Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Straight Driving :)

“Take care and drive straight” my manager warned me. He’s a cool chap. Smart as well. Wonder how he made that mistake! Who drives straight in Hyderabad??! And I’m sure the one who does, must be getting thrashed at office everyday – for being late! (Not like my name is not in the black list of late comers :P but well...On this blog (which is MY page = MY territory) I can take the liberty of not letting any of you know that :P ) So just as every blog post is inspired by a thought, a situation or a feeling, my post too, is inspired by this strange combination of “straight driving” and “Hyderabad”! :)

“What the %^&* do you think of yourself? Gaadi chalani nahi aati kya??” my head (and half of my trunk) were outside the window. I was ranting at a motorcyclist who had just overtaken me from the left. I wish I knew then, why his only reaction was a mocking smile. I had learnt my driving in Bombay and had enjoyed the disciplined traffic for over two years. Moving to Hyderabad never sounded like fun. And I was most convinced of the no-fun situation when it came to driving. My initial thoughts: People in Bombay drive so that they can reach their desired location on time, and in the right mood. People in Hyderabad drive. It looked to me as if there was no desire to reach any destination. Forget being on time. Hyderabadis are known for their Nawabi – laid back nature. If a Hyderabadi tells you he visited the Taj Mahal just “parson”, you have to understand that he must have visited it while on some school trip to Agra. And don’t ever; which means DON’T EVER, trust a Hyderabadi to finish work on his promised date. If he says “ek ghante mein khatam karke de detu” he basically means he will be back next week, with OR without the work completely done! Hmmm....So coming back to the driving sense of people here... let me try and classify some drivers here:

The Bully: He owns the road. Well at least that’s what he thinks. When he starts the engine, instead of the vroom vroom, it says “I have arrived. Give way". He is the king. All others seem to be tiny ants that he can easily trample over. And as is obvious, the ants give way to the king.

The Egoist: He is different from the bully. He doesn’t even SEE the ants. He travels only in the main lane. He is more committed to the main lane than he is to his wife! He never lets anyone (other than the bully) overtake him.

The Pain in the Ass: He loves honking! Oh, it’s his hobby! He can easily be found behind the egoist. He keeps honking, and the egoist never gives way. HE is the reason for all the noise pollution.

The Spiderman: He jumps from one lane to the other (obviously without indicating- Spiderman never uses indicators, remember?!) He also jumps signals and never gets caught by the cops (Spiderman never gets trapped!) This is the guy who reaches his destination in least time. (Lucky Kid: He must be enjoying ALL his leaves: For us, they cut leave allowance if you are late. Crap!)

The over-possessive: (My kind) He loves his car just a little more than he loves himself, or anything else in the world. He NEVER shares the wheel. If you want to see the most disastrous effect of anger on human beings, you should try scratching his car. But make sure you don’t give it a big scar; else YOU will land up having one!

The RTC Bus: Yes! It deserves a category of its own. It is the bully’s bully. It is the most over-shadowing. No one messes with the RTC bus!

The kind-hearted: In spite of driving each and every day, and encountering the egoist, the bully and the pain in the ass on a regular basis, this guy STILL believes in goodness. He gives way to Spiderman. He never hates the bully. He doesn’t really give pain in the ass a chance to be the pain in the ass.

And last but not the least,

The Ant: The ant is the one who bears the ego, the bullying and the pain in the ass. However, it is different from the kind hearted. It doesn’t WANT to be an ant. It dreams of being the one it hates the most – the bully.



“Hello! Dudette! Don’t you know overtaking from the left is not allowed? Huh! Villagers” I hear someone screaming at me. So I turn to see. His head (and most of his trunk) are outside the window. He looks new to Hyderabad. So all I do is smile :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Invention :)

Writing blogs is good. You get to put into words, and share, those numerous thoughts and emotions that would otherwise just pass and be lost somewhere where you can never find them again. I realize I haven’t found time to post in the last few days (if you want to know the reason, refer to the previous post!) However, it is really important for me to write this today. This post is dedicated to Koptike and Ferngren. The two men I can never thank enough. The two men I consider among the most intelligent in the world. The two men who made this post and many more things possible.

The annual overhaul is finally through! It is one event I think every individual must witness at least once in his lifetime. It is overwhelming how an entire manufacturing line can be stripped off all nuts and bolts that make it stand, and be put back – into the same design, to perform the same function, but to achieve better efficiency. (In life, as and when we face adverse situations, we undergo a similar overhaul. We get ruined. We give up – we give in. All that ever made us stand seems broken and strewn. It is then that we get to see what we are really made of. )
Walking through the bay, watching the newly assembled shining line, I realised how different manufacturing was from biotechnology.

“Wow! Am I really made of these minuscule balls of cells?” My first look at the microscopic image of MY OWN red blood cells had left me confused... Obviously! Something that looked so big in front of the mirror just a few hours ago was looking totally deceptive under a microscope. (In life, a LOT depends on how you look at yourself.) “Yas amma. That is yo-vur bloodd amma. Come on now, doesn’t waste others’ time. Test yo-vur bloodd group and complete the juurrnal.” Phew! I had studied in South India for over five years by then. However, being a core Bambaiyah, I found the formidable engineering subjects easier to understand! ;) Ignoring the discomfort of not being able to relate to her accent, I continued staring into the glass piece. The extreme complexity of being suddenly looked simple and clear. (Life is as simple as “simple” gets. But we don’t like simple things. We like it if it’s complicated. And if it’s not, we have this incredible ability to complicate it.)

The magnified image of floating RBCs gave me a clear picture of the “biology of life”. That was the science I was exposed to all this time. And the version of science I saw now was completely different. Where biology is all about cells, tissues and muscles; manufacturing is all about fierce bearings, strong gears, unforgiving boilers and greedy compressors. The striking difference between the two versions of science made me conscious of the vast horizon of knowledge. I feel lucky to be able to explore such a wide spectrum of science.

Talking about machines, this post is (read ‘was supposed to be’ –obviously I’ve strayed) about my favorite giant. It’s called the Blow Molding Machine. When I saw it for the first time about a year ago, my mind couldn’t register the quick movements of the plastic bottles. They never went in. They were just coming out. The bottles were being manufactured then and there! It took me three hours to understand the entire process in depth. I tried recollecting the glass blowing mechanism taught during my second grade at school. The Syrians learnt to append a glowing ball of glass to a hollow tube, and blow through the tube to make hollow structures of different shapes. This was the basic principle underlying this beast-like machine. Polyethylene, much known as plastic or PET, holds the character of being able to mold into any given shape if heated to the right temperature. (Human beings have a similar character, the heat being motivation. If we are motivated enough, and if we see enough benefits, most of us would get molded into anything, by anyone. However, the irony is that not all of us become beautiful bottles from shapeless blobs)

The speed and efficiency of the machine is beyond explanation in real words. One has to see it to believe it. It stretches and blows polyethylene into the desired shape less than a minute before the product – be it cream, paint, or beverage, is poured into the (then) bottle. The entire process of converting a parison into a container takes less than 5 seconds! The machine is swift and unrelenting. It is accommodating as well. One can change the molds in less than 10 minutes, and the shape of the container being manufactured changes. (In life, situations desire us to adjust our sails often. We MUST, and I say this with experience, we MUST accept change and also learn to enjoy it.)

But how does this machine become a topic to be written about? Well, for me, there are many personified qualities to adopt from the Blow Molding Machine: a defined and clear goal in mind, unconditional commitment to achieve that goal, effort and hard work with high efficiency, alacrity, balanced and constant speed, relentless struggle and most importantly- an adjusting attitude.

What the machine IS, talks volumes about how great the human mind is. Such inventions are live examples of motivated minds that created, built and developed extraordinary results. This is thus; to the inventors of the star performer I’m most fond of – to Mr Koptike and Mr Ferngren.