C for Crazy, K for KK

I have known Kaustubh Katdare for 11 years now. I continued to know him since I met him because I liked him playing guitar and singing Kishore Kumar for us, we liked walking, eating bhel and mocking at people and because some where our thoughts were alike. In fact I was probably the first person to laugh at him when he joined a GRE class in Pune. Little did I know that I’d be interviewing him in the form of a budding entrepreneur. The_Big_K is the apt way to start the interview series. I hope you enjoy it.

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i. Your superblog has been a popular stupidity buster. How stupid do you think people thought it was? What kind of reactions you faced?

K: I started blogging because corporate world forced me to. I sincerely believed that my managers were insane. In corporate world any simple decision would mean : Decision to call for a meeting – Time wastage in getting the right conference room – Time wastage in asking the co-workers to vacate it so that we could get in no later than 10 minutes after our scheduled time – dialing remote team’s conference phones – waiting for them – reading out agenda – resolving disputes on agenda items – tackling everyone’s intelligence – finally arriving at a consensus defined by the manager – assigning ‘task’ items and documenting them all in the name of ‘process’. I needed a place to vent out my frustration and blog was my secret place to do it. I observed that the shabby looking, never smiling and always ‘busy looking’ coworkers were rated higher in appraisals and got better paychecks. Slowly, I started realizing that people exhibit stupidity almost everywhere in various forms and levels. Continue reading

Ask questions to Wolfram Alpha creator

Guys, here is a golden opportunity for you to ask questions to Dr. Stephen Wolfram, the creators of Wolfram Alpha! For those who dont know, Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine that draws on multiple sources to answer user queries directly.

Dr. Wolfram has agreed to have a short conversation with Crazyengineers. Interested to have your queries answered? just click–> here!

Guest Post: Surviving a Party

Here is the first Guest post by a Delhi boy Prateek Varma aka Patty aka CEan raj87verma88. I know Patty for almost 2 years. He one of the most influential member of our forum Crazyengineers.com. Apart from being a bike freak and conceiving a robot (CE Bot), Patty is also a student of Mechanical Engineering. Enjoy!

Surviving A Party

All of you must have got the feeling of boredom at least once during a party. Sometimes not exactly boredom, but you wish you weren’t there, you feel lost and helpless. There is a big gathering of people, an uncle is shamelessly goring himself on some dish and making sure his shirt doesn’t stay hungry. Then there is the irritating aunt who spots you while you are trying to hide behind the “Golguppa” counter.

But you have to make sure that it seems you are enjoying. Because if you give even a slight hint that you are not, then the host/hostess presume that it may be something they said or did and one of them sticks with you like a leech for the rest of the party or sends a waiter trailing behind you, whose only purpose in life is to either bring you delicacies without you asking for any or ask you first and still bring a topped up plate even if you had declined the offer.

The old aunts are one of the most lethal. They ask questions that would put even the RAW’s interrogation team to shame. Each answer you give, will give birth to another question, and if you don’t, then too another question following by a sarcastic jibe coated with humour. This continues till they either find a new prey or you collapse. Some oldies I know had a strange habit of poking me in the rib cage during marriages and chuckling with a toothless grin, “You are the next in line”. They stopped after I started doing the same thing at funerals.

In every marriage or party there are a couple of people who are usually very quite, but give them a a few drinks and they will give you one the strangest dance performances ever. Their steps are either derived from animals eg Snake Dance, Constipated Monkey, decapitated eel, etc or from day to day activities eg Flying a Kite, Laying plates on a table, washing clothes etc.

With the variety of snacks being served, by the time, it is time, for the main courses, you are too full to even look at the food. Now this is a typical Catch-22 situation. If you don’t eat, you either offend the host and they will continue to feel bad about it and make it known to you via slight hints and jibes now and then till judgment day, and make you eat some against your will, or they think you are feeling shy and literally force something down your throat. If you say yes, and have some just to please the hosts, they will keep coming back to you and force feed you, as if your stomach is a bottomless pit.

Many times a strange person you don’t recognize, creeps up to you and starts a conversation. He says that you had met before, and acts like he is your best buddy. You smile and laugh throughout the conversation while wondering, “who the hell this guy is?”. After the party, you take the courage to ask someone and they give such a searching look as if wondering whether you are from this planet or not.

Sometimes while you are sitting at the table, the person to your right is busy in conversation with the person to his/her right, and the one on your left is talking to someone on his/her right. You have two options here, either start crying softly over your bad luck or start singing a solo while using the spoon and plate as drum and sticks. But here also do not let the hosts know you are disengaged or they would feel responsible to you and start an emergency conversation which you don’t want.

Make others believe that you are talking to someone. Make it seem as if you are looking towards someone and keep nodding you head or say “Yes”, “No”, make some expressions from time to time.

Another way to kill time is make some sculpture out of the food on your plate or try to balance your spoon on your nose. But make sure, it seems you are doing this for someone. From time to time look up and say something which shows your either making this for someone or teaching them some fine culinary trick.

The last resort could be, going the ‘child way’. Start acting like a 5 year old. Go down on all fours, sneak below the table and growl like a tiger to startle someone, or steal some sandals and mix them up, tie the shoelaces of the two shoes together etc. Do this until you get kicked out…………………………………… or………………………………………… just take your leave, walk out of the party, go home and sleep.

Crazy Engineers on UTVi

Our website Crazyengineers.com was profiled on UTVi. Here’s the video for you to look at 🙂

http://video.yahoo.com/watch/5010551?fr=yvmtf

Are we heading for a recession?

I asked the same question on CE as well. Here is an extract of what I wrote.

Bear Sterns collapsed
Lehman Brothers files for Bankruptcy
Merrill Lynch sold
Bank of China reduces interest rates
Citi, HSBC, Barclays bank all posting losses in billions
World’s largest insurance company begging for bridge loan on $20billlon
Stock markets all over the world plummeting to record lows
Reserve Bank of India fighting to curb inflation
Companies laying off employees all over the place
Fluctuating oil prices

Whats happening to the world? Experts say the doomsday is very near. Are we headed for the greatest recession?

I’m feeling very sad to accept that world indeed might be heading for a recession. Although there are no confirmations yet. But the signs have started appearing. Some one like AIG asking for a bridge loan of $20billion or more is enough reason for me to believe that the bear has struck. Every speculator is obviously speaking his/her own language. But none as of now is ready to accept that the economy is indeed shaken, not just in the US but across the world. But the question here is, how long are we going to be dependent on the economy and growth of just one nation? No longer I think. This is the time for China and India to strike.

If you ask me are we heading for a recession? I would say no. At least not India.

Update: This picture really excited me. So I had to include it Take a snapshot preview.    🙂

CE meet in Mumbai Announced

HUrray! So I’m getting to host a CE meeting in Mumbai. Following is the announcement I made on CE that I’m copy pasting here.

🙂

Formal Announcement


CE Mumbai meet on 20th September 2008.

Venue: Cafe Coffee Day at Dadar (E)

Time: 1700 hrs (5:00pm) IST.

Agenda:
(1) Fun
(2) Fun and CE
(3) Having fun in growth and betterment of CE
(4) New initiatives and more fun
(5) Importance of Music and Coffee

Directions: The CCD at Dadar (E) is just 2 min away from Dadar Station/Terminus and Khodadad Circle. Exact address is given below

Cafe Coffee Day
“Dharam Putra” Building
Pritam Estates
Shop no-20-21,
Plot no.43, Ground Floor,
Dadar- E

How to get there:

  1. You can take a local train direct to Dadar if you are located on the central or western line. Just get out of the station on the East side and start walking away from the station (you will see Axis Bank on your right and Swaminarayan Temple on the left). People from harbour line can get down at Wadala/Kurla and take a taxi to Dadar station.
  2. BEST bus service in Mumbai is truly best and there are buses coming from virtually every location in Mumbai to Dadar. check Welcome to BEST Route network to know your route.
  3. If you decide to come by Taxi, tell him to drop you at Dadar Station and there ask for the above address.
  4. People coming from Pune by bus, all buses (private and government) halt exactly in front of the CCD. So no worries.
  5. People coming from else where, get down at Dadar station, come out in the east side and follow above directions.

All guys can send me an IM/mail for more details and also for contact details.

Look forward to meet you all and have more fun

__________________
Mayur Pathak, Chief Editor, Blog Me, Contact me,

Happy Birthday Mayur

27 years 6 hours and 8 minutes and 27 seconds, that is my age right not. Its amusing how fast the time has passed (see, another 10 seconds gone) and I’m left now to look and get amused 🙂

I’m enjoying the footage I’m getting… really. 🙂 First, some of my friends and family members wished me, as early as they could manage. My wife of course is already excited (more than me) for how are we going to celebrate. Then I had SMS wishes from others expected and some unexpected ones, like all my banks, credit card managers, Airtel, Maruti-Suzuki, Lifestyle etc. Even a small shop in Pune where I bought some Tees some time back sent an SMS. Wow… birthdays are good.

They put a mail to every one in office and declared its my birthday. It took me 15min to shake hands with all the visitors before I could switch my computer on. When I did, my gmail already had 10-15 other emails, from my own CE, Astrology.com, bookmyshow.com … many of them whom I don’t even remember to have visited.

Anyway, birthday is actually a good time to start (or at least make) a resolution. I wish good to always help me take right decisions through out my life. I wish he helps me achieve my goals (Read here)

Happy Birthday Mayur!

An email from Ahmadabad

Have you guys read the new book by Chetan Bhagat, “Three mistakes of my life?” I almost lived in Chetan’s shoes last weekend. This is how…

I was about to wrap up and go home on a lazy Friday when a mail popped up on my  CE account. One Devesh Shah (name changed) had written me a heartfelt request. In his mail this guy from Ahmadabad congratulated me on featuring in the news paper. (This was in connection with the suicide of Sandeep Shelke and the discussion we had on CE. Read here.) He appreciated my views and said he was in a similar situation. His employer was exploiting him. He had an option to quit, albeit he was bound by a service agreement (bond… in layman’s term.) He tried to negotiate but they threatened him to hand over to police and ruin his career if he fled. The guy was running out of options and was seeking my help.

The mail left a morbid feeling in my mind. I gulped some saliva and replied asking him to keep cool. I told him to talk to his manager and also offered to talk on his behalf as his elder brother. The guy replied saying he feared the worst was nearing him. In a feat of fear, I also offered to search a job for him in Mumbai. I wrote a lengthy mail detailing various ways of escape including how to break a bond. This guy didn’t reply and I had no other way to contact him. I couldn’t enjoy my weekend. I checked my mails to see if he replied. He didn’t. My nerves were getting colder when finally on Monday, I received a reply. He thanked me for the support and said he managed to negotiate with his Manager. He offered to complete his project in exchange of relief from the bond. (I forgot he was a Gujrati, hence good at negotiation.)

A breather for me, but this guy sure unsettled my nerves.

Laptop a status symbol? Please…

I was chatting with my friend Kaustubh today and as usual we were in the process to malign the world stupidity. Hurray! Well, he mentioned that a guy very senior in his company mentioned once in a speech that Laptop these days is actually a status symbol. At the very moment I wished if we were on video conference so that I could have shown him the disgust on my face. I mean, laptop a status symbol? please… give me a break.

It reminds me of a friend (read colleague) who bought a shiny new Toshiba Satellite. Well he had no use of it except watch some Hindi and English movies (Read xxx rated. I know the friend would kill me if he reads the blog and finds out that I actually bitched him. But I’m not worried, he is an Idiot :mrgreen:). When I came to know, I said mate, why not a Sony Vaio with multimedia features?

Gosh! Please guys, laptop is NOT a status symbol or a style icon. If I have to boast some style I would rather wear a Versace suit, put on a Hugo Boss or a Nombre Noir perfume, wear a Chanel or BVLGARI watch, shoes from Prada and get my mobile designed a.k.a. Bang & Olufsen or Samsung Armani.  I would  drive a BMW M6 coupe or get a Bentley Continental GT chauffeur driven.

Why are you staring like that? Is it not enough style?

Thinking is such a waste of time

This was a punch line in one of the Hero Honda CBZ advertisement. Although I don’t believe in that line at all, I found the attitude of the male model who acted very addicting. I think it was about little more than a year before that this ad had featured on television. I used to drive a Honda scooter that time (Honda Dio to be specific.) Still I liked to flaunt the attitude, despite being opposite. I think too much.

Anyway, the punch line I believe, came from somebody’s brain who has a keen sense of observation. Because thinking indeed is a waste of time for lot of people around us. They distributed the appraisal letters in my company today. As expected, 99% of my colleagues were unhappy. (PS: I escaped the appraisal this year because I left my earlier company on the brink of financial year ending and didn’t join another one till the start of new financial year). This is absolutely normal, considering 15% average appraisal is ‘low’. So I asked the guys if they were enjoying the work. The common answer was, yes but salary is very low. So I asked what was the reason for joining, or for that matter working in this field? They said their friends were getting paid higher elsewhere and they wanted to join them too. My next question to them: What motivates you, money , brand name, designation or profile? People had distributed answer… when I asked why or why not? They had NO answer. Then came my or any body’s nonpareil question… the one, ‘What is your aim in life? OR Have you thought about a career path and do you know how to achieve it?’ You wouldn’t believe, most of them said who cares… I want big salary, posh office, plush apartment, and I want to enjoy my life. Excuse me! How on earth do you think you can enjoy? Forget enjoyment, how are you planning to achieve it? Why do you people not think?

My wife gets surprised when I reject new job offers. One company had offered me double the salary I’m earning right now. I said no, because it didn’t allow me to reach where I want to go. I don’t THINK thinking is a waste of time. There is more to it, but I’m too eager to push for the weekend. :lazy:

PS: We recently interviewed Mr. Subu Goparaju, VP and Head SET labs, INFOSYS on Crazyengineers. Click here to read it.