Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coach Class

He’s got the big break
There’s plenty to make
The news was a splash
It’s the nite of the big bash

He scarcely turns to glance
Family, friends, dinner and dance,
He’s waiting for the chief guest,
Don’t care about the rest

The pretty girl in the halter neck
Wants to chat for a sec
She turns it on, a million volts,
The usual stuff that sucks, from dolts

Here’s dad’s friend,
Gifts him the gold pen
“Am I proud of you, son
That you’re the chosen one”

His eyes flick to the door
He can’t wait no more
Then suddenly she’s there
Like an answer to his prayer

He rushes, gives her a  hug,
Looks like he’s been bitten by the bug,
Claps for the group’s attention
Time for the honorary mention

“ This beautiful woman over here
I won’t say “chic” out of fear
Is the cause of the party tonight
With her presence, it feels right”

He brings out the wrapped gift
It ain’t heavy to lift
Unfurled..now… the diamond gleams
A big announcement it seems

“Some things you can’t do single
But work and fun can mingle
At times the going was rough..
But, boy, is she tough”

“Meet my guiding light
The one who set it right
The Lady with the sexy approach
Meet my teacher, my coach!

She breaks into a smile,
It looks like its come after a while,
Life’s been tough but fast, never slow,
Helping these kids grow

She figures its not the time to think
Walks to the bar and grabs a drink
A quiet hooray, some friendly chit chat
For her at 60, the evening, well..that’s that.

On the way home, in the train
She tries not to think about him again
But the two she’ll work with next day
Making them champs? She’ll find a way.

But inside she’s screaming with joy,
Like a child with a brand new toy
It’s what she does this for
Thanks, a hug, nothing more

(for all my teachers....some in class, many in life.....maybe I should have called it  Class Coach instead)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dunn that !

Most of my friends haven't seen me in formal wear. Mostly crumpled T-shirts, shorts, jeans...that sort of stuff. I finally located this. "I'm just an ordinary guy" (pick the film! - clue - I've Dunn that). And like for most ordinary people, there are some extraordinary moments.  This was one. At IIM, Indore. A presentation on a. rural infrastructure programme I'd been working on. In the front row, was  President Kalam (yes, the great one himself - the picture isn't very clear) and I was doing the dance about a vision he'd articulated. On the right edge of the picture is Dr Mayaram (the architect and driving force behind the programme). Some plebs like me were also there!  I felt quite honored.
Dr Kalam complimented us on what we'd made of it and then proceeded to handle the Q&A with the audience, addressing everyone single person as "Sir" and "Ma'am". A pretty humbling experience.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Fine Morning in Bangalore

The Traffic cops want dumb drivers. "DO NOT SPEAK WHILE DRIVING". No exceptions

This is a neighbourhood store, where you get your chics. Not KFC. So the radical liberationists won't get after these guys for their by-line.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


(It amazes me how rapidly the mind switches gear, when its in a fragile and vacillating state. This bit sums up how it works...I think...maybe not...yes....no...of course..... Its almost funny, when it isn't scary.....)

The morning news
Call it old
Inflation, murder, film reviews
Its all been told

Dry taps, no power
It’s become mundane
It takes will power
To stay sane

Chasing the dime
As if anything else
Is a big crime

The thing called love
Don’t light the stove
Seems the view
Except for a few

He’s cancelled reason
Called it open season
To chase laughter and fun
It impresses no one

Even dark deeds
It don’t matter how
Can’t fill the needs
Seems boring now

There’s a time you know
It’s the edge of the room
There’s nowhere to go
Just a settling gloom

He’s been there
He’s done that
Everything seems
Like old hat

This can’t be the life
Without a twist
He eyes the knife
And looks at his wrist

At that moment
The TV Explodes in applause
Interrupting his torment
He seeks the cause

Salman Khan has just
Won the best actor
Obviously, talent
Isn’t a factor

He thinks, its not
A good time to die
If that guy is hot
Then maybe, so am I

The Sewery Mindset


The gem above is an article in today’s newspaper (Deccan Herald) in Benguluru. Telecom companies have run Optic Fibre Cables (OFCs) through sewerage lines “illegally”. They had “permission” for x kms and have laid about 4 x kms instead. Response – a civic rule that will charge Rs 300 per meter for laying the cable plus Rs 120 per meter monthly rental. For the 25,000 km of cables laid in Bangalore that translates to about Rs 3 billion per month. This is in addition to a one time charge of Rs 300 per metre of cable laid. (These numbers seem pretty shady and high for the city, given optic fibre carrying capacity). The cables have been “aesthetically” laid (see pic below).  We must be an IT superpower.

The citizens of the city will now shell out Rs 36 billion per year in telecom charges. This translates into about Rs 4,500 per annum per capita, assuming everyone, including those who beg at traffic signals, is on the Internet or telephone or watching TV.  The City corporation gets another Rs 36 billion to blow on construction contracts. The DH reporter hasn’t taken sides on this issue, to be fair, and has ‘reported’.

The traditional approach

Opposition parties will scream at the “revenue” loss to the govt. In this case, the state govt is BJP led. Another “scam”. Lets forget that this approach will end up taxing usage and make services expensive.

The media will have their circus of the week, since no politician’s son is involved in a rape case or a hit-and-run. (Robert Vadra, though, is stealing the limelight this week!).

Smacking their lips will be construction contractors. The OFCs in the sewers have denied them the business of digging up the city roads and laying them again.  Now the additional revenue to the city corporation will mean more redundant flyovers that take traffic to the next jam. (Average speed of city traffic in Bangalore is 9.8 km per hour after all the fancy construction. In Mumbai, you get 200 metres further down the road at the end of the hour. Migrate to Mumbai!!!)


The telcos have saved considerable money by using the sewage conduits. They’ve also saved city dwellers and commuters a lot a heart burn, that is normally the case due to dug roads. Fuel consumption is down because the stoppages due to digging didn’t occur.  The preservation of the pavement will reduce torn ligaments and other such hazards for pedestrians and contribute to better health indicators for the city.  Okay, at least they won’t be In worse shape than they are.

Charging them a one time fee seems reasonable, as they can split their savings with the corporation. Charging them a reasonable fee to ensure their cables don’t get cut during sewage maintenance is reasonable. (Sharks got the sub-sea cable between Singapore and Chennai last year, with chaos ensuing!).   Instead, an extortion fee has been enacted.

The big crib of the corporators and some citizens is the flooding of sewage lines, for which they now blame the OFCs. The trunk sewage lines are of a size that lets “The Fugitive” escape the US Marshalls. Even the smaller dia lines get clogged primarily because of construction debris. Even the plastic cups and bags are small enough to flow through most these lines. The OFC (see picture) is small stuff.

If the telcos in B’lore report profits this year, the “scam” allegation will gain momentum. The govt will forget that 12% of gross revenue will be paid as service tax, and then taxes on profits. While citizens can access affordable service.

This attitude of “sovereign” right (ie, the king must grant permission) and the “lets have another scam” circus that media loves, is killing any attempt at optimizing capital to provide services. A few weeks ago, it was the Department of Telecom lowering the boom on telcos for using third party infrastructure to provide roaming telephony and internet. Haven’t these blokes heard of optimizing usage of resources? Its really sewery mind-set.  Meanwhile, the telcos are now “The Fugitive”.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Running Man

It’s 6 am, time to wake up
3 miles to jog and then 20 push-up
Breeze through the papers
While the coffee goes cool
Then get up and run
Drop the kids to school

Its another race to run
The alarm was the starting gun

Breakfast and then get in the car
You have to beat the traffic, by an hour,
Getting in to work  early
The bosses love  dearly
All the while, you check the mail,
In a flash or it’ll get  stale

This is the way you’re supposed to run,
All work, no play, it’s the new fun

Another meeting, another spread sheet,
This is how, they turn on the heat,
What else can you say,
This is the way,

The better your skills you hone
The more that you own

This is the day on the run
You get the picture, son?

Somewhere between all the work,
There’s the phone call from the jerk,
He’s upset that your travel bill,
Has not been submitted still

Time to tell the pr---ck in HR,
He’s the flunk, you’re the star

This is how you make things run
Sometimes you have to be the Hun

You might have to skip the lunch
So you stay ahead of the bunch
What’s the big deal?
About missing the odd meal
Got to get more revenue
As for the rest – “f…” u

You think it’s all idle sweat?
It’s how you run, till the target’s met

The Board meeting’s now over
You’ve been the cynosure
‘cos you brought in the cash
Even if the project’s mish-mash
You’ve pushed yourself to the brink
The prize = the boss calls you for a drink

In between the sips and the talk
You keep an eye on the wall clock

Time to rush. get home by nine
Pretend to the family that you have the time
Discuss the new stereo, the weekend trip
Anything to make their anger slip

They don’t realize it’s about the career graph
Sounds like the right epitaph

For if you ever think the work is done
Baby, it the end of your run

Keep running as hard as you can
You have to finish what you began
You don’t realize,  it’s like a treadmill
Run as hard you are, you’re at the same place still
Finish all the fun parts of the life
Friends, kids, the lovely wife

Running man, don’t you understand?
This wasn’t the plan
Time to be a man
Regain the clan
Time to tell the boss,
That you will cut your loss.

Running Man………….

(I had the instrumentals of Dire Straits' "Heavy Fuel" playing in my head when cranking this out. The title, of course, a straight lift from a Stephen King novella). 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Welcome to the Dark

There’s that breeze
That’s shaking the trees
Its on your face
But you can’t feel the trace

The falling rain
It causes no pain
When it hits the ground
There is no sound

The mind is in tune
The centre of the typhoon
In the middle of the night
The soul is in flight

You can hear the quiet
Like a loud riot
You can see the dark
Its so obvious, so stark

“There’s something about the black
That puts things back on track
A symphony of the senses
That work in concensus

The happy wave of calm
The darkness being the psalm
I wonder if it’s this
That they call bliss?

Shortly the sun’s ray
Will hatch the new day
And kill this piece of magic
Ain’t it tragic?

When you wake up you’ll find
You want yet another rewind
Relive that state of mind
That views the world kind

Welcome to the dark
My private amusement park