If I Could Invent Something

I’ve thought about this long and hard and I always come back to the same thing. If I could really invent something useful I would create a solution for garbage disposal. I think India, like most developing nations, struggle to contain the garbage situation. People will continue to create waste; it’s inevitable until science advances enough to get rid of this situation for us. I think our scientists must try to work on this as a very dangerous situation could arise out of rotting garbage.

For the last few days on the bus ride to Koratty on my way to work, I pass by the area just after Kalamassery. There is a huge vacant land that is a piling ground for garbage from the city. Just looking at this place creates bile in my throat. I know that the workers are doing their best to level it off but you can just see the layers of plastic bags and stuff in that land. I have two areas near my apartment building that are dumps for garbage – all sorts of rotting foul smell coming out from rubble, bags of wasted food and who knows what. So here’s what I would want to invent.

I would want to invent/create something that dissolves garbage. Maybe a chemical which, when you add to plastics, food waste, materials, rubber, cardboards, dirt, old cloth etc reacts with it and dissolves it to — nothing! The end by product should be absolutely nothing. Got a lot of waste products? No problem; just pour a little of my liquid chemical into it and presto! In about less than an hour, it all just gets dissolved into nothing.

Ok so you say there has to be a by product. I get that but there’s nothing that says the by product has to be bad. So the by product of my garbage & waste destroying chemical liquid is going to be a fragrance that wafts in the air – and it smells like lavender! Fuck yeah I’m a genius.

A Typical Work Day

Here is my current work day schedule.

  • I wake up at 6:30 am and struggle in bed till about 7 am. By that time I get a big cup of coffee and go online, read the newspaper and stuff.
  • I take a shower & a shave at around 7:45-7:50 am. I have breakfast and get ready.
  • I leave my apartment at around 8:40 am and make my way towards Kaloor bus stand and await a bus heading to Thrissur.
  • I usually get a bus around 9am and settle in one of the seats. I pay the fare and usually nod off for around 30 minutes during the 70 minute drive. The drive is shorter if I get a bus that does not take the turn to Aluva central and thus shave off around 10-15 minutes.
  • I reach Koratty between 9:45-10 am and go to the office.
  • I conduct training sessions for the first batch of agents for our call center. Currently I am focusing on communication skills and soon we will go into the product & process training.
  • At 1 pm I give them a lunch break and then I head towards the little cafeteria in the Infopark. From Monday this may change, but I’m only getting snacks for lunch – vadas, cutlets or banana fritters and a portion of mug noodles. I also drink lemonade along with lunch and lots of water (as we don’t have drinking water supply in the office as of yet).
  • Post lunch we continue till about 5pm. I send the agents back home and I check on the stuff in the office and head for home. I usually get a bus heading to Aluva and from the KSRTC bus stop at Aluva I take another bus heading for Ernakulam. I reach home around 7pm.

It might seem very short, except for the duration that it takes me to get to the office but trust me that this is only for now. Once we go live with the project, things will be a lot more hectic.

Still Looking For A Place To Stay

All this thinking about finding a place to rent has me going crazy. Why? Well for one I hate the very idea of moving stuff. I always end up not having enough space or cartons for storage and then rue the fact that I can’t carry all my things. I’m also finding it difficult to find a 1 BHK place to rent. That was the criteria that I have asked people to help me with. Well ok, if 1BHKs are hard to find then I’ll take a 2BHK place for rent. Hmmm it looks like apartment buildings are quite rare in the area that I am looking to stay in and so I might have to stay as a paying guest or find a person/family who are willing to give a portion of their house or maybe even a floor for rent. Sigh – this is not what I was looking for.

Ok so I’ll settle for anything as long as I can be comfortable over there. There are no apartment buildings in Koratty, the little town on the highway where my new office is located. However being such a small little “pit stop” there aren’t many shops there. There are a few very cute & nice looking houses over there and I would kill to stay in them. The rent is cheaper in Koratty and I can even get a 3 bedroom house for just Rs.3000 a month! That cheap! But what the fuck would I do with a 3 bedroom house even at cheaper rent rates. Personally I hope to find an apartment that is close to stores – medical stores, a grocery story or two, maybe a little supermarket, close to the bus stop (so I don’t have to sweat it out in this heat while walking to get my bus) and most importantly with a bar or 3 nearby.

Below represents an example of what I think would be ideal. I would use the second bedroom as a storage cum little home office setup or whatever. Maybe use it as a den/reading room etc.

Musical Regret

I’m a huge fan of music. I can’t imagine spending more than a few hours without listening to music and I carry a lot of songs with me in mp3 format in both, my BlackBerry and in an ipod shuffle. And I keep changing them every couple of weeks or so, refresh the playlist so to speak. So I love music and one of the biggest regrets in my life is that I do not know how to play any musical instruments. Especially the guitar – of how I love guitars. Drums come a close second, keyboards & bass follow behind. But I can’t play any instruments. Other than air guitar, of which I am amongst the world’s very best.

I did however go for guitar classes a long, long time ago.  Back when I was 12 years old, I joined my sister and went to Kalabhavan Music Academy3 days a week to learn how to play the guitar. She was also a keyboard fan and was taking lessons for that instrument as well.  So 3 days a week I went to Kacheripady straight after school ended at 3:30 pm and for an hour, from 4:30 pm till 5:30 pm we listened to the cranky bugger of a music teacher try to teach us chords. I hated the rude, arrogant & rough speaking music teacher and loathed seeing him 3 times a week. I just couldn’t focus on the lessons that he tried to shove down my throat.

Along with my sister & I were her friend Shirley and another guy (I can’t remember his name). This guy was Shirley’s boyfriend at the time and he was there mainly just so that he could spend time with her. However we guys bonded quickly as we both equally hated the music teacher and whispered bad things about him behind his back. After a few months I got fed up of the ill-mannered lout and told my folks that I wanted to quit. So I did. And I have regretted it ever since. What I should have done was either stuck around with it or asked to find some other place with a better teacher and then learned to play the guitar properly. Cause then I would have been the next Steve Vai or Joe Satriani and would be shredding my way to the hall of fame by now.

On This Day During The Last 4 Years

On this same day last year, I watched Angels & Demons and wrote a review on it. I was also praying for rain on what was obviously a hot & sweaty March day and bemoaning the fact that it was raining in Thrissur, Palghat & Alapuzzha but not in Cochin.

Two years ago on this same day I watched and reviewed Underworld : Rise Of The Lycans and I was also ranting that my Sunday was being assaulted by a group of people in a building next to mine, who had rented a PA system, and a mic and people were singing rather badly and disturbing the rest of us.

Three years ago I had a quite day at home. Four year ago I created my Weeworld image, reading John Grisham’s King Of Torts and drinking lots of Tang.

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Authors I’d Like To Have Lunch With

Stephen King & Anne Rice. I’ve long been fascinated with the world of the macabre and demons, ghosts, goblins, monsters, vampires, witches & werewolves. And when it is all done in such extensive, intelligent & memorable text, it means even more to me. These are the two best authors who use thee fiction so well to spin great stories that I can read over & over again as the years go by.

So I would totally love to have a lunch with them and spend a few hours talking about the various themes and story lines in their books and debate the finer points. Hmmm now that I think about it, I would start out with a big lunch and as we talk on & on, we would move to comfortable sofas with cold drinks in hand and continue on throughout the afternoon. The evening would bring tea and coffee and we’d chat throughout and end up with dinner and a late night, fueled by lots & lots of wine. Red wine, considering the fact that it would be so appropriate for these two authors.

Ofcourse I wouldn’t want to end up having to walk home or go home even if it is in an armoured car after that. All that talk of things that are scary; what if some of these creatures came alive and attacked me while I made my way back home.

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Formals Versus Casuals

This point / discussion came up today during the training session I was conducting for the agents of the call center in my new office and I gave them ample time to come up with points and counterpoints. I have my own points on this particularly topic. This is something that I have strongly argued over during the last few years.

Ok first let me tell you the standard dress code that I am used to – Monday to Thursday formals (shirts tucked in, belts, formal shoes – preferably black) while Friday, Saturday and any Sundays that I go to work could be casuals – jeans, t-shirts (not that I wear any) and sports shoes or open shoes. I’m guessing that this is the standard in most companies over here or anywhere for that matter. And I am happy to follow this. Infact I will go so far as to endorse this code as I feel that it is necessary. I have seen too many youngsters dress really badly to the office and feel that a little discipline goes a long, long way. Some of them kids come to the offices with gaudy & overly bright coloured t-shirts with fancy lettering and at times obscene written messages. Jeans or pants are hug low on the waist line and if they happen to bend down, you will get to see the partition between India & Pakistan! And if their hair doesn’t look like it was mistaken for a toilet cleaning brush, I’d consider the rest of us truly blessed.

So that’s why I feel that they should get used to wearing formals. But I do not believe what some old foggies say that when you wear casuals to work you tend to be too casual in your work. Especially if you work in customer care over the phone. I’ve heard that a lot (as I have been in the customer care / call center industry from 2002) and you know what – those who say it are usually assholes who have never taken a single call in their life with reference to customer care. Another thing – I did my best work over the phone, nay my best days, over the phone when I was dressed casually. You know why? cause I was comfortable and I wasn’t worried about anything else and so my concentration was on my customers who got connected o me. This is true for most people who have worked in this industry. So for those who do not agree – you have not worked for more than a few days in this profile and hence your opinion does not count.

The Missing Ship & Crew Found

With all the devastation & loss caused by the biggest tsunami to hit the country of Japan, all eyes were on the death toll. And as much as the stories of tragic deaths, loss of property & the bravery of the Japanese, as is inevitable because it’s always in the midst of a true crisis that the true spirit of human beings always shines at it’s best, one story struck me with the hardest impact. It was the one about the missing ship.

On the 11th of March, a Japanese coast guard official confirmed that a search was under way for a ship carrying 80 dock workers that was swept away when a tsunami struck the northeastern coast. The vessel was washed away from a shipbuilding site in Miyagi Prefecture. That’s the area most affected by the massive offshore earthquake on Friday. But on the 12th, In the midst of all the death and destruction left in the wake of the 30-foot wall of water that ravaged northern Japan, there was at least one piece of good news. The ship feared lost at sea was been found with all 80 crew aboard alive. Naval and coast guard helicopters safely airlifted the 81 aboard to safety.

I thought that they were all goners when I first heard of that story. I would never have thought that the crew would ever make it back alive after being swept away from a building. But they were and that’s amazing.

Baby Bat Sleeping On A Towel

The window was left open overnight in one of the rooms that faces the woods behind our office building two days ago. On one of the chairs lay a towel, spread out on the back of the chair to dry. When I came in the morning I saw this sticking onto the towel. Can you make out what it is?

It’s a small bat sleeping through the morning, peacefully on the towel. I picked up the towel using just my forefinger and thumb, moved it towards the open window and gave it a big ole flick. The bat flew off into the distance. Sorry batkid!

One Week later

One week after leaving the old job and starting the new job:

  • I have a new respect for people who have to travel a bit from their home to their office. After a week of traveling for over an hour each day, one way, my back hurts and I am losing sleep as I have to get up earlier just to get ready and leave on time.
  • I’ve also found that I can take cat naps in the bus during the long ride to the office. As long as I don’t sit at the very last seat of the bus – Kerala roads are too bumpy. The last 3 days, I’ve snoozed for atleast 30 mins each and felt good about it.
  • I’ve never felt so tired or hungry in my life. I’ve not been able to eat lunch for the past 3 days and making by with a late dinner. I’ve been surviving on water during the day (other than breakfast) and not even getting coffee.
  • While the technical setup and other stuff is being completed, I’ve also spent a lot many hours doing nothing but staring off into space and not thinking about much. I find a seat away from the rest and settled down for a couple of hours at a time.
  • For the first couple of days I’ve also sweated a whole lot. It has been very hot & humid and while the air conditioner was being fixed we boiled in the rooms. Luckily by Thursday that was a thing of the past.
  • At the same time, because this is a new office and we just finalized on our first project, I feel like we’ve accomplished a whole lot in one week. And being part of the discussion and stuff is a big deal. That feels good too.

Do You Feel Younger/Older Than You Really Are?

It so depends. When I am in the company of people younger than me, like 25-19, I feel so ancient. At those times I talk of 1987 and 1985 as if they were during the dark ages. I feel like a daddy at those times and talk like I’ve been changing their diapers for ages. I even tell them that. Like the sweet girl who works in recruitment for my previous company – she even calls me pappa and I treat her like she is a small kid. This comes rather naturally for me.

Well when you are 34 and all them whippersnappers are over 10 years younger than you, what else will you do? However at times I feel that I should actually be much younger, just a little past the kid stage. When a longing comes in my heart, I am a eager & young as a teenager. I even look younger at those times (according to people who are close to me). A few people have not felt that I am my age, in looks as well, which is downright flattering but I think I do look my age and so is that a bad observation on their part?

So in conclusion, it differs for me as to whether I feel older or younger than I really at, depending on who I am with, where I am, what I am doing and what the situation is all about. But then you can’t forget my life philosophy – You are only as old as the girls you feel!!!!

So bring on the 16 year old hot cheerleader gals, baby!

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A Whole Lot Of Waiting

What a day! I left home a little before 9 am, got a direct bus to Thrissur abround 20 minutes later. One hour long bumpy ride later I was in the office. Due to a change in plans, my entire day has been just sitting around doing mostly nothing and a whole lot of waiting. The client spoc who was supposed to reach Kerala by 9:30 am and our office premises by 11am could not get the morning or afternoon flights. He called to apologize and said that he would take a later flight in the evening. We had planned a sitting for our employees along with him and our two consultants but that could easily be re-scheduled for tomorrow.

I let the trainees go home early today, by 4pm infact. The rest of us sat around in the office doing a little arranging and not much else. By 6pm some of us went for coffee and a snack and then settled back once again. By 7pm a car was sent to the airport to pick up the visiting client. I made a few calls, sent a few smses, surfed the net a bit…anything to beat back the boredom. By 8 pm we got the news that all flights were delayed and that they were expected to reach only around 9pm. By this time we knew that the meeting wasn’t going to take place. At 9pm the plan finally landed in the airport and the client was taken to his hotel. It’s 20 minutes later and I am waiting along with 2 tech guys for the car to come and pick us up. Its been a long boring day.

Sunrise vs. Sunset

Good grief, I thought that this was an easy one. Well let me make it easy. I’m gonna type whatever comes to my mind, without putting too much thought into it, when I think of sunrise & sunset and then see which one sounds more appealing.

Sunrise: alarm clocks, sleepy eyes, stiff joints, stretching, yawning, struggling to get out of the sheets, stumbling towards the loo, brushing teeth and getting that first cup of coffee to make yourself awake.

Sunset: more coffee, the day’s winding, heading home from work or heading to get a bite to eat with family or friends, drinks, food, chilling, enjoyment, city comes alive, as do you.

Now you tell me which one do you prefer? For me, it’s sunset all the way.

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