Thursday, February 19, 2009

Acronyms and short messages

I like letter writing and now, the electronic letter writing. I pride myself in being able to type long SMS messages on my mobile phone.. Some of my friends have even called me back to ask if I think calling up would be easier than typing that lonnnngggg sms. Never once I have consciously used an Acronym or a Short form.

So, that being the case, I walk into this company on Day 1. The security says, Do you belong to STSD division? I said, 'yes' like I completely knew what it meant... but as a matter of fact, I didn't. I remember seeing it on my appointment order, so I got through it. Then, walked a little further down the lobby and some asks, 'Do we have to submit our i card application here?'. So that's the second short form. Over a few years of getting used to wearing an Identity tag around my neck, it was not a tough guess that i card meant identity card. There was this routine of filling up some ten different forms during the first day and each form had at least one acronym - PF, PPF, EPSF,VPF,FBP and all these were the character combinations I had to learn.

So with all that academic information in mind, I walk into the work place to be greeted by people whose names were almost sounding like acronyms. Everyone had a shortened form of their names.

Once in, came a host of other work related acronyms.. My mind refused to take in any more, but that's exactly what I've had to live with ever since..You have acronyms for movies, engineering, documents and just about anything...

Okay, so convinced that you have to live in an acronym world, I manage whatever little I can take in and if its absolutely required, look up on Google to know what some weird chaining of alphabetic characters meant.

But then, let me tell you, there was one email that I had sometime last month, which I am still not able to figure out.... it goes like this...

'I cd nt cme fr the int l8r n the mth, so hd 2 do nw.'

Now, tell me.. is'nt this a little puzzle by itself ?? and I have to understand this and respond as well..... May be this sender is used to a lot of short messages herself, but is'nt it too much to expect that every reader understands all of it?? I guess so.. I may be a little demanding, but then its only fair to expect a neat full text message, if I am expected to understand and give a response.

If you think am cribbing, you've got it right, but then my point here is very simple, write messages for someone to understand.. Do not expect everyone to know what is what....Like UNO and UNESCO and WHO are world known well-deserving and accepted acronyms... The short forms 'brb' and 'ttyl' are okay in chat windows, as there is a whole website that says some standard short form practices accepted world wide.... SE and CMM are accepted in IT industry .... PO and SO are well known in Sales and Marketing .... PVC is known in Chemistry and GDP in commerce .... RD in banking ... but try mentioning SE to some one in railways.. the response would promptly be' Are you referring to South Eastern railways?'. HP to me, meant Hewlett-Packard. The old man who was talking to me asked, if I was working with Hindustan Petroleum. I am sure you'd believe me, if I say that he knows SRK stands for Shah Rukh Khan.

With all these to ponder, can you explain the usage of short forms like 'I cd nt cme fr the int l8r n the mth, so hd 2 do nw' on an email? Clearly the intention was not to receive a response. Had it not been a personal email, I would not have cared to respond at all.. Perhaps, that is why, people write official mails without short forms :)

Thanks to one of my friends who asked for a post on Acronyms from me, else I would not have thought about it, given that I have so much distaste for them. Thank you, friend. I feel much better having poured out the thoughts :)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Coffee, Tea and Customization

I am this typical tamilian who loves a good cup of home-made filter coffee ( Kaapi , as they call in Tamil). I have this strong thought that very few people can make good coffee. So, I usually avoid taking coffee in restaurants whenever I chance to eat outside.

Last month, I met friends in a popular coffee shop. I have no doubts on its reputation for coffee, because its chain of outlets is expanding, even as I type. Still, it is just hard to come out of the thought that no one can make coffee as good as my Mom. I ordered Assam tea. The name on the menu card reminded me of a friend who can sign for the taste of this tea. I had never tasted Assam tea in the past, so was not too sure, but then it didn't matter because I don't know the taste and I can take it easy... whereas, I know the taste of good coffee and can't take a flopped taste. Every other friend of mine had ordered some coffee or the other.

After about fifteen minutes, the waiter comes over carrying a white porcelain plate - A small and cute container with milk, an oceanic cup full of colored/flavored water ( tea essence), a tea bag, two small sugar sachets, a sparkling clean spoon, and a paper napkin.

It took me a while to realize that I had the option to have the tea plain or with milk; I could have it the way it was or could use the extra tea bag; I could have the tea without sugar or add sugar.

Agreed, I had these options, but coming to think of it, I am making my own cup of tea in a restaurant. Call it Assam tea or any other best of the tea produces, still I am left to making my own tea and probably paying a much higher price than it deserves.

I pay for the maintenance of the coffee shop on a pro-rate basis along with the nominal expense for the tea. I don't run a coffee shop business, so I have no question about the cost or price, but definitely have questions about why you would pay such a high price for making your own tea.?

I am not sure if there is an answer, because we all have become used to the customized solutions in everything today - Banking solution, Software solution, Financial solution, Investment plans, Combo Meals, Buffet meal are some examples of customized solutions. Anything the customer wants should be made possible is the rule of the hour. I didn't really think that coffee and tea shops would also opt for such customizations, in effect increasing the price we pay and making us do the extra work, to make it reasonably good tea to taste.

Its amazing to note that people who would just place their coffee and tea orders out aloud from the living room to the kitchen at home, are patiently mixing their own coffee and tea in coffee shops like this and paying an extra price too... Will these people be patient and willing enough to make their own coffee at home too?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Life goes on....

A lot an happen over lunch!!!!! In about 25 minutes of lunch break that I took today, I chanced to watch CNN-IBN news channel in my office cafeteria.

- A six year old tortured by policemen, Cop sacked. Probe ordered.
- DMK unhappy with center.
- High Court - Married couple kissing in public is not obscene.
- Cease Fire in Lanka says Kanimozhi.[ Okay.. Thathaasthu!!!] That means 'Granted' in Tamil.
- Mob attack two women in Andhra. Eighteen people arrested.
- Sania Mirza on her win.
- TN rallies on February 7th.
- Snow hinders air traffic in Heathrow, UK.

Then there was Hilary Clinton, Pranab, Pakistan, Shilpa Shetty and many more tickers; by then I was too full with my sandwich lunch, the world news and my views.

Its amazing how every moment is a mix of happenings with umpteen effects.

When people are talking about losing crores and lakhs in jobs and shares,
When there are people getting injured and killed in war,
When there are students sitting at home due to a student attack,
When there are mobs attacking people all over the place in the name of religion mostly,

there are also people

who have won games,
who are rich enough to invest and get returns,
who can sit in their desks and criticize and speak orders to deaf ears,
who can think of nothing but rallies and protests to voice something,
and who just read the news and talk about it further, just like me.

Look again at the news cast to see if any one news item, just one of these news items that can really start or stop the happenings of today?

Whatever happens, life just goes on. Nothing , just NOTHING changes because you put it up as a news item on a news channel or paper. Would be good if our news channels devote some time to state decision-oriented news casts.

You should switch on the news channel and see the decision pronounced on things... CBI probing.... Probe Advised....Investigation on.....all these are wasting too much of people's gossip time :) and otherwise useful energy. Sharp contrast would be : CBI declared this..... Probe resulted in this..... Investigation report says.....

[Can't stop do people read news papers from page 1, line 1, word 1, letter 1 to page n, line n, word n and letter n, where n can mean the last page in any given news paper. I can safely debate that only 5% of what you read really matters.. the rest of 95% are an alternative for the much-detested verbal gossip.... so with news, the gossip still goes on.. The next time you say, you don't gossip, also admit that you read a lot of them ...]

My take : Read News, but that does not alter anything at all... Life goes on....


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...