Saturday, July 28, 2012

Any regrets?

We should learn to be happy with what we have at hand.

A friend of mine and neighbour has come back to India after having lived in the US for seven years.

I was conversing with her and telling her that my daughter is thinking of coming back to India for good.

She felt that it would be better for my daughter to stay back in the US. She was very unhappy to have come

Further she said that whenever she questioned persons who had come back to India whether they regretted
their move, initially they would say "No regrets".  But after some further talking they would say that they

Every situation has its pluses and minuses. We should learn to look at only the positive side of things.

And finally: If we can't get what we like, we better start liking what we have got !

Friday, July 27, 2012

Packed in like sardines !!

Yes, another idiom, packed in like sardines.

All along I only imagined the meaning but recently I got to experience it.

The other day I got into a bus and got down at Vijayanagar terminus which
is about 2.5 kms from my home in Madipakkam.

I've heard people talking about share-autos and how convenient(sic) they are.

Though there are buses a plenty, I saw an empty auto and the guy shouting, "Madipakkam,

I got into the auto thinking that I would be travelling like a Raja(king). Minutes thereafter
another three people got in. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable.

I said, "Let's go. Let's go."   But no, it seems a passenger count of four would not be economical
for him. Finally the auto left with a total of eleven people. Two passengers on either side of the driver
and eight in the rear, in two rows.

I understood the meaning of packed in like sardines.

Share auto? I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole!!

Strike ..... while the iron is hot !

Strike while the iron is hot is an idiom which means that one has to do something immediately, repeat
immediately, while he/she has a good chance of achieving success.

This is much more true in a business environment.

Several months back before I left for US, a customer from a marine company was looking to buy
a split air-conditioner and placed an order with us somewhat impressed with our immediate response
to their queries.

This very same customer had sent in an enquiry for  a window air-conditioner a few days back
and we sent in our estimate.

Today the customer rang up and asked about availability of 1.5 ton window unit and the size.
Again customer rued that the unit cannot be fixed since the opening was small and civil work could
not be resorted to for increasing the size. We explained that 1 ton unit would suit the opening and after
some quick exchanges of details over SMS, customer placed the order.

When the customer rang up it was clear that he wanted to finalise the order then and there and we
focused on their requirement and gave them quick replies to their questions.

Yes, one should learn to strike while the iron is hot.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pinakapani and Varadhan

When I was in college, there were these two cadets in the NCC. Pinakapani and Varadhan.

Our NCC officer used to pronounce Pinakapani as Peene-ka-pani (drinking water)
and Varadhan as Varaadhaan since he seldom attended the parades.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Prepare for the worst, but always hope for the best

It is often said that one has to prepare for the worst, at the same time hoping for the best.

I bought an apartment in Madipakkam two years back but was appalled at the civic conditions.
People throw garbage anywhere they like, even right in front of their own houses !

But I had hopes and would often reassure my wife that one day the place will improve.

Some signs of improvement are seen now, since the area has become part of the Chennai Corporation.

The main road has been relaid and improved. Today morning I was pleasantly surprised to see two
conservancy staff workers sweeping the road near the Sadasivam Nagar Bus Stop.

I only hope that people desist from throwing garbage around.

Things should improve.

Things will improve, I hope.....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to get pissed off !

After about a week of our returning to Chennai from our sojourn in USA. my wife and I thought,
"Why not chill out?".

Not having many options for a vegetarian dinner, we decided to drive down to A2B in Velachery

I have heard of B2B and B2C and I was wondering what is A2B. Then I understood that it is 2AB,
 that is to say, AAB, Adyar Anandha Bhavan.

As we were driving down to the hotel, pleasant memories of our stay in US lingered in my mind.
I was driving my wife to the hotel, but the roads of Chennai had decided to take us for a ride it

The traffic was terrible. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere (or the other).
Somehow I managed to reach the gates of paradise??!! Though the gates were open I could
not get in! You might have heard of queues, but this was the first time I experienced a queue of
cars waiting for turns to park!!

A wedding reception had been arranged in the first floor and the crowds attending that function
compounded the problem. I was at my wit's end. My car battery seemed to be running down (since
I had not used it for six months) and there was a fear lurking in my mind that we may have to leave the
car behind.

Saturday night fever!  Yes this was turning out to be a Saturday night fever of a different kind!!
I was reminded of the restaurant TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) near our apartment in Fairfax.
A2B could be renamed as TGIYGAS. (Thank God, if you get a seat).

Finally we managed  (yes, managed ) to park the car and get inside.

There was a sea of humanity. Seats, seats everywhere but no seat to be seated!!
There was a huge queue in the self-service counter to get the coupons. A few others were
standing and eating. (I was reminded of kai-aendhi bhavans)

Some areas were marked for "Self Service" and a few areas where you could sit and order what you want.
It was difficult to figure out which was which.

Finally we reached a table for four, in which a young couple (recently married) were trying to chill out.
When we reached this table, the server decided that we should not sit there until the couple leave!!
I gently asked them whether we could take the seats and they readily obliged.

Seeing us converse in Kannada, they too joined us in the conversation saying that they too speak the
same language. The pleasant conversation was a saving grace for the evening. I invited them to dinner
or lunch at our home on a day of their convenience so that they have at least a day of relaxed outing.
He advised me that one should stay away from the eateries on Saturday and Sunday.

We ordered just the bare minimum and left the place hurriedly.

We decided that in future we will just imagine of some nice restaurant in our mind and eat at home!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Specification of a product while purchasing

Let us take a simple item, a ball point pen.

Suppose the Purchase Officer in a company is asked to indent for ball pens. He has to consider
the usage of the pen, to whom it is being issued, etc. Because there are pens available from 5 Rs.
onwards going upto 50 Rs. and even more.

He may have to compare the price between suppliers. While comparing an item we often hear
the words, compare Apple to Apple.

Yes, but these days we have to remember that there are so many varieties of Apples sourced from
different places. We have to compare a Washington Apple with a Washington Apple!!

Some one wanted an I-Phone. No problem. But, which colour do you want? Black or Silver? 4S?
8 or 16 GB? A few questions have to be answered before the item is bought so that the person gets
exactly what he wants.

Talking of specifications, sometimes it is sufficient if one says, generally conforming to ISS No. xxx.

Coming back to ball-pens, I was surprised to read recently about the Skilcraft ball point pen manufactured to the specifications of the U.S. Government. These pens are manufactured by blind workers in factories
in Wisconsin and North Carolina as part of a 72-year-old legislative mandate. The original 16-page specifications for the pen are still in force: It must be able to write continuously for a mile and in temperatures up to 160 degrees and down to 40 degrees below zero!!

You will find the original article about the Skilcraft pen here:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


It is said that Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

If someone were to ask me about the essential difference between India and America
in one word, my answer will always be: Cleanliness.

We talk of a clean house, a clean street or a clean town. But America is clean everywhere
without exception.

And the respect to law is something to be seen. In any parking lot there are a few slots for
the differently able people and no one would park there. No policemen around, but the
traffic signals will be followed.

Americans are well organised. In fact you can search for an item online and will be
given the aisle number in the supermarket where your item is stored!

I could go on and on, but let me come clean. It is cleanliness that matters.

Clean, clean everywhere,
No garbage anywhere!