Thursday, 8 December 2011

Some things never change!

It was in Rochester, NY. Damn that cold place. I really don't know how I could contemplate such a move - from Chennai to Rochester? I mean, what was I really thinking? I did have a good year there, lets say, but I was real glad to move on from there... to anywhere, really. Even if it was only a slightly less cold place. I guess I can blame the fact that I was so young that I was utterly clueless about such things as weather. In India, we don't worry much about the weather. Its there. We deal with it. Growing up in beautiful Mysore, all I had to make sure of was that I had my raincoat with me those few months when it might rain. Not that I minded getting wet, my mum did, and would give me hell if I dripped in. In the 'winter' months - again on mum's goading - I might wear a sweater if I found one lying around. Early morning training runs in December in Chennai, I used to zip up the matching sweatshirt for my pants...

But Rochester. Damnation! I was so cold that year, all the time. I started being cold in September, and in March when all the undergrad girls started appearing in their spagetti strap outfits and spring flower dresses, I was still cold. I earned my name that year. Thanks to that jacket (oversized) that I wore all the time, with the hood up and tied under my chin. I looked terrible, but hey, it was so... cold... I just couldn't deal with it. In fact, in all my seven years in cold climes, I could never really manage to be comfortable...

(Yes, I am still like that. Nowadays I feel cold in Mysore).

I was thinking about something else from my Rochester days though. I was in my first semester there. This is back during the age of the Woolly Mammoth and the Sabre-Toothed Tiger, right. In other words, my machine was an apple mac with that tiny little screen - anyone remember those? I would stare intently at that screen for hours on end. I developed the reputation of being able to write really long emails, in those days. No one could keep up with me. Although I think I used to still call it 'Electronic Mail' - because you know, I am a geek like that.

John Ofori showed up one day. John is awesome. I thought he was a god (I don't think it anymore, thank heavens!). He corrected my homework sheet and handed it back to me. I had done well, he said it was pretty good. I was not like proud or anything. It was Math. Linear algebra. I had that stuff down pat (have forgotten a lot of it, but back then, I was taking notes in this beautifully crisp paper with this nice pen and I got a beautiful homework sheet to solve every week - it was just awesome). He asked me about how my code was working out. Okay, I said. Showed him couple of problems I was having.

Thats when he told me to shut the email window down. Huh, I remember saying. Email was my thing. It was the best thing that happened to me. I could type out my gazillion words a day and send it over to my three or four good friends. I was experimenting with saying 'luv' instead of 'love' (How I cringe now, in 2011, after a movie has been made with that spelling. The only consolation I have is that I did NOT invent it). It was the awesomest thing ever. And John, is asking me to close up my email window? Why, but why? I wailed.

You are distracting yourself with that stuff. You ought to concentrate on the code, he told me. He had a very crisp, non-American way of speaking. And because he was god (or so I thought), I did not dispute him. I tried very hard to not have my email and work windows open simultaneously. I emailed when I was taking a break, once or twice a day. I did not obsessively check for new mail. I concentrated on work. It lasted..a..week. I was still a bit embarrassed if I was caught out by someone, with the email window open (people used some shitty email program then. what was it called? lynx? no, that was a browser. shit. can't remember, but it was a really bad email thing, I swear, and lynx was also horrid).

I get extra RAM on my machines these days. I have, any point of time, at least two browsers open. Each browser window has email, facebook, a few web-sites I happen to be reading. I have office programs open at whatever documents I am working on. I have adobe of course, 'cause I am always reading (or hoping to read) journal articles. Facebook is really annoying because of the chat thing that I hate to do so I get rid of that pretty fast. But the rest of the stuff is just always there. Music sometimes too... Oh yeah, two browsers because I use two gmail accounts. In addition to my work email thing.

I am sorry John. I have let you down. I parallel process like its going out of style. I constantly interrupt myself and make myself super inefficient at everything. I read emails in the middle of a paragraph about propane combustion. I even *gasp* *shudder* write this blog while simultaneously making that .ppt for next week.

Oh well....


Saad Bhamla said...

Haha. This is Awesomeeee :)))
So i shouldn't feel bad at all for multi-tasking!!

kbpm said...

Bhamla - depends! What are you multi-tasking with? ;-)

dipali said...

Loved this post:)