ills of tourism trekking

Why is tourism trekking harmful to the environment?
Well, for one, it is filled with tourists. these are a bunch of people, who have been living in a city for the most of their lives, and the closest they have come to spending time in the wild is when they went on a NCC/scout training camp in school.. But honestly, we all know that it is not much of a wild as much as it is a small town with a lot more quiet than a typical city. And in some outstanding cases, it’s a place that doesn’t have reliable electricity supply. So, they don’t know the first thing about the wild/forest/mountains. Namely, some things degrade and get converted to become part of the soil and some things don’t . Sure they have read about it all in their class rooms, and colleges. They have learnt how plastic doesn’t degrade at all and how organic waste degrades. But it’s a memory that has to be retrieved if they are explicitly making a decision. Sure they realize nature has to be preserved. But seriously they are here only because they are sick of their day jobs and the dirty,polluted city they live in and would be happy to leave it for a change of scenery. i.e: to look at trees, plants and fields instead of having to see concrete buildings wherever they turn.

For two, these are mostly weak in terms of stamina. Sure they can sprint fast and better than quite a lot of people .Sure they can hit a cricket ball/tennis ball harder and may be even accurate. But they don’t know how to keep hitting continuously after an hour. They don’t know the pleasure/difference of knowing that point where you’re doing things by routine/habit/practice of muscles, and that point where you’re just too tired to pay any attention to what you’re doing. Sounds innocuous right? well, it’s not. Definitely not in the mountains/forests. It’s the difference between placing your foot on a rock just too smooth and twisting your ankle versus being able to jiggle and adjust when you do step on the same rock and avoiding a sprain or god forbid, ligament damage. Sure they know that endurance is about knowing your body’s current state of hydration, state of glucose level etc.. But seriously, they are closer to stopping every half an hour to pull out diabetes monitor to check glucose levels than knowing when they are thirsty enough to take water to avoid cramps vs to wet their throats. (aka, when to take a sip of water swirl it around in the mouth for a few seconds and swallow, slow enough for it to wet the throat vs when to gulp down swallows of water, without stopping to breathe, as if you’r e afraid the water will evaporate away).

For three, So for all these reasons, they are out of their comfort zone, the moment they land or get off the bus. The moment, their fancy trek-shoe clad feet hit the ground, they are hit with sensory inputs, they have never seen before and their short crippled attention spans and cognition, struggle to make sense of what’s happening , what’s important, what’s safe what’s not safe and what’s meaningful. As a result, on a rather simple jeep trail, through the mountains, they have to be shepherded through a path that doesn’t have too many stones/plants/thorn in the way. They need to be told to watch out for 1 foot drops. They need to be treated like you would treat your 5-year old, when you’r e taking him through a short hike trip to catch a ride to town. Except, these are all adults, and all the more cynical for it. Not to mention, growing up in city leaves a stronger and deeper cynical instincts towards other people in general*. So all in all, it’s mostly a thankless job and the only reason i can imagine taking a group like this on a trek, is to figure the hell out as to handle people in my workplace. Hoping i’ll pick up some skills that come in handy at the office, and some skills that help me identify friends, indifferent observers and enemies. Anyway, getting back to the topic, due to all of these, you’ll have to be instructing these people in all of these. (safe moves, clean spills/litterings vs polluting littering plastic etc..)

Infact, with ctc doing fitness tests, i sometimes think, they should also do working memory tasks. As it is a rather complex job for these types to not pollute the environment and navigate the trek route/path without injury.

*– It’s actually ironical if you think about it. The city folk are extremely cynical towards other people, while more trusting of terrain, forest, etc.. they are just used to better infrastructure. On the other had the mountain/rural folk are more cynical towards inanimate beings than towards people.

Disclaimer: If you read that and pictured me as a very fit, no bullshit, unsophisticated, guy who traipses through mountain climbs easily, well, I’ll just say, i’ve now spent half of my life in cities and the rest was spent in a small panchayat village that’s closer to a town. And I wish you were right about me. :-)

Interview blunders.

Given, i have been attending some sequence of interviews over the last year or
so, here are my observations about what felt odd or failed about each of those.

0. Gzr jpjkvdj:
The tech round was a breeze, it seemed to me that the interviewer was
more nervous than me. And his questions were easy, for anyone who had
recently been reading up on CS theory. Next comes the weird part, i had
an interview with the PM for seeing how i fit?. I was asked about one of
my oldest project,importantly a rather vague question.I gave a very
short answer and that was the end of it.

1. vzdxcrnwc: Badly phrased question, what does python lambda function
return? Apparently the answer was a C function pointer.
2. bydautyd: rigid process that goes through asking java related questions,
even after i made it very clear, i have not worked on java in 5 years and only
learnt in training period before that.So by the time, the only question i could have done well on(one about a db design where you can expect a lot of graph traversals, i was too tired and just said i’ll us e graph-based db like hypergraph or bigtable. meh..Instead of actually asking questions like how much read vs write? Is there a redis-like cache mechanism i can use if there are a lot of read mechanisms?

3. Nameless chenai company*: right out told me that they are interviewing for a
different posting than the one i had applied for. Then asked me why i am
and then to convince them why i am interested, then said they are not convinced and after all that proceeded with the interview, which i was continuing only out of reflex and not
really interested anymore. So i my interview was downhill, i just blabbered whatever my pattern-matching part of the brain threw up to all questions.Result: when asked difference between soft-link vs hard-link i said no difference. I was actually remembering, what i had read about hash-bangs and some security vulnerabilities they used to have, but no more.

4. zuzivtkz : the interviewer calls me at the scheduled time, i pick up and say hello, only to hear the interviewer talking to somebody else. Basically instructing him to type ‘sudo ‘ from the shell prompt. Hmm..that’s odd.. we talk about my work experience and i repeat mostly what is in my resume(all the while getting annoyed at the repetitive nature of what i am doing). Later, he asks me to swap two integer values without using a temporary variable, i think for about half a minute, before giving up**. No i don’t want to work here.
5. gnkvsbefher (web service startup): After a telephonic discussion for about 10-15 mins about my background and experience, i was told, startups look for passionate people. And i don’t seem passionate about web development. *shrugs*

6.sgntfgsvnqjr: Now, i am beginning to grasp at those interviews, that i classify as gray areas rather than black/white(like/not-like) companies. i never had a technical interview, but got a call from the HR,(after sending my resume through a referral). After we did the standard dance of HR, asking random questions(most info from the interview, some not, this is standard practice to gauge how much the interviewee is bull-shitting, and is one filter employed by most recruiters), he says their interview procedure involves the candidate writing code first. I said ok, and then he tells me he’ll send a mail with two problems , for which i am to code up solutions(within 2 days or so) and after having their tech people look at it, i’ll be notified of further interview process. (At this point am thinking, dude, why not just get an account on interview street or something and ask the candidate to code solution to a problem live??). Anyways, i agree and end the conversation. Later, he sends the mail with two problem descriptions(clearly written by a business user ==> vaguely, phrased functionality, with implicit assumptions, i remember one was something to do with sales order, can’t remember the other.) My reaction, meh… still i was not in a position i could just ignore it, and saved it for to-do later and went on to do something interesting. Did think about it before sleeping that night a little, but never eventually got around to writing/coding up. There were so many implicit assumptions, i had to make that I couldn’t just excite myself up to write code for it.
7. zvaqgerr: Oh yeah, this one was one of the most annoying one. i had to communte an hour across the bangalore city to reach their office. Then, i am interviewed by a couple of people, who have my resume printed out and are clearly just going through the resume. So basically the interview went something along the lines of them looking at my resume, asking something random about that specific project i had done/worked on. I was irritated, but was polite. Anyway, at the end of the interview, i am told they were looking for someone with hands-on experience. What the fuck?? you couldn’t have seen the resume before? This was my first trigger to decide am never interviewing in person without a phone screen. As much as companies do a phone screen, i’ll also employ a phone screen. my filters are not likely to be very good, but i don’t want to be wasting my time either. So much for looking for expertise and the companies complaining about not finding good quality hires. All the other companies, i avoided right at the phone screen rather efficiently.

A job is a two way contract or agreement to exchange certain commoditites(attention + skill + time for money). I don’t care if you’re trillion dollar turnover MNC or a hot-shot startup with a million dollar seed funding round. If your recruitment process doesn’t seem to value my time, don’t even bother.

Update May 15: I realized it may not be a good idea to name the companies directly, so used rot cypher on them.

P.S: All of these were interviews that happened atleast 1.5-2 years ago(during early 2011), things must have changed, people must have changed.
* — Forgot the name. not my current company, am not stupid enough to publish a
review of them yet. :-)

** — I know, it’s a simple a = a+b b = a -b a = a-b. But by the time, we went to that question, i am already desperate to get out of the interview and have the call end, that i didn’t recognize the question at all.(i.e: my brain’s pattern matching module did not run and was on strike by the time we came to that Q.)