Why not Bangalore?

A question I encounter very frequently but I don’t know how to answer is “Why do you stay in Pune rather than Bangalore?”  At times I just say I got a job here. At times I say my hometown is equi-distant from here so it doesn’t make a difference. On some other days, I ask people if they can get me a job in Bangalore so I can move 😛  But mostly I am confused why is it that people ask the question. I am away from home in either case. In fact it is the same national highway that I’d take from both destinations to go “home”, just in opposite directions. The only difference is when I go home from Pune my phone is in “roaming”.  Oh ya that is there. Bangalore is in the same political boundary as my hometown! But I don’t feel the same kinship with Bangalore that others want me to feel. Reason? Because although it is in the same state the language (actually dialect) and the culture is quite different. I don’t feel at home!

Well that was a pretty long segue to what I wanted to speak about today. Language, the culture and interconnection! Since I am a recently converted insomniac I don’t know what to do in those wee hours. And I end up binge watching YouTube videos. In one of those videos, Sudhir Mishra, the film-maker of “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” fame, says Women and Dalits take to English much more easily than others because English words or language is not as exploitative to them as their native tongue. That explains why I can’t bring myself to read a lot of Kannada literature inspite of being quite proficient in the language.  That extends to Kannada movies and newspapers even. And consequently I can’t feel the connect to Bangalore that others feel or atleast expect me to feel. He says “Bhasha is attitude”. On the same lines, another script-writer Jaideep Sahni (Chak De India) says “Bhasha is behaviour”. They couldn’t have been more correct. Thanks to them now I feel validated. All these days I felt like I was cheating on my mother tongue! Hail YouTube and the hail the Internet! I have been on the receiving end of quite a few jokes and taunts because of my love for English language. I still love Kannada but I just can’t enjoy the literature as much.

The dystopian novel, 1984, explores this brilliantly where the Oceania government has introduced this new language Newspeak. Newspeak has a very limited vocabulary and no negative terms. It is a language designed to remove even the possibility of independent thinking or a rebellion. Orwell said ‘If thoughts can corrupt language, language can also corrupt thoughts.’ Very interesting theory indeed.

There is a reason the current Government of our country wants to impose Hindi on us. Because without imposing the language there is no way they can impose the morality that comes along with it. And that precisely is also the reason why some others are opposing the move. Anybody familiar with the South-East Asia can attest, here  English isn’t just a language but a class. If you can speak English well, it immediately puts you in a different league. French is a language synonymous with class, luxury, sophistication and fancy.

However, there is one thing. Because of colonization and subsequently the emergence of the Internet now we have a large population of the World that speaks English but thinks in a different language. The other language can be any Kannada, Chinese, Spanish and the list goes on. English can be called the lingua franca of the World. Well almost. Culturally also due to capitalization we are becoming pretty similar. You can find a McDonalds and a Starbucks be it Denver, Dubai, Delhi, or Denpasar! Is it a good thing? I don’t know and anyway that is a topic for another day. This cultural melting pot has created another language for us which could very well become the lingua franca of the World: Memes. Have you been following them?

And while I am thinking all this on a Saturday afternoon, here’s my brain to myself.

Bole_toh

So I’ll go eat something while you ponder on what language you think in and and tell me how can I ask for biryani in that language  😀

 

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Security Paranoia

Mordac, the information preventer

No, this is not another Dilbert comic strip that I am copy pasting.  I just used it to convey the message how paranoid we are getting about security. Understandably so. Coz most of the work that we do these days is online.  Our bank account passwords, credit card numbers and all important personal information is at risk . Insisting on strong passwords, firewalls, multi-layer security are some of the necessary evils.

But there are times some measures sound just ridiculous.  A lot of times Usability takes precedence over security.  While I understand that it is for our own safety, the only way to be perfectly safe is to lock your data in a locker and bury it six feet underground in a location known only to yourself. Even that is susceptible to accidental discovery or satellite discovery.  Some amount of trust is essential to keep things going. We need to strike a balance between security and usability.

Even in everyday life, we trust somebody or the other for our existence.
You trust the DBA that your account is not tampered
You trust your doctor to give the right medicines
You trust your lawyer for the legal advice
You trust the local beautician for your grooming

and the list goes on…

It is difficult to decide: How much security is enough and how to strike that balance. But the problem seems to be that nobody is interested in striking the balance. Everybody seems to be interested in increasing security and playing it safe and rather than trusting fellow humans. Is the world getting increasing paranoid about security?

What a waste!!!

There was one story that our physics sir at school would love to narrate.

There was this waterfall in Mysore and everybody admired it. Poets wrote pages on the beauty of the Kaveri river. But there was one man who saw it and exclaimed “What a waste!!!”  That was Sir. M Visvesvaraya. He said that because he saw the potential hydro energy being wasted and untapped.

He went on to become the chief Engineer of the Krishna Raja Sagar(KRS) dam, Mysore built in  1924. This dam remains an engineering marvel and one of the popular tourist attractions till date. It was the first dam to be built with ‘surkhi’  a mixture of limestone and brick powder instead of cement. He built many dams later which are still functional.

He also honoured with the Bharat Ratna for his contributions. It happens to be his birthday today(the 15th of September) that we celebrate as “Engineers Day” as a tribute to the engineering wizard.

Let us hope he inspires lot more engineers to acheive greater heights and come up with more viable and cost-effective solutions for the problems of the real world.

Happy Engineers Day!!! to all the engineers out there…

Work, life and balance

Recently I met this aunty who told me how sorry she is for people like me in the IT industry. This has happened many a times. When I meet people and tell them I am “a software engineer” and they go on and on as to how hectic it is and how there is no work-life balance in the IT field. I only reply by asking them “name a job with work-life balance”. These days it’s almost assumed that if you own a business or if you want to succeed that you have to work insane hours. This concept transcends all fields and professions.

From the past few days I was thinking if I had to quit the IT field then what would be an alternate career option for me. Unfortunately I couldn’t come up with anything. Not that I am not capable of anything else simply coz I don’t have the neccessary formal training or guidance for anything else.

But I know many people who have neither worked insane hours nor have they had any formal training in their chosen profession. Perhaps, the best example could be my Dad who is an investment consultant. He is neither an MBA nor he ever had formal training in finance. While what I thought helped him stay in the business is his ability to sell ice to the eskimos, he succeded because he knew he need not sell ice to the eskimos. That is he knew what is the right product for anybody. Plus his abilities to put it across in the right way helped him stay in the business. So it is the skills that matter in the end.

Also he was always there for us when we needed him. I can boast of hundred percent parent attendance for all my school functions. This was not because he had nothing else to do or that couldn’t have been anywhere else. He could have very well continued with his work, met more clients, got more business…. But he made sure he was there for his family. That was possible because he knew his priorities. He chose giving quality time to family over other things. So it is we who decide how much we want to give to our jobs. It is a conscious decision, mostly a tradeoff.

So in the end what matters is your skills and where you want to draw a line between work and personal life and not the industry or vertical you work in.

abbrd pst

Earlier we had a form of communication called telegram where every word you send was charged. So people used every possible means to send shorter messages. You would find lots of jokes woven around the miscommunication thus resulting.

With the invent of web came another language the net lingo which was intended to reduce the typing effort or to be used for chatting among friends which parents did not understand like PIR (Parents in Room). And very soon this trend was picked up by SMS enthusiasts. How can we not mention IT industry which has significant contribution in this area. OOPS, LISP, VB, VC, AIX, AI, SRS, SDD…..Now this trend has percolated to every walk of life

Though very prevalent, I wouldn’t have bothered to think so much about this topic if I had not seen this mail from a  client . It was something like this:

Hi,

A meeting has been scheduled by MD(EVP) at 3:00 pm in TC(HHR) for discussing the issues related to the JJDP POK problem. As you all have consented for JJRC(IRS) please contact with IP(VP) and RT(EVP) for the signoff.

Regards,
SK
client

PS: Some names and abbreviations have been changed to protect my own skin if any of them happens to read this post.

I don’t know what to make out of it. 😯 In case you are wondering what the title abbrd pst meant it is “Abbreviated Post”.