The Philosoraptor is one of my favorite memes. For those of you who don’t know what a Philosoraptor is, you can read about it at Know Your Meme.(and here) There is something about that brooding Dinosaur that I find very amusing. My only contribution to the meme has been the Philosoraptor meets Lotus Notes. Earlier this month while I was at work, composing bits of the Mera Pehla Pehla Kaam blog post, I remembered this Bollywood dialogue – Sadak kya Peter ke baap ki hai? If you come to think about it, that question still remains unanswered. We don’t really know whether the road belongs to Peter’s dad or not. Which brings us to this post.
Here are top 7 questions from Bollywood that may have perplexed the Philosoraptor(or should we call him the Philososur?):
Sholay has a number of such questions. For example, ‘Ab Tera kya hoga Kaliya?’ This question is a great management lesson in disguise too. Because the answer to this question doesn’t answer the question at all.
Gabbar: ‘Ab Tera kya hoga Kaliya?’
Kaaliya: ‘Sardaar maine aapka namak khaya hai’
This tactic is often used in viva-voce examinations, job interviews, performance appraisals and similar situations to avoid stating a disastrous fact. However, much to the disappointment of Kaaliya and many others, this tactic seldom works.
‘Tumhara naam kya hai, Basanti?’ is a trickier question. It could well have been a paradox. Because if Basanti’s name is not Basanti, you can never be sure as to whom this question is addressed. If however, Basanti’s name is Basanti, this ceases to be a question and becomes a statement. This can also be interpreted as a question-answer combo if ‘Basanti’ is meant to be a guess for the question – ‘Tumhara naam kya hai?’
Anyway, moving on.
No Bollywood list can be complete without a mention of Gunda. So here goes:
and from another classic:
And when Philosoraptor falls in love:
A number of questions can make it to this list but these are the ones that I found most profound. You can ofcourse make your own Philosoraptor. Go ahead, have fun.
I’ve been in Chennai for 3/4th of a year now and every weekend I discover something new about this city. Last weekend I discovered a continent hidden in Chennai.
Last weekend, I went to T-Nagar.
If you have dismissed T-Nagar as just-another-Nagar in Chennai, like say Ashok Nagar or Srinagar, I beg you to reconsider. T-Nagar isn’t an ordinary Nagar. It also doesn’t refer to Transport Nagar – that excuse of a place that almost every North-Indian city boasts of, with an environment that is hostile enough to give Asthama to Optimus Prime. Neither does it refer to T Rajendar Nagar. The superhero-in-disguise has a t-shirt, a tumblog and a few songs in his name but he still has a long way to go before they name a Nagar after him.
Infact, T-Nagar is not a Nagar. It is a Continent. The Math is simple. Australia(or Oceania) has roughly 35 Million people. T-Nagar on a weekend around Deepavali has close to 2 Million people. It is a small continent in itself. Like every continent, it has its natural resources. In case of T-Nagar, those are Silk and Gold. It is said that every third Silk worm in the world has contributed to a saree found in T-Nagar.
I visited T-Nagar with a couple of friends. We all had received instructions to buy South Silk Sarees for our mothers to add to the ‘Mera-beta-laya-hai-South-se’ part of their wardrobes. A part of me wanted to take some Silk Smitha DVDs home and tell mom that I’ve brought ‘South Silk’. Now, when I look at my bank balance, I feel I should have stuck to that plan.
I went to T-Nagar in an Autorickshaw(not because I am a pricey snob but because my Saturday-Special-Saira-Bano-Bath took a major chunk of my time). The moment my autowallah slowed down near T-Nagar, my spider-sense spun into action. I asked the driver if we have reached T-Nagar. My landing point was supposed to be Pothys and I couldn’t see any shop with that name around. My driver gave me a it-will-make-sense-later smile and pointed towards a road. That was the first clue. Even autowallahs are scared of T-Nagar.
Putting all fears aside, I took a sharp right and after banging sharply into three people got my first real view of T-Nagar. It was breathtaking and unable-to-take-a-breath at the same time.
It is rumored that Robert Brown discovered ‘Brownian Motion’ after visiting T-Nagar in 1826.
In T-Nagar, everyone is headed somewhere. There is no ‘wrong-side’ as far as traffic is concerned. If you see an auto-rickshaw or a woman with 3 tonnes of sarees rushing in your direction, you have to get out of the way by getting in someone else’s way. If you are a male, you must not stop and wonder about the sex-ratio or how your kind got horribly outnumbered. You must always be on your toes(partly because there is only enough space on the road for your toes). You must keep a track of the woman you are with(because single men seldom land in T-Nagar unless they are cops or thieves). Before holding the hand of your friend/girlfriend/kid/wife in T-Nagar, verify that they belong to you. A woman apparently tried to take me home with her. I’d have played along but I had a deadline and some shopping to do. You must not apologize in T-Nagar, if you step on someone’s feet. People bump into each other in T-Nagar, all the time, like excited atoms. Also, never play the ‘Can-You-See-Me?’ game in T-Nagar unless you have 6/6 vision or a pair of army binoculars or your companion is on an elevated platform(the stairs of Nalli for example).
To cross a road in T-Nagar, follow these simple steps:
1. Look Left
2. Look Right
3. Say your prayers, call your family one last time and dive into the oncoming flood of automobiles and humans, while frantically repeating Steps 1 and 2
4. If you reach the other side of the road, thank god(or Gods depending on how many divine entities your religion affords) and proceed
Alternatively you can try the ‘Dadar-local-station’ way. The ‘Dadar-local-station’ way is an indigenous method to get from point A to point B in the fastest time with the least effort. Only problem being, it can be applied in very select situations, where there is a tide of humans ready to drown you. The first step of the ‘Dadar local station way’ is to stand in the center of a huge crowd. The second step is to wait for the crowd to move and take you with it. The third step is to perform some minor maneuvers to align yourself with your destination while utilizing the crowd’s kinetic energy and save your potential energy. In a matter of seconds that will feel like a smelly eternity, you’d have appeared on the other side of the road, possibly unharmed.
Once inside a saree shop, your unassuming lady companion transforms into a portable mannequin trying one saree after another. Be prepared. Carry some puzzle book or Sudoku book with you. Alternatively carry a copy of ‘2 States’ with you to prevent conversation of any sort with strangers. Practice the ‘Yes honey, it’s beautiful’ nod at home. That comes in handy. Once in a while utter something like a ‘Naah’ or ‘Umm’ just to bring some variation in your response.
(This is how women feel, once they are inside a Saree or a Jewelry shop in T-Nagar)
Don’t let your lack of enthusiasm show on your face. If there are more beautiful women around you, ignore them. Admiring some other woman at a saree shop is like a Dafa-302-scale crime.
Sarees in T-Nagar shops are classified according to their types and your aukaat. The T-Nagarian Taxonomy of Sarees can be mindboggling for unaccustomed men. So while you have the usual Toshar, Ponchampalli, Printed Silk, Benarasi Silk, Mysore Silk, Yeh Silk, Woh Silk and the famous Kanjeevaram alias Kancheepuram Silk(which in twitter terms is a classic example of #samething), you also have the:
(or as they call in North India, the ‘Savita Bhabhi’ Saree)
In my opinion, this classification can be improved. You can name the sarees in such a way that the associated price tag need not be mentioned. One look at the name will tell you whether you can afford that piece of cloth or not. Take for example, the ‘Software engineer sarees’ vs. the ‘Doctor saree’ vs. the ‘IAS Officer Sarees’. You can further divide these sarees based on portfolios and degrees. So a ‘Civil Engineer saree’ would be more expensive than a ‘Industrial Engineer saree’ or an ‘IIT Saree’ would be costlier than an ‘NIT Saree’. Similarly you can have an ‘A Raja Saree’ which obviously would be beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. Or the ‘Arnab Goswami saree’ which can make all men, women and aliens speechless. Or the ‘S.M’.Krishna saree’, which would actually be someone else’s saree but you could loan it for a while. You get the drift.
I spent some two hours at Nalli after which we did what everyone does, walked out without buying anything. Our next stop was Pothys – a Khali of a shop just opposite Nalli. The store has a carved wooden ceiling, some traditional flower pots with real flowers and elephant statues(which are probably there to make North Indians feel at home). Anyway, we went through the same routine but did end up buying a few sarees. I was also lucky enough to notice a bengali couple fighting over something totally irrelevant. Much amusement.
After spending what felt like days in Pothys we decided to try another shop. This time it was the Chennai Silks. To reach from Pothys to Chennai Silk, you’ll have to have some serious Spartan genes. We did this stunt on an empty stomach and almost fainted before reaching Chennai Silk. As a contingency plan, we entered the first restaurant that we spotted and had some surprisingly well made Paneer Parathas. Then began the Chennai Silks March.
T-Nagar traffic looks really charming from a distance. But once you are caught in the human tidal wave, you have this severe ‘Kaha jaun, kaise khujlaun’ feeling. It is this Bermuda Trianglish sensation that makes you forget whether you were going into a shop or coming out of it. You can clearly visualize Newton’s action-reaction law because you get so much action for a while, you can’t react. But once that overwhelming feeling of doom died, a fresh resolve to reach Chennai Silks emerged. Dialogues from inspiring movies were doing rounds in my head, a ‘Lahron ke saath, toh koi bhi tair leta hai’ constantly kept me motivated and somehow we managed to reach Chennai Silks. However I didn’t have any Tan ki shakti or Mann ki shakti left thereafter.
(Shopping: 1, Tantanoo: 0)
So my friends did all the shopping while I watched another couple fight over the color of a salwar suit. A friend then brought this to my notice:
As I wondered how to accomplish a mix and match of a bottom and tops, my friends announced that the shopping trip is officially over. After a card-machine network outage and some dance steps by the billing personnel, we made a hasty exit from the shop and jumped into the first auto-rickshaw that we saw. “ANNA Chalo!”
We spent seven and a half hours in T-Nagar. Seven. And. A. Half. (That’s 3 times Charlie Sheen, mind you) And still survived to tell the tale.
I believe T-Nagar has more miracles that need to be witnessed, more adventures and accidents that need to be told. I’ll be going there again in the near future, when I feel particularly suicidal or when one of my cousins gets married and the ‘Silk Saree demand supply curve’ is disturbed. Till then, I’ll live in the hope that someday they’ll name a Nagar after me. Tantanoo Nagar, they’ll call it and it will be the best place in the whole wide world. After T-Nagar ofcourse.
P.S.: With this post, we announce the ‘Tantanoo goes to’ category. Based on the ‘Baby’s day out’ school of thought, these posts will describe Tantanoo’s visits to places of interest. His interest that is.
P.P.S.: While searching for T-Nagar on Google, I discovered the following:
On a totally unrelated note, found out today that Websense has a category called ‘Tasteless’. The Philosoraptor memegenerator is blocked under that along with a few humor blogs. According to Websense, Tasteless filter is for:
‘Sites with content that is gratuitously offensive or shocking, but not violent or frightening. Includes sites devoted in part or whole to scatology and similar topics or to improper language, humor, or behavior’
It was then that I discovered that Even ‘THE BEST PAGE IN THE UNIVERSE’ is blocked by Websense under ‘Tasteless’. Maddox’s entry on that makes for a hilarious read. Go on.
Today I completed a year at work. *raucous applause*
One year at a real job. Phew.
I don’t need to use the words ‘Social Media Evango-anthropo-enthuso-logist’ on my resume anymore. Neither do I need to mention that I am the ‘Chief Something’ of Something on my Linkedin profile. Or use the word Entrepreneur in every mail that I send to reinforce the illusion of doing something.
Fake pride aside, I am really happy that I have a job and that I haven’t been kicked out of it with-in an year. I love my company and I am proud of it’s rich and varied heritage. I shall always strive to be worthy of it. I shall give respect to my parents.. Oh wait.
Where were we?
Oh yeah. I love my company. Yes, I do. Though my bosses don’t subscribe to this blog, I still love my company, my team and my job. Well, most of the time. And now that I have completed a year in my company, I think I am ready to take this relationship to the next level. I am ready to make the transition from ‘In a service-agreement’ to ‘It’s complicated’.
In this one year at work, I’ve learned a lot of useful things. I now know that OOO doesn’t refer to Tarzan’s mating cry. I can spew abbreviations faster than Nana Patekar can curse our collective conscience. TBD, ETA, FYI, ABC, OOO, PFA, EOD, COB, LOL, TGIF, ODIM – You’ve been warned. My respect for weekends has also increased manifold. I wait for a weekend with the same anticipation with which a newly wedded husband waits for that filmy glass of milk. I have also learned important life lessons like ‘Kamaan se nikla teer, Zubaan se nikla shabd aur Lotus notes se nikla mail kabhi wapas nahi aate’ or that ‘All is fair in Love, War and Appraisals’.
For a better part of this year, I’ve worked as a software tester. Frankly, I never saw this coming. When I was trying to make fraandship with Java and SQL, I had no idea that I’ll end up fiddling with Quality Center instead. But to quote @maxdavinci, ‘When when what what happen, then then that that happen’.
Being a software tester is peculiarly difficult. You may not agree with me(more so if you are a developer or are married to one). Developers around the world have this ingrained dislike for Testers. It is like India-Pakistan, Karina-Priyanka or atleast like Ireland-England.
A developer checking in code to a tester is like a parent preparing his daughter for an arranged marriage interview. No parents in the world would like to be told that their daughter is not perfect, to have her imperfections rudely pointed out to them. Imagine if the imperfections are documented in a Bride Defect Report. You can imagine the agony.
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.
Well, that’s not entirely true in our case. We do risk a lot and a defect report is anything but fun to write. So. Hmm. Ignore the quote.
To be honest, Testing is a pretty dangerous profession. We are like the pathologists or radiologists of the Software world. There is no scope for public display of affection for our work. Like a radiologist who discovers a cancerous growth in his patient but cannot express his joy at making the discovery, a tester cannot rejoice in his achievement. Like a pathologist who cannot run naked screaming EUREKA in the street after discovering that his patient has syphilis, we cannot express any joy at finding a bug in a piece of code. Disappointment is integrated into our profession by design. A tester’s delight is a developer’s disappointment.
Not only that, we are forever haunted by the ‘How much testing is too much testing?’ dilemma. It is like the ‘Sadak kya peter ke baap ki hai?’ question. Nobody knows the answer.
The side-effect of being a Software tester, is that it slowly enters your skin and you don’t even know it. You start finding flaws in everything. Your tolerance for typos decreases. Every time you detect something wrong on some random website, your first instinct is to raise a defect for it somewhere. Anywhere. You feel helpless when the same error happens again and again and you can do nothing about it. You become a part of the Value-Addition-Police, the moral police of the software world. From movies to your girlfriend’s makeup, nothing is beyond your criticism. – finding bugs becomes your dharma and your karma.
I am still learning the tricks of the trade. I am learning to think like a developer, to accept rejected defects with grace and to keep a bold face in appraisal interviews. I now know the fine line of distinction between a CC and a BCC. I know that you cannot leave an Action Figure in your cubicle and expect it to be there the next morning. That there is nothing you can do about a ‘Dhoom Macha Le’ ringtone at work. Absolutely nothing.
There are days when I curse my work(you know, in general, ‘saala system hi galat hai’) and there are days when I have to drag myself out of bed, fake a shower and rush to office just to save that one casual/sick leave. But the joy that I experience on every 31st night when that payroll email arrives more than makes up for it.
Is this the best job in the world? I don’t know. Is my job my hobby, my passion? I think not. But do I enjoy it? Yes, very much.(and I say that with 95% confidence estimate)
Here’s wishing myself many many happy returns of this day. *kisses payslip*