Sunday, October 11, 2009

Photography Was Allowed!

These snaps were taken when I visited a friend's house - is it in Bangalore or Sign Land, I wonder :), the situation was signs-signs-signs. Some are signs I have (and probably never will :) see anywhere else, some are just naughty perspectives, some are just plain funny! I really had a blast taking these.

The playground was called Concrete Ground for heaven's sake, and there were so many rules that one simply could not relax heart goes out to kids growing up there...

My personal favorites are the no-games-allowed in-toilets, poetic r'turn well-wishing and the children-at-play sign boards... Nope, I did not break any rules taking these pix though, photography was not prohibited!

(I suspect photography will be next! :) )

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Malayalitmus Test

I have devised a litmus test to determine the Malluness quotient of an individual.

Depending on how the person says the following word:
Neerazhi (നീരാഴി) - a synonym for the word "sea"

You can determine how much Malayalam a person knows, how "native" he or she is from the way they pronounce this word.

The na, ra, and zha are different!

From Wikipedia,

Extinct Kannada letters

Kannada literary works employed letters ಱ (transliterated '' or 'rh') and ೞ (transliterated '', 'lh' or 'zh'), whose manner of articulation most plausibly could be akin to those in present-day Malayalam and Tamil. The letters dropped out of use in the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, respectively. Later Kannada works replaced 'rh' and 'lh' with ರ (ra) and ಳ (la) respectively.[70]

Another letter (or unclassified vyanjana (consonant)) that has become extinct is 'nh' or 'inn'. (Likewise, this has its equivalent in Malayalam and Tamil.) The usage of this consonant was observed until the 1980s in Kannada works from the mostly coastal areas of Karnataka (especially the Dakshina Kannada district). Now hardly any mainstream works use this consonant. This letter has been replaced by ನ್ (consonant n).[citation needed]

Friday, September 18, 2009

Barking Barking Malayalam Chopping

A joke that Malayalis share about non-Mallus is that the hapless foreigners always say: "Kurachu kurachu malayalam ariyum". This post is about debunking and clarifying that joke - which is quite an impossibility!

Well, a little more about the "joke".

When the foreigner (who has tried to learn the notoriously difficult-to-speak language) means to say:
"കുറച്ചു കുറച്ചു മലയാളം അറിയും ",
They end up saying it as.
ച്ച് കുച്ച് മലയാളം അരിയും.".

The former means "Little little Malayalam I know" while the latter means "Barking Barking Malayalam I chop"! :)

There is only a slight difference in pronunciation for the 'ra's involved in this statement. The normal 'ra' (റ) sound that a foreign-tonguer would utter naturally would result in the correct version (knowing-knowing) of the statement in question!

The other ra (ര) is a sound that Wikipedia tells me used to exist in early Kannada and Tamil as well; but they became obsolete there. To understand the difference between the two 'ra's, contrast the two la sounds in "Loyola" (ലൊയോള). The difference between the two 'ra' s is also the same.

The barking-barking version of the statement is actually a testimony to Malayali elitism and sarcasm. The joke is that the foreigner would not be able to say the joke... or hear it, he would auto-correct it.

It is an insider joke!... perverse Malayali humour... :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do It With Mirrors

Today I went along with a friend to (window)shop around for an exercise-machine at the Proline shop on CMH Road. There was a full-wall mirror installed in the display/trial area. I noticed that in this mirror I seemed to be fatter than I thought I was.

I pointed this out to the salesman, who initially pooh-poohed my suggestion. (I am comfortably obese, you see... and who does not think they are slimmer than they actually are?) Then I showed him his reflection in the glass-window in the front (it was night) and asked him to compare it with the mirror. He was also startled by what he saw!

On further investigation, the mirror seemed to be slightly concave and made you slightly more convex; it most definitely had an aberration - a mistake of convenience?

What a brilliant sales-strategy!

1. You enter the shop, thinking that you are getting fat and that need to buy-equipment
2. Make the mirror show you a fatter version of you.
3. Seeing is believing, so...
4. You really need that exercise-machine now, don't you?!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And On the Seventh He Rested

I have temporarily defected from the world of gainful employment, after my resignation in July. I am taking an indefinite break from the material world (time and money). As the Tata Safari ad went, it was time to reclaim my life; it was time to rediscover some of my passions, which were slowly slipping away. My world is definitely money-less now, and also, sadly, not as time-less as I thought it would be.

Well, I do kinda miss office and I feel like writing a report. :) Here's the status report on the 50th day-versary of my quarantine.


Life has still been busy. Have been doing things that I would never have done otherwise because they are 'unimportant'.

* Was confined to bed for 6 days - bad case of fever (not swine flu)

* Cleaned up the clutter and piles of junk that had accumulated - both in my house in Bangalore and at home in Trivandrum

* Successfully came up with a blog-idea a day for nearly the whole of July

* Went around with my cousins, who had come down from the UK and the US.

* Went to watch the Badminton World Championship in Hyderabad.
Lin Dan, the Roger Federer of shuttle, won!

* Took a break from computers in general for around 10 days

* Started writing some programs (open-source) that I had meaning to do for quite some time

* Fever
* Cleanup
* Speech at family function
* Shuttle tournament - saw the World no.1,2,3,4 in action on the same day
* Coincidence - bus broke down, auto-rickshaw broke down - both on the same trip
* Coincidence - caught my ex-boss bunking office, met an uncle - both accidentally

8-11 - Get up/breakfast, read newspaper, crossword
11-4 - Go out somewhere (there are random trips on the bus. With a pass, you don't need to tell even the conductor where you are headed. I also go to Reliance Timeout, where you can comfortably sit and browse through books. Or maybe a movie.)
5-7 - Go to read in the neighbourhood park
7-10 - Dinner, laze around
11-3 - On the computer, generally programming also browsing

* There's still no escaping the tyranny of time.
* You can do only one thing at a time.
* It's kind of tough to be responsible for your own time; it's so easy to slip.
* Anything can start to be boring.
* My mood-fix: watching four movies in a row
* It's actually not that important to read the newspaper everyday. You know what, some articles are really repeats!!!

Even now, there's no time! There's still so much stuff on the back-burner to get back to! For instance there's a movie I borrowed nearly 2 years ago: The Two Jakes, unopened books (too many to list :) ), piles of documents and emails to sort... I also need to get up to speed on technology.

Plan to get everything online soon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The (4,5) Crosswords

Absolutely frustrated and exasperated with the abysmal quality of the Hindu crossword these days. Negative this post may be, but hey I got me a muse! :)


1 Now in the abyss, just a good girl initially (4,5)
2 Gets confused: one Roman giant jag on Greek slopes(4,5)
3 Girl, clumsy moves ain't a jig (4,5)
4 One ganja git on steroids? Sort of (4,5)
5 Known for a half a jiff gag hints, endlessly confused (4,5)
6 Rhymher: clues neat are buggy, say 5D (4,5)
7 Always gets Aga TJ in karate dress, say gee! (4,5)
8 Respect tag for completely gaga, half nitwit? Hardly. (4,5)
9 Blasphemer in the Holy Grid (4,5)

Discards (only because I am not the answer :) )
Eskimo house without toilet messes up Agra monument profit (4,5)
Sings motley clue at Jain gig (4,5)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Crossword Blues

Returned to doing crosswords today. Was reminded of this poem gathering dust in my vault, more than seven years I think. Thought this was occasion enough - also since now it's nearly two years since I put anything up here. Renaissance Post!


That morning I was out in the garden,
Body in chair, newspaper in hand
My mind none knows where
for it was lost in thought.
So many right, yet so many left.
So many acrosses, I was feeling down
Was it hell or inferno?

Ere come flying did this crow
Blacker than night
Darker even than the mind
of the grid-setter so cryptic.
Twinkle in eye, mischief brimming
the crow, he perched on the arm of my chair,,
looked through icily, said

“What have we here, boxes?
Light boxes, dark boxes,
Shaded boxes, numbered boxes
but filled, lettered ones so few.
It is, I see, that which Nature she abhors!
As to how to fill these blanks,
I’m sure, you have no clue!”
Thus spake the crow.

To these words offence I did take,
For though no master, I was no slouch
And I taught him the perilous
ways through the Holy Grid.

About how a tree was an unetched three
And how the ear was the sense organ of time
About how Al ever managed to operate the lever
And how confused fears made you feel safer.

Thus I explained to him at length
About clues- cryptic, quick, hidden
and other literal sorts you know
the rowdy, wordy anagrammic clues
and funny, punny homophones.

At this juncture,
I paused my lecture.
Not because my pupil was perplexed
rather `cos his were unflexed!

The insolent indolent crow,
he smiled a knowing smile
Not in the least awed
(I know) for now he guffawed
and then he cawed,

“Mere wordplay!
The CrossWord, tis but an eternal truth
The Beginning, cross words were heard
no sooner than God made woman.
Then so many battles, so many wars
when all people did was cross swords”
(How words could this get, I thought)

“And I believe Christ’s last utterings
are now to be had as the Cross-Words,
The End!”
Oh, the way he punned it
I knew he was no crow ordinary
Really, he was some pundit!

And then went flying did the crow.
There was nothing left to do
But to bid goodbye
and jot those immortal thoughts down.

For these crass words
I am not to blame.
(Though the excuse is lame)
These were but the crow’s words!

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tender Resignation

Yesterday was my last day in my office, where I had worked for nearly 4 years. My tenure there was just like how that Mastercard ad of some time ago went: times that were more better than worse. And thankfully, it was an amicable split (in fact, I had been reading many "How To Handle A Breakup" stories on the Web of late): it was just a case of time to move on.

By a strange and unfortunate stroke of misfortune, I was not well on this last day and was extremely tired throughout. This had to do with my eggscapade of Sunday of course, had caught a bug or a curse on that caper. A major reason for my quit was the realization that there were too many eggs in the fridge of my life - stacks of unread magazines, unexpanded ideas, and many other undone things! But I do hope that this creative-exploration reasoning for my quit holds water when I'm ready to find another job!

I struggled to complete my exit formalities because of exhaustion and was forced to spend most of the day resting at my desk. Hence I was not able to bid cheerful enough adieus to people who came there to my desk and probably decided not to trouble me too much. Guys, it was just that I was ill and exhausted, not sick and tired! :)

PS Yeah, this is the explanation for the recent, increased blogging activity.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Unvital Statistics (TPS Reports)

Have you ever prepared a report at work that you felt was pointless to prepare and was based on useless data?

A couple of posts ago, I'd mentioned TPS reports in passing. Here's some info. From Wikipedia: "TPS report" has come to denote pointless mindless paperwork after its use in the comedy film Office Space. In the story, a primary character is reprimanded by several of his superiors for forgetting to put the new cover sheet on his TPS report. Mike Judge, who wrote and directed the movie, said that it meant "Toilet Paper Sheet" in the movie.

TPS reports typically gather and formalize unvital statistics. Is there a correlation between the length/number of breaks and productivity? How much time is spent by the typical employee not working - blinking, walking, could be anything - how can we capture and utilize that time? Typically, these questions have common-sense answers but they need to be backed up with evidence, don't they?

What's behind the gathering of these unvital statistics? Why does it happen? Why is it so prevalent?

1. Information loss happens at each level of hierarchy. These reports are an attempt at mitigating the resultant damage.

a) Bosses get insecure because of this inevitable information loss. Already, they are losing touch with field-work and they don't want lose their utility completely. They want to take "informed' decisions and who can say for sure that these stats are, in fact not vital? Hence they want to capture as much data as possible, data being the basis for information.

b) There are TPS reports at all levels. Your TPS report is what forms the basis for your boss's TPS report!

2. It gives you, as an employee, something to do. It helps in boosting your PUF. It gives you an easy opportunity to prove your uniqueness and utility. You know what, my TPS report is the best, packs the most punch!

Data if collected has to be processed into information, interpreted and assimilated. Otherwise the effort expended on collecting the data is a waste. The time spent for interpretation and analysis of the data at each level is an acceptable transmission-loss.

My colleague (who of his own volition neither reads nor writes, hence I am obliged to document!) termed it "statistical masturbation" - because it is useful to none and, in most cases, provides satisfaction to just one! :)

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Asides (Analysis/expansion later)
1. In information theory, entropy is a measure of the uncertainty associated with a random variable . Work is a random variable. Corporate hierarchies are based on information. The second law of thermodynamics, states that the entropy of the universe always increases.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Eggs In The Fridge

Recently, I discovered 4 eggs in a forgotten corner of my fridge at home. I was shocked, to say the least, because I realized then that I had bought those eggs nearly one-and-a-half years ago...15 months, no kidding!

Of course, they had gone bad. I tried keeping them on a plane surface and saw that they wobbled - this way, then that, sort of like a pendulum. This, I guess (and recalling my high-school science lessons and of course Google), was due to the build-up of hydrogen sulfide gas within. So the affair of the eggs in the fridge had become a real stinker- both literally and figuratively.

I had robbed those unborn chickens of their utility and denied them the purpose of even their non-existence! Omelets, French toast, cakes... perfectly modest aspirations for eggs, these had not become even those! I decided that these eggs, if nothing, at least deserved to go out with a bang; I owed them a decent funeral.

The thing about funerals is that they are pointless unless there is a release of emotion, any emotion. No funeral is better than a nondescript funeral. How would I give them what I owed?

Now, there is something about watching the eggs go SPLAT against a wall. I don't know why exactly, but I have always been fascinated with this splatting of eggs. I think it has to do with the letting out of pent-up energy, matter which has hitherto been concealed. I figured that this would be the easiest and the best thing to do.

But there was a problem. In the urban maze that our neighborhood was, there was no suitable wall on which to throw these eggs! :( If I did what I planned to near my house, there could be trouble... there were 4 eggs, not just one or two! Daytime: He's throwing rotten eggs! At my wall! Night-time: Who's throwing stuff at my wall, and at this unearthly hour! There was also the risk of other sorts of tensions (communal?) as well...and, in any case, who knew what 15-month old eggs could contain!!!

My friend was going to Chennai in his car today; I decided to tag along. There are some outback pockets on the highway, with lots of ovoid boulders. I wanted to throw the eggs against some of those boulders on the way. Eggs on egg-shaped rocks, one with the elements. He also supported the plan; I guess his interest was piqued by the prospective splat!

On our way to Chennai, we identified the spot for the ceremony (there was a nice boulder at a turning) ; but we were in kind of a hurry, so we decided to do the honors on the way back (we were returning the same day) .

However, during a stop-over on the highway, I took one of the eggs and threw it on the road. It cracked open. I saw that the white of the egg was all gone and only the yellow remained. The yolk looked funny, it becomes sort of a gel after 15 months, you see. And the stench of it, aaarghh!

Our business of the day dragged on till evening and when we set back it was already dusk. We reached our chosen "funeral-spot" only much later. It was dark and there was heavy traffic, we could not stop! Well, when we got back to Bangalore, it was night and it was still unfinished business :(

I ended up throwing the two of the remaining eggs into Ulsoor Lake. They made a splash when they landed in the water. Then I remembered that it was a splat that I had planned. I spotted a tree on the road and I threw the last remaining against the tree. And..I missed!

Those eggs were definitely not well-done.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

BeneMal Classification Of Games

I think our subconscious identification with the inherent symbolism in a game is an important factor in how much we enjoy watching it. Like George Orwell said, "Sport is war, minus the shooting". Somebody else dies, so you watch?

Today I was watching a game of carroms in the recreational area during the lunch-break, and I was reminded of what a snooker commentator had said on TV a few months ago, when the player had pocketed a ball, "The ball has been released into gravity!"

The free fall of the ball symbolizes a release from suffering, liberation. The ball proceeds into a different plane and we feel happy for it. This is also true when we watch a 100m sprint for example. While the sprint is on, the runners have to keep running (suffering)... up until they cross the finish line and they are released from the forced suffering.

In games, as in life, there are rules and there are constraints. However, there is also an end to a game and we survive to reap the harvest, unlike in life. Sport is life, plus a view into the aftermath. This is what enchants us.

If you look at a game from the perspective of a ball/piece, then games can be classified as:

1) Benevolent Games
In games like snooker and carroms, we try to release the balls from the forces of friction and collisions and boundaries of space. The balls are confined to the table/board and are subjected to forceful collisions (ouch!) and ultimately, whoever liberates the board from the pain of the rolling balls is the winner.

2) Malevolent Games
In games like tennis and badminton, we try to keep the ball within the boundaries of the court for as long as possible. And while the ball is still in the court, we keep walloping it. It's almost as if we hate the ball, as soon it comes near us we hit it to the other side. Otherwise, if we allow the ball to continue in its trajectory and it is still in the boundary, we are penalized. Pure evil!

A redeeming fact though, is that if we hit the ball such that the opponent can't return it, thereby becoming agents of liberation for the ball, we are rewarded with points!

3) BeneMal Games
These are games which symbolize the fight between Good And Evil.

In a game like cricket, the batting side tries to put the ball outside the boundary while the fielding side aims to keep it in. Batting good, fielding evil? Well, Good and Evil are both subjective and relative. If you look at the game from a different perspective, the fielding side can be viewed as trying to put the batting side out of their suffering, caused by their desire to liberate the ball! :)

Football too, both teams aim to liberate the ball from the confines of the field in their own way and believes the other team's way is evil. In the midst of this conflict though, the ball keeps getting kicked around! :)

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Friday, July 03, 2009

Super Chef In Shantisagar

I generally have my breakfast from the ShantiSagar near my office; on most days I have rice-bath. (For non-Bangaloreans, ShantiSagar is a chain of vegetarian joints and rice-bath is a generic term for any savoury boiled rice preparation mixed with a variety of vegetables/seasoning that can be had as breakfast; Bangaloreans, excuse my poor ignorant definitions :)

Where I come from, we don't normally eat rice for breakfast. But what made me transcend my gastronomic upbringing was the tastiness and sheer variety that seemed to be on offer. Each day, there were two different types of rice-bath on offer - coconut-rice, tomato-rice, ghee-rice, vegetable-rice, aubergine-rice, pongal, biriyani, pulao, cabbage-rice, capsicum-rice...

Some of these varieties like, for example, capsicum- and cabbage-rice I had not seen in other breakfast-joint elsewhere and hence I believed this to be innovation at work. Plus, whoever was making it was enjoying his work too; the preparation was sure to be tasty without being generic, satisfaction guaranteed!

There seemed to be a virtuoso chef at work right in my neighbourhood ShantiSagar! And it seemed here, you could have your cake and eat it as well, it was cheap as well! Whether he really was a chef extraordinaire is moot, but for me the proof was in the pudding. :)

I thought a little more about this SuperChef and the life he was leading. Somebody so talented and obviously good at what he did, working at a generic food joint chain! His innovation and creativity would mostly be stifled here. Hey, this is really good mate! Exquisite! But this is not rice-bath man, could you please make some rice-bath now please?

The supervisor's perspective was logical as well: what was the point anyway? People came to ShantiSagar expecting rice-bath and not ratatouille or paella. A good ratatouille is a bad bisibelebath, and a paella is probably taboo for most of the customers. So SuperChef, his ultimate duty being to feed the clientele, would willingly submit and decide to be satisfied making innovative rice-baths.

If his creativity was to be bottled, why was he hired then? Because the supervisor only checked for the minimum qualification - "does he make good rice-bath?" - and took any added skills as a bonus freebie thrown in for him. Maybe he will invent a new kind of rice-bath and that will give us a competitive advantage! Who knows!

Surely, SuperChef was not getting paid much either. (A plate of rice-bath is priced at Rs.16 at the restaurant.) Factor in (the mandatory and natural) capitalistic measures and other hierarchical/operational constraints. Probably peanuts, kind of like minimum wage.

Why was my virtual hero doing it then? Why was he not running his own fine-dining restaurant or at least working at a five-star hotel? Probably he enjoyed what he was doing - making good food and people happy. Perhaps that's all he cared about. Or, maybe it could have been that he didn't know too much about other opportunities that existed elsewhere and was not convinced about his suitability/skills.

If you decide to check out the rice-bath in the ShantiSagar near my office after reading this and find that it's not up to scratch, maybe it's because the SuperChef got bored with the "routine innovation" or he got peer-pressured in to normalcy. But I hope it's because he saw the light and quit!

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Perceived Utility Factor

Why do we do the work we do? The answer is simple, isn't it? What we are doing is useful to somebody or for something.

1. Everybody is always doing some thing or the other. (I'm busy now, later man!)
2. These things are useful. (Aw, come on! Why would I do it otherwise?)
3. Why isn't the world a better place than it is? (Wait a minute, I didn't say anything about the world, did I?)

The simple answer was wrong, 2 is a lie. Not all work is useful; some lines of work can even be called destructive!...and damping forces (intrinsic inefficiency) are always in operation. But assuming that you are not evil and are not satisfied by the answers Just for a living/I don't care/Because I have to, why do you do it?

We do things because of their Utility Factor - we think it is/will be useful for somebody or for something. The Perceived Utility Factor (PUF) of what you do gives you a sense of significance and purpose; it puffs your ego up, so to say.

The higher the PUF, the happier you are.
So they tell you how every job has its own dignity and also how important what you are doing is (remember TPS reports!), and you are happy... to have made a difference but...

There exists a RUF (Real Utility Factor) as well! No matter how significant you think your work is (and by extension, you), ultimately it is worth only so much in the real world! The RUF can be a real motivation dampener! Reality, reality go away/Little Johnny wants to work.

The disparity between the RUF and the PUF is what leads to dissatisfaction.

The RUF will always be significantly smaller than the PUF. And that is the answer to why the world is not already a better place! :)

- Thomas Jay Cubb

1. The dual measure for this is the Futility Index (Thanks to my friend Ashish Chaterji for putting this succinctly). There are two variants for this as well - Real and Perceived. Frustration is caused when the Perceived Futility Index exceeds or equals the Real Futility Index.

2. Satisfaction is a number! It is directly proportional to the ratio of the RUF to the PUF
The Satisfaction Index, SI = k* (RUF/PUF)
Employers need to ensure that SI never approaches k (that RUF/PUF always less than 1) because otherwise the employee will lose motivation. Sometimes they do this through promotions :)!

More on these later.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Capture To Free

When I was in school, every day during the morning assembly, there used to be a section called "Thought For The Day" where somebody would read out a famous saying/proverb/thought. The attempt was to stimulate thinking on those lines (though nobody ever did!) among the students, at least for that day.

If you subscribe to one of the many Quote For The Day or Word Of The Day mailers and then archive them for later reference (I'll read them later) you know what I am talking about. As we chug along down the tracks of life that have been laid down ahead of us, it would be good if we don't have just thoughts for the day, we should also try to have thoughts of the day.

Thoughts are fleeting; they come and go, and thoughts occur to everybody. Often you will be doing something else when they come and you will put them off till later. I'm doing this now, I can't act on that, not now. Later. And then you forget. The thought is lost to you, and you will be left searching for it!

If you are lucky, the thought will come back to you, and then what? Same story.

It is important to that thoughts don't always need to be acted on fully. Like a ghost haunts you till it is avenged, the thought floats around till you express it. Thoughts find an end in expression. Write it down or at least share it with a few friends. It does not matter even if it is not really significant or momentous; treat it like a child of your brain. An unexpressed thought is like an aborted foetus - you never know what it could grow into.

Give it a chance.

Capture the thought and set it free.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One Word Philosophy

In the Beginning is the Word!

If a concept is succinctly expressible, then its power is increased manifold. Once you are able to freely think in terms of a concept, you can harness its meaning in what you do more easily. As the song from The Sound Of Music goes: when you know the words to sing, you can sing most anything. Similarly, for thought: only if you know the word for it, can you use it any way! ( Sing it! :)

I once read somewhere that in Japanese, they have a single word to describe a person who promises to be a great looker when seen from behind, but turns out to be quite the opposite when they turn around. How many times has that happened to you? And thinking of the effort involved, not chosen to share it. For want of a word, bonding and shared chuckles were lost! :) See, what power of expression means! :) (Sorry, cannot quite recall the Japanese word, dementia excuse: it was a few years ago in The Hindu, I think)

The Holy Books state that the name of God is equivalent to God itself. Christians and Jews even have a Commandment based on this: Thou shalt not take My Name in vain! Words enable us to recall the associated concept efficiently - to create an image in our minds. Indeed, this is what mantras and mnemonics are all about.

Here are some words which by themselves, I believe, are powerful enough to considered philosophies. These are often expressed as interjections and ejaculations by the speaker unknowingly, so deeply are they embedded in the mind. They embody a way of life and sometimes, in my humble ignorant opinion, typify the users themselves!

(Have desisted from citing examples of profane word philosophies. Everybody knows! )

Maqtub (Arabic, It's written)
We have tried our best, the rest is in God's hands. Or, Life is all about following the rules which have been written?

Ashte (Kannada, That's all)
It's no big deal (for me/us implied). Or, actually not much work involved?

Chumma (Malayalam, Just for kicks)
Not everything we do is for a reason, you know? We just do things for the heck of it.

Please add to the list if you know any more.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Office Heat Engine

The dictionary has it that an office is a "place of business where professional or clerical duties are performed". Do you work in an office or is it just a place you appear busy (place of business)? Scott Adams, Dilbert and probably you as well might disagree, but work actually gets done in an office environment...sometimes! :)

Even though it might seem like you have done nothing, you are exhausted by the end of a day in office, aren't you? The law of conservation of energy has it that your exhaustion means there is an expenditure of energy, and spent energy is equivalent to work done!!!

An office, if considered as an entity, can be viewed as a place where energy is expended and work is done. Thus we can draw a direct parallel to a heat engine. Terms like burnout, efficiency, exhaust etc do not seem to be merely coincidental! :)

From Wikipedia: A heat engine is a physical or theoretical device that converts thermal energy (called heat) to mechanical output (called work) .

The energy input for the office comes from the employees; they provide the heat-source for the office heat engine. The mechanical output (work) of the office may not often be directly measurable or tangible but it is sure to be there (where could it go? :)! The administrative machinery could be viewed as the valves, the rewards (monetary and other kinds) could be considered as lubricants, leave is maintenance and so on!

Now, the process of energy-release from an employee is fraught with inefficiency, as any HR functionary would readily attest. The expenditure of energy or employee-combustion :) does not guarantee that work will be done - lack of concentration, time-wastage, necessary social interactions are all degrading factors as far as the efficiency of the office is concerned. There is a definite factor of probability involved.

Hence, an office is a probabilistic heat engine!

- Thomas Jay Cubb

*Factories and production-houses are different from offices; here, the work done is more accurately and easily measurable
*Do the other laws of thermodynamics apply?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

DearDeer Negotiation

In situations where you want to buy something
1) that is useful to you - you absolutely need it
2) from a person known to you - you will continue to interact with her
3) which is dear to that person - she would want it to be maintained properly.
4) which that person knows is useful to you - she knows you will gain from it.

There are many risks associated with just the exploration of the possibility of a fair deal in these scenarios. You would not want to haggle and bargain too much; you don't want to damage the relationship by exposing each other's cheapness or greed. At the same time, you would not want to pay too high a price either; you will feel that you have been exploited. Or it may be that you might think that you are doing the other a favour and that favour could weigh heavy in the future...

I'm calling this the DearDeer Negotiation technique (rather lame, I know :), imagine it is a pet deer being sold! :)). If both parties can agree to not resort to exploitation or greed, then a fair deal (to the deer as well) could be arrived at like this.

1. Take a piece of paper and write down
Your minimum:
Your maximum:
Your optimum:

2. Take another piece of paper and ask them to write down
Their optimum:
Their minimum:
Their maximum:

3. Average all three items for both
This should be done by a third party if secrecy needs to be maintained.

4. Apply the decision criteria.
If the averages are not within say 20% of each other, a fair deal does not exist (one of the reasons explained earlier will apply ) and both parties may walk away, with no damage done.

Or, you may choose to take it up as a matter to be reconsidered and discussed. There might have been factors that neither of you considered. It can be the starting point for a more direct negotiation.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No Such Thing As A Simple Poll

I conducted a poll in my office yesterday to select a name/codename for a project. We had 5 options and 13 people on the electoral roll. The idea was to come up with the best name which was agreeable to the most number of people. Given the small numbers involved and the intelligence and absence of malevolence in the population, I thought it would be a simple enough decision to be made democratically. Boy, was I wrong!

The choice was to be made from a set of acronyms:
* These names were thought up by a smaller group from different perspectives on the planned project.
* All of them were acronyms with cheesy expansions - explanatory notes were provided along with the options.

We had to guard against the situation where less people thought that the chosen one was inappropriate (there is a name for this, forgot, couldn't find it on wiki), so I defined some rules aimed to prevent this scenario.

The rules were as follows:
1. It would be an open vote (no anonymity) and had to be sent in by email to a designated pollster(me) before a cut-off time.
The vote was an open one because people could possibly behave irresponsibly when given anonymity.

2. People could vote for the 2 options that they liked the best and rank those 2.
Two choices were allowed to factor in groupthink - people voting for something other than what they truly want because they think the group would want another one.

3. Formula for Calculation of the NAI (Name Appropriateness Index) for was as:
NAI = N(FirstChoice) + 0.5 * N(SecondChoice)
Weightage for the second choice was to respect the decision-making process. In retrospect, maybe that factor should have been a little higher.

4. The option with the highest NAI would be chosen.

5. Ties on NAI would be resolved by an Honorary Adjudicator.
Repolling would be invalid because of the high influence of groupthink. Plus, the title Honorary would incline the Adjudicator to make a responsible choice!

However, it turned out to be a typically microcosmic model of more complex democratic polls
1) A clear winner - There was no tie
2) One abstainer - Hated all the names
3) One absentee - Was not reachable
4) One postal vote - Over the phone
5) One invalid vote - Voted only for 1 option

The winner turned out to be a sub-optimal one and we had to have an intervention from our boss! It left me wondering how sub-optimal the results for a naiver scheme for a larger and less informed population, had to be!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Anti Patterns

Had a blast with this link:
Presenting an abridged, non-technical version here, because links also die sometimes.
Check out the definitions for mushroom management!

Organizational anti-patterns

* Analysis paralysis: Devoting disproportionate effort to the analysis phase of a project
* Cash cow: A profitable legacy product that often leads to complacency about new products
* Design by committee: The result of having many contributors to a design, but no unifying vision
* Escalation of commitment: Failing to revoke a decision when it proves wrong
* Management by perkele: Authoritarian style of management with no tolerance for dissent
* Moral hazard: Insulating a decision-maker from the consequences of his or her decision.
* Mushroom management: Keeping employees uninformed and misinformed (kept in the dark and fed manure)
* Stovepipe: A structure that supports mostly up-down flow of data but inhibits cross organizational communication
* Vendor lock-in: Making a system excessively dependent on an externally supplied component

Project management antipatterns

* Death march: Everyone knows that the project is going to be a disaster – except the CEO. However, the truth remains hidden and the project is artificially kept alive until the Day Zero finally comes ("Big Bang"). Alternative definition: Employees are pressured to work late nights and weekends on a project with an unreasonable deadline.
* Groupthink: During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking.
* Smoke and mirrors: Demonstrating how unimplemented functions will appear
* Software bloat: Allowing successive versions of a system to demand ever more resources

Analysis anti-patterns

* Bystander apathy: When a requirement or design decision is wrong, but the people who notice this do nothing because it affects a larger number of people.

Software design anti-patterns

* Gold plating: Continuing to work on a task or project well past the point at which extra effort is adding value
Programming anti-patterns

* Accidental complexity: Introducing unnecessary complexity into a solution
* Boat anchor: Retaining a part of a system that no longer has any use
* Cargo cult programming: Using patterns and methods without understanding why
* Coding by exception: Adding new code to handle each special case as it is recognized
* Error hiding: Catching an error message before it can be shown to the user and either showing nothing or showing a meaningless message
* Lava flow: Retaining undesirable (redundant or low-quality) code because removing it is too expensive or has unpredictable consequences

Methodological anti-patterns

* Golden hammer: Assuming that a favorite solution is universally applicable
* Improbability factor: Assuming that it is improbable that a known error will occur
* Premature optimization: Coding early-on for perceived efficiency, sacrificing good design, maintainability, and sometimes even real-world efficiency
* Programming by permutation (or "programming by accident"): Trying to approach a solution by successively modifying the code to see if it works
* Reinventing the wheel: Failing to adopt an existing, adequate solution
* Silver bullet: Assuming that a favorite technical solution can solve a larger process or problem

Friday, June 19, 2009

Profoundness For Dummies

How To Be Taken More Seriously Than You Should Be

Who does not want to be able to say: When I talk, people listen! Sadly though, True Wisdom is a scarce commodity and is hard-earned. But here's how us lesser mortals can do it too, nice and easy!

profound: Showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth
nonsense: A message that seems to convey no meaning

The techniques expounded and formalized here will, hopefully, enable everybody to become oysters of insight and come up with 'pearls of wisdom' . Yup, this is your TravelCard to free-tripping on the Profound Non-Sense network!

Use these tips, at your own risk of course, to create your own quotable gems! Or, alternatively, you may use these to identify formulaic crap and also assholic people...

1) Mystic Capitalization
2) Adage Extension
3) Kennedy Inversion
4) Reference Quotation
5) Random Punctuation
6) Typical Enumeration


1) Mystic Capitalization
This technique is extensively used by spiritual Gurus and also by management-gurus. Words like you, the, he etc are prime candidates. Adjectives are Great as well! If the split words have more than one obvious meaning, then that'd be Great as well!

(a) Take a statement.
(b) Scan it for words which are splittable and capitalizable.
(c) Split splittable words, and capitalize!

"Ask yourself this." ==> "Ask your Self this."
"Do you get time?" ==> "Do you get Time?"
"All that glitters is not gold" ==> "All that glitters Is not Gold"

2) Adage Extension
Stand on the shoulders of giants! Add to what they have said.

(a) Take a proverb.
(b) Take a suitable question tag-word or exclamation.
(c) Insert tag-word after proverb.

"Slow and steady wins the race. Let's slow down steadily."
"All that glitters is not gold. Why not?"

3) Kennedy Inversion
John F. Kennedy (or his speech-writer) was a great exponent of this technique, hence it is named eponymously. Two of the examples come from his speeches!

(a) Take a statement.
(b) Logically invert it.
(c) Grammatically connect both.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!"
"All that glitters is not gold, and all that is gold does not glitter!"
"Let us not negotiate out of fear, but let us not fear to negotiate"

4) Reference Quotation
The more reliable the source of your quote is considered to be and the more uncommon the words in that are, the more seriously people will take you!

(a) Take a quote from an authentic source.
(b) Say whatever you want.
(c) Pepper what you say with words from the quote, repeatedly for added effect.

The introductory section of this post uses the dictionary variation of this.

"All that glitters is not gold" - Gold, Encyclopedia Britannica pg 172
Glittering is a phenomenon..blah blah...Gold is a macroeconomic quantum...blah blah...Hence, gold does not glitter. Blah Blah.

5) Random Punctuation
Commonly used in poems to create sentimental trash. If you are talking, you can just pause all of a sudden in the middle of a sentence and then resume.

(a) Take a sentence.
(b) Insert punctuation marks at random, unobvious points

"The train came on time" ==> "The train came, on time"
"All that glitters is not gold" ==> "All that glitters, is: not gold"

6) Typical Enumeration
Last, but perhaps the most important and the easiest technique, is the bulletization and numbering technique.

This was it, dummy! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tyranny Of Time

Today my watch died on me; I am choosing not to replace the batteries. As a token rebellion.

The watch was my sign of bondage, a badge of my slavery - the time on my watch controlled me, decided what I did. My watch was my Little Lamb - I used to wear it everywhere and all the time...yeah, when I slept, even when I took a bath! Yeah, you could say that it possessed me more than I possessed it.

Only a few hours into my rebellion now, I am realizing that time as shown by my watch was not, and need not have been, my religion. What you read off your watch is just a token of time; WatchTime is just a convention.

Time is the ultimate luxury. Some months ago, I had read about the world's most expensive watch. Made by Swiss watchmaker Romain Jerome, this watch actually doesn't tell you the time of day; it only tells you whether it is day or not! Fashion-statement or not, it is definitely one helluva statement to make!

Before I sign off, small cryptic confession to make: I'm on Mobile-Time now. :) Well, that is, I peek at my cellphone to get my dose of the reality low.

- Thomas Jay Cubb

ThoughtJots: Time and money are the dimensions of the social universe. You spend time, you spend money (Time-Money equivalence). Some time ago, some time back (Dimension). Money gives you power, power gives you the ability to control other people's time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Calvinball is a fictional game played by the protagonists in the comic-strip Calvin & Hobbes. What is peculiar about this game is that the rules keep changing constantly. All the players don't even have to agree on the rules... :)

Even though people don't realize it, everybody is playing Calvinball, all the time. In fact, it could be the most popular sport on the planet; Calvinball is Life itself. Change is constant, and we adjust. Especially nowadays, I'm sure there are many particularly evil games of Calvinball being played the world over, with a refrain of "That was then, this is now. I'm sorry, but...."

Times might be tough and you might be desperate for a win. But you must never change the rules such that Calvinball ceases to be a game. Players, even pros, play a game not just for the money but also as a part of their quest for, variously: joy, fun or greatness. "I will continue to play as long as I enjoy the game," is what we hear from players contemplating retirement.

Imagine that you were playing a round of Catch and somebody suddenly puts up a new rule that specified a whipping for every catch you drop. Would you continue? What if the ball was then changed to be a red-hot one and you were not allowed to use gloves? Would you continue? And what if somebody filled the ground with nails...

But in the games of Calvinball we play in real-life, even when the game changes horribly, we choose to or are forced to keep playing. The burdens of reality pin you down, and you hope that somebody who is un-evil (nobody is purely good, everybody wants to win) will come along and the rules will change for the better...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lightning Strikes Thrice

Believe it or not, there are witnesses, but on March 15, 2009, within the space of 2 hours I was -
1) Sneezed on by an elephant
2) Peed on by a monkey
3) Pooped on by a bird (sorry, don't know which kind :))

I was out in Coorg for a nature-trip...guess Nature didn't exactly reciprocate my love that day!
Only now do I realize the sheer impossibility of those events happening all together!

Hell, I didn't even know that elephants sneezed! (They do it with their trunk, in case you didn't know either)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Exploitation Classified

To feel needed and important is a very basic human need, Man being a social animal. This lays the foundation for most social relationships, many of which are parasitic, the rest (well, almost!) symbiotic. Unpleasant realization this, but like it or not, everybody is being used, everybody is being exploited. All the time.

Exploitation is in fact so natural a state of affairs that we generally ignore this or unknowingly substitute it with less disturbing, more comforting notions like love, duty etc. This may be true even in cases where you might think you are the exploiter!

People are used like -

1) Candles
You burn to give them light in their darkness. You show the way. Without you, they could never have been sure whether they were on the right track. But when it is light again, and you are burnt out, they scrape away what's left of you.

2) Bandages
You help heal their wounds. Without you, they would (possibly, if they have clotting problems) bleed to death. You soak up their bad blood. But when the wound has healed, and you are all dirty, they throw you in the trash can.

3) Tea-bags
You refresh them when their energy is sapped. Without you, they could not have had that thought which made all the difference. They savour your flavour. But when they've had their drink, and you have no more strength left in you, they throw you in the sink.

4) Bubble-gum
You give them something to do. They chew you up, relishing your juice, moulding you as they feel fit. When they feel like it, for your pleasure (you fulfill your purpose in life) and their pleasure, they blow you up as a bubble. But the bubble is burst, and they spit you out!

1. This is actually a blueprint for a poem I'm writing; I started off with the tea-bag idea around 3 years ago. Don't know when or whether I will complete it. So sharing the idea as-is, in prose form. This is a recurring theme for me, check out a previous exploration Use And Throw, if you must have a poem! :-)

2. This *MUST NOT* affect a relationship that you and I may share!!! Hate the message, but don't kill the messenger!

3. This classification excludes those relationships based on pure evil.Or, does it?

4. Nobody even cares about doormats and tissues! Even the poet ignores them! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Banana Endianness

Endianness In General
Lilliput and Blefuscu, the two fictional island nations in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, were at war with each other over the issue of the correct way to eat a boiled egg. The Lilliputians said that it should be eaten from the little (sharper) end, while the Blefuscans claimed that it should be the big (rounder) end!

Though intended as satire by the author, there are dubious merits and demerits for each approach if the issue is meditated upon, especially if the egg is a half-boiled one.

Little End Of Egg
Merit: Rests on a stable base
DeMerit: Hard to insert spoon

Big End Of Egg -
Merit: Easier to insert spoon
DeMerit: Could topple more easily - spillage

There ain't no such as a trivial thing! Everything has a purpose and there is a reason why things are the way they are. The issue is even paid homage to in the field of computers - there are such things as Little Endian and Big Endian computers!!! ***

Bananas - End To End!
A similar question, perhaps one with more tropical relevance, is - at which end should you peel a banana from?

There are two ends for a banana, when it is removed from a bunch - the end with the stalk and the end with the blackish button (don't know the word for the whatchamacallit, the buttonish thingy).

I had always peeled a banana from the buttony end. But then somebody pointed out that he found it unusual that one could choose to do it this way. I asked around and found out, to my surprise and shock, that many (most? ) peel from the stalky end!

Rationale unbuttoned
It made perfect sense to me, peeling from the buttony end. The button was, in my book and practice, the logical peel-point; what else could it have been meant for? The button was, for unbuttoning! It was as clear as a "Tear here" marking for me.

What's more, if you did it this way, you could use the stalk to hold the banana while you ate it. logical, to do it this way! In fact, the longer the banana, the longer you need to hold it and the more logical this methodology is.

Justifying the Stalkers
But there is no rhyme without reason, is there? There had to be an explanation why so many practitioners of the Other Way existed. You've got to put yourself in the other guy's shoes, and find out why and how they fit him fine...

Peeling the banana from stalky end is also not without sense, when I thought about it further. Especially if the banana is of the shorter (plantain) kind. What happens is that when these short bananas are removed from the bunch, they break off at the base of the stalk, at the start of the fleshy part. So, when thus removed, the banana is already open; the proto-peels , they don't have to be created, unlike in the unbutton-methodology. So, the Stalker just has to extend those peels, pulling each one. Perfectly natural!

The Stalker methodology can used to advantage with longer bananas as well. The stalk can be used effectively as a peeler. Peeling with the stalk, there's no confusion: just pull tangentially to the curve of the banana, with the unbuttoning style, you need to take a decision as to which direction to peel!

Also, I observed that many of the Stalkers, with shorter bananas, used the button to pop the banana into their mouths. Press button to eject and ingest, was their operative motto. Buttons are to press?

Another point in favor of the Stalker methodology, with longer bananas, is that you can use the stalk to lock and protect the banana just in case you need to pause and resume your banana-session later! Tennis-players do this in between games.

Stalker Hegemony
The world (mine at least) seems to be full of Stalkers! In the two years since the question was popped (Banana Endianness TBD) at me, I have braved many "What the #%*#" stares and worse for surveying people's banana-eating techniques, but have still not come across a natural Unbuttoner! Existential doubts have sprung up within me... Lilliput 1 - Blefuscu 0?

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Information Blackholes

This is a continuation of my previous post.

Information forms the basis for actions that we take. Doing the right thing counts for a lot -
no matter where you are, what you do. And you are often defined by what you did and what you did not do.

Information is what bureaucratic hierarchies are based on: the higher you are in it, more the information that you have access to. That information is the basis of your power. Remember the professor's pet-students?

There are people who derive power artificially, by sitting on active information. Collaborating with such people can be a trying and exasperating experience.
They can be broadly classified as -

1) Information Sponges
They do this accidentally and unknowingly. To soak it up and hold it is just their nature. If squeezed, they will let it out. :) Sponges also leak unknowingly: spill what they can't hold or when in trouble. This alleviates crises on occasion.

2) Information Black-Holes
They actively suppress information and use it to derive a competitive advantage. To capture it through their gravity and never let it out is their definitive trait. Often, though not always, they lack any other redeeming qualities and hence it is sometimes for survival that they do what they do.

It is difficult to be proactive and perform effectively in the company of information-suckers. You will often be left gasping for air in the information vacuum created.

But the Information-Suckers also take a lot of the load off your back as well; they end up doing more work, being unable to ask for assistance without sharing the information on occasion! In their zealous quests for exclusive information, they unknowingly and sadly install themselves as points of failure...

Make an active effort to share information when possible and avoid Communication Breakdowns. Never be an Information Black-Hole; instead, be an Information Supernova!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Communication Breakdown

Most, if not all, problems are caused by misunderstandings caused by an inability to share enough information, accurately and effectively.

Even if you realize or accept this idiomatically, it's not so easy to follow. Often, without malice, and to heroically avoid information-overload, you think :-
1. Oh, but it's obvious.
2. That's not important.
3. It's not necessary for him to know.
... and you leave out bits and pieces here and there. You think, "Why bother them with these silly things".

These seemingly minor lapses in communication, slowly but surely, add up over time and lead to information-lockout. As Strother Martin observed in the movie Cool Hand Luke (also quoted by GNR in Civil War), in another context though, "What we have here is a failure to communicate"

And then you go ahead and do something based on the information you have which pisses off the other guy. Or, he would do something that is totally below your expectations. Voila, you have a flareup and quite possibly confrontation.

Communication breakdown, it's always the same.

As it is, it is really difficult to put things across. So before you leave out anything of your communication, think carefully:
1. Is it really so obvious?
2. Is it really not important?
3. Is it really not necessary for the other person to know?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The English Way

Or, The Idiosyncratic Ruminations Of An Indian On An UK Peregrination
Statutory Warning: High levels of exaggeration ahead!

"Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way."
- Pink Floyd, Time.

Based on experiences during my recent sojourn there, colored with quipamenducious opinion; your views may vary.

1) Queues, queues everywhere!
If there are none, they will create one! Everywhere you go, whatever you want, you have to stand in a queue. Even when there is no one else, you have to create a queue (of 1!) and stay behind a line and step forward to the counter only when called.

To avoid queues for entry is a big privilege, that people willingly pay for, shelling out much bigger amounts of cash! I decided to skip a lot of sight-seeing just because of the long queues and I didn't know there was another way...

2) Thank You for the Sorry. Not just formalities.
Even when you accidentally step on people and it's all your fault, they will apologize. (Tested :)
And you are expected to say thank you for everything, every small favor received no matter how seemingly trivial or even if it is just their duty. I was considered rude and frowned upon on many occasions! :(

3) Rules rule!
Everything should be defined and people get confused easily if they are not. Follow the intercom and the sign-board to the letter. There are people who don't care as well, and they are considered to be radical, don't-care types !?! Also, people generally play it safe and don't always really know what the exact consequences are.

Maqtub. Ashte! It is written, and that's all; those are the rules and hence it is fair . Whoever wrote them must have thought it out is the general assumption. If you think you know better...

4) Fine, pay the fine!
There is a price you pay for violating rules and that is, well, well-defined. It is also collected with regularity, rigor, vigor and fervor. There is no shame associated with paying a fine.

5) Freedom for cash
If you are willing to sacrifice the flexibility of your travel plans, that is, essentially your freedom to decide when you will do something. People are used to planning well ahead, months in advance.

Of course, I paid heavily for my stubborn insistence on flexibility for my travel plains! :) I should have been more flexibly stubborn perhaps; all my tickets came with a freedom surcharge!

6) Public transport..Service?
Public transport is damn expensive. And from what I saw there seemed to be an perverse, inverse relationship between the cost, distance and number of people using that mode of transport, for longer distances. I was amazed that for the same distance the listing, in increasing order of cost, was as: car, bus (coach), plane, train!

7) Value For Money
Amazingly, the minimum bus-ticket costs more than a loaf of bread. Food for thought. :)
Depending on what you are willing to sacrifice, you can get the exact same things at different prices...

To misquote Pink Floyd's Time (again! that song is really really English), "The sum is the same in a relative way, but you're poorer!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Deserts Were Seas

Logically and poetically, I suspect that deserts were once seas.

Both the desert and the sea are eternal sources of inspiration and sinks of enchantment. A person who likes one would like the other too...

Both are full of sand and things are in perpetual motion - it's only that in the ocean, water moves around while in the desert, the sand does. With both the desert and the sea, it is possible to stay put at one place and see the 'scape change. Things so similar just have to have the same once...

Petroleum is formed from the remains of animals and plants. Much of our oil comes from the desert, doesn't it? Now, how would the plants and animals have been buried so; it's hardly as if there were burial rituals for them, eh?

It had to be done by the waves in the seas that the deserts once were!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Time, Food And Money

Food is what everybody has different amounts of,
but nobody can have more than they can have.

Money is what everybody has different amounts of,
but nobody can have enough of it.

Time is what everybody has the same amount of,
even so nobody seems to have enough of it.

1. Based on my friend Bigith's manager's time dictum.
2. Based on a childhood visit to a palace (Padmanabhapuram) , the guide's explanation of the king's charity policy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shoe People - Thinking Shoes

Putting the adage "judge a man by the shoes he wears" and the advertising slogans of shoe-brands, a few weeks ago, and turning the Thinking Hat theory on its head (literally), I hit upon this classification of people!

1) Reebok People - I am what I am
They accept things as they are and rarely try to think beyond the established boundaries.
Limitations are a fact of life and operating within those limits is natural for them. "We don't need to try too hard, things are what they are." Theirs is not to question why...

2) Adidas People - Impossible is nothing
They always think in an out-of-the-box fashion and always (sometimes irritatingly) stretch the defined limits. Why not? They are proponents of change, and try to argue and win people over to their side. "It just has to be done!" Theirs is not to question how...

3) Nike People - Just do it
If even faintly convinced by the answers to why and how, they give it their best shot. Eternal optimists, they are the agents of change and don't think or worry too much about the fruits of their efforts: if not success, at least wisdom. "Let's see how it goes. Then we'll take it from there."

Everybody needs three pairs! But which shoe do you wear the most? You need to think on your feet.

LOGICAL LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Negative publicity is neither intended nor possible (no readers!) with this post.