1. Your appraisal has to be completed today, if not, your confirmation may be a casualty.
2. The codes you have to review need a lot more of review than you thought.
3. You run from building to building in the sprawling campus to discover you have a cool 30 minutes to wait before your meeting.
4. Meetings run into lunch-time and your appraisal is pushed to post-lunch.
5. After a hasty lunch, you run back to your desk to check on your emails.
6. After an appraisal meeting, a glitch in the application threatens to leave your appraisal incomplete (and its 3:30 pm already).

What do you do?
Either you give up, bitch over coffee with a sympathetic listener and wait for the 5:30 bus to leave the campus, carrying you with it....
Or...you battle it in True Pradeep style :)
You threaten where required.
You smile where appropriate.
You persuade where possible.
You replace pride with common sense.

And voila, you have the appraisal ironed out, the tough BO certification replaced with the relatively milder Oracle SQL certification
Then you beat a hasty retreat...before anything else can go wrong, you take the first bus back to civilization...
"...in the ashes of every past there are a few cinders of memory that glow with warmth..."
- Deeti, in Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies.

Profound, but just as simple... :)
This one commercial on the radio kept bothering me...its about some builders who offer villas in exchange for apartments and the like (a novel concept)...
The ad goes like this:
The receptionist at the builders receives calls from various folks asking if they can exchange their tiny apartments for the luxurious villas (in various dialects/accents, sounding convincingly pissed with their apartments, which they bought for various reasons like investment, etc) and she consoles them by saying they can.
But the prospective customers names, Ms Sobha, Mr Mantri and Ms Purva, which surprisingly, the receptionist knows even without being told, does ring a bell....doesn't it?

Yet again

A weekend that never was (we worked on Saturday)...followed by a busy Monday at office. What better way to while away the long commute home than by listening to music on radio.
My last win at a radio contest had instilled a new confidence in me. For a couple of days after that eventful Aug 20 morning, I used to enter radio contests like an addict. However, after a few unsuccessful attempts, I gave up. After all, it does not happen again n again, else people would have made it a business venture by now.
While I could not completely de-addict myself, I became choosy...I did not spend my hard-earned 3 rupees entering contests where I could only win myself a stylish watch (am not a watch-wearer) or a slimming coupon (I was sure jogging would take care of it). I would only enter contests that offered food vouchers, store coupons and the like (gift hampers held a special place, due to the sheer unpredictability of their contents).
Coming back to today, listening to radio, the DJ was offering a Dominos Pizza gift voucher worth Rs 500. Ideal, I thought, as I waited in feverish anticipation. She quickly played a prelude, and challenged us to guess the song.
Not much of a challenge, I thought as I guessed it to be "Kabhi Kabhi Aditi" from Jaane Tu...Yaa Jaane Na. But then I dint even think twice, I had to enter the contest!!!!!... ;)
There lay a bigger challenge ahead...typing out the message on my Moto Rokr (using a stylus, no keyboard) in record time and sending it across to the now very familiar number.
As luck favours the brave, I did it in record time....even before she had completed repeating the question a second time.
While she resorted to play "Sajnaji wari wari jaoonji..." from Honeymoon Travels, I listened indifferently, fervently praying for another one of those prizes :)
When just a few seconds into the song, I got a call from an unknown number, I was consciously trying to be cautious. After all, it could be one of those ever-eager credit card sellers.
And then, there she was. The silky voice..."Is it Pradeep?"..."Yes", I replied in carefully composed words...I dint want to sound like a novice on radio this time, after all, it was the second time, I was a veteran...I hardly knew anyone who had been on Radio, much less a second time.
She asked, "Are you speaking through a hands-free?"..."Yes, I am"...I could not end with just a Yes...it was plain rudeness ;)
She asked me to speak through the handset (since she was recording it)...and I obeyed. And then it was all a blur...in less than a few seconds my email id had been taken, I had uttered the answer, been congratulated for the voucher and was off the call.
I hastened (read fumbled) to turn on the radio. I was not going to miss out on the joy of listening to myself on radio this time around (the last time I did miss myself :( ) .
Fortunately the song was still playing. As soon as it ended, I was on air, with amazingly composed words, I answered, was congratulated yet again and seen off with a "take care sweetie" :)
One being named the class leader...she now insists that her school dress is washed well...
One scoring 99% and speaking immaculate kiddo english...
One clearing his exams with flying colours and calling up to proudly/shyly announce it...
Thats my little angels (my 2 nieces and 1 nephew)...

Wow...now am missing school... :)


Six is the second smallest composite number, its proper divisors being 1, 2 and 3. Since six equals the sum of these proper divisors, six is a perfect number.

Six is the first discrete biprime (2.3) and the first member of the (2.q) discrete biprime family.

Six is a unitary perfect number, a harmonic divisor number and a highly composite number.

Six similar coins can be arranged around a central coin of the same radius so that each coin makes contact with the central one (and touches both its neighbors without a gap), but seven cannot be so arranged.This makes 6 the answer to the two-dimensional kissing number problem.

There are six basic trigonometric functions.

The number of tastes in traditional Indian Medicine called Ayurveda is six.

God created Man on the sixth day

The number of points on a Star of David is six

The number of strings on a standard guitar is six

In American and Canadian Football, the number of points received for a touchdown

In cricket:
- a "six" or "sixer" is a shot in which the ball clears the boundary without bouncing, scoring six runs
- there are six balls to an over

The number of sides on a cube is six, hence the highest number on a standard dice

Extra-sensory perception is sometimes called the "sixth sense"

and today, six is the number of years I have been working for.
Was pleasantly surprised when the BMTC Volvo I took from office to Richmond Circle, one of the days last week, came equipped with a LCD monitor which besides the run-of-the-mill ads also played Tom and Jerry cartoons...one of those ageless cartoons that tickle your funny bone everytime you watch them...needless to say I took an extra second to get down at Richmond circle, but the driver dint seem to mind :)
Another thing that I would definitely want to mention here is that the Volvo staff (read driver and conductor) are extremely courteous, passing my test of the minimum service criteria :D
What do you do when you are bored on a Sunday morning?
You think of the most irrelevant, illogical and useless questions, like:

Noticing a middle-aged, sad looking lady at a 1 re coin phone booth, fervently dialling one number after another (or was it the same number over and over again), receiving no reply from the other end on any of her attempts, an unusual question came to my unusual mind:
How many telephone calls go unanswered everyday?
Have I been having good weekdays? How could I deny it...when I have a 3-day week (Sep 3 - Ganesh Chaturthi, Sep 4 - Hangover leave), followed by a 4 day week (Sep 12 - Onam)


Certification I

I had to mention this...I managed to clear the first certification...though a long time ago (21-Aug), the scares and cold sweat remains etched in my memory :(

Reached office early that day, after an unsuccessful attempt at studying, the night before and that morning too. Having no other way of whiling away time between 8:30 (when I reached office) and 10 (when my test was to start), I tried to study (yet again!!!), ended up going through only the exercise questions, about 2 at the end of each chapter...a total of about 30, mugged and remugged them and made my way to the exam centre.
The crowd outside the exam centre was the usual exam crowd, one half made up of people who feared the world would end if they flunked and the other half who had already given up and looked wonderfully chilled out (I, of course belonged to the latter half).
After an uneventful wait outside the exam centre, they called us in and generously asked us to seat ourselves at places of our choice.
I confidently let the others (more religious folks) choose their seats and took the last one left. After all, it hardly mattered...by now my usual overconfidence had taken over.
I started off the exam without a second thought.

Logged in and looked at the questions. There were 50 objective ones, with an hour to mull over them. And then the first question...I saw a star (the "I am seeing stars" type). But, never one to give up so easily, I attacked the others with renewed resolve. By the time I came to the 20th, there were no nails left on my fingers to chew.
The questions were tricky...not one from the 30 exercise questions that I had mugged. I felt betrayed. Nervousness gave way to nausea...I wanted to finish the jinxed exam and get out. And then, after I had tossed a coin in my mind for about 40 of the 50 questions, I decided to revise them. A few more seemingly obvious tweaks here n there, I decided it was time. No more revising would help. A quick calculation...to get the required 65% that would guarantee redemption from this ordeal, I would need atleast 33 questions right...a tall and unfair order, I believed.
I quickly sent an SOS to all my favourite gods...promised to behave myself...study more sincerely for my next certification...and before God had a chance to validate my past record, clicked on the Submit button.
The score calculation appeared to take ages...but then there it was...72% was what I had scored. And much to my chagrin, not unlike a heartless (disinterested, or was it uninterested) I-have-seen-it-all old matron, the system did not tell me if I had passed or not.
Unable to bear the suspense anymore...I screamed for attention. The invigilator delivered the verdict. 65% was required to pass and I had managed to do it... :)
With a triumphant smile on my face, the first thing I did after coming back was to put up a notice on the BB: "Study Material for PM Elite Lite: Printouts available" :)
Rains to me mean an empty park to jog in :)
An amazing feeling indeed...

Dream destinations

Must see places (mine, of course) :)
1. Jim Corbett National Park (yeah, yet again)
2. Kaziranga National Park
3. Sunderbans
4. Leh-Ladakh
5. Kashmir
6. Manas Sarovar

And this is just in India... :)

PS: The list is by no means complete...there are a whole lot of other places like the hinterlands of Rajasthan, the north-east, temples of Khajuraho, Ajanta-Ellora, Lakshadweep, etc, etc