Sunday, December 27, 2009

Unfriend Vs Unsocial

How many of us fear getting bumped into our old pals?

I met with an old pal after a long time (a chance meeting). He expressed his surprise at me not trying to catch up with the old pals (through the countless virtual social groups and communities floating in the cyber world). I coyly replied - I am usually busy with work and moreover they do not let us use internet at work (I blatantly lied to him). The real reason was I didn't want to see him again, ever again after college and had he somehow sneaked into my friend list, I would have unfriended him ('unfriend' - a polite word for booting someone out of your friend list, I love this word) and then their is the fear of being institutionalized.

Who wants to join an institution?

I have always feared joining institutes (dragged myself laboriously and unwilling through some big doors for many a years). I feel they tend to make you more like them then what you want to be. I find communities and groups akin to the dreaded institutes and then their is the status message and location which I fret (gives me chill and my local tailor made shirt a darker hue - complex). Most of my mates from school and college happen to be in Canada, UK, Scotland, France et al.

What have you achieved in your life?

Have I achieved less then most or too righteous to say I am what I wanted to be or  plain embarrassed to say I couldn't make it as big as them (and jealous too). Whatever might be the reason, I like to keep my distance from the insidious social networking websites (for reasons we most know well - many have burned their fingers and reputation).

 Let's jump!!!

Today, I parried another request to join a community and I am feeling unrighteous about it - it was a cute suggestion. I so wanted to join it but said no - I might have to see a shaman to drive the unsocial devil out.

And then I came across this - 'Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about’.

Don't be surprised if you stumble upon a profile like-

Kamal Sharma
CEO - SHARK International Pvt. Ltd.
Location - USA
Status - On Vacation in Aspen

In five years, will this matter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Environmentalist. Who me? + Twishi and a much cleaner Shimla

I am not an environmentalist but definitely a tad worried about the way we would handover this beautiful earth to our future generation. It's a shame that 150 odd countries could not come up with something to save the Earth at Copenhagen (was it because of too many cooks working out a new recipe). The moot question is if I am also to be blamed.

I have a blog and my readers (157) waits eagerly to adds 7 grams of CO2 each time they search for my blog through Google search and over it Google adds to its carbon footprint to maintain my blog in its server (Who should we blame - Google/Readers or Me?).

It has been long since I slapped a blog post. It took quite a bit to write the first line, I was too conscious about increasing the carbon footprint. With a bit of encouragement from my last blog posts (comments) and the significance of reaching out, I was able to pick up some courage and tapped on the keyboard.

I think, I should dedicate this one to my close ones especially my sister Twishi (my mamaji's daughter) and a much cleaner Shimla (since banning plastic in HP).

Twishi is sweet and cute, she always asks me about my blogs and stories but have never been able to catch up herself (no internet at home). And, then I have the other members of the tribe who couldn't careless if I write or sing. Robin Sharma, shamelessly tells that he started small and he only had his family members when he launched his first book - he has come a long way since them. I have been trying hard to convince my kith and kin to subscribe to my post but in vain (they feel they have better things to do than read my feeble attempt at humor).

I was home for my brother's wedding (he got a beautiful girl for life partner). I wish them both well and a happy married life. On my way back to Delhi, I spend a day with my mamaji in Shimla. It was a bit of relief from the travel and I got to keep my promise to Twishi that I would take her out. She was super excited. It was quite a joyous day out on Mall Road, Shimla. Being Sunday, most of the shops were closed but the tourist traffic was at peak - she walked me through the hot spots around.

Christ church was the first on the list. I clicked quite a number of pictures surreptitiously (wasn't sure if photography was allowed). I was in awe at the sight of this imposing and historic structure. It definitely has a rich history - don't miss the plaques on the walls in the memory of loved ones, it might draw a tear.

We roamed around like it was our first time there and trigger happy me didn't miss any photo opportunity (we even put the tourists to shame). A delectable Singapore noodles for lunch was followed by coffee at Barista (we had bag packers, sketchers and some elated tourists for company). It was followed by a bit of shopping for books and then an enjoyable quite bus ride home.

By the way, when are we celebrating the Environment Day?

- Happy belated b'day Twishi and thanks for slipping the new year card in my bag (sorry this time I found it much before the D day). Hope you have a good and prosperous new year. AFJ2FE6ME6P7

Friday, November 20, 2009

Should I say - I am experienced

I happen to work at a place where I have too many and too young airheads. They seems to be perpetually happy and excited about nothing. I admire them for looking forward to weekends and having a plan (which fails most of the time). On reflection, I feel I have grown a bit old or should I say - I am experienced.

They generally can't get my humor and I in return can't gets their imbecility. I have tried to bridge the gap and even tried walking the tight rope but I have bruised myself bad and hurts myself each time I tried. I have resigned to the fact that the time would bridge the gap but on second though it won't - I would move a bit further with passing time. Ah! that's sad and equally bad because it leaves me with the same old staid company.

I partially subscribe to the Shakespeare's 'The Seven Ages of Man' and I feel life starts at 30. So I have just inched into the new 1st phase (The Seven Ages of Man rewritten). The changes in perspective and outlook happens on its own, no one forces them on an individual. However, I feel the harder one tries to look and act his age the more difficult he finds to fit the slot. Its natural and gradual.

As a gap bridging experiment, I tried to have a small talk with one of the bright sparks. He expressed that nothing much interesting has happened this week. That was unusual because most of his weeks are relatively filled with fun and adventure. We compared notes and he left in disgust -  'I was way out of his league' he said.

My definition of fun - curling with a nice book and a warm cuppa in winter, getting together with old pals, watching NG or History channel on tele. Though the last one could be put in the adventure bucket but it is fun too, so we would leave it there. And adventure generally mean not being stood up (at my age the chances are high) and not being caught ogling a babe (half my age) and couple of more unmentionable embarrassing things. Uninteresting list includes everything except the adventure and the fun pieces.

I confess - I prefer uninteresting weeks than the interesting one. Age might be catching up with me.

P.S - If you do not trust me, catch me at the F bar this weekend; just ask the DJ for Kamal. I hope you know where it is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's Your Name again?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

-Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)  

Would Brad Pitt and George Clooney or for that matter the goddess of beauty- Scarlett Johansson be the same if they didn't had their names. These names are synonymous with the exceptional good looks and charm.

What if I had Brad Pitt for name? I am sure it would have made a world of difference to my mundane and humdrum life (who don't like chicks screech when they see you and not to mention Jennifer and Angelina).

I never liked my name and I hated the fact that my name rhymed with my brothers name (it made me feel queasy). I secretively wished I had his name, his name is Vimal (he had a bit of air about his name) - when we were growing up, 'Only Vimal' was the most knows and advertised brand after Lalitaji's 'Surf' on tele.

My school was about two miles from my village and it was seven of us who used to troop to school each morning in tow: Kamal-Vimal, Ajaj-Vijay, Sanjeev-Manjeet and then we had Inderdeep who I felt was lucky not to have a brother with a name which rhymed with his name (he had a sister). We used to walk through the apple orchards, into the deodar and pine forest, past the D.F.O office, down the hill, past the hospital and there we were ready to take on the challenge from the sibling pair of Hatinder-Ratinder, Anjana-Ranjana, Deeraj-Neeraj etc. Damn! Was it a trend in the late 70's and early 80's to have 2 kids and have rhyming names for them?

I asked my mommy sometime back, what was she thinking when she named me. Pat came the reply - 'you lucky, I didn't name you Moti Ram as suggested by a wandering sadhu who happened to visit the village when I was pregnant with you'. As a rejoined she added that he also said - the kid would be intelligent and smart and he was completely wrong. That shut me up!

Today, a friend messaged me. 'This is my new phone number. Pushpinder. a.k.a 'PAT'. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Smart Writer AND A Great Writer

The woollies have been sunned (finally); the favorite pullover has been discarded (it left me with little choice after it gave me those angry looks). My blog is searchable, Anand and I are still friends (he is still oblivious to the great Saree Tail). My talented friend (who I mentioned has gained weight) and Krishan (who I said, I am jealous of in my last post) haven't returned my messages and mails. I am sure they would forgive me for my kind of unkind words.

Oh! have you read the newspapers lately; they say the poor and the deprived Maoist might have to be engaged in a duel (non-verbal) to help understand their problems and help them resettle. Non violence is passé (most would agree and the one who would disagree would want to rough me) - I retract my statement. All is well in hell.

My office mates have started showing their stretch-marks in public. One had to be rushed to the hospital the other day and the other one (I have forgotten his name) hasn't returned after he caught the seasonal flu bug (about a month ago). Though the economy is on the upswing but the extra hours everybody contributed (stretched after normal work hours under BOSS's duress) are ramifying in the form of productivity loss during the economy recovery time (we might end up with another recession on account of employee burnout leading to high absenteeism). Is anybody listening? Did somebody say 'NO'.

And a couple of my readers feel that I am much smarter (read handsome) than the picture I have displayed in my profile. I completely agree with them  (and thank them) but I haven't seen too many smart writers (read handsome again) with a sharp pen and a much sharper wit (they anyway get the beautiful women). I think I should keep it on my profile till they say, 'He is not that great looking, Lets Publish Him'.

A nice piece:
There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer. When asked to define "great" he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level. Stuff that will make them scream, cry, and howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little unknown ME

Aah! Finally. My blog is up for search in the Google search (probably after my kow-tow act to Google in my last post). I feel a little relieved and rested (it might not last long as now Adsense has started making sense and making me a wee restless). No more ranting about Google crawlers and I hope Anand has found his bearing and also a way to pull the saree the saree site AND the weather continues to be blissfully glum.

I tried to check with my friend (an active blogger - won't mention her name or the blog address to avoid her stealing my readers), if she could search for my blog. She has been my Guinea Pig since I started blogging and I have force fed her my raw blog posts (little wonder she has gained weight). She shouted, 'what! you have joined XYZ company'. It appeared that my name being a common one threw thousands of little know Kamal Sharma (s) and the mister on the top boasted about working for some little know company. To correct her, I typed my name in the search box and up came the search result #1 - 'I am an ex business partner of Mr Kamal Sharma (the man behind the NuPlayer scam), he ripped me off for over £1M back in 2000 '. That's definitely not me.

If you want to look for me (my blog), type 'catch me if you can - kamal sharma' in the Google search.

Third day in a row and no sign of the mighty Sun. My favorite pullover is still starting at me (this time in anger); I haven't bother to pick it up and it still sits in the middle of the room on the heap. Though I don't have poor habits but I somehow can't figure a way to put them all back in the overflowing closet.

Nidhi seems secretly happy with her name featuring in my post (What is the colour of your towel?) and Anand is blissfully unaware (he plays the villain hero in 'The Saree Tail') . I am sure he would hit the roof when he would learn that the secret is out. Also, my college mate Krishan has picked up on blogging and is doing a pretty nice job (I am a bit jealous).

What would you call a laptop on a desk?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Winter Tale & The Saree Tail

The Winter Tale

Winters are here. I didn't came to know it from the weatherman but through the morning paper. It had a beautiful snow covered hillock and read - snowfall in the higher reaches of Shimla.

The story appeared true as I woke up coughing and sneezing but my cynical self needed to confirm it from a more credible source. So, I rang up my mother (she lives in a hamlet in the Kotgarh valley), she confirmed that indeed it snowed. Now that I had information from a credible and known source (unlike the secret and unknown sources of most major dailies), I set out to pull my woollies from the dark deep closets. I had taken care to fold them neatly and had liberally sprinkled the moth balls after the winters but I was disappointed to see my favorite pullover pecked at and gnawed at the most visible of the places. I winched in pain (why do they go for the favorite one?). The question went unanswered.

I avowed to add more of the moth balls post winter to have my revenge (this time the designer ones). I pulled out every piece of the woollies - the gloves, caps, muffler, pullover, sweater etc. and had a neat pile on the floor. Next customary step was to sun them. I opened the door to my balcony, there was no sun. I looked at the cloud covered gray sky, it added to my misery. I didn't wince this time but flinched (also I let out a couple of choice words). I was left stranded with a heap of woollies on the floor and my favorite pullover was on top staring at me empathizing.

The Saree Tail

My blog has eluded the Google crawlers for the sixth day running (I have changed my tone from anti-Google to pro-Google, I feel Google is providing the blog to me free of cost and if I won't stop my tirade against Google my blog might never see the light of the Google web search). I would blame it on the evil spirits who might have hijacked it and the Google crawlers are not able to locate it.

I decided to seek some professional help. My friend Anand claims that he know how to get sites search-able and also improve their search-ability (means keeping them on #1 in a search result). He had bragged to me about a month back and proudly displayed his blog on #1, it impressed me. I remembered him and asked him if he could help (I was hopeful he would). He let out a deep sigh and in a low tone broke the news that his blog was now at #2 and has been taken over by a saree web site (I wanted to burst into laughter but stopped short). I empathized with him and left him alone to figure how he would pull the saree (I mean the saree site) down.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What is the colour of your towel?

I couldn't contain my excitement after posting My First Post. I have been advertising my blog all this week and I was able to make some of my friends (six to be precise/rest said they would later) force read my blog. They all were positive (who read the blog and also those who took a rain check) about my writing skills (or were they paying lip service in this dry winter while reaching for the lip balm).

Thanks for reading My First Post and leaving a comment and those who didn't comment and are returning a big welcome to you all also. I am sure this one would interest you (looking forward for a comment).

I am still a little upset; the Google crawlers have clearly avoided my blog (or they might be too slow to find my smart blog). Google has left behind the Yahoo and MSN in the race of search engines but it appears that in this race it has even left many thousand like me stranded.

My friend Nidhi seems to be much smarter than Google crawlers. She was able to spot my house (actually a small crummy flat) in the narrow lanes using her common sense (and poor habits of most of us). I was take aback when she asked me, 'what is the colour of you bath towel?'. Next moments I was in tizzy, I have never been asked such a personal question (thought once someone asked me how many times I visit the lavatory in a day). She insisted and pestered me for an answer (I was embarrassed). I have 3 towels ('azure', olive and peach) and the 'azure' coloured is a new one. I blurted 'azure'. She didn't know what 'azure' is and the next five minutes were spent explain what it looks like (I found it really difficult to describe it to her). We finally settled for a shade of blue which I now realise was not even close. 'Ahh!', she sighed. 'I just missed you house. I was around the place where you live. I saw a blue towel hanging in one of the apartment's balcony.' She still couldn't pronounce 'azure' but convinced me where I live. I nodded in agreement.

It was easy for her to spot my house when she didn't had my address but what's up with the Google crawlers. For them, I have an address and even a cute picture (actually someone finds it cute) put up for easy identification.

Could you please pass me some lip balm and by the way what is the colour of your towel?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My First Post

Whoever said, 'its easy to write a blog' should be sent to the gallows. It took me a bit (4 years) before I mustered courage (tonight) to put a decent post - I hope it turns out a decent one and if you do not like it visit again to read the next one (hopefully improved).

The thought of semi-encouraging comments posted by my generous friends asking me to check my grammar, the spellings, the content of the post has kept me off till tonight. But this trite thought had to be overcome so I devoured good 10-15 poorly written blogs to gain confidence and here I am. What if they still snicker?

With some help from Harsh (he reads my extraordinary stories and he likes them) and Google, I picked up the nattiest of the template, tweaked it a bit, threw some colours added some neat snazzy gadgets to attract the casual browser (I learned this selling art from my grandfather who while packing apples for the market ensure the best were laid out on the top).

As it took shape, I grew hungry - I wanted it to be indexed immediately in Google and be searched by millions. For a minute I even though of AdSense - it made sense to make money on hits.

I made umpteen attempts to search my blog in Google but the result was zilch. Harsh consoled me to keep heart and pray that the Google crawlers creep in all over my blog soon, until then I can keep posting my stuff (and suffer - he didn't say that) with the though that not too many are suffering from the barrage of my semi-humorous posts (was he thinking aloud). This dashed the idea of AdSense, it didn't make any sense. I would question him on the use of the word 'semi-humorous'.

I think I have arrived.

Leave a comment if you like My First Post and if you didn't, return to see some improvement. Thanks for reading. AFJ2FE6ME6P7