Counter Strike
My take on the things and events in the world.

Woh Afsaana...

Sunday, August 09, 2009
Sahir Ludhiyanvi wrote this couplet in one of his best nazms for movie Gumrah:
Ta'arruf rog ho jaye toh usko bhoolna behtar,
Ta'aluk bojh ban jaye toh usko todna achha.

Woh afsaana jise anjaam tak lana na ho mumkin,
Usey ek khoobsoorat mod de kar chhodna achha.
Ta'arruf - Acquaintance
Ta'aluk - Relationship

Listen to this timeless master piece here.

Some relationships don't pass the test of the time. We feel the need to end these rotten relationships and move on. When that moment comes, how easy it is to take that decision. And how difficult to be firm on the decision. Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jayein hum dono. It is not as simple as that. As the relationships that cause so much pain are the relationships that are very near and dear to us.

Can we turn our rotten relationships into new relationships with no baggage as the poet proposes! Can we really end something really painful on a positive note! Sometimes yes. I always like to end relationships with a smile on my face. But at other times it is just not possible. It also depends on the other person and on the circumstances. But we should always try. My gray hair tell me that the emotional baggage of ending something with pain and anger keeps tormenting us for a long time. My litmus test for such relationship is this beautiful sher by Nida Fazli:
Dushmani jam ke karo, lekin yeh gunjaaish rahe,
Ki jab kabhi dost ban jayein, toh sharminda na hon.
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Day 5 - The End of the Innocence

Sunday, August 09, 2009
Good, bad, bright, dull, interesting, boring, are all relative terms. None of these could be defined in isolation. However, most of us don't realise this fact when we use these adjectives. I think it makes our job easy. Our daily exercise of passing judgments, scrutinizing people, criticizing others actions, feeling superior and declaring ourselves unique becomes much easier. The exercise of self-glorification is very important for our positive self confidence. It is a reason for our existence, defining our identity; although flawed most of the times.

Another interesting thing about relativity of adjectives is that the scale against which we compare keeps changing. More often faster than we think or estimate. Although, we might not always do the comparisons explicitly, but at the back of our minds we unknowingly measure things against a scale. And our mind, depending on many things, keeps updating the scale.

The culmination of first week at ThoughtWorks University's six weeks program in Banglore is the time for updating this scale. First week was surprisingly exciting. Interactive sessions, positive energy all around, perfect weather, spicy food, new friends and a new beginning. All of these defined by relative adjective terms. All of this is beginning to change. Remember, change is inevitable! For good or bad, it is going to change. No one can stop it and its never coming back. The end of the beginning, of the honeymoon period, of novelty, of novice positivity. The end of innocence! Now we know the truth, or are beginning to know the truth. At least we think, we are.

Putting things in context, we all have experienced the first week. And it has been good in terms of most things. However, now the good in the second week would be defined by a new scale. The scale that has been set in the first week. Every session has been interactive so far. Breaking in teams to do activities is no longer as exciting as it used to be. That is now expected. Interactive might become new boring. The positivity in the team has also beginning to fade somewhat. A correction was due in this regard. Optimism, followed by pessimism normally gives birth to pragmatism. The end of the innocence, usually makes us mature, wiser and more responsible.

No one knows what lies beyond the horizon, but lets keep working hard. Hard enough to be ready for anything. At the same time let's not forget to enjoy this time. Future would reveal itself when it becomes the present. Sooner than later. As one of my new friend here noticed, let me finish this post with a couplet as I always do:
Sarakti jaye hai rukh se naqaab ahista ahista,
Nikalta aa raha hai aftaab ahista ahista.
                                                -- Ameer Minai
Aftaab - The sun
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Day 1 - Don't Worry Be Crappy!

Monday, August 03, 2009
I always knew ThoughtWorks as the company where Martin Fowler works. I had some idea about the cool stuff they were doing around Agile. Aaaah, those were the good old days of 2003-04. That was the time when I was exploring Agile and playing with it. But I really got to know TW closely, when I had an opportunity to engage with them as part of CETI research group during my graduate studies at Ohio State. I was impressed with the kind of work they were doing. Practically everyone that I talked to at TW was really good. When I use that word in describing technology people, I mean it. So, things worked out well and I joined ThoughtWorks after a going through a recruitment process that I would rate very high.

ThoughtWorks has presence in 8 countries now. All the fresh graduates that they hire all over the world have to attend a program called ThoughtWorks University (TWU) in Bangalore. It is 6 weeks training program for introducing TW, Agile and consulting practices to the new recruits. Although I have some work experience under my belt, techinically I am a fresh graduate. I like that tag. It relieves me of so much of baggage and expectations. And with all these young people around me, I am feeling quite young and fresh.

First day was good. There is so much of energy in the room. Even sessions like TW values and TW history were so lively and interactive. In one of the sessions, it was quite interesting to listen all these young folks talking about issues like "revolutionizing" the IT industry.

The very first thing that the trainers tried to convey today was TW's attitude in dealing with mistakes. "Play it safe" is the motto of most people working in the IT industry. I think, one of the major issues crippling the industry is this fear of failure. People don't want to try out new things because of that fear. Jaisa chal raha hai, chalne do. And companies want you to be just perfect. Make a mistake, you would be penalized. Don't make a mistake, you are in good shape. At least you didn't screw up. This attitude needs to be changed if we want to bring innovation and quality back to IT. I am glad that TW recognizes this need. The message was loud and clear. "Don't worry, be crappy!". This is the thing that I liked most today. You would make mistakes if you are trying something worthwhile. Everyone makes mistakes. It should not be a crime to fail as long as you have the ability to get up, learn your lesson, keep your chin up and move on. But the bigger challenge, for both organizations and individuals, is to balance this appetite for mistakes with performance evaluations. I am sure TW wont disappoint me in this regard even in real pressure situations.
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