehta rahe,
ham sattire ke deewane hain,
hum blog kare"

–>Next week: Aravam land (Tamilians)- the revenge of the gults!<–

Arranged marriage 101

March 27, 2006

Kaun banegi meri patnee? (a sequel to Shaadi dot com)
(background music: Apache Indian's 'Arranged marriage')
———————————-
**Disclaimer: Please read the following with a sac of salt (preferably iodised). All disclaimers apply. Void where prohibited. May contain traces of peanuts.
———————————–

Shaadi dot com was all about my travails in trying to get the attention of the female folk (reminds me of Robin Williams' song: Rock DJ, where he desperately tries to get the attention of some babes by stripping.. initially his clothes, and then stripping his skin and muscles.. eventually he does get noticed!). Well, I can't afford such acts as my university insurance plan has limited coverage, and my grad advisor has high hopes on me: that I am graduating and leaving him soon. I want to live upto them.

ALL the people I have interacted with here (primarily Gults) have been hinted by their parents that once they get a job, they should be ready to be sold in the marriage market. Yes, and this isnt just for gults, even my marathi roomie had a close encounter. He was actually directly approached by a prospective girl in a temple in Hyderabad about any interest in tying the nuptial knots (true true, kasam se). He, like many others here, was not used to (or expecting) such a behaviour (not even in his "wildest" dreams) and hence was admitted to ICU after that shock. He is okay now, but has stopped going to temples.

As regards to my case: Brahmins are known to get married late. Late? How late? The median age, from the stats that I studied, came to 27 and the range sometimes even touches the value of 35 (OMG! yes bro, I am serious. Its a bad world).

So, as usual, my hyperactive brain started cooking up fictious marriage interviews. I mashed them, and present here in a dramatized fashion. Oh, and would you like to have fries with it?

Interview
———-

At home. "OMG! My first interview. I was not so tensed even for my Visa Consulate interview, and not even my first job interview. What to do now?"

There appeared a faint light.. which grew stronger.. 3 people emerged into my room.. Larry, Sergey and Eric (Founders, CEO) smiling at me. Screenshot:

Aha! Goooogle!! it has got me though my thesis.. through my job interviews.. my job and now hopefully my marriage too. I ran towards my laptop, and plugged in the search term: "Marriage interview questions". I got some stats from China, about the divorce rate comparison b/w love and arranged marriages, some matrimonial problem questions females put at ammas.com, Yahoo's answers to "what is arranged marriage", rants of some blogger about marrying an engineer etc. but no freaking interview questions for me.

Sigh!

I quickly write down some questions I saw for HR interviews on google. I am prepared (sort of). Now, I feel like I have AK-47 and could go to war.

Scene: Girl's house

Me looking at floor and walking. Prospective Father-in-law (refered as PFIL) greets and invites me and my family. He asks me, "How was the trip beta? Is it too hot here? You want cold water aa". I use mime language. After 5 minutes he expressed his doubt: "Your son doesnt talk much haan?" To pacify his fears, I talked. I asked him "Uncle, uh Where is the rest room?".

While making a quick run to the restroom, I catch a glimpse of the girl (the prospective bride). Situation is out of control. She has a batallion of 4 women. I am alone. I SOS my parents. No help. They deserted me. I chant Hanuman chalisa, get some courage and return back to my seat. There are some refreshments placed on the table now.  After the usual chit-chat  between elders, "da moment" comes. **drums rolling** She arrives excorted by 2 girls. My heart stops thumping. I take a minute trying to recognize who the bride is and who the chelaas (chelees?) are. After memory comparison from the photo gets completed, I look for my ammo (my list of questions) in the pocket. Its there. Ah, a relief. I feel safe.

PFIL now dons the role of Derek O'Brien, and starts Bournvita Quiz contest. 2 quizmasters (PFIL and PMIL), and one bechara kid (me). Rapid fire round. "So, beta where do you work?". I was about to give my University's name (cant blame the 2+ years at grad school), then I realised and replied accordingly. "So what is your designation?" "How much do you earn?" Damn! I forgot to get the file with my SSN card, H-1 papers, pay slips, photos of me and my boss, my apartment, my neighbors etc. Maybe I should have prepared a powerpoint presentation about me and my job etc.. But then I realised it is understandable on their part to grill me, as they would not want their daughter to be placed in the hands of a sadist (Nana Patekar in Agnipath), or a gay or a berozgaar or coolie (Govinda as in Coolie #1).

So, after passing the first stage of filtering (**sound of royal trumpets**), I get some confidence. I broaden my chest, and walk triumphantly to the next stage.

Commercial break: some snacks and fruit juice prepared by the bride herself. Wow! "and here are some Pulla Reddy sweets beta". I ask, "Could I have to-go please?" (Damn it!)

Next scene: Hum tum, ek kambre mein band ho, aur chaabi kho jaye.

Now, I get a chance to see "her" closely, both physically and mentally. Man, is she beautiful or what? If I had known before that SHE was in store for me, I would have graduated in 1.5 years flat. Anyways, I smile. She smiles. I look around. She looks around. She looks at my arm. I flex my muscles more. She stares more. I feel proud. I flex more. Then me realised: my shirt caught some dust on the arm. argh!

2 minutes gone.

Tik-tik.. time is running fast.. I cant use my helplines, nor call Computer mahoday.. Bachan saab, please bachao.. Kaun banega iska pati? I cant remember any one-liner, or any hint to flirt. Weather? Yes, the most trite topic. "So, its HOT here, isnt it?" (I thought of adding "is it summer yet or is it just YOU", but then I didnt want to be kicked out by her parents or her big bro. So I kept quiet.) "Yeah", she smiled (thinking she could have as well checked weather.com). Me: Man, what a smile. I could do anything to see her smile stay. I could not stand up as my knees were weak. Her long black hair, her swaying earrings refrained me from talking. If I dont do anything NOW, I might become the President of Antarrashtriya Brahmachari Sangh. So, I stood up.. mustered some courage, and…. switched on the fan. (bummer)

"So, did you watch the latest Star Wars?" I ask, and she replies "nah, not interested in such fictions". Awesome, I would marry you. But hey, no. Its just one interest that matched. Learn more about her. "Yeah, me too, I prefer Govinda comedies, and Varma thrillers. You saw Saw aa? I mean you saw the movie SAW?" She said, "Ewww, that was gross." Me smiling meekly, "yeah true, but the suspense was a..c..t..u..a..l..l..y good. reminder: No wise-ass remarks. (thiking to change topic). Thinking: What should I ask her? Hey can I see your Barbie collection? no.. Do you play Ludo? dumbo! no. hmmn Do you like thin crust or thick crust pizza? Whaaaaat? Me thinking: Change the topic. "So, I studied at blah blah and …. and I traveled these states… blah blah.. blah blah.. I blurted out the speech I had prepared for my job HR interviews (and also X standard republic day function). Hmmn, she listened. She listened! And seemed interested (or was it another Oscar winning performance?). Then tables turned, and she talked. Though there were some glitches: Me asked: "So what are your greatest strenghts?". She replied: "I am black belt in karate, if that helps". Slap! Served me good. But she does have good sense of humor. great! Things worked out, and we got married. Our pics were posted at shaadi dot com's 'success stories of 2008' section. And we lived happily ever after.. with chunnu, munnu and chutki . woooowoo slow down Cowboy, fast-forwarded?.

And then.. and then, the morning comes. Sun rises. Alarm goes buzzing. Its 6 am. I wake up to another day at the university. I wake up to reality. That dream I just saw is atleast 2 more years away.

PS: Some true marriage interview questions or marriage experiences I read/heard:

1) A guy went to look for a marriage proposition recently. That girl was a BTech in Comp Sci and was looking for a job. The guy wanted a working female as his wife. He wasnt sure if she would eventually get a job. So inorder to test her calibre, he asked her to write a C program **during their first meeting**. I was out of words on reading this.

2) A couple got married and the husband brought his wife to US. On arriving at NY airport, she got faraaar with her boyfriend (~Runaway bahu), who was waiting in DDLJ stlye for his Senorita. The boy was heart broken. Understandable. But her parents accuse the boy that he is responsible! He got a bad name. And now runs faster than P.T.Usha when he hears the word 'marriage'.

Due to lack of much info on the internet on this "top-secret" ritual (that happens behind close doors, and the word never comes out), I present some TIPS given by top leaders in this field (who boast of atleast a dozen such interviews, and from many corners of the world.. they have lost acres of hair and are now veterans in this field). They are copied blatantly by who-else (with my spl. masala tippani):

1) First, make the girl very comfortable. Dont start shooting questions at once. Break the ice (no not the cubes from the juice you idiot). Crack some "okay jokes". Pjs also okay. Maybe some embarassing moments so that it would ease up the tension. Listen to her. Give her some opportunity to talk.

2) Ask her if she's ready for the marriage or if it is a Amrish-Puri-forcing-Kajol-style-zabardasti marriage. Check the house, if it has any sarso-ka-kheth or guitars around, then have Mandira Bedi as a backup. Flirt with as many females as possible in that house. Who knows? (Exaggerated, reader discretion advised).

3) Then make her talk. Try to know more about her preferences and stuff. In the course of talking, you let her know your preferences in a subtle way. Make a chart, or try match-the-following like you did in your VI class.

4) If you strike a common chord, done. A new life awaits you. If not, then you are done. You have one more feather to add to your interviewing-skills cap. Add this to your resume and show it to your boss. Ask for pay raise.

5) Dont forget to eat the snacks provided. Its a trailer to what you might eat for the rest of your life (provided what the PMIL said is true: "yeh meri beti ne khudh apne haathon se banaye hain".. or actually "khudh apne haathon se Shop se lekar ayee").

6) Pray to Lord Hanuman. As he was pivotal in uniting Ram and Sita, he might also help you in a similar way (please dont burn down the house of the PFIL, its dangerous).

7) Don't ask about her previous life. Neither is she interested in your previous life (I mean before marriage, not the reincarnation stuff aha). You arent buying stuff on e-bay. You are about to start a new life together. So keep your Sherlock-Holmes skills aside. And got this tip straight from horse's mouth through a lil birdie, that some guys do ask if the prospective bride is virgin. What can I say? Read point #7 again. Suggested reading: desicritics writing by Amrita

8) Preferably talk in the common/native language (or mother toungue) or a language that both are comfortable in. Avoid English (you gave TOEFL long back), unless both are ABCDs or nomads wandering the whole of India with no good grip over any Indian bhasha (like me). It helps better to see through each others' ego this way.

9) Ask: "where do you see yourself 4 years from now" or something like that (bad idea? rephrase the query or better skip this) to know about future plans- like job, further studies etc.

10) You are making a new friend (or foe), so dont be too obvious that you are assesing the other person (eventhough subconsciously that might the case). Dont take notes and dont lift the scorecard with 8 or 4 written.

11) Always stop at 11 questions or 11 points. It is a very lucky number.

These were suggested by some people, and I present the tips on 'as-is-where-is' basis with some dramatization. I would welcome any experiences, tips, suggestions or views from both XX and XY chromosomes. I am a newbie, so I am open for correction.

Fin.

Shaadi dot com

February 25, 2006

Isnt it weird that the domain shaadi.com has 'com' at the end? dotcoms are for companies which are into commercial ventures, and like shaadi.com is commercial, even a shaadi is. I know a couple of friends whose "market-value" is 2 crores each. hmmn is that why they are called crore-pati? I am a brahmin, so I go on sale for cheaper than a Toshiba laptop. And if I approach 30 and still remain unmarried, my parents would put me up on e-bay.

I guess this is shaadi season. Because, I have been getting wedding cards as attachments, people I know are getting marrried or getting air-lifted by damsels, I see my friends looking at pictures sent by their parents (yup, marriage proposals), and I thought, what about me? Keeping the serious side of me aside (that I have to have a steady job with a decent bank account to get the attention of even a female fly), but whats wrong in writing about it, as it is a slow day.

Firstly, I aint alone, I have company in the distressed-traumatic singles' league. After reading that, I felt happy. I am 24, still a student, having a back-pack on, and still going to 'school'. How different am I since I was 3? Even then, I went to school, and had a school bag. well, atleast I dont take lunch with me now. But, I am still single.

Lately, I have seen this shaadi bug biting all my friends here. One got married, one looking at proposals (background: Bryan Adams' Summer of 69). This shaadi-mania starts with a strong urge of going to gym. Afterall, when you wish your wife to be like Sonali Bendre, wouldnt she want you to be like Salman Khan (without the baldness, and short-temper, and the many affairs.. and bad behaviour.. and shooting incidents.. and [space not enough]). So, a guy like me whose meaning of going to gym translates to walking past it, goes to gym religiously (even on weekends, and feels guilty for having skipped one day), I am serious, and this has been the trend with many here.

So, when do you know that you are of marriageable age, and how do you cope up with that? Here are some random thoughts:

  1. You Flirt: This one time, I was in the department lab, and I was talking to a girl. She was leaning against the table (with a computer on it), and accidently moved the mouse with her back. The computer turned itself on (from the hibernation mode). I passed a comment: "Hey, You turned it ON". No response, I repeated. No response. I was about to hand in a 1-page essay trying to explain the lame joke and then thunder struck her, and she smiled! That was the last time I flirted.
  2. You are on prowl:The situation is bad when at Walmart, you choose which billing counter to go based upon.. wait not the length of the queue, but the 'wow-factor' of the sales girl.
  3. Moments that make the urge stronger: When you are tired, and hungry.. and go home expecting some tasty food. But imagine your roomie sitting there, munching chips, and points to the calendar reminding that it is your 'cooking turn'. These are the moments you dont know if you would kill him, or lift him and give a kiss (I would go for the first option, definitely). When you do your laundry, or grocery shopping.. or when you open the fridge and find it emptier than Sahara Desert or Salman Khan's head.. these make one more reason to get married.
  4. I went to a movie with a bunch of friends, and there were couples holding hands.. and smooching.. at the theatre. I was busy looking for a stone. Didnt you do that when you were in India, when you saw two dogs on heat? Yeah, stone them and separate! After entering the theatre, I saw couples holding hands. I looked on my left and right seats. Not one female in 1 mile radius from me. What do I do? I clasp my left hand with my right hand. That felt better.
  5. Browsing telugumatrinomy.com is a big-time affair here. We go through the profiles (sad that they dont have RSS feeds) quite regularly. This helps us in 2 ways: (i) we keep ourselves informed of the latest technology (err I mean trends, etc.), and we would know what they expect, and what to expect from them. (ii) Sometimes, to boost our dead ego, we browse at profiles of guys our age, and after looking at their salaries and jobs, we run to our repective departments. reminder: Finish thesis, get a real job.
  6. While crossing the road, a girl with long black hair, and big circular earrings catches your attention more than the speeding bus (screaming abey andha hai kya? in english).

Disclaimer: Many incidents above are works of fiction (could include this disclaimer too), I wrote just for the heck of it. If you are a girl and had even the bleakest thought of contacting the author, please do not form an opinion after reading this. Feel free (I dont charge) to contact me, call or meet me in person. I also come with a 1 year no-questions-asked return poilcy. And if you happen to know somebody, whose life you want to see getting ruined, contact me NOW!

TIPS for self:

Pick-Up Lines to use on Engineering Chicks

* I won't stop bugging you until I get the address of your home page.
* Let's convert our potential energy to kinetic energy.
* Wanna come back to my room and see my 166mhz Pentium?
* How about you and I go back to my place and form a covalent bond?
* You're sweeter than glucose.
* We're as compatible as two similar Power Macintoshes.
* Wanna see the programs in my HP-48GX?
* Your body has the nicest arc length I've ever seen.
* You're hotter than a bunsen burner set to full power!
* My love for you is like a concave up function because it is always increasing.

Footprints:

I am not single, I'm romantically challenged.

Paritrana- new politics

February 8, 2006

Indian politics sees the birth of a new baby: a party called Paritrana. I first heard about this as an offline (over IM) from a couple of friends, and then googled a bit to know more. It is being compared to a Bollywood movie by Mani Ratnam, Yuva.

It has really educated people (I appreciate their desire to make a change), and I sincerely hope that more educated, learned, and younger people come into politics (thanks to Manmohan Singh and P. Chindambaram for being close to what I yearned for). If every learned person makes an effort, things would turn towards a better tommorow. Join Paritrana, and be a part of a better India! Oh, and btw, please watch the short movie made by Bharatbala on India, its very inspiring. Its titled "Young and resurgent India".

UPDATE: Desicritics has an interview with Paritrana's Chandrashekar.

Footprints:

"Education is the manifestation of the perfection already present in man "-Swami Vivekananda

A view through my window

February 3, 2006

——————————————
@uthor: Pavan, dt: Feb 1, 2006 A.D.
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skeletal plot/framework:
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A paralysed person lives with his family. His family of son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, wife, wife's mother, grandkids, blah blah the usual muclear family found (for instance in Indian families). He is narrating a story.. his story:

"I never thought something like this would ever happen.. NEVER.. EVER"

This marks the beginning of the narration, in his own voice (flashback, not obvious to audience).

Our family is like any soap-drama family, fit to be shot for a serial. The laughs we shared, the tears we wiped, the pains we saw and the hardships we underwent. They seemed to be washed away with the smiles of the kids running around. I was in military, happily married with my wife.

I had blah kids, blah blah about family. Then there was the time for retirement. A month before my retirement, I was called for my last assignment, my last chance to prove my worth, to show my love towards my country.

Scene changes to hospital, where somehow the message is conveyed to the audience that there was some explosion which badly injured this commander, leaving him paralysed for life, and.. yes he says "AND" and pauses, screen fades, this should be subtle and not obvious.

Scene cuts there, fast forwards to: he back at home.. henceforth there is a change in the way camera shows stuff, some change in color, or appears to be blurr, the deep hidden meaning unravels later..

He rarely moves from his bed, and the camera is always, note ALWAYS, shown from his viewpoint. People come to him to converse, he calls people, but he rarely moves (as is the case due to his paralysis condition). But the thing to note is the camera angle, and the camera effects.

So, his family reunion happens for this festival/holiday season. The night that makes him, or?

Now this is the trickiest part (and maybe the most challenging part to make this more thrilling), insert a intelligently woven plot that creates this situation:
there is some discomfort/rivalry that was boiling from months among his kids or whatever that leads to one of the son shooting the daughter or somebbody, and then one leads to another and the elders die except for his only son, while the grandkids run away.

This (above) is the best part, hence great care has to be taken to picturize this, including the dialogues. Yes, the dialogues have to be ambigous, yet making lot of meaning, and should involve minimal names, but also refer to the general by name.

Shooting sounds should be heard, and not shown, as the general cant move. But show the son shooting with a gun once, through the door.

Remember: the camera does not move with the characters, it stays with the general, and the charaters have to somehow come to the room this general is in, or to the room adjacent so that he can listen to them, or see them through the door.

So, from the shooting festival, the general asseses that his son was behind money or whatever and shoots the remaining family members and is entering this room (the general heard sounds like "what are you doing son", shot sound.. etc to confirm his suspicion). So as soon as his son comes close to him, he pulls his gun and shoots him (when the son touches the general, and is about to carry or something).

Scene fades, cops come and clear the scene, charge the dead son for the murders and the general goes to care center, hoping to see his only alive family: his grandkids alive sometime, or maybe not.

Scene fades, and the camera is restored to the usual style (that was before he met with the accident), and the important/prominent scenes are re-enacted for the audience, with the same sounds and dialogues, but the story unravels in a different way, such that there was some outsider/some thief/some burglar who was chiefly responsible for the murder fest, and the son was innocent and actually had come to rescue his father (after killing the burglar). The family was actually shot by the gang or whatever.

The scene fades..

The scene style/color restores to the type after the general was paralysed.. the camera zooms out of his bed, where he is lying with his back faced, and then the table next to his bed, has a pair of black specs (prominent), pause for GOD's sake,
and then continue zooming out, and the words repeat:

"I never thought something like this would ever happen, EVER.."
____

Now, things to take care of: after the accident/paralysis, all the characters have to remain in the same clothes for the rest of the movie. So, one has to intelligently morph this fact, that days pass, but their clothes remain the same. So lot of distraction has to be created, and minimal use of 'grand' clothes is to be ensured.

And dont forget the camera angle, most important, and the camera blur style/or b/w style, as this isnt Sixth sense, we have to show people interacting with the paralysed general, to show he is alive, and is NOT dreaming.

The re-enactment of the scenes has to be slicky, not revealing much facts, leaving the person watching/reading this thinking.

My explanation/spoiler: A blind person is not blind by his brain. He still watches things in his brain, from the sounds he hears to. Sometimes, he is right, ah sometimes..

The thing to focus here is: narrow the viewing perspective of the movie/story to that of the general, so that we see only through his perspective, and the audience is made to believe that what he says/thinks/sees is damn right. But the reality is something else.

-Fin