Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Big Picture

There was a frog that lived in a well. It lived its entire life in the well. It had never gone out of the well. One day another frog from the sea came to the well.

The frog from the well asked, “Where are you from?” “I’m from the sea”, replied the other frog.
“The sea! How big is that? Is it as big as my well?”

The frog of the sea, "The sea  is much bigger than your tiny well.”

The frog took a leap and asked, "Is your sea this big?"

“No, sea is much bigger”

Then the frog took a leap from one side of the well to the other. "Is your sea so big?"

“You cannot compare sea with your little well”.

The frog of the well did not believe the other frog. It said, "Nothing can be bigger than my well.  This fellow is a liar."

Many of us live within similar well and fail to look beyond its narrow boundary.

Let’s look at our own work life. In our  EDA industry,  we develop and maintain software which is used in design and manufacture of electronic chips. These are very complex software products. There is algorithmic complexity, complexity due to lots of legacy code and above all, we support too many special customer flows.  Many a times, I have seen that while fixing a customer bug or developing a new feature, we do fix the immediate issue in hand. But at the same time, we break something else.  We break it in our own tool or we break the flow in some other downstream tool.  It happens because we lack the big picture.

From my experience so far, I feel that a critical customer issue has 3 parts: what, where and why. What part is the description of the problem. Why part is the most difficult part. An experienced person with the big picture can easily answer the why. For most of us, we spend a lot of time trying to locate the source of the bug. Most of the times, finding the location of the bug helps us find the reason of the bug.

In our profession, it takes some time to get the complete big picture. The big picture comes along with experience. But at the same time, we should also do due perseverance to understand the big picture. 

There are two advantages of understanding the big picture at work. First is clarity and second is self-fulfillment. You know why you are doing a certain work, how it fits into the overall flow, how your work will help the business etc. At the end of the day, your work will give you a sense of accomplishment.

In our personal life too, many times we fail to see the big picture.  We are limited by our own narrow interpretation, our own ego, and our own blind beliefs. We lack compassion, humility and brotherhood.  Brothers fight so badly over property disputes. Spouses fight endlessly.  Besides, there are so many fights, conflicts and even killings over issues like religion, language, caste, our skin color, our food habits and what not. Are these really worth it? Are we not living inside our own little wells like the frog?

Who are we actually? To know this, let us revisit Set Theory from Mathematics. Most of us in this room have studied Set Theory during our school or college days. In set theory, there is something called Universal Set denoted by uppercase letter U. A universal set is the collection of all objects in a particular context or theory.  To know who we are, it is important to know our Universal Set. That is nothing but our Universe.

We are inhabitants of an average size planet called earth in the solar system. Our star Sun is an average sized star in Milky Way Galaxy. Number of stars in Milky Way is about 200 to 400 billion. The diameter of our galaxy is about 100,000 light years! To understand the sheer size of our galaxy, if the solar system is considered to be equal to a US quarter coin, then Milky Way would approximately be the size of USA.

Milky Way is just one galaxy. There are 100 to 200 billion such galaxies in the Universe. The universe is about 14 billion year old.

Now, let us look at who we are relative to our universe. We are actually nothing.  We live for an average 70 years. It is such a short period! We should not waste our stay here in doing all negative and destructive work.  Rather we should live in harmony, peace, and love.

Whenever you feel you are too big, whenever you fight with your brother over some property, whenever you feel hatred for someone, please look at the vast sky above you. You will get the big picture.

Our ancient Upanishad teaches us Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It teaches us universal brotherhood. We will realize it from the bottom of our heart when we come out of the narrow boundaries of our well and understand the Big Picture.

Friday, February 22, 2013


From my childhood days, I remember one of our teachers telling us that success is ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration.  No doubt, hard work is essential in any field to become successful. But I feel the role played by inspiration is under-rated in this statement.

A few days back I attended the annual event 2013 of IEEE Bangalore Section. In that event, Prof Jayant Haritsa of Computer Science & Automation Department of IISc Bangalore was felicitated for being elevated to IEEE Fellow. Prof Jayant Haritsa gave a brief speech while accepting the felicitation. He attributed the honor to his team at IISc and some of his professors. He also touched upon how he was inspired by two other famous persons named Jayant right from his under-graduate days in IIT Madras.

When Prof Jayant Haritsa was doing his B.Tech in IIT Madras in the early 1980s, there were two famous engineers by the same name - Jayant - in US. Both of them are professors in US universities and they published influential research papers. Both of them were famous in the academic community because of their work. Their works inspired young Jayant Haritsa and he always wanted to be like them when he grew up. Both of the famous Jayant were from Karnataka. Jayant Haritsa too was from Karnataka. One of them is Prof Jayant Baliga of ECE Department of North Carolina State University. (In 2010 he was awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest award for an engineer in USA by US President Barack Obama. Amongst many other accolades of Prof Jayant Baliga, he became IEEE Fellow at the age of 35!).

Today Prof Jayant Haritsa is very well in the area of Database Systems. He is an IEEE Fellow, Distinguished Scientist of the ACM, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award winner (2009) etc.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Explosion of Malls in Whitefield and Mahadevapura area

Whitefield and Mahadevapura are two localities in the eastern side of Bangalore. We live in Hoodi which is in between Mahadevapura and Whitefield. These places are famous for one of the largest concentration of IT companies in Bangalore. These companies are located in ITPL (now called ITPB: International Tech Park Bangalore), EPIP (Export Promotion Industrial Parks), Sigma Tech Park, HP's Campus, EMC Corporation's campus etc. Several lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of people work in these IT companies located in Whitefield and Mahadevapura.

I first went to ITPL in October 2002. At that time, these places were considered outside of Bangalore City limit. At that time, we considered Marathahalli in one side and Indira Nagar in the other side (at most extended to CV Raman Nagar) as the end of the city. ITPL was in the middle of nowhere! At that time, it was not even in my wildest dreams that one day I would start living in those areas.

In five years time, so much have changed in and around ITPL. ITPL became the symbol of this area. People started calling this place as ITPL. It reminds me of those days in 1990s when  Colgate and Surf became synonymous to toothpaste and detergents. The city expanded much beyond Marathahalli and Indira Nagar/C V Raman Nagar. We bought an apartment in late 2008 in Hoodi and moved there in early 2009.

When we moved there, there were only two small malls - Cosmos Mall at Brookefield and Big Bazaar near ITPL. Not sure if I can call Big Bazaar as a mall. Nowadays I consider Big Bazaar as a poor cousin of the new trendy malls. Perhaps it was ok to call Big Bazaar as a mall in 2007 or 2008. Both Cosmos Mall and Big Bazaar were owned by Future Group. There was no multiplexes. We had to go to the crammed Garuda Mall in Magrath Road or Forum Mall in Koramangala for a cinema.

Things have again changed so much in next three or four years from 2008. As I write this post, there are total 7 malls in Whitefield and Mahadevapura. There are 4 more upcoming malls. Then there are 2 more malls in the vicinity. I think this area has the largest concentration of malls in Bangalore.
  1. Forum Value Mall: Located in Whitefield, its USP is that it has all Factory Stores. Ample Parking space. Fame cinemas multiplex.Food court, McDonald, KFC, MTR, Toscano, Rajdhani restaurants etc.  Rs 20 parking fees (non-refundable) for 3 hours.
  2. Phoenix Market City: One of the newest mall that opened in late 2011. Huge mall, one of the biggest in Bangalore. Located in Mahadevapura on ITPL Road. Many Reliance stores - Digital, Time-Out, Trends, Footprints etc. Many brands from value range (Maxx) to high-end stores. PVR coming here.  Parking fees Rs 20 (non-refundable) every two hours!
  3. Hyper City: Located at Kundalahalli. Very good grocery, vegetable, non-veg market. Parking fees Rs 20 (non-refundable  from last two weeks)
  4.  Park-Square Mall: Located at ITPL (yes, at ITPL, facing the road). The latest mall to open here. Opened in December 2011. Huge Reliance Mart store. Big Reliance Trends too. Multiplexes coming soon. Stiff Parking charge of Rs 30 for two hours.
  5. Cosmos Mall: One of the older malls. I visit there for Pantaloon, Liliput, Chef Bakers and Modhuloka. Parking is 15 (refundable).
  6. More Mega Mart: Located in Outer Ring Road Mahadevapura.Cheapest place to buy groceries, vegetables. fruits, chicken etc. Modhuloka too is there. No parking fee. Because of the new flyover that came up, the entry through the service road is a bit chaotic.
  7. Big Bazaar: Located very near to ITPL. Parking is difficult. Visited only two times in last 3 years.
Upcoming Malls
  1. Forum Mall: Coming up inside Prestige Shantiniketan near Hoodi
  2. Inorbit Mall:  Located near Sathya Saya Baba Hospital and SJR Tech Park in EPIP area, behind ITPL (Inorbit Hyderbad is the largest mall in South India as per the company website. I've seen the H'bad mall and it is really huge)
  3. Total Mall opposite to Forum Value Mall: Somehow I don't like the Total Malls. All very crammed.
  4. VR Mall: Just next to Phoenix Market City. (I may be wrong in the name)

Malls in the vicinity
  1. Total Mall in the Outer Ring Road opposite EMC office.
  2. Gopalan Signature Mall: Will open in Benniganahalli, Old Madras Road, just across my office. Some of  the major attractions here are going to be Spar, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle . (Other Shoppers Stop, LifeStyle and Spar are in Koramangala or near MG Road).

You may ask: do you really buy in malls? Yes, we do buy at malls. We buy monthly grocery, weekly non-veg (fish, chicken and sometime mutton), cloths, baby care, shoes - all in malls. Here also, the perception of malls have changed a lot in last decade. First time I saw a mall in my life  named (Rave3) was way back in 2001 in Kanpur.  (I watched Mansoon Wedding with some of my friends from IIT Kanpur in the multiplex there). I now think it was a small mall (perhaps smaller than Cosmos Mall); but at that time, it was big enough for me. But the mall that caught me awestruck was the Centrestage mall in Noida which I visited in 2004. It was really a big mall at that time. At those times, malls were a place only to hang around - watch movie, eat at McDonalds, KFCs and sometime accompany your girl-friend or spouse; but not a shopping destination as things were considered expensive in malls. The stores at malls didn't give any sale or any discounts. So we used to go to Commercial Street in Bangalore or Sector-18 market, Sunehri Market, Indira Market etc in Noida or Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Market, Chandni Chowk market etc in Delhi. The perception as Malls as expensive place to buy has changed later. The stores at Malls have started giving large discounts. Then we realized that malls have become a one-stop-solution for many of our needs. There is ample parking space (unlike traditional places like Commercial Streets) in the malls. When your wife purchases her cloths or shoes, you can buy groceries or vegetables of non-veg or buy liquour at MRP (e.g., Madhuloka stores). Your kid can play with various toys. After all these shoppings, you can have a lunch or dinner in a food-court at value prices or you can go to a restaurant too (which may be a bit expensive compared to the food-court).

These malls have have generated lots of jobs and many thousands of people are employed here. But at the same time, some people say that it may affect the livelihood of small shop owners. I'm not sure about this.

Now we don't go to Commercial Street or Marathahalli to buy clothes or shoes. We don't go to HAL market to buy fish or vegetables. We just go to these malls. Happy shopping :-)

319CT on January 30th

I didn't take the Volvo this morning. I have to go some place from work. So I drove to office.

I saw two 319CT Volvo bus going to Whitefield from Majestic. The first one, to my surprise, was numbered 335E (which usually takes a different route through) Old Airport Road. I saw this one near K.R.Puram. Then again, I saw one319CT near Old Madras Road Big Bazaar. The first one was almost half-occupied. But the second one was fully occupied. I saw some people standing too in the bus. Happy to see people using this.

I'll monitor the timing of the bus in the evening for a few days. Once I'm sure of its time, then I will start using it. I hate to wait a long time at the bus station.

If you want to know the timing of 319CT, see one of my old posts.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My first day's experience with 319CT Volvo bus

I decided to try out the new Volvo 319CT bus on Friday (27th January). Friday is a good day to start this kind of an experiment; and I won't prefer the same experiment on a Monday.

While going to office, I wanted to catch the first bus that leaves Whitefield station at 8:35AM. I expected the bus to reach Hoodi by 8:45AM. I waited at the Hoodi bus stop from 8:35AM. I carry three bags to office - my laptop bag, lunch box and gym bag (I work out at the Gold Gym in RMZ Infinity). While waiting at Hoodi bus stop, I was wondering what if a fully loaded bus comes and how would it be to go there with these three bags.

The bus came sharp in time: at 8:45AM. Two persons, including me, got into the bus at Hoodi. There were four passengers including the two of us who just got into! The other person who caught the bus at Hoodi is Padmanabha Reddy who lives in Golden Star Apartment. He works in TCS at its Majestic office.

The fare to Benniganahalli (where my office is located) is Rs 25/-. I was earlier thinking of a buying a monthly BMTC pass. Someone told me that it costs Rs 1500. When I came to know that the fare to my office is Rs 25/-, then I knew that I won't require the monthly pass. Daily I would need Rs 50/-. Considering the fact that there are about 20 working days, so monthly fare will be Rs 1000. I was happy. I spend more than Rs 3000/- worth petrol every month in my car.

The bus reached K.R. Puram very soon. There were lots of passengers waiting for bus; but hardly one or two passengers got into the Volvo. Same scenario at Tin Factory. So many passengers waiting there; but only five persons got into our bus. It is quite contrary to 335E or 500C routes where most people just wait for the Volvo. I was wondering if this 319C would be commercially viable and if not, BMTC may stop it!

While I was tweeting and updating my Facebook status about the bus journey, the bus reached Benniganahalli at 9:05AM. I enjoyed this journey. But I was a bit apprehensive about the return journey.

For the return journey, I reached Benniganahalli bus stop at 5:30PM. I was expecting the bus that leaves Majestic at 4:50PM to reach RMZ Infinity at around 5:45PM. I waited till about 6PM; but the bus didn't come. Then I asked a person waiting at the bus stop about the Volvo. (He works in HP and belongs to a town in Andhra which is about 120km from Bangalore. He is waiting for a bus to go to his home-town.) He told me that I missed the bus by a few minutes. The bus left at around 5:25PM! Since I already waited for 30 minutes, I thought that I could catch the next bus which should come in 45 minutes duration from the previous one.

I was wondering if there is GPS system in the Volvo bus. I could then just send an SMS and find out the location of the bus. (We do it for my son's school bus)

There were lots of non-AC BMTC buses (blue-colored ordinary buses and brown colored Pushpak buses) going to Whitefield as I was waiting for the Volvo bus . The ordinary blue colored buses were full of passengers. The pushpak buses looked good. I was thinking of getting into one of these. But then I thought that since I'm doing an experiment, why not wait for the Volvo.

But the 319CT Volvo bus didn't come till 6:30PM. My eyes, head and neck started paining looking for the bus. It was slowly getting dark. There were mosquitos flying around. Finally I took an auto-rickshraw back home paying Rs 100!

Well, I am not going to do this experiment once again. With two kids at home, the last thing I would do is to spend an hour in a bus stop.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Came to know from a colleague that there is a word in Konkani called piripiri which is synonymous to the Assamese word beberibang.

I like this word: piripiri :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New BMTC Volvo Route 319CT

I live in Hoodi near ITPL, Bangalore and work in Synopsys which is in RMZ Infinity, Old Madras Road. There are lots of buses in this route; but there is not a single Volvo bus. There is a good news coming from BMTC today that a new Volvo bus route has been launched from Whitefield (near Sathya Saya Baba Hospital) to KBS, Majestic via RMZ Infinity. This route is named 319CT. (KBS is Kempegowda Bus Station, also known as Majestic Bus Station opposite to Bangalore Central railway station).

BMTC has also launched two more new Volvo buses through my place Hoodi:
  • 335 ET: From Whitefield, Hoodi to KBS Majestic via Graphite India, Marathahalli
  • 504: From Hoodi to Domlur
The details of these buses and their timings are available in this excel-sheet that we have received from BMTC.

I am more interested in 319CT as it covers my office route. However I found that BMTC's spread-sheet for 319CT is a bit confusing. So I've created a new view of the 319CT timing here. See my view of 319CT here in PDF format or Excel format.

There will be three buses plying in this route. I have used three color codes (yellow, blue and white) for these three buses in my table. A bus start from KBS and then goes to Whitefield. It takes 5 minutes break in Whitefield and then returns to KBS. See the following two tables.

Let us start using these buses. We can help in reducing Bangalore's traffic condition by using public transportation and contribute to a greener earth.