Thursday, December 7


Taking a break. It has been very long since I took a vacation. Tomorrow, God Willing, I am leaving to India. Madras - Payangadi - Bangalore plans alive on my google calendar.

First time in last years I am to miss new year in Japan. Will be missing the freezing Dec vacation when even ATMs will be locked indoors....

See you all in 2007. A very happy new year

Tuesday, November 28

What I say and what I do

I am busy these days

More work in office. Or just say work in office. Planned vacation at a stone's throw. Make sure people don't throw stones on me while I am on vacation.

People who have been close and have always asked me advices are still asking. And I am trying to tell them how to be cheerful, how to come out of issues and ramp up from the troughs of the emotional cycle. And I am still not giving up on the kids on the stacking blocks game. I am telling them how and why stacking is an interesting game, how challenging is to make sure the blocks are in place and that there is a proper place for every block they come across.

Below all the juicy flesh, below all the tasty pulp, there lies the sour part of the fruit. Like the ugly and the dirty manifesting as beauty of the night lamps go off. There I lie in my own emotional cycle.

Well, I could have written about the pulp and how tasty it is. I could have written about the sour nut and how beautiful it looks like and the the great role that it plays in the overall cycle. The fact that I did not choose to write those is the problem... thats what worries me...

Irene had all consoles for me yesterday. A cake I bought for her was nothing when compared to little small paper crafts she gave me with her "I love you" and "Its okay" messages. And she advised me to be in school with her mom from next time to avoid a mistake about time.

Monday, November 27

Bad dad bad....

Weekend was nice for kids. One evening at Tokyo tower to see the new year lighting. Next day half day at the new bayside Lalaport mall at Toyosu. Though we didnt make it to the new Kidzania, the trip was in general good fun for kids. But all those lightings are only beautiful when you look from a distance. And only in the dark. The day reckons and the lights are no more to be seen. You now see the dirty and the ugly only...

Today morning was something Irene had been waiting for weeks. Their "harvest" performance in school. As a class they will be talking about harvest in each country during the morning assembly which once in a while is open for parents. She wanted me to go. And the camera too. Her mom will be there anyway. I agreed. Today morning also she reminded me - 9am is the performance. Sure. I will make it.

Wanted to keep her happy. Charged the camera to make sure no last minute issues come up. Made sure to be in the best of my shirts, tied up neatly, wore a good winter jacket instead of those shabby wind-cheaters, rushed to school to reach exactly at 9. And I did. Sharp 9 and I am at the Multipurpose hall where the performance was to............ There came the surprise. I switched on the camera and went in. The entire junior school is singing now. Must be the starting song? But why did they start early? Anyway waited for that song to be over. The principal then thanked everyone, and the first graders stood up to go back. My good God, its over???

Well, its true that Irene made a mistake about time. It actually started at 8:40. But it was too cruel a punishment for that. I had the responsibility to check up once again before setting this surprise. Instead of giving her the surprise, I now took it for myself. And I had to see Irene off to class with tears rolling down her cheeks. She did stop to console me - her dad feels sad if she cries at school - and responded to my gomenne with daijobu; but I am sure her day is immersed in a bucket of tears today. All for a dad who missed her performance.

Bad, daddy, bad................

Saturday, November 25

winter again

Getting cooler day by day. Very soon, entering another winter in Japan. But the autumn leaves are just creeping in - at least in Tokyo. The scarlet colours are decorating the streets.

Last one full cycle I was in Japan. This winter I would be taking a month off. Missing Japan new year first time since 2002. Though it does not mean anything to me. As usual I go to sleep. As usual I wake up.

A collection of the seasons on my camera.
From Season

Friday, November 24

Martyr's square and the Macy's party

I am not a daily TV viewer these days. But the new Al Jazeera English broadcast calls me in front of the TV sometimes for a treat. Yesterday was a live coverage from Beirut where millions of people have been on the streets following the murder of the nationalist (anti Syrian) politician Pierre Gemayel. There were emotional speeches from his father Amin Gemayel, from Saad al Hariri, son of Rafiq Hariri, an earlier politician who was also assasinated recently. All with live online translation. As they speakers called - this could be the start of the second independance movement of Lebanon. Could be a very crucial incident in the modern history. Those of us who have heard nation formations only in text books, I guess yesterday was a real live scene on how "masses" get to resolve the future for their contry. These masses should be distinguished from the masses that came out after Russia fell down, after Saddam fell down. These people are active when the opposition is on the height. Not when everything fell apart.

And I switched to CNN to see what story they would have. When King Fahd was dead, CNN had a wide coverage. On how King Fahd was close to US, interview with a couple of US diplomats about King Fahd, Saudi after King Fahd etc. Well the usual American media way. Those who missed how ABC reported Italy lifting the world cup, VKN has nailed it up here.

Yesterday but CNN was untouched. They were all in festive mood, with a splashy Happy Thanksgiving screen and then a live coverage of the Macy's party. Americans ought to be thanksgiving. For a government that consider them as the only civilized society in the world. For a media that makes them bother only when at least a hair of an American puppy is disturbed. Happy thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20

Freedom again

O ye who believe ! Why do you say what you do not ?

(The Holy Qur'an 61:3)

Well, thats become life. We do not do anything. Then we comment on what others do. Do a hair split analysis. Explain why it should not have been done that way.

Professional maturity means keeping what we do for living and keep actual life separate. What I talk is to get money to live. And then my life is independent? How is that? Well, you don't know modern management basics.

Who said world is progressing towards a free thought democracy. More and more theocratic nations on the rise. So far it was only Saudi, Taliban.. now we have France and the latest is Netherlands. Deciding on what people should wear and what they should not wear! You can think freely, express freely, kiss freely even xxxx freely. But the government would decide what you wear. Or to be exact, what you cannot wear additionally. In Japanese, the "plus alpha" is not allowed.

Well, if Jack Straw does not want people who want to meet him to go in so and so dress code, respect it. That his decision. You can stay away if you dont want to do that. If Netherlands says that all visitors should obey a certain dress code, do that or stay away. Same for Saudi or Taliban parts of Afghanistan. Respect them. Respecting them is part of the religion. Religion is not just putting a veil. It is opening up of mind.

Any country has the right to decide what is an acceptable social behaviour. Thats decided by the majority. (Though I fail to understand why a huge majority should bother by a small majority wearing an additional piece of cloth) But this sovereignty has to be respected for all the nations too. Speak what you practice.

Saturday, November 11

Tuesday, November 7

Stacking blocks

Seen kids stacking blocks? Not always with a plan, they just keep on stacking the way they find a block. They keep on building it up. They enjoy it. They like what they built. They will never want to tear it down. But may be Mom wants to clean up. Or when they get angry, give it a kick. Or may be one kicks his sisters blocks and she in turn kicks his too.

Later when he grows up and gets married, he repeats the exercise. He and she stacks the blocks. Sometimes together, sometimes separate. Sometimes blame for a wrong color, sometime appreciate for the right shape. Keep on stacking as and when the blocks come up. Sometimes with plan and sometimes with no plan.

Will he want to tear it down? He knows that like the childhood blocks, he can never stack it the same way he did first time. She too. But what if one of them gets emotional and gets out of control? If they started kicking on the blocks other has stacked? Or, if Mom or Dad wants to clean up a "mess"?

It is difficult to talk logic or advise diplomacy when kids fight. It is at times difficult to find out which block spoiled the stack and who placed it too. The same way beauty of a single petal does not give rose its beauty as Tagore said, the reverse is also true. A bad petal alone cannot make a rose look bad. Nor an ugly block alone make a stack look ugly.

You better stay away until they raze it down completely? But if you care for the little others who trust these little blocks, and believe thats the most beautiful they have seen, you ought to step in. And give a try.

Nothing to lose. And if you win, you keep a beautiful stack of blocks intact, and growing.

Wednesday, November 1

The taste of debt

Firo forwarded an article today. To make sure his "To:" list reads it, he gave this quote from the article

"My rich dad often reminded me that money doesn't make a person who he or she is (or isn't). Applying this logic, money also doesn't make a person greedy. Rich dad's point was that money has the power only to reveal a person's true nature

The problem I see is that the businesses aren't being acquired with money or equity --they're being acquired with debt. And as far as I know, somebody will have to pay that money back "

Go on and read the full article at

When more and more Americans go into the debt cycle, Corporate America make sure that the circle is extended to third world to pay them back. Militant America will come as saviors of the world against the "vogue" nations sitting on resources and take control of them. These debts keep the wars alive and active, with a reason.

This need not stay at the corporate level alone. This is affecting the daily lives of you and me. In Bangalore there was an eye-catching bill board on the Airport road. A romantic couple on a country boat enjoying a secluded honeymoon. And the caption - When you can afford such a vacation today, why delay - or something like that. And what does afford mean? ABC bank's Personal Loan. When you can go on debt, that means you can afford that! And these personal loans are against what? Your education, your job, your future salary.

Mark that - your future salary. You are selling that for a silly holiday that you cannot really afford. You are becoming a slave of your future job and salary. You are supposed to be the master of your job, not the slave. And where did your job and education came from? Because your parents saved those small amounts they got, for your well being. Because they never bothered to take personal loans (than those PF loans from their own money) to enjoy the secluded country boats. The only loans they might have taken are for the house (on real earth) and may be your education. Now you are selling them for the so called real estate (which sells the same piece of earth to 100 people and give you a portion on the air) and for the glittering fake afford-ability.

Well, some might ask, does it really matter. If this collapses, the bank loses, I do not. True. If only you collapse, the goondas / yakuzas of the bank could beat you up. May be you can declare yourself as bankrupt and save from legal issues. If the industry collapses and the whole vicious cycle collapses, I do not think banks can even afford to pay those goondas / yakuzas. Does not mean you are safe! Everything will start falling down. The piece of air you bought might value nothing. No one will buy your car. Your entire lifestyle changes.

The bubble burst is not just a fiction. It happened in Japan after almost a decade of bustling economy. A couple of banks failed. Many lives ended on a piece of rope, with insurance policies - many to save their companies and very few their families. The risk calculations of insurance companies failed and they too collapse. A huge collapse at the end. People became cautious and started spending less. Less consumption started driving Japanese economy down. 15 years later, it is slightly getting better. Real estate has not even reached 50% of that even now.

Japan could afford that. They had a huge savings in hand. All the money they earned with hard work and tight life paid them off to come back. What if this happens in India. The savings of our parents is not that high. We do not know how to spell savings. We only know loans. All the jobs we have are daily wage type. One lock on the front door - ends it all. When we get into more and more debt, our Government might not be able to spread out and create a fourth world to save us.

With more and more call centers and more and more teenagers getting into the spending world, I think its time we put some real world economics in the school curriculum. Like we had the biological ecosystem covered in high school, there should be some small coverage on the economic ecosystem too. How all the jobs are related. How the chaayakkada on the corner is important in the village economic activity. Why jobs cannot be created - only scout for opportunities. Why you have to work hard if we want to prosper. Why we are not yet in a position to behave American.

When I was in my second year of employment, my father told me that he always was able to keep a balance of two months salary with all the expenses for his three children and no loans. Born as the second son of a wealthy man, he did not have the luxury to enjoy the love and care of his parents, whom he lost when he was 9 and 11, forget about the wealth. He had to tighten his belt to acquire education, take care of his younger ones, manage his job and save for all of us. Thank God for He has supported me thus far. From the day I left to Bangalore with CDOT appointment order and Rs.800 in my pocket, much has changed. I always try to make sure that I do not spend based on what I have - base it on what I really need and then what I really can afford. I can does not mean I should.

Monday, October 30

Capture longer moments

Weekend was nice. For the family it was two dine outs - saturday night Japanese and sunday night Lebanese. Gonpachi sushi was costly indeed, but its okay once in a while. After all good sushi means good money anyway. And the Lebanese food was a great experience. Especially the Baklaawa - Lebanese sweets.

What made the weekend special was also the family walk around Nishi Shinjuku area. The tall rise buildings, the i-Land tower, the sculptures on the sidewalk. Finally I could take the picture of the little sky in between the three giant buildings. Yet to upload them. I dont know if they look beautiful. But almost everyday I find someone taking these snaps. Yesterday also there were another couple on the job. That too, not a old Japanese man learning to do high end photography. This was an Indian couple. There must be something beautiful about this. Wait till tomorrow when I would update the picture.

And again what made the weekend special was the purchase I did before the walk. I finally decided to buy the video camera. After browsing and reading about a lot of low end camcorders, I finally ended up on a not-so-low-end Sony HDR-SR1. High Definition camcorder with 30GB hardware. The new Sony-Panasonic AVCHD (some derivative of H.264) format. With 10x optical zoom, flash for still pictures, possibility of simultaneous still and video, 3.5 inch LCD, IR for night capture.. this looks fairly good for me.

Pictures I took yesterday, but are still on my Minolta. Except for the lack of anti-vibration control and for the low performance on low battery, thats still a good camera.

Monday, October 23


Just looking back and forth and sideways sitting in front of the 12" window to the virtual world...

30 days of Ramdhan coming to an end today. Alhamdulillah. Tomorrow is the Eid. Nice dresses, nice food, nice smiles and nice talks. Supposed to be nice hearts, nice body and nice morals. Dry fruits get ignored for another year.

3Q financial results of various companies coming up. No big surprises. How many more people I fooled. What is the margin which I fooled an average person. These two decides the stock prices and the future number of fools.

India gulping in 5M mobile handsets a month for new subscribers alone. Fashion and trend added with newly found money forces a huge lot of existing ones to change their phones. Corporate India upbeat with Tata Steel takeover of Corus Steel. For an India where infrastructure is yet to be built up, steel is a key industry, at least next to energy.

Found a new way how Irene could get rid of signing her posts with me:) and have her identity there. Fool I was. Blogger from beginning had the contributor option. So I still own her blog, but she signs in as her Mom (whose id I stole for her blogger profile) and her posts from now on will be signed as Irene. I now need to find out a way how the old posts signature can be changed too.

Most of the blogs I read are in sleep mode. Ramdhan, Diwali whatever reason. Pradeep is an exception. Well, Time and Tide cannot stop. And himself being a journalist, he cannot but keep on creating stories and write about them. And he covers good topics with not much of creative content in it. I don't like journalists becoming creative. Though that's the trend and the "journalism industry" demands. Who wants the dots? People want fully blown pictures.

I remember how my classmate Biju used to get good transistor curves in the lab. Instead of measuring, marking and plotting, he did exactly the reverse. Beautiful plots. Journalism goes the same way now. They call it investigative journalism. Pradeep, expect your comments!

Thus goes another Monday morning.

Friday, October 20

Peace, Economy and Nobel

"The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
Signed 111 years back in Paris by Alfred Nobel. Unknown was the real reason why he left most of his wealth to establishing such a prize. Something which his relatives did not agree and which got delayed by 5 years to get implemented after his death.

May be Nobel is a happy man this year. When the Peace prize went to Yunus and his Grameen Bank. After all, the "explotion", which he invented and made most of his wealth from, has been a technological upper hand for a lot of nations to create and maintain a power and trade imbalance. Looking at the recent history, this trade - economic disparity has been one of the key factors in many of the wars on earth. At macro and micro levels, the economic disparity was strong enough to sustain iteslf and in time re-defined peace as security.

There are now debates on Micro credit and its effects. Whether this is really against capitalism or if this is derived from capitalism. I am not an expert on economics. The prize here is not for the economist Yunus. This is for the pacifist Yunus. Appreciate that. Just look at the earlier pages in Nobel Peace Prize. Great names you can see there. Shimon Peres, Yasir Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Jimmy Carter, UNO, Kofi Annan.. Oh man....where is the world these people stiched in peace? Where was a day in peace for any of the societies they represented? Now go to the customers of Grameen bank and ask them. The huge shift from statesmanship, diplomacies and boardroom handshakes to real work on the street. Kudos.

How much money now goes into creating psuedo security and safety? Why think globally - let us look at the micro level. Even in a small town, if we pool all the expenses for maintaining the dogs, men and technologies that guard the big houses and cars, and use this through a micro-credit group, may be the very need of these will get questioned?

When I sleep heavily guarded, I sleep in security. When I sleep not bothering any of these, I sleep in peace.

Wednesday, October 11

Nobel Peace Price

The Nobel foundation is announcing their 2006 prizes. So far it is a clean sweep by the US. Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economics. All went to Americans. The Literature award is coming up tomorrow and Peace this Friday. Where will these go?

At least for Peace, I am sure Americans will bag it this time. I bet President Bush is the most eligible guy for this. He has been keeping himself busy cleaning up his boundaries (aka the world) from the so-called terrorists. When someone blew up the WTC, it did not take him much time to attack whatever nation he thought would have backed them. He did not shy away from killing 100s and 1000s of possible and potential future terrorists. Then he swamped Iraq, because there was no reason for him to think that Iraq will not support these guys in a later future. He dreams of a future world (aka the USA) that is free from all kinds of non-governmental attacks. For that he is trying his best to make sure that unless he approves, no one would break an atom. And if he approves, any one can do that too.

Well, he has to be awarded. He is doing this almost single handed. It really takes a lot to work like a monarch within a democracy. Working clandestinely against his own laws in the US. By hiring jails elsewhere in the world because the US laws are not adequately created to treat the non-US barbarians. [do not get confused with the arya-mlecha theory though]. He has been fighting the Red Cross and Amnesty and, possibly he is risking his future too? May be someday the mad lawyers and judges in the US might have a reason to have him behind bars too?

Truly courageous, dedicated to world (read US) peace. Tell me why he cannot be awarded? And that too in an election year where his rating is troubling his party?

Well, two of the four prizes awarded has been shared by two people. I think peace price will also be shared. By none other than Saddam Hussain. Because he did almost exactly the same thing, though his boundaries were limited within the geographical boundaries of Iraq. He was sure to shoot all terrorists that worked against his country. When his motorcade was attacked in a village, he arrested most in that area and even executed many of them. Though not in 100s. When Kurds were working against his government with external support, he did not shy away from using the deadliest weapons on them. Though not a carpet bombing. When he found Kuwait was not following the oil explorations as he liked it to, he swamped upon them. Though he had less to do to become a monarch, he did the best he could do as a monarch to keep his government free from terrorists. And what not, he is already behind bars as per laws that did not exist when he was doing all these. Unfair.

So I think this Friday Nobel will announce the Nobel Peace prize to President Bush and President Saddam Hussain, for their contributions in protecting their establishments from all kind of terrorists, for asserting themselves in the harshest way to wipe out possible future terrorists and for risking their own lives in the cause of peace.

Peace prevail.

Monday, October 2

The dry fruit

It has been more than a month now since I blogged. Anoop has been pushing me lately to start again. But I am yet limbing. How much you squeeze a dry fruit?

September was eventful. Events? Wife and me both got sick. She says whenever she gets sick, I too get that. And this time I totally surpassed her. Almost two weeks I was down. Almost no office. Not looking into the 12" screen of my Dell is a rare day for me - normally. These two weeks were not so normal anyway. No laptop, no desktop. Man, I was so tired. Luckily work load was too low. Probably it was only an hour mailing and an hour blogging anyways!

Then I had a trip to Dallas. A week. Met Cherian, did some shopping, drove around for the first time in the US. Went to mosque too, met a couple of guys including a newly-found-colleague! Well, met some people in office too. Because it was an official trip:)

Dallas was interesting sort of. Texas is one of the states were whites are in minority. Most of the kids books in Barnes and Noble went bilingual. Go to any shop, starbucks or Mac, you meet mustached guys and pierced ear gals. The darker than white skins make you feel more at home. Like the one Tamil air-hostess among a "host" of Chinese crew in SQ409.

On the way back, bought a novel at the airport and finished off during the 11 hour flight. The Bluest Eyes by Nobel Laurette Toni Morrison. Story of the black community told through the ugly eyes of an ugly back girl who prayed for a beautiful blue pair of eyes.
"You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction."
Hope this is only a novel. But it talks about the long history of self contempt, of self conviction through generations. Read before you blame the next black looking at the color of his/her skin. They have been in the sun for time immemorial forced to be busy with the chores of the society. They are a dried fruit. You cannot squeeze them and have a juicy juice. And sure your fist is going to hurt if you try.

Ramadan is on. When I end the fast everyday with a cup of tea and a dry fruit, I need to answer how much of a dry fruit I am? What is left in me?

Tuesday, August 29

National... ity vs. ism

The once a month haircut is a must for me. If I missed it, alarm will strike - in the form of cold, headache, fever... it was the last two ones this time.

So I headed to Nakajima san, at his 100+ year old barber shop near my apartment, where the famed yesteryear foreign baseball players in Japan had their haircuts done by his father Nakajima and his grandfather Nakajima. The one good thing in waiting at this barber shop is that I can quickly read through a set of Time magazines. Normally I would sleep during the cut - but this time I decided to continue reading. And I realized that his chair has the accessories that takes care of your reading too.

And there was one interview with Pat Buchanan. The founder of the American cause is worried about the Mexicans coming in and establishing a new culture. He says America is losing out in these areas. The new people stick on to their language, their culture ... nothing American. The childhood Americanism that he knew is missing. The same language, the same thoughts, the same culture, though different races, and the same faith. Well this is the idea of his American Cause movement also.

A little silly. If he could go back a couple of childhoods - his, his fathers, then a couple more grand fathers - I am sure he could look around and see one another Pat Buchanan being butchered. For using the same language against Europeans that entered the country. They also brought a new language, a new faith, a new culture, called themselves Americans. Not stopped there - they termed the original Americans as Indians.

This is simply resonating with similar cries everywhere. RSS has been crying so wide and wild that Indian culture has been losing to foreign culture since 400 years back. They do not want to stop at their childhood when a new secular India was born. Europe is also defining what is Europe and who should be allowed to join EU. And all these people blames Japan for being racist during the war and extending informal preference to Japanese even now.

What does nationality mean. Does it mean a set of rites, customs, culture, celebrations? For Indians, anyway we do not share any much commonality on any of these items across North to South - nor across East to West. We all have this different. And we are getting the nationality also sub-divided in India.

When I say I do not celebrate Onam - some frown. Well, it is not exactly religious festival - it is a national festival of Kerala. So what? What makes a national festival. Am I supposed to celebrate? In Assam you should have a ID card to vote. An Indian national, but not an Assam national yet:) Yesterday Karnataka CM has approved a whopping 60K crore [1 crore = 10 million] rupees investment projects. Pre condition - employment preference to Karnataka nationals. And the local Kannada and Rajkumar fans groups will tell you what cannot make you a Kannadiga! You should share their feelings on Kaveri, on Kannada films, on digging up roads to build stage and might have to bow to the yellow-red "Karnataka National Flag" also!

When I read in newspapers that Govt of India summoned the Dutch ambassador on the NW flight issue and asked for a written explanation - I had a sigh of relief. A meaning for my Nationality. What I want is a guardian who will provide me a social security. Give me freedom up to and until it bothers another person. Give me backing in having my rights. Give me a ground to exercise my responsibilities. It is that feeling of "chodikkaanum parayaanum aalundu" that I want. Not a set of rites, cultures, languages and a stupid patriotism that bases on hatred towards others. I am proud of my nationality. I don't want any nationalism.

Sunday, August 20

Practising Religion

This morning while still on bed, I was thinking about the term "practising religion". What does it mean? If you put a theory into practice, you should see the results. If not, call it a demonstration. Unfortunately, the meaning is different in religions. I was once told by a Christian friend that Sonia Gandhi is a practising Christian. Good. That means she goes to Church for Mass every week. APJ is said to be not a practising Muslim.

A practising Muslim will be one who prays five times a day, goes to Friday prayers etc. Well, he could be practising something else too - like beating his wife, fighting with his neighbors etc. A dual citizenship. Practising religion has become to be exercising a set of rights. Rights to property, rights to divorce, rights to hold demonstrations, rights to use loudspeakers where the are banned etc.

As a Muslim, the example to follow for me is that Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). And what was his life? Of compassion, of love, of giving, of simplicity, of logic, of taking care of others rights and one's responsibility. The real practice of religion. All other that the masses imitate are the ways he employed and advocated to achieve this state of mind.

Woke up from bed and on my custom Google homepage is a news from Times of India. Another religious practice. People in Mahim, Bombay has found an easy way to get blessed. A shortcut practice of religion. Now, the health authorities will have a tough time. They cannot stop people from doing this - that could run against what is provided in the constitution - right to practice your religion. And the saddest is the pciture of an ignorant mother forcing her baby practise too...

Tuesday, August 15

Happy Independence Day

Let it be a happy independence day for India. Let it be so for Pakistan, Srilanka and Indonasea. Let this wish reach the real people who move the nation.

I was just wondering about what exactly makes an independence day wish. What is independence. Is there a real independence. Anyone really worry to be so so independent at the end of day? Freedom from British rule day it was? Anyway, for the sake of it, let us call it independence.

When India became independent, it became dependent on Russians and French. When Russia failed to support India later on, we competed with Pakistan to be laid down by the US. Now we have US directing India who should be what minister and what shoudl he be doing. On what the energy policy should be.

Whatever we define independence, let us make sure we share the same hope for the life around us too. I would like to take you to what Cherian wrote on the 2005 US 4th of July on India independence thought days. Read it here.

And to the following seven point oath by the Hon President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on his address to the nation on the eve of independence day

1. I realize, I have to set a goal in my life. To achieve the goal, I will acquire the knowledge, I will work hard, and when the problem occurs, I have to defeat the problem and succeed.

2. As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all my tasks and enjoy the success of others.

3. I shall always keep myself, my home, my surroundings, neighbourhood and environment clean and tidy.

4. I realize righteousness in the heart leads to beauty in the character, beauty in the character brings harmony in the home, harmony in the home leads to order in the nation and order in the nation leads to peace in the world.

5. I will lead an honest life free from all corruption and will set an example for others to adopt a righteous way of life.

6. I will light the lamp of knowledge in the nation and ensure that it remains lit for ever.

7. I realize, whatever work I do if I do the best, I am contributing towards realizing the vision of developed India 2020.

Once again happy independence day wishes to my country men and to all my friends from Pakistan, Srilanka and Indonasea.

Thursday, August 10

God Lovers

There was another story in the Malayalam Reader (Kerala Pathavali Malayalam) during school days. I dont think I understood the story until I heard this once again from a school master talking at a seminar.

Adaminte Makan Abu. So goes the title of the story. Abu, son of Adam.

Abu was a nice person, very kind at heart, very pious, loving and helpful not only to his fellow beings, but anyone around, including birds and animals. One night Abu sees an angel in a dream. The angel was writing something in a book, which appeared to Abu as a register.

What are you writing?
I am writing the names of people who love God
Is my name in that?
Angel browse through the list - not at least on the first page.
Abu was sad. He fell asleep again

He wakes into the dream again, the angel is now writing another register

What are you writing now?

I am writing the names of people who love the creatures of God.
Is my name in that?
Yes, yours is the first in this list

Abu left a bit happy. Still he was sad why the angel did not include him in the list of people who loved God. He really loved God. Why then.. Abu fell asleep again and wakes into the dream third time. The angel is now writing another register, which looked so important.

Now what are you writing?
I am writing the names of people whom God loves.
Is my name in ......
Yes, yours in the first in this list

What we now have in the world is people who love God, protect God, protect the laws of God, protect the thoughts of God - fiercely, violently, brutally. Except for the beautiful creations of God, they protect everything. God needs help. Come and join. God's creatures need help. Ask them to wait.

If you worship a God who manifests through the creations, through the rules of the nature, through the compassion that is implicit in the heart of men, show your love for him by loving the creations, loving the rules of nature, extending compassion that is in built. To me, whoever loves God, but if that love is not manifested in his relations with the fellow beings, he is loving a God who does not own the creations. He could get his name in the first register - not in the last.

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in God and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money out of love for Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for ransoming the captives; and observes prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfil their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in the time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are truly God-Fearing. The Holy Quran [2:178]

Monday, August 7

6 feet only

Do you remember the story we studied in school - of the generous king?

[Well, Irene might be wondering how come one study a story. Well, in our childhood, we used to study these stories. Write exams. Annotations. Essays. You are lucky to read many stories in school...]

Well, this king was so generous and he used to give people anything they ask. His subjects knew they will get whatever they want whenever they want it. So the kingdom was living happily. There comes a new greedy man - not sure if he was a new MBA graduate with clear career goals etc. - who learns about this king. He meets the king and asks for some land.

How much do you need?
Whatever I could measure up in one day.

The man started running and he ran till the dusk as people saw him. The next morning king sent his people to find him. Far away in the land, the man was lying dead. With his strong determination and his aspirations which led him running through the dark, tired of the exertion, he succumbed to death. Kings men comes back with the body. They ask the king to grant some land to bury him.

How much do you need?
6 feet.

This is what we all want at the end of the day. I am exerting too much while others are sleeping. I call it my determination to seek aspirations in life. And I end up gaining what - just what my height dictates. Less than 6 ft.

I always envy the marunnu kada (ayurveda medical shop) owner at my village. He comes to his shop everytime at a fixed time. He closes at a fixed time. Do not ask him about google and 2G and 3G. He does not know. Well, he does not care. Why he should? He knows he will get the 6 feet when he want that. Whats my guarantee about my 6 feet!

Stop running. Walk slowly. I am not going to raze down the mountains nor fill up the seas. I am not going to measure up the whole world. Nor do I need that.

Thursday, August 3

HTML debug

My blog had some serious errors. Anoop told me he is seeing two entries mixed. I tried at home - no issues. Tried in office - no issues. Thought either Anoop was tired when he looked at it or there are some issues with his browser.

But today morning he sends the error report again. And the software engineer in him is awake. He sends a snapshot too as bmp. Yes, I can see that, but not in my machine still. I thought I will send him a snapshot back. No longer an engineer, I pasted the snapshot on my life-n-bread tool - Powerpoint - and was ready to send out. Anoop comes back and tells me the issue is only on IE and not on Firefox. I am using firefox at home and office and hence did not see.

Shame on me. I should have thought about it well. I remember advising my team members on debugging. Believe on anyone who reports an error. Its your responsibility to make sure you replicate [Anne had banned the term bug reproduction - she says software bugs do not reproduce], find fix, demonstrate that it does not manifest any longer. And there was a nice story about the car that didn't start after a vanilla icecream that I circulated.

That made my inner self wakeup. Hey, I need to fix it. I tried to dig up some of the html tags that I had used earlier days, when I built my first Geocities homepage (this one died a long back, but the 1999 entries in this blog come from that page. And many in the Petals I Picked blog too) and when I was passively involved in the earlier version of Alislam homepage etc. I went to the edit page, looked into html code..... deleted some scripts (I dont understand what those script tags had to do on my simple text blog) and now its back in good shape.

To make sure I dont mess up again, this entry done through IE.

Thanks Anoop!

Tuesday, August 1

Trust in God vs. Gods for Hire

Radhachechi was our neighbour during my high school days. When the school exam season starts, Radhchechi and her children alongwith others in the colony goes to temple everyday. Exam specials.

I had a friend while in university who used to put Re1/- coin at the Parathottukaavu Ambalam (a local temple) as we walked up the hill to college on exam days. Some days he puts only 50 paise.
Reason? Well, I have not prepared at all. Even if God wants, not much can be done.
And on another day the reason could be different. I have prepared very well today, so I dont really care much about help of God.

Though I never complained -even now I do not- about Radhachechi or Biju (they have their own view and I respect it), I somehow disliked this practice. When in distress, call for God. And thank him for the job done. God for hire. Thats what I felt. And the collection boxes at temples, churches and mosques appears to say "tips accepted for a job well done" like in some US share-taxis.

I once thought it is more important and tougher for man to pray to God when he is in ease rather than just when he is in distress. I thought there was more stress to the word ease than distress. For me it felt quite natural to pray in distress. No big deal. But why this unnatural requirement of pray when in ease?

There came an eye opener in the form of Thankappan. Thankappan was an office boy where I was working for my second employer and had a very meagre monthly pay. One fine day (while his wife was expecting for a third time, after two miscarriages, and was under complete bed rest) the admin manager tells Thankappan that he is getting terminated. A two weeks notice he had. Can imagine the distress he had, when he requested me to suggest any job that I know of. But what took my attention was what he said smiling "mukalil oral undallo saare" [There is someone above us]. His trust in God. And that trust worked. Thankappan continued there and later got transferred to another unit closer to his hometown too. Thankappan might not have visited temples, not put money in tip boxes of the agents of Gods. But he had what was needed. Trust. iimaan.

I once thought it is more important and tougher for man to pray to God when he is in ease rather than just when he is in distress. I thought there was more stress to the word ease than distress. For me it felt quite natural to pray in distress. No big deal. But why this unnatural requirement of pray when in ease?

Thinking about this, I understand that while praying in distress is a natural phenomenon, while praying at ease could be possible with a little care, keeping trust in God during distress is indeed a tough task. While praying to God, if I start devising methods to come out of distress, which is not in the way God has guided me, which is not the way I understand is correct, I do not trust God. Why do I pay bribes to get things done? Why do I say lies to come out of problems? Why do I steal someone else's rights to get my things established? Because I do not trust God. Well, I do have faith, I do believe God, but I do not trust God. I am only keeping God as a backup option. I am assigning God as one of many options.

I remember once a colleague asked me "Riyaz, I understand you believe in God, right?"

Well, Do I? What is this belief and why? I can believe Bush is the President of US. I can even believe Osama bin Laden is alive and active. How does it affect me? I dont have faith in Bush and hence I do not believe what he says. I have faith in a friend of mine and I can believe him. But when I trust God, I do believe in him, I have faith in Him and moreover, I have the trust that He will help me when I am in need. I do not need to find other shortcuts. I do not need alternatives. No bribes, no lies and no forgeries.

Monday, July 31

Irene in full steam

Irene is getting crazy in her blogs these days. I was especially startled with the kind of expressions she used to explain simple things in her latest entry


talking doll - she says it means mouth
black marks on that white square whith that black sharped thing - hmm... filling up the credit card applications in black with a black pen
bark with ears - the doggie balloon doll she got from the credit card sales campaign corner

Friday, July 28

At the railway station

Waiting at the railway station is something that disturbs me a lot.

I donno why. The long waits in remote locations, especially when I am alone, I start thinking about what I will do next; where I will go etc. These are certain thoughts that I do not dare to tread into. Who am I to decide what I will do next. I have never planned anything beyond a month or two.

I remember once I visited a classmate and saw a small house-like structure next to her house.
"What is that?"
"That will be a clinic for my brother when he finishes his medical college"

That was looking ahead for 3 years. I can still remember how shocked I was. That probably was the first time the scare of planning ahead came into my mind. For no reason. I hope that did come true for her doctor brother. But for her, who always tried to present a nice dream about married life, preferred marriage and partner decide her career, who believed in dowry and did not want to marry without a dowry - the first married life was a failure.

The railway stations pull me into long gazes that has no end. I still remember those dreaded waits during my previous life in Japan. Many a times these will be after a visit to a no-longer-potential customer. What am I set for? Where is my promised life? I fail to locate. All I can see are those parallel lines that never converge. The solemn silence. People who are destined to wait. The vending machines begging for a few coins.

Looking at the rails, I feel that one of them is my fantasies and the other one is facts. I have been coming all the same way and still continuing the same way. At some points I could see them converging, but once I ride over them, sadly realize they were only crossing of paths. My fantasies and facts still run in parallel. The multicolor promises that stand alongside are mostly red. Once in a while they turn green and I need to rush. Looking into the future I mostly spy red lights everywhere. Some of them turns green and the moment I reach closer, they too turn red. How did I come all the way? The light posts of the past are turning their back on me. I cannot see them anymore. I can only the light above me. The light that has guided me so far. The light that has let me see the world around.

Even now, I don't know where I am headed to. Today is what I can see. Tomorrow is a blur. After that its all dark. I only trust the light that will rise up when tomorrow is over. The light that I can trust. This is the trust that many call faith. Some call it belief.

Wednesday, July 26

Japanese Muslims

Are there Japanese Muslims?

Yes, there are a lot. I would say most of them are at least 50% Muslims, if you can show me the 100% Muslims...

Do you mean most of them are Muslims? Do they pray five times a day, fast a month, ladies wear burqa, gents grow beard????

Sorry, I thought you just asked me if there are Muslims? You did not qualify your question this way.

Hmmm. .... but at least prayer is a must for a Muslim.

Yes, it is. For those who think they follow Islam, a must. But Japanese do not know Islam

But the purpose of creation of Man is to worship God...

True. Ibadat is the word that got translated into worship. Do you mean those people who pray 5 times all worship God? Do they really be "abd" of God? Do they really have iimaan - trust? I read a blog yday which says a nice story. An entire village assembled to pray for rains. One boy came with an umbrella. The blog author called it confidence. I will call it trust in God. The real iimaan.

Look at the way Japanese live. Even duing heavy traffic, they do not violate traffic rules. They trust the rules are for their own benefit. They have faith in the system. They can let their elementary school kids to go to school by themselves. Commuting on the Tokyo metro trains. And on the day the weather broadcast says it will rain in the afternoon, they carry their umbrellas. They respect others. Be it a chaufer, janitor, gate keeper or whoever. Respect is for the human. No caste, no colors, no job status matter in that. When the bus driver says it is dangerous to stand near the door (closed doors operated only by the driver) they respect him and move in.

Look at the harmony they maintain in public. In office or on the road or a restaurant. The way they overcome short term temptations for long term benefit - this is one of the things that religions want to achieve in trust in life after death. Do not think your actions are just until you die. There is life after death. For others around you and hence you.

So what is lacking?

Same thing that many of us are lacking. The harmony inside us. The harmony in public without internal harmony gives them a lot of stress. Which they relieve with long fumes of cigarrettes while office breaks. With heavy doses of alcohol after office hours. And all those society ills that you see. We dont get into that because we do not maintain that harmony in public life too. So less stress we have. Once Japanese achieve the internal harmony, I guess they become the real Muslims. And I believe Islam can help them understand how to achieve this. The prayers, the fasting and all worship modes are for achieving this harmony. The personal life commands are your responsibilities to the society. The public life rules are the rights of others. No religion teaches about your rights. There are only others' rights and your responsibilities.

Coming back to the purpose of creation. Yes, it is worship of God. Not only yours. Of the entire mankind. Your worship God when you respect, you love and you care for his creations. If you want others to look at your family with respect seeing you, you need to be a respectable character. If you want one to worship God, he should see a society that reflect a worshippable God. Thats the basic slogan of a Muslim - I bear witness that God is the only worship.

The problem is we do not yet know how to achieve the harmony in inner, private and public lives. The Nafsul Mutmainna looks so far for us. And we believe we are Muslims and we can teach them Islam!

Tuesday, July 25

Japan is changing

No I am not quoting FT BT or ET. Not quoting Bush or Koizumi san. Not even Japan Central Bank.

I saw it myself today. Right in my office building. When I was coming to office today.

There were 6 of us in the elevator. And believe me, all of us were folding a foldable umbrella! No one had that ubiquitious Japanese kalan kuda. Imagine the Japan without these umbrellas. The wooden handled ones. The gaudy extra long leather handled ones for the fairer sex. The throw-aways that they sell for the needy when it rains. All the colours - red, maroon, pink, blue, patterned and plain, the branded and unbranded.

I was thinking about this change when I walked in to my cubicle. And then again shocked seeing a colleague folding a four fold umbrella!

Indeed Japan is changing.

Monday, July 24

Safety, Peace and War

The ubiquitious autorikhsaws in Kerala is a cultural mirror. They always reflect the contemporary setting. With all autorikshaws bearing a name, many of them will be names of a recent movie. But one auto had a nice caption written instead of a name. It read
"In War, Everyone's right and No one left"

Now we have another war in progress. Great search tools cannot replace the tanks bullets and bombs searching for preys. Cannot help the so-called world leaders searching for root-causes. Numbers have been replacing souls. And the relative value of these numbers are attached to the nationality. 1 American, 2 Israelis, 100s of Iraqis, 200s of Lebanese.. so it goes. No one counts human being.

Ever thought of a little wonder called a heart that works so hard day and night to keep so many bones and muscles and so much of brain activity keep running and finally succumb to atrocities run by people powered by similar hearts?

Human life is lost in Lebanon. We have so much money being spent for protecting some rare species from extinction. Now, we have the very human life in danger. They are killing each other. And this is claimed to be to create peace. If war can bring peace, world would have been a peaceful place. Some people take the example of how Japan was tamed and how peace was created. Wrong. No one brought peace. There is no peace in Japan too. Othrewise why they should fear NKorea now?

Japan only followed the example of colonial powers. To become another colonial power. But these powers did not let them do that. And they claimed to have tamed Japan. aadine pattiyakki adichu kolluka. ennittu kayyadi vanguka. thats all

Bush has now blessed the war on Lebanon. Media is happy. They can run more and more stories. They can create stories on a bad leader. Write stories about his affluent lifestyle, his love for wine and women, his lust for blood etc. etc. The combodian rebel leader was referred as "Butcher" even when he died. How many people did he kill. Now, how many did Bush kill? Will the media dare to call Bush a butcher too?

You can have 100 armed soldiers around your house to protect you. You could be safe, but you are definitely not living in peace. We want peace and not just safety.

Sunday, July 23

The "sloppy" station along the Hakone cable car!

Kodaikanal of Japan

Last weekend we went for our honeymoon. The first ever fully personal stay over trip after weekend! Though planned at the 11th hour, it went pretty well. Day1 at fujii san kodomonokuni - interesting water play for kids. But Hakone really a whole world of its own.

Drive to hakone reminded the drive from Bangalore back home. The narrow raods through the forests - sans the frequent potholes. Nothing on the sides - no shops no homes no nothing. In one quick day, covered rope way, ship and cable car. The cable car climbing up was reall interesting. The "sloppy" railway stations makes it different from the Ootty Mettu narrowguage. The "real train" atmosphere contrasts from the pazhani cable car too.

Atmosphere in general in Hakone is probably Mercara or Kodai. Worth the trip.

Friday, July 21

Peace Prevaliing!

Japan says it can ask US to launch a pre-emptive strike on N.Korea. This is absolutely covered by right to self defense. And why else should Japan feed US army in their land? If you dont know, Japan can have only self defense forces and no military. As per US written post war constitution. Or hire the US goondas.

If N.Korea has weapons that can reach Japan, it is risky. This disrupts balance of power. If Japan can ask US (and pay) that is self defence. Listen carefully. Else you will confuse.

Blair goes on record telling Bush that he can say anything and get away. Which he admits Rice cannot do. What a proud statement of a mighty Britain! Shame on Her Majesty - the once Bharata Bhagya vidhatha.

Anyone knew Iraq is on the path of democracy? Which Russia is to learn from, as per Bush. Anyway Putin says they are not at all interested in such a democracy. Palestine is not democratic. They did vote and the elections were nuetral. But the party who won the election is not pro-US. Let US decide on the policy, president and the council of ministers. That will become democracy. Poor Lincoln.

Congress and BJP gets paid by CIA in India. LDP and the long dead opposition in Japan got paid by CIA. To keep the countries democratic. Once there was a shock wave in US after they learnt China poured in money to keep US democratic in one of the elections - which is a reserved domain for Israel.

India wins G8 condemn Bombay blasts. Big win. India stops peace talks with Pak. We will restart when there is complete peace. I thought peace talks are meant to create peace. Did not realise these are meetings done in peace. Get into business. People want to know what they can achieve with peace. Newspapers will have less reports of bomb blasts. Someone suggests India should go the US way to eliminate terror. Good advice. Start the blame game and it goes for ever. I dont think we can eliminate these with military.

Train and keep the military. Tsunami still round the corner and still a killer. Weather has been tough on Japan and Korea with heavy rains and Europe with extreme heat. Not sure about the poor souls in third world. CNN news was filled with the news of US citizens returning from Lebanon.

Thursday, July 20

That was a short break

Well, hope I am back.

Today Irene turned 7. I gifted her with a new blog for her. Through my little eyes. Let me see how she logs in there on her daily life. I stole the first entry as I did the trial last week. And the second entry when I put the welcome wish today.

Life has been slightly hectic and will remain so for a couple more days.

Friday, July 14

Varicose Vein

Varicose veins are veins on the leg which are large, twisted, and ropelike, and can cause pain, swelling, or itching.

Varicose veins result due to insufficiency of the valves in the communicating veins. These are veins which link the superficial and deep veins of the lower limb. Normally, blood flows from the superficial to the deep veins, facilitating return of blood to the heart. However, when the valve becomes defective, blood is forced into the superficial veins by the action of the muscle pump (which normally aids return of blood to the heart by compressing the deep veins).

So the doctor tells me not to sit for long time (boy, good reason to move around and take frequent coffee breaks in office) and to take long walks. So from now I plan to change my daily commute to bus. Makes me walk 10 min extra to office.

But, I might be late from office and too tired to walk till the bus stop. Or I might be early from office and might find too hot to walk.

May be I will soon develop a "bus" version of the Japanese art of sleeping-till-my-stop that I succesfully practise in train these days. Till then, I might be able to find some time to read and reflect.

Tuesday, July 11

US take on Italy vs France in Germany

An interesting piece from Byju. Guess how US commentators handle their audience to a live football (oh, sorry its a "soccer") game between Italy and France in Germany? Read this blog.
What else is the US take here..

Monday, July 10

A celebrity pic (that I missed)

Well, can I say this is a celebrity picture? Or, say, it could have been?

We were walking back from the park with the kids, and close to our apartment, we saw the roads are empty. There were three policemen standing at the crossing and no one was crossing the road, ignoring the green pedestian cross signal. Everyone was working on their multi-megapixel mobile phones. Not fully realising whats going on, I too pressed the camera button on my phone.

Then the motorcade appeared. A police car in the front, then the black royal car with two police motorcycles on the sides and a few on the rear, another couple of cars. Good view. I have never seen this in Japan. I aimed my camera and took the picture in 3M Pixels. Good. I thought.

Then the cars turned right and took the small road in front of us. The rear window of the black car was open and an old lady was waiving her hands. Everyone clicks their phones. Then my wife screamed "thats the Empress". I ended up taking just the picture of the motorcade!!

"Who's that, umma?" asked Irene
"Thats the empress of Japan"
"Who's an empress"
"Empress is the emperor's wife"
"oh.. so they are the rulers of whole Japan"
"Well, not exactly.. and almost never exactly...."

Thursday, July 6

4th of July Fireworks

North Korea has joined the US independance day Fireworks celeberations this year. With the test fire of a new long range missile.

"World" leaders are crying fowl. The new threat to world.


What is the interest for N Korea to attack any other country than S Korea and Japan. And if S Korea and Japan are not US dummies, why should they attack? And with no nuclear power supporting N Korea in the region, I feel this is just a regional balance, not an imbalance.

Well, I had decided not to bother about these silly issues. And not to spend my blog space for these....

Wednesday, July 5

30 Hour clock

It was funny how my fathers friend missed train he had reserved for to attend my sisters wedding. He reserved for the train leaving a Saturday night from Alwaye station. Time of departure: Late night. Precisely, 12:40 midnight

He goes there with family to board the train on Saturday night, checks the reservation chart and his name was not there. Ticket looks perfect. Date is correct, train is correct. Why this happened? Railway officials explained that his train actually left already. Saturday early morning 00:40. Or Friday night 12:40.

The 24 hour clock did not help him. I always get into confusion when I setup meetings on Outlook calendar. 12:30 is noon or late night??

I have found the way TV Program listings in Japan solved the issue very interesting. They have a clock starting 06:00 Hrs running till 30:00 Hrs. For guys who want to stay late and watch TV, they don't have to turn back the page. Worldcup match on Jun 17 in Germany do not get live broadcast on Jun 18 (01:00AM), but on the same day, Jun 17, but at 25:00 Hrs. This is not just interesting, it is really useful. Why the hell is day changing so stealthily in the mid of the night, when everyone is supposed to be sleeping and nothing specific happens in nature - other than so many clocks will be striking in full length disturbing people who want to enjoy a nice sleep? Who designed this clock?

I guess the early middle-east clock was correct. Sun set. Day closed. A new day. If there is a new moon, a new month too. The first twelve hours is what we call night. The second 12 hours will be what we call the day. That's why Jesus asked "Are there not 12 hours in a day?" For the normal 12 hour clock, mid of the clock is either mid of the day or mid of the night. If you offset the 30 Hrs Japanese clock to start at 00:00, you get back to this.

I have read about how calendars were evolved and invented, how Christmas was created in December etc. Never heard about who created the stealth clock that changes day in the mid of the night. Can anyone help me?

Tuesday, July 4

Never too late

Does it really want to have someone like Narayana Murthy come up with an initiative to chase away the late night slogger software engineers back home? Probably yes. Read the following mail from Murthy. At a minimum "I have nothing else to do" is a very dangerous situation to start with.

It's half past 8 in the office
but the lights are still on...
PCs still running,
coffee machines still buzzing...
and who's at work?
Most of them??? Take a closer look...
All or most specimens are 20-something male species of the human race...
Look closer... again all or most of them are bachelors...
and why are they sitting late? Working hard? No way!!!
Any guesses???
Let's ask one of them...
Here's what he says... "What's there 2 do after going home... here we get to surf, AC, phone, food, coffee.. thats is why I am working late...
importantly no bossssssss!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the scene in most research centers and software companies and other off-shore offices.
Bachelors "time-passing" during late hours in the office just bcoz they say they've nothing else to do...
Now what r the consequences... read on...
"Working"(for the record only) late hours soon becomes part of the institute or company culture.
With bosses more than eager to provide support to those "working" late in the form of taxi vouchers, food vouchers and of course good feedback,(oh, he's a hard worker... goes home only to change..!!).They aren't helping things too...
To hell with bosses who don't understand the difference between "sitting" late and "working" late!!!
Very soon, the boss start expecting all employees to put in extra working hours.
So, My dear Bachelors let me tell you, life changes when u get married and start having a family... office is no longer a priority, family is... and that's when the problem starts... becoz u start having commitments at home too.
For your boss, the earlier "hardworking" guy suddenly seems to become a "early leaver" even if u leave an hour after regulartime... after doing the same amount of work.
People leaving on time after doing their tasks for the day are labeled as work-shirkers...
Girls who thankfully always (its changing nowadays... though) leave on time are labeled as "not up to it". All the while, the bachelors pat their own backs and carry on "working" not realizing that they r spoiling the work
culture at their own place and never realize that they wuld have to regret at one point of time.

*So what's the moral of the story?? *
* Very clear, LEAVE ON TIME!!!
* Never put in extra time " *unless really needed *"
* Don't stay back un-necessarily and spoil your company work culture which
will in turn cause inconvenience to you and your colleagues. There are
hundred other things to do in the evening..
Learn music...
Learn a foreign language...
try a sport... TT, cricket.........
importantly Get a girl friend or gal friend, take him/her around town...
* And for heaven's sake net cafe rates have dropped to an all-time low (plus, no fire-walls) and try cooking for a change.
Take a tip from the Smirnoff ad: *"Life's calling, where are you??"*

Please pass on this message to all those colleagues
And please do it before leaving time, don't stay back till midnight to
forward this!!!

Friday, June 30

和 - Harmony - Basis of Anything Japanese

I am just out of a cross cultural training. Basically it was a discussion. My take from the discussion was one kanji 和-wa. This Kanji represents Japan and anything Japanese. Like 和食(washoku - Japanese cuisine) 和服(wafuku - Japanese attire) etc. The meaning of this kanji is harmony. And that is the basis of anything Japanese.

When doing business, there is a harmony that you should create. That is your buildup time when you will be meeting customers, sharing good time and still get no business. If you set this up, business can flow on that. As long as you maintain that harmony. They will also maintain. So even you fail one project, they will come back. As long as you did not "disrupt the harmony". You can make error - but accept and apologise properly.

This is true in a meeting too. You present a new idea and you expect feedbacks. You get only staring faces. Or sleeping ones. Or in between. No dynamic lips at all. Why? There is no harmony to talk. If you want a discussion to happen, you should have sent this out earlier, had enough of background meetings etc. Or, you should have had that relation that keeps discussions flowing.

Now someone is talking about something. You are not expected to say a blunt NO. Why? Thats against the harmony of the meeting - of the group. Make a round about suggestion that you probably dont think it is correct. Or talk after the meeting. Thats so common. Post meeting and side meeting discussions. Where information flow will happen. The formal meetings are only meant for sustaining the harmony.

Well, this I guess is true about India too. We all love harmony. Job security. Morning and evening tea has no alternatives. Though we are getting bastardised with the American corporate thinking of late. We are now being told to say NO when we do not agree. The Boss is not always right; tell him on the face etcetera. I am not saying which is right and which is wrong. But I guess we Indians still love harmony at heart. We feel hurt otherwise.

May people think Japan is inefficient because of the round and round discussions and the delay in taking decisions. I would say this is a short sighted view. Harmony is in fact the most efficient system, right? What we call Impedance matching in electrical world. Thats where the whole system becomes efficient. When Japanese talk, the system is something that cuts across so many years in lenagth and so many people in width.

For all people leaders too, I guess we have to learn this harmony and the art of building and maintaining harmony. Unless we are sure that the entire team is okay with the American style of working. If all are American, then that system may be efficient too.

Thursday, June 29

Politeness, Poverty and Society behaviours

A long and tiring mail debate on the topic on ddg mailing list. Though it kept the list very active, I dont think the discussions were any productive towards the end. And may be so many would not like entering more discussions. Just a rise in mails per day, not senders per day.

It all started with Anne or Anu forwarding an article about "10 things I hate about India". I did not read the article. Like many such fwded mails. But I did read all the mails. Anne complaining about giving foreigners priority in airports - which she is not getting in London. Whether it is happening in London or Newyork, I would support any preference given to foreigners. Do not assume a color of skin when I say foreigner. Treat guests with respect. Give them priority. Let him be from Japan. Let him be from Niger.

Anu complaining about the impolite attitude of the immigration officer when she flies off from Bombay - saying a short bye to the homeland. I would agree with Jojans point that the impolite behaviour whatever seen in sections of the society is the result of the grooming of the society in general and not the fault of the individual per se. What I do not agree is his suggestions that those who complain are the ones who cannot or do not see the real problems of the society.

>>I cannot forget their (immigration officers) rude face and they would not even look
>> at our face while stamping passports.

But generally the most rudest looking people are Keralites. The first thing I noticed after coming to Chennai is that the people are very much polite, compared to Kerala.

But does it mean, Keralites are not friendly?

It is really bad that, some people, blinded by the glittering, artificial politeness and sophistication of developed countries, commenting bad about their own people.

You have to see the facts. Considering the daily income of an average indian and the competition he faces to earn his daily bread, politeness is secondary. These software professionals, they don't
have time to worry about the worries of the common man. They worry about the condition of Bombay air port, worry about entrance fee at Taj!!!

This the real problem of India.
One has the right to demand a decent behaviour. Has the right to complain about impoliteness. Accept errors. Do not defend. Do not blame the society for individual errors. If you wait for the society to be well positioned in affluences to improve your morals, I would guess it will never happen. pathu kittiyaal nooru mathiyennum nooru kittukil sahasramennum..

I just signed off the debate. I dont think it is going anywhere than kind of fighting each other.

Monday, June 26

Back into normal life

Umma and Uppa went back on Saturday. Saturday night stay at Colombo and to Madras on Sunday. Sunday night at Madras and train to Payangadi on Monday evening. Tuesday, God Willing, they will mark the end of the two months journey.

Seeing them off was sad. On one side the two months went off quicky. On another side, it appears as if they were always with us. She was feeling too sad. I am anyway in office the whole day and she only involved so much. Irene also waived a nice bye but was wiping off her tears later. Poor thing. Why does she try to hide so much and keep a smiling face. It really hurts her I am sure.

Didnt feel like heading straight back home after leaving Narita. So went to Jagat and Fathir at Hightown on the way. Did some shopping too. Reached home only late evening. Sunday was farewell for Sanjeev at Balas. Had a heavy northie veg lunch.

A lazy week to start off in office.

At home too, I am sure she feels the same. All all alone once again..... though kids are around with laughter, cries, fights, affection etc.

Tuesday, June 20

Clogging too

I decided to spend some time analysing technology moves. Not in a big way. A small step. What I see and what I feel of them. The interesting new thinkings and ideas. It might be good to see later how some of them really came up well and how some of them faced a spectacular failure.

From this week I re-started blogging in my technology blog - Honorified Glories

I think I will try weekly once. Not to drain off too quickly. And to keep a system for me to think something tech too. Call it clogging?

Monday, June 19

Did it!

With Mina Misa and family

At Shin Hamamatsu station

The great lunch!
Did it!

A splendid trip. The ride on the cute toy-like enshu entetsu was truly great. Flashing back by 8 years. The train has not changed. There is now a new IC card system for tickets. Like JR Suica. Normal tickets as usual. No ticket gates at all. In intemediate stations, the train conductor gets down on the platform to collect back the tickets. Dai ichi dori.. hikuma.. kamijima.. jidosha gakko mae .. kobayashi.. nishikajima... the ride through these stations is what Umma liked more than the costly bullet train!

Misa has now a new house next to Minas. The inaka beauty. Hamakita-shi has now merged into Hamamatsu shi. So they are all part of Hamamatsu shi now. Since it was raining, could not much enjoy outdoors. Just a lunch and back.

Just a lunch? No way. What a splendid table it was. All kinds of food. Sashimis, chicken, vegetables, natto (though I cannot bear that). Ayu is as gentle as always. Noe must be grown now - could not meet as she was busy playing volleyball in school. Minas walls, which earlier used to hang all youchien drawings of Ayu and Noe are now decorated with beautiful art works by Noe. Paitings and sketches. Ayu is content with her violin skills. And apparently busy preparing for Uty. She is now 15!

Miwa and Mayu was there for a short while and then left for Mayus swimming classes. Nobuo san and Hiroto were at baseball, though they came back before we left.

Eisuke was in limelight though he booted up late being hasukashi..

Friday, June 16

Hamamatsu again

Planning a Hamamatsu trip again. With Umma and Uppa. Thanks Anoop for the suggestion.

For Umma and Uppa this will be a first. First time ride on a bullet train. First time visit to a Japanese house. First time in a real inaka. The beauty, the charm, the tranquility of nature and people.

For me its a recollection. Of my second day in Japan. When we boarded (were herded) onto the Bullet train to Hamamatsu. With no hint of what is Japan. The days at the hotel in Hamamatsu, when we only knew how to buy bendo at Daily Store, queueu up to pay and ignore whatever she used to say when we leave the store.

It will be a recollection of the days we lived in Kamijima, the silent weekend evenings that I used to spent along the tenryu river side watching people enjoy fishing. The short visits to the jinja and the second hand book store, where I could buy the Story of a Nation - incredible, must read, history of Japan.

Of those days when Mina, Misa and family gave us the best comforts in Japan. Which made us Japan lovers. Japanese foods, Japanese festivals, Hamanko lake park... My Blog would come to a full circle when I sneak through the pale curtains that years have added into my memories. When I peak through the real life that has been framed in this blog as the earliest entry. Copy paste entry from my earlier geocities web page, when the concept called blog did not exist. I remember what I wanted that time was exactly a blog. I wanted people to comment and get these into a discussion.

We have been there once again - with family. When Irene got the new Japanese name - Ai-chan. Credits Ayu. And my God, I cannot remember, how I mis-trusted Credit cards and ATM cards during December vacations in Japan!

Tomorrow, God Willing, we will have a short replay.