Thursday, July 15, 2010

Office Space

So the release is done and time for some breathing and blogging...

Out of the blue I got this idea of introducing my team members (me included), trust me we're a bunch of characters here in office, our days get extremely productive or ultra-hilarious because of the diverse team members we have. We simmbly rrrroccckkk!

Let me start with Kotla, the algorithm expert of our team. Imagine Megastar Chiranjeevi with no luck in Tollywood & had a unfortunate entry into the IT industry, Kotla is that sorts. The moment you enter his cubicle you'll see two Kotlas, one, the person himself and another, his desktop wallpaper, which seems to be one of Nagarjuna or Chiranjeevi or NTR pose from far, but it's him. The wallpaper keeps changing...u'll see everything ranging from Kotla in fall colours to Kotla smirking next to a classy Mercedes SLK to Kotla among the lofty Dallas skyline in the background. A very soft spoken guy and a workhorse, the whole team calls him Babu, thanks "me" for rechristening him, somehow he sucked at reciprocating the same, he calls me Babu too.

Immaterial of the complexity of the problem, he can solve things in a jiffy, but somehow one question I posed him consumed way too many MCPS of his cerebral processor. The question was as simple as this: Given a choice between a hottest girl with 10 acres of property and an ugliest girl with 100 acres, whom would you choose? I actually have to use google image search to give him an extent of hotness and ugliness, but he still keeps working on solution at the back of his mind. Maybe that question is the reason for him to delay his marriage indefinitely...sorry Babu! He had serious plans of gracing Stri Stri Stri Nityananda's Peeta while he was imprisoned, somehow luck didn't favour him.

A puritanical veggie and total teetotaler, he usually consumes them in the most indirect way possible - he serves veg curry & his spoon touches the fish curry or he inhales the beer vapour everytime we drink, as though beer smells differently every time. At times he gets paranoid about certain things, someone brainwashed him that Sprite contains alcohol, he called the toll-free number to check but wasn't satisfied with their answer and as expected, he rode his bike, on a rainy weekend, all the way from Domlur to Sprite bottling factory at Nelamangala to confirm the same, the worst part is, he gave up Sprite. Then we told him Brinjal is non-vegetarian coz it's also called Egg Plant, he gave up on that too! He is a big time "T" lover!

Then comes the doood from Pondicherry, with no traces of French whatsoever, Sararavanan, shortened Sara. The fundoooooest guy in the team I say! He is like one stop solution for everybody's problem - be it C, C++, Java, Excel, Word, Perl, Windows, Linux, html, bash, internet, wireless - you name it he knows it. You want a script? Say to sac the CEO or to stop the hunger at Somalia or to automatically brush your teeth in the morning or to download all the Rajnikanth videos from the deepest depths of the internet - Sara can automate them in a click of a finger, sometimes the click is slower.

He is a great orator, give him any of the following topics and he would put Hitler to shame with his harangues: JK (err not Jammu & Kashmir, Jiddu Kishnamoorthy as he calls him), spirituality & rationalism, pointers and threads (the geeky ones, nothing to do with stitching) & finally Tamizh movies & music. Sometimes I feel like giving him a glass of water in between and ask him to take a deep breath, but I always refrained thinking he might be offended. He's got a great knowledge of whatever he speaks about but then it's a Herculean task to make our point when he is ranting, so we've to buffer it up in our brains till he stops. So never offend JK and linux even by'll be in deep trouble if you do so.

By this time, you would have realized that he is the geekiesht member of the team...Yeah!!! He so very much is!!! Bored of using the keypad he connects his mobile to his laptop & sends SMS from a tool, he opens another tool and types ATD90903823083; to make a call (the semicolon is a part of command, not to confuse with punctuation), he views .doc, .xls, .pdf, .bin, .wtf and even .jpg files in vim editor! Can you beat that? But with all this knowledge he miserably fails to understand how I replace almost every noun with just one goddamn word - S**T and how all adjectives are modified with just one universal word F**K!

Around 2004, am not sure if you guys remember there were news headlines like "Sudden shortage of chicken in Bangalore", "Middle class can't afford poultry" and "Chicken prices skyrocketed". Nobody could figure out the reason except me and I kept mum then, but now it's time to break silence. What would happen if one started his meal with chicken salad, went on to main course of chicken curry with chicken biriyani with chicken kebab and chicken 65 as side dishes and end the meal with chicken curd-rice with a bit of chicken pickle, 5 days at cafeteria and chicken bugger in McDees on weekends ? That was how my good old pal Sara was when he had just come to Bangalore, I kept wondering if there was no poultry in Pondicherry at all. I don't know when he got enlightened that there are something called vegetables, now that poultry-devouring trend has gone completely and he relishes vegetarian food. Good for him, good for those poor poultry birds.

You're in the middle of the debugging some function, after five attempts you've somehow got the control somewhere, then suddenly the board reboots for no logical reason you can think of? Not to worry, Khasim is around and he is laughing out loud! The internet jargon LOL was coined in November 1999 when they saw Khasim laugh and in early 2002 he was responsible for the birth of ROTFL! His laughter is the best I've seen till date and the loudest! In case you're still wondering, his laughter occasionally sends out high energy ultra-sonic bursts which may cause the systems to reboot. In fact, his PC in office got conked off after just 2 months of his usage and he is now using some kinda shielded PC now and he is banned from entering the labs.

He is a cut throat competitor for me in terms of technical capabilities, Khasim and myself were ranked ultimate and penultimate respectively in the recent test we took and we fared almost equally bad in the management courses that we took. So my perfect alter ego at office is Khasim and he is my cubicle mate too. But there is one thing he is an expert in and I suck at - Stock Markets! In the middle of the night you ask him what will be the value of Reliance shares like 3 years, 2 months, 4 days down the line and phattttt comes the reply!!! He might have given a run for money to Nostradamus if he were to be alive and tried his luck in stock markets. has rewarded him with plaques & trophies for the 2 million hits he gives it every month. He was very kind to tutor me the entire procedure of buying and selling shares, though my brain was not wired to comprehend a thing he said.

Another important trait of Khasim, attributed to his tortoise incarnation in his previous birth, is his driving. My worst 10K marathon timing is 60min, Khasim fares worse than that on bike. When we set out for lunch sometimes with four-guys-two-bikes system, Khasim & the other guy joins us in the restaurant when we ask for the bill, we're used to order for them in advance. Once he told me it takes 45 min for him to reach his house, I told him "Boy! You live very far" only to realize he lives not more than stones throw away from office. He has an antique Hero-Honda where nothing works except the engine, throttle and the brakes (though not needed for his speed).
@Khasim: Please let us know if the problem is with the bike or you!

It's a mistake that his initials are SRR, it has to be SRE, denoting for Suresh Real Estate. Just like google maps, you can give him the area, "Suresh do you know Nagarbhavi near...", "There is a 30x40 for 1300 in HMT layout on 5th cross, one 50x60 for 1800 in Visweswariah layout on the 3rd main site no 72, there is one property at Malathalli but without clean titles, one near Ambedkar college 30x40 for 2000, one at Ullal site 43 on 2nd main price not sure", comes straight with few pauses honouring the commas.,, etcetera take inputs from SRR for their weekly database updation. So people looking for property, contact me, I can use my friendship with SRR to get you best deals, of course with a small commission for me.

SRR used to be a carnivore, somehow Tirupathi Venkateshwara turned him into a herbivore, he enjoys wine and biscuits. Wine he drinks at Spice Curry, biscuits we feed him at office, he loves the cream ones more. I had put such a biscuit to him that he'll linger the taste of it forever, I told him that one of the new managers in our group is actually VP, he is just here to monitor our performance and he bought it! He was under the illusion that VP was really monitoring us and that's when the real estate was down for a while, he seriously worked. Nowadays whenever the new manager C sees our biscuit eater, he says, "SRR I'm C for sure and not the VP, RR!" and SRR gives back a sheepish smile and says, "I know". And the whole team keeps feeding him with biscuits all the time so that he never feels hungry.

He is designated as the "Board manager" in our team, for he keeps track of the inventory of boards, but his technical capabilities are impeccable. His brain has scanned thousands of pages of 3GPP specs right from the ages of GSM to the current trend of UMTS to future technologies like LTE and WiMax, add to that Android RIL, Linux, Multimedia, DSP codecs, Application Frameworks and what not! There are only two things that could be seen on his monitor: one of the real estate websites or some hardcore technical document with some block diagrams & equations. Koreans are so lucky to have him!

I'm the proprietor of a small "Kaaka tea shop", my cubicle. Whether I'm in the middle of debugging or having a technical discussion or we're talking about someone's death or my manager is strangling me to give the update by noon - come what may there is music (the whole team considers that to be noise) blaring out of those small 30$ Sony speakers bought in Bestbuy. You can hear almost everything - 80's retro hits, classic rock, progressive metal, jazz & blues, bossa nova & lounge. At times I'm requested to play some silent music of Rehman and I obey them. Now Playing: No leaf clover by S&M.

I start my work at 9:30AM Korea Time and wind up by 4 India time. That would give me about 2 hours of complete solitude in office and during that time the "tea shop" becomes a pub (sadly without beer) with volume knob set to it's maximum position and best-of-metal playlist. My day starts with shooting up firefox browser and clicking on the "Morning Coffee" addon, which would open gmail, twitter, facebook, flickr,, office mail, customer mail - each of them beautifully in a separate tab. After checking for updates and responding to few (it's been nearly 3 years that I've received any official mail that expected any response from me), it depends how the day progresses, which could be summarized by this pseudo code:

if (work)
{doze off till 8:45;}
goto breakfast at 9;
if (work)
else if (mood to blog)
else if (mood to read)
else if (feels like commenting)
{give constructive comments
on others photographs;}
if (time==11)
{goto pantry for coffee;}
if (time==12:40)
{call up lunchmates;
have lunch;
take a stroll;}
/*The same if work, if blog...continues here*/
if (time==4)
{say "OK people, see ya";
grab the keys and bag;
run down the stairs;
go home;}

Mine will be one of the most disorganized cubicle one could come across - a messed up bundle of cables, few CDs lying randomly, some debug boards and power adapters, mobile thrown somewhere, bag & jacket adding to it, watch, coffee mug & water bottle, some completely non technical crap written on the board, few medals and photos hanging. About technical expertise, I just know how to spell Linux and to copy paste certain commands on to a terminal and I feel proud when those undecipherable lines scroll up at the speed of light...I feel "Damn! I'm doing something cool!"

That's our Office Space! Wonderful set of people! Loads of entertainment! Kickass team!
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