Category Archives: life and etc

The line must go on

Have you traveled by train recently?

Did you book your tickets?

If it was self-booked, did you use http://www.irctc.co.in to book the ticket?

If you answered yes to all the above questions, then congratulations!! You are among the lucky few to have successfully completed a task that has stumped many a user over the last few months.  You, my dear reader, are worthy of being honored with the Successful Irctc Ticket Booker Award or SITBA for short though the acronym makes no sense whatsoever.

The rest of us not-so-fortunate mortals have been religiously trying and failing at various stages –  from login till payment authentication. As a person not satisfied with HTML error messages, I endeavored to get to the bottom of this. As you might have guessed, it was not an easy job. But get to the bottom I did and the results were quite surprising, to say the least.

The Indian Railways, it seems, has added junk lines to server side code to slow down, or in some cases completely stop responses from their end. They had to take this extreme step after many threats from supporters of the old ‘line system’. The railways department had initially mocked such threats.They then tried explaining, that people wanting to go to the counter and physically book could still do so. But frustrated old system supporters were in no mood to listen, apparently.

The supporters of the old system largely consist of  ambi mamas from West Mambalam, Mylapore and Tambaram, whose  hobby was to rush to the railway counter  to book tickets for any traveler even remotely connected to them. They are the ones who always have a stack of forms in their hand and look at you suspiciously when you ask them to loan you their pen. They are strict upholders of the ‘Line Rule’ and waste no time in pouncing on unsuspecting people who are just about to break the line.  “All these young IT people I tell you, just sit at home and book tickets. They do everything online these days. Intha generationla (in this generation), who has time to stand in line and all. Ippo pathelna (If you see now), my son, sitting in San Francisco, is able to book tickets for his mother to visit him without having to move so much as an inch. “, lamented an ambi mama thereby using yet another opportunity to talk about his USA settled son and foreign traveled wife. “1998la vaangina reynolds pen saar ithu. Paarungo innum inke theerala. Pena paperla ezhutharthe maranthu pochu polairukku (I bought this reynolds pen in 98 and the ink hasn’t dried up yet. People have forgotten the art of putting pen to paper)“. “I am forced to watch Illavarasi and Kasturi on Sun TV everyday to kill time”, he further added.

The second largest category of counter users are the sexually charged young (sometimes old) men who come to the booking counter with a fond hope of standing in the line behind some sappa figure(very ordinary looking girl) and trying every chance to orasufy(brush against) them. “I strongly protest the use of internet for ticket booking. It is against Indian culture. There is absolutely no line anywhere these days, not even in Sathyam. I still remember those days when everyone had to stand in one long line for any sort of booking” complained a road side romeo before singing “Those were the best days of my life” , the much abused line from Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69, completely out of tune. “I am planning to write to Anna Hazare regarding this. The youth supported his cause and now its just decency for him to support ours” added another RSR who did not want to be named.

The day is not far off when users will return to the counter to book their tickets. When questioned, a recent MBA grad working as a Business Analyst at an IT MNC had this to say “Though this is outrageous we must do what we should to get our tickets. I have already outraged enough on fb and twitter but I guess the government is going to fail us on this one as well”. Another ‘Functional Consultant’ said “I have seen my dad fill up those forms. they look like miniature versions of excel sheets anyway.That is kinda comforting you know”.

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Of signatures and times

Dei, useless fellow, stop thinking about Signature whiskey, loser.

I have lately spent many a sleepless night, thanks to power cuts in Chennai. These power cuts are well organised as well as random, come well announced or as a surprise, last a few minutes or a few hours, yes, they are driving me crazy. The law of consumption of power by the early scientist, Duke of Nousemberg, states that “With great power (consumption), comes greater power cuts”.

Signatures, in pre-email days, referred to a person’s name scribbled with artistic audacity in places that required authentication. If a rock star were to scribble his name on a woman’s bosom, it meant that the woman had indeed been scribbled on by that particular rock-star, in person. You get the drift. Anyway, most of the signatures were so horrendous that if you were to compare the resemblance of a signature to the actual name, typed out in clear Arial font with font size 14 on a plain piece of white paper with black ink, then the closest will have to be the difference between the real you and the person smiling at us in your Facebook profile picture.

Email signatures are a different ball game all together. It varies from simple ones like “Best Regards” or “Thanks & Regards” followed by the person’s name to something as complex as people who eat dosas with spoon and fork.Quite a messed up lot, aren’t they?

I have seen signatures that talk about a person’s pedigree, educational qualifications, current designation,company name, phone number, fax number, email id (if i am getting the email from you, why in gods crazy name will you want to include it in your signature??) and of course the inevitable 12th standard board exam marks.

Then came the mobile phones from which you could send mails and voila!! We were hit in the face by many mails that ended with “Sent from my iPhone”, “Sent from my BlackBerry Curve 8900”, “Sent from my smartphone that’s way smarter than i could ever hope to be” et al. I agree with all you people, you are cool, really. I am really happy for the fact that you discovered how to send emails from your smart phones. But please change your signatures, it just sounds pompous. Oh and it irritates the actual cool people, rest of us.

Worst Regards

Yours Truly

——– Sent from my dysfunctional refrigerator——

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Filed under life and etc, rants

Why so fast?

Warning: Slightly serious post

Among many things I don’t understand, the way we handle our daily lives tops the list. I am not questioning the ethical angle or the religious angle, enough has been said, is being said, and will be said about it. Maybe I will also say something about it someday, not today. Today I am going to pour my heart out on what I feel is terribly wrong with our society.

From the moment we get up till we go to sleep, I find that we are in a tearing hurry to get somewhere.

  • You rush through traffic in the morning because you might be late for office
  • You get impatient with the office lift because you are late for a meeting
  • You hate the queues at the coffee machine because you feel the others are just wasting their time while you, the lonely savior of the planet, are working your a** off to meet some impossible deadline
  • You honk your way back home to spend quality time with your wife/kids/dog/ps2 etc.

You do all this without realizing that you are doing the same thing over and over and over again. Life is like a giant ferris wheel – you can’t wait to get to the top but once you are up there, you feel like crapping/puking on all those below you. But we digress. You should realize at some point that you are actually not getting anywhere.

What has me completely stumped, is the total apathy we show to everyone around us. Is this because life has become so competitive/difficult that you don’t have time for pleasant behavior or is it because that exhibiting pleasant behavior is so difficult that you do not have time for it?

I still feel that a ‘Thank You’ from a stranger, for a favor that did not involve any gargantuan effort from our side, is special. It kind of warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. E.g. Holding the door open to some old lady who until then had held the same door open to 5 dick heads who did not have the courtesy to at least thank her. Yes, courtesy is a lost art.

How difficult is it to park your car in a non-obstructive way?How difficult is it to wait your turn at a buffet? How difficult is it to wait for 90 seconds for the signal to turn green? Its just 90 seconds, not your f******g lifetime. How difficult is it to slow down and let a fellow motorist pass? Though all this seems easy when you are reading it from the comfort of your home or office, once we get on the road we forget the lessons that our teachers and parents have so painstakingly taught us.

And then we have some corporate ass****s who seem to rely on netting a customer by connecting the dots. I am sorry folks, but i don’t mind waiting in line to get out of a plane, because I paid the airlines to reach me and my baggage safely not to push me out of the plane as soon as it lands. But I pay you (or your competitors) for fast and continuous internet connection, which you don’t seem to deliver anyway. So instead of trying to take examples from life to sell your product, create a product that works consistently, treat your customers with respect and for gods sake educate the guys at customer service, my dead cat will give me better answers.

In short, stop once in a while to observe the life around you.Its still amazing.

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Alarming stuff!!

….and no I am not talking about India’s loss to South Africa or MSD’s recent decisions. Neither am I going to talk about the Tsunami, rapes in India, CWG, 2G, Gaptun or any such weighty issues. Those, I leave for the intellectuals. Here I shall rant about the miserable state of affairs in the phone alarm industry….wait…. they are not an industry you say?? No wonder.

Not so long ago an alarm(clock), meant a big round metal clock with keys behind it. These keys required some physical prowess from the end user to operate them, but the results were excellent. It woke up the entire household including the neighbor’s dog. Then came those plastic ones which replaced the cumbersome keys with an easy-to-turn knob. These were quite loud, though not loud enough as their predecessors. It could not wake up the neighbor’s dog. Then came the digital clocks. We never had one at home though, we were a digitally challenged family back then, i guess.

But kids these days might not even know what I am talking about (that partially holds good for me as well).  People have moved on from clocks and use  their mobile phones for alarms!! Though this might come as quite a shocker to you, dear reader (yes, singular), this is in fact the state of affairs today. People use their mobile phones for alarms just as they use it for, chatting, browsing, texting, brushing etc.

Please, before you brand me as an analog fundamentalist, let me explain the reasons behind my consternation. These phone alarms just don’t do it for me. I tried changing the alarm tune, actually tried almost every option available. Not only do the tunes take me deeper into the realm of dreams (yeah inception and all that), they also have weird ass names.  I would like to know which verbally challenged idiot was in charge of naming the tunes. Even my three-year old nephew will come up with better names. Sample this – sunrise, reed, translucent, butterfly are some of the gems  that are available at your disposal.

The audio capabilities of the mobile phone used by me are not much to write home about either. At maximum volume, it sounds more like instrumental lounge music played at star hotels. Forget the neighbor’s dog, forget the household, it does not even wake up the most active cells in my body!!

So, there is my problem. I request you kind noble souls to  please get me an alarm (clock) that will wake the s**t out of that neighbor’s dog!!

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Pees be with you

A very suggestive title you say? Cheap marketing gimmick? The author is a demented fool with sloppy thoughts and nothing better to do but bore the world with his non-sense?

Yes to all the above please.

Everyone, at some point in time, has given their bit to research. Am not talking about the questionable donation of Rs.10 made towards some random NGO. No sir. I talk about giving up something that is all yours. Something that you are forced to give and yet something that you cannot force out of yourself (I speak for the majority here).

A visit to the hospital does not always warrant a ‘sample’ but on occasions when the doctor feels that you are in fact the most boring noob, you will be forced to donate a wee (hehe.its a pun) bit of yourself . Its not the thing that they can prick (sorry for the adult content folks) out of you, nor is it the kind where you are in a ravana like situation with the role of rama being played to perfection by the lab attendant when they say “Indru poi naalai thaa  vaa (Go today and give come tomorrow)”

Encounter of the third kind it is. You are given a small plastic bottle, named after you, clandestinely wrapped in a tissue paper by the lab attendant who tries to hold a straight face while directing you to the restroom (an oscar winning performance.wah! wah!). Your cheeks flush and all of a sudden you feel extremely conscious. You quickly hide the bottle from public view and walk about nonchalantly. Thats when the attendant readily offers to maanathavaangify (take your respect and treat it like a piece of used tissue) by raising their voice and saying “Sir.Bathroom this way”

However quickly you try to regain your composure and glare at the attendant, its of no use. Your secret identity and more damagingly(word alert-code red) the purpose of your visit is now public knowledge. You hurry to the restroom, find an empty slot, lock yourself in, aim and fire. Then you quickly close the lid shut, wash and wipe your hands (not optional gentlemen) and get out. This is when you bring out the James Bond in you. Neither can you rush to the attendant nor can you hold on to the sample for too long. You have to hand over the container to the attendant a) without looking too eager , and b) without being watched. When you hand over the can to the attendant don’t miss an encore of the award winning performance (without your notice the attendant has suddenly put on a pair of latex gloves, they also keep a large supply of sanitizer on stand by, for emergencies).

Congratulations, you are done with yet another humiliating phase of life. But wait a minute, that was not the intention of this post. I actually wanted to share a trivia with you. Did you know that the deposit has an expiry period of 30 minutes. YES!!!  30 minutes, just about enough time to startup  Windows Vista.

Alas, my selfless nature forbids me from taking credit for your increase in intelligence. Happy valentines day.

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Filed under L.O.S.E.R, life and etc

Final Destination

It had  been a while….he couldn’t remember when exactly. Was it 6 months back? 10? ‘Oh god!’ These words just slipped out of his mouth though he wasn’t in a religious mood that morning. His memory always failed him when he needed it the most. The last time he had done this was out of free will. But now he was being forced to do it….he was gonna teach those people a lesson, a lesson that will make them resolve never to force him again.

His mind wandered to how it had all begun, he still couldn’t remember when. The tricks of time that mind plays on the being….it dint matter anymore. He was already on his way. The beginning had been different. There were many friends when the war had just begun….when he moved, his friends moved. But time, the biggest enemy of man, had removed all of them….almost all of them. 

As he whizzed past the desolate road the machine let out a low grunt. ‘I am sorry….i know I am pushing you harder than ever today. But we need to do this. Maybe….’ His thoughts trailed off. Maybe what? Maybe this meeting will push him to the next level, the level where he could say goodbye to his best buddy forever? He knew that was just a remote possibility. The result of the confrontation could be in either direction and the odds were against him.

The trees on the way reflected the past that had been. All their leaves were gone, looked like even they weren’t happy with what was going on. The thought evolved into a wry smile on his lips. He could now see the battle ground….Oh what a magnificent place. Words failed anyone who had been lucky enough to view this wonder. The gate to the arena creaked as it was being opened by the guardians. ‘Damn the rust’

He checked his watch finally before he charged in.

He had done it…..he had finally reached office before 9 o’clock.

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