Almost Always The Truth

This blog is about small incidents which have occured in the life of Neel Arurkar. Neel also writes about his family and friends in this blog.

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Location: Mumbai/Bangalore/Pune, Maharashtra/Karnataka, India

I am what you see :-)

Holi Bumper(Updated 14th Nov)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

From Extra Hot To Medium

YouTube should unilaterally take all the blame for making me feel drowsy at workplace. Without any second thoughts, I convict YouTube of turning the computer into an idiot box and me into an idiot- an idiot so engrossed in the content uploaded by fellow idiots, that before some sense got into him, it would be well past midnight. Subu, my pal at workplace, was another victim of this wicked website. Now, we were determined to write that damn code but the freaking lack of sleep was a big problem. Intervention from caffeine was unavoidable. Midway between breakfast and lunch we would barge into the break room, only to find a whole lot of people suffering from functional impairment,potentially due to late night YouTubing, thrusting their coffee mugs into the machine. Now what the machine puked was pure mud water, but let me not be disrespectful and call it coffee for two reasons-it contained caffeine and it was free! However, with all the politeness, I have to admit that after a couple months my eyes, lips and olfactory cells revolted in unison as the drink approached them. My tongue partnered with them and refused to cultivate the taste. Subu and me had to graduate to Seattle's Best Coffee. At SBC, the cashier would accept our order and pass it to the barista. Subu would almost always order a latte and I would almost always go in for a cappuccino. And we always wanted it extra-hot- for if we forgot to mention that, our coffee would be a warm as horse's pee I assume would be. After placing the order one fine day, I realized I did not mention extra-hot. "Make that extra-hot please", I said. "Same here", Subu added. "Sure", said the cashier to us and then turned to the barista and shouted loudly and clearly so that all the people in the queue could hear, "Both Of Them Are Extra-Hot...". Sure we are dudette. That day as we proudly marched to our workstations, we were grinning from ear to ear and beyond. The grins lasted well beyond the coffee. Needless to say, that was the best coffee I have ever had. From that day onwards, the hunks awaited their coffee break even more eagerly. Not for ever however. "What size", asked the cashier as we placed our orders a couple of weeks later. "Medium",said Subu. "Same here",said Neel. A large coffee was never my cup of tea, but for the first time I regretted not ordering one as she shouted loudly and clearly, "Both Of Them Are Medium..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

For The Love Of Our Country...

Before I slam you Mr A.M. Naik, let me thank you for pulling me out of this writer's block. Mr Naik, if you are reading this post, you might want to read the previous line again, because that is the only time I am going to be nice to you. From here on, you will be slammed, slammed and slammed for your stupid and thoughtless remarks. [Article 1 | Article 2]

So what did you say about Infosys? Ah, you questioned its contribution to the Indian economy! How much thought did you put into it before pointing a finger at a company that gets close to 4 billion USD of foreign exchange, employs a workforce of about a hundred thousand, donates generously towards social causes and is looked at with respect globally for its corporate etiquettes? If you did not put much thought, I am surprised how irresponsible you could be. If you indeed put some thought into it, I wonder how wonderfully thoughtless the Chairman and Managing Director of Larsen & Toubro, India's largest engineering and construction conglomerate is! Which one do you choose? Your call, Mr Naik.

You also talked about profit margins being Infosys' concern. You said Infosys does not take up Indian work to achieve 26% profits. You added, "Now they say they are looking at India and China, forced by their profitability issue. Not because they have any love for our country!". Mr Naik, my stomach is still hurting and my head is slightly bruised. And you are responsible for it. While rolling on the floor laughing, my head hit the refrigerator. Don't you run your company for making profits? As a CMD, that should be the first thing on your mind! If L&T Infotech accepts Indian orders at the cost of profit margins and for the love of the country, I would certainly not pump my cash into the L&T Infotech IPO that is planned, for the love of my money. Your understanding of love for one's country and not making money to prove it sounds like quite a good philosophy on which you can have a genre of jokes. I am thinking if they should be called 'I love our country' class of jokes or 'Mr Naik' class of jokes. I choose the later. After all, how could I ignore your immense contribution to the philosophy...

Mr Naik Joke Example 1
Neel : Would you install anti-virus solution on my machine?
Mr Naik : No, it is not profitable. I won't do it.
Neel : Come on Mr Naik, don't you love our country?

Mr Naik Joke Example 2
Mr Naik : Guys, we have decided not to have increments at L&T Infotech this year.
Employee : But we worked so hard in writing code for the complex billing system developed for the small stationery shop!
Mr Naik : We did not do it for profits. We did it for love of our country...

I urge my readers to contribute a few more jokes for the love of our country. In fact, it would be a great favour Mr Naik, if you chip in with yet another one. Ofcourse, you would do that selflessly for the love of our country.

"So India doesn’t benefit with its own people. This makes me angry.", you said. Let me try to explain it to you. Perhaps, you should read this real slowly. I should be able to drive the point, I believe. Infosys, Mr. Naik, employs a global workforce. The workforce comprises of people from more than 35 nationalities. It is nothing like own people and disowned people. They are called Infoscions - or heirs to the Infosys Empire. Yes, it must have been a difficult lesson for you, I know. How would you not be surprised that there exists a company where everyone is treated equally, unlike your company, where there are different canteens for the workers and their bosses. The next lesson I recommend you is Murthy's vision. I hope you get blinded with it.
I want Infosys to be a place where people of different genders, nationalities, races and religious beliefs work together in an environment of intense competition but utmost harmony, courtesy and dignity to add more and more value to our customers day after day.

Mr Naik, your words sounded populist. The illiterate audience would clap their hands when you talk about your understanding of loving our country. They would do that even if you fire a missile into your own country and give your justification. If they were your intended audience, may be you should quit your job and focus on politics. I am sure, you would make an excellent politician.

Disclaimer : I am not a spokesperson of Infosys. This is my personal opinion and may or may not be inline with Infosys' opinion. I have blogged this not because of any relation I may or may not share with Infosys, but for the love of our country...

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Wrong Lever

Swapnil's car is convenient. You just have to pop into it and after a three hour comfortable ride, you are in Bombay. You could sleep, you could watch a movie or you could play the channel of your choice. Adarsh's witty dialogs add to the frolic and the fight to avoid the bitch seat, which is now a tradition, makes Swapnil's car absolutely unavoidable. So when I decided to sacrifice my seat and hence the funvenience, for a colleague last Friday, it was not an easy decision I must confess. It meant being transported to the highway being sardined in a six seater. The term six seater is quite a misnomer. Ten passengers crammed into space meant for six and with a sweaty beast to my left, it was no mean thing staying alive. Perhaps, that fragrant pretty girl to my right, saved the day for me. Once at the highway, I followed my algorithm. Take the first bus to Bombay irrespective of the comforts it promises. So as other people at the bus stop twitched their noses, I put faith in my algorithm. Eighty bucks instead of the usual two hundred for the AC Volvo on weekends was quite cheap but another guy who got in wanted to seal the deal at seventy. I did not find the detested bus uncomfortable. It was an old white bus, which could do a 80kmph, with cushioned seats and window seats just waiting for me. I occupied the one at the rear end. There was no one around me except for this couple just ahead. As wind gushed in, I did not feel the need for an air conditioner. Looking outside the window, I must have been lost in my thoughts when this happened. The hand of the lady sitting right in front of me was crawling up my knees and onto my left lap. In the immediate moments that followed, I do not find or perhaps there do not exist, the right words to describe my shock. With a guy seemingly looking like her husband seated next to her, why would she like to play the bitch? I got my answer in the next few seconds as she tried looking for something in between the seat and the tin. She was looking for the lever to adjust her seat.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I had a feeling that this was going to become popular even as I was writing this at three in the morning. Yes, you read it right - at three in the morning. Somehow, this particular night, the onsite problem kept bothering me and I could sleep peacefully only after I finished the poem. If you are not an Indian software engineer and are reading this post, then the poem surely might not strike a chord. That is because you do not understand the term onsite and the situation and hence the essence. I would try to explain it to you, but how much of it would mean more than the rhyme scheme to you is any Indian software engineer's guess. An onsite, in very simple terms, is an opportunity for an Indian software engineer to work abroad at client location. This means s/he is handsomely paid for the job and returns back home richer. No wonder an onsite opportunity is the dream of every Indian software engineer. With all the modesty, though it would not be very evident after I boast, I can tell you that this poem has been read by atleast a hundred thousand Indian software engineers, who spend more than half their day reading and forwarding stupid forwards, one of which happened to be my poem. Methinks, the crux of writing a popular poem is not being a good poet but writing something that is close to the hearts of the audience. After, being forwarded without credits to the artist and being uploaded on a few blogs as if it was original content, I present it here with dual purpose - for you and to stake claim to my intellectual property.

No Onsite In Sight (NOIS)
The pressure was heavy, the schedule was tight,
Slogged like a dog, coded with all might,
Worked through the day, sat late in the night,
But for me, there is no onsite in sight…

She meets me for coffee, she catches up for a bite,
As I write this stupid poem, she is packing for her third long flight,
What did I do wrong, that she did right?
Why for me, there is no onsite in sight…

Want to climb the Eiffel, see Paris from that height,
Want to see the felled Berlin wall sipping beer light,
Want to bet that dollar as I see Vegas by the night,
Unfortunately for me, there is no onsite in sight…

Talked to my boss, with her I had a fight,
But she earns too much to understand my plight,
Now I don’t work that hard, I take it light,
Because for me, there is no onsite in sight…

The future is dark, it ain’t bright,
Life is routine, office bus I will board and alight,
Stay offshore and code byte by byte,
For me, there is no onsite in sight…

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God's Own Company

It was not exaggeration when Bala, the Infosys CFO, called Infosys God's Own Company at the 26th Annual General Meeting. If you are a client, Infy assures you experience customer delight and not just customer satisfaction. Employees are treated with care and affection. With Infosys Foundation, Infosys ensures it does its bit for the society be it Tsunami Relief, Rural Upliftment or Education. For shareholders, the less said the better. The share value has multiplied more than 2500 times and I am not counting the always more than face value dividends which are doled out year after year, every year. So much do the investors love it, that its Annual General Meeting is an eagerly awaited event. As far as I am concerned, I start waiting for the next AGM as soon as I come out of one. The Infosys AGM is a family event. The loyal investors who have become billionaires, flock to Infy AGMs each year with their families, with the women dressed in their wedding sarees. The event is no less glamorous and grand than the big fat Indian wedding. After attending the previous three AGMs in Bangalore and after mistiming my visit to Bangalore this year, I made it a point to take half a day off from work and attend the webcast from Bombay. If you are planning to attend the AGM from Bangalore, you better be at the venue atleast half an hour in advance to guarantee you seats in the auditorium, else you would be accommodated in the screening halls. The directors and all the other people who need to be on the stage, occupy their seats a few minutes before 3 pm, which is when the business actually starts. A clock keeps ticking on the screen accompanied by the soothing Infy song till it's time. At 3, the bell rings and there is a brief introduction session for the people on the dias. This is then followed by an inspiring but short speech by Narayan Murthy and some insights by Nandan. Very few people are interested in what follows from here onwards till they come to the financials. And if you think people are interested in the financials because of financials, you cannot be more wrong. The financials are the last things on the minds of most people over there and I happen to be one in the most people category. Yes, I now, without any inhibitions, shame and guilt hereby declare on this public forum, that like most other people I go to the Infy AGM to party and because by being there I feel proud to be associated with this company. Coming back to the financials presentation, this is where Bala steals the show and gets the audience glued back to the screen. His presentation in addition to having all the numbers, has comic animations accompanied by latest Bollywood hits playing in the background. By including the animations he ensures that all the audience is laughing. A section of the audience which is not computer savvy and has never received those animations as forwards in the mailboxes, laughs its heart out. This old guy, seated a few rows ahead of me, went into an uncontrolled bout of loud bursts after seeing the animation accompanying this post. I had almost risen from my seat to gag him, when he stopped. The point Bala was trying to put forth, how the competition fails miserably when it tries to replicate Infosys' Global Delivery Model, was definitely not the reason that triggered the howl. The other section of the audience laughs for a different reason. It laughs looking at the laughing section of the audience. Chawlaji, a star investor and star by the virtue of entertaining the audience at the last year's AGM, wanted a place for Bala at a laughter show on the TV. I am with you, Chawlaji. Were it not for Bala, the investors would be in the refreshments area much before the voting on the agenda. But if you thought Bala is the best thing at the AGM, you are wrong. The best is always reserved for the last. Investor speak would be a more appropriate term than labeling it as investor questions. There is no one who can question the report or the company. All the investors do is they come on the stage and sing praises full of adjectives for Infy, NRN and Nandan. The other directors are sidelined, but praise and public attention is the last thing on their minds, I am sure. Last year, one investor even presented NRN with a pair of rosewood elephants that signified peace of mind and happiness. This was after Chawlaji had the audience laugh its intestine out. Chawla first found a mistake in the Annual Report where some employee was stated to have joined the then 25 year old company more than 100 years ago. He talked about how much Infosys is valued by the people, by stating how the dowry of the guy he knows doubled to Rs 20 lakhs(USD 50000) just by the virtue of joining Infosys eventhough his work profile was just the same as in the earlier company. At the 23rd AGM, he had mentioned how profitable it would have been if his friend had invested in Infosys equity rather than spending on education of his five kids. I happened to glance at NRN's face at that time and it wore an expression of sorrow. I could go on and on about Mr Chawla but then it wouldn't look a post about Infy AGMs. Perhaps only way to be just to Mr Chawla is to dedicate a post to the man himself. I would do that Mr Chawla, if you promise to entertain us at the next AGM. Chawla was surely missed this year but then Infy is a company of investors with money who are very funny.There was this guy who questioned Infosys' values because they had fruit juice packets but no packaged water in the bag on every seat. Dear Infy Management, if you dont provide us with water at the seats next year, you better be prepared to drop Driven By Values from your punchline. The investors kept trickling in at the microphone. The chairperson of the AGM kept reminding them to be brief and upto the point but the shareholders were in no mood to give up their duty of entertaining the audience. I had a question too and a genuine one, about why the meeting was not held on a Saturday as it was for the last 3 years, but I was too shy to ask it, lest I were treated like a clown by the people who were in no mood to do anything but laugh, laugh and laugh. And finally when the sitcom was over, it was time to hog. What more could one ask for? Entertainment followed by a lip smacking snack. I fail to remember number of servings of fried fish I went for. The food at Bangalore is good. But it was absolutely awesome here in Bombay and that was the only thing good about being here. Nothing can beat the overall experience of being in Bangalore and watching the AGM live. Next year, I will time my visit well.

Disclaimer : The views expressed here are in no other capacity except a very small investor.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Game Of Chase : I Resign

Yes, that's me standing in front of the magnificent Golden Temple. I managed to squeeze Amritsar in my schedule during my recent trip to Himachal, the land of the Gods. But writing about the trip is not the reason behind posting the snap here. Just check how fat I look. And that exactly is the reason why I gave up. Na, I have not given up relishing on cheese. I gave up the chase.
Saturday evening, I was at Shivaji Park with Abhiroop, sitting on the parapet talking things that make little sense. Just then a cab halted on the opposite side of the road. Cabs do stop there every now and then, but there was too much movement in this case so as not to notice. Four guys got out of the cab and started running in different directions. The cabbie got out too and started running behind them. Yes, he ran in different directions too. First, a few steps backwards and then a few steps forward. It was funny. And needless to say, he could not catch hold of anyone. The guys, I assume, were running away after not paying the fare. And one of these guys happened to run in my direction. A proactive citizen fully aware about duties and responsibilities, I ran to grab him. In the first few steps itself, I lay my hands on his shirt, but it slipped out. This prompted the thief(am fed up of calling him a guy) to run faster and after a chase of about hundred metres, even though I was not tired, I gave up. I gave up because I could extrapolate that there was no way in which the fat do-gooder could catch up with the thin thief. Giving up the chase right there saved so much trouble for both of us. It made little sense to run until exhaustion when the outcome was pretty clear. In a game of chess, grandmasters resign without dragging the game any further. The game of chase, I believe, should be no different. Though I am not as fat as I look in the picture and whatever plumpness you see is attributable to the stupid photographer and stupider photography skills, a few extra pounds need to be shed, is what I learnt from this chase. I need to spend some time in the gym. The next time, I am going to grab the bastard by his collar after a good 500 metre chase, deliver a blow right on his nose to vent out the frustration of this defeat, pull him back all the way to the cab by his hair and fling him on the bonnet of the car for the cabbie to deliver justice. But this time, I had to retreat and accept my defeat.
I walked back to Abhiroop. The cabbie drove away without thanking me. He must be in search of his next customer. And I continued with talks that make little sense glancing once in a while at the pretty young things walking past...

Monday, April 23, 2007

I Choose To Abuse

It's a bad case of abuse. To prove how good I am when it comes to abusing, sometimes in addition to abusing over the phone, I also abuse the phone. After more than 4 years of manhandling, it still works. And that it still works surprises me so much that it is subjected to more abuse. My phone, a LG RD 2030, was never a high end model - not even when I bought it. But its ruggedness combined with the couple of manoeuvres I have learnt in my long association with it ensures that it is going to stay in my pocket atleast till the time it stops working and that is not something that I foresee happening in the near future. My favourite manoeuvre is the somersault. This trick involves throwing the phone high up in the air making sure it rotates, just like the acrobats do when they jump from the dash board. And more the number of revolutions it makes, the more satisfied I am. The other manoeuvre is the way I flip the phone into my pocket. This, unlike the somersault, mostly goes unnoticed, but I still love it. After all this abuse, my phone does have a few fractures, in addition to an amputation. But then, that again brings out the doctoral skills in me. My habit of holding the phone by its antenna finally took its toll on the phone about a month ago. The antenna got twisted and a surgery had to be conducted to take it sever it. As if this was not enough, the battery has loosened because of on an average three natural falls a day in addition to one artificial fall every week wherein I just throw my phone on the floor to showcase its ruggedness. I now have to bandage it every week with a black adhesive tapes, which I am sure besides giving the phone a cool look gives me a cooler look :-) The attention I get, in form of series of glances from the sweet things around, can ofcourse be credited to this phone. For all this, I choose to abuse.