Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Attention seeker alert

Attention seeker.
Whenever I find this term bandied around, it makes me stop and observe that particular situation. For I feel, there is no greater insult to ego than being labelled as attention seeker. Agreed, there could be specimens who purposely do and even thrive on such activities. But for the innocent many, it’s a punch in the gut that knocks the wind out of them. The most recent instance I heard of this word was during the infamous “Big Boss” show, where one of the participant was labelled as such. That lady terms herself a failed actress and has been pretty vocal in her efforts to attain fame-dom through the program as her vehicle. She un-abashedly had taken part in every stupid task thrown at her and had “played” at the last legal extent allowed within the rules of the game and even secured top points. Yet the crowds didn’t vote for her and she had to lose out.
It’s just another reality show and the results are pretty much stage managed at every single step of the way. But the way the rest of the participants interact with this evicted lady makes an interesting study on how personality plays a big role in perception. There are 2 ladies on the show, one a popular actress, known more for her looks with some of her movies being moderate hits and the other being the evicted lady, your normal looking plain jane. Even by their own admissions, the good looking-big eyed-dimple cheek lady is well known for her laziness and goofiness and skips most of the tasks when they become physically challenging. The plain jane, does all household tasks and participates with tomboyish vigour on every activity and fights to win. Typically, you would expect one to be rooting for the latter. But more often, it’s the look that wins over the pluck.
Many a times I’ve noticed in groups that, people with smiley faces, manage to get away with everything despite being the dumbest and even rude at times. Despite being equally talented, it’s always the outward personality of the person that helps in scoring first, with looks being a definite plus. People tend to get attracted first, based on physical appearances and definitely take time to understand the person to make a better judgment call down the line. In the interim, any effort by the latter, if labelled as attention seeker, it literally maligns their inner belief. Not everyone are cut out to be part of a group, leader of a pack and at times even to be heard. Everyone loves an audience and no one deserves appreciation less than anyone else.
Certain words are like symptoms of diseases. The more you think about them, you would feel yourself to be diseased. Same with such negativity spewing labels like “Attention seeker”,”Selfish” etc. The moment I heard the anchor, label that lady as attention seeker, the self-comparison was inevitable. Every single person on FB and other social media, even blogging for that matter, can very well fit into an elaborate net of this word. Seeking attention is what anyone on these platforms may be doing indirectly, but it wouldn’t be worth putting a label, making it as the only reason is my argument.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Kurangu bommai - review

What makes a movie a good one, might be the question for the ages. Does word of mouth publicity or viral spread or appreciative critical feedback or the performances of the artists and their honest attempt or is it the script and screenplay? Maybe is it a bit of all. For either or all of the reasons listed above, “Kurangu Bommai” movie, caught my interest.

Storywise it’s a simple revenge tale, but the way of telling makes it tad more interesting than countless many on the same topic. Also the strong supporting cast with excellent performance from the leads adds to its lustre. Vidarth, hero/producer, finally seems to have made his way onto the list of notable actors, with his improved knack of picking the right scripts that suits his style. Be it “Kutram kadithal” or “ Kidayaain karunai manu” or even “Aal” for that matter, none of his releases have major promotions, but for word of mouth support. And he seems to have mastered the art of underplaying, which doesn’t bother much even on repetition. He is probably at his best dressed character in this movie and with subtle act, he ensures his presence amidst heavy weight performances by Bharathi raja and the surprise villain in Kumaravel. Vidarth fits easily into his role of a guy whom we meet in our daily life but never bother to observe and this makes his reactions towards the climax pretty different and engaging. But any more of similar kind of roles would make one wonder whether he is a one trick pony.

Heroine deserves a notable mention. Possibly, the best looking actress with minimal make-up, post “Kakka muttai” fame Aishwarya. She fits neat into her role and since the romance portions are kept to the minimal allowable limit, without bothering the story flow, her portions appear lesser. But a neat performance nevertheless. Bharathi raja reminds once again, his talent as a performer and a strong notice to tamil mega serial industry to make use of his potential at least from now onwards. Villain guy Kumaravel was the most difficult characters of the lot to digest, especially since it has been portrayed by him. He is one of my favorite quick-on-the-feet comedian whose performances in previous movies like “Abhiyum naanum” “Ponniyin selvan” “Azhagiya theeye” “Velli thirai” have all been top notch. Probably it was a master stroke as, had any other regular guy or a new face even, played that role, it might not have made that impact. The violence was brutal and finally when one makes out what had been on that bag, that had been changing hands since the beginning, it makes a nauseating sense of grief. The pick pocket guy, reminds of the drunkard we see in so many movies and his characterization is also pretty minutely detailed.

Gils verdict- Story wise, it might be a simple revenge tale. But what stumps me is the number of people who find it appealing against so many other movies. The violence in the movie, is pretty gruesome, even though for few scenes and the movie in itself is pretty small with running time just around 2 hours. Maybe this is the trend going forward. A decent one time watch on tv channels during holidays.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How much is too much?

The most fascinating aspect of the IT industry, is its constantly evolving nature. Several years back, I had posted about surviving in this industry and how this field is yet to witness its first batch of retirees – meaning, those who’ve started their career and completing it in this field alone. While those in manufacturing like traditional business domains, have a straight forward career path with definite milestones and end dates, IT always ensures that, being in this industry is like walking on a tread mill. You need to keep walking even to stand on the same place. The tech with which one might’ve started his career, would’ve become obsolete in few years’ time and worst part being, it would take away a good chunk of his professional profile, making him redundant.

With mobile phones competing with computers for processing speed and features, gone are the days, when IT was niche and specific to those from computer background. Nowadays, anyone with a half decent smart phone, knows more about trending apps and cutting edge niche skills, than a straitjacketed IT employee. A while back, just like how engineers who do ECE, EEE were called in at homes to fix and repair any fault in electrical instruments, IT guys would be called for fixing any issue related to computers, be it hardware or software. Nowadays, its become so much different that, whenever there is any new app or any software that gets installed, the kids and oldies at home do it first and then enquire IT people for any updates on those apps. And interestingly, the so-called professionals of the field, the IT guys in other terms, are often found wanting in this sphere of updating themselves, including yours truly.

To quote from my own example, I often find myself stumped when people talk of new apps or tools or software’s that help them on their daily tasks and even more so, when they query me asking for help with the tool. Considering that, I am in an industry where learning is as important as doing, I often found myself in wilderness with the pace with which this industry evolves!! Every alternate month, some new tech or tool hits the market and suddenly it becomes the next big thing!! Agreed, COBOL is still there. But will anyone be able to survive just with their mainframe skills alone? The concept of core competency is fast dissolving and being a jack of all trades seems to be the norm of the day. Especially, if you are in a service provider company, the only thing that matters and makes you relevant is, how quickly you can grasp new stuff and troubleshoot. There are no incubation periods or Knowledge transitions or even reference documents. I knew of a friend, who “mastered” data warehousing during his 13 hour flight to US, the best part being, before he was asked to switch off the phone during take-off, then only he knew the reason for his visit – to troubleshoot DW issues. That he did manage to survive the task is a different story. But this is not an exceptional example but more of common place.

At the root, the cut throat competition could be the reason, where if you are unwilling there are more than enough groups who would go above and beyond what is requested. But my pet peeve has always been from the end client’s perspective. Are they making this investment to exhaust their budget or how truly they are aware or made aware of the need for such a solution? With product development companies going dime-a-dozen, there should be some standardization at some point, which in no way should impact the innovative nature or the free spirit to think different. To quote another example, in one of my previous companies, there was an issue which was because of incorrect and infrequent update of an excel document by multiple users. One of our guys, came up with a quick tool to move the content into the app. It was much appreciated and he got good recognition for his efforts. But the key point here was, his solution was never for the query posed by the client. All it needed was diligent update by the end user, irrespective of the option provided. Moreover the tool came with overheads like having dedicated database, a developer to ensure no connectivity related issue who would also double up as admin, plus multiple roles for multiple people. And above all it was not portable via mail!! So instead of solving a simple problem, it only ended up complicating things. What appeared as a fancy value add, in fact ended up creating new problems rather than providing the right answer. It may be wrong to generalize, but I see a similar affair ongoing with all these various chat related apps, online retailers etc.

In no way, I am justifying not knowing about tools to the reason for their existence. But, considering the fact that this industry is heavily dependent on individuals skills to learn and adapt, it might be prudent to streamline the thought process towards creating solutions. It can be tubeless tyres, nitrogen filled ones or simple basic wooden wheel, end of the day, if accessory to a wheel is what I am re-inventing, it should at least serve an unique purpose.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

En courage comes from encourage

At times, when I am more than bored, I skim through my posts from years back. As I see my own ramblings post after post, it was intriguing to understand what the trigger for all these posts was. I definitely didn’t had “Big Boss” Shakthi anywhere near me for sure. There goes my vow not to mention about that damn show in this space. It all boiled down to the very first appreciation I ever received.

As a follow up from the previous post, during school days, I was the elephant in the room, literally and figuratively, about whom no one spoke and spoke to as well and neither did i. It was a dull, excruciating, monotonous and ordeal for me, day in and day out. I was never active and never partook on any events. Whenever I was leaving from school I would see my classmates practicing for sloga competitions, oratorical, skits and dance and what not. I would simply walk away for I would never be invited for such things and I was way too timid and shy and would be terrified to even stand near such places. I could never recollect anyone appreciating me for anything for I actually did nothing remotely even different or interesting.

During my English class, for a lesson involving a bear and how the guy escaped fighting it, our English “miss” had asked us to label the story into chapters, with a chapter title for each of the sections we identify. The class topper, in his usual, Shakespearean Victorian English, came up with some fundoo headings which I couldn’t quite fathom then and even now as well. The story involved that of a guy fighting with the bear, which would tear away his scalp and he would somehow escape from it. I had written the titles as “Bear-dom” for those sections describing the habitat, “Bear hug” for the fight and “The bold and the bald” for the section where he escapes with his scalp cut open. My “bench mate” read it out aloud and everyone started laughing. The teacher appreciated him for the titles and of course I was glad that he didn’t mention my name that it was me who wrote them. My arteries were bursting at seam with sudden rush of blood and even Usain Bolt wouldn’t have clocked such a heart- beat post his sprints.

For something that wasn’t even credited to me, I was shaking with excitement, embarrassment and feeling happy at the same time. Somewhere down the line it clicked as a hobby and the biggest high I get out of blogging is the number of comments that I’ve treasured across all these years. Thanks for being so graceful and kind with your words. Really appreciate and cherish them J

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


There was a scene from a recent tamil movie, in which a boy goes to class and gives chocolate to his class teacher. The teacher takes the chocolate and enquires the occasion for which he replies it was his birthday. She wishes him and asks who he is. The query raises sporadic giggles in the class and that stunned looking birthday boy, slowly tells the teacher that he belongs to her class.

I stopped watching the movie after that scene as it hit way too close home. I had the exact same scene happening to me in real life. During a PTA meeting, I accompanied my mom, who visited my class teacher and asked about me and my performance. She looked at me quizzically and asked are you in this section. I couldn’t quite fathom that question then as she quickly twisted it as a feedback, telling my mom that I am very quiet in the class. She then gave some very generic feedback on my studies and the discussion was closed. Till date I could never forget that incident and whenever I am reminded about it, blood rushes to my ears and I feel flushed. It’s the ultimate insult for a kid when his very own class teacher doesn’t recognize him. She was my history teacher who doubled up in her role.

I was school second in tamil in my tenth standard. I was walking along with my friends towards the lunch hall when our tamil teacher came towards us. She looked through me towards the other guys and asked them for suggestions to improve the way she can teach. I had the lowest overall total amongst that group and it was evident from the way she ignored me. Those guys felt embarrassed as they didn’t expect that question and were wondering why she was asking them and not me. She never appreciated or acknowledged my score and looked at me like some imbecile. Funnily, that was the attitude of the general public as well, for the marks you scored on languages and history were never considered worthy and people used to be only interested on our science and maths scores.

Every teacher’s day, I always remember these two, for they taught me a very valuable life lesson - Never to behave like them.