Thursday, December 25

Nice or not little thoughts

Thoughts on Luxury

I wrote this mail triggered by Prapullas mail on luxury. One of many she sends from time to time.

I remember someone telling me a difficulty his friend had. A real monetary difficulty. A Merecedez is available for 20 lakhs if paid ready cash. A good buy in whatever means. A deal which is worth another 10 lakhs in normal circumstances. But this man is in short of money. Can I call him a poor man?

A cut on the finger would be overlooked by a quarry worker. My wife will come running with a band aid. A doctor might analyse the depth and cause. Knowledge is the key. Practical knowledge and theoritical knowledge. The divine knowledge is taught by Prophets. They lived among us to share the practical knowledge. They lay guidelines for us to experiment and learn ourselves.

Homoeo doctors would take a lot of time to suggest a medicine. I might do in seconds!!! Apparently tougher for them than me?? He who knows finds anything tough. Thats why someone said the more you learn, you learn that you dont know anything. We think money and you find it far from us. We think of Lord, and God forgive, we might realise how far we are from him too.

People who deal more with money are seen having more monetary issues. People in search of knowledge always worry about what they dont know. The reason is simple. You need to strive hard to achieve what you focus on. Pathu kittukil Nooru mathiyennum, nooru kittukil sahasram ennum. No end of needs. In whatever.

Is not the US rich? Still it is the one country which is finding it hard and doing all evils to keep it up. If you see the recent stock exchange things, it is not what is worth that the market bother. It is the future value, or, simply put, growth. You have the maintain the growth.

Again back on focus. For a person who value God more than anyone, he will need to strive more hard to reach the Nafsul Mutmainna - the soul that rests in peace. There is no stationary place, there should only be growth. Muhammad (sa) spent days and nights crying for pardon. For what sin? Since he was focused, he knew more. He needed more. Every simple thing appeared as a big hurdle for him.

Mercedez is a luxury for those who cannot afford. Its a comfort for those who can. For the class above, they are worried about the discomforts of their Mercedez.

Let us try to realise like the King who was in search of the Happy Man's Shirt.

BTW, I understand that possession is the biggest attraction for man. Wealth hence becomes the biggest shirk. Alms are the way to protect. We should be ready to give away to whoever in need. Money, knoweldge, everything. Thats the way we can get away from being greedy. What use of a tall tree, that provide no shade, that bear no fruit? One day, someone would just cut it down. Logs for a furnace, they would find it useful.

Thankyou for a thoughtful mail.

God be with you and us and let us all strive to find peace in him. Not a peaceful rest, but a peaceful journey towards him..

----- Original Message -----
There are people who think that the affluent people of the world are put through lesser trial since they have wealth and riches to play about. They do not have to worry about their food and shelter. The luxuries of life open their arms for them.

This perception is not true. The Almighty has created this world as a trial and test for all of us. Every one of us undergoes this trial in some form or the other. It is not that only the poor and the needy are put through this test. Affluence also is a form of trial. Here the trial is to test a person regarding his attitude towards the Almighty. He is tested on whether he shows gratitude to the Almighty on His favors and blessings. As such, since a person generally tends to forget his Lord if he is blessed with an affluent life, this trial is perhaps tougher than that of a person who is put through the trial of poverty and adverse circumstances; in such circumstances, a person tends to remember the Lord more - or at least, has more opportunities for this remembrance.

Moreover, affluence is just one form of comfort a person may have. There are people who maybe affluent and very rich, but still have various forms of mental worries, troubles and tribulations.

Besides, having a strong relationship with the Almighty, the best way to fight out the ups and downs of life is to always look at people who are worse off: a cursory glance would bring many to our mind. One will begin to realize what one actually has in contrast with millions of others. Where others have been deprived, he would find himself blessed with many favors.


Good news as such. That means there is nothing bad. Is it not a good news?? That God saved us from many possible bad news?

The TV news will report a set of accidents and attacks and killings and deaths and scandals and and and finally will wish you Have a Good Day. A prayer that you be not affected.

Well, staying with family and kids in a new place and a place like Japan, almost no time to look out through the rain and process the mind. Today also furimashita. (furimasu - peyyuka) As in Malayalam, even though it never snows there, rain and snow both furimasu. Today it is snowing but here.

This is teh second snowing this season. But it was very little. It did not accum much on the ground. Anyway I had not watched the TV forecast yday. (A sin here) When I saw people with unbrellas out, I thought it would rain today. Anyway when I came out of subway station near office I was shocked to see it was Yuki (snow). It was really kawai (pretty) but I was rather kawaiso (paavam) with no umbrella. I had to buy an umbrella from a kiosk at the station. 700 yen. Almost 7 dollars. I had two at home. But they cannot work staying home.

Sky is visible now. So is ground too. But it is real cold outside. 5 min walk to station. Thats all the time I have to bear it. Inside house heater and AC does the work. But going to bath in the morning is really tough. When you switch off shower to apply soap and when you finish bath - until you rush to the heater....

North India is very much affected this time. I read some 800 deaths. I am talking about 5 and 10 min. Poor people there are to bear it 24 hours. In US style, 24x7... Delhi has started Metro. Fully air conditioned cars. Can people stay inside? May be they will start. Kerala just finished Global Investors Meet. They say MoU worth 11000 crore. May be these will change the overall life status? Cheap labour in India can bring foreign currency to India. Lower value rupee will make us compete in the world. The theory.

Popy and St. Johns find Taiwan better to manufacture their umbrellas to sell in Kerala. Chinese shoppees are the new communist pacha

Oil company of Venezuala imported some Indian labour to fire some local labour. A lot of protests and now the Indian Govt asks the recruitment agency to bring back the labour.

Good news too - Tisco starts making auto grade steel and would replace imported steel in manufacturing export model cars. Many others import steel and sell them back as cars.

Anyway failed theories are in limelight. The guy who sang Dont worry Be happy could not wait for the end to come to life. He took it there. Dr. Spock advise people to create self respect for children. And even stated how to. But his child committed suicide. I was told someone who invented a new stock market theory and succesfully ran a stock business was awarded Nobel Prize. But he soon broke.

Like the medical trascription company in Technopark achieved CMM level 5, declared it the only medical sucscription company in the world to be at L5, issued Press Releases, closed the door behind and left for good. Forgot the name of the company.

May be in long run we will be better off? God knows. Gujarat on one side proves what we want. We bother more about past than future. Someone just found that Kutub Minar was built demolishing some places of worship. No worship in minds. They look out for places for worship. They dont even know how to find out. So want to see where teh ancestors did it.

The new fashion is law banning conversions. They are going to decide what you are going to believe. LIke the Taliban, now they will start decide what you wear too. No wonder if they decide taht people in South should wear a tail like Hanuman. For them, southies are Hanumans anyway.

It would be better we move federal without losing time. And do not give national status to any party. All local parties only. The One India slogan should be banned. India should be a business consortium of all states. They have clear business agreement how to share river water. Local citizenship. India and Pak fight on all issues. But TN and Karnataka has fought more on Kaveri - I dont know if India and Pak fought over the five rivers?

We need heavy snow. To freeze is unnecessary boiliing blood. And a heavy summer. For those frozen senses to melt.

Sugoi ame!

Good rain outside. Sitting on a seventh floor and watching great rain would have been a splendid experience back home. Here again, though being in the middle of taller buildings around, which steals the feeling of being at heights, the feeling is good. Can see people walking on the streets with the ubiquitious Kalan kuda. The fairer sex who goes for the latest fashion in dress (still looks no nicer) having very nice and beautifully curved handles but still the long ones with the kalu.

Well, Kerala is blessed with rain. Not Seattle, though. When it rains, it rains. And you dont have to see Doordarsan to know that. You know it will. Some months in the evening, some months all day along. Umbrella is an essential thing. LIke the famous St.George ad, one of the things to buy every year for school. Everyone will have it, for sure. But we prefer to hide it still. Shame? They sell 3 folds there.

Japanese are so traditional. They are beautiful that way. The kimonos are really good. Very decent dress. They wanted to follow the Americans. They still dont know what to fix up. Malayalees also had a tough to wear Kimono called Saree. But they nicely shifted to easy to use, decent and neat Churis. These ladies have not. When the guys wear white shirt with necktie etc to office, they come with some shirt / t shirt and some pants.. Good for the umbrellas that they steal attention. Except for those with those (un)necessarily dressed girls. And there are many.

Technology is the hot bread here. ISDN failed everywhere. Not in Japan. No one could sell ATM except these guys. ADSL is yet to be popular. Already done in Japan. Europe had the usual big mouth for WAP. They did it silently calling it iMode. They have all the technology. FTTH is reaching to the homes. Now they talk 1.5GB bandwidth at home. 544kbps is what DoCoMo proves on mobile. Back home, I used to connect over a 64kbps on an analog modem.

Sharp is a good selling PDA vendor for US and Europe. It is a Japanese company.

Higuchi san was here today. He is arranging some customer meeting next week. He had a file with him. He took a sheet, checked his schedule in that and told us the dates. And he wrote something there.

All documents are printed out here. Everyone keeps big folders. All prints are neatly punched and stored. An attachment? Both the mail and the attachment are printed out.

Enter a shop, you will see a lot of pens, pencils, blends, papers, files etc. A lot of them. Many different types of clips, bookmarkers etc etc.

Before coming, I bought a Business Organiser from StylePlus. A leather jacketed one. This is a common thing with all people here. Everyone writes and marks in this. They often refer to this. They never miss an appointment. They are never late.

The paper and pen, the hardcopy organisers, the kalan kuda, they all remain against the heavy flow of technology. Why Sharp cannot sell the PDA in Japan. Why I cannot see Japanese officials using Outlook? Why they don’t use 3 folds here?

In India, we have MS Outllook. It keeps appointments. It gives reminders. Only thing is it does not attend the meeting for us. We do have organisers. And PDAs are not so scarce. But none of these gadgets reach meetings on time. Neither do their owners.

Umbrella is a must in Jun Jul for us. Everyone has it. Still it is a non-fashionable thing for us. Everyone wants to hide. We look for the 4th fold option.

A good rain could wash the windows panes and let me see a lot!!! And could be shared with you.

Skills and Knowledge

What I liked here in the Rules of the Road is the simplicity. This is the only book I have to learn.

Well, for us, we believe in skills. Skilled Assistants help us in our engg college labs. We have skilled teachers, skilled cooks. We boast of our engineering skills. Driving is also a skill.

We are in the forefront always to boast of our skills and to blame the fools around. Like these Japanese. They are idiots. You need to tell them what you just said is a joke, and then then would reciprocate laughing. Such fools. Well, it took me just 2.5 hours (and 150 dollars) to cover the 600 kms from Tokyo to Oosaka. Simple. Why???

What we do not believe is in knowledge. Some book says that any single Japanese is not better than any other single anywhere else. But 10 Japanese is better than any other 10. One thing I have noticed in the college days is that all our team structure falls down to groups of 2. (I have noticed this especially with females. Feminists, forgive)

The train driver here could be around 50. He has been doing this same job for around 25 years now. Never has he done a mistake. Still watch him. On getting the green signal, he points his finger towards that, shouts something, then points to the green lamp on his dash, again shout something and then the train moves. At every signal he repeats that.

No one at CDOT felt Amba Prasad was over acting. As KK once said, Amba knows 3+3=6. But, 3 pins + 3 pins is 6 pins only if his calculator agrees to that. Whenever I see the Japanese doing things, it reminds me of Amba. His blue, green, red colour letters on every new notebook for every new board. Is he not skilled?

Same for the drivers. The license test does not ask for skills. The rules of the road does not ask me to learn the acts of road rules. It is very simple. Indeed, reading a few chapters, I was wondering why such a long intro. Soon to find that it was no intro, but real business. Tells motorists to take care of other vehicles and pedestrians. Tell pedestrians to take care of vehicles. Tells moms to have their kids wear bright coloured dress when they go out in the night. Such simple rules. Respect others. Protect oneself.

Do we know these? Any one heard about responsibility? We have too much about rights and freedom. Rights that even restrict someone exercising his constitutional freedom.

The chauffers are not to be blamed. They are paid for the skills. You could measure the quality of the vehicle and the road with the time it takes to cover a distance here. The electronic boards can say how long it will take to the a place. We would rather measure the driver. The vehicle and road are constants.

BTW, if you plan a trip to Cochin, Shihab / Chandran are better drivers. They can reach you there in 3 hours.

Posted by Riyaz Muhammad on 01:19 PM

At Oosaka

This is the third time I had been Oosaka, theoritically. The earlier two were five years back, on the way to Kansai airport and back. No stoppping at Oosaka, other than the Shin Oosaka station.

Oosaka is claimed to de much different. I have learnt in newspaper reports that they are less polite than Tokyoites. The much widely seen Mana posta (Manner posters) are not so popular there. What more, they dont even form queues to board the train. Does that misle me anyway? No, we are too seasoned for such things. Indojin bikkuri shimasen! But there is one thing which I really fail to understand. It seems the railways once started with the three in a row queue for the train boarders. A natural confusion made them stop that. Guess what? The people on the left row would turn left and those on the right would turn right, once inside the train. What about the middle row?? Interesting.

Okuda san, my host at Oosaka, welcomed me with a grand sashimi party. He got me almost all kinds of sashimi. Maguro (tuna), Toro (cuttle fish?), kuruma ebi (special japanese prawns) and many many such items. First time I had a full dinner that had only sashimis. Good it was. He claims Oosaka has the second best Japanese Ryori, next to Kyoto. Well, he hails from Kyoto originally:)

One important difference I noticed is that on the escalators, people on the move be on the left side, contrary to Tokyo. And Okuda san says that is the international standard too. May be.

I stopped at a pedestrian crossing at red. I was too Tokyoish. Okuda san taught me the Rules of the Road at Oosaka. Yellow means Go, Red means, Go but take care.

By the way, I guess we should have this Rules of Road book as a study material at our schools. Everyday I read about accidents at home. Yday it was five in a family. The newly married girl loses both her parents the very next day. She waits for them for the party and the shocking news meets her. The wider the roads are, the faster the cars are. Where are we running to? Beat time? Narrow roads and pot holes can at least slow down the traffic.

KK asks how long I will be staying in Japan


I am supposed to be living here.. I dont like long stays. That takes time off your precious life. So I preferred to live.

How long it be? A very philosophical question. Not as per the rules of life even. Things have changed much as more and more silicon flew over the fabs, and now, who can say what for how sure?

Thank God, I did not fare here so bad. And thank God, He is keeping carrots so that I am always mindul.

To be honest, fed up on service industry. At least here, I guess I dont have much more value to add. Not that all values are already there. Either what I think are foolish, or they are too good even for me to get them running. Anyway, like the capacitor charging getting saturated around 98%.. either change the capacitor or change the voltage..

How long the software industry go like this? The Gold rush is supposed to be over. Now all that glitters is gold. Or termed gold. Doing so I have stopped realising what is copper and what is gold myself. Need to step back a while and either go to pottery work or realise what the real gold is.

Life is great in Japan. Where else in the world can you take a train ride of 1.5 hours paying 100 dollars? Go to a family restaurant and pay 100 dollars? Not all that costly part. I could buy a very good, decent car for 1000 dollars, but pay 100 dollar for parking every month. Cars are convenient, but the public transport system is what makes Japan marvellous. Not for the blacks or skin heads, buses and trains are for every one. Neat, tidy, modern and punctual they run. It runs back home for many from office, and to bars, pubs, dance clubs, karoekes for many more. The art of riding I have learnt now. Learn how to travel without holding anywhere. Learn how to read books in the rush. Learn how to keep the lucky-on-the-seats not realise there is rush around them.

Things are not bad at home too. Infrastructure spending is high everywhere. New roads, buildings, bridges, rails. Construction everywhere. World bank has donated generously on a handsome interest. My kids will have tough time paying back. If they could make money using these roads they can. Else they will forgo a meal a day or two.

My friend, a secy, got a small pay hike. She is planning to apply for a loan. To repair her house. She is the lone child. Who will pay back the loan? She has to. Another loan is already there which her parents took for her education. I told her no more loans, thats bad habit. And she does not know if she can pay back. But is it all that bad? Unless for the first loan, she would not have been taught in school. She would have been working on coir mats. But I feel the more loans that attract her will keep her like the same. Staying in a better house, with a better electricity bill, and an improved tax. Finally saving, may be less too. There is no dark line seen though.

Like the old hardvard story. The fresh born MBA finds a prey in an tiny village. A fisherman who catches fishes for the day. The business proposals goes on like the fisherman buying boats, improving marketing, opening offices around the world and finally settling down in a remote village with some fishing for time pass. What he is doing now.

Long enough warm up for an office day. Talk to you.

The Sun Disappears

Another wicket down.

Soorej hits on the stumps himself. Bad light.

The keeper claps, captain claps and the team manager claps. All in the game. More appropriately, everyone in the game.

Was it for this, we have come all the way,
To part at last, without a kiss?

No. There are many viewers saying hats off. Who applauds the good things. For many others, it is just 40th in the year or so. For the few, these are a separate count.

Soorej walks back. Proudly. With tears filling in his eyes. Looking up for the sun. Already dusk.

A few flowers which had received the early morning sun are still there. They are all in a bowed posture. Soorej promises to play the next dawn. Beyond the sahyan, he could see the sun. The flowers. The green.

Soorej and Anand weaved the initial network fabric. The soorya server stood reminding Soorej till recently. The soorya server gave way to Project and Quality servers. (Who named them so? You are either in Project or in Quality. Never in both!!! No Pravda in Isvestia and no Isvestia in Pravda. No Project in Quality and no Quality in Project.)

Let me wish Soorej a grand new innings. A new dawn. Applauds!!!!

Anand leaves NeST

so another chapter added into the story book

Anand worked in BEL for more than a year

Then at CDOT for another 2 and a half years. Where I met him. While I stayed at JVV during the initial days. Met just as another Mallu, who then moved to Radhakrishnans apt. A simple looking guy. He was simple too. He was active. Very helpful. Frank. I remember Cherian also noted this of him in first meeting.

The third job took him for another 8 years until his decision to quit now.

Anand was a model for me for decision making. When he took the new house at RT Nagar, he did it alone. I also stayed with him on day one. (Later, years down, when he took his first house for rent in TVM, I was there to stay with him, though I was still working at Blore.) His decision to quit our dinner mess was not by discussing with us. He just told us. Once he just went out one afternoon and came back with a stereo player. I would have discussed for six months with 12 people and still not bought. His decision to apply for a small advt from a start up in Kerala and later to join that company was equally a surprise decision for us. No discussions, just decisions. He has proved that again.Just modifying the age old Bajaj ad - You just cant beat Anand.

We liked him much, loved him too. Anand remained a common point for all of us. Many evenings we spent in his house. He made dosas for us. We discussed everything under the sky.

Anand for us was technically a networking person. And an expert in international politics.

A well focussed person. He was never bothered about management aspects. He hated those things. I remember him walking out when we had a heated discussion on some mess rules. For him, unnecessary mgt overheads were not bearable. Later, during PJs NeST, I joined him in fighting for two streams for promotions. Anand was forced to be Project Manager. Just for designation sake. He loved programming. Later, when he was still in his favourite seat at A Block, I remember he was asked to remove VC from his machine. He is a PM. He should not work:)

NeST made some drastic changes later. Virtual groups changed to SBUs. Anand remained silent. He seemed content since he could escape the management layer. No. He failed?. Still, I always wanted to become Anand. To keep quiet. Aware, but untouched. I failed. My wife always blames me for my "unnecessary" interventions at NeST. She wanted me to be like Anand. Anand could work well. Could manage his family. He looks after his Muthassi very well. He looked after Peramma till she failed to overcome two days in ventillator. I could not even care much for my small family.

Anand had been a silent member of NeST for a long time. Why he became so. Who cares to ask. Anand is accused to be a no-quality man. He did not preach, he did practice, that too, by his own.

Beyond science, there is an art. One should not try to apply science on art. Never try to teach something to an artist. The SSLC rank holders get 100% in language papers. The great writers of Malayalam never could achieve.

My wife now says she was wrong. She thought being Anand was the best way at NeST. She now thinks it has failed? I just saw the photographs of the party. Anand is proving his Anandism! A smiling Anand could actually melt away much of the clouds formed in my mind.

Well, you just cant hurt Anand!