Saturday, January 30, 2010


I recently saw an ad on TV, for an insurance company that spoke of how complicated, confusing and jargonized our world has become and that is was time to uncomplicate!

not simplify - which i always thought of as the opposite of complicate, but UNcomplicate!

I pretty much accept undo : ctrl-Z, as the savior of many a disaster, while working with the computer. without that, life would have been a lot more difficult. the power to change one's mind and pretty much retract something that was done is really awesome.

i guess this could be a case of peer pressure. with facebook being so popular, the conversion of a noun - friend - to a verb to mean make friends, rather than befriend - that wren and martin taught us, paved the way for, what else - UNfriend! so, many people might think that Un-ning something makes it the opposite.

i am used to some words only in their un-form - such as uncouth or ungainly, though the non-un forms [un-un form?] couth or gainly are popular among scrabble players and are valid words.

i also found a site for unwords, though it is not really about words that could have been back-worded using un. these are more words that have been 'created' to mean some concept or thing.

a quick search of some dictionaries returned close to 4000 words that began with un.

maybe this is what makes english easy to adapt and adopt across the world.
is post-paid also a back word?

p.s. btw, this is my 'UNdred-and-first post on this blog! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

dream jobs

the much delayed elevated expressway in bangalore has finally been opened to the public.
though i have not been on it yet, i could see that a lot of work was completed in the last couple of months.
one small section is still to be done, but the major portions are complete.
in the last few weeks, as i had to go past the earlier entrance to electronics city beyond the toll booths and make a U turn to get back, i would be filled with thoughts of one of my old dream jobs - of a toll booth collector.

though in my professional career of about 30 years, i am only in my third job, i have switched many more among my dream jobs.

in school, i wanted to be a train dacoit! the trigger was a plastic spectacle with an artificial nose and moustache - that a family friend presented.

then, when i started learning German, i wanted to be a translator, or rather interpreter - and thereby be pat of historic moments of treaties beign signed between countries.

like a few other school friends, a railway engine driver or a pointsman - who had the power to change the tracks for a train, were also dreams at some time.

at IISc, doing some work in the library as part of the student assistanceship program - i wanted to be a librarian, who can get all the books in the world to keep on reading - till i realized that not all llibrarians read seriously. by extension, i also wanted to be in a bookshop - to not only be able to read all the new books,, but also interact with readers who walk in and help them choose. the habit of reading was inspired by my father, who worked in a bookshop.

i used to think that i could be a good teacher - for primary school children - till i attended a workshop for primary school teachers. though all the participants were very passionate about their jobs, the kinds of stories that i heard of the challenges they have seen with some children - made me think twice.

i have also dreamed to be an author - and write a book. after toying with themes of fiction and non-fiction, i felt more comfortable with non-fiction. even after identifying the theme and the name for a 'multi-modal and multi-dimensional' creation, i have not yet started, except for a blog post. [my other blog]. since i started that - in the last one year, my ideas have also become better formed.

i like wilfing. tell me if you know someone who has a job for wilfers.

i know a friend who would like to be a lift-operator.

but, i think that the job of a toll-collector is one of the most challenging and satisfying. it is a job that offers a lot of potential for constant learning; learning new languages to talk to the passing drivers; learning to be patient and keep one's calm; meditating between peak times; sit in the booth and sip coffee while watching a heavy downpour, when traffic is likely to be sparse; to read the psychology of drivers and automobiles, that coule lead to publishing research papers on 'human behavior on busy toll roads' that could lead to solutions to tackle road rage, which, in turn, can be extended to reduce or eliminate human rage, which might be the solution to the problems arising out of conflict between individuals and groups.

now, do you see how a toll-collector holds the key to a more peaceful world?
tell me what is your dream job?

p.s. thanks to those who contacted me wth suggestions for this [my 100th on this blog] post. i will try to address them sometime in the future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

nervous 99

as i sat down to write my previous post, i realized that i would reach a 100 posts in this blog with the next one.
that makes this the 99th!
as i have been thinking about what to write in the 100th post, i realized that i was getting into a writer's block.
one of the thoughts was to delay this post, so i get more time for the next.
but then, that would not solve the problem.
it has taken a long time to reach this milestone. longer than what i thought i would need - by posting regularly every week.
it has also taken longer because i have multiple blogs - at least a couple of them reasonably active [2 on the company network] and this one.
a few blog posts are within some communities.
when i looked at it like that, i felt more courageous, as i crossed the 100 post mark long ago!

but stil, this blog is special.
as it has no specific theme and let me write whatever i wanted.
one question that i do not have a clear answer for - why do people blog? why do others read..
i do not know!
while some blogs are specific to a theme and have more serious content, some some are just ramblings - like this one!
some bloggers i know are very very active and some are very sporadic..

while i have received many questions, some requests - i cannot relate them to the stats shown by the widget on the page - that indicates visitors from countries that i have only read about and wished i could visit - as the comments on the posts do not provide any clues.

while i mull over what to write about the next time, it would be useful to know if you have any suggestions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

on being driven..

this is not a self-motivation post!
recently, an auto rickshaw hit my car from behind. the fault was clearly his.
starting with a complete denial that he did anything wrong, after an eye witness extended support, he made a turnaround outside the police station, to admit his fault, so that damages may be claimed

as we were going towards the station, he produced his papers and pleaded that we do not lodge a complaint, as he has a family with 2 small kids,, and that this was his first accident and he had a loan to repay etc.. on closer scrutiny it turned out that his driving permit for an auto had expired a couple of months ago! the other papers - road tax, insurance etc were fine, as the vehicle was with a financing institution. that would have meant more trouble.

a few months ago, soon after my hand surgery, i was in an auto that was stopped by the police. it turned out the driver did not even have a license - let alone a auto driving permit!

in my frequent business travel, i have been driven by different cab drivers.
with some of them, one gets a comfort feel immediately, about their driving style. with others, it is not at all comfortable - like the driver who brought me tot he airport yesterday - on the highway, he suddenly seemed to have become uncontrollably thirsty - that he started drinking water from a bottle with both his hands..  while driving at the same speed. luckily, there was no traffic on the road..

i have had  drivers who want to vent their road rage because some one cut them or did not let them overtake or turn, or drivers who are in no hurry and would not cross 30 km per hour, even when the roads are empty.

and this is not just in india.

probably only next to lawer-jokes, new york cabbie jokes rank the most common.
the ones that i remember are the ones about the cabbie who always jumps red lights, because his brother had been doing that for years without getting caught - and stops at a red, because his brother might be coming the other way!
or the cabbie, who was asked to go to heaven and not a priest, as the cabbie's passengers always prayed, while the people slept through the pastor's sermons!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

thoughts for the next decade

it suddenly occurred to me - as part of the seasonal introspection - that i have been only writing more of 'reportages' than a diary!

so, this time, i am going to make it a real rambling!
that is also in line with the blog theme - ' random thoughts'..

in a way, things around me are the triggers for thoughts, so not having very profound things to say to myself or anyone else is fine, i guess.

rambling is actually very difficult. while it may seem random, there is some connection and flow.

like the picture above, the water, land, trees, mountains and the sky are all flowingly connected. it may not make sense to see or express this connection unless one is looking for a reason for them to be connected.

while i stopped making new year resolutions, and made it more of a monthly review of plans and priorities, the new year is a time to take stock of some medium to longer term plans and make them more short term.

the last year has been good in many ways. i look forward to even more in this year - which is also considered the beginning of the new decade.
that is something that am not fully convinced. when i had posed this question to some of the other group members - of a couple of groups that i am a member of, i got a few answers that the very 'first' year is year zero - as it is still not 1 year old!
i understand and agree with that argument. but still, only after 100 years are over, would it make a century!
similarly, year '00' cannot be the beginning of a new decade.
the media - or the greeting card makers - influence many of our traditions - and create new ones.
with more and more people using SMS to send greetings - apparently this new year, the number of SMS greetings was more than a Billion in India! - they also have to find newer ways of growing their revenues.

e-greetings are fine, and maybe more eco-friendly, but, you cannot paste them on your notice board! paper greetings were also a source of revenue for some of the charities - including UNICEF - that went to help many improvement projects across the world.

talking of improvement, one quote that i received in a -- hmm... new year greeting !! -- said:

'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.'
simple, but very profound.

making a new decade resolution is better than a new year resolution because it makes you think bigger - on a larger scale.

move away from making wishes for yourself alone, to make wishes inclusive of others, and wish that there would be significant improvements in all our lives.
after all, we are in a very connected world.

in a recent retreat we had of some friends from another group that i am a member of - that delves into the topics related to understanding the human mind, we explored the power of 'the law of attraction'.
wishing strongly as a collective, can make things happen.

the most visible of this theorists, was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his theory of the creative intelligence and mass [transcendental] meditation, to improve the world.

to conclude, while I haven not yet understood why the new decade begins with 2010 and not 2011, I wish that all of us realize our dreams of good health and happiness with a comfortable lifestyle in a more peaceful, environmentally responsible world..

how is that for a one sentence wish that has various aspects connected!!