Tuesday, October 30, 2018

As I see IT - 3

EGO.

My class teacher once explained that Ego means “Edging God Out”. Even after decades, that expansion is still stuck in memory, not just because I am a sucker for abbreviations, but more so on the meaning it conveyed. In the journey so far in IT industry, one thing that I could find omnipresent is nothing but overinflated megalomania level egos of individuals, that screws up the peace of many. I’ve been at both sides of the table and have not so memorable experiences.

Compared to any other industry, IT is the youngest and most evolving of all. In fact, with so much of process being shoved year after year in the form of maturity models, business driven changes, best practices, lessons learnt et al, it should be the most conformist of all industries. At the same time, its most prone to disruptive changes as well, that shakes the very foundations of established norms. The industry renews itself every decade and the lead time between the shredding of old tech to new is forever under stress. It’s probably the most democratic of all, where in any change, which has good impact on ROI is easily absorbed as the norm and almost everyone toes the line of the industry leaders. Considering such a background, working in IT should be a shoo-in for anyone. But so many of the employees suffer from stress related illness, heart ailments and life expectancy could pretty soon be a major talking point in this industry. For a place, that is built on the foundation of best practices and clear cut processes, why should anyone even struggle begs a soul searching question.

If we turn the clock back to the moment of big bang, to understand the purpose of its very existence – IT was and always will be a support function to business. To put simply, Its necessity is to make things easier for business and reduce the turnaround time in getting things done. The concept was always that, a smart guy teaching  a dumb terminal to make monotonous things simpler. With the advent of including “Smart”ness into everything, the ghost in the machine is wide awake, literally and figuratively, shutting down the humanity in people. Off late I find people to be more comfortable dealing with machines than with their own kind. Machines don’t have ego hassles. They never misunderstand the content from its tone or the emotion behind the statement. Emails don’t provoke mail storms when directed to machine monitored mailboxes. In between all these advancements in technology, which is supposed to make the life of end user easier, we’ve lost a critical thing in translation – the empathy for each other.

When there was a raging conflict in one of my teams, I spoke to both the parties individually and asked them to first hear each other out. It was an simple issue blown out of proportion due to the individual ego’s in play and neither were willing to budge. What was surprising was, it should’ve never been an issue in first place and when I suggested that, each of them should respect the other’s decision and should give a patient hearing, it was knocked off as an unfathomable attempt of a solution!! Eventually, the stick won over the carrot. When we can pick up machine learning and AI on the fly, work out complex semantics and syntaxes for evolving programming languages, work wonders with internet of things, we are seriously and severely pegged back on our social skills.

If I’ve to RAG it, it’s fast moving away from Amber to Red.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Junior's jestcapades

At times, makes me wonder, while rest of the time I am absolutely unsure, that, how the hell he manages to do what he does.

Ever since he noticed the Big Boss promo, the part where Kamal introduces the show, before and after the ad break, as “Vanakkam... Ithu Vivo v9 vazhangum Big Boss”, it had caught his fancy and he rephrased it as “Veena vaana big boss” with the traditional way of telling “Vanakkam” with folded hands. Gradually, the rest of the sentences went out of his mind but the “vanakkam” part remained and somehow he linked it to the fact that, it’s a way of greeting. One day, when the apartment driver had come to our house, junior greeted him with folded hands and said “vanakkam”. The driver was stunned and he was so happy. He immediately responded back with joy and repeatedly they said Vanakkam to each other. Ever since, it has been the way of greeting for junior and wherever he meets anyone new, he would immediately say “vanakkam” to them. More than “hi” or “morning/evening” wishes, I find that people are overjoyed when someone  wishes them in mother tongue and everyone responds back with one of their own. While on a mall visit, we met a north indian couple and when junior greeted them they were so happy that they decided to make it a habit of their own. When I went to his play school to pick him up, everyone – right from his aaya paati to his class miss, where calling junior to say vanakkam and he duly responded to every single one of them. They told me that, as part of their lessons to teach greetings to kids, which had only the English way of greetings, it had been updated to include saying vanakkam. They even showed me videos of kids telling vanakkam to each other.  It’s a simple thing and probably something pretty basic for anyone and everyone to follow. The reason why it struck me with awe was not just because he is my kid. But how people relate and adapt to positive change.

You need not be in your thirties to trigger something. It can start from three itself!!

Saturday, October 06, 2018

96 - movie review

Very few movies live up to the hype. In this age of fake news, fake media and fake..everything, it is becoming very hard to trust anything, be it mainstream news or even movie review for that matter. When the songs for this movie got released, it literally set the social media on fire. Facebook was agog with status messages dripping in the saccharine sweetness of the songs and everyone who listened to those songs were getting nostalgic about their past love(s). The songs were really good and much different from what were being bandied about as chartbusters by the erstwhile puyal. When the movie got released, there were unanimous acclaim and every review was positive. Having already received bulbu over "Chekka chivantha vaanam" I was very much apprehensive. But was counting majorly on Vijay Sethupathi. That guy has the midas touch for movie scripts and majority of his movies are watchable, credit to his realistic performances. And another intriguing factor was his pairing with Trisha. When "Nanum rowdy thaan" was being announced with him pairing Nayantara, was wondering how their combination would gel, for I thought Nayan, at the risk of sounding chauvinistic, having worked with mostly senior actors prior, might look like his elder sister and Vijay Sethupathi, often characterised with unholy approach to his looks, might look even older. But the casting proved a blockbuster hit and both of them looked a million bucks with crackling chemistry. At least Nayan has maintained herself over the years and is turning out to be the lady version of Benjamin Button. But Trisha? For the doubters, she has pretty much been herself in the movie and her effort to try not hard to impress has succeeded big time.

Story wise its a simple and straight forward one of high school love between the lead pair, that survives even after 2 decades, with one of them even being married to someone else and having a kid. The theme glorifies first love as something that would remain forever fresh and would survive even if it doesn't succeed in marital union. The movie begins slowly, very slowly with Vijay sethupathi taking lots and lots and lots of pictures. Those ten minutes make you wonder on your decision to watch the movie. The moment Janagaraj comes on screen, the story slowly gathers pace and you never realise when it reaches interval. There is love, romance, bro-mance, friendship care and every form of lovable emotions on display for the next one hour between every character on screen. Devadarshini, my all time favourite TV comedienne, proves yet again to tamil movie industry their fallacy in not utilizing her full potential. If she was a hoot as elder sister to Prasanna in "Kanda naal mudhal" watcher her as the sister-friend to Vijay Sethupathi. The ten minutes she gets on screen, is all hers. Baks from "Naduvaula konjam pakkatha kaanum" plays the side kick friend to perfection. If not the love story portion, definitely everyone would've had, having, friend like him and Devadarshini in real life. There are many scenes in the movie where there are no dialogues, especially the school portions where the younger versions of the lead characters have dominated. Especially the girl who plays Trisha's younger part. Very cute and very realistic. The kid who plays the shy Vijay Sethupathi is so original at times you dont't realise that its an act for a movie. Very candid. Ilayaraja proves yet again why he is so highly rated for his melodies. All those songs, that are sung by the girl, without any music, still recreates the same magic. Very rarely we get to see guys being portrayed as shy, realistically and not over the top or psychotic, in tamil movies. Kudos to the director for showing school love in all its originality, yet retaining the filmy touch. The moment Trisha joins the party, the party literally begins and from then till the end, its just her and Vijay Sethupathi.

As is said, there are way too many close up scenes, with little dialogue and no BGM, solely relying on the capability of the lead pair to take it forward. With just the two characters, who doesn't even change their costume for three quarters of the movie (when was the last time such a travesty happened in tamil movies, I couldn't quite figure), doesn't even speak in certain sections, it couldn't have been any more expressive. Their eyes light up when they discuss about their time together and reflect the pain of near misses that have set them apart. Their smile is so genuine, you wouldn't quite realise that you were smiling yourself, being like a third wheel on a lovely conversation. My pick of the eminent lot of characters would be that of Vijay Sethupathi, who/which brings out the subtlety in a guy, so madly in love, that he is content to watch her from a distance, leading her life and him in memory of his love for her, could've gone bombastic when that character gets a chance to be with her alone after a gap of so many years and yet retains his dignity and emerges untainted. The movie ends with one more piece being added to his memory baggage, literally and figuratively and the ending didn't felt sad. For such an out and out romantic movie, which doesn't have an happy ending, it proves that, even normal and realistic ending need not be sad or clichéd to be successful, for the climax does happen in an airport.

For almost 2 hours of the entire running time of two and half hours, its just these two, their emotions and conversations and yet its hardly boring. In many places there is not even BGM to stir up the audiences, who would've very well caught into the unfolding romance between the lead pair by then and would've been rooting for them to unite. The director remains true to his sense and the movie heads towards a logical and practical end. Considering the current trend of glorifying live-in relationships, getting physical before marriage, with even legal system supporting adultery, its noteworthy that the movie comes clean on the "moral" aspects. Probably because the theme is love story from the late nineties? Wonder what would've been the ending had it been '06 instead of '96!!! Last but not the least - the songs. For those who are familiar with the album, when you are watching the movie, you can very well guess which is song that is going to fit into the next scene. They have been melded into the storyline and for a movie that thrives on silence and simple conversations driven by emotions, the songs add up to the glory.

Gils verdict - love stories often make people nostalgic, either of their own stories or the ones about their friends and mostly about their own road not taken. The hangover post watching this movie, had it been because of Ram and Janu (the lead characters) that would be the success of the movie and I believe it has succeeded.

Just junior things

Me and junior were on a train to Madurai a while back and we were sharing the upper berth. He was watching his favorite toons on mobile, whe...