It was just another tuesday evening. A bit more strenuous perhaps. Yet another conf call. Tired voices. Stressed out faces. The projector looks the brightest in the room, almost too inhuman. I am just rocking in my chair and all of a sudden I am rocking more. And suddenly less. I shiver. Tense faces show unusual signs of alertness. "Hold on guys, we may be having an earthquake", tells my manager. A less tiring day, he would have screamed it. The realization had not hit me. I could not visualize the wreckage, the pile of garbage and unrecognizable dead bodies yet. Its just a little jerky boat ride. And then a slightly bigger tremor, that gives me what cricket commentators call butterflies in the tummy. "Will call later" declares my manager as he disconnects the phone.

We all head towards the door. A colleague is just standing there coolly checking the message on his phone. Another colleague gets a text message within a few seconds from his brother - "You felt it?" Yeah, technology! We have a laugh. The cool colleagues asks us why we are going down. If you go down, the lamp posts and other things may fall on you, this is the safest place, he tells and gets back to his phone. Yeah, office on the sixth floor and safest!! My manager runs back to the conference room and asks us to stand near the door holding the door frame. Oh yes, table is a good option too, it looks quite strong, tells another. I have a great rush of adrenaline, I am completely excited. I cannot control my big grin. Its way too exciting to be scared. Am I the same person who gets scared when a dog barks in the next street?

Everything is still within a couple of minutes. Calls from the families asking if they are okay. My manager who might have seen at least half a dozen earthquakes is visibly shaken. He knows a lot on them too. He keeps giving trivia one after the other. Usually, if there is a small tremor and a big tremor after that, the impact is huge. Sometimes, even though there are no visible damages, there may be leaks in gas stations that can cause devastations. There is some geological week spot that runs through California, which makes it so vulnerable. US is never safe from earthquakes, tremors, typhoons. This was BIG, must be 5 or 6.

The other colleague, who had his first earthquake experience like me, was a bit startled. But, that did not stop him from opening his browser. Tab after tab, we were reading google news which did not have this news. USGS, within the next few minutes, had already updated this info on their web site. Wow, tells the colleague. Must have been 5 or 6 on the Ritchers scale, this was BIG, tells the manager again. The colleague refreshes the page. The scale shows 5.6! Bingo! He replies to all the text messages and answers the calls from family. Will there be updates on twitter? Blog search reveals that many bloggers have already blogged about it. In a matter of minutes. Only blog addiction can make a man lose his self preservation instincts. The colleague refreshes the page again and there is a question mark for the scale value. Must be they have multiple servers and its not cached on one of them, opines my techie colleague. We techies are like that wonly saar. One more refresh, it again shows 5.6 and verified by a seismologist! My manager recollects the earlier earthquakes starting from 1989. Few more people join in the room and start telling their experiences.

"Here we are along with a very visibly excited Vasuki" tells my manager as we begin the conf call again. The funny thing is the people who knew a lot and experienced were more worried and I was having a real real great time. May be thats why they say that ignorance is bliss. Its quite strange too that small application errors and slow servers can annoy us to no end and big things like earthquakes can give us great joy. Yeah weird, I know. I am too excited to sleep now. May be I will relive those memories a few more times.

Whhoo-ah!

Judge...Admire...

RK of RwB has tagged me to write on the kinds of people I judge and things I admire.

People I judge:

  • Myself (I am too self obsessed to ignore myself!)
  • Who dont maintain eye contact while talking
  • Who talk extremely loud
  • Poor listeners
  • Who give advice even if unasked
  • Who cannot accept a different opinion or view
  • Who are extremely polite or overtly nice
  • Who watch soap operas
  • Couples who sit side by side (and not opposite to each other) at a table in a restaurant
  • Who dont have a passion about anything in life
  • Who tell that they dont have time for anything
  • Who use Internet Explorer (No, not exactly, well, yeah, may be!)

Things I admire:
  • Honesty
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Cartoons
  • Humor
  • Exploring different things
  • Inquisitive mind
  • People who manage time very well
  • People who accept their faults gracefully
  • Left handed people (Sounds too silly, but its very fascinating for me!)
  • People who know what they want from life and achieve it
  • People who are knowledgeable, without having 'holier-than-thou' attitude

I am not as familiar as RK about the Inky Pinky Ponky methodology. So, I would tag anyone who would be interested in taking it up.

No matter how strongly you love something, there are some aspects about it that will irritate you. I happen to love cricket very much. I think Manindar Singh - Yashpal Sharma - Arun Lal brigade's hindi commentary easily takes the first position among things I hate about cricket. The second place deservedly goes to Charu Sharma, "I-will-give-cute-smile-by-stretching-my-mouth-to-fit-wide-screen-tv" Mandira Bedi and the entire Sony channel who turn the game into soap opera. The next place definitely goes to the losing captain's cliched speech in the post match presentation ceremonies. Here are a few samples:

"We had a bad day at the office" (I hate the guy who invented this statement. Why not work from home for a change?)
-----
"We are playing non-stop cricket for the last few months. Its taken a toll on the players. I know we are professionals, we are proud of playing for the country, but, well, I mean, you know...(and the show me sympathy look)"
The opposite is true too.
"We had a long break leading to this game. The boys are rusty. We have lost the momentum. We should be better going forward"
-----
"Its the first time we have been outsmarted in this tournament."
"Mate, you are 0-4 down in the series, what are you talking about?"
"I knew you would ask that. In the first three games, we were outplayed by the opposition."
-----
"I think there are three things we need to focus on in the future games. We need to bat well, bowl well and field well. Simple!" (Wow, such a relief to hear that. So, you mean you are well prepared with your hairdos and antics, right?)
-----
"We are beaten by a better team and we are not ashamed to be on the losing side" *with hands on his hips* (If you had seen the ICC rankings table before playing, it would have saved so much trouble)
-----
"I think our opposition dominated for most part of the game and we did not have a chance" (Most? If you ignore the lunch break, the opposition dominated the 'entire' game. Correct?)
-----
"We were never in the game" (Waw, I thought it needed two teams to play cricket!)

J And J Went Up

When was the last time I had met U? (No, I am not a messaging freak. So, U does not mean "you", U means "U")
U looked majestic as she walked, her Irish skin glowing in that evening sun. And there was I accompanying her. (For the uninitiated blog readers, I does not mean "me", I means "I")
Both U and I offer me handshakes and we sit on a bench nearby.
All of a sudden, U asks me "Can I get some pepsi for us?"
I looked surprised. It surprises me too. U was the laziest person we had ever seen and completely surprised by this question.
"What happened Madame Lazee?", me teases her.
"Hey dumbo, I loves searching vending machine, he will get the pepsi for us. Me aint goin' nowhere no more" My guess was that she has been listening to lot of R&B nowadays.
I gets up and goes searching for the vending machine.
"Know what, I have never told this to anyone. But, I was in love with U since the college days", I tell her.
"Really dumbo? Why were you silent all these days? Its too late, nothing can be done now right? At least I feel happy to know. Thank God, I is gone, coz I get scared when I becomes jealous"
"No fool, I was talking about U. She used to sit next to you in the exams - you had consecutive registration numbers!"
U seemed a bit disappointed, for some reason I could not quite figure out - "Oh I got it, I thought it was something else, I is coming. Stop!", she said as I comes balancing 3 pepsi cans in his hands.
We watch the fireworks in the distant skies as we slowly finish our pepsi.

----------

Agreed, that was a lousy little story. No doubts about that. The point I was trying to make is even after more than two years of serious blog reading, I find it extremely stressful to read posts where people have single letter acronyms. The effort increases drastically when someone meets their friends R1, P1, R2, R3, P2, P4 and J (For those of you who might be wondering why P4 after P2, P3 could not make it in the last minute! ;) )

Does anybody feel the same way or is it just me?

There are only three reasons I can think of for SLA (Single Letter Acronym) approach.
1) Laziness - I am always a huge supporter for laziness. So, go ahead and use R1, R2 while you write. Once you are done, do a search and replace with actual names. Easy!
2) Abstraction - I dont think my friends will get upset if I use their real names (not unless I say mean things about them!) In fact, they would be happy that you have not reduced their identity to a single letter. Yet, many non-anonymous bloggers use SLA. It looks cool, but definitely not reader-friendly.
3) Anonymity - A few bloggers remain anonymous and they would want to extend that anonymity to their circle as well. Thankfully, nobody has used M, F, W, H when referring to mother, father, wife, husband. It is not so easy when you are talking about multiple relatives, friends or colleagues. How about using abstractions like "coolguy_78", "hotbabe_blr", "pathetic neighbor", "friend, another friend, yet another friend" - or something like that. That was bad suggestion, I know. So, how about changing their names and writing the post? The best approach would be to write their actual names and still retain anonymity. [Example: A blogger named Vasuki cribs on unnecessary things (name changed to maintain confidentiality)] :))

I am scared of the day where kindergarten kids will be taught:
J & J went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
J fell down and broke his crown
And J came tumbling after.

Uno Cero Cero

"Impossible!"
I have now learnt to use that phrase very judiciously. I would have used it two years back, if you had told me that I would open a blog. And here I am writing my 100th post! Yaaayy!
Thank you, thank you (in advance, for all the congratulating comments :) )

There are a few posts that gave me great joy while writing and I happen to like them even now as I read them. So, here are my favorites - for those who came late to my blog, for people on bench with great taste, for people whose managers are on a long vacation and those who have to read a post for the second time to get motivated to leave a comment :)
American GaadegaLu - This post got published in Vijaya Karnataka (with no reference to me) as a forward from some reader (this post still amuses me, apart from teaching a lesson on copyright protection)
A few funny incidents, without such, life would be so dull - Howz it goin'? A What? Reducing Prices
A trip down the memory lane posts like Pens and Cut Cut Cut
Stories like Auto Manja and Why he felt miserable
India's Contribution To World Cinema - Thanks to all those who added to this list by commenting
Humor & Oversensitivity
Allenified - I admire Woody Allen a lot, but for all you people who keep telling "you are just like him", I would say - I dont have red hair, I dont wear glasses, I am not well read, I am not seeing a shrink and I am not having affairs with tall women :)
Forgetting Names
On The Same Page

Some unwanted analysis like these that I cannot not do:
Tell me your mail id
A picture is worth a thousand words
Patriotism
The Difference

Audio:
Crime Diary - This showed me the power of internet, within a week it was all around the globe.
My first country Song - Volcano Girl - A song that is very close to my heart, I even made a few friends because of this song :)

I have been thinking of writing more on the movies I watch, in fact I wanted to start a new blog on movies. Most of the movies I see fall under "No comments" or "Dont care" categories. The others are real gems, very close to me, that I feel too scared to write about them (its the same level of awkwardness you feel if you are asked to write an essay on your mom, while you can easily write an essay on cow or pollution :D) Most of my friends say that I cannot have a decent conversation for five minutes without referring to a movie. I understand their predicament, so not sure if I want to scare away the few readers I have got. More than anything, I still have not got that real kick, so till then my movie blog is on hold.

Blogging gives me great pleasure. But equally satisfying is getting to know different people, alternate views, the attention, compliments, criticisms (and of course being so greedy about comments!)

As Mark Twain once said, "It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech" - I had been thinking what to write for this post from a few weeks :D

P.S: I have used at least 5 subtle mind techniques to induce people to comment. How many did you notice? Which one did you like the most? Let me know ;)

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