Saturday, October 10, 2009

UPSC MAINs UNQUALIFIED CANDIDATES MARKS!

This is an analysis of marks of unqualified candidates in UPSC Mains 2008. The source of data is orkut. I have prepared a graph of average marks of cadidates subject wise. It show the huge bias against science subjects in IAS. The bias could be at three stages :-
1) during question paper preparation
2) during answer sheet evaluation
3) during subject wise scaling of marks
There is also a direct positive correlation between number of students appearing in a particular optional and average marks obatained in that subject that shows some inherent bias in the scaling formula used by UPSC.
Unzip the file in the link provided and use microsoft excel 2007. Will post a more convenient file format at a later stage.
http://rapidshare.com/files/291415202/IAS2008Not_Qualified_for_Interview_MarksAnalysis_xlsm.zip.html

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Runup to UPSC Prelims 2009...Part6

Last week before D-Day
Throughout the time I had been at home my focus had been exemplary, atleast compared to my situation a few weeks earlier. I managed to finish all the syllabus of all subjects within 8 days and managed to save 2 days for revision. There were occasional bursts of negative emotions but the soothing atmosphere of home prevailed. In the same week my younger brother was about to go to Italy for his summer internship. Not to mention I also spent 1-2 days in preparation with his tour. It was then that I experienced a new emotion, that of worry and anxiety for a younger sibling who was about to go to wholly strange world. It was only then that I understood why my parents were so worried when I left Dhanbad for my studies and when I went to Jamshedpur for my job. Its the fear of leaving your loved one into an unknown world. I didn't worry when my bro joined IIT Kanpur because I knew the place first hand. There was nothing to worry about. But this time when he was going out of country ( first in our family) I was scared shit less. No matter how hard I tried to hide my feelings there were instances when I got angry on him for being so complacent about several small things, like a road map to Italy, name of places,stations on his way and likewise. However everything turned out well for his journey and I too appeared for my exam pretty composed.
D-Day H-Hour M-Minutes
I was targeting to attempt atleast 105 question out of 120 in Physics paper so that I could be in a safe zone and i don't have worry about cutoffs. However I could not attempt last 10 questions. Just didn't get the time. This was the first paper of my last attempt and such a dismal performance. Getting questions incorrect is a different thing but not being able to go through the paper and that too when I prepared hard is something that is uncommon to me. I was scared. Again! Through the recess I tried to go through 500 pages of Current Affairs in 1.5 Hours in a desperate revision attempt. Normally people don't attempt more that 70-80 questions out of 150 in GS because strike rate is quite low. But I was in a different mood. This was my last attempt and I was not going to fail in prelims itself. So I took my chances. I attempted 105 questions including many half-guesses to compensate my Physics performance and left the rest to God. Time to chill out now.
After Prelims
There isn't going to be much cool-down and I don't want to stay complacent for a long time, no time to lose for mains.
Post exam I have compared my answers with solutions and things seem to be on the brighter side, for now. I am going to take some big steps and will leave nothing unturned this time. The target is still far away. There are going to be surprises. After all THIS IS MY LAST ATTEMPT!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Runup to UPSC Prelims 2009...Part5

11 Days to D-Day...Home Sweet Home
After a tiresome bus journey( they can be treacherous in Jharkhand) I reach Dhanbad. Atleast catching the early morning bus spared me the scorching heat of the day. The moment I step within my doorsteps and touch my mother's feet her face lits up with joy. That look, that happiness, it's priceless. At the same moment my heart feels lighter by a thousand tons. All the turmoil going within comes to a halt. Somehow I forget all that was disturbing me throughout last night, throughout last few months.
Mom brings me a plate filled with sweets and a glass of water. She still thinks I like sweets as much as I did in my childhood. I don't disappoint her. The water is not from refrigerator, but from an earthen pot. Its not chilled but refreshingly cool, more than enough to satisfy my thirst. Refrigerator is only meant to preserve milk and food and for guest who can't do without chilled water. Nostalgia takes over for a few moments. After cooling down I take my bath. When I come out my books have already been setup on my study table. The computer has been packed up. Nobody knows me as well as my mother. Too obvious? Yeah I know its a universal truth. The whole scene reminds me of the days I prepared for IITJEE on this very table, this very room. I have my lunch and get down to business.
Day passes with studies. My focus gets much better if not perfect. I have a chat with my girlfriend and go to bed. Finally when I get down to sleep, I feel happy. Its not the happiness that comes with excitement but with satisfaction and peace. Something that helps your mind to rest and feel good. May be this is it. This is why people get so sentimental about home. No place in the world however cheery can bring you the peace of home. My mind takes a flight to dreamworld. May be this why people would rather die to save their homes than be displaced. May be this the feeling that lies at the heart of patriotism. May be this is where the desire and will to die for one's motherland springs from. I get a calm sleep after several weeks.
Nothing beats the tranquility of home!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Runup to UPSC Prelims 2009...Part4

20 Days to Prelims 2009
I drag on with my preprations. Motivation? Minimal! Focus? Haywire! Frustation? Extremum! Will? Non-existent! Yet something continues to propel me towards the goal. May be it is the fear of shame. For long I have believed that getting into IPS is my dream and I have made others believe that too. If I abandon it at this stage without even giving it a serious try, what would everyone think of me. What would I think of myself.
With this convoluted mind I mess up my relationship too. It becomes a vicious cycle. I can't talk to anyone about my problem, With this pathetic state of mind I can't trust anybody.
Finally I have a long drawn talk with her. Tell her all I can. But it helps me only temporarily.
I can't even get a leave from work. One of the employees is on leave and the other one is under operation. I work 14 days without taking a day off because there is no substitute. Someone has to be there in LDC 24 hrs. There goes my preparatory. Finally the one on leave returns. I take my leave. Don't even tell my boss about it. Just like that!

Only 14 days to go. Am planning to go home for more conducive environment.

11 Days to go
I have decided to go home(dhanbad) next day. Still Packing my bags and all the books that I will need to study. Large portions of General Studies and Physics are still pending. Haven't even given a single reading. God knows what am I gonna do. Desperation mounts up.
Its 3 'O clock in the night. Can't sleep. Can't even study because I have got butterflies in my stomach. I don't know how it happens but whenever I have to go out of station I stomach flutters.Weird? I know!
All of a sudden this rapid chain of thoughts take over my mind. May be I should drop this idea of IAS. God, its going to be too tough. Even if I get through prelims mains would be a hard nut to crack. Making even a decent try asks for big sacrifices. I will have to give up my job in the middle of a recession and sit down in Delhi full-time preparing for the exam. And What if I don't qualify. I would be unemployed in times when companies are laying off. Shit this is too scary. If I must drop the exam I must take that decision now. There is no point folling myself and others by going through prelims. But the cost of making that decision would also be high. When I am going through a depression I cannot abondon the one thing I dreamt about so passionately. It may leave me in a worse state of mind.
I feel like a man who is about to commit suicide (drop the exam) and has put the gun to his head but can't pull the trigger. His instincts to live ( passion of IPS) stop his fingers. I was alomst on the verge of making the decision of leaving IAS and saying it out aloud when good sense prevails. I drop the gun and decide to live another day. I go to Mrityunjay's room and blurt out what I was just thinking. He smiles. Says it happens. I couldn't wait till next afternoon to catch the train to home. I catch the first bus at 4:30 AM for Dhanbad. Hope lingers on...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Runup to UPSC Prelims 2009...Part3

Prelims 2009 ( 3 months ago)
The hangover of last Mains exam(2008) had worn off. I was going through one of the lowest points in my life. Frustrated from my desk job a sense of uselessness was all over me. A psychometric test designed to evaluate one's ability to control things threw up such dismal results that I almost wanted to kill myself. This was no free personality test offered over the Internet. And I knew in my heart even before I took the test what the results were going to be. Even then when results confirmed the worst of my fears I could not handle it. That day I understood how difficult it is to confront one's own fears.I was frustrated with everything, everyone, every act of mine. Things as small as the way I rode my bike, the way I socialized ( or didn't socialize) depressed me. I belittled myself and kept reinforcing the negative image I had formed of myself. The anger over myself often vented out on my sweetheart, which took away whatever little solace I could have had and made things worse.
In the middle of all this somehow I had hung on to the hope of making it to UPSC interviews. I kept preparing for interview when in fact I should have devoted time preparing for next Mains in advance. 4th of March, the bad news was finally there. My name wasn't there in the list of candidates called for interview. Desperation prevailed. I was now rethinking my decision to make another attempt. I wasted valuable time in preparing for interview which I should used to secure my chances in next exam. No amount of self-patting could bring up my mood. I brought a crate of beer cans. Had one each each night before going to bed. Helped me stop thinking and get a sound sleep. 10 days passed in vain. This was serious than just an "Identity Crisis". I knew I was going in depression. I could see the symptoms.
Less than 60 days to go for Prelims
Unable to find a way out I started my journey again from square one hoping remnants of last years preparation would help me out. Underlying was a hope of finding a way out of my messed up mind and have some clarity in thoughts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Runup to UPSC Prelims 2009...Part2

2nd Exam (2008)
3 months before the exam of my second attempt I had even forgotten the syllabus and the which books I needed to mug up. I somehow started with some advice and tips from friends who were already in the business. I had taken it on my ego to pass the exam this time. My boss went on his honeymoon in the month before the exam (there went my preparatory leave) and I had to make do with night shifts in my office to squeeze out whatever little time I could for preparation.
Nevertheless I was in a much respectable position both during and after my exam. I evaluated my performance and found my scores marginally on the higher side of expected cutoffs. Such was the joy of being able to take the first step that I forgot there was a second step too and tougher by a few order of magnitudes than the first one. And for that I had almost no preparation. With 9 subjective papers to take, consisting of 2 subjects, Physics and Sociology ( to be prepared up to Graduate Honours level) and plethora of social sciences for General Studies, a 1200 word essay I was nowhere near the stage of preparation. When prelims results came out, I had less than 60 days in hand. On top of that our company was preparing for Deming Award Challenge and everyone were working feverishly for it. Jobs were at stake because no department wanted to fail the challenge and disappoint our MD. There was no question of any leave. So I struck a deal with my superiors that I would stay and work till this Deming thing gets over and then I would leave for exam (however long it may take). So tense was everybody for Deming that they agreed to it. On 3 rd September, I left for Delhi after consultations with Smarak. He was already there preparing for his second attempt. Within 2 days, he got me admitted to a GS crash course and I rented a small room as a PG. For the next 40 days I mugged doggedly. Only entertainment available to me was my FM radio and my pack of cigarettes. I mugged up whole subjects in days (u can guess the quality of retention I would have had). I must thank Smarak for keeping my tempo up whenever I was overwhelmed by the size of syllabus.
I filled up the form of UPSC Mains in such a rush that I forgot to fill my choice of centre in it. Thankfully UPSC allotted me centre in Kolkata (near my permanent address) rather than rejecting the form.So 2 days before the exams I rushed with all my baggage and books (over 100 kg) to home( Dhanbad) from where I made trips to Kolkata on exam days. The exam itself was stretched over 24 days with nice long gaps in between that allowed me to revise whatever I mugged up. However stress was taking a toll on me. By the time I was taking my last paper I was so pissed off that all I wanted was the bell to ring and to get over with it. Last Paper ( Physics) screwed up. Not that I expected to perform great but sure as hell I didn't expect total catastrophe.

Nevertheless I was happy and a sense of contentment pervaded my mind. I was happy with the fact that when shit hit the fan, I didn't run for cover. I was able to put everything at stake and went for what I wanted. These are times when your character is put to test. I didn't qualify the exams but was happy that I was able to restore my faith in myself.

Runup to UPSC Prelims 2009...Part1

This was my third and last (most probably) attempt at UPSC Civil Services Exam and it again started with the prelims exam. I am astounded as to how the run up to and the aftermath of this exam have varied through the years. In my first attempt in 2007, I along with 3 other friends who had TATA STEEL with me took the exam. The preparations before exam were as much serious as the manner in which we filled the application form. I had been so engrossed in my project work at the company that I hadn't even read a newspaper in last 3 months (there went my General Studies paper) and I was still banking on my physics knowledge acquired 5 years ago during preparation for IITJEE to clear my Physics paper. So the four of us rode bikes to Ranchi (140 KM away) a day before the exam. We booked a hotel room for 2 days and did a tour of Ranchi at night, looking for good bars. We didn't drink because we were there for exams and not for partying. Next morning an hour before exam we were looking for stationery shops to buy HB pencil and erasers without which we could not mark the OMR sheets. So far so much for the preparation.The exam itself went as good as I was expecting. I could not even read the whole of Physics question paper and in GS I had no clue to 80 % of the problems. In the evening we went to a good bar (as good as it can get in Ranchi) and had some drinks to ease the post-exam trauma and finally returned to Jamshedpur next morning to get back to work. I didn't evaluate my performance afterward and the only time I thought about it again was when I was told by some friends that the results were out. Fortunately I had still had my roll number saved in my cell, others didn't even bother for that. All of this happened when IAS was still my dream job.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts..making me mad!

Sitting on my LDC control chair on another boring afternoon...thoughts plaguing my mind like mosquitos on a summer evening...DVC restricted our power intake limit...God 2 generators still in outage...what would I do when all people switch on their lights in the evening ...my twitter is working superb...i am beginning to like it somewhat..but still need more users to justify its use...i think its more useful for people who do their job on the PC or are online on PDAs all the time...new Graduate Trainee has arrived for his project...a complete bugger...has got brains but asks too many questions..."What is the Symmetrical Fault breaking Capacity of the 11 KV breaker?" God how would I know! neways I give him something to ponder about for the time being...
Last night I watched "The Thirteen Days"- a well made movie depicting behind-the-scene negotiations during the Cuban Missile Crisis...a very elaborate depiction of the thought processes that go into making every decision that have international ramifications...How every General was gunning for Cuba and bombing it to stone ages knowing fully well that it would lead to a nuclear war and complete annihilation...and how Kennedy refused to be cornered into making that decision...although the results justified Kennedy's actions I am still not sure about the way he personally intervened into the military chain of command to get his way through and avoid a war...but then there were no past examples for him to follow in such a situation...Am just happy he managed to avoid a nuclear war and gave us a chance to see the earth in all its glory...
Another offshoot of thoughts...wat about pakistan...wat should we do in this case..do we have a stateman of the stature required to handle pakistan...or we will have to make do with spineless politicians who are all words but no action...
a call from friend..asking for our HR guys email id...the Trainee again with his question..." There are two ddiffernet fault current ratings for different breakers of same voltage. Which one should I use?" ...Go toss a coin, You Moron... this is not what i said..." Look into more data and use whichever value occurs most number of times." Phew! Got some more time for another 30 minutes... stock markets are all bulls... don't know why...but they must fall ...at least I want them too...for I have booked my profits in current bull run and am looking to reinvest...2 generators are now online.....................................................a phone call................................one of the generators has a problem... is going to be put off...Great! perfect excuse to put half of Jamshedpur without electricity in this scorching heat :D..I know this is a creepy thought...but what else would a bored mind do except for thinking devil...call from boss...a set of instructions...looks like even he is sitting idle ...am back to pakistan...few weeks i was thinking why we will have to go to war with Pakistan in the near future and how we should prepare for it...but this Kennedy movie is forcing me to rehthink...can there be mre diplomatic actions...call from my sweetheart..she is very happy... got excellent feedback on her project in Sunderban from her guide...the trainee is back...wait... ..................
................
................
i made a phone calls and gave him the data he was screwing me for...asked him to call it a day and give me some respite....

its already evening...am taking huge power from DVC ....doesn't look like that I can avoid load-shedding...that's it...I am standing now...2 backup generators are ON...have put off the first Town load available to me....2 plants already on hold ...am putting off the supply for the POSH town area ...a number of phone calls ....SHIT ...have just been informed an important meeting of MD ( Mr. B. Muthuraman) was going on in that "POSH" area...I knew that ;) , just pretended that i am unaware...another 2 backup generators ON...Load has also reduced...time to give back the MD his power ;) ....situation now in control...load under limits....
enough for now...will be back with something meaningful...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

ApartMent!

"When Shit starts flowing over your head and you can hear the thud of shit-water in sewage pipes, know that you have reached the basement of a Apartment in Jamshedpur."
P.S. :-
Before you start criticizing me know that this observation is still localized and the findings have not been verified for different cities.Perhaps you can enlighten me by posting comments.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My First Sher!


Sajda Karte Guajar Gaya, Har Lamha Intezaar Me,
Khuda Ke Didaar ki Nahi, Tere Alfaaz Sunne ki Khwahish Thi...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Liberalism of a Chauvinist!

  1. This blog follows a long period of turbulence within me. It is inspired by another fabulous blog on http://cmt-lekhnise.blogspot.com/2009/03/yes-i-am-male-chauvinist-pig.html, though I must confess that a previous attempt to write this blog met failure due to undue stress it caused me. Today again I am trying to gather the strength required to put forth my opinion on the topic and to bear all the criticism that may come my way later from expected quarters ;). I have borrowed from my own experiences of a relationship, discussions with like-minded people who are renowned experts on the topic and my long drawn thought over the subject.
  2. I got an email, a forward , explaining the hardships a modern woman goes through while trying to balance between her workplace, her personal life, her spouse expectations, her own aspirations while men failing to understand her point of view and her minimal expectations from her spouse. ( read the previous post to have a better understanding of my views) The mail was forwarded with the pure intention of making me read something interesting, however to the surprise of the sender I took an unexpected interest in it, so much so today I am writing about it.
  3. I am sure much attention is being given to women and their hardships nowadays (not that they don't deserve it) with so many interest groups and authors dedicated to their cause. But same is not true about the opposite sex barring a few exceptions like Akhil Bharatiya Patni Virodhi Morcha. Very few people (even men themselves) actually believe that men need help or counseling with regard to their problems. In fact few men and fewer women think about the emotional problems a man might have especially after he enters a relationship. In fact this is basic premise behind the overused term "Male Chauvinist Pig".
  4. The first fact that needs to be understood straightaway is that men are very much saddled with emotions and sensibilities, although to a lesser extent than women. The fact that they do not display their feelings or cannot handle emotions very well is a result of too many factors working against them at the same time. Firstly, the pressure of conforming to the established norms of society where they are expected to be practical and cold-minded. Secondly, there are genetic twists that do not favour men in this context but I am not going into the biological details here.
  5. The fact that working women have to deal with the inherent insecurities, irrational jealousy of their spouse who is more often than not uncomfortable with her obvious proximity to men at workplace misses one point. It is more difficult and painful for the man himself to bear the burden of these emotions especially if he comes from educated middle class. He is always getting torn apart between the educated, logical mind of his that tells him that there is nothing wrong with the his wife being proximate to men colleagues or college friends among boys and his innate genetic instincts that always guide him in the opposite direction.
  6. When I am attributing some drawbacks of men to their genetic makeup I am not trying to shield their behaviour that results out of such attributes.I just want to point out being genetic in origin, its rather difficult (read impossible) to curtail such feelings and behaviour. And despite these problems most men do live with their spouse having a life of her own out side the four walls of home. Men deserve applause for this and not criticism for their instincts.
  7. On a more offensive note, women too have their innate instincts which would be no less worthy of criticism if men paid attention to them. For example, if men think women are objects of pleasure, women think of men as nothing more than instruments of reproduction. If it was not for the element of bringing up offspring and ensuring security in a world where women do not have much say, women would be first ones to ditch men once the act is complete. But with emerging technologies where reproduction can happen without men and women can have economic power this status is about to change.
  8. On a selfish note it is good that I was born a man in a men- dominated world. For if it was in control of the other sex, I would be a mere tool for impregnation or may be worse ( my semen would be kept in semen banks and I would even miss the short duration of pleasure). I am sure the genetic instincts of women are strong enough to make them do such things to men.
  9. Having written so much, my advice is don't read much into my mind or judge me from this blog. I am just another man brought up in a patriarchal society, educated with modern values, brought up to think logically and who is trying to find way out of this dialectic and in spite of all this trying to be happy. Wish me luck!

Women in Your Life


An interesting forwarded mail...



Tomorrow you may get a working woman, but
should marry her with these facts as well.

Here is a girl, who is as much educated as you are;
Who is earning almost as much as you do;

One, who has dreams and aspirations just as
you have because she is as human as you are;

One, who has never entered the kitchen in her life just like you or your Sister haven't, as she was busy in studies and competing in a system that gives no special concession to girls for their culinary achievements

One, who has lived and loved her parents & brothers & sisters, almost as much as you do for 20-25 years of her life;

One, who has bravely agreed to leave behind all that, her home, people who love her, to adopt your home, your family, your ways and even your family ,name

One, who is somehow expected to be a master-chef from day #1, while you sleep oblivious to her predicament in her new circumstances, environment and that kitchen

One, who is expected to make the tea, first thing in the morning and cook food at the end of the day, even if she is as tired as you are, maybe more, and yet never ever expected to complain;
to be a servant, a cook, a mother, a wife, even if she doesn't want to; and is learning just like you are as to what you want from her; and is clumsy and sloppy at times and knows that you won't like it if she is too demanding, or if she learns faster than you;

One, who has her own set of friends, and that includes boys and even men at her workplace too, those, who she knows from school days and yet is willing to put all that on the back-burners to avoid your irrational jealousy, unnecessary competition and your inherent insecurities;

Yes, she can drink and dance just as well as you can, but won't, simply

Because you won't like it, even though you say otherwise

One, who can be late from work once in a while
, just like yours, are to be met;

One, who is doing her level best and wants to make this most important, relationship in her entire life a grand success, if you just help her some and trust her;

One, who just wants one thing from you, as you are the only one she knows in your entire house - your unstinted support, your sensitivities and most importantly - your understanding, or love, if you may call it.

But not many guys understand this......


Please appreciate "HER"


Send this to all girls to make their day and to all guys who can handle it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Night Of the Destroyer!

Whooo...Sounds like the sequel to BatMan: The Dark Knight...Doesn't it ...but it is something as far away from the true meaning as Lord of the Rings from Mahabharat...I am talking about Mahashivaratri..the night when Shiva, the heretic married Parvati, the daughter of the king of the Himalayas. Atleast that is what was my impression till i did some google and gathered that legend was far removed from my childhood impressions. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Shivaratri for more info.The ritual of people taking out Shiva's barat on this festival made me believe wrong things. In fact I would have loved to believe that this is the night when Shiva consummated his marriage with Parvati. But that would have hurt some custodian of Indian culture who might wander on to my blog some years later. And since I would don't want create any ruckus ( I love peace), I avoided writing the same. Now I dont' think anybody would have any problem with that. Would they?
Its funny how I start writing about one thing and am tempted to jump to another. I wanted to tell everybody about my fast on shivaratri. Yes right! I kept a fast on Shivaratri and that too Nirjala ( without consuming even water). Shivaratri is in fact a misnomer for the ritual I observe since I break my fast after sunset. I should call it Shiv-Diwas. I have been doing for last 6 or 7 years. I first observed a fast on this day when India was to play the last and final one-day match with Pakistan in Sharjah and I so desperately wanted us to win that I promised to Shiva that if you work on our side I will stay hungry all day and offer you a load of fruits at night. And so it happened, we won. So I along with my freinds went to shiv-mandir in our campus ShopC and offered him 500 gms of fruits out of which 450 grams were eaten by us and rest by rats and ants. So began the tradition of me observing Shiv-Diwas. In fact my parents think that this is the best and only religious thing I do throughout the year and that it will save me from the fallouts of all the bad habits I have.

Now the story of todays fast. I had a night shift today and was free all day. Since there was nothing to do and I was anguished about something( I don't know what, honestly) I utillized the first half of the day by sleeping through it. When my body gave up and I couldn't lie down anymore I resorted to more productive things, like watching nasty movies and smoking. Don't be surprised, my father once told me that smoking, bettle-chewing and tobacco-chewing are permitted on fasts. In fact this was confirmed by self-declared heretic from my village who once came to our home in Dhanbad. So you see, I am still the seedha-saadha guy who follows what his elders say. Its another matter that my style of fast is in total opposition to the original spirit of holding a fast. A fast is meant to cleanse one's body by giving one's digestive system some rest and purify one's mind by thinking about god. In fact a milder form of fast holds that one should have only fruits and stay away from aphrodisiacs ( if you don't know what it means, Google, but don't ask me coz this blog is not meant for discussing things that condemn our culture). At evening I went to a temple nearby, bowed my head before the God and broke my fast with a vegetable chop. So much so for holding a fast.

Anyways I just wanted to say that I just wanted to write down anything for my blog( it feels so good) and bore you all. May be I'll come up with a better story next time. Bubye!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What a Day to Start Blogging

This is the one of the last things I ever expected to do in my life.Yeah Right ...I never thought I would ever blog given the shy person I thought of myself. It is not that it came suddenly. I had been pretty impressed by Smarak's blogs ( an assistant commissioner in IT now) and CMT was no less impressive. However today I saw Biyani ( another fellow GT) writing a blog. And I was almost shocked. If he could write so brilliantly why couldn't I give it a try (this is not a negative reflection on Biyani ;) but on myself ).


So after going through much brainstorming I decided on a name of my blog, Onaseriousnote.blogspot.com and tried to register but this name had already been taken...Whoops I did not think it was a such a common phrase ...nevertheless I kept trying and used many other similar sounding or similar meaning phrases to register but all of them were already taken...then I used my age-old technique which I fall back on whenever I am short of words...I consulted the The Thesaurus...but no encouraging results ...anything I tried, from "thoughts" to "reflections" to "intellection" met with the same fate and everytime Google gave me the crappy suggestion of appending my name to it. Now I had no doubt that that mind-boggling statistics on bloggers were so true. After being tired of spending two hours in looking for a name for my blog, I gave up and decided on what you have visited just now. Atleast I got something to start with...not a bad idea at all.

Well during all these two hours I was sitting in my control room chair with my Head and Sr. manager sitting on my head and giving all kinds of freaky ideas on what should I do in coming weeks. Not to mention all kinds of phone calls,information and queries from people in substations. Somehow I just created my the blog site and left it for a lunch.

My lunch was like the meal that is given to a goat about to be sacrificed. I had my lunch and was smoking along a friend Arindam (If you want to know more about him..refer to the great scholarly article written by Smarak,"Ari and the Bitch") when he got a call from his plant (Coke Plant ) saying there was a fire incident. He panicked but I calmed him down saying he is not going to do fire-fighting anyway so he must relax and finish off the cigarette first. He asked me casually if I would like go along. I said Yes, why not. After all it had been more than year since I visited coke plant and hadn't even met my mentor ( he is Arindam's Head) for a long time. This sounded like a good opportunity to clear all backlogs. But I had little idea of what was in store.

So we reached coke Plant. I almost felt I was going there for the first time in my life notwithstanding the fact that I visited it numerous times during my training period at Tata Steel. After picking up safety helmets and goggles from his office we rushed to the area of incident. It was a dusty part called Wagon Tippler. For the uninitiated, it is a place where a huge machine grips a rail wagon filled with coal, coke or anything else and turns it upside down to empty it. While we were walking towards the area I could feel the damage done to me by my current job at LDC ( means Load Despatch Centre). I was shaky and was walking slower than Arindam. I was apprehensive of almost everything down there and didn't even notice a train engine moving slowly towards me at a distance of 3 meters. From a distance we could see the cars of VPs and Chiefs near the site and two fire engines too. I was feeling like a latecomer in an important corporate meeting. My mentor too was standing shouting on everybody he could see. He was shocked to see me too and didn't know how to react. Then it came back to him and he smiled at me. After exchanging niceties, we moved closer to the site. It wasn't the wagon tippler that had caught fire, but the conveyor belts below it that carry away dumped coke or coal. The approach way was through a narrow staircase and few fire fighters were already down there doing their job. All we could see was smoke belching out of the door to the staircase. Everybody's CO detector ( a minuscule device to detect the presence of Carbon Monoxide, poisonous and inflammable) was beeping. But they didn't had time for it. After half an hour water supply was stopped and one man came out of the door. He was drenched with sweat, hi s face covered with gas mask , oxygen cylinder on his back, clothes black with coke dust. He didn't even had the sense or the strnegth to take off his mask. As people helped him remove his equipments, he was gasping for breadth and smiling. After all he and his collegues were able to put out the fire in an environment where people hate to go even in normal situation. He was followed by two other colleagues similarly dressed and in same condition. They were the heroes of the day, atleast to me. I don't know what it was, but I was ashamed of something. I wasn't doing anything, just an onlooker.In fact I wasn't supposed to do anything, after all I was a manager and that too in a different area. But there was this feeling of being a useless guy without any purpose. These guys just risked their lives to do their job. And here I am, getting paid for sitting in a control room looking at a control screen and making phone calls, giving instructions to others. I know that I create more value in my job but that is not enough of a consolation. I need to do something better. Damn!

After a while my mentor, a Chief, Arindam, me and some other persons decided to go down the stairs and have a look at the damage done. It was pitch black darkness inside. In fact only the first 3 persons could find their way down with a torch. I had to stop in the middle because I could not see or feel the next flight of stairs. Only after another man came down with a torch that I moved further. After the stairs ended I landed right in the middle of 5 inch thick mud created by coal dust and water. In there it was difficult to breath, mostly because the fire depleted the oxygen and filled the space with CO. We stayed in there for half an hour trying to figure out ways to revive the system as soon as possible. Then we came out. I left for LDC( my office) after having coffee at Arindam's office.

I intended to spend no more than 15 minutes at LDC to check emails since my duty was already over at 2 PM. But only after 10 minutes I saw the lights flickering. In our job, flickering of lights means headache for few hours. The very next moment alarms blared. A 132 KV transmission line tripped off, probably because some bird dropped some wire on it or some tree branch came too near to that line. It could be n number of reasons, but for us it only meant one thing. It destabilized a 120 MW generator ( enough to feed two towns of size of Jamshedpur), hundreds of phone calls and my 10 minute halt getting extended to 3 hours duty.

Now you can understand the meaning of this blog's title. I never knew my first day at blogging would be so eventful nor that writing a blog takes this long. Anyway I hope I will get time to post my next blog soon enough.