Monthly Archives: July 2008

Of Stabs and Handbags…

There is something about me that invites my fate to stab me every time I am on to something big. Those aware of my GREat disaster will know the nuances behind my complaints. After that disaster, everything was going on just fine. I had a wonderful final year and particularly a memorable final semester at NITK. All this time, the prospect of me pursuing my higher studies in a good University next year around had always been my driving force. And things got even better when I almost landed myself in a good project after college got over. But unfortunately, my very close companion Mr. Fate found it convenient to metamorphose into some very frustrating formalities which have now dragged over for 2 months and don’t seem to be getting anywhere. And amidst all this, I again find myself being the sole target of the stabs- a situation with which I have now become quite familiar.

But it may not be over for good. For there is still the possibility of these formalities actually sorting themselves out. But I am not getting my hopes up as I know how I react when my expectations are not met. And so having already ditched the job offer that I had earned during my stay at college, I now find myself in a really precarious position, tension and uncertainty looming large over my future plans. It remains to be seen what I can possibly garner out of this present mess that I have got myself into.

And on the other hand, the past one week has been quite eventful in terms of me actually crossing the boundaries of my home. This has largely been a consequence of a certain bag hunting expedition I volunteered myself into. The expedition consisted of the following main objective:

Purchase a Handbag with the following specifications:

1. It should have 2 compartments on the inside apart from the secret compartment that is usually seen.

2. It should be big enough to fit in the following items: a stethoscope, an apron, a lunch box and a horde of other stuff hitherto unknown to the male species.

3. It should be dark colored. Preferably dark shades of brown.

4. It should have a small compartment on the outside, the sole purpose of which is to store a mobile phone.

5. It should not be damaged. (For the definition of ‘damaged’, please read further).

6. And lastly, the budget limit was Rs.1200

The search began at around 1 on a sunny afternoon in the famed complex of Jayanagar 4th Block- widely acclaimed to be the one stop for virtually any form of shopping. It was initially agreed that the search would continue in other parts of Bangalore in case the bag with the above mentioned specifications was not purchased in Jayanagar. And so it began, the Great Bag Hunting Expedition of my holidays. First stop was the bag shop from where I had purchased a gift (a bag of course) to my co-hunter on the latter’s birthday last year round. Unfortunately, but not to my surprise, my co-hunter, who had laid down the above mentioned specifications, was not able to find a bag that satisfied the same. And so we went to the adjacent shop, whose owner had done a tremendous job at displaying the maximum number of bags possible outside his shop with the sole intention of wooing a customer. And when I entered the shop, I had mentally prepared to be leaving that place in the next few minutes and in the exact state as we had entered it. But to my surprise and relief, my co-hunter actually found a bag that satisfied the above specifications. The price quoted too was well within the limit at 750. But it was deemed to be unfairly priced and so I had to enter into the loquacious part of negotiating the same. I was able to successfully lower the price to 650, after which, we paid the price and left the place with the realization dawning on me that I had somehow pulled off the seemingly formidable task of finding a bag satisfying the specifications.

But for the next 1 hour, as we tried to locate a place to eat, I was subjected to, what can now be called, a totally avoidable and invalid bout of criticism over my bargaining skills. It would be over and over repeated that I could have stuck to my initial stand of 600 for the bag instead of raising my valuation to 650, the eventual price at which we bought it. Now why I called the whole criticism as invalid and avoidable was because in about 1 hour, I found myself staring blankly and helplessly at the sight of the bag being returned to the shop after there were certain “damages” found on the inside part of one of the compartments. Here ‘damages’ are understood to include any ‘invisible’ marks which are discovered and claimed significant only by the female species, and where any effort to persuade a revaluation of the magnitude of the damage, or the lack of it, is very spontaneously met with cold stares conveying the lack of the ability to find an undamaged bag on part of the male species.

And so we continued our search for the “undamaged” handbag. Within one hour, we had successfully exhausted all the bag shops in and around the entire complex. The prospect of visiting a new shop with the intention of purchasing a handbag began to take the form a seemingly impossible task- considering the fact that we had already visited about a dozen bag shops in Jayanagar alone and rarely found anything closely resembling the bag that was there in my co-hunter’s head! And so we changed the locality. Just a few kms south was another shoppers’ haven- Gandhi Bazaar. The famed DVG Road with all its numerous shops promised a lot. But here is what happened:

Shop no. 1 was very dark, what with Bangalore getting less power than the entire state of Orissa. And in spite of that, the bag was found! But alas! Albeit the very crucial 2-compartment thing. And after that, our visits to the shops in Gandhi Bazaar very closely followed this algorithm:

Step 1: Set n=2.

Step 2: Go to shop No. n

Step 3: Unsuccessfully search for the bag in Shop No. n.

Step 4: n=n+1

Step 5: Go to Step 2.

At around 7 in the evening, after ‘n’ had reached a value sufficiently large for me to lose count of, we realized that the only thing we had learnt during the entire process of Bag Hunting was that Bags were more expensive in Gandhi Bazaar than in Jayanagar! Further, we also realized that the previous realization was not exactly a worthwhile one and so we decided to call off the Bag Hunt! (Yay!)But, to my dismay, I soon learnt that that was not meant to be the end of the shopping ordeal. The end of the Bag Hunt simply meant no Bag Hunting. Apparently it never meant no Bracelet Hunting or no Ear-Ring Hunting!

And so I trodded on to the nearest shop which was well known to sell the above new items. And so I entered the shop. Immediately I sensed that something was not right. I felt something out of place. Something was definitely out of place. I looked around again and I realized that amidst the sizeable crowd there, I was the only one of the Male species hanging around. I realized I was out of place there! And so I made a hasty rush to the exit, only to be interrupted by my co-hunter (now the only hunter) to judge whether the bracelet with the even number of designs (or whatever you choose to call it) was better or the one with the odd number of designs was better. After weighing my options, I realized that I didn’t have many. So I pretended to judge them and strongly suggested the even numbered one. Immediately after that, I made for the exit. (I would later learn that the bracelet that was bought was neither the even numbered one nor the odd numbered one.) And as I was performing the impatient task of waiting outside, I suddenly became aware of the more masculine feel that was there all around me. I looked at a guy sitting on a parked bike and saw a middle aged man doing the same next to him on his own scooter. And then it hit me! These were not just men sitting on bikes! These were fellow sufferers who were waiting for their better halves to show up from the shop! And after this realization dawned on me, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the tacit understanding that we had!

And so finally at around 7:30 in the night, we left back, each to our own homes, after a highly unsuccessful search for a much needed hand bag. Incidentally, two days later, I get a message saying that my co-hunter had gone in search of the bag at all the other acclaimed places in Bangalore-namely Commercial Street, Malleshwaram, Rajajinagar etc. And came back with nothing more than an increased level of frustration. And so the message told me that the mission to buy a new bag was finally called off, the hunter having been convinced that fate is not going to allow it!

YAY!

And so that was as far as my week has been….

PS: To all the guys from NITK who will soon be leaving to US for their MS or PhDs, Good Luck and do well wherever you go. I might be applying there next year!

My Routine

8:30 AM: Wake up and crap.

9:00 AM: Eat Breakfast

9:30 AM: Start surfing Net

12:30 PM: Go Sleep

3:30 PM: Go for lunch

4:30 PM: Change channels on TV from beginning to end

4:45 PM Change channels on TV from end to beginning

5:00 PM: Make some noise with my guitar

6:30 PM: Go play football

9:20 PM: Take Bath

9:45 PM: Have dinner

10:30 PM: Surf some more net. (a.k.a Check Blog Stats for the day)

12:30 AM: Sleep

Cycle repeat.

WTF??????????????????????

A Conversation with a Contractor

In the process of building a restaurant, one has to inevitably go through the pestilent ordeal of dealing with the contractor. We had one such self proclaimed “professional” contractor who had a large establishment by himself and had apparently done some major works prior to our project. But it turned out he was more than just pestilent. The following conversation largely epitomizes his character. During the course of this conversation, I went through the following states of mind and in that order: simple overlooking, probable misunderstanding, failure to communicate, disbelief, anger, resignation and then finally I thought “Is this guy for real?” So here is what happened:

We had just finished taking measurements of the work done and sat down to carry out the calculations. All the dimensions taken were in feet and inches. We had a normal calculator which like any other calculator, uses the decimal system while computing.

Contractor: Lets start with the flooring.

Me: Ya sure. What are the measurements?

Contractor: 12.3 ft by 8.2 ft.

Me: You mean 12 ft 3 inches by 8 ft 2 inches?

Contractor: Yes yes. Both are one and the same.

Me: No no you cannot calculate like that. You first need to convert into decimal and then calculate.

Contractor: What is there to convert? Both are the same.

Me: No you see, you must have overlooked the fact that the foot is made up of 12 inches and not 10 and so you need to first convert it on a scale of 10 and then go ahead with the calculations.

Contractor: How can you do this now? We have quoted the unit price of each item in square feet. Now if you ask me to use decimal, then I will have to change the unit price for each and every item.

Me: Don’t you get it? In your quotation, only the units are in square feet. The quantity is still in decimals only.

Contractor: No no we have given quotation in square feet.

Me: Ok then tell me one thing. If I say 3 ft 6 inches, how much will you put?

Contractor: I will put 3.6 ft.

Me: How can you do that? Now you tell me how many feet is 6 inches?

Contractor: Half a feet.

Me: How do you write half when you use “Something point something”? Do you write it as .6?

Contractor: No. Half is .5

Me: That’s what I am saying. You need to convert it to decimal and then use it for calculation.

Contractor: But that is only for 6 inches. You cannot do like that for other measurements.

Me: No all we have to do is divide the no. of inches by 12 and we get the same measurement in decimal form.

Contractor: No no how can you divide? It will become less for me and I will undergo loss. I am paying the workers in square feet and not in decimals!

Me: Ok then tell me this. Say you have 3 ft 1 inch and you have 3 ft 10 inches. How will you write both of them in your way?

Contractor: For 3 ft 1 inch I write “Three point one (3.1)” and for 3 ft 10 inch I write “Three point Ten(3.10)”!!!

Me: Don’t you see the difference?

Contractor: What difference? This is how I have taken measurements in all my previous projects. Nobody has objected anything.

Me: Ok just tell me this. If you have 3 ft 2 inch and 3 ft 11 inch, which is greater?

Contractor: 3 ft 11 inch

Me: Ok then tell me how will you put it in your calculation?

Contractor: Same way. I put Three point two(3.2) and Three point eleven (3.11)!!

Me: ?????!!!!!!!????????

Contractor: See this is how I do it. How much difference will you get if you use your method?

Me: Not much actually. But it will be more accurate.

Contractor: How will it be more accurate? If you start dividing, then it will be wrong.

Me: Ok look. If you want to take the measurements and calculate your billing, then you will have to do it this way. Else I will not accept your bill.

Contractor: Ok fine. You are saying the difference is not much. You do it in decimal only!

After undergoing this conversation, I honestly began to believe that the phrase Intelligent Contractor is an oxymoron. But there was some icing on the cake as well. Apparently the measurements that we took (in decimal remember) ended up being much smaller than what he expected. So measurements were taken again the next day. In one particular item, the measurements yielded something interesting. Here is what happened:

Me: Ok so what are the measurements?

Contractor: No no we will be calculating in square feet only today. We are getting loss in decimal system!

Me: What are the measurements?

Contractor: We have 3ft 11 in by 3 ft 2 in. We will be doing it like this only! No conversion.

Me: So what are you going to put?

Contractor: I will be putting Three point eleven (3.11) by three point two (3.2) only! We wont divide!

Me: :-) (Why the **** should I even open my mouth?)

So I let them continue with their “calculation in square feet” and they gave me a figure at the end of it. I looked at the final figure which was apparently a result of multiplication by Three point Eleven (3.11) and made a sincere effort to conceal my laughter. But my laughter manifested itself as disbelief and the contractor misunderstood it to be a sign of me being shocked to see the difference in his method and mine. Well, he was right in a way, but wrong on the whole.

And like I said, I will leave it to you to infer anything you want about this contractor. I do not wish to disparage his name and company and so I haven’t taken up any names. But either way, it was disappointing and amusing to see something like this with someone of such age and experience.

God help him!

So What Ya Doing????

And I have been finally successful in taking up the herculean task of getting my lazy self to sit in front of the computer and write a damn post! Dormancy has achieved new meanings and standards in the past 2 weeks of my life, thereby punctuating the dire need for a change in my bovine existence. Seeing no point in pursuing the so very valid reasons for my dormant state of affairs, I decided to write something. But alas! My past 2 weeks have been filled more with sleeping, eating, crapping, more crapping (yeah my stomach’s gone to the docks!), eating again, and finally when I am not doing any of the above, you would probably find me just aimlessly surfing on the net looking for something to excite me. And so, very conveniently indeed, I had nothing to say. And so I successfully fought against the temptation to write a graphic post on how the lizard in my room ate the ant and then went on to eat the other ant as well.

And so here I am. With nothing to write and yet writing. That’s because I just now thought of something to write about. Well it has been over 2 months since I got out of college and my hostel for good. In there, it wouldn’t have meant a thing to see what the guy next door was up to. But now that we are all out for good, I thought maybe let me make a list of what other guys from college are doing of late. Most of the people here are the people I have known really well. So here goes….

  1. Sadanand: My Room mate for all the 4 years in the hostel. Presently working(??????) at LSI Logic ( I think that’s the spelling) as a Chip Designer and regularly passing on some vital information about someone relevant to me.
  2. Royan: The guy who taught me how to play the guitar and more importantly, how to drink alcohol. Apart from the fact that I shall forever be in debt to him for the alcohol part, I think I have largely repaid his debt, considering the amount of stabs I received towards the end of the semester! Has begun writing again, considering the amount of time he has to waste. Anyway, he is on his way to University of Michigan and right now you are most likely to find him playing his Washburn guitar at his home. In case you don’t find him there, then search again in the corners. He has a fetish for corners!
  3. Abhishekh Upadhya: After his successful return from the annual tasters’ convention in Nagaland, this Udupi chap has relinquished Broadband internet in favor of some Dial Up connection and is known to be getting prepared to head to Bangalore soon. Apart from his very passionate hobby of tasting ‘stuff’, hereby unknown to us, he is also involved in sometimes writing some stuff on his blog. One of his latest exploits include a feedback to Chetan Bhagat on the 3 Mistakes of his life. Perhaps of more significance is one particular comment by a chap named KOMAL.
  4. Suhas: (a.k.a Trukka, Masai) Proud of his alleged admit to NCSU, this particular chap tried to learn Keyboards in a matter of 3 months and last I heard, he was giving me some ‘reasons’ as to why it didn’t work out and so switched to blogging. Close on the heels of getting some not-so-desirable attention on Appar’s Blog, and getting royally belted therein, this chap has started something remotely resembling a blog under the name TRUKKA. His latest indulges into the blogosphere include a 1984 book review which, along with the ‘spoilers’, runs into less than what you would probably find at the back of the book! A lot of us would agree that Masai is in some way perhaps trying to get back at Appar by starting his own blog wherein he can air his own views and probably a post involving some payback. But all said and done, I just feel that Masai doesn’t have it in him to go all the way. So when he is not writing in his blog, you can find him developing some new fetishes-the latest being that of wearing a pair of prominent magnetic ear rings! Somehow what Hiran told me yesterday keeps ringing in my head: “Suhas seems to be very good at attracting beltings from everywhere” or something to that effect! (I am now very keenly expecting Suhas’ take on this and his subsequent attempts to do some pay back as well)
  5. Hiran: The guy next door in Final Year. This dude is going to NCSU, if I am not mistaken, and last I heard, is preparing for his Visa interview.
  6. Aniruddha PN: The only thing I know about this guy is that he is blogging regularly and with some really notable short stories with some very delicate description.
  7. Julie: The guy in the other next door in final year and fellow Civil guy. Last I heard, he has been learning drums. I presume his work at Al-Naboodah is yet to start.
  8. Fother: When not updating his status messages, I presume he is just plain stoned.
  9. Appar: As far as I can figure out from his blog posts, he has started his work at Adobe and when not working, he has been updating his previously stagnant blog regularly now. His blog posts include a royal belting of Suhas, as mentioned above and some other arbit stuff.
  10. Shashank Prassanna: The only update I have about this guy is his status message in GTalk which described, in one single line, his day by day experience at his Oracle office.

    Of course, there are a lot more people I could write about. But I am not really sure where they are or what they are doing. So if you are reading this post and do not find your name above, then do leave a comment as to what you are up to. And as for myself, I am still waiting for some formalities to get over with so I can start my project at IISc.

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