Ranting and Bitching


Rands has done it again. A very nice read for people managers in the tech world. I have experienced this first hand in my few years of management experience. It is defenitely true that, our first instinct as a manager is to see if you can act and fix the problem leading to the rant. But then most often than not, the rant is just a bunch of unorganized information that comes out of the employee, that he (or she) shares in the act of trust. The employee feels that talking about this to you makes him (or her) relieved. The most important thing is to determine when to act. The essay has a few nice pointers on that – such as “has this rant come in multiple times before?” Is the person ranting in pain? Is the impact leading to failure? Understanding and categorizing the rant is key.


(img src: flickr)

The Depressing State of Affairs

This is a rant post. If you are not interested in my rant/opinions, please hit your back button now 🙂

Everytime I read the paper these days, I am so depressed with the current state of affairs in our country. It so happens that every piece of news is about corruption and how the nation’s so-called leaders are making so much of a mockery of governing the country. Be it coal blocks. Be it the commonwealth games. Be it the race for the president. Be it the Tatra trucks deal.

I just read today about the military “forgetting” to order helmets for the troops. How ridiculous can that be. Apparently bullet proof vests were ordered but not helmets. The Indian Express mentions that, a soldier who suffers from a chest wound can still some times recover, but a solder with a wound in the head is almost certain to die. Apparently 40% of the fatalities last year were because of wounds in the head. This just irritates me beyond words.

There is almost no leadership in the government. We cannot hear our PM say anything without “consulting” his Italian mentor. The UPA government makes policies that are almost everytime withdrawn the next day. Someone in the coalition threatens to pull out. Be it Mamta, or DMK. Ridiculous.

And there is our dear friend Kapil Sibal, who has not even left the prestigious educational institutions alone – the IITs. Looks like he was not satisfied with the amount of confusion he caused with the abolition of the Xth boards, grading systems, and the subjective evaluation system of kids. Ask any parent, and all I hear is hatred for this system.

Then I hear about the perks that all these so-called Ministers of Parliament get, and what they use it for. You can recall the IPADs and the porn-gate incident at the parliament. After all this, a week later, there was a small announcement in the newspapers that the Lok Sabha is going to have wifi. Wow. Now is that not convenient.

Sure, we can blame the Congress for all this. The frustration does not end there. Is there an alternative ? The amount of in-fighting that is happening within the BJP is even worse. I am pretty disillusioned with them as well. If dear leader Mr. Modi cannot tolerate someone within the party (Mr. Joshi), how can he tolerate someone from the administration, an opposition party, or perhaps a coalition member.

We pride ourselves as a nation which has woken up to the mobile world. True. The proliferation of mobiles has increased like nothing else. I read somewhere that there are more mobile phones in India than there are toilets. But look at the other side. Folks like Raja made the money in allocation of the spectrum. One cannot put a number to the amount looted. I fail to even succeed at counting the number of zeroes in that number. But hey, Raja is out.

Then there is the Air India pilot strike. If the state of the country’s International carrier is in such a shape, one can but wonder. The Maharaja has never had a good reputation, and this does not do it any good. I flew to the US once in Air India in 2001, and I vowed never to ride in one again. Such was the apathy to the passenger. And this was when the airline was in fine shape. Now the pilots are staging protests like a factory union. I personally believe this is all the Government’s fault. One, to have let this situation fester so bad. And two, now not being able to control and bring the situation back in control. You see the same news every day in the paper that Ajeet Singh has said, he is ‘considering’ what to do with the striking pilots. And in the middle of all this, the first A380 dreamliner lands with a water cannon salute. Sure, it is now securely parked in a hangar (for which I am not sure if AI has the money to pay rent for) – because there are no trained pilots to fly the damn plane.

And ofcourse, amidst all this, our dear president Ms. Patil (and her small entourage of about 60 family members) tour the world at the country’s cost. There are “Parliamentary Sub-Committees” of ministers and aides, who tour the US and Europe to “study” such things as the effect of rainfall on drought hit areas. Defenitely worth a study.

T20 was a sham. Gym equiment worth lakhs of Rupees were accounted for multiple crores of Rupees in the Commonwealth games. Kalmadi is out, and even saying he may apply for election. Maybe he will get elected. He now has the minimum qualification of having gone to jail. During all this, sad news such as the Olympic Weight lifting team being put up in a Tin shanty in Delhi also comes out. Sad. The only guys who earn us a few medals are the ones who are treated this way.

The sad part is that, this is starting getting to get noticed. Guys like S&P are giving warning signals. We got some bad press from BRIC as being one of the lower rung countries. The UN recently said that India is the most unsafe country for ladies in the world.

There are no good roads. There still is not enough water in most parts of the country — states constantly bickering about why they should not be releasing water to the nearby state. No electricity — wind farms and new plants marred by protests. Unemployment persists — with the government of some states giving a free tv, Rs. 1 rice, and subsidized alcohol, why is this not so surprising.

I know that this article reads very depressing and pessimistic, but I cannot help it. I poured it all out. And I am not too sure if I feel better after pouring it out either. If the situation improves, it would be no short of a miracle. Until then, I will do the Bangaloreans have taught me — “Simply Adjust Maad Sir”.

Update: As reader rakamath states below, its not the dreamliner,  but 787. And the first one is still yet to arrive. I guess I got confused a bit seeing a file photograph of the water cannon and new aircraft in a newspaper photograph.

Media rant

There are two things that totally ticked me off yesterday. Early morning, I open the door, and take the newspaper and walk in. I am usually a first-page guy. I read the whole first page, and if there is anything more that interests me, I open and read further. As much as I would like to read the paper fully, time constraints me so. So what did I see yesterday that irritated me so much.

There is no front page.

The whole front page is an advertisement from Thomas Cook or some such travel agency. I am seeing this more and more. There are other irritating variants of the same thing that I am seeing in recent times. Some time earlier this month, we had a hole in the front page. Yes. No figuratively, but quite literally. The hole was a cutout in the shape of a VW Beetle – that was the day Volkswagen introduced the beetle in the India. The other variant of this irritating new phenomena is an whole page advertisement in the whole front page, with news interspersed between it. You get my drift. I am sure you empathize with me, when I say, that I had to search for the news that day. (It is already a popular joke, that in Times of India, there is more sleaze, and you have to search for genuine news).

Second irritant: “See culture, See Europe”. Or something almost similar. This is the bold fonted advertisement of some travel agency. *Deep breath*. Does that mean, we do not have culture in our country. Oh, we are in such dire straits, we have to travel to another continent to experience culture. That has been my pet peeve for quite some time. When people come back from an European holiday, and tell me that they saw so much culture,  I sometimes ask them, have they seen all of the culture in India? Have they seen the temples of Tanjore, the Ajanta caves, the ancient city of Varanasi, the ocean temple at Kanyakumari, the beautiful rock carvings of Mahabalipuram? Most of them give me an absurd look, and walk away. But when I saw that front page ad, that ticked me off.

Well, that is my rant. And people object to it, this is my opinion, and you have the right to have yours. This is one of my objectives of this blog. And this is my space. ;-). Why am I sounding a little arrogant here. I have had people shouting at me in my comments, when I make some of these rants in the past.

Shock and Awe

Oh yes, that is how I descibe it. After contemplating a lot on what and how to write this news, I just got down to writing it. Shock and awe indeed. And awe in the bad sense. How could the Nobel committee be so stupid! They are supposed to be the smartest people on earth. Cmon, they judge the world and give the award to the smartest people. People of the likes of Nelson Mandela (who fought for racial injustice) and Mother Theresa (who did so much to the City of Joy) deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. I am not saying Obama will not. He has the right intentions. He has the right plans. But what the heck, he has not even started implementing them! And will he actually implement them? God knows.

Hypothetical scenario — Lets say 3 years down the line, towards the end of his first term,

(1) he gets the entire army out of Iraq – meaning there are no more insurgencies, and a peaceful democratic government is ruling there;

(2) he gets the entire army out of Afghanistan, where a similar situation prevails;

(3) Peace prevails in Israel;

(4) He solves the 100 yr old border problem between India and Pakistan ;

(5) Tibet becomes an autonomous governing body either within China or within India, or a separate nation state like Bhutan.

Even if he does 3 out of the above 5, I will say that, he can deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. For some reason, within myself, I will never see the Nobel Peace Prize the same way again. It is diluted.

If he had even the slightest bit of honor in him, he would have declined it, and said, I will take it when I deserve it. His statement of “I do not deserve it, but I will take it”, brought more anger to me. This is not a Cadbury Bournville Chocolate bar for heavens sake, it is a Nobel Peace Prize. Ok. now that I have gotten it out of my system, I will stop.

North India …

This may seem a rant to some … for the rest, please be informed, that, this is indeed a rant.

Conversation in the ITPL shopping area (tech park mall):

Random Person>   Hi … You look familiar.

Me> Hmm. I dont recall seeing you (noticing the TCS badge)

Random Person> [Extends hand] Im Rajesh, from TCS.

Me> [Extending hand as well] Mouli from {insert company name here}

Random Person> Ah, ok [Pretty apparent that he did not recognize the company name]

Random Person> Where are you from originally ? [Apparent that he has mistakenly assumed that I am a Shukla/Gupta/Singh/Dey/… from  my fair complexion]

Me> Madras

Random Person> [Pretty taken aback]. Oh ! [a brief couple of seconds pause] I am from North India.

Me [in my head]> Uh. Where is that ? Is that a separate country (like North Korea/South Korea). I thought there was only ONE INDIA. Where did that come from? Ofcourse I was miffed. Very pis**ed off indeed.

Me [aloud]> I was in {stressing} North India too, you know. Noida, for about 5 years.

Random Person> Really. [Apparent from his expression, that he is shocked that someone from South India (yeah like in the separate country we are), could survive in Noida that long.

Me> Nice meeting you. Gotta go. [giving him a quizzical look and thinking, “tsk tsk .. when will these guys grow up?“]

I have to say something though — it is not everyone who is like this. I have several friends from Delhi, and not all of them are like this. I know several who treat the whole country as their own, and freely migrate to different parts of the country, and also adapt to the local customs/society etc. Maybe it is just me — but I guess, I would not have gotten so irritated, if he had said, “Im from Delhi”. What is up with the ‘North India’ thing ; and the shocking expressions. Grow up guys.