Monday, May 17, 2010

Icebreaker Speech @ Toastmasters

Mother Teresa once said "Life is an opportunity, benefit from it".

Dear Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests,

Life is indeed an opportunity gifted to us by God. In another 5 minutes time, you will get to know, how I made the most of it.

I was born and brought in Supaul, a non-descript remote place in North Bihar. I come from a very humble background, all of my relatives except my father were uneducated farmers. When I descended on earth, my family was in a state of struggle financially, because my father didn't had a job. But soon after my arrival, he got one in state government. People took it as a message from God and instantly I was their lucky-mascot. Unaware of all this attention bestowed upon, I grew up quietly in my village.

I didn't had any schooling till standard V. Whatever I learned during that period, I owe it to my mother. While my father was busy settling into his government office, she was the one, who taught me everything, be it science, maths or english(whatever little she knew). She wanted to see me become a Bada Aadmi, make her proud and be a role-model for the entire village.

When I finally got a chance to join middle-school at standard VI, I noticed that class-rooms didn't look as fancy as it used to appear in books. There were no benches, no desks. All we had was this huge-room without any roof and all of us would be sitting on floor doing our bit, while the sole-teacher in the school was busy multiplexing across different classes. I used to carry a plastic cement-bag-cover every day to school. It used to serve two purposes, it was meant for sitting inside class-room and at the same time, in absence of an umbrella, it also used to serve as a rain-coat during rainy seasons !! But I never complained about this nor the fact that I had to walk 2 kilometres every day to the school. In fact I made the most of it, being a topper throughout my school.

After finishing schools, I got into a +2 college in the same-place. After two not-so-eventful years, I had finished +2 as well. Now I didn't know what to do, nor did my parents. Most of my relatives suggested preparation for clerical-jobs, but I had this friend of mine, who knew all along that I was meant for bigger things in my life. He suggested me to go to Patna and prepare for IIT entrace exams. That's was the first time, I heard this word IIT and I got terribly excited@ the prospect of being an engineer, I had no idea about IITs, but I somehow wanted to do it !!

That's how I reached Patna, the first time, I went outside my district on a train !! Life in Patna was not easy, I had to do everything on my own,be it cooking, washing clothes, cleaning utensils. But I knew there is no gain without pain. So I just gave IIT my best-shot and to everyone's(including myself) amazement, I had cracked it with a three-digit rank. Here again, I had made the most of my meager resources !!

I opted for Computer science in IIT Kharagpur, even though I hadn't even touched a computer till then. In fact, I was so ignorant of computers that on being asked "What would you do, if you have internet an your hostel-room", my answer was I will download a CD-Writer and a CPU, as they are very expensive !!

When I went there and saw convent-educated english-medium students all over, I knew I was in for a hard-time. I was nothing but a frog, who had just came out of its well and will quickly be found wanting. And that's exactly what happened. Despite my best efforts, I languished at the bottom in my class. Before I could realize, I was into my 4th year and placement season was ON. Even though I was lacking horribly in communication skills, I knew I was not too bad technically, so I was quietly confident. So when God gave me a chance, I made the most of it and got placed into Cognizant Systems.

My first job took me to Chennai and believe it or not, this was the best thing that happened to me. I started talking fluently in English, something I had not done all my life. No body in my circle knew Hindi and it was a blessing in disguise. I knew this was my last chance to learn English and improve upon my communication-skills and that's what I did !! I made the most of my short-stay in Chennai and I got into Oracle with my newly acquired skills.

Not everybody is born with a silver-spoon. God is not an idiot, he consistently creates these wonderful characters, who come out of nowhere and make a lasting impression on our minds, not for months not for days, not for weeks but for years and generations along.

From somebody who gave his lab-vivas in Hindi to someone, who is now speaking in front of a software audience; From somebody who couldn't distinguish between hardware and software@ age of 18 , to someone who is a star performer in a Fortune 100 software company, I surely have come a long way. Yes, I made the most of my life. With that note, Friends, I would call it a day and like you to introspect, whether you have made the most of this opportunity, that is life. Thank You.

PS: This speech fetched be Best Prepared Speaker in yesterday's toastmaster session :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Joke Of The Day Continued ...

While the CJI was retiring on 12th May, finally admitting something inconvenient, we knew all along, after being in denial-mode throughout his stay, somewhere else, something significant was happening. In hot unforgiving summer in Bihar, justice was being delivered. Yes, Justice, albeit of a different kind.

Somebody, who has slogged tirelessly for past 25 years, not for money, but for pride, was duly rewarded, when he got promoted to the next level. It was not easy. He was arguably the most honest of all sarkari baboos. Being the only knowledgeable engineer at your work-place has its own share of troubles. He was always kept busy with all sorts of works that could be "expected" out of a honest government official.

At times, he loved all the attention he received, as his technical acumen was widely acknowledged and appreciated by all. But little did he knew that he was being forced into a honey-trap. While he worked as hard as he could, before his spinal chord deceived him, severely denting his productivity, not his intelligence though, his colleagues were busy buttering higher-echelon officials. He didn't know the dirty tricks that are so badly needed to grow in a government setup. He gave it all, he had, thinking that his due rewards will reach him sooner than later, but unfortunately it never reached. In stead, most of his colleagues, who used to get all things done in the name of friendship, leapfrogged him to higher ranks. And he was left with nothing, but what he was good at...Hard and Honest Work From A Government Official with 110% dedication !!

But then you can not delay the inevitable. After delaying his files for so-long, there came a moment of redemption, when saw a new commander-in-chief being installed at the helm of affairs. He was perhaps the only person, who thought of this engineer, as someone, who has been denied his due honours for so long and now was the time to restore parity. He instructed all the party involved(including the engineer himself), made sure his files got cleared in time with all his records updated favourably. So here we are, seeing this engineer as a Sub-Divisional-Office !!

My heartiest congratulations to this engineer, who has been a role-model, not just for me, but for an entire village. I am sure, there must have been many more engineers before and there will be many more like him in future, But he was, he still is and will always be remembered as Engineer Sahab aka Hakim. A rare talent, who was good at, almost everything he could lay his hands upon. A true genius...

PS: The aforementioned person, who got this well-deserved judgement after being denied justice for so long, is no one but my father Shree Bandhu Nath Jha !!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Joke Of The Day

Thought(read Joke) of the day :)

Corruption in judiciary 'minuscule': CJI

I am sure he is living in a fools' paradise(now that he is retiring, he can probably afford to do so and be ignorant of the underlying hole, entire judiciary process finds itself in). In my humble opinion he could very well be fooling the people of this country, when he says that corruption in judiciary is minuscule.

Look at the way, they allowed Reddy Brothers to get away with their misdoings, even though it was obvious to one and every body that they were involved in illegal mining operations. You yourself are part of jury, who granted the exemption, Sir.

The apex court, however, clarified that
Mining operations by OMC should be carried out only in the undisputed area of the lease granted by the Karnataka government and would have to be stopped if the Survey of India says so.

This makes me laugh even more, because who on earth is going to monitor, what part of land they are going to mine ?? When state borders are non-existent, who will keep a tab on them ?? Won't it be just the same, as it used to be ?? Bottom-line is Reddy brothers have just got away with their sin and as a matter-of-fact got an endorsement of sorts from Apex court, so that they can hold a "press-conference" to claim that they have been vindicated by this Apex court judgement and it was nothing but a "political-conspiracy" to defame them !!

CJI himself has not come clean on cash-at-door scam and one wonders how on earth he allowed Nirmal Yadav to get away with her misdoings. How about Justice Dinakaran, who has amassed millions, if not billions, worth of illegal property. Any comments except for withdrawing his nomination ?? Who recommended his name for elevation in the first place ?? How about Justice Ajit Prakash ?? Any idea, why he warmed the benches forever, but never made it to Supreme Court, despite being one of the finest judges in the country ?? And eventually he retired on 20th Feb after being denied elevation to the apex court. Many eminent jurists had forwarded his name for elevation to the Supreme Court, but the deciding collegium was not moved, I wonder why ?? May be you had a personal score to settle with him, as he was the one who passed landmark judgement of bringing your office under the Right to Information Act.

No one is going to miss you Sir, you were past of the judiciary panel that passed the so-called landmark OBC reservation bill, creating a ruckus in the society to somehow belong to OBC/SC-ST category by hook-or-crook (Gujjar community is just one of the examples). When you yourself are hell-bent on implementing reservation, who are we to blame politicians, who talk of reservation almost@ drop of a hat. You only instruct them to follow your guidelines of not crossing the 50% barrier while implementing reservations.. That too has been violated in various states(tamil nadu being one of them) . When you reign supreme(or rather claim to be) why can't you preserve your own dignity ?? By passing this reservation act,You have not only given an ammunition in people'(read politicians) hands but also set a dangerous precedent , which tells politicians that go ahead with your quota/reservation bills, when appeal reached us, we will pass it in the name of social-equality and social justice... Coming up next will be minority-reservations, So your services will again be sought-over,Sir. But I am glad that you would not be around by then :)

And let me put it to you very bluntly, you can't defend yourself behind this argument of restricting reservation only to persons who are not belonging to creamy-layer. I used to have a friend in IIT(lost touch with him after coming to Bangalore, but I can still claim to be his friend any day), whose father used to own 2-3 cinema halls and many shops in Calcutta and yet he didn't belong to creamy-layer !! Well, I have also heard from unreliable sources that you are going to revise it from 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh. Well, when nearly 80 Percent of India lives On Half Dollar A Day, which translates to ~ 9K Rupees, yes nine thousand Rupees , Sir ?? How are you going to justify capping it to 4.5 lakh ?? Truth is only those communities, who are earning in upper-brackets can take (or rather already taking) advantage of reservation, rest all are as ignorant to it, as a software engineer,sitting in his A/C office sipping coffee in huge-gulps, is to a farmer suicide happening in Vidarbha !!

Went slightly off-topic. Can't help, reservation is one topic which is close to my heart, so no surprises there. Coming back to your interview, according to you
No politician would like to come and meet a judge because he would be in trouble if the judge exposes him.

Look at what Justice Murthy did ?? After creating a sensation of sorts by revealing how a union-minister called him up and tried talking to him(read bribing),Did he really "expose" any one ?? Does any one know, who the minister was ??(All media speculation points towards telecom minister A.Raja), but did he had the guts or will to come out in open and name the minister ?? Was he scared ?? If this is what you call an expose, then I am sure expose word will mean a somersault !!

You transferred Dinakaran to Sikkim high-court and Nirmal Yadav to Uttarakhand high-court ?? In stead of "transferring" judges, why can't you take stricter action ?? Don't blame corrupt politicians as to having an influence on judiciary process, the judiciary itself is clearly hand in gloves with them and then plays victim in front of Indian public, claiming it to be made of ice.

Good Joke CJI :) You just livened up the proceeding at my work-place. Had some real fun writing this blog in reaction to your confessions :)

PS: It all started with a comment-posting on the aforementioned ibnlive article, but for some reason, they refused to publish it. Although at the time of posting they had warned me "Comments will be published only after moderation", I didn't thought for a moment that my comments will go against the rules-n-regulations laid down by them. Anyway, no RTI can be employed here :) So can't say as to why they did that.

That's when I decided to pen down my thoughts in form a blog. I call it a rapid blog, as I penned it down in ~ 15-20 minutes :) Hope you enjoy reading it !!