The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hello world

Hello world.

If anyone’s reading, believe me, it’s good to be back. Apart from the few ‘What was the URL? What was the password?’ kinda moments, the coming back has been pretty much seamless. But before I begin on what I call the second life of this blog, a few updates and confessions. To dispel notions as someone recently brought to my notice, it’s purely incidental that the first two words gracing by blog for the last one year has been ‘Holy fuck’. It’s also purely incidental that my blogging stopped exactly one month before I joined business school and the revival is now happening exactly one month after. Hand on heart honestly; B school does not kill the writer. People, who write will write nevertheless while others will look for nice sounding excuses like the one that I am currently searching for. But all said and done, it’s good to be back to the ringside view. And if you insist to ask, the last one year has been a blast. Much learnt. Much forgotten. But all in all much enjoyed.

And before I rant anything new, here is some writing recycled from the year gone by.

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The Bullet point (Flashback series)

It was the year 2001. The dot com bubble had busted. And even men with unambiguous sexualities were handed down slips in pink. Companies with a skewed sense of humour even played Aerosmith’s ‘Pink is my favourite colour’ as they handed it down. Protagonist, rookie programmer is sitting hunched over his desktop, concentration writ all over. Such were the times. Big Brother CEO had appeared over video conference the previous day and announced dourly ‘We need to save every penny ((read) there shall be no toilet paper in the loo from tomorrow); we need to increase productivity ((read) kiss your kids goodbye, you might not see them in a while); and employee performance will be tied in with health of the company ((read) Damn, we’re fucked!!!)

He stared hard. The debugger danced through the lines of code in harmony for a long time. And then, somewhere in the innards of a for loop, it careened out of control. The exception on the screen looked as unfriendly as the CEO in the video conference screen. Protagonist, rookie programmer, rubs his brow. Breathes hard. God knows what the code means. God knows what the error means. If only he had bothered to read that ‘Be a Java god man in 21 days’ book from the library. Or better still, if only he had chosen a better career. Tensed and quivering, he reaches down and restarts the machine. The blanking; the restart; the stupid Windows start-up music. He runs the code; and voila, it works. The golden tenet of software programming had worked again. The one that is handed down from one generation to the other but mentioned not once in any book on computer science – when in doubt, restart the computer.

Code compilation. Production roll-out. And imagine. Bits of data figuratively skimming through the lines of code. Transactions happening. Flags turning from 0 to 1. More transactions happening.

In distant somewhere a grumpy customer clicks a button and the whole damn thing does what it’s expected to do. And in distant somewhere in the corporate coffers, a penny is saved. And another. And another, until it is a million USD.

In 2008 a bullet point on the erstwhile rookie programmer’s resume summarizes it all – ‘’Successfully initiated and executed system improvements to re-engineer process methodologies of a critical system to realize cost savings of up to 1 million US dollars’.

Wow, what profoundness.

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Conversations with the alter ego (Flashback series)

‘Heard you’re writing for the ISB blog and all’, altar ego snapped suddenly, breaking the calm of the mid night nothingness.

‘Eh…..ya’, I replied uneasily. I hate it when he appears uncalled and unexpected. Just when you don’t want questions. Just when you don’t want conversations.

‘And I heard it’s this glorified story of how you mere mortal transformed into this Kryptonite eating B school grad of sorts. Of how you can read Adam Smith beyond page 26 and solve optimization problems that have double integration signs and Greek symbols you don’t even know how to pronounce’, he laughed. I hate that laugh. That questioning laugh. Sarcasm, derision and all things negative written all over it.

‘How do you know?’, I wanted to ask. But what the hell; he’s my bloody other half. How would he not know?

‘I know it because I know it’, he giggled.

And even before I could interject, he continued ‘So what’s it gonna be like. The Harvard Business Review meets Economist kinda articles eh? Think of you sitting in front of your laptop pouring over HBR articles for inspiration, just because your blog submission is due by 12 o clock’. Laughter.

‘Hey, hey, wait a minute’, infuriated me quips back.

‘And do write one of those wishful thinking ‘If I were a consultant, I would wear Giovanni to work everyday’ kinda articles as well. If not perspective, they will at least add humour’ he continued, like my voice never carried at all.

I had half a mind to smash the face peering out of the mirror with that questioning snigger plastered all over.

‘Listen. I don’t think you’re ever gonna get this but what makes you think I am gonna make this a blow your trumpet space for godsake. All this aims at is to give a perspective to life in a B school. And I swear it’s gonna be as interesting as any of those 150 other book versions plaguing the roadsides screaming perspectives from a B school grad. But I swear I’ll be different. For one, I’ll give a perspective – to life, the times and all that jazz’, I screamed profoundly.

Laughter. Uproarious laughter.

Sound of shattering glass. I hate it when he laughs like that.

There are no stitches; but take rest, the doctor told me. And I am still trying to convince the housekeeping guys that it was the freakin dynamites at Gachibowli that made the mirror mysteriously fall onto my hands and shatter. I don’t think they are buying it. Damn.

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