Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Lift' kara de...

Work in a city? Have office in a multi-storeyed building? If you have answered 'Yes' to these questions, you will certainly empathize with this post and me!

One of the downsides of having to work in a multi-storeyed building is the elevator. You are so dependent on them. More than a utility, it is now a style statement, and even health clubs on the second floor have lift access! It is so much a part of our lives that we seldom give it its due. And just like we wrote in our essays in school, this marvel of technology comes at a price. For the technically inclined, to understand this world of elevators better, look
here. I am also listing a few types that I've seen in my days.

The Grill - Apt name that originates from its 'see through' grill sliding doors. Very Spartan, with floor buttons inside and call buttons in the lobby. It don't matter whether you are going up or down. You control it when it comes to you. The commies could very well have designed it, because of its Socialist approach to passengers. First come, first served. May have ventilation and lighting. Much-preferred accessories are the buzzer (for amusement), a stop button (again for amusement), a liftman (depending on your mood for amusement or to test your patience), and graphic images warning people what will happen to their limbs if they are caught in the grill.

The Grill 2 – A bit superior than the grill with umpteen variations. Some have a voice command reminding you (not so politely) to ‘please close the door’ to an extremely irritating beep/alarm. These put the fear of God into the passenger and ensured that they behaved. This probably was the one that pioneered the fan in the cabin.

Gen 1 with sliding doors – These were quite the ‘in thing’ when they were launched. These doors opened and closed automatically! The doors were generally made of steel (that may or may not be painted) giving the passengers complete privacy. It inspired Steven Tyler to write a dedication to this monument of transport ‘Love in an elevator’. The automatic doors meant additional buttons to open and close the doors (again for amusement). This is the model that was here to stay.

Gen 2 with sliding doors – When we were introduces to the concept of safety, there were additional buttons and accessories added to the already growing list. On the outside, you have buttons for up and down, and inside, the alarm button and the telephone! I have learnt to truly appreciate this during my days in Gurgaon. The Power Cuts meant that the lifts used to be intermittently out of service and you were often out of service with the lift. You then press the alarm button, there are outcomes that vary from a beep, to a shrill bell, to an ambulance gone crazy. Someone comes on line and tells you to be calm and in a matter of a few minutes (ranging from 1 minute to about 20) you are rescued.

Gen 3 with sliding doors – This one is the typical elevator you can expect to find at work. It comes with air-conditioning, buttons that light up when pressed, bright lighting, video surveillance, random additional buttons… the works! I miss having a vending machine in there though…

Gen 4 with sliding doors – Minimal buttons inside. You press the floor you want to go to in the lobby, the console directs you to the car. Insides similar to the Gen 3 but without the floor buttons, depriving you of amusement.
High-speed elevators – Similar to the Gen 3, but with different cars to take for every 20 – 3- floors. You experience mild g-forces while riding it.

But one thing that never ceases to amaze me, is the ways the elevator can get to you! Especially when you have challenged co-passengers. I have listed a few that I’m sure you may have come across:

The ‘Severely Challenged’
– These are people with an average IQ below that of a snail. They press both (up and down) buttons in the lobby. A variation would be pressing the button corresponding to the opposite direction of desired travel. And no matter where they want to go, they always step in when the lift comes in.

The ‘Completely Confused’ – This includes some people from the first category too. These are the ones that have great difficulty in figuring out where to go. They get in, realize that the elevator is going in the opposite direction, and panic. They then try to get out on the next level and end up stalling your journey.

The ‘Outright Stupid’ – These, you can easily make out. They appear to be in a state of ‘zen’ in a lift. They act in slow motion and quite often end up getting on your nerves and on the wrong floor. The cycle then repeats, but it’s not your problem now :)

The ‘Harried Executive’ – flies in to the lobby, jets from one car to another, screaming on the phone, usually realizing his destination late. They get the same vibes from others that Osama gets from Bush.

The ‘Low Lives’ – Used in reference to people who get down between your floors and from where you caught the lift. They may belong to any category, but the idea is that they’ve slowed down your trip :(

The ‘Frequent Fliers’ – Gentle, benevolent beings, who use the lift at-least 8 times for round trips. Typical behavior for smokers, everything okay when you go downstairs, but reek of smoke on the way up.

The ‘Going Postals – Ordinary people who act in an extraordinary manner when confronted with any of the above. Behavior may range from being a ‘rebel without a cause’ (pressing all buttons on the elevator when they get off) to being abusive or violent.

The ‘Mere Mortals’ – The silent commuters who endure this trip day in and day out. Their co-workers regard them as ideal candidates that may ‘Go Postal’.

After writing this post, I now realize that I may have been responsible for the actions of some of the co-workers in my Gurgaon building. But knowing Gurgaon, I would not be surprised even if it is otherwise. Nevertheless, I Keep Walking :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vision 2020

I don't think this is quite what Dr Kalam had in mind when he wrote his book. But then again, the Indian cricket team did not seem far from his vision of a confident, self-reliant, youthful, spirited India.

India, yesterday, won the inaugral Twenty20 world cup. And in what style! Sure there were troughs of despair and crests of joy, but in the end, we managed to keep it together. That was what mattered.

A study (read numbers guessed by me) has revealed that 90% of men cry at-least once a year. That number used to be at-least 10-20 times for the Indian cricket fan. Oh! the melodrama... Indian cricket finally has a happy ending! And somehow, I can' help but compare the Indian cricket fan to your average soap watcher. Indian cricket over the last couple of years, has all the makings of one:

Anger: Mob destructions of cricketers' homes
Elation: Victory laps
Sorrow: Loss to NZ
Jubilation: The mob mentioned above lighting crackers and doing 'bhangra' outside the same cricketers' homes.
Suspense: The Final of T20, the first India-Pak match
Animosity: Saurav - Chappel
Camaraderie: The huddle
Rape: Ahem.. what else would you call Yuvraj's 6 6s to Broad?
Litigation: BCCI...
Conspiracy: ICL!...
Melodrama: Sree(anything but)Shanth
and much more.

Now, all this comes in a power-packed 3 hours! That to me is the success of T20. Purists will berate me for the alleged 'bastardization' of the gentleman's game. They may gladly come over to do my work and the chores at home while I leisurely sit, relax, occassionally doze off, and watch the 5 days of 'Pure' cricket. I refuse to fall into the category of a gentleman who vegetates in front of his television for 5 days. Oops... I don't want to start a debate on that.

But what is heartening is that India wins the World Cup the same year it was bundled out by Bangladesh(!) and that too without the 'Trinity' of Rahul, Sachin and Saurav. Finally, for the Indian cricket fan (which I do not claim to be one), there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In this assurance (and at-least till the 'dream team' stumbles again), the fans shall Keep Walking.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

God riddance?

What is wrong with the world today? Don’t we have enough excitement already? Aren’t our hands full with terrorists with their perverted ‘religious’ agenda? Then why does our DMK chief, the octogenarian M Karunanidhi, have to make silly, frivolous remarks to feed an already growing fire? His daughter's house was vandalised as a result, but in true Kalaignar style, he says that such incidents are just like "bits of dust". Wow! And I thought his dialogue delivery days were long over.

Now for those of you who haven’t read the latest, the old dude, at just the time he has to make peace with his God, decides to go senile. He makes comments like, “Who is this Ram, which engineering college did he go to?” and stuff. And to prove that Ram did exist, some ‘suspected’ sangh parivar activists pay a visit to his daughter’s house in Bangalore and put the fear of God in her. And to cement His existence, they also burned a Tamilnadu-bound bus with a couple of people in it. Yes! Now everyone believes.

Just the same way every Christian now believes in Muhammed because of Osama bin Laden and every Muslim believes in Ram because of Narendra Modi. What a sham! If you believe that you can prove the existence of God by such means, go ahead. Probably you will have the 72 houris (virgin, angelic girls) and 28 gilmans (supple young boys) waiting for you in the netherworld. But don’t blame me if you find your name on the gilman roster in hell! You most certainly deserve it.

Advani, probably was feeling left out of all the action. What if someone 1000 years down the line asks, “Who is this Advani, the avtar to save all Hindus? Did he really exist? I know there are ruins of a mosque in Ayodhya, but did he actually do it?”. So he decides not to rest on his bygone days of glory and proclaims that a civil war is rife in India! What excitement! And what a way to go down in history.

Here are some links relared to the post:

I am now waiting for the rituals to follow:
  • Shiv Sena’s Maharastra bandh.
  • CPI (M)’s Bengal and Kerala bandh.
  • Trinamool congress’s Calcutta bandh.
  • RJD’s Bihar Bandh.
  • Congress’ ‘bandh ke khilaaf’ bandh. and many more...
Why? Because they freakin’ feel like it! How dare you question the motive for a bandh? Others are doing it... But for people like you and me, it’s not like the old days. We still have to go to work. So, I have to content with reminiscing about the days gone by, where a bandh was just another excuse to play on the roads. Ah, the good old days, before people in India were aware of Molotov cocktails, burning buses and lynch mobs... sigh... (totally unrelated to the post: have you ever wondered about the etymology of politics? Poly - Many; Ticks - Blood sucking insects!)

The main (probably ignorant) perpetrator of all this mayhem is the ASI. That the ASI made such a comment in itself is surprising. I am surprised to think that people who study history and its preservation for a living did not predict the juggernaut to follow. We live in a secular democracy (or so we are led to believe), and a government body does not have a right to question anyone’s faith. Faith… now what’s that?

Faith is a belief. It does not require scientific validation. It is like common sense or conscience. It can’t be proved, only practiced. My faith is something very personal and I have no obligation to prove it to anyone. I believe. And that, I am sure, is the same with all of you. If you ask me which brewery Jesus Christ went to, or where Ram did his engineering, or who discovered the being on which the prophet took a celestial trip, I will say (censored)! It was once said, "Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe." That, my dear friends, is faith. Your and my faith is not open to discussion or ridicule. We were born with that right in this great country.

I will not trivialize my beliefs in God by engaging in an argument. I believe that MY God is MY business. No matter what anyone says, I remain steadfast. And in that belief, I shall keep walking.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is being pro-India anti national?

This seems to never end! Read it here:

To summarise, the left parties in India don't want anything to do with US. No! No arguments! We don't want power (the bijli variety), we don't want military exercises, nothing! Let's look at some arguments put forward by the involved parties:

At this point, I would like to clarify that I have no allegiance to any political school of thought. I am a common Indian citizen and a patriot who is distraught at the situation around me.

What they do want, is maybe to live in a fool's paradise of a communist state. And history has shown us again and again and yet again what happens to a communist state in a not-so-ideal world. Russia is an excellent example of this. China, had a rude awakening and is now embracing globalization. Cuba, well, will remain Cuba! Perhaps, they would like to add India to the list of countries in this list:

I, not for a moment would like to say that communism is bad on paper. And according to me, that is where it should remain! All this commotion about blindly opposing the nuclear deal between India and US should be called treason.

I would like all the protesters to please answer the folowing questions:
1. Are you Indians above being Communists?
2. Do you want India to be self-reliant in terms of power?
3. Would you like to live in a country with a strong military?
4. Do you want people around you to have jobs that can help them support their families?
5. Would you like to see India as one of the top three nations in the world in terms of its economy?

If they have answered 'yes' to these questions, why the commotion? Or is their political agenda higher than the nation's welfare? If so, arrest them for treason! Let the rest of us realise our dreams of living in a prosperous India during our lifetime.