Four Years of Sabbatical, and Counting…

A Random Note

It’s been more than four years (I reckon), way more than what I had planned as a vacation from blogging, and now it’s so very difficult to start again. So here goes, I decided to write again, and thought of making public what I’d be writing on, so at least the pressure starts to build up. Last four years have been very interesting for me, I tried new things, built a lot of new ideas, read a ton, travelled a lot. So by that account, I have now a critical mass of authentic and spontaneous stories to tell.

This post is just to get me started on the computer key-board for long-form writing, back from pen and paper, and also to list down what all topics I’d be writing on during this year…

  • Advaita Vedanta
  • Linguistics
  • Semiotics
  • Start-up Adventures
  • Technology
  • Literature & Arts
  • Sustainable Living & Environment
  • Philosophy
  • Travel
  • Science (Mathematics and Physics)

I intend to keep my word with myself and make quality time regularly to tell some really interesting and compelling stories, I don’t have any excuse here either, because four years, as a leave of absence, is really something… Something indeed!

To Life!

Our XYZ is Equivalent to Principal in Other Companies…

How many of us have heard this, and fumed over… In one breath, people generalise the myth that Indians are after designations more than any other geography, in the next, no one wants to play out of the box and start talking about pure talent (and designation + pay being just the aftereffects thereof.)

Another problem. Many in India do receive calls from one of those recruiting agencies for openings with their ex-employer(s), reckon that happens more due to bad master data management than to their eagerness to land the candidate in correct spot.

Another very interesting trend these days, India is also seeing companies trying to scale down/hardball the candidates’ prospective fitment to the ‘roles’ (again, a misnomer) etc., there have been instances of companies (won’t name them here) creating phoney/placeholder positions, just to ensure that they don’t have to pay the incumbent the next grade. HR job (that follows, like appraisals etc.) becomes that less painful I guess.

Above, with a mix of misplaced (at times) aspirations & priorities of candidates and employers respectively, are creating slippery situation in job market where staying with an employer for more than a couple of years is seen as disadvantage, and getting the next grade while switching jobs has become the paramount challenge – not proving the might. Merit (in its real sense) has taken a back seat. It all depends now on how alert you are, and how well you can negotiate.

Wonder if the days of minimum/standard wages for formal sectors have yet arrived in India.

Funniest part is when a recruiter (who has cold called a passive candidate in the first place, and persuaded them to at least take up an ‘exploratory’ discussion,) asks before hanging up “BTW, why do you want to make this switch?”

Disclaimer: Above has been collated after talking to many acquaintances about the topic and is merely a micro report on may be one aspect of hiring practices in India, not an authoritative account on the scene per se. Author’s views are personal and their employer has nothing to do with the content therein.

Deep Slumber and the Awakening


Finally, after almost a year, I felt the need to write something. This delay wasn’t because I didn’t want to write, or there was some kind of ‘block’; it was simply because I’m keeping too busy these days with my research and there’s hardly any motivation left post some short and sweet Twitter updates once in a blue moon.


This news about Large Hadron Collider (CERN) raising hopes of Higgs-Boson particle’s sighting actually pulled me out of my comfort zone of 140 characters. I’m more into Mathematics and CS, but advances in Physics excite me no end. More importantly since many breakthroughs in theoretical and applied Physics have transformed the Computer and Electronics industry as such.


There are other churnings happening in Indian Polity, India is at the crossroads… yet again.

One is about the unfortunate episode of government attempting to check the freedom of expression by (proposed!) monitoring of the Internet – thankfully the giants of the www didn’t budge. I can only pray that this disgusting culture of sycophancy, egotism (and nepotism) somehow gets decimated and that of tolerance and public debates befitting a true democracy prevails.

Two is about the Lokpal (people’s ombudsman) bill making pretty big strides, and going by the look of things, it’s going to be a reality sooner than later. Kudos to all of India for achieving an awakening at least. Perennial skeptics have their daggers out already about the efficacy and what-not of the proposed bill in curbing the corruption menace, but the protagonists (that includes one and all who sympathise with this movement – I’d excuse myself from calling it Anna’s movement) shouldn’t lose heart. They have taken the all important first step. The way would be only easier from here on.

The Bradman Oration – 2011

Rahul Dravid was invited to deliver the annual Bradman Oration at the Australian war memorial. I’d like to say that he finally (and rightfully) got his due, I’m happy that he got this opportunity before Tendulkar – for obvious reasons. The speech was impeccable, balanced and touched upon major pressing issues facing the game of Cricket.

An important point raised by him was that of respecting (listening to) the spectator. In Asian stadia, it’s a normal practice to ignore the comforts of the general public, no shades, no open areas for the fans to feel welcome for a family outing, makeshift and substandard parking, touts, utterly mismanaged ticket sales & pricing, and above all, absolute lack of hygiene.

Overdose of non-test cricket isn’t helping the cause either. Hats off to Dravid for stating it the way he did.

Time Travel Paradox and Channel 9

A very interesting stuff came up while watching Hawking’s “Time Travel with Stephen Hawking” on Discovery today. It was about the wormhole paradox, wherein a scientist can prove it’s impossible to travel through time using the much glorified time-machines/wormhole by going back a minute in time and shooting himself dead — thus questioning the existence of himself (in the present,) if one side is takes effect, the other can’t hold and vice versa. Godel would’ve loved it.

Hawking says that this proves that time travel via this particular medium isn’t possible and thus historians of the world can breathe a sigh of relief.

I was thinking, if such a wormhole is actualized somehow even in the distant future, will it be free for all? Or will it be some privilege bestowed on a select few?

In the first case, let’s revisit our paradox; if it’s free for all, then the paradox itself is baseless as the history (if considered as a complex mathematical formula with zillion unbounded variables) will be changed by the extent the resultant nett efforts the participating parties put in to change the ones that are in their control. The same thing happens to alter the present, isn’t it?

In the latter case however, if only the privileged few are supposed to travel through, where’s the paradox then? Isn’t the present being dictated by the chosen ones anyway? If time is a dimension as it is perceived today (and someday it’s proven true by any chance i.e.) every micro-second is being altered by them and thus the history is taking the course as ‘designed’ and not as ‘destined’ (whatever is the difference between these two terms.)

That does in fact bring us to the gibberish of “The wormhole’s existence proves that it can’t exist.” And another one, Time, as the fourth dimension as perceived by humans, exists only in the meta plain.

Channel 9 vs. the Others

I have been watching cricket telecasts for a long time now and have always been fascinated by the way Channel 9 of Australia covers sports as opposed to what the other channels of the world do.

For me, just like the Australian cricket team, 9 has been at the forefront of their field and the others just follow. I remember they started the experiments with speed guns, picture-in-picture, stump camera, ultra motion, and recently the player’s run-time vitals etc. But here what I am talking about is the info bars and the graphics part. The way 9 represents the player profiles and match stats is just out of this world, plain, tasteful, simple and very effective. No gaudy colours, no bold faced crap, just plain & simple information that can be consumed without any fuss.

They use the screen real-estate like no one does, if you want to see what I’m talking about here, have a re-look at the graphics shown during Ashes coverage and the recently concluded test series between SA and India, or travel (if you may :-)) slightly backwards in time to compare the above with the Ind-NZ series telecast and you’ll see where I’m coming from.

In the latter’s case, the screen looks as if some gaming-geek has had a shot at painting an over-sized mural, thereby utilizing just about 40% of the screen to show what actually matters to a viewer. Right now I’m trying to follow the NZ-Pak series and I wasn’t surprised to see a far better telecast of these matches too, may be that geographical area itself has this gift of effective creativity and it seems Sky (ANZ) is a distant second and at least making an effort towards catching up — that’s refreshing.

Regarding the standards of commentary on the other side of the fence (read non-Aus/Eng), well, lesser said the better.

India in Sri Lanka, Krishna in Islamabad, and other Musings…

India v. Sri Lanka

India’s two test tour of Sri Lanka started recently with the Galle face-off. M. Muralidaran, the man with 793 scalps — as I write — in test match cricket and the current world record holder for the maximum number of wickets in this format of the game has decided to bid adieu after this match. Now, he would be one man who has endured possibly the most number of doubting puritans and skeptic opponents ever.

Right from Umpire Hair to our very own Bishan Bedi, he has had no dearth of people baying for his blood, still the man he is, he kept working towards his goal and ultimately, would be known as the person whose record remained untouched for at least two to three generations, may be more. Take that for a revenge, his presence on the cricket ground has always been eventful (both ways) and he has never till date failed to entertain us.

His stature among peers could be gauged by the fact that not many could play him with authority apart from the greats like Lara, Sachin, VVS, Dravid, Sehwag and Waugh brothers. Despite apparently rebutting his status as the premiere tweaker, every batsman worth his salt secretly fancied a century against him, such is the craft he possesses. As I have always said that there could be only one spin genius and that’s Warne, but the game of cricket has hugely benefited by the flares of brilliance of Kumble and Murali. He is one hell of a hard worker and a persistent soul, and this will keep him in good stead always. All the best mate!

Coming back to the test action, the score that Sri Lanka have posed seems to be enough for another historic win for them provided that the rain Gods relent and Sehwag decides to keep his blitz limited to a century or a 150+ in India’s first innings. Third day’s action also saw Ishant coming to terms with the Galle pitch and India suddenly waking up from deep slumber, though it was too late in the day, but still it made for a heartening sight. Harbhajan’s and Sehwag’s injuries are worrying signs and India must guard against any negative thoughts if they fancy saving this match.

The selection panel would like to look beyond the current pool of fast bowlers that India has, they never have learned from history, so I’m just keeping the fingers crossed.

India v. Pakistan

Last week saw one of the biggest ‘expected’ dramas on the world stage when a state representative of a self confessed ‘deeply rooted in tradition’ country behaved like a man possessed in front of international media. I guess he’d have many things to ponder after seeing himself on TV or now. Not only the content of what he uttered was flawed and out of place, but also the belligerent and self indulgent manner in which he spoke was weird. Never have I seen a foreign minister of a country (well versed in a language) speak with such dramatically accentuated long pauses — so much so — that the effect and purpose both were hilariously lost in transit.

Making measured statements has been the forte of statesmen and parliamentarians till now; but judging by the goings-on in the parliaments/senates and the world summits, I think the age of loud mouth netas and bellicose foreign ministers has well and truly arrived. Instant peace was never the expected outcome of these talks, these were more about the ‘talks’ and I’m afraid the last strand of civility between the two old foes has snapped.


  • INR received a symbol and became one of the few currencies across the world to do so, the design is interesting and looks like the Devanagari with a strike-through. I’d be more interested in seeing it gain international acceptance as an attractive foreign exchange, the day is quite far by any estimate
  • Kashmir has started to burn afresh with the fuel of stone-pelter’s new found vigour and vengeance; and Omar is currently not finding any answers, the Army is back in the valley and it’s likely that the shrill demands of repeal of AFSPA will gain further ground. Though New Delhi is backing him big time, the coming days will be tougher than he might have imagined
  • Saina Nehwal climbed to 2nd spot in world badminton rankings and there was not enough flutter created on the news channels, guess her achievements are not as important as that of her almost namesake
  • Common Wealth Games 2010 are doomed to remain in choppy waters as the governing bodies are busy making their political ends meet before they actually start thinking of the ‘Games’, BTW when the hell are they going to start
  • Sachin Tendulkar would publish his autobiography with the bonus gift of his blood strewn across the pages, innovative idea to keep the DNA fingerprint stored at various places as well as telling the ‘original’ from the fake (pun intended) 🙂
  • Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan is making everyone sit up and take notice, though it’s still to be seen whether this becomes one of the few movies that translated critical acclaim into BO riot, I can’t recall even a few, was Saraansh one of those… Hmmm
  • Almost all the developed countries are planning (or already have) legislation(s) to curb the influx of skilled immigrant population, so much for globalization, I guess the yardsticks are different for different eras and geographies

The week was good, better than expected, weather in south of India has started taking turn towards rainy days and cool nights and that’s cool.

What’s not so cool is frequent rail accidents (especially the head-on collisions) happening, and subsequent statements by the Railways Ministry accounting ‘possibility of sabotage’ as a reason for the mishaps… More than 60 people lost their lives in the recent train accident in Birbhum, West Bengal is the case in point, when will we learn to respect lives? Brushing aside a glaring question is like wishing the demon away which unfortunately happens only in the grandma’s stories. I wonder what kind of tale we’re living right now. It sure isn’t the one that India would like.