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Posts Tagged ‘woes and worries’

“Sir, Inda thanni, kanni, su…”

“Sir!”

Surströmming, inda pazhakkam ellam illenga.”

“Oh, why the pause vittu punch dialouge?”

Courtesy Karthi and Santhanam in Saguni.

So, coming to the story, I was in Sweden a couple of months ago, to meet one of my mad-ass-scientist-in-the-making friend at Uppsala. To help me get a comprehensive Swedish experience, he recommended 3-activites:

1. You should go to IKEA

Yeah, the Swedish giant who has pretty much changed the concept of furnishing worldwide. So I spent three hours of my Uppsala visit to go look at living rooms, dining rooms, toilets, and stuff, at the end of which I spent a good hundred krona on random things (thanks to miscalulating EUR-SKK conversion rates).

2. You should play innebandy

Enna vandi? Inne-bandy. A famed swedish sport. It’s apparently called floorball in English, and my understanding is that it is a basketballed version of hockey using a plastic ball with holes. It was fun, super-exhausting, and made me realise I need to work out to stay fit. Oh yeah, getting fit is another post to be.

3. Eat Surströmming

Surströmming is a traditional Swedish dish. Made of fermented fish. One of the mysteries of life. My understanding says that it’s probably the most foul smelling thing known to mankind, thanks to a great melange of butyric, propionic, acetic acids and good ‘ol H2S. It seems it is opened submerged in water so that the smell doesn’t fill the place. In fact, if there were ever a contest of worst-smelling-food, Surströmming would bag the gold:

Surströmming bags the gold, followed by Japan's Kusaya and Korea's Hongeohoe.

Surströmming wins gold, miles ahead of Japan’s Kusaya and Korea’s Hongeohoe.

The history to Surströmming goes back a long way. One cool myth is that the Fins played a long con on the Swedes:

Swedish sailors go out with fish not preserved properly (low Sodium diet, let’s say). They go to Finalnd, and think they’d sell it off to them. The fins buy it, patiently wait a year, and when the sailors returned, they said “hey guys, you got more of that stinky fish? We really loved it! We want more!!” And since then the Swedish people have been liking it. What I wonder is, did these dumbass* Swedish sailors ever see the Fins eat it? I presume the Finnish people responded to the sailors on the first of April, giving an explanation to the French phrase, poisson d’avril, quite literally.

So the more important point: no, I didn’t eat the darned thing. I love my life too much to just throw it away on pungent food. I know my Swedish experience is and will always be incomplete, but I can live with that. Amen!

P.S.: I put up a humble request to The Oatmeal to make a poster out of this. I sincerely hope that he can able to make a kickass infogram out of it.

*I only feel that these Swedish sailors from the myth are dumbasses, and the term is by no means a generalisation to Swedish people. I like Sweden and Swedish folks – they’re some of the most innovative people I’ve seen, but these sailors are just douchebags.

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I have a problem. I get distracted easily. Very easily. And my attention span is becoming shorter than that of a goldfish. Speaking of goldfish, it seems it isn’t true that their memory lasts only five seconds – ask wikipedia. Speaking of wikipedia, it’s amazing how they run that website without advertisements, and how something free could have so much of reliable content. Speaking of content, if only their contribution system was more user-friendly and didn’t look like a geeky computer programming page, I would have also contributed. But yeah, I shouldn’t talk about giving reasons – I’m just lazy. And now I’m wondering how my line of thought is drifting so fast! Much like how Sheldon Cooper explains his train of thoughts. And then how he dreams of trains in the episode “The Herb Garden Germination” (The Big Bang Theory s04e20):

Sheldon: I’ve been thinking about Dr. Green’s efforts to make science palatable for the masses.
Leonard: What about it?
Sheldon: Nothing. I’ve just been thinking about it. Now I’m thinking about fractal equations. Now I’m thinking about the origins of the phrase ‘train of thought’. Now I’m thinking about trains.
Sheldon: Now I’m thinking about Jello. . . . Oh! Back to trains. Whoo whooooo!

So you see my point? I get distracted quite easily. In fact, I drift away while talking, which would be much seconded by my dear friends. I do, however, in most cases, come back to where I broke off. So why this article: distraction is probably what keeps my mind running! So here’s a nicer example of what pushed me into facebook in the middle of a working Friday. Okay, don’t laugh at me saying who works on a Friday in France – I’ve had my bad experiences, but here’s what happened this Friday:

It all started when a friend of mine asked me if I had access to a scientific article. This one, to be precise:

Image

Well, we didn’t have access. So I thought I’d ask some friends of mine who might perhaps. My trusted Trio – well, the three people I keep bothering every second day with some favour or another – one from a cold Sweden, and a couple of Etas-Uni-ers. And they didn’t either. I could have closed the story then, but never give up, right? So I looked at the article again, and noticed that the authors are from Cornell. Wondering whether the University might have subscription, I went into facebook to look for any friends I might have at the Unviersity – none presently there. But then I thought while I’m at it, I might as well see what’s happening on facebook. And then stumbled upon this picture on facebook:

Icky nonsenseYes, it’s one of those pictures that you cannot un-see once you’ve seen. And my friend is good at making sure he hits as many people as possible with such atrocities. And to add to the distraction, I had to see a comment about how that resembles someone who’s eaten too much of noodles. So that got me reminded of the movie se7en – and the first crime in it – murder for the sin of gluttony. And then a few more videos on the movie, how Kevin Spacey surrenders, and gets shot by Pitt, and a couple of other youtube videos on Spacey – and then I remembered electrophoresis. Got back. Ah work, if only you would accommodate all this loss of focus!

P.S.: This blog post took over an hour to type – it included a skype talk in the middle, some motivation from friend to complete a blog post saying that it isn’t energy consuming, and 30-40 mins of wikipedia, google, and wikipedia on google. I think it’s time I call it a night. Before it hits morning. Sigh!

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Here’s my rough understanding of how the Indian education system works:

  • Kids are pushed into school when they’re three two-and-a-half two one-and-a-half.
  • They’re grown up to believe “studying” is the only way they could come up in life. All those sports people who became billionaires through endorsements playing good sports are cheats, and aren’t good enough to be considered role-models.
  • Class 10 is when their intellect is tested the first time. From parents to teachers, kids hear: “this is the most important exam in your life: it makes or breaks your future. Don’t screw it up.”
  • Now every parent’s kid needs to get into a science stream, to become a doctor or an engineer. Those who go into commerce rot in hell.
  • So whether they fare well or not, whether it could be afforded or not, whether the kid wants to go or not, they put them into some engineering colleges (and for the more flamboyant, medical schools).
  • Students pursuing engineering degrees usually get tired of the methods by the end of their first year at college, and branch out into two three kinds:
    • ones that understand the system, and just run smooth. These have bigger plans in mind, and they aren’t really bothered about the system: they just run along till they get out.
    • ones that just care about big grades, and to make maximum worth for the tuition they’ve paid. These arguably pursue it for the sake of holding a degree in hand, and for a job at the end of it.
    • ones who really don’t care a rat’s arse, who eventually rot in those institutions till they clear their exams later or get kicked out.
  • So if you’re a parent, you’d probably argue saying, “at least my son/daughter has passed out with a job in hand. On campus placements make the degree totally worth it. Even if it is an IT job (which in nine out of ten cases has nothing to do with the course endured).”

Or so you think. Step out of the college utopia (?!) and you’d be slapped by the harsh reality of the corporate world. Since folks are hired in bulk (much like contract labourers who go to the middle-east), they’re made to wait.

This is to inform you that your senior batch has just been called. Do keep your fingers crossed, we will call you in due time. In the meanwhile, spruce up your computer skills and be prepped for an eternity of damnation.

After the painstaking wait is done, the call finally comes. And to help the newbies, the previous batch of people who made it to the same company give them tips on how to face the first year:

Dear Friends,

Pls carry these documents when you are going to join the company. These are very important, please dont leave behind anything.

  1. First to Last Semester marksheet (attested xerox + original)
  2. Consolidated marksheet (attested xerox + original)
  3. Transfer certificate (attested xerox + original)
  4. Provisional degree (attested xerox + original)
  5. 10th(X-th) marksheet (attested xerox + original)
  6. 12th(XII-th) marksheet (attested xerox + original)
  7. Birth Certificate should be in ENGLISH ( attested xerox + original) if in case u don’t have your birth certificate u have to get an affidavit from a lawyer towards ur birth place and
  8. date of birth (affidavit should be in a 20 rupees Indian non-judicial stamp paper bought in ur name). NOTE: any other proof is useless as they are very specific about this Birth certificate or affidavit.
  9. Passport, Pan card  (attested xerox + original),
  10. An affidavit from a lawyer that there are no criminal cases pending against in u (affidavit should be in a 20 rupees Indian non-judicial stamp paper bought in ur name).
  11. Ur service agreement in a 100 rupees Indian non judicial stamp paper. NOTE: The person who gives this surety must be an income tax payer.
  12. Form 16 of the surety giver’s attested xerox must be brought and attested passport xerox of the surety giver or PAN card attested xerox of the surety giver must also be brought. these are the supporting documents for ur service agreement and are mandatory.
  13. Call letter and Offer letter.
  14. Formal dress is a must inside the training campus. better have atleast six set of formal dresses.(for gents full slag formal shirt ,formal pant, leather shoes ,belt, tie is must).
  15. Passport Size Photograph.

The person who didnt get the call, u pls check the mail atleast once in a day. Mail may come in Spam Folder also, so check the Spam Folder too.

First to Last Semester marksheet (attested xerox + original)
Consolidated marksheet (attested xerox + original)
Transfer certificate (attested xerox + original)
Provisional degree (attested xerox + original)
10th(X-th) marksheet (attested xerox + original)
12th(XII-th) marksheet (attested xerox + original)
Birth Certificate should be in ENGLISH ( attested xerox + original) if in case u don’t have your birth certificate u have to get an affidavit from a lawyer towards ur birth place and
date of birth (affidavit should be in a 20 rupees Indian non-judicial stamp paper bought in ur name). NOTE: any other proof is useless as they are very specific about this Birth certificate or affidavit.
Passport, Pan card  (attested xerox + original),
An affidavit from a lawyer that there are no criminal cases pending against in u (affidavit should be in a 20 rupees Indian non-judicial stamp paper bought in ur name).
Ur service agreement in a 100 rupees Indian non judicial stamp paper. NOTE: The person who gives this surety must be an income tax payer.
Form 16 of the surety giver’s attested xerox must be brought and attested passport xerox of the surety giver or PAN card attested xerox of the surety giver must also be brought. these are the supporting documents for ur service agreement and are mandatory.
Call letter and Offer letter.
Formal dress is a must inside the training campus. better have atleast six set of formal dresses.(for gents full slag formal shirt ,formal pant, leather shoes ,belt, tie is must).
Passport Size Photograph.
The person who didnt get the call, u pls check the mail atleast once in a day.
Mail may come in Spam Folder also, so check the Spam Folder too.
Note: This guideline is sent based on Last years call letter format. This mail is meant only for prior preparation for ur joining.

Note: This guideline is sent based on Last years call letter format. This mail is meant only for prior preparation for ur joining.

And this informative mail is followed by a lousy all the best (but the guy who sent this should be thanked: at least he gave an insight to those dorks who’re oblivious of what’s coming their way). Read once through and you’d know how preposterous the corporate world is. The apparel: wearing a full-slack formal shirt with a tie in Indian weather is the single most excruciating thing one can be subjected to. They want attested copies along with the originals? Just doesn’t make sense: if you’re going to show them your original certificates, why do they need to be attested? The intellect of these dumbass corporate bosses are just too incomprehensible. It isn’t just bureaucracy, it’s plain dumb. So at the end of it all, I’m convinced into saying, “is this really worth all the pain?!”

God save those who fall into this trap!

And another of my pet peeves: xerox is the name of a company, the copier makes photocopies. Get your English right!

P.S.: Yes, my descriptions of the corporate world have been made based on my knowledge about one IT company (biased perhaps?!). No, I’m not falling into the same trap by signing up for that offer. And yes, I’m glad to pursue academic research.

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