Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kemmanagundi Day 2.

Plan for day 2 was to go to 'Hebbe Falls'. They took us in jeeps on a 10km bumpy ride. Kemmanagundi literally means ditch with red soil. By the time we reached we were completely red. From there we set out on another 2 km downhill trek through a coffee estate and crossed three small water bodies to reach the falls. The sight was splendid! I hadn't planned to get in the water but it was very inviting and got fully drenched in the ice cold water. Back the same route in same jeep this time wet and tired, it was time to leave. What I fail to describe here is the awesome fun that we had every single moment. I guess its not just the place you see and the things you do that matter but the company that really makes the difference. And maybe because it had been so long since I had had such unbridled fun this trip will be remembered for a long time to come.

Kemmanagundi Day 1.

So we did go on our trip, a beautiful hill station 250km from B'lore. Day 1 started with trekking to 'Z point' uphill. The guide kept saying it was an easy terrain, I beg to differ. It only got scarier as we took the narrow path leading up the hill (mini mountain rather),the view down wasn't helping either. One wrong step and you would go sliding all the way down to the jaws of death. With the guide saying things like 'keep to your right...I mean your left' I was sure I wouldn't be going back home after this. En route we stopped at a tiny water falls called Shanti falls. Plan was to reach the hill top to see the sunset, by the time we reached it was pitch dark and the moon was out. Though we were jubilant the thought of reaching back down in the dark was gnawing me. We took the same route back, I don't remember much except there were a lot of nervous laughter until the time we were fully safe. Tea and pakodas later they took us some 4km from base camp in the wild where we were to camp. Save for the bonfire there was absolutely no light, even the moon decided to hide, look all around one could see vast nothingness. Few games,laughter and a good dinner later we retired to the safety of our tents. Sure it was preplanned and there were lots people but this was by far the most adventurous day in my life.

Planning a trip and women at work

I hate organizing trips or organizing anything for that matter. This time however I was desperate to travel, so I volunteered. People at work were excited about the idea of going on a holiday, all we needed was a plan. And a location of course. The guys wanted a place that served cheap booze (read goa or pondy), some preferred mountains while some preferred the sea. After much discussion we had come up with probable list of places to visit. Zeroing in on one place was turning out to be a challenge. I started my research, whichever place was most viable would be chosen. After about 2 days of googling, calling up travel agents, hotels and taxi drivers I finally found out a perfect package tour to a place none of us had visited. Planning the whole trip myself was turning out very taxing and this looked perfect. Whats best, even though this wasn't on our list everyone readily agreed. I was ecstatic. Agreeing on a place followed by choosing a date is the hardest thing when you plan a trip with many people. We had successfully managed to do both. It was a good sign, maybe we were going to pull this one off after all (I have a high failure rate when it comes to going on trips, don't blame me for making a big deal out of this). After the initial inquiry mail I got a reply from the organizers that kids below 11 weren't allowed. My friend who has a 3 year old son (who btw is very cute calls me chechi) was distraught. She asked me to choose another place instead. I wasn't willing to let go and tried my best to suggest alternatives. Maybe her husband could take care of him for the weekend? Maybe she could bring him along but stay away from the adventure activities? When she wouldn't budge I hinted that she should drop out instead of all of us canceling. When she didn't get the hint I gave her an option, I asked her to do all the hard work, come up with an alternate place, make the arrangements and convince others, if she managed to that I'd have no problems else she'd have to back out. It was an impossible task she gave up almost as soon as she started.

Compare the planning of the trip to a project, my friend a team member, I was being the mean old insensitive manager! Just because she had a family (she was the only one married in the group) I was giving her a tough time, hadn't paid attention to her needs and was asking her to step down from the project. All these years I have been bitching about my male bosses and how selfish they can get, how women get a raw deal and how it is doubly tough for women to survive in this industry thanks to bosses like them. Am I then a hypocrite?

Maybe the comparison is not fair. My friend was being unrealistic and I knew it. At one time she even mentioned about bringing along her in-laws. She was going to ruin it for everyone and it would have been a complete failure of the project...I mean the trip. I'd have to be the one to take the blame. Her being a woman or her being married had nothing to do with it. It was a tough decision but I had to act in the interest of everyone. As for the mean old managers who think married women don't make good employees, they can go to hell. I am going to plan another trip sometime next month that everyone can make it to, not because a good manager would do so, because a good friend would do so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bangalore's Anthem

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a JAM you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better now
You're stuck in a JAM and you can't get out of it

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along the stony pass
It's just a JAM
This time will pass
Before you start protesting, translation to Kannada is in progress. Patience.

Monday, November 10, 2008

On being a loser

Early this year I entered a poetry competition at work. I am no writer and certainly not a poet but I gave it a shot anyway. I figured that I probably had a small chance of winning because I was competing against my colleagues, how many software engineers wrote poetry anyway? I didn't win. But I wouldn't settle for it. They had only announced the winners, I wrote to the people who organized it to publish the winning poems so that everyone could appreciate it. Real reason was I wanted proof that the winning poems were indeed better than mine. They never responded. I then wrote to the winner congratulating him and asked him if I could read his work. He didn't respond either. I gave up after that but I concluded that there was something fishy. The winner knew the organizer perhaps. Or maybe he his work was not original and he had fooled the judges.

Yesterday we (we were a team of 2) lost at a coding challenge at work. I wont go into the details of how I think it was unfair and how we deserved to win. That will defeat the purpose of this post. What really happened was we ran out of luck, my partner thinks it was because God was angry with her. After the contest I called a friend who on hearing the news said girls cant code anyway. I wanted to murder him. Today my manager tells me he was expecting us win. It hurts. As you might have guessed by now I am not good at this losing thing. In this case what also mattered was who I lost to. Last month I lost a promotion to the same guy who won y'day. If he wasn't a good friend I would have hated him. It is not validation that I need, I know exactly where I stand. But I guess I was using this contest as forum to prove myself and it hurts because I failed at that. This might just be a silly contest but thinking about how I have reacted to all major setbacks in my life, I do exactly the same thing. I cry foul, I sulk and I mope and then I spring back to normal. I don't have a problem about the sulking and moping but I guess the crying foul has to stop. I might be wise and responsible but I still have some growing up to do. And I need to put a leash on my ego before it goes out of hand. That or I need to win more often ;)