Eureka!

I might not be as learned and scholarly as Archimedes, but I felt the same excitement of discovery. On my part, I discovered equation for interpreting Indian Standard Time.

I will try to explain. Suppose you are waiting for your friend and call him up to ask when he/she will be coming. “I will be there in 15-20 minutes” is the reply you get.

Here assume 15 is x and 20 is y.

Now the actual time taken for your friend to arrive would be =
y + 2(y-x)
= 20 + 2(20-15)
= 20 + 2(5)
= 30 minutes.

You can apply the same formula to 5-10 minutes, 30-40 minutes, 1-2 hours, etc. and see that it works perfectly.

Lone-eaters

In a canteen, there are two categories of people: People having their food in groups and people having their food alone. The latter category, I call lone-eaters. Lone-eaters are always by choice and not by circumstances or force. That is, if you have to have food alone because you could not join your friends due to some meeting, then you are not a lone-eater.

Even though I have been in both the categories, on the inside, I am a lone-eater.

Both the options have their own positives and negatives, of which I will discuss the positives.

Positives having lunch in a group:

1. Stress-relieving gossip:
The gossip during lunch, covering a variety of topics like other office colleagues, project manager, trips, TV shows, movies, traffic, etc. acts as a great stress-reliever for many.

2. Movie reviews:
Group lunch on a Monday has this added advantage. Your friends who’ve watched a movie on the weekend are sure to share their experience. A small glitch here is that some of them may reveal the spoilers too.

3. Work-related issues:
This advantage applies when your manager is also a part of your lunch group. If there are work-related problems, which otherwise could invoke a strong reaction from your manager, you can discuss them during lunch. He is likely to respond in a more subdued manner.

Positives of having lunch alone:

1. Simple:
Eating alone is a very simple process. Get up from your desk, go to the canteen, take the food, find a nearest empty chair, finish food and back to your desk. Eating in a group involves a lot of sub-processes:

  • Calling everybody to start for lunch and gathering at a place
  • Deciding upon which canteen to go to (if there are conflicting views, going by the majority decision)
  • Looking out for the required number of seats that can accommodate the entire group together
  • Once the seats are found, shooing away others who are eyeing those ‘reserved’ seats.
  • Waiting for everybody to get food
  • Waiting for everybody to finish the food

2. Canteen of choice:
You can go to the canteen of your choice, keep going to different canteens every day, or even go to a nearby fast-food joint if you feel like.

3. Timing:
You can have food when you are actually hungry, and not when the majority decides that it’s time to hit the canteen.

4. Listening skills:
In a group lunch, we speak a lot; so much so that we forget to ‘listen’. Eating food alone offers a great opportunity to eavesdrop into conversations of other groups sitting around you. It gives a great insight into the issues and opinions of others – about their projects, about their managers, the company, market scenario, or even TV serials.

Edited to add:

5. Health benefits:
My Mom suggested this one after reading this post. Talking while eating is not good for health. Hence, if you are having your food alone, the talking is minimum and hence this is a ‘healthier’ option.

PS: No offence meant to the non-lone-eaters category 🙂

What they say v/s What they mean

There are certain quotes in IT industry used in daily course. I have just tried delayering the quote and looked to the underlying meaning…

What they say v/s What they mean

  • “…but it was a good learning experience.”
    “All our hard efforts have gone waste… that proposal did not materialize.”
     
  • “Our PM is a great person…”
    “Our PM does not have any clue about the project or deliverables… but plans parties and trips really well.”
     
  • “I have reviewed the attachment…”
    “I think your attachment is an excel file and has black fonts…”
     
  • “I will start your KT from tomorrow…”
    “I had been stuck up with this project since long, but seems that days of freedom are near… you are the next scapegoat.”
     
  • “Ram was our outstanding achiever last month.”
    “Last month, we had to make Ram work 14 hours a day and even on Saturdays…”
     

Glossary: (For people who are not from IT industry)

PM: Project Manager

KT: Knowledge Transition

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are just in a lighter vein. 🙂

Q-Crashers

I don’t know whether this is an official dictionary term, but the class of people it denotes is certainly a sizable percentage of the population we live among. Visualize a group of people standing in a lunch queue at their workplace. People coming later join the queue; and everyone gets the food in the order of the queue. Just and fair – no chaos – no grumblings.

But suddenly comes a super being who does not believe in lowly concepts like First-come-first-serve, queues, etc. This person acting under the supreme authority conferred upon him by himself, just gets into the middle of the queue and joins the group. I call them Q-crashers.

Through my own experiences, I have come across the following characteristics of Q-crashers:

  1. They are super beings
    As I already said Q-crashers think they are super beings. As per them, they have a right to be served first before any of the lesser mortals.
  2. Absence of guilt feeling
    They don’t have any guilt feeling while forcing their way into the queue. On the contrary, they do it with such an air that their action seems completely justifiable.
  3. Size of the queue does not matter
    A monarch is a monarch and does not stand in a queue. Be it a long queue or a small one.

Sarcasm apart, I think this really needs to be addressed if we want to grow further on the path of a developed civilized society. And even though I am initially referring to a class of people, what really needs to be curtailed is a small devil voice in each one of us, which tempts us to ‘break the queue.’

A view on qqqqqqqqq

After a quick lunch, I rushed to the ATM in our office premises. To my surprise, there was no queue outside the ATM. Instead of labeling it a ‘pleasant’ surprise and getting into the ATM, I checked out its glass door for an ‘Out of Order’ placard. There was none – and to end the story I was able to successfully complete the transaction and to get back to my work.

However, a point to note here is the way we have internalized the psychology of anticipation of queues, i.e. we in India. There is a queue for almost everything. Be it for railway tickets, bank counter, school admissions, movie hall, and even public toilets; Indians are used to stand in queue. If there is no queue, we suspect something’s wrong – e.g. if there is no queue outside a movie hall, then definitely the movie is not good, or if there is no queue outside a railway ticket counter, may be the railway employees are on a strike.

The reason behind this whole queue thing is the demand-supply mismatch in a country like India with its vast population. But let’s not summarize this interesting ‘Queue’ phenomenon with a boring Economics statement like this. Even if it does not seem so, there are a lot of advantages of having a queue. You can have a look at them:

1. Building National Unity
Nothing gets people into unity and action as does a person trying to crash into a queue, or an officer servicing the queue at a snail-slow speed. People get together putting aside all differences like race, cast, creed, financial status, etc to uphold the queue ‘principles’.

2. Stress Relieving
In a busy world where no body gets time for himself, a queue offers a person free time without a feeling of guilt for wasting time. One can use this time for ‘Open-eyes-meditation’, ‘Mini-Power nap’ and many more such stress relieving activities.

3. Validating Forms
While standing in a queue for submission of any kind of forms, a person can always check with others whether the form which he has filled up is correct, whether any extra documents are required, etc. This avoids last minute embarrassment before the Form accepting officer.

4. Improving Relationships
Standing in a long queue, trying to kill time, you are forced to make calls to all possible friends or relatives, whom you have not called since months.

5. Cross-functional information
If you are standing in a long railway ticket queue, you will read everything around you; be it Counter timings, Name of the officers, Rules and regulations, the year of inauguration of the Railway station and the person who had done the honors. You are thus enlightened about a lot of non-work related aspects.

So, a queue is a symbol of great national importance and should not be looked down upon or criticized.