Dil Bada Ho Gaya…

Friday, September 23, 2016

Algorithmically, I am supposed to be a citizen of Uncle Sam land…

Don’t believe me…? Look at what http://en.nametests.com/ threw up for me… my MFN (Most Favoured Nation) – er – to be precise the Nationality and the Passport that suit me the most…

No surprises or shocks there… I would only blame the stork that had me in the sack on its beak and was flying over Earth on to Jupiter… when I suddenly got dropped… not in Indianapolis on Jupiter, as was galactically ordained… but in India…

Don’t believe me a second time…? Look at what ‘NAMETESTS.COM’ threw up for me… I will be the first person to travel to Jupiter…

And here I am… trying to fathom why Modi finally sealed the deal for the 36 Rafale Jets last night… of course, one of them will fly me to Jupiter…

——————–

Trust me… Positive Psychology works wonders on Social Media… and ‘NAMETESTS.COM’ tops the charts in making you feel positive in all bodily postures known to humankind… including Baba Ramdev’s evolved Calisthenics… and Sage Vatsyayana’s 64 prescribed sexual acts, aspirational for all men and women, in the limbic region of their brains…

After all… Positive Psychology is about brain sciences… for those who have sex on their minds…

And the limbic region is a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain near the edge of the cortex… that controls emotions like pleasure (amongst others)… and drives sex (amongst other desires)…

After an initial exploratory phase in 2008, when I tried figuring out, whether I would be a good fit with the idiosyncrasies of a digital space… and now 8 years later, when I had this strong urge to try out what I had been missing all this while – fulfilling my Level 3 (Social Needs) of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs…

I am now in a good place… I have gathered enough digital dope – particularly after clicking ‘LIKE’ a 100 times and more everyday on my ‘Friends’ posts, that Abraham Maslow was right in his theorising almost 60 years ago…

…that Social Media works on the ‘Itch Theory’… you scratch my back and I will scratch yours… I can now convincingly admit that I need external validation and endorsement of my well-being…

I am not saying that… NAMETESTS is…

——————–

Of late, I have been trying to examine my well-being a rather little closely than I have in the past… in fact, a lot of reasons contribute to this…

Primary among them – my body is not getting any younger… for example – I was a human being until about a couple of months ago when I decided to go for my Health Check… when I came out of the clinic clutching my medical reports, I discovered that I am a PATIENT… everything was above or below the normal…

And much in my reports was contrary to what NAMETESTS would affirm…

My reports told me that my energy levels are abnormally low during a work-week… NAMETESTS tells me Monday is my favourite day… see my blog mast above… can you beat that…?

My reports tell me I have Hypertension… I need to discuss this with my children… well… no… they are not the cause for my worldly worries and anxiety (the meaning of which I tried explaining to my 13-year-old daughter last night)…

“Papa, what is anxiety…?” Kavya asks…

“When you are worried about something over a period of time and things don’t get done”… I gave her examples of what happens to Smee (my wife… and her mother) when she expects Kavya to do a few things and they don’t get done…

“OK – I can understand Mummy… but, do you get anxiety as well”, she asks… when you are 13, your mother becomes a “matter-of-fact” existence… you completely understand your mother…

How can I tell Kavya that each time Smee gets anxious, I am driven up against the wall too… with dated, recorded statements that are laden both with wisdom and the vicious… that have been playing back for many years now…

“You are not bothered ONLY… wait till they grow up… they will become good for nothing… and then you will be working even after your retirement to keep feeding them… when was the last time you taught them something worthwhile… are you listening to me…? Stop writing that blog and listen to me…”

Anxiety… so much for Positive Psychology… who said you got to get married for well-being… and then have a couple of kids for social endorsement of your high powered libido…?

NAMETESTS comes to the rescue… I had heard a wise man say once “whenever you are in deep shit… go back to your origins”…

I searched for the origin of my name… I discovered much to my enlightenment – my Buddha Moment – that my first name – Ravi dates back over centuries of Jurassic and microbial evolution… it originates from the Mayan word “RAVIUHIL” and my last name – Kodukula stems from the Aztec word “KODURIX”… both put together my name means “Deep Soul”…

Now, according to NAMETESTS, my name reflects my character – brave, loyal and honest… my friends love and admire me… and I have a big heart…

I agree…

My bravery has helped me withstand all tectonic shifts that Smee has tried causing in my life in the last 20 years of us knowing each other… the love, admiration, loyalty that Smee has towards me is unparalleled…

Perhaps the only other thing that my medical reports and NAMETESTS have in common is my large heartedness… my big heart is getting bigger with all the cholesterol deposits…

My only meaningful take from the entire exercise… much to Smee’s chagrin, and to my piety… I have been advised alcohol in moderate terms… and to reconfirm the results after a year on both these tests… my Medical Tests and the NAMETESTS…

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

Advertisements

Hindi… and the Apple Airpods…

Friday, September 16, 2016

“I speak Hindi… I am a Muslim…”

Raaja was born in Tumkur and had migrated to Bengaluru for a better living when he was 16… and somebody who gets into Bengaluru and lives in the city for more than 364 days gets indoctrinated into Telugu, Tamil and Kannada… in that order… and celebrates Onam for Austerity…

PS. For celebrating Onam, you do not, fortunately, need to talk in Malayalam…

Assumimg Raaja to be a true Bengalurian, I attempted my own skills in all the 3 Bengaluru languages with him… Raaja did not bat an eyelid when he told me about his religious faith… and wonderfully so woven with his linguistic leanings…

I am glad he did not say, “I speak Urdu… because I am Muslim”

Because I am from Delhi… I TALK in Hindi… I LOVE in Urdu… and I DRIVE in Punjabi… and I know the difference between the 3…

Languages are stainless steel utensils for all reflections of my Emotional State… visibly convex from outside, and a concealed concave from inside of me… and at 45 years of my life, for the first time, I heard somebody connect a language to a religion… unless I have been outright naïve or straight up stupid at the same time in those 4 decades and a half to have missed any seminal connect between religion and language…

Until about 3 years ago… when I was on the road on my way from Bengaluru to Coorg on a family vacation… Raaja was our driver…

——————–

My car has a sunroof… not the one Raaja was driving that day in Bengaluru… but the one that I drive everyday… I paid extra euros for this sunroof…

Because in the fabulous sunny weather that we have in Mumbai in those two seasons called ‘Hot’ and ‘Hotter’… the sunroof adds as a jazzed addition to all those features that are not available in my car in India… for a price that is double that I pay in India… for the same car that costs half in Germany… and has double the features in Germany…

Now, actually… the car is not the contention… the sunroof is…

A sunroof sounds so sexy in Europe… when you can put a brick on the Accelerator… have your foot on the steering wheel… and stick your neck out of the sunroof… breathe in the fresh green air and clear out your lungs… whenever you can get the sun on your face… in a sun depraved Europe…

It feels good…

And in Mumbai…

You slide the sunroof back… first signs of hot air… gets humid after 20 seconds… a heady mix of air if you still got your AC on… the humid air brings with it the smells of the city… chemicals in Wadala… Hydrogen Sulphide in Malad… garbage dump in Govandi… and stale rotten crap in most other parts of the city…

And bob your head up, as Kavya – my daughter does very often… until that last time a year ago, when the wind and the smells took off her ear drops – the precious little pieces of jewellery that she wears… they just dropped… er… flew away, with the wind… off the sunroof…

——————–

And for the last 19 years ever since Jobs (Steve) found his way back into Apple and said… “The Products suck… there is no Sex in them”…

More so, for the last 9, ever since the first iPhone made its way out of Apple Inc. (which until then was Apple Computer Inc.)…

More specifically so, every couple of years the phone goes back to the wash area… some of my friends go into a frenzy…

I don’t know what they earn or where they squeeze… but my friends invariably seem to have a disposable 50 odd thousand rupees in small change for the “newer”, “whiter washed” version of Rin… er… iPhone…

My friends would tell me of the amazing newer features, added with each newer version… like – you don’t have a physical keyboard on this phone – you can really see your buttered fingerprints on the glass and preserve them for forensics… the glass surface cannot really break – unless you drop it on the grass… it streams videos much faster than all the other phones put together – irrespective of the networks and their speeds which are a legend since we know networks in India…

And finally – wonder of wonders – you can really talk on this newer version of the iPhone… the 7.0… and this time your dialogue may not just be with your friends and dear ones… but also with Siri… the program that works as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator in Apple iOS…

While this is not to eulogise the Cupertino Cupids that keep striking the frenzied Apple fans with an alarming alacrity every year or so… this time, I guess they have really ruffled the fashion world…

After all… Apple is a Fashion Brand… Period… 

And Airpods are the Sex Sticks that promise to Rock your ears…

With the watch, Apple had brought computing on to my skin… and with the wireless pods, it attempts to get closer to my mind… well, quite close…

Finally… the 100 plus year old technology of hi-fidelity sound goes wi-fidelity… puts a host of audiophiles to rant about the jack going away…

——————–

And since this has happened… here’s the double trouble… call it disruption, if you will…

One – Kavya cannot be wearing the Apple Airpods when she bobs her head up from the sunroof… lest the wind blows them off…!

Two – Raaja cannot be a part of the newest revolution by Apple… Siri can’t talk in Hindi… not yet… with Airpods, or otherwise…

You see, Siri is not Muslim…

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

WhatsAppSolutely…

Friday, September 09, 2016

I am a part of 13 WhatsApp groups… of varied sizes, norms, social, cultural and a general worldly orientation…

3 groups I am willingly a part of… and another 10, where I have been ‘volunteered’ to be a part… incidentally, as Social Media matures… I discover both come with abundant grain, grudge and granted responsibility…

From my WhatsApp existence in a Chemical State… I am a WHATSAPP-SOLUTE in those 10 groups where I have been ‘added’ as a part… I am expected to contribute to the emancipation and upheaval of humankind… and bring the native intelligence once in a prescribed while, so that I am relevant to the group…

And in the 3 groups where I am in, out of my volition… I am a WHATSAPP-SOLVENT… a bigger responsibility than the Solute… as here, I am not only expected to bring in the content, but create the content myself (largely)… and ensure that the content that others bring in, is of a palatable and digestible variety… and… in a normal existence, does not harm any mortal, biological structures like the mind, body and the soul…

And both the Solute and the Solvent states often cause some momentous misgivings… WhatsAppSolutely… 

——————–

“Ravi… add Sumit to the group please… he is Amit’s brother”…

I get a ping in the middle of an office meeting last week… this is one of my many granted responsibilities as a Group Administrator… the Solvent role of mine… to add newer members to the Group…

For the last many years that I have lived in this chemical state… I have often meditated about my meaningfulness to my WhatsApp groups… more so at those times when the group size is about to increase… and that happens every time a ‘Homogenous’ Group – say, my alumni from my scholastic institutions… or my professional affiliations… or work / hobby interest groups… or simply put, all my cousins who did not exist before I was ‘WhatsApped’… over time, becomes amorphously ‘Heterogenous’…

And that day… in the middle of this very important 8th meeting in the middle of another ‘meetingful’ day…

I wonder “Who the f*** is Amit in the group…?”

Is it Amit Khanna… or Amitava Dasgupta… or Amith Nair… or Amitabh Iyengar…?

For the Gen Xer in me… the world is full of possibilities when it comes to the names of friends that I grew up with… and someone like me who has grown up in a more cosmopolitan Delhi, where Punjabi is the preferred behavioural language… I discarded the Dasgupta, the Nair and the Iyengar possibilities immediately… my Unconscious Bias, if you will…

Trust me… logically…

  • Amitava Dasgupta cannot possibly have a Sumitava – as his brother… I haven’t heard that before…
  • Amith Nair’s father, I know, had gone over to Saudi with a gleam and glint of petrodollars when Amith was just about a year old… so, the possibility of a brother was quite ruled out…
  • Amitabh Iyengar, a recent addition to the group and a cousin of one of my childhood sweethearts… is an ‘outlier sample’ in an otherwise densely populated ‘Krishnamacharis’ and  ”Ananthakrishnans’ of the ‘Iyengar World’… come on… how can you be an Amitabh Iyengar… till, of course, Amitabh told me of the secret fascination his mother had for the angry young man (the Bachchan himself)… around the time when Amitabh (the Iyengar) was born… so, for the outlawed nomenclature that Amitabh is… I am sure the Iyengar clan would have thrown up a grumpish ire, if at all there were a possibility of a Sumitabh…

I added Sumit nevertheless… indeed he is Amit Khanna’s brother… I had added Amit last month… I had learnt Amit is called ‘Sonu’ at home… so it left me with no imagination that Sumit is the ‘Monu’ of the house…

——————–

I have many Solutes in my groups… some of my misgivings are when they live up to the labels and characteristics for which they are world famous in these groups…

For example… I have Vijji in my ‘Cousins’ group – who wakes up at 0500 and sends this freshly plucked, flower filled ‘Good Morning’ message… unfailingly, morning after morning… and she puts me to shame every time I wake up at 0505 and respond to her message with a ‘return’ Good Morning…

In my ‘Alumni’ group, there is Shelly who keeps winning awards… with his Food and Culinary exploits as a Chef in Kenya, he has amassed many awards in the last 25 years… enough to adorn his walls, mantelpieces… and wardrobes… now, I tried doing that in my early life and I discovered I ran out of real estate to keep my trophies in places like Delhi and Mumbai… and I had to give up somewhere in the middle… but guess what…? Shelly keeps shaming the rest of us in the group to no end, with photographic evidence of his achievements…

And then there is this ‘Professional Interest’ Group that I am a Solute in… a Group that has been created by my very good friend Arun primarily stemming out of his own interest in books – reading them of course… and with the increasing size of the group, he is often up with a tough task of keeping the members in check… primarily keep them tuned to the purpose of the group, i.e. ‘books’… with much cajoling, coaxing and finally bullying, Arun has been able to achieve adequate sense and sanity… of course, with an occasional joke… or a Deepika Padukone reading a book…

And in this one Group where I have still not been able to figure out my ‘raison d’etre’… there is Simi… a frequent traveler… and Simi would make sure she would post photos of the last trip… while she is on the trip and when she comes back… she makes sure I feel like I am a couch potato, with that TV remote in my hand… and that I live in locales devoid of naturally endowed mountains… the seas… the lakes… and the turtles in those lakes…

Come on, Simi… I travel too… I don’t think anybody travels the kind of miles that I do… 90 miles to and fro work every day…

I see people around me… people with mobile phones in their hands… many on WhatsApp… many with a smile on their faces… they just received this joke from one of their friends in their group… a funny photograph… or just another invitation to party tonight…

How beautiful is that…!

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

Butt Seriously…

Friday, September 02, 2016

I am often accused of NOT being serious in life… at times the accusation is gravely ornamented with the adverb ‘ENOUGH’…

More so, in recent times ever since I have revived my weekly craving to create this digital dust on my blog site… the blame borders on HOW and WHY I keep to the lighter side of life… particularly when I reference some of my sightings – like the birds and the bees in the morning… and the fireflies in the night… and the mention of some of my friends, old and new, in my musings… in giving some colour to an otherwise discernibly respectful life that I earn… that of going to work… work… and coming back from work…

Hmmm… how disastrous can that get for someone to censure me… I feed 4 mouths (including mine) through a post tax income… and many others including my father, father-in-law, and many of their neighbours and their spouses on my pre tax income…

(For the record, both my father and my father-in-law – not to mention my mother-in-law – had pensionable jobs… and their post retirement lifestyles are fed through my pre tax income…)

And for a life after my work life… I have to work…

Now… I am accused of NOT being serious in life…???

——————–

For as long as I remember… I had this massive collection of glass marbles… the variety, that you would, as a young kid, want to really amass in numbers and have a collection of red, green, blue… and every other hue in your vast repertoire of a rainbow… the white Chabootri… and the black, we kids used to call the Cobra

One fine day, my father discovered I needed to be rid of them as I was overtly focused on amassing these through sullying my hands, my clothes, my body, my mind, my soul… in winning more and more marbles through contests and games with my friends in the neighbourhood… and when I was sleeping one fine morning… he decided to dump them all in the drain that flows through the street… with no heed to an otherwise fragile drainage system in our country…

That was the first time I remember I had put my bare hands in the drain and was able to retrieve most of them marbles… not for the marbles themselves… but for the sake of the country’s fabled drainage system… which, because of the marbles thrown into it by an irresponsible father… would have choked to further decadence…

And that night… I stank of a drainage that would not in the least, befit my brahminical upbringing…

And I was accused of NOT being serious…??? Hmmm… 

——————–

And that afternoon… when my first girl friend in life waited for a full 8 minutes for me at the back of the Principal’s room in my school, after having been invited by me for ‘a small little most important conversation of my life with her’… and I was still gathering my wits to say “Hey – I want to be friends with you”

And all she had to say was… “Aren’t we already friends?”

I did not know which way to look… for all that I knew was that my witty side of life was still in its nascent stages of evolution… and I wasn’t using a fraction of the Einsteinian 8% of my brain… so that I could come back with an appropriate repartee…

Wasn’t that a serious commitment that I thought I was stepping into with my girl friend… but for the next few minutes figuring out what struck me around my infatuation at that tender age of 15 years that I was…?

My girlfriend was pretty serious… not about me, but about her beau in college… whom she promptly married on Day 6 of having left college…

——————–

And that occasion in mid life after school when I resisted myself my first drink till I was 25 (and it wasn’t beer)… for the love of an ‘Old Monk’ at my young age – that quintessential dark rum… was but, a serious step towards a mature start to inebriation called life…

——————–

And leaving that job at Hyatt Regency Delhi without a job at hand… with a confirmed conviction that I would land up in a CEO’s role at American Express (the Blue Box) – my first real ‘Employer of Choice’… after 3 months and 8 interviews…

Was nothing less serious…

Come on… 3 months and 8 interviews… and then in the 8th and the final interview with Raman Roy (the father of BPO in India)… which lasted a precise 46 seconds in his office on the 1st floor at Basant Lok in Delhi…

I enter Raman’s office and he asks me – “What is Ravi Kodukula…?”

In all its seriousness of the question… and weighing in my gravity of wit… I had responded with a straight face… “Ravi Kodukula is a guy who can smoke a cigar with Prince Charles… a hookah with the Rana of Mewar… and a beedi with a labourer on the roadside…”

——————–

I did not land the job of a CEO… but I did land myself in what I can conveniently vouch today as one of the first ‘Call Centre Rep’ jobs in the country… circa 1992… much before India knew what Call Centres were…

And SERIOUSLY, I had worked my butt off for the next 13 years that I had spent with the Blue Box… my longest with any employer… and which is still closer to my heart…

BUTT SERIOUSLY…

“Baazeecha-e-atfal hai, duniya mere aage… Hota hai shab-o-roz, tamasha mere aage…”

– Mirza Ghalib… circa ~1830…

(The world is a playground that unfolds as a theatre in front of my eyes…day… and night…)

And if it does… How can I ever get Serious…?

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula…