Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deepika and I

Draft Written on the 27th June 2012: Deepika is the first friend I made when I came to live in India. I was just wondering about her and her groom hunt a couple days ago and voila yesterday morning she calls to inform me of the wonderful news that she has found her match! This soothing news made my otherwise difficult day so much more easier. Deepika is such a great human being and someone in the world had to deserve being with such a simple and sweet person. This brings me back to a wish, once a friend's Dad gave me on my friend's engagement day. He asked me how my parents search for a match for me was going. After listening to my usual answer, he held my hand and said, "Molu (daughter in my mother tongue), don't worry you will find someone to match the goodness of your heart." That by far is the most beautiful wish I had ever received on this topic. And ever since then, I have always wished this for my unmarried friends too. I am so glad that someone is out there who deserved the goodness of her magnificent heart.
After she told me the news and filled me in on the details, she asked me the question I had anticipated, "So are you seeing someone?" I have never been in a time where a relationship had mattered this much, but I lied to her. That kept the topic to a minimum. After all the talking, I sat down to reflect on my situation. Just the previous night, L and I discussed and arrived to an agreement to postpone the engagement for us to know if we still wanted to go ahead with this. That morning I had just told my parents about our decision and thats when I received her call. Later that night I called off the engagement for no major fault of L. I couldn't take the stress anymore and thought I was contributing to an already difficult situation and thought it was best for both of us if we ended it here. I had given up on us, while he was sure that the problems we were facing wasn't because of us but rather these were typical symptoms of a long distance relationship and it could be sorted out once we met in person. I was already tired and thought walking away was the better. Despite the ease at the cost of tremendous pain I was adamant. L hadn't given up on us, I can imagine what it would have taken him to call me in the morning today and I had not made it any easier when I answered his call. We talked, he held out the mirror to us, we apologized to each other. We agreed we will give us another chance and take this to be another learning experience. We agreed to meet one last time to see if we still find that partner, confidant, critique, believer, comrade, lover in each other. But with every step ahead we will be facing more challenges than ever. We have to address each others concerns, gain confidence and trust as we move ahead. With the good will and blessings of people who love us, like Deepika, Joshi, L's music teacher, my friend's dad and many others, may we rise above this experience together or otherwise.

Update 8th Mar 2013 - I did try to meet Deeps after her wedding while is still hadnt got over the pain of my engagement mess. And something she said over the call left me feeling that I shouldnt meet her. I sat at the mall i was supposed to meet her, and cried for an hour or so while trying to sip away at a couple of teas and then went back home. And My friend's dad, sadly passed away on the 30th Dec 2012 of a heart attack. It sounds silly but i burst into tears while i was speaking to my friend after i got to know about it months later! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poem: A Worker Reads History

A Worker Reads History   (1936)

By Bertolt Brecht   (1898 – 1956)


Who built the seven gates of Thebes?

The books are filled with names of kings.

Was it kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?

And Babylon, so many times destroyed,

Who built the city up each time?  In which of Lima’s houses, 5

That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?

In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished

Where did the masons go?  Imperial Rome

Is full of arcs of triumph.  Who reared them up?   Over whom

Did the Caesars triumph?  Byzantium lives in song, 10

Were all her dwellings palaces?  And even in Atlantis of the legend

The night the sea rushed in,

The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.

He alone? 15

Caesar beat the Gauls.

Was there not even a cook in his army?

Philip of Spain wept as his fleet

Was sunk and destroyed.  Were there no other tears?

Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.  Who 20

Triumphed with him?

Each page a victory,

At whose expense the victory ball?

Every ten years a great man,

Who paid the piper? 25

So many particulars.

So many questions.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

For those going the entrepreneurial way

Though its mostly written for people who might be running or working for establishments that are into technology, the essence is relevant in any business.

9 Ways to Make Your Developer's Life Easier

As a co-founder and an occasional freelance product manager, designer, and developer, I've worked on both sides of the table: as a developer being managed, and as a manager working with a developer.

So, if you're a founder, product manager, or anyone working with a technical team—I want to share a few things to do to keep your employees happy and make their lives easier.
Why bother? Well, aside from simply wanting to be a good boss, the easier your developer's life is, the faster and more efficiently she'll be able to implement features. And on the internet, where time moves at the speed of dog years, that's definitely an advantage.
Here are the keys to success when working with your technical team.

Understand the Difference Between a CTO and Lead Engineer
You'll either be working with a CTO or a Lead Engineer, and it's important to understand that they're not necessarily the same person.

Sometimes you have an amazing CTO who's not only technical, but also a great manager, communicator, and delegator. These types likely want to know everything about what you're building, what the end goal is for the user, and your overall business goals. That's great! Believe me, it's an asset. Nurture it.
Most of the time, though—especially in this developer-scarce economy—you'll have a Lead Engineer: a person who is amazing at engineering a product, but doesn't necessarily have the skills (or the desire) to manage a team and product.

The faster you realize what kind of person you need (or have hired), the better prepared you'll be to manage that person and the product.

Care About How Things Are Made (Not Just That They Work)
Developers are makers, not machines. So listen to their ideas and make sure you consider them—even if you have no idea what the hell they're talking about when they start throwing around technical terms. Don't know the difference between this and that stack? Ask. Use it as an opportunity to learn. You should have at least a basic understanding of the technical side of your product.

Be Specific
It's much more helpful to your technical team to assign them specific, small tasks—don't just hand off a bunch of mock-ups and tell them to be done by Friday. In fact, you should be the one managing the project for them. Learn how to use project management software like Pivotal Tracker or Trello and track the progress of feature development by day or per work session.
And check in often, both in person and via your project management software. It's much easier to prevent things from going down the wrong path if you can catch them at the fork.

Don't Change Your Mind Every Day
I know, you think this sounds obvious. But when you're out pitching and selling your productevery day, hearing feedback and brainstorming ways to make it better—it's really easy to come back with new ideas all the time. Don't do this to your team.
Define a specific and small thing you want to build: a Minimum Viable Product (or "MVP"). Have your MVP spec'ed out and ready to be built.? And make it small. If you designed a giant app, break it down and start with one part. Ship your MVP—and then change your mind based on data.
Also, if you haven't already, read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Follow it—don't just throw around cool jargon at networking events.

Set Goals, Not Deadlines
In the technical world, deadlines don't always work. Even the most experienced developer breaks stuff, and estimating how long it will take to fix things is hard.

I'm really into Tracker's idea of breaking down features and assigning difficulty points, not hours. Mark a problem as "easy," "medium," or "difficult," and track progress rather than stick to deadlines. Assigning mostly difficult tasks? They probably can be broken down further.

Get a Great Designer
Designers solve problems and can make the product build process a whole lot easier. Especially UX/UI (user experience and user interface) designers. They help you figure out what your product should look and act like—pixel by pixel, user interaction by user interaction (think: What button does the user click next? Where is it on the page? Where does it take her?).

This is not your developer's job. I'm serious. Your developer's job is to write code—not design the product. A great designer will actually help you save on development costs, because they'll help the team think through and catch things that others may have overlooked. They can also suggest make simple but powerful changes that will make your product more intuitive and easier to use.

At the same time—make sure your designer is lean. Sometimes it's not worth the cost to build custom everything. There is a difference between attention to detail and being a diva. If your developer is complaining about a design—that's a sign that you need to stop, discuss it, tweak it, and compromise.

Test, Test, Test
If you care at all about your product—help your developer test it. She's been staring at this for hours. Give her a new set of eyes. Praise her for what she did right, and give her specific tasks for what still needs to be done or fixed.

Developers often complain to me that they spent tons of time on something and then it launched with things broken because nobody saw them. Remember, it's your product. And nobody wants to work for someone who doesn't care about the product they're putting out there.

Compensate Fairly?
You're a business person, and business people negotiate. Usually, much better than non-business people.
So, be careful.

You can negotiate with a developer on her rate, but if it sounds reasonable, it probably is. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other people out there willing and able to hire her for what she quoted. And, if she feels like she's been out-negotiated and she's not being compensated what she's worth, chances are she won't prioritize your work over other work (or over other, more fun things). Or, she'll find someone else who will pay her rate, then leave you hanging. I've seen it over and over again.

An alternative is to negotiate a rate for a trial period for a small feature, and tell her you'll pay the full rate if the project goes well.

Trust Your Team
Are you suspicious of your developer padding hours or slacking off by going to the nearest biergarten? Remember that if you're not hiring people who you trust and who are better than you at something, then you are not hiring the right people.
Trust the experts you have hired to do their job. Give them the tools they need to do it, including direction, flexibility, breathing room, and authority. And check in often.


Adventurous Vacation in Space

Now here is a vacation that is truly out of this world … for those of us who can afford it.

Miss you, till you fall out of the sky,

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Fluid Talent

'We all, are containers, of a precious fluid. A fluid called 'talent'. And just like water finds its own level, this fluid too can seek its own level. The only thing standing in its way is the container. Its your choice to make - hold back this precious talent or will you let go and let it flow. ' - Maatha Nita Maatha

Thursday, May 03, 2012

'Everyday' Lyrics

Had heard this on an episode of ‘Bones’.
We all have been in this place before ... sometime in our lives. Wonderful lyrics, I’m sure, you’ll agree.

By Toby Lightman , Album: Little Things
Every day is a struggle
Between what I want to say and what I want to keep to myself
And the words that manage to leave my lips
Don't hurt me, but they hurt everyone else

So I find myself in need of a part
I'm not sure why, but I think that it's because
Of this desire to be what others want me to be
Which is nothing close to me

But I'll see better when the smoke clears
The smoke clears inside my head
And I can listen when the screaming doesn't repeat everything I've said
And all that remains me and who I am at the end of the day
And this happens every day ... yeah...

Every day is a battle
Between what I want to know and what I don't want to figure out
And everything in between in these thoughts of mine that you know I can't live with out

So I find myself in need of a part
I'm not sure why, but I think that it's because
Of this desire to be what others want me to be
Which is nothing close to me

But I'll see better when the smoke clears
The smoke clears inside my head
And I can listen when the screaming doesn't repeat everything I've said
All that remains me and who I am at the end of the day
And this happens every day ... yeah... oooh...

But I'll see better when the smoke clears
The smoke clears inside my head
And I can listen when the screaming doesn't repeat everything I've said
All that remains me and who I am at the end of the day
And this happens every day ... this happens every day
This happens every day... yeah...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Delicate sculptures made of...

Try guessing…  you will be blown over by the amazing detail!

By Calvin Nicholls

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Lego Sculptures by Nathan Sawaya

A practicing lawyer turned into a lego sculptor. Would you dare to make that kind of career change?!

Check out some of his work:

Explore more of his work at


Design your home interiors online

Here is an interesting tool to design living or work spaces.

Have fun,

Monday, April 30, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Adele's 'Rumour has it' A cappella from the 'kitchen'

For those of us who love Adele’s work, here is an a cappella performed by a talented bunch from their kitchen… they pull it off reaaaal well and screw it in the end :D but it doesn’t hurt the performance.
Way to go girls!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Push Pin Pixels

Remarkable work of science-turns-art using Push pins :


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Quote Maatha - Sine Life

"Life is an erratic sine wave and never can be a flat line." - Maatha Nita Maatha

Quote Maatha - Black or White

'There is no black and white. There is only grey, dark enough to be confused for black or light enough to be confused for white' - Maatha Nita Maatha

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Something interesting happened yesterday night...

Imagine this...

You are spending time with your family or loved ones at your home, doing something or chatting up with them. Lets assume your mobile phone is in a bag just within your arms reach.

Now, I get a call from your mobile phone. But you are not talking to me... you are going about talking with your family/friend/love-interest/underworld Irish mob/whatever. I can hear every single word you say. Remember the mobile phone wasn’t too far away.

I being the nice person I am, don’t cut the call I received in my mobile phone, instead, I reach out for my land line and call over to your land line and ask you, ‘Dude, why do you call me if you don’t want to talk? And nothing i hear on my phone is worth eavesdropping. :P . Go check your mobile phone!’

You give me the usual expected response...blah blah blah... you reach out for your phone and what do you see?

There is no live call from your phone!!!

You are pissed. You think I am playing a prank... I, to make my point, tell you I am going to cut the call I made from my land line to your land line and then you have to say something specific into the mobile phone... like read out of a book of your choice, and then I will call you back on your land line. And you grumble and mumble, “You and your weird ideas... if this turns out to be a prank and a waste of my time... you are in trouble, lady”.

You obey and say something only you could have chosen to say at that time and place. I on the other end have already started recording the whole conversation on my mobile phone. I call back on the land line and tell you to cut the call on the mobile phone. And you say, “Stupid, I already told you I have not made a call to you and therefore there is no live call that i can CUT!!!”.

Nita: “Oops forgive my occasional stupidity! I am now cutting the call on my mobile phone and will send you the recorded file.”

You: “Yeah right... you better.”

In minutes you get a audio file emailed to you, that, indeed turns out to be... what I told you.... a record of whatever you said and the whole conversation that ensued.

QUESTION 1: How would you feel about this?

Though, this example was fiction. This, really, truly, happened yesterday night to my friend (S) and I bore witness to this. It happened twice to her yesterday – two different calls to different people. Her phone was transmitting whatever she was saying in the form of an invisible call to another friend (R) who happened to be with us at that time, luckily. We all took it lightly... till I wondered if this technology (or technological flaw) could be used to eavesdrop? Here are the known facts:  
1)      all the people involved in both the calls had subscribed to the same provider.
2)      The phone (S’s mobile) that made these ghost calls to people was an sony ericsson and an android
3)      The call was not recorded in the outgoing calls register of S’s mobile phone
4)      The call was recorded in the incoming calls of the register of R’s mobile phone (this holds true for the other call that i did not witness)
5)      R’s number was not the last number dialled

QUESTION 2: Has this ever happened to you or someone you know?

QUESTION 3: Does anyone know why or how this happens?

Waiting with abated breath to see if my friend will get billed for this ghost call.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Man surfs a 90ft wave

American surfs a 90 ft wave in Portugal. Possibly the largest wave ever surfed!


Happy Surfing!


Friday, January 20, 2012

What a movement needs

NOTE: I have used the word
OPPONENT =  Govt and their opposition (Since we do not value the support of any political party or politician)

1)     Education about the Movement: This is my observation – some of us who support this movement don’t really know how our demands have changed with the time and circumstances. We need a visual, simple to understand, chronological record of events. I am sure we can find skills that can do this amongst our supporters around the country.
2)     Educate the vote-bank: We must have imagined some politician say this, “I can’t care about you and this movement, if it fails to move my vote bank away from me”. And I think some politician must have had the nerve to say this out loud by now. But we should remember to thank him for reminding us what really matters to our opponents. Understanding the people on the other end is an essential clue to how we can win this war against corruption.
3)      Education about Civil Disobedience and Non-violence: We are lucky to be here in this moment in world history. I don’t know of a time in world history where so many people from different countries, of different cultures have employed Civil Disobedience in their own ways to demand or bring about change in their own communities ( country/states/city/villages,etc ), big and small (Arab Spring, Budrus ). We have living examples to observe and learn, evaluate, tweak and implement. Brainstorm on new ways and methods. We have to re-educate and constantly remind ourselves of what Non-Violence and Civil Disobedience is and literally practice it. I have heard that in the Black Civil Rights led by Martin Luther King, people would get together to enact how they would have to react non-violently in preparation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. You would be nudged, pushed, shoved to the back of the bus, but you should resist the need to react violently and refused to stay in the back of the bus. This might sound drastic, but these values have to be repeated so many times to be engrained in our psyche. Almost like a sermon.

Re-evaluation/Review: Let us look back in to the past few months, pick a date from which we think the movement had gathered significant momentum. Systematically review and objectively re-evaluate all the events, our conduct, our demands, the consequences and the counter offers. If we have lost steam/sense of direction, we have made a major fundamental mistake somewhere in this orchestration. We did not lack in intent. We did not lack in enthusiasm. We did not fail in drawing attention. It is possible we lacked in our assessment of our opponent’s (Govt and their opposition) next possible moves. If we have got someone to compare the proposed bill to a “noose around our necks” in full view of the media, we definitely did a whole lot of things right. But, knowing where we could have done better can help us in really doing better as we move ahead – irrespective of what direction we decide to move in.
It will not be a bad idea to spend some effort to consult people like Arun Gandhi ( - I recently heard his interview on an American Radio Show and when questioned about what he thought of the movement here. I  felt his answers would perhaps give us a few pointers to finding out what the flaws were. We could benefit from an outsider’s view to this – don’t know who these people could be - Mark Rudd(may be), if they are willing to observe this movement as a case study. [In the hope, the future generations will not just have events to study from but a scientific analysis of these different cases of non-violent protests. It will not just encourage Non-Violent means of protests but also create ambassadors. ]

Strategy: In doing the last two, we would have gained clarity and a heightened awareness that would help us chart out strategies, fully taking advantage of cards we are dealt with, the time and the needs of our opponents at the time. We have to brainstorm and explore other means of garnering attention and newer forms Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. We have to look beyond candle light marches and fasts. Think of innovative means. The other thing I feel we should do, is run separate and distinct strategies in parallel. There is another big odd against this movement – the complacent Indian attitude – there has to be a number of initiatives that should focus on attempting to change it, without seeming very obvious.  

Collaborate: It is a good idea to have collaborative projects with other local causes. Come up with innovative ideas – it gets both causes attention and both can benefit from the synergy.

Mathematics: The war against corruption is one of numbers. There are people for corruption, then there are the ones against it and then there are the people who can’t take a side or don’t wish to take a side for whatever reasons. We apart from focussing on the immediate need to ensure the bill in its current form is not passed, have to also have smaller focus groups/think-tanks that will channelize efforts in educating people to take a side – we don’t tell them which side to take, but instead make them understand why this is their business.
Then the other mathematical aspect of this war, is that this problem is so huge that we find it difficult to simplify its understanding to the level that the less-fortunate, uneducated, disconnected people would be able to understand it. Break it down to the level that the people who add up to make the vote-bank will understand why this should matter to them. Best done diagrammatically. I have an idea in my head, but I need the help of a cartoonist or an artist to help translate it into paper.

Common conduct and Value system: The movement had to suffer a few setbacks because of a lack of common code of conduct. There should be a common agreed understanding of the values we stand for. Remember, the very stand against corruption, though we are focussing on how money is siphoned off from the system and people are swindled, is actually one that is rooted in our values and ethics. If we can’t set that right in us, how will we be able to confidently stand up against such evil.

Flat Leadership: This is so important, that I would have mentioned it first. This is how I felt seeing the growth of this movement – proud, hopeful, confident, enthusiastic. But there was this one feeling that I am still not able to put to rest. If it isn’t for Anna, if isn’t for Arvind... if it isn’t for XYZ... this movement will lose steam and cease to exist. Meaning that this movement will breath, literally, as long as these people breath. This is a failure in the making. Along with reminding people that this issue is closer to their home that they think it is, we should also embed a sense of ownership in them. We all share the same idea, but we have got together to collaborate and co-operate towards a common goal. I am as responsible for making this work as much as you are. Just as I may learn a few things from you, so will you from me. What we need are not a flock of sheep that obediently follow a shepherd, but a colony of ants with their own individual skills coming together to become a single minded strong being.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ladies and GM, only for you to drool

It might or might not match up to your expectations of an ‘exquisite’ machine.

Recently a colleague expressed his wish to have a ‘BMW 7 series’.


But whats interesting to think about is ... what do people like us have to do to buy such pieces of engineering? What do you think, you need to do or change in order to be in a position to acquire these?


I usually get to notice these in the night... God knows why... but today morning I saw it and even better, got to stop at the signal close to these people so I had the opportunity to ask the question thats always been on my mind whenever I see such magnificent pairing of man and machine... here is the short conversation for your delight


I: Excuse me. What do you do?

Pillion lady: (Smiles) Its imported

I: No... What  do  you  do?

Pillion Lady: (Smiles) Oh! Its a long procedure!

I: No... As in, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING? [Thinkin: God! Do I have to spell it out to you?!!]

I got the rider and the pillion lady cracking, a little awkward wondering ... now how do we answer that?!! Lets continue laughing.


Thankfully signal turns green while they are still cracking, I tell them .. nice piece of machine... and we drive off.


Tell me ... what is your dream machine and what do you think you have to do to get it? Dont give me become a polition / underworld don


Woman waiting for her machine,


Sunday, January 01, 2012

Wish you a fabulous New Year!!!

Another wonderful 365 days and each day is a treasure trove of wonderful opportunities.

Embark on new journeys.

Find new words to share about them.

Put plans into actions.

Push limits.





Holstee Manifesto




Nita Arvind