Friday, February 8, 2008

Unsolicted Calls!

Everybody is aware of the unsolicited calls from tele callers selling credit cards, loans, country club or some club membership etc. Most often we just say we are not interested and cut the call. But our cell tends to ring at most of the unexpected times. Instead of seeing them as annoying we can make them really interesting. Being what i am i have tried a couple of times to enjoy these calls. Only thing that you have to keep in mind is not to over do it. So guys sample few of the conversation below.

TC (Tele caller) : Good afternoon sir. This is ____ calling from ABN Amro bank. Sir we are offering you free life time gold credit card...

Me: Oh great. I was expecting your call. What’s the credit limit?

TC: 3 Lacs sir. Along with this you....

Me: Ok. 3 is very less. I have 29 credit cards and the credit has crossed 8 Lacs. Can you increase the credit limit?

TC: Did not get you sir?

Me: Unfortunately i have tried many times. But even i haven’t got u.

TC: Sir?

Me: never mind. Iss janam mein nahi tho agle janam mein sahi.

TC: Sorry sir. I am not able to understand....

Me: Samajne ke liye rakha kya hai...If you cant understand me then how can i marry you...

TC: Sorry sir. Guess you are mistaken. This is call from ABN Amro bank...

Me: When did you join that disgusting bank...

Call gets disconnected.

Few days back i received a call from country club offering me a membership. And if i chose to be their member they would give me a 60 X 40 site. I dont remember the place they offered but i am sure it would take at least another 100 years for that place to be able to get even proper accessable road. Check this.

TC: Good morning sir. Am i talking to rama... ramanju... ramanje...

Me: Its Ramanjaneyalu...Tell me whoz this...
(If i had not stopped her she would have really come up with her own version of ram sahasranaama.)

TC: Sir i am calling from country club offering you a premiere membership. Is it right time to talk to you now?

(They ask this question as if we carry panchang with us and expect us to check the rahu kaal. Or i really doubt they beleive in auspicious timings. Unfortunately i had nothing to do and was getting quite bored. So it must have been right time.)

Me: Yeah. Its ok. go ahead.

TC: Sir with this membership we are also providing you 60 X 40 site at _________. all this for just Rs 1 lac. You dont have to do single payment. If you have credit card we can arrange for installments.

Me: Ok. Seems interesting. BTW how did you get my number?

TC (Hesitatingly) : From the general database.

Me: Can you do me a favor?

TC: Yes sir.

Me: From the same database can you get me couple of numbers of girls who are single and have opted for this membership.

TC: (after a brief silence) Sorry sir. Didnt get you.

Me: Its simple. I will try and persuade one of those girls to marry me. So without paying 1 lac i get the site. Why dont you try for one yourself?

Call is disconnected.

Couple of years back i was in mumbai overseeing implementation of a project. It was Wednesday and i did not feel like going to clients place. Madhu sudan was taking care of the ground work and so i decided i will spend the afternoon at my suite. I saw my cell ringing and immediately i identified it as the number from Karnataka. I though it must be from some of my colleagues from Bangalore office and did not pick the call. I had nearly 10 missed calls from the same number. Later in the evening i checked with madhu sudan if anybody from office had called him. His answer was negative. I thought it might be one of my friend and called on the same number. I could hear a telugu song as caller tune. I was sure it was one of my those long forgotten friend who had tried to contact me after getting my number through some means. I tried 3 4 times and nobody picked the call. To confirm if it was someone i knew i sent a well written hindi shayeri.

Next day morning i received a call from a land line in bangalore at around 8 am. It was too early for me at mumbai. ( I normally went to client place at 12 and client never had issues even if i didnot turn up. We had juniors working and i would give clear instructions to them at the start of the week itself. ) As i picked up the call:

female voice on the other side : Yaar ri neevu? (who are you?)

Me (Still strugling to wake up ) : Neevu yaaru? (Who are you?)

For clarity i will write the converstaion in english below.

Voice: Dont you have sisters and mother at your home?

Me: Why do you want that information?

voice: We have links upto police commisioner. do you know that?

Me: I dont read "Hai Bangalore" to know that.

Voice: Dont act smart. we can reach you whereever you are in minutes.

Me(Now totally irritated and angry): Have you read harry potter?

Voice: What???

Me: Nevermind.

Voice. Again acting smart. I know you are in Bangalore.

Me: Great. Come and catch me.

Voice: We will complain to police and they will catch you.

Me: Maharashtra police or Karnataka police?

Voice: You call up on my cell and send messages. How dare you do that. I will register harassment case against you.

Me: Are you sure i sent you message. when?

Voice: Yesterday.

Me: BTW what is your number?

Voice: Acting smart again.

Me: Shut up and give me your number. Do one thing. Check your cell and let me know if you had given me missed calls yesterday afternoon.

Voice: Why should i give you missed calls. Are you my bf or brother?

Me: why should i send you message. Are you my gf?

Voice: But you sent message.

Me: You gave me 10 missed calls. And i have record. go ahead and place complaint. Police will also have to register complaint against you as you harassed me with missed calls. (Its always easy to intimidate girls.)

Voice: Wait let me check the call log.

After a brief period.

Voice: Sorry sir. Are you raman... ramanja...ramaju...

Me: Ramanjaneyalu.

Voice: This is our official cell. I am working for ICICI Credit card ...

Me: Thanks. so thats the problem. What was the need to call 10 times?

Voice: sorry was deadline date for us...

Me: And you planned to make it blind date??? I thought one of my friends had called... don’t you guys have any other work...

Voice: Sorry sir. But we are offering free life time credit card with...

Me: I am not intrested right now...

Voice: Ok sir. But in future if you need ICICI card please call at this number.

After i heard that i did not to laugh or to cry or to appreciate that girls guts to sell me the card even after all this..

Before i could say anything else, the call got disconnected.


I heared the cock-a-doodle-do three or four times. With every iteration it was growing louder. With my eyes half open i ran my hand over the table. I knew where exactly i had kept my cell and with precision pressed the snooze button. It had taken me more than 4 months to master the art of locating the right button on the cell. I battle my self most of the mornings. I am in a kind of cross roads where my heart wants to continue with the wonderful dream land which seems at eternal bliss and my mind drags me to this very cruel physical world. As usual my heart is too weak to win this battle and i had to give up.


I checked the time. It was 6.15. "Damn! Few more minutes in the wonderland wouldn’t have hurt." My bus arrives at exactly 7 am. I still had 45 minutes. I took out my wallet from the draw and very carefully retrieved Hanuman Chalisa. Then walked into the "Devara Mane". A small room where we have some 4 to 5 frames of gods and most of the room is occupied by the ration of the PG. Infact not long back out PG owner had put a bunker in it expecting more income. Alas he had to retract. I finished my Hanuman Chalisa, bowed to the gods and took their blessings. I dont really know i would have got any blessings. Purely because i hardly recite chalisa with concentration and devotion.

"Oh God. How come the God is praying to other gods!" Avinash was chuckling. "Well I am God unto myself. Not for others." I replied back. So much for calling myself God. Well its another story.


It was 6.30. I couldnot even switch on the TV so early. Its not that anybody can complain or reprimand me for that ( not many in PG dare to mess with God ), its just that other than bhajans and keertans you wont find much on TV at that hour. I decided to spend some time at the bus stop itself instead of looking at the boring faces in PG.


I was watching the vehicles zoom by, few old guys walking briskly and ofcourse few girls comming back from aerobics. I wonder what makes these girls go to aerobics to lose weight. You need to have weight to lose it. Right? "High profile, peer pressure, healty habit..." Everything i read about latest teenage tendencies. "From where do these papers get such polls and statistics. I have never been asked in any of the pool." Then i remembered. I have crossed my teenage long back. Well not so long back either. Suddenly i realized i was heading towards 30's in a couple or more years. I dont have issues with the age but i certainly have issues being single. Its hard to socialize, specially in metros, without a partner, girlfriend, lover , figure or whatever you call that must have entity for all guys well below my age. "May be i am too old for that now." " or may be i am safe away from the mayavi world of love,betrayel and all those big banner filmy emotions".


Then i saw her. Neatly dressed. Weathish skin glowing like gold in the morning sun rays. Lean. Dark black hair tightly held as if the night was retracting back to where it came from. Her face was radiating. She was on the other side of the road. Something about her smile made me feel energetic. As she came nearer i saw her eyes. Dark and Deep. I have seen those kind of eyes only in few people with determination and no nonsense attitude. My dad has also got those kind of eyes but his convey lot more. I was mesmerized.

As she approached nearer to me i was filled with joy. The bliss and innocence on her face seemed to influence me. Her face was as fresh as the jasmine in her hands. Once she was on the side of the road where i was standing she stood waiting.

All the vehicles on the road came to halt. Few motorists ignored the signal which is very typical. If they hadn’t broken the rule i would have believed i was dreaming. It assured me all is well with India. The girl walked into the standing traffic and approached a black Zen. An old man in his 60's was at the steering wheel. In the back seat were what i am sure his grand children neatly dressed in school uniform. He was driving them to school.

"Lucky kids." i thought. In my school days we had to battle with hell lot of troubles to reach school and back. though we had school bus plying it was merely on paper. I still remember other school children walking from RGS to Station so that we can get other school bus. And the walk was 5 Kim’s. "Times have changed."

This girl tried to sell her jasmine but the Grand Old Guy didn’t buy. She persisted but old guy seemed to be very reluctant. With out wasting any time she walked on to a nearby auto. The auto guy was more interested in kidding with her than her jasmines. She next tried her luck with an alto, a van and even few motorists with out succeeding. I was watching all this and was really impressed with the kind of patience the girl had.

Her patience and persistence showed her maturity. She knew exactly what she was doing and what she wanted. Again all the vehicles were zooming by.

"People running with life or against it. I will never know?" She again came to where i was standing. May be she was conscious of my obeserving. She gave me a warm smile.

"Luck illa?" I said. She didn’t utter a word. She was busy adjusting her jasmines properly.

Before i could ask her anything more the traffic came to a halt and she was back at work. I looked if my bus arrived but it hadn’t. With a relief I went back to my observation. Something about this girl attracted me.

Second attempt was also not successful for her. And yet her face did not show any sign of frustration.
When she came back again near me I asked her again

"Not many people buy jasmines at traffic junctions. Why don’t you just go and sell in the shops"

She looked at me disapprovingly as if I was the most ignorant and dumbest person on the earth. She didn’t say anything.

Again traffic came to a halt and this time she was successful. Meanwhile my bus arrived and i boarded it. I was looking at the boring and lazy faces in the bus. I sought out a comfortable window seat. As i looked outside the window i saw her. She was standing facing me with raised hand. She was beaming with smile. I did not notice at first but then i saw it. A five rupee coin carefully placed in the little hands. A smile escaped from me. I was happy. Happy because the little girl had made her first sell for the morning. Happy because she knew what it was worth. Happy because She savored every success of hers. And she deserved it.

Five rupees coin. Well it may not be worth much for many but try earning it at the traffic signal in the morning when people are on the run.

Never did she lose her patience. She had to be radiant and always had smile on her face. She had to be persistent. She had to keep trying. And all of all she had to do this every time the traffic came to a halt. She will fail most of the times. But she has keep selling. She can’t come back nor blame her luck. It’s her effort that keeps her going.

It’s what my dad called "ENDURANCE".

I gave her a thumbs up and she seemed to acknowledge it. With green signal my bus moved and I closed my eyes to catch a short nap. Not many mornings in my life have been this fulfilling.



For many being on Tech Panel/Interview Panel is fun, for others its responsibility. I am not sure which group i belong to. I have been taking interviews since last few days and as they are telephonic i miss the fun of various expressions on the candidates. Before you think i am getting insensitive let me make it clear that i have attended interviews ( very obvious. isnt it!) and have my own opinions on differnt interviewers. Well lets talk about that next time.

Its nearly two and half years that i started to grill the Can-Die-Dates. And yes. Now its no more called as interview. Its Technical Discussion. Well you can discuss technical matters with the guys who actually have technical expertise. Earlier we could make out the candidate's expertise based on his profile. Not now. Times have changed. Like everything else around us its "Fake" that rules. Sample this from a candidate whose profile mentioned MCA,BCA,MSCD and some complex projects.

Me: What are various Authentication methods?Mr. MCA : There are four. ( I was happy to know that ). Read commited. (Now where the hell did this come from ). In Read commited.....

Considering this was the 6th candidate of the day, just imagine where i wanted to run. Bermuda Triangle is a nice option.

Few interviews are more intresting than a bollywood masala movie. Hold your breath.

Me: Can you brief me on page life cycle?

Can-Die-Date: Hmm.. Aaaa. hmm.. i am not sure... wait i got it...(Go ahead i am waiting) page life cycle has 4 events...(finally somewhat near)..In first event IIS is requested ( What!!! )... then...Sorry i forgot. ( Thank god!)

Me: No issues. Are you aware of generics?Can-Die-Date: In SQL or C Sharp?

Me: Forget it. (Burmuda Triangle is not too far now.)

And there are some guys who think they are smart enough to waylay the interviewer.

Me: If you want to have javascript function built dynamically and then executed what would you do?

Mr. Samrt : I write javascript functions in aspx page and then call them dynamically.

Me: Well my point was how do you generate javascript function dynamically. I dont want to write it in aspx page during design time. i want it in run time.

Mr.Samrt: Why runtime? You can write during design time.

Me: OK. Are you aware of RegisterClientScript? ( I made it direct question )Mr. Smart : I know it but i havent used it. ( common excuse. Huh!)

Me: what you know about it?Mr. Smart : Its used to Register Client Script. (So simple. Just repeat.)

Me: what kind of client script? ( I am not gonna give up you smarty !)Mr. Smart : Client script can be anything. There are basically two scripting languages. Most commonly used is javscript. VB script can also be used. We write script in a file and save it. Then compile them and use RegisterClientScript command to register them in GAC. (Wow!! Bill Gates can join me in Bermuda triangle)

Then there are few who try to work on sympathy.

Me: How have you used webservices in your project?Mr Tears : Actually. we are a team of 4. I worked on UI part. ( Do you think doing UI is development or coding???? ). Other guys worked on Data Access Layer. He developed webservices. I wanted to do it but my Team Lead didnt allow me to. I lacked exposure. But i know about webservices. Given a chance in your company i will prove myself.

Me: Ok. No Issues. But you have mentioned Design and Development as your responsibility in the CV. so...

Mr. Tears: My company is not doing well. So i am looking for a nice company like yours. To get a call i mentioned that.

Me: Ok. What is a abstract class.Mr. Tears: As i told you earlier i didnot get opportunity to work on Business Layer. So I am not sure. ( What i am not sure is how you got into that company and why should they pay you at all if they havent stopped it already.)

Me : Ok. Was nice talking to you. ( can somebody get me a shotgun! ) Our HR will get back to you soon. ( To tell you we are not as charity minded as your existing company ).

Ofcourse how can romance be out of bollywood movie. This is part of my interview with a girl two months back.

Me: Hi. This is Ram from KPIT Cummins. You have technical discussion scheduled now. Are you ready to take it up?

Heroine: Hi..( Tone sounds she is talking to her boyfriend.) How are you?

Me: (Hmm. Some change finally) I am fine. How about you? (Showing social manners. Nothing much to read into that.)

Heroine: Great.Me: Ok. Can we go ahead with the discussion?

Heroine: Ok.Me: Just brief me about yourself to start with. ( Brief = Detail. Your voice sounds so cute. Ok Ok. I have to be professional)

Heroine: I am D____. I have two years of experince. I am currently working as Associate Software Engineer at _____. My current project is ...( Forget that. Do you have openings in your company and more importantly in your project? I will check out with A___. He should be knowing. )

Heroine: Hello. Can you hear me?Me: (Back to reality ). Oh. go Ahead. i am listening.

Heroine: do you want me to repeat.Me: I mean tell me something about the technologies you have worked on.

Heroine: I have been working on .Net. In my first project....( Why the hell is this telephonic. I will clear her for second round. At least then...)

Heroine:Hello!Me: Ya. Ok. What is CLR? ( simple questions! It will make it easy)

Heroine: CLR? hmmm..( Common. its simple honey!)

Heroine: Hmmm. I am sorry.

Me: Ok No issues. Are you aware of Common Language Runtime?

Heroine: Yeah. Its one of the main features of .Net...(See. She knows CLR.)

Me: Good. How does Garbage collector work?Heroine: It collects all objects in the memory and clears. ( Not bad. Close enough )

Me: Can you brief me on Page life cycle?Heroine: Hmmm... Sorry. i havent worked on that. ( Plase tell me you mean )

Me: But you have mentioned project on Right?Heroine: I have worked on ASP.Net. But have not worked on Page life Cycle. ( Ok Ok. She is bit nervous. understandable.)

Me: You have worked on page life cycle. I mean everytime you request a aspx page and write code in its various events you work on it. ( This is true technical discussion guys. Not interview.

Heroine: Oh Ok. Thanks

Me: What was your responsibility in the project?Heroine: you mean my work.

Me: Well. you put it that way.Heroine: I used to do coding.

Me: How do you debug an application? (Final test for "Fake". )Heroine: Testing team gives us the list of bugs. They send the excel sheet. Our Team lead assigns the tasks and we fix them. ( Its confirmed. Shez "Fake". so bad.)

Me: Ok. Great. I am done with Technical Discussion ( And my small dream ). Do you have anything to say.Heroine: No. Hope i did well. By the way how many years of experience do you have?

Me: 6 Years.Heroine: Oh God! You are quite experienced. ( I am honey! )

Me: Thanks. Our HR will get back to you soon. By the way please brush up on fundamentals.

Heroine: You mean i have second round. (How optimistic. Poor girl. )Me: Actually i shouldnt be disclosing this. You are not through. I am sorry. ( It always hurts to break a hurt and if its of cute sounding gal...Bermuda triangle has girls??? )

Heroine: Oh. Ok. i will try to be well prepared next time. Thanks.Me: Have a nice day. ( Its stupidity to wish nice day after breaking the bad news.) Bye.

Heroine: Can you give me your email id? Can you give me few tips and guide me?Me: Hmm. I suppose i am not allowed to share my email id with candidate. Sorry. ( No need to get senti.)

Heroine: Oh. Bye.

But all in all i miss the interviews i used to conduct at PacSoft. And mainly the ones where i and my Atte used to build
a assault strategy on candidates step by step. Hope atte you remember them. :)