Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reverse outsourcing

I was talking to a friend who is in India. She was trying to conjure up an excel sheet and word document out of a pdf file. No points for guessing that she is studying for a management degree. I don't mean any offense or ill-will towards my dost log enrolled in management programs, but it seems that Microsoft office is the most complicated software they can use. The degree of complexity in order of the components of MS-office is excel, powerpoint and word assuming wo log html MS access mein databases nahi banaya karte. A database sounds too techie.

Gosh! I am taking such an evil joy in describing the computing (dis)abilities of management students. After all, I am supposed to be the techie guy. Its a different matter that I always have the MS office for dummies by my side whenever I am trying to write a report. I have realized that my mind has only so much memory. If I learn to work with the neural network toolbox in MATLAB, I most definitely will forget how to put proper line spacing in a MS-word document.

Since I have not yet learned to use the neural network toolbox, I still know how to work with MS-office. This friend which I mentioned in the beginning was having some trouble with her pdf reader and was unable to transfer images. I knew an alternate way (Mr. know all!) And hence I ended up assisting her in a step-by-step process to do what she was trying to do.

I could not stop laughing my mind of at the irony of it all. A guy in US, assisting a girl in India on some technical issue. Given the current scene with outsourcing it is the people in India who are the providers of help and the Americans, the beneficiaries. Figuratively speaking I managed to sher ke muh mein se maans kheechkar khaana. Not that I have become a complete American in my short stay here but this one is definitely for the keeping.

For a few seconds, imagine what would happen when all the technical assistance for Indians is outsourced to US. A guy by the real name of Michael taking the call and greeting the caller in a very fake Indian accent: "Namaste, Mikrosaft aafice ke ujer support center mein aapka swagat hai. Mein Mukesh aapki kaise madad kar sakta hu?". If this happens in my lifetime, I would be the first one to make a movie by the name of Chicago Blues both part I and part II. There is an irony in that too, bole to Hollywood lifting ideas from Bollywood and Americanizing it.

Rewind to reality. The firefox browser's spell checker is so American that it won't understand that offence is the same as offense, realised is the same as realized and Americanising is the same as Americanizing.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

You are My Sonia

I was delighted by a devotional song in the movie Blue Umbrella. The song's tune is lifted from kabhie khushi kabhi gham's you are my sonia.

You are my sonia on Youtube

Kalyan kar de maa from Blue Umbrella on Youtube

Though the tune of the song is lifted from our very own K3G, instead of making the prayer sound cheap, it gives it an apnapan waali feeling to it. I don't know whether such lifting of tunes and retrofitting it with religious lyrics is o.k. or not for many of my friends. They might be offended but the manner in which the people were chanting the prayer in the movie sounded so bhola bhaala to me. This prayer is so Indian.


P.S.- If you know an open source or free software for video editing, please let me know. The video editors which I found from googling are a pain. I had to create the kalyan kar de maa video by recording content from on my computer on my cell phone and then uploading the clip on youtube.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What is the Female Equivalent of Having Balls?

O.K., so in the last post, I wrote about playing tennis. You need balls to play tennis. I mean tennis balls which reminds me of the fact that tennis balls are one of the most abused sporting equipment in India. Poor things are berehmi se smashed all over the cricket field when they are only meant to be played between the two baselines of a tennis court. Baseball bats and hockey sticks come a close second and third on the most abused sporting equipment list. (A cricket bat is too unwieldy)

But this post is about the other kind of balls which has got nothing to do with sports. On second thoughts, you need these balls in every sport to be a good sport. They tell me that the lack of balls was the reason why Roddick lost to Djokovic in the masters cup recently. Oh my! I am mixing the two kinds of balls. I should stop doing that. It will make my serves inconsistent.

Dartmouth is a very elite undergraduate college. Alas! This is not true anymore for gradute schools because they let me in. The undergraduate students here are all very competitive and intent on proving themselves from the rest. So they are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd. (Crowd is only a figure of speech, the population density here is very less compared to Bangladesh)

One of the ways for a guy to put himself out of the crowd (again!) is to wear feminist stickers. Now, I confess that feminist is not a word I know a lot about. I use it nevertheless because the lack of concrete proof of WMDs being present in Iraq did not stop the American government from attacking that nation. In my komal dimaag a feminist is the female equivalent of a male chauvinistic pig. (You now know why I disowned the word earlier). But think of it, what you would call a guy who is wearing a badge which says "US feminist army" on his shirt. I called him weird. For once, I was right. The guy agreed that it was weird, so point proven. He WAS different from the crowd (third time)

I stuck up a conversation with the guy and he said something about feminism being a taboo topic to be talked about on the campus. Nobody would come out and talk about it. So, even though 50% junta on the campus is female, all the women are expected to behave as women. In other words, the IITian concept of a non-male is discouraged. If you've got it, flaunt it is the order of the day. As a result, it is becoming very difficult for real courageous female students on campus to come forth and assert their individuality. I would love to see that. There is nothing more in a woman I like more than assertiveness as long as she is asserting the same points as me.

The feminism badges which this guy was wearing were not the real brass badges (those are very expensive) but rather they were paper cuttings taped on his back and side-arms. As the paper was not laminated, I think it was destroyed by the brief spell of downpour yesterday. If I were the guy promoting feminism on campus, I would make sure my stickers are laminated or better still buy the brass ones. To be honest, I cannot still make sense of why would a guy want to encourage feminism and feministic self-expression on campus. Blame it on my one-and-a-half-pound-two-weeks-refrigated-bheja which won't fry before 400 degrees celsius.

By the way, if you were still wondering about the answer to the title question, it is.... you guessed it... ovaries. Woh kehte hain na... ke...common sense is very uncommon in common people.


Thursday, August 16, 2007


I bought a pair of swimming shorts at the beginning of this summer term. The plan was to enroll in a swimming class and learn some hath pair marna. It seems that Indians are probably the only people at Dartmouth who can't swim. How else can you explain that there were only two enrollments in the beginners swimming class? The first was me and the second was- you guessed it- another Indian. So, no wonder that the class was "canceled due to lack of participation". The poor folks at the physical education department did not know that two mote taaze Indians in a beginner’s swimming class is not a lack of participation. Aapke liye to hum do hi kaafi hai.

As I wanted to play some sport in the summer so that I could wear my 32" jeans for at least a few more months before I have to throw them away*, I joined beginner's tennis class. Luckily, the shorts which I had bought were loose enough to be worn in tennis classes without attracting undue attention of the large number of females present in the class. It is a different matter that these shorts did not have side pockets or any pockets. This severely hampered by ability to keep balls with me while serving.
* The reason for throwing is that I have no younger brother and all my cousins play at least two hours a day.

Tennis is not a water sport, so the swimming shorts which I worn in the tennis classes had no chance of getting wet unless my hairy Indian skin was very upset due to the acute deficiency of Indori food in my body. Thankfully, my skin did not get upset and I enjoyed "playing" tennis in my swimming shorts as much as I could. In fact, I will risk stating that my game "improved" to such an extent that by the time the class ended, I was serving an average of only three double faults per game. Lao ab Djokovic ko mere saamne.

All this while, my inability to put my swimming shorts to a proper water test was constantly nagging me. I wanted to see the water droplets on the inside and outside fabric of the shorts simultaneously.

Today was the last tennis class. I was expecting the instructor to shake our hands and pat our backs for being such good "sports" throughout the term. But he just kept pointing out the mistakes in my serves. May be I expect too much or may be the instructor was more interested in the females in the class. I think it is the second one.

Bhagwan ke ghar main der hain, lekin andher to bilkul nahin. Aaj is truism main mera yakeen double ho gaya. As I was coming back from the tennis class today, it started raining very heavily. Just like monsoons. And hence, each and every thread on the inside and outside fabric of my swimming shorts got wet. I have individually checked them.

The good part is that the shorts are still intact. I hope there will be another beginner's swimming class in fall and I also hope for a lot of new Indian students starting school in fall.