(Another) Open Letter to Anna

Dear Anna,

Like many others before me, I am writing you an Open letter(and guess what, it is 5 in the morning today too). But I have never written an Open letter before, so if this letter isn’t open enough or feels closed in any way, please forgive me for the same.

I am writing to you to express my feelings about your agitation and the JLP bill. I wanted to travel to Jantar Mantar and express these feelings in person but by the time I’d have reached Delhi from Chennai, your fast might have ended. And IPL was also around the corner so I didn’t want to take any chances. However I’ve been assured by some twitter friends that a blog is the best place to express anything, so I am writing you an open letter here.

Coming to the point, Anna ji, I want to say that I don’t agree with you. But unlike others, I am not going to question your motive, your company or your method. I checked your profile on LinkedIn and I am totally impressed by all the work you did in that village.

I also don’t have any problems with a fast-unto-death. If Veeru can threaten Mausi with a jump-from-the-tallest-tower threat and acquire Basanti for himself, your fast-unto-death offer ‘for the nation’ is totally justified. Also, 376 people on your facebook fan page tell me that this is a ‘war’ against corruption and we all know that all is fair in love and war. Fast-unto-death is also an oxymoron, because it is usually a slow-unto-death process but let’s not go into that.

I was saying that I trust your method. And your company. I suggest that you get some green and blue companions so you can form a tricolor there and dismiss rumors of your agitation being backed by the saffron brigade. I also understand that Baba Ramdev needs to be by your side to keep you healthy. I am told that if you sit in a particular aasan, you can go without eating for months but I don’t believe it. But I have a lot of faith in Baba Ramdev. If he can cure homosexuality, corruption should be a piece of cake for him. Or Gourd.

(If you rearrange the letters of YOGA, you get O! GAY #sirumadelakhs | Image via. The Sun)


I admire your choice of location too. Jantar Mantar is the perfect place to hold such a huge demonstration. Afterall, politicians have used jantar mantar on this country and robbed billions of rupees without anyone noticing. It is time you did some jantar mantar and robbed millions of politicians from this country. Poor jokes apart, none of the protests at India Gate ever achieve success. We all know what happened the last time when someone tried to do a candle march at the India Gate. So kudos for that too.

You may wonder then, that if I support all that, why am I writing you this letter? I am writing you this to let you know that fasting against corruption is wrong.

In the past few days weeks, I’ve read a lot of posts discussing and criticizing your actions and the JanLokPal bill. I’ve also seen blog posts that support your agitation, your fast against corruption. But very few people(and blogs) have spoken in favor of corruption. To balance the scales a bit, I write to you, to explain the importance of corruption and why we must protect it at any cost.

You want to uproot corruption from India like Sunnyji uprooted the hand-pump in Gadar. But have you ever imagined how our country would survive without corruption?

Corruption, dear sir, is a national emblem. Like Shilpa Shetty, it is our ‘Rashtriya Dharohar’. Or like my Maths teacher, a necessary evil. Remember the physics class where they said that without friction things can’t move? Corruption is the friction that is needed to make the country move. Without it, the country would be in a state of complete chaos.

Imagine. If India had been a corruption-free country since Independence, everything would have changed. Everyone would have been honest. All our files, our applications would have moved at the same pace. Ajay Devgan’s movie career would have been non-existent too. How would he fight injustice if the cops would actually arrest and prosecute Paresh Rawal’s kid for a rape attempt on Ajay’s sister? 90% of the Bollywood’s movies would have been trashed for a lack of plot. Nana Patekar would have been silent for a greater part of his life.

Cows would have been so healthy that our streets would have been infested by them. India’s population would be twice or thrice of what it is now because all the babies and people who die at the hands of corruption, would be healthy and thriving. There wouldn’t be any sting operations. All NEWS channels(and not only India TV) would have resorted to inventing news to keep the audience entertained. ‘Na Aana Is Des Meri Ladoo’ would have ended after 3 episodes.

No one would have said ‘Mere baap ko jaanta hai?’ in a fight. What fun is a father who can’t twist some muscle?

Let me give you some examples from my personal life. Since primary school days corruption has been an integral part of my life. All the medical certificates I took to school, confirming that I couldn’t make it to school because I had viral fever, were fake.  At 10 Rs. a certificate, it was always easier to acquire viral fever than finishing my holiday homework. As I grew up, corruption started playing a major role in my life.

Thanks to Dalals and Imaginary VIPs(of VIP quota fame) I’ve never stood in a line at a railway station for a ticket. I owe my passport, my driving license, my character certificate, my ration card – everything to corruption. In fact, when I walked into the inspector’s office to get my driving license approved, he asked me if I can see with both my eyes. Apparently the last license he had issued was for a blind man. The fact that the picture on my driving license resembles that of a freedom fighter, is a testimony to the efficacy of corruption.


(According to this document, I was 30 in 2010)

The only time I tried evading corruption and asked for a traffic ticket instead of paying a bribe, I had to wait 3 months to get my vehicle’s papers. After paying a bribe.

Without corruption Sir, we are as lost as Abhimanu in a chakravyuh or as an Indian CM in a Pawan Hans helicopter. Without corruption pulling us back, we run the risk of becoming a ‘First World Country’. Then we’ll have to attack other countries after blaming them for our crimes. We’ll have to outsource our jobs and act as baby-sitters to global economy. We’ll become the very monster we dread.

I therefore urge you to reconsider your choice of topic for this protest. You can go for a fast-unto-death for some nobler purpose. Like creating a new state. Or a new country.

Having said all this, I would like to reiterate that I do not dislike you. In fact you are my favorite Gandhian after Sanjay Dutt. But please give my thoughts a thought.



(Please find attached a tetra-pack of Tropicana Apple just in case)


Mera pehla pehla kaam

Today I completed a year at work. *raucous applause*

*applause fades*

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’.

One of them works.

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.

To quote Anton Ego:

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*

(Image courtesy: RobinAshley.com)