29 April, 2009

I stood with Giants

We were organizing the convocation for our senior batch at college. I and another girl were in charge of hosting the inauguration of our new campus which followed the convocation. For a guy whose been doing this since class 7, it wasn’t a big deal initially. But this is where I want you to pay attention. This is definitely one of the moments in my life which I am going to be ranting and raving about to my great grand children. (The man here is incapable of getting a girlfriend and he has dreams of grand children…great grand children too…yeh hui optimism!!!).

Back to the main part, I shared the stage and introduced Adi Godrej, Jamshyd Godrej, Madhur Bajaj and Shashi Tharoor. Yeah! You read right. Nikhilesh Murthy shared the same stage with Adi Godrej, Jamshyd Godrej, Madhur Bajaj and Shashi Tharoor. I was so damn overwhelmed. It’s like being next to rockstars of industry. I was totally spellbound and could not believe it. And when I called them up to address the gathering, they even replied by saying Thank You. I have to prepare myself to share the space with such great people in the days to come (kya confidence hain…), and I can’t become all nervous and excited. I was as calm as a cucumber. I still can’t believe it. I just can’t. Me, a simple (ahem…ahem) boy from nowhere stood on the same stage and introduced these giants of industry. As Barney Stinson would put it…this moment was Legen….wait for it….dary !!!

You grow up seeing these men on television and on the cover of magazines, but not even in my wildest dreams did I dream that I would be within a one foot proximity of such great people. I could just feel the awesomeness rubbing off from them onto me. Believe me, backstage, I had the look that Kung Fu Panda has when he meets the Furious Five. And with a suit on, I looked all the more the fat Panda.

This is definitely an awesome start to the new world. I stood with giants. God !!! I cannot tell you how awesome this is. First week on the class and this. I don’t think any of my friends can boast of having been in this place before. The last time I felt so awed was when I was in the front row of the Iron Maiden concert seeing the entire band right there in front of me. With all due respect, these guys are the rock stars of their world. And I was there! I was right there on stage. I felt like the opening act of a big show which is normally some small time local college band who are lucky enough to open for a band with the likes of Megadeth or Iron Maiden. I’m still buzzing and reeling thanks to the unbelievable experience. I’ll put up some pics if I get my hands on them.

I still can’t believe I was the mc for a program that had Adi Godrej, Jamshyd Godrej, Madhur Bajaj and Shashi Tharoor. I just can’t. I really can’t. Ratan Tata was supposed to come too, but he had rushed off to England on work. Or else, it would have been like awesome multiplied by a million.

On the 28th of April, Nikhilesh Murthy stood with giants!!!!

Almost ‘Almost Famous’

I’ve really not been able to put up anything on the blog the last few days or so, thanks to the fact that I’ve relocated to Chennai for my post-grad studies. Believe me, had someone asked me if I was going to be at this point 10 years ago, I would have rolled on the floor and laughed my head off. So this is definitely a major achievement in the life of me. I’m yet to get a laptop, but my roomie was kind enough to give me his laptop to get back to writing. I’ve got tons of things to write about. Will break it down and tell you.

I landed in Chennai on the 22nd morning with my home packed into two huge suitcases. Mostly rubbish like speakers, 5 pairs of shoes (Yes…5 pairs of shoes….don’t be so stunned), Chronicles of Narnia, curtains and a lot more. I took along one of the babies…my first. In case you’re confused, I am referring to one of my loves, my first guitar. I took the acoustic along, because I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to get back to playing music very actively. I land on the Chennai central station at 4:30 in the morning. And in pure SRK isthyle (from Main Hoon Na), got off onto the platform. And as I followed the coolie who lugged my bags towards the taxi stand with phenomenal speed, all of a sudden my head had the tune of Jimmy Hendrix’s Voodoo Child in my, head. And in comes one of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite movies - ‘Almost Famous’.

For those of you who have not seen the movie, I recommend that you do. The scene is when the band Stillwater is finally moving up from being a band to THE band. The first step involves leaving behind their tour bus. The tour bus was something with which the band made it big. It was the place where the band wrote some of their greatest tunes and learnt what it was to be a band. But to move up, to achieve greatness, it was time to leave the bus behind and move to an airplane. And the scene that played out at the station was quite similar. The original scene had the band, along with their support crew, manager and a few groupies get off the bus. As the sunlight falls on them in the background, they proceed towards the airplane in a single file, quite purposefully with only their silhouettes visible; the band move with single bags in their hand, guitars in the other. No one looks back. And just as they disembark, in comes Jimmy Hendrix with his riff from Voodoo Child. Just as the band gets on the plane, the camera pans towards the bus to take one last parting shot. And the plane takes off towards the horizon.

Now, here’s the remake scene. Me, in my torn jeans, a bag in one hand and a guitar in the other, purposefully walking towards what would be my airplane and leaving behind what was my bus. And all this while the great Jimmy Hendrix plays out Voodoo Child in my head. I’m silent and am grinning to myself, telling me that it’s going to get a whole lot awesome from here. I move from the train through the sea of people on the platform towards the taxi stand. Just as I reach the taxi stand, the camera pans to the train. And my taxi, with my bags and guitar drive away into the traffic jam at 4:45 AM. ( Don’t be surprised….people in Chennai are up at this unearthly hours and are driving around )

In life, it’s these little classic moments with everything in place, everything poised so perfectly and most importantly when that moment actually means a lot to someone. Heck, it was so perfect, I could have almost proposed to the first good looking girl I saw…..lol….naaa….the moment would probably get spoiled with the sound of a loud echoing slap on my face. It’s quite uncanny as to how certain songs tend to suit the moment so amazingly. Allow me to explain myself. Certain songs…English rock….when heard by themselves never really move you or influence you enough to like them. However, the same song with the perfect scene and cinematography and situation is probably the best song you’ve ever heard. I’ve got a few songs that sort of find their way onto my Ipod like this. Voodoo Child is one of them. The whole scene from ‘Almost Fmaous’ set it for me. Normally, I’d never listen to a song like ‘You & Me’ by Lifehouse, but right now, post Smallville, I find that to be the most romantic song ever. It’s the song that plays out at a prom where Clark Kent finally gets to dance with Lana Lang, and they share their first kiss if ’m not mistaken. The entire scene went so well with that song, it was just brilliant. ‘Walking Away’ by Lifehouse is another such song which finds its way into the Ipod thanks to Smallville. The same thing with the title song of ‘Dil Se’ which I thought was one of the best songs of A.R.Rahman ever. Many such songs, but I don’t want to waste bytes on the internet listing them out.

I’m definitely not too pleased to be leaving the bus behind. But now I’ve got so much more to conquer with the airplane.

20 April, 2009

Off to Mars…

Tomorrow evening, I’m off to Mars. Well, not Mars, but at least that’s how it’s starting to feel. For the first time ever, I’ll be leaving the comfort of home and the ‘taking for granted’ness of home. It was all fine until I started packing and that’s when it started to sink in that I’m not going to be living here any more for quite a while. No mum to wake you up in the morning, force you to study, threatening you that if your grades are not proper – no girl will marry you. ( I still never got the logic behind this…maybe she wants me to marry a school teacher) No more of the so many little things that you take for granted. Clothes would be washed when you got home in the evening, you never have to worry about ironing stuff, food was always available at any hour of the day. It’s all the little things that I am surely going to miss from home. But most importantly, Mum and Dad were always there for you. Anything from a bad day, to a tummy upset, there was someone to take care of you.  This is exactly the reason I believe it’s high time this (over-grown and plump) bird left the nest. I’ve been pampered way too much. But I am going to miss all of this.

I am pretty sure I’d be making a whole new batch of friends. Some for life. But I’m going to miss the old gang no matter what. The evenings spent discussing mundane topics, yelling at the late-comer, all the leg-pulling, hours of football, time wasted checking out girls at the bar, times you’ve got drunk and so much more. I’ve grown up with this gang and we’ve been through so much together…loss of family and friends, heart breaks, failures, exams, school and all the things in life that teach you about it; and there’s always been shoulders you can use to prop yourself up. I’m going to miss all these guys. But Amen to the internet, skype and Fb. At least we can still stay in touch. 

The fact that I’m moving hit me when I began packing. It’s a really tough choice to choose what you want and what you need. Like a good friend put it, ‘I’m putting my life in two suitcases’. You literally want to carry everything in your room along with you. But, alas. Until we can find some technology that can shrink rooms into tiny boxes, like in the Jetsons or Bugs Bunny cartoons, I don’t see that happening yet. I’m feeling very weird leaving all the comfort of my room behind. I’ve stayed in Bangalore for so long that I’ve just gotten so used to everything in this town and at home. The streets, the people, all the familiar sights. But this will all change for one year. Maybe even more if I get placed somewhere else.

I’m going to miss everything for sure. I’m going to miss all my friends, the comfort of home, and most importantly the support of Mum and Dad. But it’s all for the best. It’s high time I learnt to fly. I’m looking forward to everything from here. The sleepless nights analyzing case studies, cramming at the last minute, new friends, football and gaming at odd hours. I am looking forward to re-learning my guitar again. And get back to actively making music. It’s all up to me as to where I can take life from here. And I am just hoping I  make all the right choices. Blogging will be sparse for the next couple of weeks as I try and get my self set up. We have some out-bound training and stuff for few days. My next blog will be from the new home in Chennai. Thank you everyone – my teachers, my friends, my foes, everyone…it’s been an awesome 15 years. But this misfit must fly. I’m signing off this entry with some lyrics from Pink Floyd’s ‘Learning to Fly’ :

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my sense is real.

A fatal attraction holding me fast, how
Can I escape this irresistible grasp? 
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted Just an earth-bound misfit, I .

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone .

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I.

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye.

A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night .

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I. 

18 April, 2009

Possible Adjectives for 'Whore'.

Yes. You read it right. I used the ‘W’ word. Can we have everybody go  Ushoooooooo now? On one of the blogs I regularly follow, the author had received some hate-mail which said:

“Get a life idiot! You got fired for being a stupid whore!"

Stupid whore? I never knew you could put adjectives with the word ‘whore’ ? Is there anything like a ‘smart whore’? She perhaps attracts the interests of venture capitalists. She also invested heavily in low yield bonds at the start of her career. She has kept a keen watch on the stock market and has invested in IT companies and was smart enough to pull out in time. Also, latest investments in Satyam have seen significant returns as stock price went up after Mahindra took over.

Also, she has invested in real estate to serve clients at prime locations in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. She’s looking to expand business abroad too with a hope of a tie up with some reputed brothels in Amsterdam. Considerations are being made for new lines of service (if there is such a thing). Use of newer products which help increase customer satisfaction and improve CSAT ratings, resulting in more business. Also, prudent investment in online advertising has seen hits and registrations for the whore business go up. Operations have now expanded from beyond one person to include a company that is growing at a steady 60%. Hostile take-overs are in place. 

This is probably a smart whore. But then, if she had all this acumen, she’d be working in the private sector and not being a whore? No more ‘I was young and I needed the money’ business. I can understand adjectives like ‘ugly whore’, ‘weird-looking whore’, ‘expensive whore’, ‘cheap whore’….but where the devil did ones intellect figure out in this equation? 
 

Madness begins…sulk!!!

The IPL is here. After months of political debating regarding dates, venues, security, the IPL finally moved out of India to South Africa. I saw the opening carnival. And felt it was pretty alright. Compared to what would have happened in India, it was a fairly pathetic display. But it’s finally here. And I don’t mean this with offence to anyone but – Oh damn! It’s finally here!

I am more football enthusiast. I guess this comes from my younger days in Africa where I was always made the goal keeper. What did you expect? Right forward for me? Nice well-fed portly kids are always made goal keepers. Weight issues aside, I believe my love for football comes from the years I’ve spent on the Dark Continent. So, unfortunately, I don’t share the madness of cricket like every other Indian. Hence, the IPL, which is an overdose of cricket jabber before-during and after the games doesn’t exactly thrill me too much. All the pubs would now play IPL matches instead of rock videos. Changing of television channels during match time is prohibited. This effectively means us football enthusiasts will have to rely on the internet for live updates. All this while MSD (with the utmost respect) wildly flays his arms, making the ball go out of the stadium. At least the Champions league games are well after the 20-20 games….so Phew!!!! Small mercies!

I do enjoy watching cricket. I’m not one of those people who would start an anti-cricket club. But quite frankly, 2 matches a day, is a little too much to take. I don’t mind the matches, but the constant analyses and criticizing of strategy by our resident-Indian experts (which is almost 99.9999% of the population) is a little too much to take. At least when this happens with football, it’s at best twice a week. Not every day for the next few weeks. 

Keeping last year in mind, I predict the number of break-ups and divorces going up. I know of a person who told his girlfriend to take a hike because she was throwing tantrums regarding them spending the weekend watching the Bangalore Royal Challengers play KKR. Seriously dude? Royal Challengers? At least a break up is justified if you’re doing it for interrupting a Manchester United – Arsenal game. But Royal Challengers? That’s dedication right there. People would be coming in really early to work in order to leave early and go home to watch the games. For once, they wont get pulled up because even the boss would be in the same boat. No late night meetings would be scheduled. All conference calls for early morning or afternoon. Blackberrys to be switched off on evenings. All this for cricket. Yeh dedication hain mere bhai !!!

I believe the same response happens in Europe and Latin America when it comes to football. One of the many reasons I want a house in Spain. Target for that has been pushed back a few years thanks to the recession. Back to cricket, moving into the hostel, I see a major fan following. Guys and girls alike. Evenings to be spent watching cricket and nothing else. Anybody up for Jerry Springer? On tonight’s show…. Why do football fans sulk in a cricket mad country? Whatever happened to favouring the minority? I always thought that was  a major pastime in our country. By that account, all football fans in India must get access to the television whenever they please. Timings decided by us. Matches decided by us. But knowing our mentality, there would be constant in-fighting as to which game to watch. (Praying for  a majority of ManU fans….). While the world riots outside for cricket supremacy, the power of the remote will go to the have-nots. Yeh India hain mere bhai ! Anyway, enjoy the show! I would be catching a few games every now and then. Am torn between whether to support The Bangalore Royal Challengers or Chennai Super Kings….ditch it ! I’ll support no one but the spirit of the game that is cricket which is a binding force that binds us across countries, race and religion. ( Lol….sounds like an acceptance speech for ‘man of the Series’ )

15 April, 2009

Which HIMYM character are you ?

I took the dumb ‘Which ‘How I met your Mother’ character are you?’ test of Facebook. Result: 

You are Barney, the most legendary character of them all. You are a womanizer who is confident, and you are always willing to offer your opinion. You like to create crazy situations and then sit back and watch it all go down. However, you often find it difficult to express your feelings and emotions. Oh and who could forget. You love wearing suits. SUIT UP!

Me - a womanizer ????????  In which life ?????  Except for the last line regarding the suits, it does not make sense. Well, I can’t complain. At least it did’nt come up saying ‘You are Robin Scherbatsky’. Phew…. I would be so much in love with me then. God bless that face.

I was expecting something like - you are the bar tender that serves the main guys drinks...or something as obscure! Me ? The legen....wait for it.....dary Barney Stinson !!! NICE !!!!!

14 April, 2009

The low-rise jeans Chronicles

I have just a week before I leave Bangalore and home for the first time. Obviously, inexperienced in the field of staying in a hostel, I’m doubling up on everything. While taking stock of what more clothes I would need, there arose a necessity for a pair of jeans. Recession is quite understandably taking its toll on my already meager savings. I did the most unusual thing and decided it would be prudent to buy my jeans at one of the factory outlets. 

Bad decision. Really bad decision. Especially taking into consideration the fact that I have this waist size that neither qualifies me in with the general junta nor with the unfortunate over-sized junta. Bloody fence-sitter. Every factory outlet I go, they only sell low rise jeans. This is a terrible idea, especially for the …ahem….largely-built people like yours truly. Low-rise jeans fit around your waist in an embarrassing fashion. I’m not going to even get started on how they accentuate the hind region and make me look more like a hippopotamus. I’m better off taping a sticker that says ‘watch out…wide load’ to my butt.

Every pair I check, every brand I check, low rise….low rise…low rise. The shop attendant has the nerve to tell me, “Sir. You buy this. Buy one get one free. This is latest fashion. Ladies and gents buy it”. My response was a cold stare. It was enough to drive home the point. Why do designers keep forgetting that there is a huge contingent of us largely built people who would also like to look good? And not at the cost of creating a separate section for us labeled with a huge sign that says ‘Plus size clothing’. Am sure it’s a scam by all these thin anorexic and in-vogue people to get all the large people together at one place so that you can point and laugh.

Go ahead you skinnies. But my people will survive the next ice age. We just might feast on your kind. Mankind survived because of fat-hairy people like me. It’s thanks to them that you size zero and size one scoundrels can wear your designer clothes and Prada boots and make us buy crap at the plus size section. Just wait and watch. I’ll finish my marketing degree and will join fashion retailing and make plus size clothing the norm. I’ll make it difficult for you size 30 waist people to get a decent joint in my town. Muhahaha!!! ( Singing like Audrey Hepburn… ‘Just you wait...all you skinnies…just you wait….’)

Is a guy asking for too much if all he wants are a decent pair of plain jeans ? We ask not for colour or design...plain old jeans. I dont mind owning 3 of the same colour. It won't ruin my day. As though the low-rise jeans were not enough, whatever did fit was faded in the most ghastly fashion. One pair of light blue jeans had a dark blue patch right down the center, it looked as though my dear parental unit forgot to teach me bladder control. Whatever happened to good old plain jeans? Alas, I ended up going to the brand outlet and paying full price. This was after the shop assistant looked me up and down, and escorted me to a shelf where there were the all so familiar good old-school plain jeans…. Sniff! I’m not sure which is sadder; the fact that I paid full price or the fact that - normal jeans might be extinct by the time I buy another pair.

PS: Don't give me gyan on 'weight loss'....I'll never join you anorexic people...never!!!

13 April, 2009

Mental Manifesto and elections gone whacko…

We’re back with the greatest display of democracy that the world has ever seen. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got front row center tickets for the Indian elections. Now, elections in India are nothing like what we saw with the McCain-Obama bit last year. It would have been an Indian-like election had Sarah Palin come to power. An example of how a mis-informed and mentally ….ahem….person can stand for elections in the most powerful democracy in the world.

But, India as expected has put up a much better show. We’ve got them all. Young guns, hotel grads, wrestlers, Italian mafia, hindu-whack jobs…we have them all. Forget the IPL…the greatest show is right here in India. I’m enjoying these elections much more than the previous elections. For the simple reason, I’m more aware of the world now. And some of the election manifestos really crack me up. And the mud-slinging is hilarious beyond anything. I’m not going to comment on many of the …ahem….candidates who are going to be representing the masses of one of the largest democracies in the world.

The most hilarious bit was when a party said that they would ban English and computers. This would solve the poverty problem of the country. English is the bane of the nation. Forget the fact that the world economy now depends on the knowledge of English. Especially in a country like ours where we are highly dependent on English-speaking economies, it is still a sign of the British-Raj. We must all revert to devnagiri, Sanskrit and other retro forms. I say we give up use of communication and be like cave men. Most of our candidates have profiles worthy of cavemen too. I’m not even going to comment on the use of computers. Morse-code any one? Hey, I’m planning on starting a pigeon message delivery service soon? Any takers for my entrepreneurial venture?

The next bit that I find quite entertaining was the verbal duel between a woman candidate from UP and a mother of a was-candidate-till-opened-mouth erstwhile member of a major political dynasty. It was almost like seeing the girls at my school fight. 

“You don’t have children…you can’t know how a mother feels.”
“I don’t need children to understand motherly love (if I did, they’d probably commit suicide if they saw me) I’m like Mother Teresa.”

WHAAAAAAAAAAT ???????? Erm….okay…..vivid imagination. (I’m trying to see if we can ban this candidate for having a vivid imagination…..nope…)

Heck, even my mom doesn’t have the right to compare herself to Mother Teresa. And this… makes me want to cry. There was a movie in a movie, where Megan Fox plays the role of Mother Teresa. Now, putting her and the very imaginative candidate next to one another….. I guess we all know who we’d be rooting for to be Mother Teresa ?

Okay. Cat-fights aside, we’ve got the old going up against the young. And the age difference makes the McCain-Obama bit look like a total joke. And the young guns have already learnt the all essential art of public humiliation of the opposition. The television ads are equally hilarious. Hats-off to the ad agencies that make these ads. I might almost vote for the wrong guy, based on the artistic value of the advertisement. Some of the candidates…former(tainted) cricketers , (tainted)film actors seem to be doing big business. Down south, we have some of the legends of the regional film industry making big waves. Heck, some of the political rallies have so many people attending and cheering, it almost beats the number of girls at an Enrique concert cheering him on. (This analogy is based on what I saw on TV…. I would not be caught dead at such a concert….) you thought what you saw at the Obama acceptance speech was mind-blowing….move over Obama….Chiranjeevi cometh.

The slightly bright spot of the election is poor Mr.Shashi Tharoor, moving around Kerela with his broken Malayalam. Somehow, it’s quite unbecoming to see guys like him getting their hands dirty. But, I’d vote for him. He might just turn out to be less of a crook. Overall, these elections are going to be very interesting. A nation poised to conquer might just be set back a few years. I’m yet to make up  my mind for whom I vote for. A political party that has let terror be and has taken away education from the hard-working lot and handed it over to the undeserving bunch based on some ancient ideal. Or do I vote for the party who do have a track record of improving the nation but, unfortunately believe in something as foolish as religion that they just might make the whole terror problem worse by inciting communalism. Or for the Mother Teresa wannabe who’d have me done in for speaking out against her or her ideals. Nah…. I hate English and computers. I’m voting for the guys who back my entrepreunerial idea. 

Also, enough with the ‘Jai Ho’ theme song. The slumdog millionare has become rich and has now migrated to the US and is doing some retarded job. All because he didn’t get any opportunity for higher studies in India as the quota system did not allow him to take up a seat. Also, his knowledge of English was impeccable, due to which the other people in the community accused him of being western and got a local thug group to beat him up for wearing jeans. 

11 April, 2009

I was cute?

Past tense. They used past tense. Was! W…A…..S. Ughhhh ! Woe is me!

The gang was over for lunch at my place this afternoon. Mum wanted to see the entire gang and fulfill their requests for Pasta, which has been going on for the longest time ever. Anyway, the gang got me a really nice scrap book of all the photos from the last few years. All good memories, of alcohol, food…some more alcohol, bowling, loafing around, alcohol. Did I mention alcohol ?
 ( Hint hint )

In fact, just the other day I was having coffee with this girl and was telling her about some fun times. In the course of the conversation, I discovered, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last three years drinking. Conversation generally began with, “You know this time we went drinking…..” or “There was this time we were all so wasted….” Feels like ‘Fun Bobby’ from Friends. Am sure the girl won’t be talking to me any time soon on account of me being a raging alcoholic. I actually don’t drink that much…oh well! What is said is said. Damage is done.

Anyway, coming back to the main point. The afternoon soon turned out to be a session of checking out photographs. And out came the baby photos and the kid photos. For all those of you who were wondering, yes they did see photos of me in the nude as a baby while in the bath tub. (Don’t lie… The thought crossed your mind…) All the guys unanimously agreed that I was supremely cute. A lot of ‘Awwwwwwwww’ and ‘chooooo chweeeet’ and ‘dude, you were damn cute.’ And this followed by, ‘Hey, when you were a kid, you were cute.’

Were? Were? Were….like the past tense of ‘Is’ ?

Erm…am I not cute now? 
Hahaha…dude….don’t kid yourself. But look at you in this picture, you were so cute! 
Hello???? Were???
Yah ….were!!!

As though this was not enough, they went and asked mom, “Aunty! Nikhilesh was soooo cute and cho chweet when he was little? What happened?”

Me: “ Puberty…It played a very mean trick on me.”

Alas, the chronicles of this single ex-cute guitar playing tattooed well groomed Tam-bram shall continue!!! 

10 April, 2009

Thank You Microland !

Last evening marked the last day at my fist job. I’ve already spoken of how my dream exit would be…well it was nothing like that. So I did put on the Braveheart OST on the Ipod as I left. Setting the mood you see.

Jokes apart. I really need to thank everyone I’ve worked with in this company. I believe I’m one of the more blessed among my batch that joined in way back in July 2006. I still remember showing up on the first day in a tie looking like a door-to-door salesman selling kitchen knives. I still look the same when I put on a tie. There was a batch of 30 students, fresh out of college just like me, all eager to start our first jobs. This bunch of friends is one of the most memorable things from my 3 years with Microland. Some of them are now really good friends, even though they aren’t part of the organization. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting so many excellent people over the 3 years. And I hope that many of them still stay in touch. Many of them are managers and senior colleagues who I’ve had the absolute joy of working with. Imagine, a guy like me, only 3 years into his career, gets a chance to work with the CEO of the company. It can’t get better than this.

I fondly remember the late nights with the gang outside Corner House having Ice Cream and worrying about work, the celebrations upon receiving our paychecks, nights spent at the office trying to figure out what’s wrong with the firewall. Time spent in cold data centers pulling and plugging cables, the long walks and coffee when you had nothing to do in the night shift, the time you spend arguing and debating over ideas, long debates on the cab home, smoke breaks (where I passively smoked), lunch time with a side accompaniment of leg-pulling, all the fun in training and so many other really great moments. I’ve had perhaps the best roller –coaster ride ever. The ups, where you feel invincible and the downs, where you’re aching to send out a resignation letter and refuse to come to work. So many ups and downs on a full stomach, I nearly threw up. But, this I guess is all normal in any job. Through everything, through all the complaining, the painful times, this is still one of the best experiences I’ve had.

I met all the people I’ve worked with yesterday and thanked them for the help and patience. Many of the senior people I’ve worked with thanked me and were really happy that I was going for further studies and wished me the best. The one thing that moved me the most was as I was leaving, the security guards and the coffee boy wished me the very best. They even asked me to come back and work. The coffee boy said he’d pray that I do well in my studies. This was the one moment, my heart really sank and I felt bad for leaving. It feels really good when people who you merely wish good morning or say thanks when they get you coffee, sincerely wish you all the best. These guys have nothing to gain from me, and it was the most heart-felt goodbye I got. I am sure everyone wished me all the best, but this was really moving. It’s always the little things that bring you down.

I’m definitely not saying everything was hunky-dory. I’ve had my fair share of bad times with the company. The pay was definitely something I’ve time and again complained about. It definitely did put a dent in a lot of the spending aspirations I’ve had. But, I guess this has taught me the value of money and how much one has to work to get it. I’ve also had experiences with one or two people really bringing you down and hurting you so badly you want to murder them for doing that to you and then ripping your heart out because it hurts to be in that position. But, all this is natural. I am sure when I walk among giants in other companies; all this will seem like cake-walk. I’m looking forward to it.

Through everything, the last 3 years were definitely the most formative years of my career and I believe I’ve had the best training ground one can ask for. It seems like just a month ago, I was joining this place, and I’m already leaving. Thank you Microland! Thank you everyone! Friends, seniors, bosses, coffee boy…..thank you all for everything! 

Dos Vidania ….

PS: I’m trying not to get too sentimental lest I start crying. I’ll put up pics of the parting gifts I’ve got, some neat stuff.


08 April, 2009

Maybe tomorrow...

I’m going to be fairly melodramatic and emotional in this entry. I’m going to be melomotional. (Am I the only one who feels this is a term you associate with an upset stomach?).

Today was the last evening I spent at my first ever paying job at Microland. And it feels really odd that 24 hours from now, I won’t be part of this. I’m one of the few remaining people of the batch of 30 that joined this organization. And by George, this has been one fantastic ride. I’ll comment more on this tomorrow when I’m more melomotional. 

But here’s what I expect to be feeling tomorrow after I finish my final settlement and sign out for the last time at Microland. I shall pick up my final paper and just as that swipe card with my name on it beeps for me, one last time, time will slow down, like in the Matrix movies. And slowly, the sound of bagpipes, like in Braveheart, would pick up tune. I walk slowly towards the main reception to hand over my ID card. As I walk, a slow female chorus would start a tune, think of the tune that plays in Gladiator as Maximus slowly brushes his hands over the wheat in the fields. As I walk, a light breeze comes out of no where ( the centralized air-conditioning actually). The breeze gently ruffles my hair, which moves like a leaf gently being caressed by a gentle breeze on the plain, Head & Shoulders Shampoo ad like almost. Just as I near the desk, a few pigeons fly out. All this in slow motion. Imagine the scene towards the ending of MI2 when Tom Cruise blows up the bunker door and slowly walks across it, except try to imagine it without the fire and explosions. I hand in my ID card and just as it is taken away, silence! Complete silence! The last three years flashes in an instant before my eyes. The friends I’ve made, the mistakes I’ve made and the successes I’ve had. One fricking great roller coaster! I smile, but just a little. As I move towards the main elevator doors, the soundtrack of Lord of the Rings plays. The tune when the Fellowship just cross the mountain. Just as the tune reaches its max, the lift doors open and there’s a blinding light. I stand before it. Only my silhouette visible. I turn back and take one last look at this organization that has given me so much. I nod my head in approval, smile and enter the lift. We can even replace this with the ending of Dead Man’s Chest where Johnny Depp stands in front of the Cracken and goes into it head first with a saber. But, I don’t think I can stand all that icky –icky goo. As I reach the basement, the LOTR tune fades away. I get onto my sturdy steed a.k.a my Activa and drive off into the sunset, Indian Jones theme song plays. ( Roll credits…film khatam…popcorn khatam….paisa vasool….ab ghar jao )

Quite obviously, I watch too many movies and listen to too many OST’s.

But in all reality, I have a very bad feeling I’m going to cry a lot and be made fun of. Oh well, C’est La Vie. It’s time to turn the page and write a new chapter called ‘MBA ambitions’ and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be awesome!

07 April, 2009

Darkest before the dawn…

( This was some poetry written by yours truly during some really dark times....)

Perhaps a truth that has been re-occurring,
Echoing in my world from day to day,
But how much darkness can one man see,
Before the blackness starts to fade away.

Maybe there is the extra mile, the light at the end of the tunnel,
Or maybe more black that leads to more black,
Groping around in the hope of some semblance of reason,
But the blackness cuts me no slack.

It’s darkest before the dawn I tell myself,
Giving up is not for us,
Maybe there is more darkness I can face,
In destiny I trust.

More often than not, he’s beaten me to my knees,
Made me repent every breath I breathe,
But I have this horrible habit,
I always seem to get up and never never yield.

Give to others the life meant for me,
My fortune, my glory, my everything,
Tempt me more with glory and all that comes with it,
I will take it, one way or another.

It’s darkest before the dawn I tell myself,
Giving up is not for us,
Maybe there is more darkness I can face,
In destiny I trust.

Maybe you’re showing me so much black,
So that I can truly bask in the sunlight when the dark cloud moves over,
Or maybe this is the way of life already decided,
And I just have failed to see the light.

Every time I believe the dawn is coming,
And every time I die, kills, some part of me,
Maybe on some day when the light actually comes,
There may not be left much of me.

It’s darkest before the dawn I tell myself,
Giving up is not for us,
Maybe there is more darkness I can face,
In destiny I trust.

06 April, 2009

The late hours

Today I began my last week of work at the very first job I’ve ever had. I’ve done more late hours in the last few weeks than ever before trying to tie up all the loose ends before I leave..  As always, late hours at the office call for me to play Frank Sinatra on the Ipod. I don’t understand why, maybe too many Woody Allen type movies or something, I particularly enjoy listening to Sinatra in such a scenario. 

Big empty floor, few lights on. Only noise comes from the few IT night owls who furiously type away at the corner. Complete silence otherwise. All I’m missing is some place to go after the late hours. It’s a pity this town closes so early. Think this – you spend late hours at the office, finishing up some fairly insane report. You finally finish a few minutes before midnight. Time to celebrate, it’s late, your eyes burn, yet you call a cab, head out to a nice little place that plays jazz music. Just a few people around. As the time just creeps past one in the morning, you’re slowly finishing that  second Bourbon that you’ve been cradling for the last hour….just then a gorgeous girl walks in…. okay! I’m stopping here! Rest is up to my vivid imagination. (And yours too.) Knowing me, I’d probably just walk out. After which I’d use a wall to bang my head. (All the people in the house…..Please hold up an ‘L’ sign to your forehead) 

Coming back to the point, I just had a look around this big empty floor and thought to myself, “ Damn! I’m actually going to miss working. That little smile at the end of the month when you get your paycheck…gone! The fact that you always have the weekend to look forward to, so as to cram all your friends, hobbies and sleep in two days. Wow! All this gone for a whole year! And after that, it’s a whole new ball game.” But I guess all this is for the greater good. Am looking forward to finishing the academic pursuit and working in a new office. Looking forward to receiving that even more handsome paycheck. Maybe this time, after the late hours, I’ll actually have somewhere to go and I just might buy that pretty girl a drink….. Hey! No laughing! It could happen !!!!

Better to download...

I was unfortunate to pay money to see Watchmen in the theater yesterday. Conversation with friend follows later:

“ Dude ! Don’t spend money to see Watchmen. You’re better off downloading”

“That bad huh???”

“Story was pathetic. The only notable thing was that they actually allowed a s** scene on an Indian screen. They normally censor everything.”

“DUDE! Her b**bs would have been huge on screen…”

“I still recommend downloading it…”

04 April, 2009

The best selfish thing I’ve done

Today was my last visit to Parikrma as an employee of my current company. Parikrma is an NGO that run schools for slum kids. Besides the free education, these kids come to school and are provided 2 meals a day as well. The meals are a major motivating factor for parents to send their kids to the school. These kids come from homes where the average family size is 5 and the average income for the entire family would be about 2000-3000 rupees. Anyway, without describing in depth the background, I’ll cut to the chase.

When I started out with Parikrma, I was fairly reluctant and was averse to the thought of spending my weekends helping these kids out. Weekends are meant for sleeping late and generally being unproductive. But all this changed after my first visit to Parikrma. I can’t remember ever having seen so much enthusiasm in the eyes of children to learn. Many of the kids I have worked with are talented beyond imagination. Some of them are fantastic at art, speaking, athletics, etc. Ever since my first interaction with these kids, I have genuinely felt useful to the human race. There was a certain sense of accomplishment and joy that just can’t be described in words. Putting it in layman terms, a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside. I found myself for once actually having a fair amount of respect for myself.

Over the last year, I’ve been reading up a lot on Che Guevara. The one thing that influenced me the most was that he always believed in helping people. Even through the revolution, he would still use his medical background to help locals. There comes a certain pride in helping other people which nothing else in the world can bring about. And it is even better if the people you help genuinely appreciate the help extended. This was what I felt at Parikrma. When any of the students came and thanked you at the end of a workshop, the genuine gratitude in their eyes is the most heart warming thing I’ve felt in a long time. They genuinely mean thank you and are not saying it because some ethic driven institute told them to say so. This is definitely one of the nicest things my current company has imbibed me with. Most people learn technical or managerial skills, I learnt true responsibility.

After the very first visit, I have been going back and helping out at Parikrma on my own over the weekends for purely selfish reasons. It makes me feel good about myself and makes me feel like I am actually helping humanity. Call it being silly and trying to emulate a man like Guevara, but at the end of the day, the peace I find with myself is like no other. I go home with a sense of accomplishment and know that in some way, maybe sometime down the line, that one kid might be able to use what we’ve taught for good. I now understand that you can donate all the money you want to charity, but actually becoming a volunteer is a whole new ball game. I’ve become a far more patient person after dealing with children of so many age groups. And all this at the end of the day makes me a better person and is in some small way making a difference to my homeland. All is not lost with our country, If we believe we can change, without the help of unconcerned politicians, we will change. Like I was discussing the other day, there is still hope for the human race if we can understand where our true responsibilities towards the human race lies. And if being selfish is what it takes, so be it. I am selfish. I help people to make myself feel good about myself. 

I am going to sincerely try to continue helping children in this manner. I hope that I never forget where my true responsibility lies. Maybe someday, I can write my own Mohan Bhargav story.

02 April, 2009

That’s not me…I'm not that funny!

I was cleaning out my mailbox at work. Since I’m leaving, I thought it was important to keep mails that may come in handy sometime in the future. Especially mails that had contacts of vendors and stuff. I was going through my PST and came across some mail conversations I’ve had with some people over the last three years.

Like old embarrassing photographs, one-on-one mail chains are pretty hilarious too. They make for some brilliant ‘nostalgic’ moments. I was laughing at many of the conversations. I came across a set of conversations, in which I honestly can’t believe, I am one of the participants; more importantly I can't believe I was capable of speaking like that. ( That just sounds like i'm a retard)  I was laughing my head off reading a lot of what was going on in those mails. The language I used just seems to be from an alien world ( E.T phone home….) but is still totally hilarious. Right out comical. It’s like a whole new personality I can add to my MPD kitty. I don’t believe I’ve laughed at myself so much.

It’s amazing, how normal you are with people, and then the occasional human comes along that makes you turn into this completely new Frankenstein avatar. I wasn’t my usual sarcastic, quick witted (ahem ahem), annoying, bad-joke-cracking self. At that point, you have no clue, but now, from this whole new objective stance I’ve taken recently, those mails are absolutely hilarious. I had to cover my mouth to prevent myself from laughing and being a nuisance to the rest of the people on the floor. This ended up with me sounding like I was having an asthma attack and even more people peering over the top of their cubicles at the funny sound.

I have half a mind to keep those mails and use them to brighten up my day.Ooops….shift+delete. The other half of the mind disagreed. It is quite amusing seeing what type of a person you sometimes become. It’s like when Wiley Coyote sets up a foldable door and introduces himself to Bugs Bunny as being the one who would chase him down for dinner; he turns from his normal scheming self to a gentleman with impeccable English. Jeeves-like almost. But seriously, really hilarious stuff. Maybe someday, when I write my autobiography, I’ll elaborate more.