Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Price of Success

Its a beautiful world with beautiful people or so they say. Except that I find neither. I think one actually leads to another. Being an engineer I am trained to think methodically and find out patterns where none exists. So my funda is if the latter were to be true in one's life, the former is a foregone conclusion.

Of course, by beauty I do not definitely imply physical beauty. Which sometimes makes me wonder - exactly how many other kinds of beauty are there. And to compound this, there is the inevitability of subjectivity about beauty. And as always, even though I do not seek beauties, I have not been able to remotely come in contact with anyone who would fill my idea of the same. Neither figuratively nor metaphorically. Which begets the question "Am I normal?" or is it that I don't have my specs on or am I looking at the wrong direction altogether. For once, I hope God exists, so that at least I can say "God knows!"

Every evening when I am back from office and I turn the key to my temporary abode, I am greeted with a wonderful sight of a huge empty house, with some useless machines like a television, a laptop, a broadband modem staring at my face in jest saying out aloud "Hah ! Got you again. 27 years and you still have ONLY us to fall back upon."To which I reply with my usual casual nonchalance "Every damn f***ing dog has his day and am waiting for mine!"

The situation is the same every morning. I wake up to that same huge house and the first thing that strikes me is "Isn't it too early to wake up?" or "Why the hell cannot I sleep for 24 hours?".

I have to make breakfast AND have it with the tables and chairs and newspaper to give me company. THEY are such amazing company - I tell you. The very basis of my existence is to have breakfast,evening snacks and dinner with them. In case you are wondering about lunch - for that I grace the tables and chairs of my office along with some other colleagues of mine who do not have such a complete life as mine but are sinfully married! And you can prove it from their totally satisfied expressions post lunch having gulped down everything their dear wives had packed for them early morning. (Alas, they do not have the privilege of such an exciting breakfast as I have!)

The government, opposition, marginals, challengers, secularists, communalists - nearly everyone would have me believe that I being a Brahmin belong to the privileged lot. Ignorant idiots ! They can only guess at the privileges that I enjoy every day of my life. Oh, by the way, in this limited life that I have lived so far, they tell me that I am successful as well.

Yeah, sure. Of course. Great success - tables,
chairs, laptops, mobiles, television, music system.

Here is to success. And privileges. And lousy boring marriage.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Secular Muggers

Before the likes of right-wing extremists like GKA and the left-leaning liberals like Stambhit pounce upon the title of this post, here comes the disclaimer.

Disclaimer: Religion has nothing to do with this post. This is an a-political post.

I am bestowing the honour upon the quintessential Bangalore auto-rickshaw drivers for making their way into my blog because of their all-pervading, ever increasing exploits which would I am sure put them in the altar of greatness along with other Kannada greats in due course of time.

They are the principal characters of this post. It is a tribute to them.

Auto 1:
Expectant Passenger (EP): Richmond Circle jana hain (Around 10 Kms from the place)
Rick-Driver(RD): (No response. Just a shake of the head - like swatting an irritating fly away from your ears.)
EP: (Still waiting hopefully)
RD: Taking a more human approach, deciding that a response might not actually compromise his self-esteem - "Traffic bahut. Too far"

Ohh ! That's news. I did not know that traffic in Bangalore was too much !

Auto 2:
Still Expectant Passenger (SEP): HAL jana hain ( 2 km from the place)
RD: "Bahut paas hain. Walkable distance"

Thank you. I NEEDED that information. You see, he is doubling up as a driver and a portable information kiosk !

Auto 3:
EP (This time not 'expectant' but 'exasperated') : Bhaiyya, aap ko kahan jana hain?!
RD : Jannat (Thinking)
EP : Jahannum, you mean ! (Thinking back !)

This 3rd scenario is the most likely scenario that you are likely to face if you land up here in the "City of Gardens" with no gardens. But as one incurable optimist, in love with Bangalore and its gardens pointed out :

"True to Indian ethos, they are all completely secular. They do not distinguish whether you work in IT or HAL, whether you are a Kannadiga or Tamil, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are anything or nothing. They are humane in their approach - their only criteria for mugging you is that you should be human or look like one. They are professional muggers and they just happen to drive autos in the pastime."

It is of course mere coincidence that the same could be said of Indian communists as well. Funny, how communism always has a connotation with exploitation.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Things I Miss

1. My unquenched lust for life

Those were the days. Though nothing has changed except a few more years on my resume, very strangely enough I had never questioned my existence. Living was unadulterated fun. With the usual baggages of complicated, intense friendships, of jilted lovers, of heartbreaks at being ignored or less attended to by people who seemed to be the world then and the certainty of thought which never accepted that this would not last.

Never did the question pop up "Why should I wake up tomorrow morning, what for?" Living was part of life.

2. My illicit relationship with Kishore, Asha and Lata

Yes. Them. Those singers. There was not a day I spent without being drowned in the intoxicating voices of these people. It seemed almost all the songs that they have sung were a reflection of my life. As if they were written for me. I was the audience they had in mind, when they sung it.

a. Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas
b. Rula Ke Gaya Sapna
c. Tere Bina Jiya Jaye Na
d. Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi
e. Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaye
f. Bhanware Ki Gunjan
g. Baadi Sooni Sooni Hain
h. Tum Pukar Lo
i. Hain Apna Dil To Awara
j. Kahin Bekhayal Hokar

If I could have written any one of those songs or sung them, I think I could not have really asked for anything more in life. Every song, every emotion has a time and all through the years at some time or the other one of these were my life.

3. School

I don't need the money. (Actually, I do) Just give me a slice of that life I had, for all of thirteen years, and I am willing to give you all the collected movies, books, cassettes - any damn precious thing I have.

I have not been there for the past 6-7 years, yet, I can remember everything that has happened out there which had left indelible marks in my life. It is such a draining experience, so rich in content, so riveting in emotion that the mere thought of those moments fills me with a sense of nostalgia.

4. Jadavpur University

The only place which has given me much more than I have. When it comes to JU, there are only two kinds of memories I have - very good ones and excellent ones. I was fortunate enough to have practically all of my school friends with me out there. Yet, those of whom I picked up there, I suspect, could turn out to be some of the sweetest ones I can have over my lifetime.

5. SPJain

I frankly did not enjoy the first two months. In a B-school, time is at such a premium that it is very difficult to know people the way it is required to be known.

If in life, I never get to feel unsure about myself or lose my confidence or my ability to break out of my comfort zone and venture out into unexplored areas, I have to attribute it to this place.

Finally, all places are about people. I have never realized how it happens - that I have met so many brilliant people everywhere. And I am even more surprised that they would value in me to have remained friends since. But I guess, that is due. Things do get compensated one way or the other. You win some, and you lose some. I have lost my life, but picked up some priceless things on the way. Cheers to that !

Friday, June 01, 2007

The First Day

1015 am - Office Car Park

Warman and I, after a long, tedious journey and exhibition of unwavering concentration, crafty manoeuvering skills and patience finally made it - to our office. (I have no doubt that Warman would beat Alonso any day, on Bangalore roads!)

The first day. We did not exactly expect a lavish reception with flowers, cards and long-winding smiles and encouraging pep-talk (that happens at the Ritz Hotel, New York - we had a case study on that!) but what happened out there beat our expectations hands down.

1020 am - Office

Voila ! The office gate. Two striped glass-doors. One huge rectangular glass sheet on the side which proudly proclaims that THIS is the haven of the "best analytical minds in Supply Chain Management" and we both staring at it with a sense of pride and achievement at having made the cut. Then, we see that in all its glory, the doors are LOCKED. Yeah, locked. And you saw the time right !

1030 am - Bench Outside Office

Now, since our Senior Manager is in by 1030 we had decided to wait outside our office where there are some wooden benches a-la the ones besides Thames, London.

Now, I must accept humbly that I have never been to London, but over here I do acknowledge the contribution of my dear friend, philosopher and guide Karan Johar for allowing me to have a taste of London from the cosy comforts of the front row of a theatre. So, we both, Warman and I, sat down (NOT a-la Kajol & ShahRukh!) and discussed India's economy, shares to invest in what company, what would be the implications of Mallya's 'friendly' investment in Air Deccan. (We are MBAs, our discussions are strictly business-oriented!)

1045 am - Still There

15 minutes, by which time we have by using our awesome analytical skills have narrowed down and nearly found a solution to India's economic problems as well as our current financial ones, we decided to call our Sr. Manager.

"I am working from home today. Yesterday, Gaurav had not come. Nilesh will come at 12. Am not sure whether Raj would make it today. And Milind's bro is in town. So, he might as well not be around. Call up Milind to enquire about Raj."

By this time, we both wanted to say "I'm loving it!".

1100 am - We will Join TODAY

Having called up Milind we were assured that Raj would definitely be there and we assumed by default, before Nilesh. Hope, you see, hope !

1125 am - Made It !! Nearly :(

25 minutes later Gaurav turns up.

During this time, we had concluded without any doubt that we are at the right place. THIS is where we were destined to work. No fixed time to enter office. No compulsion for new entrants to be skeptical, to be unnecessarily formal - THIS is what a workplace should be like. It reinforced our idea that there ARE people like us out there who are competitive yet not obsessed by it, who are professional with a sense of balance, who are confident and not insecure, who would not assume much importance to a new entrant but would treat them just as one of theirs. We were impressed.

And then, Gaurav says "I don't have the key" (To which my immediate thought was "AV has")

1205 pm - Finally !

So, all three of us went to the nearby Cafe Coffee Day outlet. And again discussed you-know-what. Half an hour later, we decided to check. And lo behold. There was light inside !

I can bet that of all the guys of our batch, no one would even come remotely close to the experience that we have had. A locked door, a wait of one-and-a-half hour, no induction or orientation - something of a novelty which only a start-up can assure. The indications are positive. Only time will tell, whether this is the 2nd good decision of my life. Till then, continue to do what we did from 1020 to 1205 !