Friday, June 19, 2009

Bad Money

“Money is a headache, and money is the cure. ~Everett M├ímor”. This was the first quote that went through my mind when I decided to write something about Money. I remember Xavier who studied in the same college where I did my Post Graduation. Xavier was a simple guy with a thick mustache and lean figure. He spend most of his time reading books in the library as well as preparing himself for a job. He didn’t have many friends.

We always saw Xavier alone. I had a personal affection for Xavier because he was ignored by everyone. He was brought up in a culture where studying and earning a good job was considered to be the ultimate aim in life. Right from his college days his parents instilled the belief in him that there isn’t anything more in life other than getting high scores in exams as well as getting a good job. Xavier studied hard right from the start of the course and in fact he was rewarded with high marks. Time went on and then came a time for the annual placements.

Xavier prepared well for the placement tests. Everyone was sure that it won’t be difficult for a well talented student like Xavier to get through the placement tests. All the Predictions were shattered when Xavier didn’t manage to get thru the first placement test of Infosys. Xavier seemed to be depressed after the test results. I saw Xavier crying in his room after the results. I consoled him saying that there are more companies yet to come, and told that u will sure get thru the next placement test. Unfortunately Xavier didn’t make it through the next 2 tests.

All the teachers lost hope in Xavier, until the unexpected happened. Fortunately Xavier got through the last placement test that was conducted in our college. He got through all the 3 rounds of interview and was awarded with the offer letter. Xavier was extremely happy when he saw the Salary package written in bold letters in the offer letter. He was offered a fat salary package of 3.2 Lakhs per annum.

I haven’t seen Xavier this much happy since he joined our college. Those drowsy eyes that I saw in him were now replaced by glowing fortunes. Xavier came to see me before joining Wipro. I told him that u need to be a professional guy when u start your professional life. He said that he will strive to be a different guy as soon as he started his career. For the first few months Xavier found it difficult to adjust with the corporate culture.

The Corporate Life and culture influenced Xavier to a great extent. He changed his dressing style from the conventional middle class guy to hi fi style. The simple shirts that he wore while in college were all replaced by branded T shirts, and the pants that were custom sewed were replaced by Levi Jeans. Life was changing for Xavier in all aspects. Since he dedicated his college days studying, he decided that now it’s the time to relax. Xavier was ready to step into the other side of the hi fi world. Those frequent calls to home were cut down to once or twice a month. Xavier’s parents were astonished when they saw the changes in their son’s behavior as well as manners. They didn’t tell anything to him, they thought to leave their son to his will since he has achieved what they wanted him to be.

A couple of months went on like this. Everything he saw and felt for the first time made him urge for more. Weekends was filled by either spending time in pubs or leisure. Little by little Xavier started going to pubs frequently. He had more than enough money, and now he knew how to spend every single penny that he got. New Horizons opened up for Xavier in the form of drugs. He was introduced to a guy called Khader by a bar tender.

Khader started off by giving Xavier the best stuff he had. Xavier enjoyed the intake and for the first time in life he realized that Life isn’t about studying and earning a good job, Life is all about enjoying till the last moment. The money that he earned thru his profession became scarce now. He was looking for more money, that made him jump from Wipro to a start up company who offered him a few bucks more. Frequent use of Drugs made him insane. Day after day even the salary couldn’t meet his drug requirement. Slowly Khader denied stuff to Xavier after a couple of incidents when Xavier asked stuff for credit. Xavier became insane after he was rejected drugs. Soon the company he was working with got struck in the recession wave, and they asked Xavier to leave the company in a month. This made Xavier act like a mad man. Xavier argued with the Manager and slapped him. That resulted in a Police case and Xavier was infact Black Listed. In the mean time Xavier’s parents came to Bangalore and admitted him in a rehabilitation center. He grew arrogant on his stay in the centre. His parents moved from Kerala to Bangalore for the time being. I went to see him in the rehabilitation centre. I consoled his parents and told them that to pray hard and hope for the best.

On my way back from Bangalore multiple thoughts went thru my mind. In fact it was the Bad Money that made Xavier what he is now. Money is essential in life. We all make ourselves busy each day, the ultimate reason is Money. Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it actually makes one. God left a hundred hidden messages for me through Xavier’s life. We need to analyze our necessity and act accordingly. Always ask your self twice whenever u spend money. “Do I need to buy this? Is this really required? ” The more we go after money we will always be short of money. Instead enjoy what u do and Money will automatically come after you.

God teaches the important facts of life through examples. Each and every day he teaches us something new. All we need to do is expect every incident in our life as if we are going to learn something new. I leaned back in the train berth on my way back to kerala with all these views in my mind. Immediately a guy came to our compartment with a dozen of new books. A couple of guys started looking at those books, as if to buy it, I asked myself “Do I need to buy this? Is this really required? ” .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Machine Life

I was 17 when I saw the Windows Login screen for the first time in my life. The small green strip that ran in a rectangular box below the Windows XP Logo was the best thing that attracted me. This was my first glimpse into the world of technology. In my first day in the computer lab I felt myself in a small space surrounded by sophisticated man made machines that were ready to receive instructions from the human species.

The main reason that made me chose Computer Science was not the money or fame that Software Engineers earned during the start of the 21st century. I was fascinated by the way people typed without looking into the keyboard. I was the only guy who came to the conclusion that Typing skills can be acquired only if u become a Software Engineer. That’s how I chose Software Engineering as my career.

At the start of my career I showed more interest in learning what to do and how to do it kind of stuff using computers. Computers were like drugs for me, the more i used them the more i got addicted to them. I spend long hours in front of computers either playing games or browsing. 3 years passed by and a lot of things changed. I was ready to move towards the next level of my career, Post Graduation in Computer Applications.

Things took a different turn for me when I attended a Personality Development Session. The guy who took the class told us to think abt the good habits as well as some good things that we have discarded or lost way back in our life. I went home that day, rather than sitting in front of the computer I put some thought into this question. I asked myself “What good qualities did I discard /lose during the past years?” I asked myself for many days until I got a well structured answer.

I have lost many things since I have entered into the world of technology. Before being introduced into the computer world I read a lot of books, books that have influenced many, books that made me feel for something, books that raised my imagination. But now since computers have come to my life I have stopped reading and I have lost that feel for things. I have stopped reading newspapers. I still remember my old days when we friends played cricket in our paddy field during our summer holidays. Those games are now replaced by computer games. Earlier I was updated about each and everything that happened in this world by referring either magazines, journals and everything. Before my graduation I used to visit our local Library. Our Local Library was my biggest treasure. I made a sigh when I realized about the immense lose that has incurred to me.

We all interact with computers for at least 8 to 10 hours in a day. Frequent interaction with a machine makes us behave like a machine. This life is what I call “The Machine Life”. Some of us might have lost our good habits/good relations as a result of leading this Machine Life. Computers are a must in our life, but we must realize that more interaction or more usage to anything will lead us to nothing but worry. This realization made myself restrict the use of computers. I have started all the good habits that I have left behind. Rather than spending all those chunk time browsing I spend time reading good books. I was evolving as a machine thru all these years. Finally I have broken the chains of the Machine Life and have entered into a world where imagination and spirituality guides me rather than technology.