Please let me know if you have any questions

Please let me know if you have any questions

How innocent this statement looks but don’t sink in to the deception, I will assist you to be aware of the ramifications that this statement may lead to. Having worked in IT industry for enough long years, I’ve acquired the tacit cognizance not only to read in between the lines of emails but also to penetrate into it and sectumsempra the whole thing to extract the intended insinuation.

Well, after having composed and in the process of composing oodles of corporate emails to immediate bosses, clients, users, teams, alien teams and acquaintances sitting oceans far away or as close as in the next cubicle, I had to admit that, the monotony of this phrase is more nuzzled than the mere obligation of it. Every time I finish composing an email, I feel something is missing in the whole email draft and suddenly realize that, the parting shot misses the most worshipped phrase ‘Please let me know if you have any questions’ and so I diligently type it out at the end of the body which gives a sense of completeness to the email, like that of the holy ‘Thachi Mammu’ at the end of a heavy South Indian meal.

Few use this statement just for the sake of it. Few use it just to sound concerned. Few use it to feel complete (Complete Man – Raymond’s!). Few use it just to be careful and get a feeling of being in the crowd and not left out. Only few choose to know the real meaning of it and act accordingly.

Though this invites ‘further communication’ from the recipient, sometimes it doesn’t invite at all. When your manager sends an email with such a parting shot, some choose to stick to ‘I don’t have any questions’ mode to avoid any repercussion of their flushed out eccentricities. Some actually have things to say and so they immediately run their fingers on the keyboard as if running it against one’s girlfriend’s contours, ramming the keyboard to an extent that the keys go weak in their knees and beg your sympathy, shedding copious amount of audible tears. These species never fail to end their reply with the same blessed phrase of, ‘Ohh please god damn, let me know, if you gosh have, any freaking questions!’

This gets so monotonous at some point of time that you actually choose to ignore this and end the email blatantly with main content. You feel so bored even to take questions from the other end. Sometimes, it will be so boring day that, you actually wish no one comes back with any questions. You may want to keep the tone of the email as concerned as possible but ignoring this phrase might end up as if you are not so involved in the task at hand. So you invariably end up putting that phrase at the end of the email and silently pray all Gods one by one wishing the recipients to be as lazy as you. Some strategically compose such emails towards the end of the day, and press the button SEND SEND SEND for each draft consecutively in quick succession… like pressing the trigger of the MG3 7.62mm machine gun so that they don’t have to wait for the reply and can always check the next day.

Sometimes, the content of the email would be so small but still people prefer to make it wholesome with this phrase.

Sample this,


Hi Ben,
The report is sent.
Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks & Regards,
Hey I am the Please-let-me-know-if-you-have-any-questions lover

Yes I admit, this phrase can be email filler. It makes the email appear as if the content is huge and it is trying to convey quite a lot of information sarcastically.  So the above email with the phrase can connote:

Hey Ben, Hope you received the crappy report which you asked me to send. Dude, this gotta be crazy, it’s just a simple report which you might have generated yourself. It’s just two minutes of effing mouse click and I gotta log this task in my timesheet since you had sent it to me. I would have probably grabbed an ‘Egg Puff’ in the pantry by the time I logged into the ftp client sitting at the remote machine or rather I would have taken two three sips of Bru coffee with the Sunfeast Marie Light Oats Biscuit.

Anyway, don’t get back to me with any sorta questions or whatever. Do ping me, if am free I’ll reply. I gotta go. Ciao!

Got that?

Well, it does convey such deep meanings in a single line.

In other cases some dread the usage of such phrase during critical times.


Hi <the-most-admired-person>,

As discussed two centuries back (Read – two days back), I’ll be on leave till Tuesday.

Please let me know if you have any questions. (*Sincerely prays God and touches black color while typing this email which would evade all evil eyes and brings good luck*)

Thanks & Regards,
Hey I am afraid to use Please-let-me-know-if-you-have-any-questions dude.

People dread this phrase I say. What if your boss changes the mind and only because you have mentioned ‘Please let me know if you have any questions’, he/she gets back to you with – ‘Well, can you cut down your leave by a day and be back to office by Monday?’. In order to avoid all such ill fate, few gallop away from this dreadful phrase and try not to make it more obvious to get back to them.

This statement has gained corporate attention, since it conveys quite a lot of emotions than a Kathak dancer!


Hi <some-poor-fella>

I cannot approve your release as the metrics in the DOSA dashboard cannot reach 201% compliance without your humble presence. Innovation in the lines of Ghee Dosa, Onion Rava would go bleak if you don’t make yourself available before the dough kneading Tool.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Parotta Master


This dreadful phrase in the above email conveys some simple things without being explicitly declared. First, dude you are screwed, trash your release request. Second, how can you get released when you are the only one taking care of this DOSA module? Having an IDLI person for a DOSA can lead to change in the DOSA parameters which can affect the quality of the deliverables. And finally, now I think you don’t have any questions to ask!

Indigenous use of this phrase has made oneself more competent in the lines of the prudent usage of this phrase. Some acquire this skill to use it at the right time. Six Sigma Green Belt Certifications are not necessary to master the technique of such usage. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who preaches ‘Art of living’ has decided to impart this niche skill to everyone in his spiritual masses.

I also notice that this ‘Please let me know if you have any questions’ culture has deeply penetrated into the young minds and they have started believing that it is some sort of customary ritual that is being followed in the project. They have started appending it to every other email they are sending out. It becomes the email mantra. They chant this at the end of every email.

Lastly I heard from one of my friends that, someone made a blasphemous use of this statement and it was being circulated only among the near and dear ones in the company in the form of forward emails.

The email read:


(Names have been changed to protect the identity & dignity of the email sender)

Dear <sincere-girl-who-works-in-my-project>,

Many more happy returns of the day!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks & Regards,
Very-Very-Very-Busy-Boss


Alright, so I have decided to create an e-learning material on this industry buzz phrase which will be of greater help for the freshers and laterals who join the company. I hope I made myself clear.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks & Reg….Ohhh sigh! Cut the crap!

Chalo then. Bubye!

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Do Not Disturb

Even when the whole world goes berserk out of economic turbulence or a sudden onset of apocalypse or even a nuclear holocaust, some blessed lazy souls never give a tiniest of a botheration during their half draped blanket and a humming AC, cradling them to an eternal sleep on a Saturday morning. On one such occasion of my serendipity in travelling to far off places with chicks around, I felt a sudden tap on my bums, yanking me into the naked reality from my dream, flipping me to my back, left me gaping at the ceiling fan which gave me back an irate stare. Only moms have special privileges on their kids to tap on such ‘awww’ places.

My mom in her mission to shoo away the sleep monster, had her presence in my room equipped with broomstick. Her innate ability to wake me up was commendable. It was 10.30 am when I felt it’s too early to bid adieu to my bed. We spend most of our ‘precious’ time in bed, sometimes in the couch and the in dining table. I felt such preciousness is less valued by moms and dads when they wake you up for getting Odonil or Urid Dal from the nearby departmental store on a Saturday morning.

This time it was a different scenario altogether. I disengaged myself from my bed, brushed my teeth, performed my morning ablutions sincerely, drank Boost flipping the pages of TOI (Yes, I read TOI and I can still tell you that Pranab Mukherjee is the recent president of India, Mary Kom won bronze in the ongoing Olympics for India and also discriminate between the amount of fairness ranging from lowest value of school uniform washed in Tide Detergent to the extremities of Anushka Sharma’s underarms, courtesy Nivea White, without reading The Hindu newspaper!)

I kick started my bike and my dad hopped into the pillion seat.

***

As I parked my bike in front of the old dilapidated building situated in the intricate corners of the road, with murky waters by its side, bearing the name board – Life Insurance Corporation of India, I recollected the number of times I had asked my dad to open an online account in the bank for the ease of all financial transactions. I still go blitzkrieg on the idea of standing in the long queue in a building with puddle walls and messy counters.

The large hall was uncomfortably pregnant with umpteen number of paper files all over the tables, old computers running Widows XP with CRT monitors, the noisy fans suspended from the high ceilings, bespectacled large bindi, nose-ringed women, men in their dullest of the formal shirts and pants with slippers, their forehead adorned with markings of all colors covering most of the wavelength of a light spectrum – connoting their religious inclination towards all gods, caged in each counters with stuttering printers and monitors, counting the currency notes – frequently salivating them for friction. My dad appended himself in one of the queues and I was asked to join another – age old technique to advance faster in the concurrent queues!

I sometimes wondered the advancement of IT in our country and its reach to common man. My own dad was a standing example of how few people are still not comfortable with the IT and other utilities. One online banking account and one debit card – could have solved this weekend agony. I was slowly advancing in the queue and my dad was still in the same position in the other one. I had never given company to my dad for such visits. He still does all the electricity bill payment, Insurance premium or sometimes money withdrawal by paying a visit to the offices/banks located in the oldest of the buildings in the city.

“Why don’t you just pay it online using net banking or Debit card payment?” This must be my all time declarative mood when in confrontation with my dad on such matters. “I don’t know how to use it”, should be my dad’s all time reply when in confrontation with me on such matters.

As I handed over the cheque along with the premium payment letter to the lady in counter, with the details of the premium such as the policy number, policy maturity date, amount assured and next date of premium payment etc etc and etc, she gave a quick look into the letter noting down the policy number and started updating my details in the computer having a policy management software which had the boring grey application interface developed in Visual Basic 6. I know they couldn’t afford to procure softwares developed by CMMI level 5 firms. Such is life in government offices.

LIC premium successfully paid.

***

As I entered my room after an hour drive, in the scorching sun of 1.00 pm, I released myself from the Tee and jeans, leaving me just in my jockey, in front of the mirror. What I witnessed in the mirror couldn’t match euphoric cosmic display of celestial bodies.

Half of my arms covering the elbows to the fist have taken a dark form compared to the other covered regions of my body. Exactly at the point where my Tee’s sleeve ends, I could find a clear demarcation line. The skin tone above the line heading to my shoulders and the torso were as clear as milk (!) – Fair and flawless. The region below the sleeve line including the elbows, leading to my wrists and fingers were dark and shadowy. It looked as if I had dipped both my hands into a drum full of black paint, just above my elbow and had pulled it back. The afternoons are just effing hot that it tans your skin so badly and now I have to keep my sleeves covered for a week or so to get back the uniform distribution of my skin tone in the arms (Yes, guys too worry about this at times!) I didn’t want to feel like a zebra when roaming around in any of tam-brahm functions topless!

I’ve decided to wear my full sleeved Tee whenever I go out in the day time.

***

With advancement in the technology, there should be a better way to convince parents to chuck off the age old methods of financial transaction by filling out challans to withdraw money and to deposit in cheque to transfer money to someone and maintaining a passbook for all those transactions. The ease of net banking and fund transfers should be imparted to them somehow. Though I strictly adhere to internet for almost everything  – booking tickets – for bus or a movie, to transfer and receive money from friends or colleagues, I am somehow finding it a herculean task to cascade it to my parents as they are so insecure about the online frauds and malpractices. Thanks to the Dina Malar, Dina Thanthi, Mangayar Malar tamil dailies/monthlies which inflate such news and present them in a form of articles.

My mom warned me one day, ‘You are using Facebook right? Be careful in Facebook, it seems girls are conning guys by putting ‘beautiful photos’ and in the end killing them in a remote place. I read in this magazine. These days guys need to be careful’. I didn’t know whether to appreciate her affection towards me or to curse the non-awareness of her social networking usage. I remember my sister being warned for FB usage sometime back as putting a girls’ photo in the internet may invite more guys. I accept their concern but the way the information is falsely reported or incorrectly projected is definitely creating a false paradigm on things. One or two bad examples are subjugating the whole system in gutter. Exceptions cannot be examples.

Such cases have left a subterfuge in them about the internet way of doing things. I showcased my dad how it is easy to pay online and would take just 5 minutes for the whole process, by paying property tax online from the website’s net banking facility. My dad was also kind of elated, seeing the payment receipt which was generated in PDF and was available for quick download.

***

When will they learn and not disturb my weekend sleep!? 😉

Life isn’t a File – A Self Contemplation !!

My Mobile clock was ticking 8.00 PM in its flashing 320 X 420 TFT display

The Mobile stereo headset was plugged in place into my ear cavities on one of its end and to the Mobile stereo jack on the other end. I can see quite a few of Software Species seated beside, behind and in front me holding their i-Pods, MP3 Players and PMP in their very tired hands, who work desperately in a space bounded by card boards, named Cubicle, to force the output kiss their Monitors when they run a chunk of texts which they call it a PROGRAM or to sound more Computer-Literate-Software-Lingo, they call it a CODE.

I could feel the breeze of air sweeping across my face through the window. The corporate vehicle was swallowing the stretch of road ahead under its huge white-Blue metallic body with a number inside a circle stuck to its face. I could feel the inertia in which it was covering long distance to drop people in their respective destination.

Bus

The bus was dim lighted. The ambience was not so encouraging. I could see tired minds at rest. Most of them were fixed in their seats and eyes closed thinking about the nearest weekend that will embrace him/her soon. A man with some amount of hair stuck to his chin, which he called it a French beard, was talking over the Blackberry in a high decibel voice about the status report which was sent to Onsite and the metrics which has to be submitted before 0800 hours PST (Pacific Standard time), the next day. A teeny-weeny young girl in her early twenties, who was seated beside me, was busy talking to her friend about how Rohit was helping her during the regression testing. A treat assurance for successful testing completion was made, before the call was ended.

It sounded so dumb to me. She was now busy with her “Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Souls” by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen & Irene Dunlap in her lap! She gave me a look that will burn 275 calories of energy from her body.  She know that, I was staring at her..err… staring  at her book. I changed the direction of my vision at an horizontal angle of 20 degrees first, for a period of time, then an angle of 45.3 degrees towards the window. I was feeling tired, tired out of long travel in bus after a hectic work. It will take another one hour to reach my place.

I closed my eyes resting my head tilting it back at the head rest provided in the seat. My thought wandered.  Suddenly my inner self announced me, “I’m proud to be an Electrical and Electronics Engineer!! “ I was taken aback.

Electrical Network !! (Its here just to accentuate my EEE thought)

Why suddenly this thought erupted in the little mind that was busy all these time? Why I am so much inclined towards the subject, which I hated to the core suddenly? Its hundred percent true that, mind wanders like a monkey from one tree of thought to another one easily. My friends will throw a sheepish giggle or a lousy laugh at me if they ever heard me saying this. Such statement from my side is highly inappropriate. People know me as a software guy or a Computer Whiz kid from my college days, in spite of the undeniable fact that, all of us belonged to the esteemed group of “Electrical & Electronics Engineers”.

I thought software engineering would be interesting and elegantly clad field where you would see things you imagined, you see things working which you designed and executed. I hated electronics to the core. I saw people who were putting all blood and sweat to achieve things in the ‘Trical-‘Tronic subject as an algae which made the pond dirtier than the lotus which makes it beautiful. I always assumed myself to be a lotus adding beauty to the pond rather than being one among the algae floating in the water. I was never proud to be so much inclined towards software. I was actually happy that, I could survive in the software Market. I brushed up my software skills along with the soft skills which would enable me to get into this “Hello World”. I proactively mastered things that added feathers in my knowledge cap. I studied my subject just for marks. The last minute preparations, one night studies, group studies, mind mapping concepts in a way that is in no way related to the subject helped me to fetch marks and accolades. But, what about the knowledge? Am I an electrical engineer? Do I know things which others know? Have I made justice to the 4 precious years of my engineering life?  The questions stacked my memory and it was overflowing. Poor thoughts do know am not a Computer. I’m just another human being with blood and body with thoughts oozing out of human parts made of flesh and tissues.

College days were fun. We had time everything on earth though few things weren’t the way we expected. College was bound by rules. Lots of rules. But that was the boundary into which our heavens existed. We had everything. Food, Clothes, Money, Sleep, computers, Lectures, Labs, Practical, Hostel, Restricted freedom, Friends  and most importantly Peace. A peace that no money can buy. Though we were bound by boundaries of unseen, impractical, grotesque protocols written for students. We rested in peace in spite of the control that was impacted on us. Happiness persisted that were not explicitly declared. Happiness sustained as we were always surrounded by “same pinch” minds. Friends were families. Next room guy was a brother. Fourth bench corner guy was an entertainer. All girls were girl friends – Friends who were girls!! We did not see affection, we felt in our hearts. We did not see enmity, as it was practiced in our paths. We did not see God in temples, because we were taught things in “Temple of Learning”.  We did not find time to discover a new person amidst us, as we knew all of them around us. There wasn’t a stranger in our life.  So ultimately, life was full. full of colors, full of joy, full of love, full of exams, full of friends, full of boredom. A boredom which will not kill you, but will give new soil to sow interesting ideas.

But today, we are bounded too. Not bound by friends, but bound by strangers. We hardly know who sits in the next cubicle. We are bound not by walls of freedom, but by the walls of pressure. We spend hours together in this boundary to clock an minimal quantity of that fourth dimension, which decides the DNA of Life. We find little time for friends. We find little time for peace, which will not acquired at ease. There is something that decides all this. Those times were gone when we ran behind mark sheets, now that, we are running behind those few sheets of tinted paper which can buy everything under the sky. We never felt the notebooks heavier, but now, its aching to carry those currency notes. I do not deny the fact that our hard work reaps those currencies. But why do we put so much effort to earn money? Is it to keep on earning or to find time for people around you? I do not understand.

Time has changed everything in its path. When time passes, it doesn’t leave any stone unturned in its path.  It hasn’t spared me too. I spent four of my precious years in a field which involved bonding of emotional flux in one’s heart with the flux in another’s. But now am fidgeting with one dumb terminal to get some crap thing outta chunks of code. I wanted to be in IT, but not this kind of life which I’m living now…

The Bus jerked over a speed breaker. My thoughts spilled and I awoke from a deep thoughtful sleep. I looked at my mobile. It was 9.25 PM.  The bus has reached my place. In another 10 minutes, I have to get down. I did not notice the message which I received, a few minute back. Rightly the message reflected my thoughts

It read…

The IT Professional PREAMBLE-

We the unwilling, led by

the unknowing are

doing the impossible for

the ungrateful. We have

done so much for so

Long, with so little

Knowledge that we will

One day qualify to do

Anything with knowing

Nothing. Be Proud to be

An IT Professional !

Why should I be proud? I haven’t done anything great being an IT professional. I felt like being an algae in the pond. I felt as if I’ve lost the peace which I had before. I’m still searching for the Peace. Life has always its own style of teaching a lesson. It’s a good teacher. If it teaches something, you won’t forget it in your life time. I’ve learned from it. The bitter truth that I had to accept. The truth which can’t be denied. The truth that I’m still a Software Engineer.

I understood that, Life is not just another ‘File’, which can be created, modified and saved as you wish. It is something like a hard coded program which follows bizarre Logic to execute and terminate one day! Being a Software Engineer hasn’t helped me in any way.

Now I’m proud to be an Electrical and Electronics Engineer!!

I got down the bus and strolled towards my street to reach home, have something for my hunger and sleep tight.