Friday, April 29, 2005

Opportunity Amidst Difficulty

The traffic in Bangalore leaves a lot to be said. It can be killing. It can make you want to run away from Bangalore even if you've been a Bangalorean all your life. 'To be Bangalored' ought not to be a phrase restricted to only the reference to jobs being outsourced but also to denote that one is caught in traffic.

Okay. But here's the silver lining that I saw in the cloud . In the evenings, people in my office van (including me) who'd earlier restricted themselves to thinking about work and home or gazing outside have started chatting up. Because there's nothing else to do. There isn't enough daylight to read; and there's nothing much to watch outside except cars and buses. So, new friends have been made and new insights gained through discussions about simple matters like Bangalore's hotels and complex matters like solutions to the infrastructure problems that the city faces. We've even come up with some amazing and seemingly ridiculous business propositions to combat the problems that people face on the roads.

And here's a bonus that I got - A couple of weeks ago, there was an occasion when I was desperate to spend time on something that would help me take my mind away from the frustrating 20-minute long wait in the traffic. I decided to fiddle with my Mobile and got into the Messages feature. In the past I've not had the necessity to send SMS' to people, but, of late, there is a friend and colleague of mine with whom I've been exchanging messages about work, people etc. All the while, I've been using the keys multiple times (for example, pressing the "ABC" key thrice to get to 'C' ) to type in the messages and haven't used the built-in SMS dictionary. When I first tried it some years ago, I was confused about how it worked and had given up after a few trials. I'd not asked anyone either, about how it worked, because I was anyway not using the SMS feature so much.

Coming back to the present, I started fiddling with the messages feature and switched on the dictionary thinking that was one thing I had not cracked and it was a good time for me to learn to use it instead of getting frustrated with the traffic. So, I started typing in words - I tried typing in 'good' and once again felt it was easier to switch off the dictionary and select the alphabets rather than use the dictionary and then use the star button to choose the alphabet I wanted. For example, when I chose the 'GHI' button with the dictionary on, the alphabet that came on the screen was 'I' and not 'G'. Given the situation I was in, I decided to do something - I decided to take the risk and plunge in and go ahead and let the dictionary take over. I settled for the alphabet 'I', then pressed the "MNO" button to see the screen show 'In' , went on to press "MNO" again and saw the word change to 'Inn'. I persevered and finally pressed the "DEF" button and Voila! the word had changed to "Good" from "Inn"! Would you believe it? Of course, if you are an SMS freak, you must be thinking I am one big dumbo. But for me, it was a significant learning and it happened because of two reasons - one, I had the need to learn to send SMSs more efficiently and two, the traffic problem gave me no other option but to use it as an opportunity to learn/do something constructive. Now, I can send SMSs more efficiently and quickly and I am beginning to enjoy the magic of seeing the word change in the last second....or the last alphabet. :)

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