There’s a Murphy in my Office

Most of you must have heard about Murphy’s Law. I am listing below the laws that are applicable to our workplaces. Am sure most will agree with these. Have Fun!

  • The printer is either out of toner or there is no paper only when the client asks for 10 copies of a 120 page report by evening.
  • The network would snap just when you were explaining an important point over a NetMeeting conference call.
  • All mails except the most important one, which was sent way before, will find their way into your inbox.
  • The client will call only when you had left for a coffee break. And when you call back, he/she won’t be available in office.
  • When its a busy day for you, all your colleagues would be chatting just outside your cabin.
  • When you don’t have much work… all your colleagues will be busy.
  • The display settings on your computer will play havoc only when you have to finish a presentation by afternoon.
  • The better your presentation, least the impact.
  • The frequency of mailing performed by a person varies in inverse proportion to the amount of work at hand.
  • Assaf’s Laws of Paperwork
    — When there are two possible forms to fill out on any given matter, the wrong form is always filled out at first.
    — The wrong form is not discovered until it has been signed by all parties concerned, sealed, and delivered.
  • Assaf’s Corollary
    — Once the right form has been filled out, signed by all parties concerned, sealed, and delivered, it turns out it was filled out wrong.
  • Paper is always strongest at the perforations.
  • The 90-90 Rule of Project Management:
    — The first 90% of a project requires 90% of the allotted time. The remaining 10% takes another 90% of the allotted time.
  • When reading this page at work your boss will pop-up (behind your back) and ask you why aren’t you working.
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OverBOOKed

Too Many Options?

I am a voracious reader. And a compulsive-obsessive book collector. For me, genre is not and has never been a barrier. Science, Philosophy, History, Politics, Literature & Fiction, Biographies, Psychology, you name the genre and I have read something related.

So, it is imperative for me to carry a book wherever I go. Whether I am going to office in the morning, or visiting friends and relatives over the weekends or simply out for break, I always need to carry a book with me. I am building my personal space for books, a mini-library if you may. As of now, it contains over 130 books (as of last official count), all of which I have bought in the last 2 years. That basically means 1.3 books a week. And most importantly, each of those titles has been purchased after careful deliberation on my part.

That is not to say that I am reading a lot of books in practice or that I must be a speed reader. No, I am hardly able to cover a book in less than 2 weeks and there is a very bad reason for it. I don’t seem to have the time for it. When I am travelling to office every morning, I read for about half an hour. Then I start to feel sick because of reading in a moving car (does that to me a lot). In the evening, I reach home quite late and it is only when I get into bed that I continue the book. Needless to say the tiredness of the entire day gets the better of me and every night I fall asleep with the book still held open in my hands. Yes, every single night. Next morning, the cycle continues.

Weekends are when I really cherish the idea of reading a lot. I have mostly been able to pick up a book and, provided there are no distractions, have been able to enjoy my reading quite a lot. On the whole, I think I have read at least 110 of those 130, but having 20 unread books can sometimes be very troublesome. Let me explain.

I sometimes get into a phase, in which I have termed myself as being ‘Overbooked’. It is a state in which I am eager to start/continue reading a book but I am unable to decide which one. For instance, should I read ‘The Republic’ by Plato that I bought a long time back and really want to get through, or should I pick up from where I left off with my PG Wodehouse collection? Things get complicated when, simultaneously, it occurs to me that I have recently bought Sam Harris’s ‘The Moral Landscape’ but deep within my heart, I really now need to read Christopher Hitchens’s ‘Hitch-22’, an autobiography that I have secured in a plastic bag since last 2 yrs for the fear of it catching even a mote of dust. I could even read up the 2nd volume of Stephen Fry’s autobiography, titled ‘The Fry Chronicles’. But, Truth be told, there is no greater masterpiece like the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ collection that I have. So, basically, I am spoilt for choices.

Sometimes, this phase can get really frustrating and absorbing, with the result that I spend most of my energy in this futile attempt at decision-making and end up reading nothing at all. But I often wonder why this happens to me and it might make you wonder if I am simply a spendthrift who keeps buying books by the dozen but does not care to read them.

But it’s not that I don’t care, for I purchase every single title after very careful deliberations and am very touchy about the condition of each book in my collection. I take care to even wash my hands before I take out some of the special books form my library. It is just that I do feel spoilt for choices and with the kind of affection I have for my books, it is somewhat like having many girlfriends, all of them being equally amazing (well, not really), but you can’t spend time with all of them together. I know I could have used a better analogy and this one might make me sound like a nerd or a geek who really doesn’t understand the difference between women and books, but I hope you will not judge me on this because I do understand the difference and never mix the two.

Has this ever happened to you, being spoilt for choices and feeling actually frustrated about it? If yes, I would love to know what you do in such a situation. How do you come out of such a dilemma when you are spoilt for choices? Please share your experiences with me.

DETECTIVE HIRED TO FIND GOVERNMENT

A really nice and hilarious blog…

INDIA UPDATE

Concerned citizens are in the process of hiring a detective to find the government, which has been absconding since August, 2011.

“We looked all around for clues, but we couldn’t find any,” said one of them. “That’s why we decided to hire a professional.”

Early favourite Sherlock Holmes has dropped out of the race, as he is busy locating missing cast members from the Olympic Opening Ceremony, one of whom was apprehended yesterday in Croydon. NDTV sleuth Arnab Goswami has also declined, citing prior commitment to yelling. Home-maker Purnima Patel’s offer of her mother-in-law has been rejected, despite assurances that ‘she can poke her nose anywhere.’

“We are currently considering Professor Higgs, of Higgs-Boson fame, provided his rate is reasonable,” said a concerned citizen. “If he can find something that small, he can find anything.”

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My Attempts to Read That First Novel

During my school days, I remember, a lot of other kids used to pass time reading some books while travelling in the school bus or while bunking classes. At that time, I was not introduced to reading as a hobby and so obviously I found it a little mysterious how some of them could actually read books which were over a 100 pages thick. Don’t take me wrong, I did do a lot of reading of my own, but it was always comics and never any serious reading like novels. And it is also not that I don’t consider reading comics as requiring an equal zeal, but reading novels was something different for me. Something unattainable.

Finally, when I was in class 10, one of my uncles visited us and when he went back, he incidentally forgot his Jeffrey Archer novel called “A Matter of Honor.” This was the first novel ever to lie around in my home in my memory and a few weeks passed and it kept calling to me. Many times, I would pick it up, check out its pages and cover and then put it down again, not sure what would happened if I opened it, until a day arrived when I could just not resist anymore.

I cannot forget this book ever because of the number of time I tried to read it and failed. I clearly remember the first time I started reading it, I went on for 5-6 pages before putting it down. Why? Because I just couldn’t understand anything. Few days later, I tried again and almost reached the end of the first chapter. Still nothing. So I quit again. I think I tried a few more times and the only thing I remember even now from that first chapter was the name Romanov and I guess some terms related to Russia. I guess it was just too much and the information was too new for me to understand. Finally, one time I decided to read on after reaching the end of Chapter 1 onto Chapter 2. I really compelled my self to continue reading even if it did not make sense and see what happens. And as I read more and more I started to understand what was happening and it turned out that I was actually enjoying it a lot. It grew upon me with such pace that I could not sleep at nights because I was so engaged in it and it took me a few days to finish my reading. (Come on guys, it was my first book).

I think that book changed my life because it encouraged me to read more and more. Starting with other books of Archer and then going on to read Sydney Sheldon and others, reading quickly became a habit that I haven’t been able to give up even 13 years after that first novel. Today, not a days passes without me reading at least a few pages from one of the hundreds of books that I own and keep in my bedroom.

Now that I think about it, I was very fortunate that my uncle forgot that book at my home. And I feel it was really good that I did not give up on that book despite failing to so many times in my attempts to understand what reading was all about.

Today, reading is my life’s greatest passion, a sort of obsession, and I am happy that I got into it and it will always be something that I can never give up.

Books I Like to Read before I Sleep – Part 1

It is absolutely essential for me to read a few pages of a nice book just before I go to sleep. This really has to be the last thing I do at the end of the day simply because it is such a calming influence on my mind. To be engaged with a light hearted stress busting book just before sleeping is an excellent idea and needless to say there would be many others echoing my thoughts on this.

This is the first part of a series of blogs that I will write and in each I will talk about a specific book or series of books that I love to read especially before I go to sleep. Daily!

P.G. Wodehouse: Any of the 14 Jeeves and Wooster Novels

In my opinion, there has not and will never be anyone to match the sense of humor and writing style of the great P.G. Wodehouse. I cannot list any one of his Jeeves and Wooster novels here because I think all of them are equally magnificent. It is splendid to read the mis-adventures of Bertie Wooster What Ho!-ing all over London trying to help his friends and relatives but invariably getting sucked into one hilarious problem after another himself until the genius Jeeves comes to the young master’s rescue. Accompanied by bigger idiots but extremely likeable Bingo Little, Tuppy and Gussey, not to forget the wrath of Aunts Dahlia and Agatha, this splendid writing is really hard to put down. Ever since I read the first novel by Wodehouse, I have started to collect all of his works and it truly is a great collection.

One of my fellow bookworm friends once said that she did not get into Wodehouse novels because she had the impression that it is something that school-going kids are supposed to read. But I vehemently disagree. The writings of Wodehouse are timeless, ageless and fit for reading by people of all ages, classes, shapes and sizes.

As Bertie Wooster once commented:
“We Woosters do not lightly forget. At least, we do – some things – appointments, and people’s birthdays, and letters to post, and all that – but not an absolutely bally insult like the above.”

As Stephen Fry, who has played the character of Jeeves on the television adaptation of these novels, has often said about the works of Wodehouse:

“You don’t analyze such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendor.”

My advice is to start with “The Inimitable Jeeves.” then “Carry On, Jeeves” and if you really get into the craze, continue with the rest of the series.

Do you agree with my analysis?

To read more about P.G. Wodehouse, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._G._Wodehouse

The complete list of Jeeves and Wooster Novels, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._G._Wodehouse_bibliography#Jeeves

Writing My First Blog

Dear Reader,

It is quite a difficult job, this writing a blog. I’ve been thinking about it for many weeks now, or maybe months, but I just never got down to actually doing it. And even when I did today, one of the foremost problems I faced was “what to write about?”

“Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.” — Thomas Berger

How do I decide what to write about? I mean I am not a public figure whose opinion is greatly sought after. I am just the guy next door who, like everybody else, is just constantly trying to live and make sense of his life and writing is something that just lets one put thoughts on paper (ahem!!!).

Well, then that raises an important question: WHY do I want to blog? I don’t know but let’s explore. One reason might be that I think I have too many great ideas that are simply waiting to be harnessed. “Intellect of the 21st century” and “The Bertrand Russell of 2012”. Once I unleash my mind, the world will never be the same again. History will once again be divided into two ages. Just like BC and AD, it will now be BS and AS. (Seriously?? BS??) Of course, Dear Reader, I am just kidding.

Another reason might be that I want to be able to write down my thoughts so it improves my ability to express myself. Add to this the fact that I am a ferocious and voracious reader myself, I know there is a pleasure in composing one’s own piece of original thought and posting it for others to read. Or as F. Scott Fitzgerald famously quoted:

“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.”

I, for some time, have been quite disappointed with myself over my inability to write anything at all. More than half a decade back, when I was still in college, I found it very easy to write down whatever I was thinking about. I just had to pick up a pen and paper and think about the first thing that came to mind and I would be able to write quite a bit. But as time passed and I completed my engineering and then started with my job, whatever writing I did was all technical. And that has gone on for so many years that I have almost forgotten what it used to be like to write down random thoughts. Now, that needs to change.

Well, well, enough of thinking about why. I am still not certain of WHAT I should actually write about. Should I write about myself, my feelings, my experiences in personal life, what I like and don’t like, what hurt me and what gave me pleasure? Nah.. I think netizens have too much already to browse and read up, who has the time to read about my issues with life?

Maybe, I should write about something happening in the world, maybe my observations of political, social or economic events? Maybe, highlight how I see some social practices and my opinion on what is just and what is unjust. Yes, I do have some opinions of my own.

Or should I write about some scientific literature I have read recently, or my interest in astronomy? Yes, I’ve read quite a few books on science in general and astronomy in particular. Maybe I should write about stuff I’ve read that has awed me and which a layman otherwise never gets to find out in detail? For instance, how many people actually know that the Voyager 1 spacecraft that was launched by NASA is already moving out of the Solar System beyond Pluto and is currently in the Heliosheath? Sounds like a simple technicality but it means a lot for humanity as an achievement. More on that in another blog.

Coming back to the WHAT, I also absolutely love some particular writers like P.G. Wodehouse, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Fry and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of the Sherlock Holmes fame. And I think that the works of each one of these writers have been revolutionary in their own ways. So maybe I should blog about what I like about their works. Yes, that too sounds like a good idea.

However, my Dear and Patient Reader, I now do feel that it may even just be random thoughts on topics such as this blog itself. But I hope that would not be too boring for you, because I guess it won’t be too boring for me myself in the first place. After all, writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.

Thanks for listening.

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