Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crossing out stalkers

If you ask me what's the most irritating thing on the net these days, I'd say that 'Checking out others messages and scraps' on networking sites ranks high up there.

I'm actually ok with people who check out others' messages or scraps without their knowledge. In Orkut terms, one could check out others' profiles/scraps after enabling one's privacy options. That way, one won't let the other person know that one has visited their profile. This is ok to an extent because you would probably presume that people who visit your profile and don't scrap you are the ones you don't know, and you most likely don't care what they are up to. If they are stalkers, so be it. If they have all the time in the world to check out messages meant for others, amen.

But what is most irritating is people whom you know - directly or indirectly - who visit your profile very, very often; who deliberately let you know that they are doing so, and also don't say anything to you. I mean, what is really their point? If you know that a remote 'friend' of yours visits your scrap daily and says nothing, what would you do? How do you cross them out? I personally don't write personal stuff out there, but stalking even in its rudimentary form is very unnerving. And that is not to say much. That's being cheap, and letting everybody know that you are cheap, which makes it cheaper than cheap.

Image courtesy: Randomstuff

Friday, October 26, 2007

Capture a moment in history

This is the kind of stuff I like. You could either look at each second as just another second or as a moment in history. A moment that you wouldn't get anymore. Point of no return.

MetroBlogs Chennai is undertaking a unique and very interesting project: Capturing the moment. Wherever you are, and whatever you are looking at, catch that snap at exactly 3.11 pm on November 3rd 2007 and send that to Chennai Metblogs.

I instantly liked the concept, and am excited to see how different people's lives looked like at that moment in history. Go ahead and grab yourself a snap!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Powerless dressing

This is one of my favorites. Why are Chennai’s youngsters so insensitive about dressing and personal grooming? No, please don’t wear the ‘we are born conservatives’ turban right away. Not yet. And no, don’t jump into the conclusion that I’m drawing parallels between Chennai and Paris. I’m not that Utopian. Ever wondered why dressing and Chennai just doesn’t even try to go hand in hand? Why do people (for the most part) have such a pathetic dressing and presentation sense?

First, allow me clear my points. I’m absolutely open to the idea of conservative dressing. I’m totally fine with people wearing what they like. My argument is why the selection has to be so bad? Why should the end presentation be so awful? Why do most guys appear out with uncut and uncombed and near-ruffian looks even to office and hi-fidelity shopping zones? Why would they choose apparel that just doesn’t suit their complexion and physique? Why do most young women (or should I say girls) choose to wear Tetra-large apparel given the first chance? And what’s with that awful so-called ‘natural’ hair? The bitter reality is that most of us aren’t blessed with a wavy, silvery silky hair and - let’s face it - we need to give it some treatment to make it look presentable. And, to quote one of my friends, why do so many young folks choose clothes a person from most other metropolitan cities wouldn’t even bother trying as curtain cloth?

Mind you, ‘presentation’ is not about the complexion or height or physique. Why do people just give a damn about their shapes and sizes? Being out of shape is ok to an extent, but being distorted isn’t – if I’m making my point clear. Half an hour of exercising or taking the stairs as opposed to lifts would certainly help.

I’m not against simplicity. I’m not for spending what everybody earns in their neighborhood boutique. It’s not about looking extra fashionable and stylish, a la people in the European capitals. It’s just about looking professional and cultured. I’m not all for western dressing and tight fitting clothes, but there is a way to present yourself as well-groomed in whatever you wear, and Chennai, most unfortunately, and in my opinion, just doesn’t give a damn. Most awful, young people in the IT and ITES sectors in Chennai with loads of disposable cash are also among the awfully dressed ones. Talk about missing the boat by a mile!

Of course, one needs to give credit to some parts of the city. Most people in the likes of Nungambakkam shopping zones, Ascendas and Citi Centers know to carry themselves well. On the other side, people - even the old couples - who visit the temples in Mylapore look fabulous in their dhotis and colorful saris. I think the problem lies with the careless youth, the ones who migrate from the remote towns in TamilNadu who refuse to pick up the better bits and pieces of big city life.

Add-ons: There's power in your dressing.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A sleepless follow-up

Just a follow-up to the previous post: I'm darn surprised by the sheer number of friends/people who've called me and told me they've experienced something similar. Interesting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sleepless in Seattle

All the sleepless days and nights, night-outs, and mostly self-imposed crazy schedules in B-schools generally leave you with a half-baked biological cycle. Last week was when whatever left of my biological cycle went for a sixer.

When I accepted a week’s travel to the US, what I did not realize was the impact such a 12-hour time zone shift has on one’s rhythm, particularly in short trips when you don't quite get the luxury to get used to the shift. The time zone change ensures that you are forced to be awake at times when you normally sleep, and forced to sleep when you are normally awake. If that dazed existence wasn’t enough, I had 15 hour very-intense work schedules, an additional 3-4 of preparation work, and an additional time zone change within the US. Net-net, most of the last week seems like a distant haze, akin to a mirage. I realize I was there, but I wasn’t fully there. But trips to a different country being what they are, they are always fun.

The difference in education levels between the east and west always amazes me. We are accused of learning by rote in India, but if it’s sheer smartness that you factor in, Indians win hands-down. [I do not know about the Chinese.] It's probably because of the cut throat competition in everything we do. The simplest examples could be gathered by observing the efficiency with which guys that do routine jobs in India do their job. I mean, if you notice how fast our neighborhood ‘annachi’ grocer does the math for the items you’ve bought, how quick and efficient the iron-guy in his job, how mellifluously our ubiquitous chai-guy handles the river of aromatic chai, how sneakingly and snakingly our drivers drive the cars and autos, you’d think they are the best people to do what they do. I’ve been more than amazed at how efficient our guys are in what they do. It’s a world of difference compared to the US. Picture the examples below. Mind you, all these occurred within a week – so ‘law of averages’, if it ever exists, cannot be factored in.

Scene 1: I go to a toy-store for buying toys for a colleague

Me: Hey I’m looking for ‘Bob the builder’.
Retailer: Good morning sonny, how are you doing this morning?
Me: Fine. Thanks. I’m looking for ‘Bob the builder’.
Retailer: Lemme run a search. [He opens a computer terminal]. And types in ‘Bob the biulder’, and it doesn’t find anything, obviously.
Me: I guess you got the spelling wrong.
Retailer: Oh yeah, I see. He then types in ‘Bob the boulder’.
Me: No. [I spell it]: It is ‘B-o-b t-h-e b-u-i-l-d-e-r’.
Retailer: Alrite. I see what you are saying. And then types in ‘Bob the biulder’.
Me: [I think – dude, English is supposed to be my second language and your first!]

Scene 2: I go to Burger King in Seattle Tacoma airport.

Me: Hi, I’ll have hash browns, two of them.
Retailer [a woman with Mongoloid features]: Honey, hath broons are very small. [I figured it is hash browns she's talking about] They come in medium, grande and king sizes.
[Incidentally, how many have noticed that American ‘medium’ is Indian ‘Large’. We don’t have their equivalent of Grande and King-size anywhere. And they don't have anything that is 'Small']
Me: No, I want two of those long hash browns.
Retailer: Oh no, you don’t get ‘em here. You get them in McDonalds. Do you want French fries instead?
Me: No, I’ll go with medium hash browns.
Retailer: Sure. Medium French fries.
Me: No, Medium Hash Browns.
Retailer: Sure Medium Hash Browns. Anything else honey?
Me: Yes, Hot Chocolate Medium.
Retailer: Sure. Gotcha. And then goes on to type ‘Medium French fries”
Me: Arrgh!

And that wasn’t all of it. The guy in the ‘United Airlines’ counter was the perfect recipe of disaster. He took about 20 minutes to find an alternate flight for me since my original one got delayed, even as the Jamaican-looking guy from the same airline in the next counter was re-booking people at the rate of 5 minutes a person. What more, at the end of 20 minutes of finding different flights, he canceled all my 3 flights en route to Chennai and re-booked only the first two. That was something I realized only in Frankfurt when they said my booking was canceled by the Airlines guy. How smart. The flight was thankfully half empty, which helped me avoided getting stranded in Frankfurt for a day. Getting stranded that way when you are in the middle of a 36 hour long airports-and-flights routine is the worst thing to happen.

Come to think of it, the guys who do the routine stuff in India may not be the most polite ones, and may be frequently understaffed, but the ones who are there know what they do, and are as efficient as anyone can get in their job.