Friday, October 23, 2009

Construct and Destruct - Time bomb is ticking!

I was a science student. While other schools had options to choose between biology and mathematics, in my school it was a compulsion to take both. To think of the fact that I had to take biology used to give me nightmares. I never wanted to pursue medicine and I never wanted to be associated with it even remotely. Now, a decade later, I am hooked to TV serials related to medical drama (read House MD, Grey’s Anatomy etc) so much that I start thinking that I can be a doctor who can solve the puzzles of human body, one of the most complex systems ever created, at will! How much I think that I missed out in going ahead to learn the most versatile (???) and intricate systems ever made.

There are two facets of the human systems which fascinates me: The construct part and the destruct part.

Construct part: Huge volumes of cells and molecules interacting with each other to keep the multiple systems, working within the framework human body, in order. Complexity was probably the result of the way we started as different structures and functions and finally were designed to the kind of structure we have today.. It’s quite intriguing to think about what and how we are made of, probably every other system in the world will just fall as a subset to it. Just think about it, it’s a little berserk and freaky - I am writing this because I am thinking, typing, expressing something - all because I have a brain. It controls by thought process, it lets me write, feel, express. Imagine what makes the brain work and how it sends signals to other parts of the body to make them work in turn,is another mind boggling subject. I may not be the best guy to explain about the operations of human body (basics of which everyone is aware of), but I hope you are getting my point here.

Destruct part:
Some recent incidents which I would like to point out:

1.32 year old male (my roommate’s colleague) faints in his office and before he was taken to the hospital he passed away because of cardiac arrest!
2.43 year old hale and healthy male (my dad's very good friend) was suffering from high fever continuously for few days. He was tested positive for malaria. After few days I heard he passed away due to multiple organ failure!!

May be we are probably more complex than we need to be and highly inefficient. Many molecular processes involve indirect signaling and unnecessary cascades, we have vestigial bones and organs, our energy is mostly wasted as heat, etc. One small break in the link can destroy the system. A little niggle here and there can cause a catastrophic damage to the entire system. Sure, medical science has evolved to an extent that it can delay the inevitable but definitely not to make humans immortal. Eventually the system is bound to break, the lifetime of which is very much finite. It is like a time bomb and has to explode one day.

Well, whatever I have written is a no brainer, but the fact that I am writing this using my brain which is ordering the other requisite parts to perform what needs to be done to write this post is what which baffles me, puzzles me and probably keeps me going!! Think about it and pay a little attention and I am sure you all will find this quite interesting (?), insane, crazy – you can have your own adjective!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life aint that usual!

Saturday evening.. At work.. Oh wondering why? Yeah, we have a 6 day working week! Damn! However, for me its a day with more coffee breaks, longer breakfast and lunch time and leave home on time or sometimes before that. This particular evening was weird.. I had company for coffee, unlike most of the occassions and strangely, it was the 50 year old in-house architect in our team. I have never spoken to him anything other than - meetings and about meetings.

On the personal front all I know is an IIT-K alumni and unmarried (never bothered to know the reasons). In fact, since he was around I just invited him for a cup of coffee without even thinking if I can hold up a conversation with him for anything more than few minutes! But to my surprise he was more forthright than I'd thought he would be. We spoke about the new place he has shifted to, close to work; his long serving cook whom he trusts like crazy; about his daily drinking routine of 1 bottle of beer and 3 large pegs of Blender's Pride (This was quite evident from the huge panch he has ;)).

The conversation was flowing and in the meanwhile I was half way through my hot piping cup of cappucino while he had just started sipping his cup of soup. But what was coming, kept me puzzling for quite sometime about the intricacies of life and its meaning. On one of my questions related to work-life balance, he mentioned that he is getting into a depression because he doesn't have much work, no family (wife or children) to fall back on and the fact that he is schizophrenic doesn't help his cause. Hold on, what? Here's a bit of a part of the conversation:

Architect: I hope you are aware that I am schizophrenic!!
Me: Ah. Not really.. [bewildered]
Architect: I am, for the last 25 years.. [Holy cow!]
Me: Oh! Thats bad. Hope you are getting better now.
Architect: I am much better now, but this depression part is not helping my cause..
Me: I know it can be killing..If I may ask, any particular reason why you never thought about the family? [To myself: You ass, how can you just ask such a question? ]
Architect: Well, since I was a schizophrenic, it wouldn't have been easy to hold up to a relationship and the package that comes along with it.Plus I did not want to be cruel on someone else's life.
Architect: At this juncture, I am pretty much a dead man. There is no meaning to my life. I am tired of searching for a meaning for my life. I can do much better at work but my health doesn't allow me to.. Anyway, lets see, I will evaluate my options in another years' time (Well,I don't know what that meant!)

Believe it or not - Every bit of what he spoke was in just one expression. There were absolutely no sign of emotions - sadness or happiness - attached to anything he spoke!

FYI: He is one genius guy when it comes to work. His turnaround time with solutions to a particular problem is breathtaking without taking away the fact that they are pretty much the best ones. He works as a consultant on a contract basis with an agreement that he will come to work only by 12 because of his health reasons!!

Still wondering why I have written this post?!? Well, there is something about this conversation which really moved me a lot and I have been trying to pen it down for a while. Not everyone seem to get everything - Thats so true! One brilliant brain cannot be utilized for maximum, one amazing character who wants to have a family but cannot, cannot find a meaning to his life not because he is not capable of, but because he is down with a serious illness. Life for him is :Alcohol and sleep! As I feel good to be blessed with good health (touch wood!), I just hope we all do find a meaning to our lives and use our abilities to the hilt! Amen!

PS: Coincidentally I tend to live up with the name of my blog in almost every post of mine: "Cognitive Dissonance" and this one is no different.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coffee or Tea: That is the question?

I have met many people who are crazy about hot beverages like Coffee or Tea, but I haven’t met any who get confused about which one to have when, just because of the addiction to both! Well, fortunately or unfortunately I fall into both the categories. These are more of an integral part of my life. The fact that I am writing a post on it, is a testimony to the significance I attach to them. I want to get up in the morning, not because I want to go through the daily routine, but to reach office at the earliest (I mean from the time I get up :P) to have my piping cup of coffee/tea. Since I would have either coffee or tea first up, I make sure I get back to the office cafeteria an hour later (sometimes earlier than that), just to ensure that there is no discrimination to the other. Basically I am an addict and I love being that way.

I don’t particularly like reading management books, but I read the Starbucks story by Howard Schultz just because it was about Coffee and no prizes for guessing, I loved it. There is no end to my love for these beverages; I am just falling short of words here. I wanted to write this because I intend to write more and it goes without saying that incidents during my routine coffee break ‘can’ feature quite often. So this is more of a precursor to many of my posts (if I do succeed with my plan of writing more) :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Friends Forever..

From the uncertainty of a new acquaintance
To the awkwardness of starting a conversation,
Through the journey of childhood
To the wackiness of juvenilty,
The togetherness remained,
Memoirs indelible,
I miss those days.

From the training drills at dawn,
Till the cramming for the exams
through the darkness of the night,
Breaching the thin line of
Academia and fun,
The togetherness remained,
Memoirs indelible,
I miss those days.

From family to friends
Home to hostel,
From sharing the room
To making those ambitious plans,
From procrastination,
To opine and whine ad infinitum,
From the cheers of the coffee mugs
To the stroll at 3 in the night,
From the hounding of insanity
Till the trail of insomnia.

From the mad hunger for food,
Till the wild goose chase,
From sharing laughter,
To crying on the shoulders.
From the joy of success,
To audacity on failure,
From the randomness of life,
Till the sorrow of death,
Many came by, few lost out,
We learnt to live,
And we lived to learn.

But yet...
The togetherness remained,
Memoirs indelible,
I miss those days..
I miss my friends..

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ifs and buts remain..

At 24, I am wondering if I could pursue something which had been close to my heart since my childhood - Sport at a professional level.. [It was cricket from the beginning, but I think I am equally competitive at few of the individual sports I have been playing for quite sometime now.]
At this time of the life, I guess I am a little late to do that.. But one of my good friend gave me some inspiration by enlightening me about the fact that Bruce McGain who was supposed to be the main Aussie spinner till injury claimed him for the current tour, was 35 and was making his debut . He was an IT professional and was working full time till he was 32. Then he decided that he was very good in cricket and pursued it full time . So that way I am relatively young! Am I not!?!

Open to comments! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The jinxed affair...sigh!

There had been so many incidents which I would have liked to pen down, but guess laziness creeped in more often than not and hence the reason for no posts in a long long time (not that I wrote a lot earlier :P). Nevertheless, I try yet again. Here it is before I digress from what I wanna write..

This is about my experiences with the air travel I have had in the last one year or so. Well, it cannot get more jinxed than this...I have narrated this some zillion times to my near and dear ones.... Well, I think I can write a book on my jinxed affair.. and I wish if this post was like excerpts from that book, but that would mean me writing it for eternity :) Here are some bits and pieces of it..[I mean it!]

So, there could be 'n' possible ways in which one can have a bad experience when it comes to air travel and trust me I have almost been through most of them astonishingly.. One argument could be that it happens with almost everyone, but not every single time you travel..! As I mentioned earlier this post is about my travel fiasco in the last one year, and believe me or not, there had been a goof up every single time I have hit the airport!!!

My flights which would probably on time for most of the time, would get delayed within 5 mins of me stepping inside the airport..I give a window period of 3 hours for my connecting flight, but since I have a constant companion in Mr Murphy, my original flight has to get delayed. Ok fine I am late for my connecting flight, but still enough time to just make it.. Oh no, Murphy says, "Son! you have lost your baggage, you gotta wait!" I am like "Holy smoly!" and the next thing I hear from the Jet Airways executive, "Sorry Sir! The boarding gates are closed!". All I had to say was "Thank you very much!"

Next incident - I have this tendency of dozing off whenever, I am sitting idle even if thats like few minutes.. And it so happened was that I napped 5 mins before the boarding time, and the next thing I heard was [after about 20 mins] "This is the last and final call for passenger Manoj Balaji travelling from IA............"[[Oh, someone flicked my silver bracelet my friend had given while I was napping! :(] and I woke up abruptly and rushed towards the boarding gate..At the gate, the executive says " Where the hell were you? !@#$$ {series of epithets} " and while I got down from the flight, the flight captain sarcastically said "Mr Manoj I hope you had an enjoyable flight, we sure did because of you!". I Bewildered,I gave one embarrassing smile and just ran outta there..

I am an eternal optimist [that kinda fits in here, so my obvious critics please don't question that statement ;) ] and once I booked a 6 AM flight to attend my friends wedding. .My best friend.. Sounds good haan.. may be not enough to wake me up on time for the flight (probably I needed a Sunitha yell..more on it later) I opened my eyes, I am still in bed, the room was pitch dark - I looked at the time - 5.40 AM.. I am like, "F***!" I just got up, took my bag(luckily I had packed!) and rushed to the airport (with whatever I was wearing!!). On my way in the rick, I called up the Indigo guys and in a vain and futile attempt this is what the conversation went like:

Me: Mam, is the 6 AM flight to Bangalore on time?
Executive: Yes Sir, the boarding gates are closed, its about to depart.
Me: [wanted to ask why aint it late today of all days!?!] Eh.. Is there any possibility if you could hold the flight for me, I will be there in few mins ? [too ambitious boy!]
Executive: Sorry sir, you are a "No show" passenger.. We cant, flight is about to leave
Me: Ok whatever that means, could you still hold it? [awkward Joey expression]

She probably wanted to say buzz off, but she did it in a way she was taught in her training days.. And I missed the flight.. Took the next flight [man you are so rich!!] and yeah it was indeed "My Best Friend's wedding!" Sigh..!

Oh! I have survived one car accident as well on my way to the airport. I had my friend's car burn outta fuel right at the airport entrance... The list goes on.. Anything related to "Air travel" has some eventful story behind it.. Well, I have started cherishing it now.. Its fun.. Though sometimes its a big hole on your pocket.. :P

Guess many more to come.. till then "Bon Voyage!"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back to Blogging!

Hello readers (well wonder how many are there.. sure of a couple of them at least).
This is to bring to your kind notice that I am resuming my innings here. Not that I had lots to say the last time around, but this time I promise to be a monthly blogger than the annual one I was last time :)
So watch out for some of my irate ramblings right here!! :)