Monday, December 29, 2008

5000 hits

This blog, these 'logically obscure' thoughts, rantings or musings, has hit its 2nd big milestone: 5000 hits!

Thank you, one and all, for making this possible. Keep checking in.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Mallu Discount

We coined this new term yesterday. No offense to all the mallus out there but just couldn't help ourselves. Come stay in the gulf and you'll know what I mean.

Anyways, we (me and Amit) went to watch Ghajini last night. Decent-to-good movie I'd say despite the whole world going gaga over the movie and Aamer's performance. Why I say this is because of the so-called 'Mallu Discount' factor. So what is Mallu Discount?

Mallu Discount is nothing but the South factor. Let me explain. Indian cinema defies logic - all genres inclusive. Even the most realistic of movies seem to make no sense at times. There are exceptions but I am speaking of the vast overwhelming majority. Singing & dancing around trees, fight scenes, romance, acting (read: overacting), larger-than-life characters, item numbers, cleavage & finally climax (no, not that one!) - these are all the essential elements of Indian movies. Put this all together and you have a masala bollywood flick. Multiply this by a factor of 10 and you have a masala 'south' movie (Pot-bellied actors added to the list!). This south factor is what I call 'The Mallu Discount".

So while watching Aamer pull off some absolutely nonsensical stunts last night, I turned to Amit and frustratingly remarked, "Kya horaha hai yeh sab? Kuch bhi kya!" (What's all this? Anything?) And in his typical quick wit he replies, "Chod na yaar. South ki picture ka remake hai. Mallu discount de de!" (Let it be. Remake of a South movie. Give some mallu discount!).

We both burst out laughing. The movie suddenly became more tolerable to the extent that I ended up saying to my bro, who had tickets for the next show, that it was a decent movie. Definitely worth a watch.

Mallu discount helps.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's been four years

Can't believe it's been 4 years. Really? Has it been that long? Looks like it all happened yesterday.

Four years ago, today, I got recruited by Oracle through campus placements. This day does not sound so significant but try telling that to a budding MBA pass-out appearing for his first real job interview! It was huge. It's one of those days that somehow just got stuck in my memory. One of those days that I could finally look up to the skies and say, "Yes, I have done it".

I still remember that day. It was cold, so cold and foggy that when I thought I reached Oberoi Hotel, I could see nothing. Not even the gate. Upon asking, was told I was standing right in front of that gate. All this at 7.30am in the morning, all suited up, on a bike, at the peak of Delhi winters. That was something! I thought my brain would freeze. Brrr. Not to forget, after watching a movie (Swades) till 2.30 am at PVR Priya the night before.

Yeah! So Oracle had taken telephonic interviews of candidates from 10-15 B-Schools over 2 weeks across NCR and had asked about 32 of us to appear for personal interview. Little did I know that a simple sounding 'personal interview' was not even the appetizers.

After registration and breakfast, we were asked to be seated as 2 separate groups randomly. And then we were made to strip! (Just kidding! Wanted to see if you guys are paying attention). So with the 2 groups ready, we were then made to do several team building exercises. This went on for more than 3 hours. I still remember all those activities. For one activity, they made us all sit in a semi-circle and blindfolded us. We were then handed some abstract object. And were supposed to identify who else has that exact same object - all this blindfolded and seated with the moderator sitting right in front observing our each and every move. Phew! Then this other activity, they made all 32 of us stand in a large circle. Every guy/girl was made to say his/her name. And then, this is the bizarre part, each one of us were supposed to repeat all the 32 names. I did manage 27 though. Anyways, all this went on till lunch. Post lunch was going to be our interview.

Round 1. I thought I'd be kicked out right then and there. Mysteriously, they called me for Round 2, which was much better. Followed by Round 3. And then they informed us that they've come up with the first cut. 16 were shortlisted and were going to be further interviewed. I had already packed my bag. Was thinking about dinner and which movie we'd watch later that night. And, poof, they called out my name. So, I was shortlisted. Great. Now that really freaked me out. Coz now I was this close to getting through and loosing out would really really really suck. So it was time for Round 4. This time with the senior management. It went OK. Round 5 was with Head of Recruitment. Basic irritating HR questions. Finally Round 6 was with the Director. He asked me just 3 questions:

Director: Are you ready to relocate to Bangalore?
Me: Yes. I can take the evening flight if you want me to.
Director: Have you been to Bangalore?
Me: I will, tonight, if you hire me.
Director: So, you think you are hired?
Me: Yes. I would like to think so.
Director: Thank you, Masood. (Got up and shook my hands). See you in Bangalore.

It still hadn't sunk it. It was too good to be true. Interview with the Director or Round 6 was taking atleast 15 minutes per candidate. Supposed to be the toughest. And here I was, out in 30 seconds. There has to be something wrong.

It was 7.15 pm in the evening. Close to 12 hours since I got there. Finally, the moment of truth. They were announcing names of selected candidates alphabetically. That's the first time I ever cursed myself for not having a name with 'A'. Seven names were called out. And number 8 was a certain 'Masood Salem'. All I could do was smile meekly and slowly clap. Was too exhausted for any other emotion. Only 9 were selected. Once it sank it, tears followed. I called my dad. And my brother. Other calls starting coming in. It was all happening. Laughter, tears, excitement, fear, hope, dreams fulfilled, new dreams, all at the same time.

It was one of the most satisfying and fulfilling days of my life. That day, I became somebody. I achieved something. I was going somewhere. My journey had begun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This incident had me in side-splitting laughter. At the end of 8 years in office, there couldn't have been a more better farewell for this joke of a president. Oh, why didn't the shoes hit him? Why! Why! Why!

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." - This is what the Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, yelled before insulting, arguably and laughingly, the most powerful man on the planet.

How does America react to this? Does it ban shoes in press conferences? Or will it now provide training on how to dodge shoes? Or, better yet, how to pick them up and throw it back? Didn't the SS expect this? Oh, they didn't?! Where is their ground-breaking, state of art intelligence now?

The president of America, the leader of the new world, commander-in-chief of the most powerful army in the world, all this and more. And this is the kind of treatment he gets?

There couldn't have been a more degrading, insulting, debasing, cheapening thing than this for the man. And thoroughly well deserved.

And a small note for Mr. Obama: Boy, you have some pretty lofty 'shoes' to fill in, eh? ;)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Travel, Work & Award

I am back to work today after a short 'working' vacation. Yes, I am a sucker at this. Not one day went by with me not checking or answering my email, prepare proposals for clients or get into conference calls. Somehow, and thanks to Murphy's law for this, I feel that all my clients or team or my manager needs me or my assistance while I'm away. So be it. Here I was in the process of closing serious business, while having home-made Gulab Jamuns and mouth-watering mutton biryani at my in-laws. Such is life. But no complaints. I love every minute of it.

And so it was a pleasant surprise to find an award waiting for me when I got back. No no, not for my work silly, but, yes, for my blog! My first. I am honored. And who else but Iya to hand me this one.

It is called the Butterfly Award. And I am so proud to have it on my blog. So thanks a lot, Iya, for giving me this honor. I am ecstatic.

Now, I don't know if we are supposed to pass this on or simply bask in its glory. But if I have to, I'd like to give it to Iya again. (Can we even do this? Re-award someone! If not, then let this be a first too)
I'd also like to give this to Priyanka whose blog is the reason why I have a blog today.
And lastly, but definitely not the least, to Tara who has a lovely carefree way of writing.

I feel good.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I met Shaheen today

It is 3.15 am and I am unable to sleep. The reason for this is because I met Shaheen (name changed) today. Let me tell you about her.

Shaheen is 25 years old, married for 8 months and, if I am not wrong, is pregnant. She was originally based out of a small district close to Hyderabad called Nizamabad. She is beautiful, energetic, has a sharp sense of humor and is a wonderful human being. She is religious and believes in the oneness of God. She has 1 elder sister and 1 younger brother. A loving husband and in-laws. She was currently living in Mumbai.

I met her today at her 'Dusvan' (Tenth). Exactly 10 days from today, she was one of the 200 odd victims killed in the Mumbai terror attacks. I spent 3 hours at her house with her family and relatives mourning her death. Her husband is still admitted in J J Hospital with 4 bullet wounds.

Shaheen died saving a 4 year old girl. When the gun fire broke out, the little girl ran towards the noise thinking they are firecrackers bursting close by. Shaheen ran behind the little girl and managed to pull her to the ground but not before a bullet went right through her neck. She was dead on the spot.

I have never met Shaheen before. I never knew her or her family before today. But I felt compelled to give her a visit to offer my prayers for her soul and my condolences to her family.

What kind of justice is this? Why did Shaheen have to die? What was her fault? That she was trying to save a little girl? or that she was present at that very train station at that ill-fated time? Why is she not with us today? Didn't she have a right to live, to have her babies, to see them grow old, to grow old herself?

Terrorism is not permitted in Islam. Killing innocent people is not permitted in Islam. These so called Jihadis or Islamic fighters (Not sure if they really are the ones behind this because I seriously doubt it) are going against the very principle of the religion - 'Peace'. They don't even know who all they killed - Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews? Could they differentiate? Which religion permits you to kill innocent people? For sure, Islam does not.

Innocent people died last week for no reason at all. I was with the family of one such victim today. I am never going to forget this night. She is a hero - a real unsung hero. May her soul rest in peace. Amen.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mumbai Attacks and Politics

The Mumbai terror attacks, despite being tragic for all those who lost their lives, also stinks. It stinks of a very large political scandal that seems to overshadow all the obvious evidences (read: planted evidences). There has to be more to this story that just a handful of 20 year olds walking into Mumbai and wrecking havoc. Doesn't it sound too naive?

Or is it just a coincidence that the men who was on the verge of uncovering the real masterminds behind the Malegaon blasts gets martyred (read: ASSASSINATED). For the first time, we had some evidence of political motives and politicians behind attacks and not just Islamic fundamentalists or Jihadis. Who were they going to unmask? But it's all lost now. Is anyone talking about Malegaon now?

So who was really behind these attacks? Yes, the LET did this. But who 'sponsored' them? Some evidence points to the Musad due to attacks on Jews. Could be possible? But if it was Musad, wouldn't the terrorists have completely wiped out Nariman House? Why is it that the terrorists kept hostages and did not come up with a single demand? Couldn't they have traded the lives of the hostages with their own? Why didn't they even try? And why is it that only 1 terrorist was 'left' alive? Obviously, they needed someone to tell the story. And here is a pic of the guy 'they' left alive.

Look closely. See any thing similar in these two pictures? Just an observation but worth a thought. The second snap was taken during the Godhra aftermaths.

I think Nariman House was just a divert. Likewise for all other places. Their main targets were Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kale and Vijay Salazar amongst others. The motive was to prove the inefficiencies of the central government and to make terrorism the main subject of the next elections. The idea was to scare the hell out of every Indian and, in the process, save their asses. I think this plot was hatched in India, by Indian politicians and for political motives. The timing couldn't be better, isn't it? Or is all this again just a coincidence?

Do we want another war? Hell, NO! But where is all this pointing to? Who are going to be worst affected? India and Indian citizens. Hindus and Muslims alike. At what cost? And for what reason? For one political party trying to topple another and come to power. What are they going to promise this time? Education for all, better healthcare, lower taxes, better foreign policy, greener India, more jobs? I bet it's gonna be none of this.

This is politics and it stinks.

Also read what fellow blogger Priyanka wrote on the same subject. I couldn't agree more.