The Benglish Podcast

I have this strange idea.
Sitting alone having a glass of rum in the sweltering heat of Delhi, you wouldn’t expect a rational idea would you?
I remember me and a very dear friend of mine once had a conversation while on a weekend trip from Delhi.
We were all in a car and talking random shit, when slowly the Bengali accent kicked into our otherwise normal English conversation. Soon we both were going Mamata Bannerjee and Pranab Mukherjee at each other.

I often reminisce about those times when I used to be so fluent with these absolute random, unrelated conversations and segways. I digress (ironically speaking), I was thinking if it would be a good idea to start recording funny bits of news in Benglish as me and my friend ended up calling it. English with a heavy Bengali accent.

I think I’m going to drink up on it and come back.
This would be a good place to kick it off since only a handful of people will listen in to begin with. Not that I’m Justin Beiber, if you know what I mean, but still.

To the moon and back!

By Toutatis!

Bye the Bye

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Chaos by choice

I visited a very dear friend of mine once in the US. He was living alone in a 1 bedroom apartment back then. I stepped out of the airport and waited for him to drive up to me to hop onto his car and drive off. He came, I waved, stopped, opened his car’s back seat door and “pat! pat! pat!” fell 3 packs of cigarettes!
It was around 10pm and so the light while enough to move around wasn’t good enough to look into the car, but I could see enough white packets of cigarette covering the back seat floor. He laughed and said “Don’t bother! Just drop the suitcase”.
So I did and we left the airport towards the apartment. That’s when he mentioned “Hey! My house has entropy!”.
I looked right at him, puzzled. “What?”
“Entropy? Chemistry? Thermodynamics?”
“Ya I understand that, but what does that have to do with your house?”
“My house has entropy just like my car”
“Ohhhh! Ya don’t worry I was in the hostel for 4 years with all kinds of guys”
“No you don’t understand Akshay, the level of Entropy here is different”
He was right. We got to his place and he opened the door. I kid you not, the arc that the door makes when opening was the only part that was clean! If he had sliding doors I’m pretty sure I’d have stepped onto his towel and then a pizza box and then I don’t know what else. I thought I had seen enough dirty and chaotic guys, but this guy was a level unto his own.

I could handle that chaos because I had the freedom of picking the empty pizza box and drop it into the bin and do the same with the beer bottles, coke bottles and cigarette butts. But imagine if someone invited you to their house which had a high level of entropy and added that you cannot reduce the entropy while you stay there. Sure you’d agree since it’s their house, their rules. But how comfortable would you be? Would you not suggest them to clean it up? Would you not offer to clean it up? And then if they refuse all of your offers and stand their ground, what then?

Welcome to my company! 🙂

What do you tell a guy who has worked in the tech industry for 20 years and chooses to a Notepad to keep track of bugs and issues in the app? Wait.. not Windows Notepad! A notepad…. paper… pen?
For those of you who are a little technical, you’d know that there is an extremely famous tool called Bugzilla. It’s free, it’s open source and it’s used by massive companies like Mozilla, Open Office etc.
“Can’t”
“Why?”
“Too much process…”
“Huh? What process? We haven’t established any process yet. So what’s it that you can see in the process that I can’t? We’re at 0, and we’re worried we’ll have 100?”
“Yes!”
“Seriously?”
“See Akshay we don’t want to get entangled into the process of these things right now that’s why we don’t want to go for any of these tools”
“Structure is different from process!”
“No what I mean is we don’t want to get entangled into the process of these things right now that’s why we don’t want to go for any of these tools”
“You just repeated yourself”
“Look, that’s not our focus right now, we have a lot of features to work on”
“Okay!”

A week later I send an email
“Hey I think we should use Google Sheets to log the issues”
No response

3 Weeks go by where we have multiple issues popping up and then confusion kicks in.
The so-called tech guy : “Hey Akshay I think you should fix this issue #234 on priority. It’s been pending for a while now”
“No! I have already fixed it. I fixed it 4 days ago and I mentioned it on our status call”
“Did you?”
“Yes I did!”
“I don’t think you did”
“Yes I did!”
“Okay, I’ll update my sheet here”

Next week
The so-called tech guy : “Hey Akshay I think you should fix this issue #234 on priority. It’s been pending for a while now”
“I thought we discussed this last week. I fixed it a couple of weeks ago!”
“Did you?”
“Yes I did!”
“I don’t think you did”
“Yes I did!”
“Okay, I’ll update my sheet here”

I put a follow-up email in the same chain that I had sent the first one suggesting the use of Google Sheets:
“Hey XYZ, I created a Google Sheet and I don’t see it being updated. Are you guys able to access it?”

No Response…

It took another week and a nasty email + a phone call conversation lasting 20 min to get this guy to use Google Sheets. Something so elimentary I would’ve convinced my 7 yr old nephew to start using it in 7 minutes!

What do you do with people who are chaotic by choice? What do you see that they don’t?
I feel they don’t see the bigger picture. Even if you try showing them the bigger picture they are so convinced that it’s flawed that they refuse to listen to you.
The more you try the farther you are taking them from reason. That’s the most troubling part of it.
The more I argued with this guy, more he disliked me and dismissed my views. Over time it became so bad that we had a 30 min conversation on how to delete a record from the database and it ended in he throwing his weight around and declaring that I had to follow his way of doing it even though it provided poor performance.

What do you do to convince these people to understand your viewpoint and how small things like this will come back to bite you in the ass tomorrow.

I wish to take back something positive from this experience than learning how to shut up and follow orders from a person I disagree with and differ in ideology.

Hope to drink up!

Bye the Bye

Profound realizations

There are moments in life when you have certain profound realizations about yourself, about life and other things. I feel a sense of void somedays.. and today is one such evening..

Over listening to this beautiful piece of music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7jTM7VkWPY [starting from 7:00] I come to realize how fragile life is.. how emotions work in our minds.. One such emotion is anger..

I realized that anger is borne out of love… not hatred.. hatred leads to envy.. not anger.. hatred leads to anger towards the self and envy towards the other.. Love on the other hand is the cause of anger towards a person. You love them so much that you can’t see them do a certain thing.. you love them so much that you can’t see them make half-hearted efforts.. you can’t see them fail… you can’t see them suffer.. you can’t see them make sacrifices that won’t result in anything..

Anger can only be born where there is love.. they’re both like ying and yang..  one can’t exist without the other.. Once you lose love.. you lose anger.. and that is why you don’t feel anything when you hear about a murder in a distant land.. there is no love for that human being.. and hence there is no anger.. hence there is no intent to take an action against injustice.. But the same thing when it happens to someone you know or love.. you are overcome by anger and a feeling of revenge or purpose depending on how to channelize it.. you suddenly want to repair the system, you want to help the judiciary strengthen it’s arms and fight injustice better.

i’ll leave it at that..

By the by

Drink up me hearties!

The rise of super powers

A lot of my posts have a tone of angst against the US of A. I am not really agry with the US as a country, but I am angry at how it is managed and how it is marketted, and how the two are so different. I came to the US 2 years ago and I remember talking to my cousin and telling him that there’s something about this country and the systems in place that I don’t feel good about. And when he asked me what were those systems, i couldn’t put a finger on it and say “this, this and this” is what’s wrong. I think I have finally figured out what it is that I thought was odd and uncomfortable about the way this country is run.

As I see it, this is a rich man’s country. I have enough money to buy stuff I want, live a decent life in a decent neighbourhood, and eat what I want to, and I pay a good amount for it. By no means is anything I buy a cheap commodity and by that I mean the basic amenities aren’t cheap. Cost of living is something that every country worries about, but there’s something else that this country does different. Every heard “Everything is big in America!” and now have you ever wondered why? Why are the Coke and Pepsi cups so much bigger than most other places in the world, the popcorn buckets and the paper towel packs. The industry wants you to buy large quantities.

Imaging this, you come to me to buy a car. I say I’ll give you 2 cars for $10000 while you came in to buy one car for a max of $7000. I bet you’d think about the offer I just made to you, in fact i know you’re already thinking about it even though the offer is hypothetical. Now, you go ahead and say “Alright gimme two cars.”. 2 years down the line, when one car goes bust, you feel the need to buy a replacement car.

Pause… Now think this, you came to me to buy one car. That was your need, I sold you two, and now your need has become 2 cars. I have hence transformed your need and reset your benchmark of a “basic”. Draw the same parallel to a paper towel pack. Walk into a walmart and you’ll find that there’s a minimum of 3 roll packs available. So I never used to use paper towels, coz my parents brought me up teaching me how wasting paper was a sin. So we used cloth towels for wiping our hands and wiping kitchen platforms and drying pans. Now, I buy the 3 pack paper towel and see it lying and imagine how convenient it would be to use that since i don’t have an added towel in the laundry, I go ahead and start using it. Soon I discover I need a 6 roll towel pack instead of the 1 that I set out to get for a temporary use.

This is where I love India. If I want a single pen because I forgot one at home, I buy a single pen, not a pack of 10 pens. I buy a single can of Coke or Pepsi when i feel like it, instead of a crate of 6. It is this mentality, and this business mindedness that has driven Americans to be so casually wasteful of resources. If the paper industry stops for just 1 day in America, the whole country will come to a standstill, coz all the kitchens will now be dirty, toilets will be stinking and dirty asses walking around.

Oh this country amazes me.. Here’s another example : The state of Kansas is apparently considering reducing the term for possession of marijuana from 3 years to 10-42 months. And wait…. This term is applicable to when you are caught possessing marijuana for the 2nd time! The first time you get off with a warning.

The reason : The state of Kansas is running out of funds. They lose $800,000 over about 50 people they arrest every year. So to save that money, they reduce the sentence. And quite obviously aren’t worried if they have addition issues and a whole new generation of Kansas children addicted to marijuana at birth.

A brit would say “bollocks” and an Indian would quite simply say “mad guys” to this interstellar thought. But then you don’t expect better from americans. They have conned their way to bring the super power in the world. And so conning inside their own country with their own countrymen doesn’t come to me as a surprise.

Anyway… It’s a Saturday morning and I just burnt my Omlette on the pan. Guess what… It’s the americans.. it’s those damn americans… dam ’em!