Monday, November 21, 2011

(Vicious) Software Circle?

Although I am not a firm believer of the hypothesis of Karma but it does seem we land up almost at the same place where we started from.
Indian software industry is pretty much a circle (I won't go up to the extent of calling it vicious) and it's hard to escape it.
Rajesh a software engineer for past 2 years got frustrated from his job, Since past 2 years he was working for the same company and working on the same client account, he was assigned to the maintenance of an application. In between for 3 months he was assigned to an internal application development project but that was it.
Rest of his software career has been stuck with the tasks of monitoring application performance, check that the application down time shouldn't exceed more than a couple of hours, fix any defects that come up and some production critical bugs needed to be fixed at any hour of the day. It so has been the case that he has been woken in the middle of the night and early morning (as early as 4 AM) to fix some production issues.
This wasn't the life he dreamt of when he passed out his software diploma (and with decent grades) course.
Like most other students of his class he has dreamt that he would be involved in writing Softwares that will have high business impact and if he gets a chance he will write his own browser or at least a compiler which would be widely accepted or may be a social media application which will be at least twice as good as Facebook.
But then after 2 months in which he couldn't get a job (primarily due to his grades and the aptitude questions he messed up), he was forced to take the first job that came his way.
At that time he was happy that he at least got a job as it was becoming difficult by the day for him to sustain in the big city and he was getting more inclined towards joining a call center job for the time being.
The first month in the new company went in the training and orientation and he was enjoying it. Once the training was complete he along with his 2 other batchmates were assigned to a project which was already developed and needed some bug fixes. There were already 3 people working on the same, he came to know they were part of the development team of that project.
He was happy that he would get to learn from this world class project and the experience of his seniors.
'Freshers' as they were called started with the ramp up of the application and slowly and gradually Rajesh started getting a hang of the application after spending many nights and early mornings in office.
In the mean time one of his batchmates left citing the reason that he has to go back to his hometown and find a job there as his parents don't want him staying away for long.
Things started happening fast, understanding the application, talking to the client, debugging the application, getting to know the architecture of the application and getting to know the usual defects that crop up every now and then and how best to address those defects or at least make the testers understand that it is not a defect.
After around 1 year suddenly one day he realized that the seniors have moved out of the project and he was left with his other batchmate all by himself to handle the project and continue fixing the issues.
By now he was aware of the term and heard it many times 'Application Maintenance' or 'Production Support', when he joined he was told that it was a project, now he was slowly grasping the concept that though everything is called a project but not everything that happens inside a software company is a project and specifically the one activity he was working on is called Maintenance and it has no end date.
He wasn't unhappy with the company he was working for nor was he too unhappy with the salary he was drawing and moreover it being his first company he got all too attached with it and made several friends, nevertheless he wasn't enjoying the work now. He knew all the things in that application that were to be known and the work became mundane, even if somebody told him about a defect in his sleep he can possibly suggest 2-3 options where in the code to look for to fix that defect.
He has discussed with his manager about moving to a live (development) project and his manager has assured him that he will look into it as soon as there is someone to replace him in the maintenance project but it never happened.
And after a lot of thought and discussing with his friends & mates he decided that it's time for him to move out of the organization and find a new company which will offer him better projects.
And so he switched jobs...
He mentioned clearly during his interviews and negotiation that he was looking for development projects and the reason for leaving his current company was not money but because he was assigned to a maintenance project for far too long and he didn't wanted to be stuck with it.
He was assure that he was being assigned to a large project which is already underway and that from day one he will be 'developing' something.
Rajesh was happy about it and thought his decision was worthwhile and although it took him some courage to leave his first company and all his friends behind but at least it will be good for his career.
As a ritual in every company he went through an orientation and ramp up of the project and technology the project was using and after a month he was assigned to work on the project.
As he understood that project was going on for past 6 months and he was assigned to work on a new module, the requirements for which has come in recently. He was part of a 10 member development team and he started the work with a new zeal.
As always the deadline were too strict and the team had to work a minimum of 12 hours a day and sometimes on weekends too. But he wasn't complaining as he was enjoying being a part of development team and had a sense of achievement ( I created that page, I worked on that module).
Hours flew, days flew, months flew and before he realized it, Rajesh has completed 4 months on the project and the project was coming to an end.
Slowly few members of the team were moved out as the work wasn't remaining much and now he was working with a 4 member team.
One Monday morning Rajesh's manager called him, he was skeptical as to what it was regarding as in the past 4 months of him being with the team, he has hardly interacted with the manager once or twice.
As he sat down in the manager's cabin, the manager began, Rajesh you have done a good job on this project till now, in the short time you have learnt a lot and the client has also appreciated your work. Rajesh was very happy listening to all that appreciation and wanted to shout at the top of his voice.
But the manager continued, as you know that the project is finished now, Rajesh nodded.
So from tomorrow we want you to work on the support team of this project along with Mandar and Reema.
All that could come out of Rajesh's mouth was "excuse me, but why?"
Without giving much attention to Rajesh's manner of asking or his expressions, the manager replied while picking up the stapler from the ground, simple Rajesh, because you have done a good job, you know the entire system, the client is happy with you and other members have been moved to other project. We need someone reliable for this project and who better than you? do you disagree?
Rajesh was flummoxed, he didn't understand what is he supposed to reply, he wasn't sure if the manager was appreciating his work or ridiculing him. Is he really assigning the maintenance work because his work was good or was this a punishment in a way.
While he was thinking all this, the manager stood up with a notebook in his hand and walked out blurting out "I have to run for his meeting, so you get started and let me know if there are any issues. Hopefully you will continue to work with the same commitment level".
Before Rajesh could open his mouth the manager has eloped in the elevator.
A colleague shouted "Rajesh, what happened?" while sharing a smoke. He asked again "What happened Rajesh? why are you smiling?"
Rajesh smiled again, nothing much I was just thinking if like life, does Software also come a full circle.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Are the software companies making young graduates unemployable?

The software industry in India has grown by leaps and bounds in last 10 years. IT/ITES sector has become the major job creator sector.
A few years back (even today in some parts) a Software job used to be a dream job of any fresh engineering graduate coming out of college.
Today software companies employs hundreds of thousands of young men and women.
But are the people working in these organizations really growing intellectually? Are they getting any sharper compared to when they passed out of college.
Are these engineers providing any solutions? Or are they simply getting turned to another coder, developer, tester or whatever they call it in the IT companies.
A fresh young graduate who has dreams of changing this world lands in a software company and 9 out of 10 times that's the end of his dreams.
He gets moulded and typecast into a code churning machine, where most of the time he is copying and pasting and hardly 2% of the times he is using his brains to find a 'real' solution.
The software innovations and solutions are being given by 1% of the whole software population in the world and out of that 1% too 99% sits in the US.
So at the end of the day there is no intellectual growth, there is no sharpening of skills (except for copy and paste) and there is no innovation at all.
In addition, companies come up with their own frameworks, their own tools which the employees have to get used to and after working for an year the employee becomes one of the robot in the army of robots.
If he switches job, that tool's knowledge is not worth anything in the market and with that knowledge and skill set he becomes unemployable in the market, he will need to again go back to the books to prepare for an interview and once again when he is recruited to another company a new tool, a new framework is there to learn. All the theoretical knowledge is for nothing.

The problem becomes acute when you consider that how many bright minds who could have innovated so much, could have been a solution provider, gets stuck in this system which renders them useless for any other task.
Just because of a good job in software company, thousands of people even change their stream to computers from civil, mechanical, electronics, etc.
If these people would have remained in their original streams they could have benefited that stream so much with their knowledge and expertise.
Also if there is proper platform provided in the software companies for these young employees to showcase their talent, encouraging and giving support for their innovation and work could be assigned as per their skill sets then we can have many good engineers and solution providers, who will change the entire game and will lead our country to the next millennium where we would be the solution providers and rest of the world would just copy and paste.

Friday, August 06, 2010

I miss broken heart and Longing

We all grow mature, we all grow old and at times its not such a good feeling.
All through the life we keep on fighting to get someone to love, to settle down with someone we love someone who loves us, to have someone to share feelings and love and everything with and to reach that stage we go through so much.
Short love stories, One sided love, crush, falling deeply in love, longing to meet the lover and broken hearts.
Be it the love in school or college or anytime before you get committed to one.
Once we do get someone in our life, when we get committed to one, when you decide to spend life with someone, when you get a life partner, everything starts coming back to you. Those times when you were in love, when you waited hours to get a glimpse of your love, when you practiced thousand times before going to talk to him or her.
Miss those nights when we wake up just thinking about that person, then the times when you were separated for a short duration and you longed for him or her so badly.
Then the broken hearts we suffered and how we did our best to recover through it, how our friends helped you out coming from that state.
How you vowed not to fall in love again and did again the very next month and with the same process and same results.
Those waits, those waking through the nights, having just that one thought day in day out about that one person, the broken heart every now and then, is badly missed at times. Wish if we could once again have all of those experiences once again now that we are matured.
But then may be all those feelings might not be same now that we are mature.

But probably the process of getting your love and all the phases involved in it are much better than to achieve it and settle down or not to achieve it and settle down with someone.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Company's VP Code, should I be proud?

There was a time in India when software job was the coolest job (believe me now its not despite whatever your aunty describes your job as to your prospective father in law).

If you are in software you were considered the best brain around. People used to code in html and earn millions. And anybody and everybody was thought to be making a software or was considered a programmer.

The thing was computers were not that prevalent at that time (not that it is to be found everywhere right now, but still it has invaded in our lives a lot). So if you did a small time course or a degree course and you get lucky then you used to come in contact with computer and for that duration of your working.

Hardly anyone other than you (and may be the person assigning you the job) knew what you were doing. So when you walked out of that office you could just pretend to have changed the world for better in there and people would believe.

Then came a revolution in software which brought the computers to a lot many hands. You have computers in banks, offices, homes, reservations, even in grocery stores.
The narrow mindedness about computers got a severe jolt.
I still remember the day when like 7-8 years back someone asked me, you are in computers, right? I replied a confident "Yes". And that guy said can you look into the computer in our shop, it is not working since many days?
That was a googly for me, after asking some normal questions about what went wrong and what you did and trying some hands on that desktop, I told him this is out of my knowledge, you would need to call a hardware engineer.
And that person looked at me like I just murdered someone. He ranted about what have I been doing in computers for so many years and after spending so much money on computer courses that i can't fix a small problem in his computer. I was sure he had the impression before i walked out of his place that i didn't want to help him.
You still might find a few people like that around but by and large people now appreciate the difference between software and hardware and have started to understand that there can be multiple careers in computers (at least people who want to make career are getting aware).

So carrying this impression i was living my life happily and one fine day i got dragged in a conversation between few software professionals. And my interest hasn't aroused until that guy mentioned these words "VP of my company codes man". And said it in such a manner like Dan Brown about to reveal in his novel what the holy grail really is.
And then the discussion went that way, oh really? Regularly or sometimes? How does he gets time to code? What all he can code? etc. etc.

This was not the first time i have heard such a statement, there are people who boasts that they are still coding while managing. Software companies would recruit 10+ years managers who can 'code'. Vice Presidents and Presidents of the companies would sometimes boast within the company about their coding skills. And how they still can find defects in a developers code.
Project Managers who would do the code review and would do testing.

Someone recently mentioned this to me which is very correct with respect to the situation of the software industry today in India. He said, "Indian software industry today is nothing more than a code churning factory".
So very true. I don't remember seeing advertisements for project managers but for PMs with experience in Java or dotnet or python, etc.

Do people seriously still consider that coding or being a programmer is still such a cool job? Whereas in India most of the software fraternity belongs to Microsoft, which with every passing year is introducing new coding framework and languages and technologies which has reduced real coding to literally nothing more than 'googling-copying-pasting' or at best referring to MSDN.

And in a country like India where today every other person who graduates is a computer science engineer and there are thousands and thousands of computer institutes in every nook and corner, do we really think that we would ever stop at producing such people who can do just that (googling-copying-pasting) at least.

I am in no way saying that every person who is coding is doing just that or that coding is not a good job. But for sure programmers today (at least the Microsoft genre) who are doing just the regular business application development (and no product development or work with open source) should not consider themselves out of the universe.

And if the VP or President or the PM of my company codes and is displaying those skills in the company or trying to get on the developers nerves by showing those skills then its time the company hire a different VP or PM. Because the developers would any time cost a fraction of the big man. If the person is so hell bent on coding then make him a coder, his dream would be realized as well as your company can in turn hire a better manager.

What we lack today in our software industry is good managers, good visionaries, good product developers. Till when we will continue to work on the products developed outside the country despite having the biggest software workforce in the world.

Why in the last 35-40 years of software in India we have failed to produce a Microsoft or a Google or a Yahoo? These are the questions that we have to ask ourselves,these are the questions organizations like NASSCOM will have to think about if we want to be a product developer any time soon.
Software Projects doesn't only mean 'Coding' and there could be Project Managers who can manage the project without knowing the technology. We should come to terms with these universal truths for our own benefit.

So if the VP of my company codes, should I be proud of it?
Then I should rather start managing the company affairs, I am sure I can teach him a lesson or two about management.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

High School Love Stories

Ajinkya was more than happy to come back for the new school season. This was his last year in the school and he jumped to this last year class with a bang.
He top scored in his class and also got the best score in mathematics the school has ever seen. He scored a 98, the previous best being 95 set like a lot many years ago.
When students come to 12th grade some of the best and some of the worst things happen with them.
For starters they are called the 'Seniors', everyone who has been to school understands what is it to be called a 'Senior'. When you are senior almost everything in the school belongs to you.

'Boys left turn' bellowed Mr. Sahani from the grounds, he was the physical trainer and his voice was like thunder and specially if you are new in the school you dare not put a wrong foot during the parade.

Ajinkya has studied in this school for more than 7 years and this was going to be his 8th and final year.
There was little doubt in any one's mind that he is going to be a senior prefect this year and this realisation every now and then made him all the more happy this year.

The classes started for the new academic season and almost a month passed but more than half of the class hadn't purchased the books. Teachers will every day come and shout at the class to get the books but rarely students listened. Everyone was surviving on the notes teachers were giving and that too sometimes on borrowed papers.
That's another benefit of being in High School, you can dare to do things that you can't even imagine in other grades.
But that day after Mrs. Bakshi lectured for more than 30 minutes on why the class should behave and why it shouldn't take everything for granted just because of being in 12th, it was necessary to get the books. It was the 30 minutes lecture class was scared about more than anything else.

Rahul, Parminder, Ajinkya and Raaj dropped at the bookstore during lunch time and asked for the physics, English and maths books. That's as much as I can afford right now said Rahul, rest of the money dad gave me for books I spent on that guitar.
Don't worry at least physics book will keep Mrs. Bakshi calm. Rest we can purchase next month, said Raaj.
While they were discussing on the side of the bookstore, Can I get a notebook and a pen please? a shrill voice asked. Ajinkya moved his head little on the side to see who was calling.
He saw a girl handing out a 50 rupee note to the bookseller and explaining something animatedly to her friend standing with her. Her smile was beautiful, her short hair were beautiful and her face was, what is the word they use 'divine'. She was laughing madly about something, suddenly her hairs fell on her eyes and she shrugged them off with a gentle stroke of a finger. Ajinkya's heart sank for a moment.
'Where are you sir?' Raaj snapped. He looked in the direction Ajinkya was looking.

'Beautiful piece man' he exclaimed completely checking her out, the other 2 also looked in the same direction, suddenly both the girls became conscious and looked towards the guys, for a split second Ajinkya's eyes met with the girl.

The bookseller's voice interrupted, there you go miss, the girl took the notebook and change back from him and both girls rushed off. Ajinkya took his eyes off her but rest 3 pairs of eyes followed the girl until she turned into a corridor.
And before the guys could start conversation about the girl, Ajinkya rushed them, "lets go fast lunch time is over". They took the books which were sitting on the side of the booksellers table, paid him and they were off to the class.

Ajinkya couldn't forget her for next 2 days and couldn't find her even. He started a small investigation about her, saw her during assembly and followed her.

She was in the 11th grade in section 'D'. He started following her since then, the time she entered the school (he had to come school early for that but it rarely mattered), the time she would be taking lunch in the school canteen, the time she was leaving, everywhere possible.
And all he was doing was crossing her path again and again and after a few times there eyes started meeting every time there paths crossed but he wouldn't and couldn't say anything.

Her name was Shweta, she joined the school this year only coming from Loyola High, she comes at 7:15 AM and leaves on her bike. That's as much information he collected about her in one month.
3 months into the session the extracurricular activities begun in the school and sports sessions also started, so the decision on Prefects was around the corner.

One summer morning in the assembly, prefects were announced, the junior prefects were announced first, there were cheers and whistles in the whole assembly. Senior Prefects for Blue and Yellow houses were announce.
Red House Senior Prefect 'Ajinkya Sahani', a roar of applause broke, cheers and whistles. Raaj with 4 other guys took Ajinkya on shoulders and made way to the Principal's desk.
The Principal tucked the Senior Prefect badge on his shirt. He was too happy, probably this achievement is something no one forgets during his life time. Thats the first real step towards leadership.

Things started moving fast in the school and in no time there were schedules of debates, elocution, parade, sports and quiz contest.

Ajinkya was way too busy in preparing his house for all the events, he has to finalize the debate candidates, basketball team, watch the performance of the parade enthusiasts on the field. He was ably supported by the junior prefects and his house teachers but the decisions had to be his.

In all this rush he has still not completely forgotten Shweta, he was still trying to cross her paths at times but it had become all the more difficult for him to talk to her.
For one, being a Senior he was supposed to be keeping company and so called 'affairs' with the girls in the same grade and not juniors and now that he was a Senior Prefect it was another trouble, he couldn't be seen talking too much with any girl or the rumours take no time in spreading in the whole school. The so called 'dignity' of the post has to be maintained.

On a hot afternoon he was sitting in a classroom with a couple of junior prefects and the his house teacher Mrs. Bose, discussing about the upcoming debate and elocution candidates.
Why are students not coming up for participation? this house always had the best debaters and now we are having trouble finding a good debate and elocution candidate, that's insane, he said with frustration.
We do have candidates, and more will be coming, Ajinkya you need to take it easy, this is how it is always the case. Initially there are few or no one coming forward then once a few students come forward other students get confidence and you have more than desired number of candidates to manage, Mrs. Bose said.

I guess you are right madam, I need to take it easy. I am sorry. That's alright son, we have a girl from 11th grade coming for elocution. We need to see if she fits the bill.
Who is she?
Suddenly there was a knock on the door, "come in" Mrs. Bose said. A short girl with a bright smile on her face walked in. She had some amazing effect on everyone present and everyone started smiling too. Good afternoon Madam, she bowed towards Mrs. Bose and then looking towards Ajinkya good afternoon Sir, she said.

I am Ajinkya and you should call me by that name, he said moving forward to shake hands with her.

Yes Ajinkya Sir, she said, I am Payal singhal from 11th grade, enrolled for elocution contest. Someone else was making way from the now half opened door. Rajat, the junior prefect shouted only Red house here, no sneaking other houses.

"I am from Red house only" a voice came, the voice Ajinkya knew pretty well by now. He looked towards the door, Shweta was standing there.
Payal moved towards her, Ajinkya Sir she is my friend Shweta also in our house, would it be ok if she sits here during my elocution. I was very nervous and asked her to come with me.
Ajinkya looked at Shweta smiled and looking at her, replied to Payal, yes sure by all means.

Everybody set down, Ajinkya saw Shweta sitting and sat besides her leaving one desk.
Payal started reciting the poem she had written on her diary, Ajinkya was half listening and half looking at Shweta, occasionally their eyes met and Shweta coyly looked down or looked towards Payal standing in front.

Mrs. Bose was stopping Payal in between and giving her instructions, where to pause, which word to pronounce clearly etc. and she restarted again everytime.
It went on for like 30 minutes and when Mrs. Bose said "Ajinkya what do you think?",
that Ajinkya became completely present in the room.

She is good madam, except for a few words that she should have pronounced clearly, that we can take care of during training. The good part is she is expressive.

"And Payal" he moved towards her, holded her by shoulders, looked straight in her eyes, 'You have to speak louder than this', this is just a small room you know how big is our auditorium. You will have to speak infront of hundreds of students and make sure that everyone hears your voice clearly'.
There is nothing to be afraid of, You are good, more than good and you have to prove that our house is the best house in the school when it comes to elocution. And we are here to help you out anytime you want. And this time it was diary next time you should learn it by heart, OK?
Yes Ajinkya Sir, I will do my best and hopefully our house will win. The little talk from Ajinkya seems to have filled her with confidence.

Ajinkya suddenly turned towards Shweta, and Shweta what are you participating in for our house? She was taken aback by this sudden question, she tried to gain her composure and without looking at him she said, "nothing as of now".
Why not? You should also take part in some activities, our house needs participation and if you all will not participate our house will take a beating. Look at Payal she is also doing good with the elocution.
Yes Shweta, try to participate, start preparing for quiz contest, Mrs. Bose said. And if you need Surinder can help you, she pointed towards a guy sitting next to her, who started grinning. He is in your grade only.

Ajinkya felt a sudden anger inside him, he promptly replied, yes Surinder or anyone, you can come to any of us for help if you want to participate in any event.

Shweta's face flushed, I am not as good as Payal but I will try to participate in something.

Shall we go Payal? she asked. Both said goodbye and went out of the room.

The debate and elocution contest were good for the Red house, in both the events its students won the first place. Payal won the first place in elocution contest. In sports also the house was standing at the second position.

Ajinkya was well praised for his efforts, he brought laurels to the house through his able leadership.

Time really flies, Raaj said as they were sipping tea at the college canteen.
Yaar it feels just like yesterday that we started the year and we are already coming to the end, the pre-board exams are after 1 week only, Rahul mentioned.
Yes we have to really get started with the studies, there is no time left now, Ajinkya said.
The pre-board exams were relatively tough than any other tests during the academic year, as after pre-board there was normally only a month left for the board exams and the school had the rule that no student can appear in the board exams unless they clear the pre-board exam.
This exam used to give the school a fair idea of which students it can bank upon for bagging the best inter-school student award. Also if students were found weak in any subject,the teachers could provide them extra classes before the board exams.

Ajinkya started thinking about all that happened in the past 10 months or so,he got so busy with the things around him that he didn't realized that how soon the time was passing.
During the past few months, he has seen less of Shweta, although he still tried to cross her path sometimes and a smile of recognition was exchanged between the two but nothing more than that he could achieve and he for sure was not able to get her out of his mind.
For some time he has been thinking about talking to her and letting her know that he likes her. And this feeling grew intensly inside him since last month when he saw her with one of the boy from her class going out of the school and sharing lunch and spending a lot of time with him. The guy's name was Ravi, he wasn't smart type of guy and Ajinkya has wondered since then what she was doing with him.

Since then Ajinkya has been thinking that may be he has already been late in talking to Shweta. But he still wanted to talk to her once and take his chances but wasn't sure when to do it.
"Tomorrow" he told himself, tomorrow for sure I will talk to her he thought.

He was interrupted in his deep thoughts when Raaj shook him, "lets go".
He has not shared this secret with anyone till now except with Shalini, who was his good friend for last 3 years.

She has also suggested him many times to talk to Shweta and even offered him that she will talk to her on his behalf but he refused.

Next morning he was in the school early, he has made up his mind at night and was very anxious, she used to come early. He was standing at the corner window in the class which overlooked the passage leading to all the classes, that was the place from where he has often seen her and then ran down to see her.

After another 15 minutes of anxious wait and looking at many students running in he saw her coming, thankfully still no one was in the class and none of his classmates were around.
He started walking down with butterflies in his stomatch, his mouth dry, and almost sweating in the winter, he had never before actually proposed anyone. With thousands of things running through his mind he was walking down and suddenly he saw her, both saw each other, he started with a little "Hi", she replied in an even lower voice, 'hi' and continued walking.

"Shweta", I want to talk to you, how the words came out of his mouth, he had no idea.
She stopped on her way, turned towards him and suddenly her face expressions changed and she looked taken aback and slightly scared. It seemed to Ajinkya from her expressions that she already knew that this was coming sometime.

"No, no, not now", she said in a very low voice and started walking upstairs fast.

"But listen....."

She was way far by now to listen to his voice. Suddenly a group of junior students passed with all their hullabaloo about yesterday's match from where Ajinkya stood frozen.

He ran towards his class, breathing heavily and if it was not for the class that he was walking in he could have cried his heart out. As he entered the class, Gemini was sitting writing down something, she said good morning to him to which he replied and sat on his desk staring out of the front window towards the green trees and high mountains.

He was heartbroken and in bad shape, he didn't eat, he didn't come to the school the next day. Stayed home and tried to read for his exams but couldn't concentrate at all.
Thousands of questions were in his head Why did she said no? what did she meant by not now? Is she not at all interested in me? Did she knew I was going to propose to her and so she ran away? Is Ravi really her boyfriend? what is wrong with me, why wouldn't she like me? I am good academically, I am the Senior Prefect, what else she wants? Should I try to talk to her again? Is there some problem at her home that she said not now?
Questions and more questions were floating in his mind to which he didn't had any answer and was hard for him to console himself.

He came back to school and talked very less to anyone, didn't go out for lunch, didn't go out to cheer his team in the basketball match and when Raaj asked him after 3rd day of seeing the same behaviour as to what was wrong, he just replied, I am just not feeling well, thats all.

After a couple of days he did narrate the whole incidence to Shalini. He was happy that Shalini was there with him as he couldn't share this with anyone else.
She tried to console him in many ways, that may be she was not ready then, may be she was scared too much, may be she was scared as you are the Prefect or she thought it was some other thing you were going to mention. She again suggested him that she can talk to her but Ajinkya refused.

Days passed but everyday he was stuck up with the same thoughts, he couldn't concentrate on anything else, it was way too hard for him.

Then came the realisation for Ajinkya, it was the first paper of the pre-board exams.
He went pale when he saw the paper, he didn't knew half of the answers. How he prepared for the exam he didn't knew. He was so immersed in his thoughts about Shweta and that incidence that whenever he took the book to read, he would put it down thinking that he knows everything or there is more time to read.

He came out of the exam room, he was numb and as he was crossing the canteen Raaj's voice fell in his ears. How did you do in the paper dude? He turned looked towards Raaj for a minute he didn't say anything and then blurted out, "it was too bad".
And before Raaj could understand anything or ask what happened he walked away, went to the bathroom and washed his face with cold water.

He stood there infront of the mirror and water running down in the basin, he tried to ask himself, what am I doing?, what has happened to me? After another 5 minutes he turned off the tap, came out of the bathroom wiping his face.

He walked towards the canteen and went and sat besides Raaj who was talking to Rahul and Parminder.
What happened to you Ajinkya? Raaj asked. I know you are not alright for sometime but you are not telling us. Tell us yaar, what is it? We are friends, may be we won't be able to help you with whatever you are struggling but we can still share the things.

Ajinkya grabbed Raaj's hand, I know you guys would do anything if I am in any problem. And yes I was not ok till now but I promise you I am fine now. I am just going to be fine from now on.
And now get a tea and a samosa, your treat, Ajinkya said smiling.

Ajinkya knew for himself what his priorities were and who he was. He just couldn't let himself slip into a mess from where he might not be able to come back. He was one of the top students of the school and thats the way he wanted to finish the school. Other things were secondary in his life.

He was amazed at how simple it was for him to understand this thing and wondered why he didn't understood this thing till now.

Only if ever Shweta comes by herself to me then I am going to take it somewhere otherwise I have several other things to finish, he told himself.

The pre-boards finished and except for a couple of subjects Ajinkya did good and now his whole concentration was on the preparation for the board exams. Although the house activities almost came to a standstill at this time of the year but still sometimes there was a few things to take care of. Ajinkya would complete those activities as fast as he could and then return back to the studies. Combined studies with his classmates in the morning and at night by himself.
He tried to shrug off any thoughts that were not studies related.

In that duration he saw Shweta a few times but simply ignored her, he didn't wanted to look at her more or it would weaken him again.

One afternoon when Ajinkya was studying in his group, a boy came running towards them. Sir, Sir please come, there is a fight a big fight is going on. You need to stop that, its really bad.
All the students who heard it ran after the boy who came in with the news.
It was a horrible scene in the grounds, two groups of students were fighting with rods, stones and chains in their hands.
For a moment everybody froze, then Ajinkya made a sudden move, he saw someone down bleeding.
"Raaj, come fast, we have to stop this". Rahul call the security and the teachers.
5-10 guys ran in between the fighting, shouting "Stop it you will kill someone" and some how they separated the two groups, some of fighting group ran away seeing other students coming their way.

Ajinkya ran towards the guy who was down bleeding, he took him and started carrying him towards the medical room. A boy running besides him said, Sir it was a boarder, day scholar fight and someone hit him with an iron rod. Ajinkya saw his face and was horror struck, the rod hit him in the forehead, near the eye from where the blood was dripping down profusely. Suddenly he realised, the guy he was carrying was Ravi.
For a second some mixed feelings engulfed him a memory flash came to him, Ravi and Shweta joking, eating together. He was still not sure what was there between the two but the guy he was carrying was certainly his competitor.

But as soon as those feelings came, they went away as fast once he saw his face again.

An ambulance came within 10 minutes and Ajinkya helped to shift him from the bed in the medical room to the ambulance. Hundreds of students were standing around the ambulance lookiing at the bad condition Ravi was in.

As Ajinkya pushed the stretcher inside the ambulance, he saw Shweta standing in the corner watching. Her face was pale, she must have seen Ravi's face. She stood there staring at him and then towards the leaving ambulance.

Ajinkya looked at her for a few seconds, then took his eyes off her and walked away.

The board exams started and Ajinkya couldn't remember anything else but studies, he forgot the difference between day and night as he locked himself into his room and only came out on the exam day. Raaj visited him often with his questions.
Ajinkya enjoyed his company as always and he would relax for sometime with the new songs he was carrying with him.
Everything was back to what it was.

The exams ended, vacations started and results were awaited.

He never saw Shweta again...

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Katrina Kaif is god, I always knew that (yea off course god can be female, and in this era god can be only female), the movie was just revealing that secret.

Forget about the movie or even the book on which the movie was based. Although I think movie was better (at least it had some entertainment) than the book.

But what intrigued me was does god really speak, speak to us? And if yes then what does she say?
The last 2 things that are lacking in you (the filmi god's voice said) are:
1. Self-Confidence
2. Fear of loosing

I thought these 2 things are contradictory in some sense.

Fear of loosing:- We all have fear of loosing, loosing the things/people we love, even loosing the things that we don't have yet.
Is this fear wrong? Again like everything it depends upon the extent.
One can't stop the fear of loosing. Everything, everyone we love we want them to be with us forever and don't want that one wrong step of ours will result in us loosing it or them.
Be it in the stock markets or in your love life or professional life you are faced with many challenges everyday, where you have to take a decision. Your decision might result in you loosing your job, or the thing you like or the person you love.
So the big news is Fear of loosing is here to stay.
But yes I agree that the key is, that fear of loosing should not paralyze you from doing the things, things that you think are right (though it is very hard to draw a line between where this fear is normal and where it is paralyzing us.
At times you would be doing everything right but you still will loose.
But at the same time if we have no fear of loosing and jump into everything without giving a second thought and we keep on loosing then yes the first point 'Self-Confidence' that is going to go down.
To boost the self-confidence you need to win or at least not loose.

And yes I think the god does speak sometimes in the voices of people around you and sometimes as your inner voice, she does speak but at the end of the day she or anyone else does not give us solution to our problems.
It's for us to find out. It is a truism that we have to have more self-confidence but how we can develop it when we are beleaguered with several problems and are failing day after day? This solution nobody gives us, that is for us to find out.
So yes god does say 'Hello' every now and then but like other people and yes don't expect solutions to your problems from her.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Keep in touch...

Is it me or the world is really running short of friends nowadays?
The last time I had a big friends party was quite some time back, like an year and though I get to talk to a few friends here and there but it doesn't seem that there are a whole lot of friends there anymore.
Have the species called friends (or rather good friends) extinct?
Now whenever my phone rings or some one pings me on IM and he or she is an old friend of mine, I had to ask them "are you getting married?" or "are you going to states or are already in states?".
Friends don't really are in touch with friends anymore (and believe me I am not complaining just wondering).
Once upon a time there used to be a lot of friends in our lives and then the stories goes like this 'they got married' or 'they got into a job'(we would never think the reason to be that 'we got married' or 'we got into a job').
The job and married life has taken over so much that there is hardly anytime to be in touch with friends.
In such a case probably we remember our friends only when we want to share some happiness with others. And sharing happiness today means mostly an IM or a group email to everyone in our contact list informing that 'you have become father/mother', 'you are getting married' or 'you are moving to States or Switzerland or wonderland'. And once that mail goes out of our outbox most of the time our job of 'keeping in touch' ends there.
You said keep in touch and thanks to Sabir Bhatia and now gmail I am keeping in touch but I am sorry I can't stick around.
With the technology all around us and keeping in touch becoming as simple as dialing a number or connecting to internet we probably have stopped keeping in touch (its similar to a person living in New York for years and not having seen the statue of liberty).

Orkuting or some other type of 'ing' sites (the so called social networking sites and I am fed up of receiving a new invite every week to join a new social networking site) were supposed to be bringing friends closer (and a few did a pretty good job) but then after a while we got even so busy on the internet that we stop scrapping or messaging or walling...

Our life is pretty much surrounded with our office colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances and probably we are so much engrossed in our lives that we don't seem to need any one else, may be not even our old friends.

As someone told me once that I am turning into a narcissist, 5 minutes of thinking make me feel that probably most of us are.

And I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad but it surely has been a long time since I attended a friends reunion.