Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Driving FAQs

Why is “driving someone crazy” so easy while “driving a car” so difficult?

The grocer’s shop from the petrol station is 2.5 kms. Why does it feel like 0.5 kms when Amit is driving, and 250 kms when I am trying to drive? Is distance inversely proportional to driving expertise? Why didn’t they say so in our Physics books, then?

Why is it important to “indicate” even when you are practicing steering control in an empty parking bay at midnight? Why is it that nothing makes your husband angrier than when you fail to indicate (even if you have taken a good stable turn)?

Why do I act like I am colour blind at a traffic signal? I surely can tell between a red, green and yellow when I am anywhere in the car apart from the driver’s seat. Again, if colour blindness was related to your position inside the car, why didn’t they say so in the Biology books?

Why is it that I can turn “left” when I tell myself “turn left” but will always turn “right” when someone else asks me to take “left”?

Why is it that my "brain" wants to obey my driving instructor but my "hands and feet" will take instructions from nobody but me?

How many times will I have to tell myself that to indicate “left” I need to turn that thing “up”? Don’t know what it’s called…but am referring to an elongated, protruding, rounded-at-the-tip part that can move up and down and also sideways and even a gentle touch can make it move. (Now will you dirty minds stop giggling and tell me what it's called?)

Why did it take me so much time to understand that while reversing a car, the “back” of the car moves to the direction to which the steering is turned? For god’s sake, when you are “reversing”, you want the car to move “backwards” and what the “front” of your car does is none of your concern! Why couldn’t I get such a simple thing?

And most importantly…

Why don’t they have something in between the accelerator and the brakes? Am I the only one confusing the two and speeding up head-on towards incoming traffic?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Of Faux Pas and Morals - Part 2

If you haven't read part 1, here it is.

It came to me like an epiphany...
That the greatest morals...
Are born...
Out of the greatest Faux pas…

At this year’s performance appraisal, I really couldn’t think of anything that I wasn’t happy with. I liked my job, I had awesome flexibility, the pay wasn’t bad, I could work from home when I wanted to, my teammates were competent and friendly and my manager was understanding and appreciative. So I spend hours on the “What you would like to change in your role” field on the self-appraisal form. But it seemed to be quite boring to leave that field empty. So I just forced myself to put this in:

“Would like to be involved in other creative work like advertising and promotional material”

(As if I didn’t already have my plate full with technical writing!)

Anyway, my manager was delighted at the proposition and asked me to prepare this year’s advertisement for our annual conference, which is a BIG event. My brief was to promote the Training team and to get more clients to come to us for training. I was excited.

The world was getting stingy and most companies preferred to train their employees in-house rather than sending them to the expensive professional training departments. So, I decided to make use of a good statistic that I found somewhere. “In-house training costs X% more than outsourced training “(though we tend to believe just the opposite). The idea was to make companies aware that sending their employees to us for training will not only ensure better performance but would also turn out cheaper.

Toying with this idea, I thought of an analogy, which was something around these lines:

“You wouldn’t school your children at home.
Then why train your employees in-house?”

And this would be followed by the cool statistic that I had found.

I also thought of a picture of a bored kid being schooled at home by his mother, with a blackboard hung in the kitchen and the chair next to him being occupied by their pet dog.

Quite happy with the concept, I called a meeting with the key stakeholders i.e. managers of the different departments, the Business Development team and my manager, of course.
When the clock struck 10am (actually there is no clock in my office really that “strikes” with that much drama…but there is something mysterious in saying so, instead of saying “At 10 am…” Don’t you think?)…

…the meeting room looked busy. The seats were taken, the projector switched on, the first slide of my presentation up.

And I decided I would share “how” I arrived at the idea before proceeding with the idea itself.
So I said “We all have memories of our school days. Good, bad, ugly…but memories nonetheless. We may have bunked school, hated exams, faked absent notes, copied homework from friends, waited eagerly for the lunch break, wrote silly rhymes on teachers we hated, bullied the “bulliable” kid and pretended to fall sick just before a test we hadn’t studied for. But we all remember school. And no one can deny that it is a BIG influence on who we are today.”

Saying this, I presented the main slide…with the picture of the bored kid, and the text accompanying it.

After a brief silence, my manager spoke (god bless him). He said “Good work, Deblina. But there are many parents who really don’t send their children to school.”

Annoyed that such a superb concept was so casually rejected, I said “But that’s quite stupid. Why on earth would parents want to deprive their child of an experience that every child deserves? I know that some of the greatest people have never been to school…but that’s different. We don’t do that anymore. Not going to school is not an option for any of us, petty mortals.”

“Actually, I was home-schooled myself. None of my siblings went to school. And you wouldn’t say we did badly for ourselves, would you?” my manager said.

I gaped.


  • Never ask for more work when you already have sufficient.

  • Keep your opinions to yourself. Better still, don’t have opinions

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I have sinned

A recent visit to a little church in Fremantle sparked the religious cells of my body. And I realised I was a sinner. That too of the “deadly” variety.

"Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be force-fed rats, toads, and snakes."
This one’s going to take me to Hell for sure. Biriyani from Shiraz, momos from Tibetian Delight, fried rice from Lords, mutton rolls from Bedwin, gulab jamun from Haldiram’s…gosh, I have sinned. I have gulped and swallowed and eaten till I almost puked. And I don’t intend to repent or change. So Hell, keep the juiciest rats and the fattest toads ready for me.

"Lust or lechery, is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Giving in to lusts can lead to sexual or sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including (but not limited to) sexual addiction, fornication, adultery, bestiality, rape, perversion, and incest.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be smothered in fire and brimstone. Not kisses."
On one of my farm vacations as a child, I once pulled a cow’s tits really hard. That was when an old man (caretaker of the farm I think) had taken us (cousins and me) to the shed to show us the big cows and how they were milked. So that was really bad of me and I hope that cow can forgive me for the torture. But since I did not really rape the cow or want to have sex with it, I think I will not have to walk within the flames. Not sure, though.

"Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be boiled alive in oil."
I exaggerated in my self- appraisal form and wrote the longest list of “Employee’s Achievements in the Financial Year 2006-2007” in order to convince my Manager that I deserved a raise. How very materialistic of me! Can I have olive oil in Hell to boil in, please? I seem to have a cholesterol problem and olive oil is all I am allowed to use. Thank you.

"Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be thrown into snake pits."
If Gluttony takes me to Hell, Sloth’s going to keep me there. Well, I am prepared for the snake pits …I have had my share of cooks and cleaners and gardeners and dishwashers and washing-machines and frozen meals.

"Wrath is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be dismembered alive."
I don’t break flower vases or expensive pieces of china when I am angry (what a waste). But I must confess that I almost bit a piece of flesh off Amit’s palm when I got angry once (can’t remember why). I also tore a handful of my sister’s hair when she refused to share a piece of cake (that too, after I had finished my share). Can I at least nominate which part of my body should be dismembered first in Hell? I’d like my stomach to go first, please. I always wanted to see myself without a tummy.

"Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be put in freezing water."
I have sinned. I have envied Julia Robert’s smile, Ambani’s wealth, Bill Gates’ brains, J. Lo’s ass, Sushmita Sen’s height, Dawn French’s sense of humor, Cliff Richard’s voice, Bill Bryson’s writing style, Oprah’s influence on people and Angelina Jolie’s luck with husbands.
I don’t mind snake pits and being burnt in oil. But freezing water!!! O how cruel!! I usually go without a bath if I cannot have warm water in winter (and sometimes even in summer. I hate taking baths anyway!). Please. Pleeeeaaase. Can I get lukewarm water, if I don’t envy anyone from this moment on?

"Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be broken on the wheel."
Usually, in most matters, I have absolutely “no belief in my own abilities”. But somehow, I thought that I can eat as much as I want…and not exercise at all, and can still remain non-obese. Now that I AM obese, this belief is shattered. So perhaps my putting on weight has some benefits after all…they won’t find a wheel big enough to crush me in Hell [Evil grin :)].

They say that in confession lies redemption. I hope the keepers of Hell are reading this. But if they were advanced enough to read blogs, surely they would have come up with more techno tortures like “data-entry for a 1000 years” or “write formal emails to a zillion people” or “read technical manual (perhaps the ones I wrote) for eternity” or “test buggy software non-stop till you die and are born again in Hell” etc .

Dunno. Any clue?
Image: Google