Monthly Archives: November 2012

if you smell gas

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So here’s my marketing scheme for today.

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no afternoon nap for you!

After leaving a country that is known for its warmth, boarding Air China was a surprise. The air hostesses from China are mean. Don’t you dare ask for a coffee refill or you may not be allowed your afternoon nap. God forbid you open the overhead; you will need to explain yourself. Oh! And try changing your seat and might as well say goodbye forever. In those long hours of flight, we traveled back to the time zone when freedom of speech was considered ridiculous. With hands shivering and mind all numb, we sat and waited for when the torture will finally end.

My friend is a little new when it comes to flying internationally. It only gave me a chance to share a few of my million stories and lessons. A cold winter night at the Heathrow taught me to always carry a blanket. My dad has always pushed me to carry at least 3 books. The bus ride from Manali to Delhi taught me the relevance of always carrying your very own set of headphones. The bumpy bus ride from Delhi to Dehradun demonstrated the need for vodka. The Air China vegetable sandwich made out of a piece of bread and mayo inaugurated my friend’s very own list.

My latest lesson – stay away from the air hostesses from China and run for your life. They are mean.

tummy is bulging and toilets are clogged

My stomach is about to explode. It actually feels like a series of mini explosions occurring every time I utilize me esophagus. The melting pot of all the spices in the world and a million curries. Ever since I’ve landed, I’ve been on an intestinal journey. At any given time, either the mouth is open or the pressure is building and don’t even bother asking if the phenomena has happened in parallel. My tummy is bulging and the toilets are clogged.

All these years I considered India to be a nation of minimal worries. Everybody lives and lets others live. Well, all these years, I’ve been wrong. As soon as I wake up, Bhaiya is concerned about why I didn’t start the day with chai. Bhabhi follows and is perplexed on why I didn’t try all 13 dishes. And then Teiji is unable to figure out why after having a heavy duty breakfast, I’m not starved for lunch. At the end of the day, ending the dinner at 7 attracts a million stares.

Everyone is served a balanced diet. It’s a perfect balance of equal portions of love, care, and affection divided into 24 small meals eaten one every hour. I am relieved realizing that my family is doing well when the highest level of worry and the hot topic of every morning is centralized around my carb intake.

India may not be a shock to my eyes but it certainly is to my stomach. I’m in no casual sense kidding – My stomach is about to explode.

colored but only to bring a rainbow

aryabhataImagine if the numbers only had 1 through 9. After 9 would have come 11 and after 99 would have come 111. Would mathematics make any sense? How would we ship Cisco drive packs anymore? Binary digits would be 1 and 1. An E48 would only have 44 slots. You’d see Washington on a $91 bill. An hour wouldn’t be 60 minutes and a minute wouldn’t be 60 seconds. The great mathematician, Aryabhata, invented zero and made it all okay.

Life is suffering and we are all stuck in the shackles. There’s chaos and only change is constant. The calendar shows ’16 bills to pay’ and then there’s that receding hairline. My family suffers from a history of heart attacks and my car is due for service. The only way out of all this is moksha, but then I’m no sage with an agenda to please the Gods. For the simpleton human beings, the sages invented yoga and meditation.

For the ones who are pious, there are three hundred and thirty million Gods and for the ones who indulge in pleasure, there is the notorious book. Mother Teresa touched souls and Gandhi taught non-violence. The call centers have started the wave and the entire world wants to invest in India.

This is where I came from. There are a billion people but everyone smiles with their eyes and welcomes with an open heart. The world calls us the C++ kings, but we bow down every time we say ‘Namaste.’ There’s a thick accent but ‘John’ will not disconnect the line without a satisfied customer. There’s poverty but everyone looks at the ones less fortunate. There’s daily disappointment but never a loss in faith.

We are colored but only to bring a rainbow into the world.

the middle of nowhere

anthropologieIt’s been 5 hours of flying and I’m still hovering over the United States of America. And yet I feel totally detached; detached from the world I left behind and detached from the world that I’m about to enter. I’m looking forward to seeing a wide smile on my Uncle’s face but I’m missing each and every one of the eight cylinders. My mouth is thirsty for golgappas but there’s bruschetta napolitana that awaits me. I can’t wait to share the story of Shah Jahan but I’m missing my Anthropologie pillow covers. There’s a lot of love waiting for me but there’s a lot of love I’ve left behind. This can only mean I’m an international celebrity and the first one on the most wanted list. Yes! My head no longer fits through a standard door.

Where is home? Is it where I originated from, Nigeria? Is it where I collected my childhood memories, India? Is it where my parents are, Trinidad? Or, is it where I live? I want to say I’m homesick but I no longer know where home is.

do what you say and say what you do

This mantra in Quality is equivalent to ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ in the Vedas. This mantra may be the root of all evil. This is where every company messes up and indirectly pays the salaries of all Quality auditors. This mantra is also what differentiates between a good and a great leader. It is sticking to your word, keeping a promise and finalizing an effort. It is those 5 extra minutes, attention to detail and addressing all corners. It’s an act of demonstration, a proof or evidence and in some cases, even bragging.

Three girlfriends and three examples.

My friend Smarty believes in full disclosure. Her style is to express herself and only sky is the limit. She tells me that I was the Great Wall of China when she met me. She has since polished the edges and softened the robot. In her own words, the world may collapse tomorrow and you may never be able to return a book, give that card or say good bye. There’s terrorism in Kashmir, random plane crashes and power outage in New York. So assume you have only today and you have only now. Turn it all into a few words and let your words become you.

My other friend Shooby-dooby-doo believes in doing what she says but on her own terms. Instead of bringing flowers and vocalizing the lovey-dovey, she will have dinner ready when you get home exhausted. She will artistically jot down memories and surprise you in the most unpredictable of ways. She makes her love a pocket full of surprises – one has to read between the lines and play 20 questions before you hit the answer. She makes you work a little.

I wouldn’t say I’m struggling with molding my style, but I’m a little here and a little there. “Do what you say and say what you do.” Actions speak louder than words and a picture is worth a thousand words but without words, aren’t we just missing out on one of the six senses? Well, six in my particular case. Go ahead – roll your eyes.

We keep grudges for years and never say a word. We secretly admire someone and never let them know. We let others teach a lesson but never thank them. We even need words to expose our intentions.

On the other hand, words are worthless if not supported by actions. ‘I love you’ means nothing when you’re not ready with Band-Aid and soup. Why say ‘I’ll get it done’ when you don’t even add it to your to-do list? What’s a promise if empty?

I say maintain a balance.

Blush a little and share the reason. Be the strength but add ‘everything will be ok, I promise.’ Cry with him when feelings are hurt. Tell her sorry and draw a card. Bring me an ice cream when there’s a loss. Pamper & spoil to show how much you care. Say ‘I will miss you’ instead of beating about the bush. Keep your promise of that kiss on the nose.

the good, the bad, and the ugly

My favorite fruit is lychee and there’s a reason why. My mummy would go to the bazaar and bring back a bunch of lychees. Not two, not three but just one bunch. While my papa’s style is to splurge and go all out, mummy usually raises her eyebrows, shows her forefinger and says ‘No!’ My mummy and papa are the two opposites. Their styles are so different that according to Physics, they should be sitting at the opposite poles of the Earth. I consider myself a good mix, a child of Physics gone wrong!

So yes, mummy would go to the bazaar and bring back a bunch of lychees. She’ll pick out a few for herself and then equally divide the even number between my brother and me. He would eat his share right away and experience instant satisfaction. I would get a taste, enjoy a couple and save half of my share for later. My style is slow & steady. I go for small chunks of satisfaction over continuous period of time. But, I always had to watch out for my greedy brother. Any lack of attention and all of my lychees were gone. He made me a very angry 6-year old. He’s the first kind.

I’ve spent most of my 30 years being jealous; jealous of those gifted with a supersonic metabolic rate. While I have to spend hours motivating myself to get off my arse, my enemies enjoy butter scotch ice cream. I don’t understand where it all ends up! Either they poop a lot, or they poop every hour or there’s a secret black hole in the universe. In any case, they have something I don’t. I’m the second kind!

The last type. It’s when you don’t want an apple, but no one else can eat it either!

A boy worked for Mr. M. This boy was comical and a constant source of entertainment but he was lazy, laid-back and counter-productive. Mr. M was fully aware of the boy’s weaknesses but he never let anyone else borrow the boy. Mr. M’s eyes would widen up, and in a state of a panic attack, he would say ‘I don’t want him but you can’t have him!

At other times, when we do have it good, we take it for granted. When we own it, we don’t want it. As soon as it’s gone, we experience a void followed by a sudden urge. If someone else values it, we feel territorial towards what we no longer have. At times like these, the grass seems greener in someone else’s lawn.

Jealousy can be dangerous. Sneaky in nature, it sweeps in unnoticed and pollutes our thought process. It numbs the mind. It irrationalizes our actions. And, it does all this quietly.

I looked up antonyms for the word and this is what came up: contentment, happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction.

Take your share and try not to drool. Treasure what you have. Value what you own. Close your eyes and let someone else be happier.

last hypothesis

At times I wonder how humans survived when there was no Quality. The answer is simple – we’ve always been dependent on the theories, principles, and the right way. Quality has been evolving throughout history. As early as 2000 years ago, Ancient China figured out a way and created the carpenter’s square as part of their toolset. The Chinese wanted to measure grain and developed a Poka Yoke. The system of weights and measures was put in place as early as 4000 to 5000 years ago. They knew how to save space through stacking. The city plan was carved out beautifully and included perfectly designed streets over an 84-square kilometer area.

The same methodology is being used in our daily lives. Whenever we come across a problem, we do a full root cause analysis. When we want to watch our weight, we plot it against the control limits. Whenever we move, we do a purge and lean up. These days, I’m involved in a puzzle. I’ve used all tricks, all methods and all principles. It’s 4am and I’ve lost my sleep. Something isn’t adding up. I believe I’ve considered all possibilities but the chemical equation is in an imbalance. The left side doesn’t match up to the right side. So, now it’s time to test my last hypothesis, the very last variable in the overall design of experiments. I am going to remove myself from the equation.