I loved my Business Communication subject during last semester. New things were learnt and it helped me tweak my communication. I particularly remember the class on proper pronunciation.

Steak does not sound like streak.
Suite sounds much like sweet.
Wind and mind are not rhythmic.

And there were lots. All of them were taken from “English is tuff stuff” poem. "As long as the message gets communicated, why should the pronunciation be a problem", this was our stand. Now, to prove us otherwise, our prof made us listen to the story of the Italian man who went to Malta.

Pump up the volume and listen to his story. It was so hilarious that we roar in laughter every time we hear it. And it helped the prof prove his point too.

If you are below 18, parental advisory required. If you are above 18 and myopic in your mindset, ignore. If you are above 18 and know how to look at the lighter side of life, enjoy the entire story here.

Ambigram is any word that reads the same from a different view, normally upside down. They are used extensively in Dan Brown’s Angels and Daemons which led me to John Langdon’s site. Apparently, John is the premiere Ambigram artist living today. View his site and you would be surprised at how he plays with words to give us all a visual treat.

Inspired by Langdon, I spent lot of time trying to make an Ambigram out of my name (SOMASUNDARAM) . Today I guess I have come pretty close. And what you see above is my name scanned both rightside-up and upside-down.

P.S. Was Dan Brown's Protagonist (Robert "Langdon" who is a symbologist in both A&D and DVC) an inspiration drawn from John "Langdon"?

This picture was taken when I landed in LA last summer. All my fellow bloggers / fans were standing behind the cordon, waiting for my arrival. “Somuuu we simply love your blogs”, that’s all they had to say.

Never knew my blog had such an expansive reach spanning geographies.

As I was being tucked into the Limo, away from the fan mob and taken to my King’s Suite at Hilton… … I woke up from my sleep.

While I move away from my desk and lie down comfortably on bed to catch up with more sleep, why don’t you check out this link.


Put your name, make your own self-proclaimed message and have fun with your friends :o)

I cooked the below messages and mailed them all to my friends
** Somu for President of America
** Somu, we love you
** Somu, you are great
** Somu Somu Somu

Wowwie ! I am such a narcissist, ain’t I ?

I love this "Dawn of the Dead" desktop wallpaper not just for the gruelling effect it has on that guy or the puking effect it has on me, but also for a reason that has nothing to do with horror.

I was giving a CRM demo on my laptop to few customers from Sweden. Every time I had to “Show desktop”, I would hear a “Gosh” or an “Urghh” or a “Yuuuck” from behind. Thankfully it led to some lighter moments too. End of the session, when everyone was leaving, one of them walked across, gave me a brand new cuff link and said, “That was for the wallpaper pal”.

So spontaneous and genuine was his action,I was amazed at how someone could appreciate my having a wallpaper as gross as this. Now, every time I look at that cuff link, I am reminded of how wonderful my life would be if I can learn to acknowledge even my shortcomings and deficiencies.

Hmm... An insight into life, not through my presentation skills or product knowledge, but through a simple horrifing wallpaper - a reason why I like it so much.
Yesterday during lunch, Joe was telling me, “Somu, you bring home from lunch…” and there was a sudden burst of laughter. We did not know if it was a slip or spoonerism.

And today, Susi was asking Kiruba, “It takes me 6 hours to drive from Chennai to Bangalore. How did you manage to run the Bangalore marathon?”. And yet again we roared in amusement.

Lunch at work is always fun, not just because of these involuntary slips and innocent questions. This is when we pull each other’s legs, we gossip and crack jokes. This is when we give vent to our frustrations, we relax and smash our tensions. This is when we discuss women, talk about movies, and argue over petty things. This is when we focus on everything under the sun, but work. And all this besides having a sumptuous meal.

Such moments, away from work pressures, short fused bosses and perstering problems, are always looked forward to. And today’s was the best in a long long time.
On Friday, I received my appraisal papers. And I called to mind the first ever hike I got 5 years back. It was a whopping 200%. Something I sincerely owe, not to my performance and efforts, but to the dot com boom. Happy news and so it was shared with all my friends I had in my peers and seniors.

Two days later I received a call from HR informing me of a substantial slash in my hiked package. It was simply blamed on a technical glitch that led to a calculation error. The very same day, I found myself in the room of my bigger boss. There was lot of gyan. But one thing that stuck on to me like glue was his words, “Somu, at work, no one is a friend, everyone is your colleague and everything is PPNC”

And that explained the HR invented technical glitch.

Even today, I have my friends at work. But there is a thin line between us that keeps popping up everytime I am tempted to disclose what should otherwise not be. When I receive anything enclosed in the official envelope, like a rhyme, the bigger boss’s words keep repeating in my mind.

“At work, no one is a friend, everyone is your colleague, and everything is PPNC (Private Personal ‘n’ Confidential) – My first lesson as a Professional.
Like it was pre-planned three of us were clad in blue today. All of us realized the uniformity, but failed to appreciate how symbolic it was to wear them on a Monday morning.

The blues start as early as on Sunday evenings. Meetings, presentations, conference calls, customer problems, surge of mails … even thinking of them makes Monday a day to dread. Contrary to my Sunday evening fear, today was good.

The meeting was postponed, so no presentation. No conference call was scheduled and just two customers bothered to call me. Which meant I had time for reading and replying to the mail deluge.

But the next Monday is not far off and I can’t get lucky a second time. So, here goes my dedication to the day I am averse to the most

A whole week ahead,
I don’t feel like leaving bed,
seems like am brain dead,
wish it were Sunday instead.

Saturday, till its end,
the whole of my weekend,
why I can't extend,
I fail to comprehend.

No work and all play,
I know yields no pay,
but to angels, I pray,
to make Mondays go away.

‘Coz, I hate it just like you,
am just as disgusted too,
I prefer catching a flu,

than having a morning blue.
A surprise call it was. And I met him after 8 months of not being in touch. I realized how much I missed him. It was 12 years back that we met and I am glad that with time our friendship has grown and matured. He has been there when I had failed, and I have been there when he was down. We were there helping each other in our sorrows, and had been together to celebrate our moments. Now, despite 8 months of respite, we are still going strong.

I was amazed at the turn of events in his life.

** He has been ramp walking for 7 months now
** He came 12th in the recent Gladrags held in Bangalore.
** He has found his better half. I managed to have a word with her too (She is in Mumbai, so it was a brief telephonic conversation).

And he was amazed at how little my life has changed.

Yapped at coffee day. I was reminded of the 150 odd movies that we have seen together. Today, my faith in friendship was reinforced. I know I can count on him. It does not matter for what, it does not matter when, I know for sure I have a friend in JAI.
Just a thought because of what I was doing all day today… and coz of what people think I do most times at work.

If time wasting can add to my wealth and loafing to my health,

if hibernation can result in new projects and laziness in their successful completion,
if leisure can increase productivity and inactivity help sustain it,
if day dreaming can lead to unprecedented hikes and lethargy to promotions,
if relaxation can energize my social network and passiveness take me places,
life would have been a lot wonderful and
by now, I would have been the most successful man in the universe.

It goes without saying, that I was idle the entire day at home. Sleeping, browsing stuffs, sleeping, watching mega serials, sleeping, reading junk, sleeping, eating, sleeping… and the list of (in)activities goes on and all this in the name of rest and recovery.

“Pain in the neck” informally refers to a bothersome or annoying person. Today am realizing how pain, literally in the neck can be bothersome and annoying, I have been suffering from severe neck pain for the last three days. While it subsides after a night’s sleep, it tags along to work, and worsens during the course of the day. Every time I end up falling sick, it seems like that problem is the worst that I could ever go through. So, needless to say, the pain in the neck is now a real pain in the neck.

I had / have the following issues to tackle

No more using the computer at home. Which means my blogging has to be from a secret hideout. Even now, the light’s are off and everyone’s asleep.

My weekend is all messed up, just not the way I planned it to be. I was supposed to be out tonight with friends and play a cricket match on Sunday.

Could not give the girl I admire a second glance in the atrium. I did not even attempt the first glance. Moving my entire torso to have a look made it seem quite obvious.

I have to walk around like a bridled horse, my sight focusing on anything and everything that is straight.

And for that reason, people could call me stiff necked and I cannot stick my neck out on anything

The brighter side to it is, I get all the rest I can have and for now, my neck is responding to the rest and the prescribed medicine. Occupational hazard is what the Doctor had to say. Little does he know that it is more domestic than occupational. After all, its at home that I use my lap top the way it is to be used – on my lap. Sometimes I use it on the bed or otherwise on the floor when I want to stretch. The table that is meant for this purpose is busy holding strewn clothes, scattered papers, books and everything else for which I could not find a place. I just have to reduce my extensive use of the computer and make sure my posture is right.

Anyways, there is a totally different kind of pain one can get way below the neck, which I hope I never experience in life.

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I learnt how to upload a pic here and so this post. Besides, I now have a blogroll, blogstreet link and a stat counter. Thanks to Sangeeta (http://toerag.blogspot.com/) who enlightened me of all these in just about couple of hrs time.

This photo was taken during the Outbound Learning Program in Bangalore we had recently. The challenge was to cook food for a group of ten delegates.I can fry in the hot sun, boil in anger, grill my subordinates, steam up in frustration, heat up an argument, cook up a story , but my actual culinary skills were a BIG ZERO. You can now understand my calling it a challenge.

Having been put to this task, I had to do my part for my team. So I did the things I knew. I washed the plates, moved things around for the chef, refilled the bucket of water used for washing, cleaned the chicken and squeezed all water out of it (That’s me doing exactly that) - A reason why this picture has been cautiously kept away from my mother’s eyes. She would fume in fury as I never bother to help her in the kitchen.

While the learning out of this was to understand how teams worked, how people in a team can have varying talents and how effectively can we use their talents to perform specific tasks that entail use of these definite skills, I learnt something else too. We appreciate shade when scorching in hot sun, we value water when we are dying of thirst, and I realized how complex the art of cooking is when I was stranded with all the ingredients and I had to cook .

How many times have I walked away from dinner because I found the food bland, how many times have I eaten at the food court (despite home food being at my disposal) and how many times have I told my mom that breakfast could have been better ? I had been happy when the best of life was showered on me, but sneered at its slightest variation from being the best. If not appreciate, I have decided never to find fault in whatever I get to eat at home.

P.S. After all this, the chef was really disappointed with me for not squeezing out water completely from the chicken. Phew… Good work never gets appreciated.
An anxious day today for me at work. After a year of working hard, its time for me to know where I stand with respect to making more money or / and growing up the corporate ladder. Yeah, am talking about the performance appraisal results. No matter what the kind of work I have been doing, the amount of time I have been putting at work, or the quality of work that I have been able to deliver, the one factor that matters the most in helping me judge how I have fared is the package.

Papers have been distributed to a few at work and the results are random. Few promotions, and hikes ranging between 10 to 25%. My turn is likely to come up today. Am waiting with fingers crossed. There are certain figures in mind which I had made clear to my bosses when I sat down for my appraisal.

Hope I get the courage to challenge the figures with my Head of Business Unit in case they are not up to my expectations. Phew… and that really makes it seem like a very very long day ahead.
To me Illayaraja is a musical God. So, when someone said he had copied a song, I was deeply shocked. Not because he cannot copy, but because the song was my personal favorite ever. This really triggered an argument when we were discussing the song “Ilaya nila Pozhigirathu”. There also exists a Hindi version which is remarkably similar to this one. Apparently it is one of Kishore Kumar’s best (Neele Neele Ambar par from Kalaakaar) and the one’s speaking for it were not willing to budge.

I had to prove those who were arguing with me wrong. So, I set out on doing some groundwork. I was so glad to find out that the Tamil version was released in 1982 while the Hindi version came in 83. And I also sat down and listened to both the songs completely. True that both the songs are great in their own respects, but one has to acknowledge the Hindi version was inspired by the Tamil. The use of guitar is strikingly similar and the entire first stanza sounds exactly the same as the Tamil version.

Listen to the songs when you have the time. Both of them are amazing…

I don't listen much to Hindi music. But then this sure is a good song.

I really have no words to describe this song. Am not sure if it was Vairamuthu or Vaali, but the lyric is just out of this world. I have used my very little poetic expertise to translate my favorite lines from this song.

The roaming clouds roam around,
Have they lost their address,
And so, do they shower tears of rain,
Calling for a redress ?

And ofcourse needless to say, SPB is at his best as always. I always wonder how he manages to bring out such melody in his voice.

Now with data backing me up, I can meet my opponents head on :o))) After this I realized how much I love Illayaraja’s music… and that should explain why you can expect more about his music here in my blogs.
Not been at work for a while as I was on an emergency vacation – the kind of one that I would not relish. Anyways, with my exams over and this short vacation, I finally found the time to do that things that I have been wanting to for quite sometime. Spent most time practicing guitar. Still not mastered it and generating just noise more than anything else.

I also managed to almost complete the GODFATHER book that I had bought a long time back. Am left with just 100 more pages and I intend completing it today. It was “THE DA VINCI CODE” that revived my reading habit which was never to be seen in the last 6 years. This was one book that was sooooo gripping that I sat through one night and completed it.

Ever since, I made it a point to buy one novel every fortnight. So the spree started - “THE RULE OF FOUR” (I never could complete it. Boring it was) and now “GODFATHER”. The next in line is “ANGELS AND DEMONS” that is lying in my draw for more than a week without being touched. Another one of Dan Brown’s, so am sure it’s gonna be just as interesting.
Yesterday was fun. We had finished with the last exam of the trimester. Like good old school and college days, we set out to celebrate the end of a trimester… Hmmm if only we could have the same kind of summer vacations we used to have… Anyways, I am back at work as usual and working my heart out.

Holding a mug of beer, we were discussing office humor. Everyone had a story to tell. One recalled the embarrassment he put himself into in front of our CEO, someone mentioned the fight he picked up with a gentleman without knowing he was the Vice President, and everyone had a bit to tell us about their experiences as a drunken monk. I had my list of mistakes that I have made to share with them too.

It’s quite surprising that time has whisked past in the last 6 years ever since I joined work after my graduation. We returned with fond memories of yesteryears. While returning in the car, the discussion turned towards who was better – Illayaraja or AR Rehman (Thanks to FM that triggered this whole conversation). Considering the fact that I was being reminiscent at that point in time, all my votes went for Illayaraja.

Back at home, dozed off listening to Illayaraja’s ultimate melodies. Probably that was the most fitting end to a day that was filled with anxieties, arguments, jokes and loads of fun.
I had a presentation on a case study yesterday. I was glad that it went on well. Nevertheless, what I was impressed with was the main character in my case study. Am sure most of you would know Jack Welch, the EX-CEO of GE. It’s surprising to know the kind of things a leader with so much power would do to keep his employees happy.

** Jack sent a bouquet of roses to an employee’s wife when the individual complained to him about how his wife was paranoid about a presentation he was to make to Jack. With the roses was a note that read, " Your husband did a wonderful job. Am sorry I had to put you two through this in the last couple of weeks"

** He personally writes a two page handwritten note to every directly reporting associate on his / her performance.
Now that’s something interesting, coz I normally end up having a 15 min session with my boss with a couple of advises, few appreciations and a lot of brick bats.

** He once said, "I do not know how to build an aircraft, I don’t know what to run at 9.00 PM on a Thursday in NBC, I leave it completely to my guys"
Wow! Is that not what you call trusting your subordinates to the core?

** Out of 7800 applicants for the post of CFO, Jack chose a 38 yr old employee of his who was two rungs below.
That’s what I call the right kind of reward for excelling in performance.

** He is always known to be preaching from the top and people at the bottom see it clearly. This is an example of how effective communication needs to be in a corporate environment.

** There were also few flip sides to his leadership. He used to be blunt, sarcastic and used to put his managers to shame through personal attacks. 100,000 employees lost their job as part of his restructuring plans and business close downs. This is what earned him the name "Neutron Jack", an explosive that leaves buildings untouched, but killed all people within.

Am sure Forbes named him "The Manager of the Century" for reasons that are completely justified. There is more to this guy than what I have mentioned. I am so impressed with this guy who rewrote the corporate history of America, that am gonna spend time reading more about him.

Given the few instances that I had explained above, I was wondering if one would like to work under a guy like Jack Welch. What anyone of you will ?
Her whereabouts - Distant,
yet our association - Close.

Her touch - Unfelt,
yet her care - Touching.

Her face - Unseen,
yet her presence - Pervading.

Moments with her - Limited,
yet the memories - Permanent.

Meeting her - A Dream,
yet her friendship - Real.

Only her voice - Heard,

yet her undying love - Unheard of.
Well, I seem to have got paranoid about numbers of late. I know I cannot be getting away from mathematics for the rest of my life. Nevertheless, when I come across a situation where I have to prove my skills at it, I get lost. I am talking about examinations here. Math has always remained my forte so long I was in college and school. Now, it seems to have become a big challenge.

Maybe, it is because of the time factor. Working almost 9 hrs everyday and attending part time classes can sometimes turn tiring. Hardly do I find time for anything else. To make matters worse, I have these series of exams coming up. Statistics was one that I recently managed to get through (I haven’t got my scores yet. Just that I managed to write an exam).

Accounts is what seems looming and scary. I have my mid-term today, and I have never attended any of the classes. Nor do I have any clue about profit / loss, income / expenditure, cash flow or even ration analysis. Anyways, I intend spending as little time as possible amidst my busy Saturday work schedule to get to understand a bit of everything.
Phew!!! Glad the scoring is only relative.
I am not sure how much the popular adage “You cannot teach an old dog new tricks” is true. But I am hoping that I can prove that wrong. Life’s been quite monotonous for me with work on one hand and the usual social life on the other. It was this droning feel that made me join a guitar class.

I love music, but that in no way would mean I can master it at this age. Just one class, and I already feel like I have got into an impossible mission. Of late, I seem to have grown closer to my guitar (which was always inexistent in the last 28 years). Music or not, I keep playing the moment I hit home.

I am playing and practicing everyday… with fingers crossed and the popular adage in mind !!!!!