Thursday, September 29, 2005

Reminiscences of Indian Ads

I am not much of a TV person per se but somehow I have this feeling that ads back home had much better appeal for me than here in the US. Just a trip down the memory lane yields me the following in no particular order for the concept part of it.

(a) Ericsson: Remember the punch line of "One Black Coffee Please..". Awesomely cool one.This one even one got the bronze lion (one of the first indian ads to make it so high on the internationally acclaimed list).
(b) Nestle Polo - The Mint with the Hole : The famed "Beta- Sweater Pehno" kind of ones always leave me laughing after its rendition.
(c) Hyundai : When they launched a new car (I believe it is the Accent model) they had this amazingly thoughtful ad which goes like this :

"Ask Anyone to draw a star"
[A Blank Black Screen hovers for less than a second]
"Most of the time you would see this"
[ The standard version of David's Star appears on the screen]
Then the screen goes blank.
[A bright sun appears tearing away the black blanket and exposing a metallic red car]
"Because Reality Differs from Perception"

Of course there is always the jingle part of it that appealed to me too.The top of the list would be the humming for Nestle Sunrise coffee followed by Rexona's initial jingle (supposedly AR Rahman's first commercial music after the initial foray into Dyanora's Madras TV Show..Remember Dyanora TV?) which would be closely followed by Chakra Gold Tea.The oldest jingle I remember is that of Close Up toothpaste's early 80's ad with a couple listening to the sound of waves in a conch. Even the relaunch of coca-cola at Taj Mahal had this oldie tune "Share my dream..share my coca-cola..always.."

Apart from this there is this particular genre of MTV ads which are in a class of their own. The spoofs, the concept is simply on a different scale to be compared to mainstream TV.

There are a lot more in this but this is just a sampler to note down ones that come to mind as cool ads.I am not sure how the scene is these days with regards to ads.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Club 55

Jingle of Pulp Fiction in the background wakes him up. Suddenly it strikes him that his cell phone is craving for his attention. Crawls out of his bed and gets to the ground floor with his eyes half open searching for the phone. Finally he takes the call and hears a different language.

Wrong Number.

ps : Venu has inflicted this popular viral fever of writing a story in 55 words and hence this post.
Mera bhi number aayega Venu :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Have a Cigar

"Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar. you’re gonna go far, fly high,
You’re never gonna die, you’re gonna make it if you try;they’re gonna love you.
Well I’ve always had a deep respect, and I mean that most sincerely.
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think. oh by the way,
Which one’s pink?
And did we tell you the name of the game, boy, we call it riding the Gravy train."
-Pink Floyd

Tommorow is my last day at the current employer. As usual I would drive home with mixed feelings and look forward to this new adventure which begins a week later.

As is required of a good exit, I have given my current employer notice of my departure 2 weeks back. In the meantime there was another big online payment service company that iIinterviewed with, who got suddenly interested in me and with a dogged persistence are trying to steal me.

They wanted to know what would make me change my mind as does my current employer. Assuming they were bidding low, the hiked the compensation to 20% above my offered package. Then he turns the 'godfather prop' on me saying if I were to compose an offer that I couldnt refuse, what would that be? I tried to explain him that there is this something called 'integrity' which precludes me from accepting his offer no matter how hard he tried. I cannot go back on it. Nope.Doesnt cut the cake. I have told them fair and clear that I have given my word to another company albeit that the monetary benefits being offered were compelling to hear and does boost my ego a bit.(Its very hard to resist such temptations being human but signing on something and commiting yourself to something holds you back nicely).

A 100 years back if you were to ponder over literature of the day these 'intangibles' like honesty, honor, integrity, grace and the likes adorned the everyday aspect of life but suddenly they seem to be in a very far off-distant-idealistic-impractical zone of this modern life that they are not even taken seriously when someone swears by one of those qualities. We have to talk in action verbs and tangibles like numbers, specific benefits, etc in order to sound 'real'.But some things do not neccesarily change just because we dont use the concept frequently in our life or a majority of people dont believe in it (From when did 'truth' start depending on the number of its believers?)

Anyways talking about such things like 'pursuit of excellence' in front of my folks makes me feel weird like I was broaching about some 'taboo' subject. Dont know if its me or environment around me but just doesnt feel right. I hope it is me because that would be easy to fix. I think I have to rent out "The Scent Of a Woman" again just to feel normal (just like some folks do shopping when they are angry). One of my fave quotes in the move that applies to this situation is

" You've been the sugar business for so long, you've forgetten the taste of real honey! "

Speakin of the movie, it would be sad to part with a co-worker who shares many qualities of the character Lt. Col. Frank Slade in the movie.

Anyways I made up my mind in this aspect and I will stick to it and the consequences thereof.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Self Reckoning

I dont have anything to post and hence would ramble on regarding what kept me busy these days.

First off, its time for me to move jobs again. I wonder how people usually decide when is enough enough? I am moving just after 6 months of work at my current employer.See, I blame it entirely on the schooling. At schools, they never tell you when to stop applying their own teaching in their teaching.(Knowing when to stop something is a critical skill that comes with experience, I guess). Anyways I have decided its time to stop what I have been doing, shift gears and do something different with another startup.Its very exciting time for me because it involved my first brush with a real valley kind of startup. For those of you who are technically inclined to see what excites me please peruse this link.

Now after battling a fortnight of interviews,schedules and stuff, I have another online payment services company (Cannot divulge the name as I signed the NDA with my blood, just kidding) who were interested in talking to me despite knowing that I am already taken. In a typical auction fashion they topped my previous package and asked me to join their team. Gee, my weekend was ruined in deciding where to go.Interestingly it took me only a few hours to decide what I have chosen was ok and I was gonna stick to my guns. (Have some reasons for it which only time will prove if correct or not).All that apart its kind of sad, as always, to leave some folks out here who seem to be kinda seeing something that I cant see in myself. Great to be working with such folks and no matter what this experience definitely helps in making my future choices.

On the fun part, I had stepped into a club after a long time (something like an year back) . Got Sloshed properly and took the dance floor only to reconfirm the fact that I have legs that kinda freeze in the lights.Neverming, had truckloads of fun doing what I did. Plus, it gave me a good breather apart from these day to day stress inducing events. Also found enough time to catch up with old pals. One is getting married soon, one hates to get married, one is looking forward to paternity and one is enjoying his newly married life. As one said "every one is in his own rut"..
Quite True. As if we were Elephants (rut always reminds me of those pachyderms).Probably Once we were..but right now we fellas are just growing old despite our resistance.

Felt like going to India over the weekend. Occasionally overpowering Homesickness is a syndrome I got used to it because I dont get to do anything about it.Particularly when I went to visit the Consulate in SFO to renew my passport.That reminds me of another disease which bothers me these days called "The Lonely Inbox Syndrome".No matter how many times I refresh it, there seems to be no one wanting to email me.So I started subscribing to junk email lists just to get my inbox to go "tring..tring.."

Finally it was time for one of those bi-annual calls to sis.and check things out with her.One Happy Housewife she is...err...make that a home maker. Usually keep in touch with my brother through email and he caught on the fever of blogging and has something to write too. Fair enough. Mom and Pop seem to be totally engaged in a house hunt which seems to drag forever. Of course, me changing jobs every once in a while makes them nervous regarding the commitment to a mortgage as well as sad that their plans of getting me hitched are thrown back a little.Dad had this nice concept of me going back home and settling down. Thanks to the move I have pushed that atleast half and year. Of course they are nice and dont seem to be in a hurry or applying pressure.Thank goodness for some life's small pleasures.

Its time I opened up a book and read it straight through as I am already losing the habit of a reading which leads me to be cranky.(the rut thing is true after all). Now that I filled this post with things in my head, I assume that head room could be used for something else....

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Decoding Names

There seems to be a great joy in decoding something.Almost an exclusive feeling of being privy to something the coder intended upon. If you are like me given a city/county name you would take it at face value.So while I was driving around the San Francisco are I saw a lot of counties starting with "San ...." . I knew "Los Angeles" meant City of Angels and hence a nearby town called "Los Altos" meant the City of Heights (made up.yet to confirm).

Now, San Mateo is the county where I work in and a colleague was trying to correct my pronunciation when it struck me that San Mateo is spanish for St. Matthew. Voila! Immediately the bricks fell in place.Everything around here is curiously named "Mission ..Blvd..St...Ct....."The Spanish Catholics were on a mission to proseletyze the heathen folk around here and named the cities/counties around here after the canonized fellas. So, it immediately dawned upon me that San Fransisco is named after St.Francis of Assisi. San Carlos is St.Charles, San Lorenzo for St.Laurent , San Andreas for St. Andrew, San Leandro for St.Leander.The mother of all San Jose was a tough one to crack till the oyster gave it up as St.Joseph. Of course the county I live in is called "Santa Clara" which should probably be St. Claire but I cannot understand the difference between "San" and "Santa". Of course there is more fun in decoding these rather than getting a compiled list like last time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Techie at an Airport writing this Poem

Baby Eyes

I did not see you standing there
still and quiet as a bronze soldier
beneath the folding of the papers
and the mumbled chorus of strangers

The cuffs of long pants whispering by
Leather and silicon in every hand
Worry, the only mask worn here
Where only faces of time are seen

Silence grabs me like gravity
As if you have dug a well of still
In this land of the moving lifeless
Where nervous men wait for wings

You are so out of place, little girl,
I remember thinking as I looked down
to see you staring up at me
with eyes that asked no questions

I resumed my reading, or my talking,
or whatever it is that wingless men do
when they are in between here and there,
not knowing that your stare was for me

But there you stayed, still as a stone
with eyes as soft as children's hands.
Startled, I looked around for your parents
For children should not be left alone.

No one came to claim you,
No one even seemed worried,
And least of all you,
little girl with soft eyes ..

Soft eyes as deep as depthless chasms,
wide as the breadth of grand canyons
and trusting as playful puppies,
eyes that bring me back ..

I know these eyes! Whose eyes are these?
I have seen you before
In someone else's eyes,
At someone else's time

Where is she, your mother?
Is she here? She must be,
for you are surely she
and your eyes cannot deny it.

Your gaze never travels, never moves.
Why do you stare at me?
What is it about me,
that you have never seen before?

.. never seen before ..

And then I know
Why I have never seen you before -
My breath is gone
And I do not know if you are real

It hits with the weight of the universe
of a billion suns created from nothing,
the weight of words that spun the worlds from dust,
the weight of losing one's own child

Slow realization creeps over me
that I will never see you again -
This my only chance to see
Those beautiful eyes, those beautiful eyes.
- Cameron Purdy

For those in the know, Cameron Purdy has a decent technical reputation among the server side engineers. I thought that was very well written from a guy who thinks about cache coherence on middleware systems.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Elysian Fields

Homage to the city founded by the french, conquered by the spanish, sold to the Americans and populated by the Africans. I didnt realise this would be this worse.

Mr. Tumulesh Solanky, wherever you are, I pray you and your dear ones are safe. I practically dont recall anyone else that would be near and dear to me in the city of New Orleans.

Ohh! Those Deceptive Elysian Fields...