Chak De India is not Chak De Phatte( ‘Let’s have a blast’!)

The recent release Chak De (‘Go Get it’ expression) India projects two things very coherently – firstly the women power; in spite of his stunning performance, it is the not King Khan but the ordinary women who steal the show with their hockey sticks. Like everywhere else, here too it is the women who have the last word. Secondly, the word ‘sports’ does not mean cricket by default (children now know that there are other sports to be played except cricket and tennis)
“If you have the will anything is possible” especially when it is a Hindi movie and the hero is none other than Shah Rukh Khan, the movie comes with a message and the moral of the story is loud and clear. With an appropriate dose of patriotism, it is a must watch for its being unusual and, catching on the patriotism flame at the time of India’s 60th Independence Day . It is an excellent watch if you are not looking for any glamour, romantic overtones and comparisons with Lagaan, another movie based on sports.
Chak De sans glamour and romance; the theme overshadows the actors.
For a change, it is fantastic to watch India’s national game taking the centre stage but the distressing part is, it happens only in the theatre.

To Smoke or Not to Smoke


The proposal to ban smoking in offices, public places and even homes (take your maid’s permission before smoking) has mixed reactions. Women and non smokers are rejoicing but smokers are grumbling and chain smokers are grumbling even more. Will it really help in reducing the smokers’ population in the country is anyone’s guess? Do you know anyone who has quit smoking? Shah Rukh khan and Saif Ali khan have quit smoking- that’s what they report in publications.
SPI took a trend setting initiative to commemorate Environment Day (5th June) this year by prohibiting smoking within the company premises. Now SPIzens have two choices – either they don’t smoke or go outside the campus to smoke. Generally smokers get the urge to smoke at fixed interval like the tea/coffee addicts. If that hour passes, the urge too passes out.
Last week in the afternoon I was enjoying the rain drops falling with a thunder on the window sill of my cubicle. Who wants to sit in front of the monitor in such a cool weather? No living thing could dare venture out for a smoke in this thunder storm. And there I saw one guy running outside the gate ; he perched himself nicely under a tree for a smoke. Completely drenched but he was unable to let go of the cigarette butt until it burnt his fingers tips. (Paisa Vasool!)
This story has two morals – First- unless the realization comes from within, no amount of restrictions or rain can stop you from smoking. Come rain or shine the smokers will smoke.
The bigger moral- those who are honest will always be honest no matter whether anyone is watching them or no.

The Name Game

A rose called by any other name would smell just as sweet, wrote Shakespeare.
Mysore will be Mysooru / Mysuru and Bangalore will be named Bengaluru soon and so will some of the other cities in Karnataka.
So what? What’s the big deal about it? Will this twist of the tongue make Bengaluru less polluted, less congested; will it bring relief from stray dog menace or yes, will it become Singapore( BTW do you remember once upon a time S.M. Krishna wanted to make Bangalore …sorry Bengaluru like Singapore?) How it is going to change life for any one of us. Don’t understand why such a hullabaloo on name changing ceremony except the twisting of tongue to pronounce it. Are there not more important things craving for attention than a mere change of name? If only name change could improve things…
The proposal for the name change first came in Dec 2005, it is only July 2007. In a country where everything from Buses to proposals thro decisions move at a snail’s speed, it is pleasantly amazing to note that the decisions can be taken so quickly and things come to conclusion in 18 months. What if our politicians start demonstrating such exuberance and elation in other matters too like stray dog menace, efficient public transport, depleting greenery, traffic snarls ….I will have to write an essay if I start mentioning everything.

Clean Up Your Act

There is this person in our company, a well respected senior guy who often goes on business trips abroad or putting it rather undiplomatically …keeps having foreign jaunts at company’s expense. The general impression about the people who travel frequently … these guys having sufficient exposure, have good civic sense and are generally well mannered, cultured and courteous. The other day I got the ‘taste of India’ when I went to see him at his desk ….I was welcomed by wrappers of imported chocolates, biscuits and half eaten biscuits littered around his desk in his cubicle. The techie was so absorbed in fiddling with his swanky palm top that he barely noticed my presence… it was a perfect demo of technology amongst filth.
Did I say filth…which is there in abundance every where in India. Well, this post is not about India versus Abroad. It is just about attitude anywhere. This comment should not be mistaken as anti- India campaign; I love my India in spite of filth.
“There are not sufficient dust bins around” is the most common excuse for over flowing dustbins at every street corner. We behave like good boys and girls when we go abroad but the same people on landing at Indian soil behave differently. Will we still throw garbage and litter the roads if we are in US or Europe, or even our neighbor Singapore. No! we won’t rather we dare not because we will be heavily fined if we do so.
Let’s put it like this; we all need a stick on our heads all the time, that’s how human beings work irrespective of education and intelligence quotient!!. Self motivation to clean up is hard to find and does not last. Ask us to pay a fine of even Rs 100/ for every bit of paper or every spit of pan thrown on the Indian roads and execute this sincerely, then see the sheen on Indian roads.
Well, that’s not in my hand. Now, I want to do what is in my hand … request the Facilities Dept to send one waste paper basket to this guy’s desk


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Your Time Starts Now

Mysore summers have been exceedingly long this year; the salubrious and moderate climate of this royal city is no more its USP for residents and tourists alike. Mysore is not the exception. The heat has caught on the entire globe. The world is getting hotter year after year. Global warming is not a science fiction any more but a looming reality. The United Nations inter–governmental panel on climate change has predicted that temperatures will rise by 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Developing countries like India will be the worst affected by the climate change. Water scarcity, infertile lands, land slides, floods, droughts would become a lingo of the weather report. With all these problems to tackle where is the time and energy to chase our dreams and ambitions.
Reversing or controlling the trend is the real challenge for scientists. If we can reverse the trend or even slow it down, this will be the most precious gift we will be leaving for future generations.
This is the time to act and not ponder and play around. The time is not to indulge in blame game but find a solution together. The count down has begun.
Many may shun this as a piece of crap as what has individuals got to do with the global phenomenon and what can they do. Yes, individual acts can make a difference.
Prof Wangari Muta Maathai , the Nobel Peace Prize 2004 Winner is a living proof of it. It all started with the seven trees that she planted in her backyard on World Environment Day 30 years ago. Over the years , that single act of hers has grown into a world wide movement with 30 million trees in over 30 countries that earned her the Nobel Peace Prize for her ‘contribution to sustainable development , democracy and peace’.
After all it is the effort by every individual counts. Let’s all do what is within our reach. Planting trees, conserving power, using fuel efficient vehicles, shunning plastic bags are few things which do not even require much effort from us. Spreading awareness and educating others especially our children on saving our environment is of prime significance. Dedicating just a day for this every year wouldn’t be enough for celebrating Environment Day, let’s celebrate it every day.

Knowing Etiquettes Matters

Shivram Gangadhariah has sent an interesting article on how important it is to know diversity in human behaviors and etiquettes as these convey different meanings in different cultures.

We should be thankful to the wonderful diversity that exists in human behaviors and etiquette. Otherwise ours would have been monotonously boring world. But this diversity can create some problems. When it comes to etiquette, ignorance is certainly not bliss. Innocent actions may cause confusion or, worse still, may be construed as offensive.
Following examples, courtesy Economist.com, show some of the complexities arising from diverse etiquette. Germans prefer formal mode of address such as doctor or professor, stressing their educational credentials, so you shouldn’t make the mistake of using first-names in Germany. In England you are expected to be punctual to meetings, whereas in Italy being 5-10 minutes late is the norm. Attending a meeting in Dubai wearing a dish-dasha (a white ankle-length gown) and gutra (head cloth) is likely to draw criticism, as foreigners are not supposed to wear traditional Muslim clothing. At times, etiquette can be very subtle. In Japan, business cards should ideally be produced from the pocket of your jacket, and not from trouser pockets. Also, the business-card presented to you should be left in front of you, because putting it away is a signal that the meeting is over. Sometimes, ignorance of etiquettes can cause much more serious problems than mere confusion – it may offend your host and damage the relationship beyond repair. For example, in Hong Kong, gifting clocks to acquaintances is a strict no-no because it is thought to signify death.
First-time visitors to India who are ignorant of Indian behaviors may be bewildered to find their hosts shaking head side-to-side to indicate agreement or approval, because most of the rest of the world understands a sideways shake of the head to mean disagreement or disapproval. In our own Mysore, it is improper etiquette to say “naanu hogu thini” (“I am going”) while bidding good-bye – the correct expression is “naanu hogiddu baruthini” (“I am going & shall return”).
Do spend some time and effort learning local behaviors and etiquette before visiting a new place, as it will help you to some extent in becoming good brand ambassadors. It is not without reason that employers spend small fortunes educating their staff in behaviors and etiquette of the locals, before packing them off to foreign shores.

The Programmer’s Disease
RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) is a lingo in IT industry. Vikas Kamat has penned an article on how to cure such injuries. He has fondly named it Programmer’s Disease.

We all love mouse as an input device to the computer, and today it is hard to fathom a computer without a mouse-or-trackball-like device. But stop for a while and think how many times in a day you are moving your right hand (for a right-handed person) from keyboard to mouse and vice-versa, it’s probably in tens of thousands of times. The Programmer’s disease occurs by excessive use of the computer keyboard and the mouse. In the medical community, it is also referred to as CTS (Carpel Tunnel Syndrome) and RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) and increasingly, it is causing a serious problem for workers in the IT industry (hence the name).
How I Fought Programmer’s Disease
In the year 1999 — about ten years into my programming life — I started experiencing acute pain in my right hand (I’m right handed). I didn’t know about RSI then, and sought physical therapy, which provided temporary help. I had some colleagues who underwent surgery, but the pain returned very quickly. I would use ice-packs, which tremendously helped during the treatment. But the pain was not curable.
In year 2000, a fellow programmer suggested that I switch my mouse-clicking hand.
I tried it, and it was difficult initially, but the body learns sooner than you think. The pain subsided, and over the period of last seven years, I have become ambidextrous, and best part is that the pain is gone!Switching the Clicking Hand Cures RSI
Tips to Prevent RSI

• Stretch and massage your hands
• Perform activities with hands that are opposite to the repetitive strain — like weight lifting, racquet sports (like Tennis, no Cricket doesn’t help!)
• Distribute the work to other parts of the body — use alternate fingers and limbs.

Personally, I am waiting for the two technical breakthroughs – one is a foot-operated mouse. As automobile driving technology has shown us, the foot can be very sensitive and can respond very rapidly. The other thing I’m waiting for is a digital glove so I can keep my hands in the pocket of my pants and still operate the PC.

Road to Good Health

‘Give lift to your heart, use stairs and not lift’ …says a bright yellow poster adorned on the wall just outside the elevator as we enter our office in the morning. I often find employees in their 20’s and 30’s lovingly admire creatives on this poster while they wait for the elevator to descend. Perhaps ‘your’ heart’ in this poster literally means ‘your’ heart and the message is for others and not the reader. It is natural that our health seems valuable to us only after we lose it.
The most unfortunate fallout of the unprecedented economic progress that world has witnessed in the past decade is the radical change in the life styles of most employees. The project dates, deadlines, work sheets, number of billable hours take the lead in running the biological clock. Time being the most precious commodity; the employees are working more, exercising less, eating wrong and taking stress thus grossly affecting their overall health. Studies show that almost 1 billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure and more than half a billion will harbor this silent killer by 2025. High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and kidney failure. Hyper tension and heart diseases are no longer privileged domains of people in their 50s. These can strike even as young as twenties and thirties. Right diet and adequate exercise are instrumental in keeping one fit and healthy. Ironically as per the reports, the bird flu killed only 2000 people worldwide but it created a panic that even the hard core non – vegetarians turned vegetarians overnight.
The age old proverb “you should visit a doctor only when you fall sick” is passé in modern day environment. “Visit your doctor regularly so that you don’t fall sick” is the modified proverb. Good health means more than treating illnesses when they occur. It also means achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, getting optimal nutrition, exercising and staying fit to prevent disease.
Getting started is always the hardest part. It is entirely your choice as what you want to do – exercise, swim, jog, yoga or simply walk but do something as good health like most good things in life is irreversible.