Monday, December 15, 2008

Dadhood and how - Part Tres: Happy birthday Prataparudhra

Its 13th December. The day our son was born. An year flew past me in a flurry of watching our son growing. I bet every parent feels an over-whelming happiness which consumes everything else. Work pressure, traffic, discord; everything is transformed into happiness. I am reminded of a quote by Salinger J D which goes thus.

"I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy"

Marcus Aurelius put it in a very simple line
"Very little is needed to make a happy life."

That "little" is my son, my prince, my Prataparudhra.

One year passed and he transformed from a sleeping bundle of joy to a hyper energy propelled naughty, inquisitive, attention seeking, full of mirth reason for happiness. The image created for his birthday show all of these attributes. He drives his mother crazy with his zeal for exploring below the kitchen sink, the bathroom drains etc. Anytime one of us go out the front door, he is to be taken else we are driven insane by his high voltage, high decibel rebellion.

All our frustration, anger, irritation is lost in a jiffy when he beams his angelic smile. What more shall I tell you. He has a lot of toys but they are no good if they are not in his parent's hands. He wants only those things which we use - cups, glasses, spoons etc. He has discovered sound. Sound made by banging pots and pans. All day he goes bang, bang, ting, ting, trang bang......

In the risk of quoting Marco Polo again and again - "What more shall I tell ?" I risk re-writing Schiller's 'Ode to joy'

The cup of joy brimmeth,
But never spills,
As kith and kin share,
And are joyful for us.

Prataparudhra, the apple of my eye,
Watches with wary eyes,
All those who greet him,
And bless him.

Smiles at everyone
Who comes to see him
Wanting them to come again
And cuddle him

after whom you are named
keeps goddesses Strife and Fury
at bay

You are our happiness
which we share and spread
like the sun god spreads
warmth and light.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dadhood and How Part Deux

Part one of this series is at "Dadhood and How"

Suddenly yesterday I realised that my son is all of 7months now and has started his eighth month. Time has flown by I never noticed. Cuddling him every day I would feel the effect of happiness (sometimes preceded by despair) flowing through me. You might ask how despair? well some days he just goes yaan! yaan! yaan! for hours together and a few times into the night. What ever you do, there is no solace for him and he goes yaan! yaan! to yyyyaaaaaaaaaaannn! If this does not drive you to despair what will? And then you get a brain wave and you do something right and he just sleeps in your arm and you feel the happiness flowing through you. I sang to him a couple of times and he actually liked my voice. I crooned and he went to sleep in my arms. I was worried that if I laid him in the crib he would awaken I slept in the armchair with him in the crook of my arm. The emotions welled in me and I went to sleep with a happy mind. Waking up every joint creaked but the mind was fresh and the heart was well hearty!!!

To take him out for walks we bought a pram for him. And he just loves it. Only thing during his walks he stares at people who want to cuddle him during. He does not like it one bit if somebody pinches his cheeks and says "choo chweet". But bring him back from his walk and you see his happiness to remain in the pram

This is the exact stare that he has on his walks.
A few days now he is enjoying all the attention at his granny's place and I am left forlorn without him. (my wife teases me that I am more forlorn without him than her).

Does anyone out there know why my baby doesn't like clothes??? Beats me. I tried to clothe him and with the amount of writhing he does we can churn butter out of milk. But anyways the ordeal starts with putting on his nappy/diaper. He would stay on his back and so I hold him with my left hand and diaper him up with my right. That is right all ye women out there, I have actually mastered one handed diarpering a baby. But he likes it not one bit. After the diaper, the shorts/trousers/pants are a cake walk. Then starts the real trouble his shirt/vest.

  1. I nimbly put in one of his hands into the shirt.
  2. Then for the next one. He holds it ramrod stiff in the air.
  3. So I remove the first hand and put it in the second one (the one that is stiff).
  4. He knows me by now and the first hand goes stiff. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
  5. So start from beginning again.
  6. But now I am crooning to him.
  7. So in goes the first one
  8. He is very happy listening to me that he forgets to stiffen his other hand.
  9. Before he realises it, the other hand is in and the shirt is buttoned up.
  10. Then he knows that he is all clothed up.
  11. Resigns to the fact and he is all y gumdrops.

Somedays he just exasperates his mother so much that she decides it is a crime for me to be so happy all alone and she plunks him on my hands. Even if I am sleeping. This has happened a few times enough to make me an expert with him playing in my hands and me sleeping soundly. (Tongue out to all those EXPERT mothers).

He likes me talking to him in adult language (not baby talk) see his expressions
What do I talk to him about. I ask him how he has troubled his mom during the day. Did he do this? Did he do that? I tell him about my day. During this time you should see the expression on my wife's face. She has stopped asking me "how was your day" after getting repeatedly grunts and hrrmphs, huh! huh! and many such primitive expressions from me.

I actually well up with pride when my wife says "Sometimes you are a better parent than me". "SOMETIMES" I ask. EVERYTIME I assert. Her answer to this is an irritating TONGUE OUT.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention, he loves water.
You can watch the slide show here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Indian History - Woe betide those who write the text books

I was forwarded a link about the great Mahadji Scindia (Shinde). It berides the talk of heroic English army which was routed by a horde of native barbarians led by Mahadji Scindia. you can read the full text here. I came to know the existence of Mahadji Scindia a few years ago courtesy Sanjay Khan's "The Great Maratha". Till that time I knew not that the third battle of Panipat was fought by the Marathas against Ahmed Shah Abdali (Durrani). Till my 10th standard I did not know much about the Marathas except for Shivaji and his unnatural and unwanted (sic) hatred for Aurangzeb. After 10th Indian history became that - history till again when I appeared for the UPSC. That is when I became a full fan of history. I would devour every known material and post reading conclude ruefully - Indians to be born and those already existing will die knowing not what legacy they hold. The only legacy we seem to have is the sacrifice of the freedom fighters (that only a few well named ones). I doubt anybody north of Tamil Nadu (and may be even within) have heard of VOC (V O Chidambaram) or the Kakatiyas/Satavahana of Andhra desa or Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu, Alluri Sitaram Raju and many more such unsung heroes. Government after government does not even recollect them but also panders to the neo-historians and ensures that the true heroes are never recollected.

When I came to Pune and with Gods good graces took up accommodation near a temple. The temple is called Shinde Chatri. When I went there knowing not what or whose temple it was; I was pleasantly surprised. I had with me my young nephew who went gaga seeing the pictures. We spent 2 hours there re-living the third battle of Panipat and the battle of Wadgaon. Google maps link to Shinde Chatri, Pune

After reading the current post, I believe that like all those nations who have lost their connection to the past, we will be coming to a face when India will have to resurrect in all glory. What the honchos who decide and write Indian history forget is that they will be gone in oblivion, but the truth stick like the monitor lizard or Goh.

Woe betide those who want the great people of this once-upon-a-time great nation to be ashamed of the centuries of British rule and also those who look at the British rule as nostalgic.

Some images

V O Chidambaram Pillai

Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu

Alluri Sitaramaraju (Could not locate a bigger picture of him)

Links to the Kakatiyas
On Wikipedia

I am so much enamoured by the Kakatiyas that I named my son after one of their greatest kings - Prataparudhra

Links to the Satavahana

More Indian Dynasties (Does not include the Nehru Clan - You have enough sycophants for them)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dadhood and how

You read the precursor Post "A Dad is born"

My Cutie pie, my Rudhravatar, My Prataparudhra. Thats my son sleeping contended and happy. Seeing him sleep gives me a lot of pleasure and happiness. What more can a man ask when his child smiles and bids adieu every morning and welcomes you back with a smile after a hard day's toil. I did not believe my sis when she used to say "All frustrations are washed away by the divine smile of your child". Now I understand what she meant. If any day Rudhra my son does not smile and bid me adieu, I feel down in the dumps. I was hoping that we would have our child atleast 2 years after our marriage, but God and nature decided otherwise. Please!!! I am not complaining. Its just a fact.
He pouts, he cries, he bawls, he scratches and he has a mighty kick. At least one every day when I lift him up to burp him. Of late his cries have turned a notch higher in the pitch. they come out as a shriek. And the fact that he mouths a lot of shrieks before going to sleep is making it difficult to ascertain if he is crying or communicating (Is there a difference). My wife is very good at understanding what each kind of shriek means and what does it communicate. I am learning. for example

1. Hand in mouth and creating sounds - Nothing much but just pacifying himself. Check if he has colic. If no then relax. My granny says he is communicating with the gods.
2. Turn around on his belly and try lift his head and shriek. This depends on when he had his last feeding. If he had a belly full and does this then it is a sign of happiness and contentment. Otherwise it means, stop fooling around and give me some food and put me to sleep. Any delay in this process means - high pitched angry shrieks and scratches and kicks. I learnt it the hard way.
3. near tears crying - usually means very hungry. Mujhe Khana Do. You can see him bawling.

For more videos visit Them here. When he cries I cry because I cannot bear to see him cry. The other day my wife had a tough time consoling me. We went to the good doc for his vaccination and When the doc used the injection syringe a high pitched cry emanated from him and I could not stand it. This was the first time I had seen it live. A few minutes later he stopped crying, but I would not. I held him close and would not give him to my wife to console. All through the journey back I could not stop the tears from flowing.

Watching him play is another joy. he keeps flexing his arms and legs and then slowly goes to sleep. Oh! what joy in watching little things.

He bawls, He cries,
He kicks and scratches
But I won't complain since
he is my bundle of joy.

Made in the Image of God
To rule over our lives
And makes changes galore
to our life style
But I won't complain since
he is my bundle of joy.

A prince among people
A king who lords over others
The slightest wish needs to be fulfilled
But I won't complain since
he is my bundle of joy.

Night or day is the same for him
Tis matter not if it is different for us
All that matters is my Prince, my king.
My PRATAPARUDHRA, the lord of valour.

There are times when exhilaration strikes you. One such time was when Rudhra turned over when I was watching and I could capture that. Enjoy the videos below.

Start the operation

Finished Turning

And the glee after that.

What more Can one ask for? Watching your child grow I suppose is one of the greatest happiness ever .

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Travails of a S/w programming position Interviewer

I was reading a back dated copy of the Indian Express. There was a quote from the Nasscom chair: Mr Karnik saying that the rate at which the IT sector is growing is a cause of concern since the needed skilled people are in short supply. This was corroborated by a report in the TOI (A paper I still detest, but dare say makes a good packaging material) which talks about the rising cost of IT-labor force in India. But the grade of interviews I take makes me think - either I am a gargoyle or the people sent to me to be interviewed just do not have IT. I seem to have set a record of sorts at the place I work - 4 selections from over 200 interviews and I am glad to say barring one the rest are with us still.This puts a lot of strain on the HR team managing the recruitment process. Time and again I bowed to the temptation of reducing the level of questions I usually posed the candidates and (sigh!!!) all the time I was disappointed. To top it all I get a feedback that the questions I ask are very difficult. That decided my dilemma. I took a sabbatical from interviews for about 3 months. And was I glad that I stood vindicated when I started taking interviews again or was I sorry that the story is still the same. All interviews were bland and we are still looking for our candidates.

That being given, I did a unscientific random sampling from the resumes that reached my desk and here are the findings. Mind you they are rather discriminatory, biased and not very flattering. Biased because I am one of those at the receiving end of interviewers who did no believe that a person with a non-tech academic qualification can be a good programmer.

Have Fancy designations : 80%
From Known IT Corporations : 90%
Have Completed some certification or the other : 70%
People claiming more than 5 years of experience in programming : 70%
People claiming an Engineering degree from BIG ENGG Colleges: 40%

Given that above demographics, the findings are

Know the Work/Deliverables in code : <>
Know even the basics of programming : < 1%

Number of people selected from the 1% -Just 1

A glance would hurl these details outside the window. These are not stupid people. They find me a gargoyle because what I ask them they have not even heard of. The range of candidates I have interviewed span from
Mute Lamb to "I am doing a favour to you by getting you to interview me". In India the number of years of experience count more than what you have actually done and learnt during those years. So a person with more than 7years of experience carries an attitude of "Don't touch me. I am a senior".

Then you have the next category: I will not work in these technologies. I have one advice for them. Don't call yourself a programmer. Lets face it, call yourself a s/w specialist or s/w engineer with a senior, junior, chief, principal tag attached, but you are first and foremost a programmer. I have interviews candidates calling themselves, team leads, module leads, PL, TL, PM and more, but none of them were a programmer not even remotely.

The category that makes me angry the most is the "Rote". How can anyone with say 90% and above score in a Sun certfication be so withdrawn from technology. Asking them about the understanding of a question (which was asked in the certification) is like showing Kryptonite to super-man. What these people have done is read up whole question banks and transferred the answers to memory using magnificent technique called "ROTE". Realise one thing - A certification might pull your resume higher in the stack, but it aint guaranteeing a job.

People with lot of experience or "BIG" quallifications tend to make up for their lack of programming and technology skills with "Attitude of the wrong type"

What you have is a classic "All steersman and 1 rower" situation. Why don't people realise that so many managers are not needed and if they are needed then that job is not worth doing. Vice president Grass cutting does not make the job very rosy it still remains dead brown and alive green. I recollect that during college days when pursuing a PG Diploma in MIS (which I did not complete by way for reasons similar to my diatribe) technical growth of a programmer was illustrated as follows

Trainee Programmer--> Associate S/w Engineer-->S/w Eng--> TL-->PL-->PM and so on. According to this continuum a person stops being a programmer after 2 years of working in an IT company in India. And that is a fact.

Sample these answers to the questions "You are in a good position. Why are you looking for a change?"

less than 35% of respondents have said "I want to get back to technology"

Technology graduates don't work in technology, they work with technology.

God help all those MCA, IITians, Msc Comp science and all those with a Non-IT academic qualification, you have only "your" help. Nobody else will help you.