31 December, 2009

Year end review… interesting time!

Well, 12 months seem to have just zipped by this time. I guess its because I have been so busy with life…or life has kept me busy that I really don’t know where time went. I remember just a year ago, I was rushing on a public bus to good old TGIF after a friend got plans mixed up, and here I am 365 days later…still as confused about life as ever. If there is one thing I can remember about this year - it would be the fact that I finally went in to do an MBA degree. This is after 2 years of madness with CAT preparations and what not. I finally came good on my investments. The experience of being rejected from every decent college you applied to based on a 1.0 difference in one subject had me at ends wits. That was probably what helplessness feels like. I think the whole experience has turned me fairly religious….don’t mistake this for me to be donning the orange garb and giving up worldly desires. It just means that I seem to have found someone to talk to in dark times.

Finally, the Great Lakes Institute of Management comes around. And to be honest, I am having a great time. The last 9 months have found me understanding a lot more of myself….my strengths…weaknesses,etc. I also find myself with a whole new bunch of friends who are awesome in their own rights. The interesting characters are cool too. It’s only here that you learn to mingle with people from all sorts of backgrounds, and it is over the last 9 months you slowly realize how awesome a person you can be and how terrible a person you can be.

The year 2009 has been fairly kind with no major tortures, barring the admission process which gave me a fair amount of gray hair. The whole process was too overwhelming, brought me to tears and nearly made me want to give up the whole process. But as pointed out by Dad, this was nothing compared to what is expected to come. At some point, I feel it is all in vain, and really don’t want to go through any of this again. But then again, what’s life without a little excitement.

This year saw the entire gang run-off abroad to pursue a future course in life. A huge chunk ran away to Australia and one got a nice gig for a few years in the US. Good part is, he’s in close proximity to another of us. Home will be very different now. This is one part I am kind of scared of.For Starters.....I do not have company for TGIF and Purple Haze…..what am I to do on weekends now? The friends who remain are moving on in life. People getting busy with wedding bells, engagements, being couples, families….so where do I fit into all this? I really don’t know. And it is frightening me. While all of us are in touch, it still isn't the same...

This was the first year I started feeling that I was getting older, in terms of thought process, and health wise. Things like diet, sleep (or lack of it) tend to show battle scars and take their toll. I am not too happy about that. I like being 18 and irresponsible. I like having life revolve around having enough money to buy stuff, play PC Games, watch football and believe that Rock n Roll will save the world. I don’t think I appreciate all this responsibility towards myself, things like taxes, promotions, emotional satisfaction….and it all seems to be happening too fast for my mind to comply.

Overall, 2009, was a year driven by a fair amount of introspection and self-evaluation. I guess this was the calm before the storm of 2010 when I pass out and get a ‘responsible’ job and look to build the future. God save and God bless!

Theme song for 2009 would have to be John Mayer’s “ Stop this Train” (Youtube link)

No I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind but...
I just can't sleep on this tonight
Stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly won't someone stop this train

Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't but honestly won't someone stop this train

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find away to say that life has just begun
Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
He said turn 68, you'll renegotiate
Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
Don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train

See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I'll never stop this train

30 December, 2009

Forced Mourning

Today, some actor, apparently a veteran, died of natural causes in Bangalore. Now, I really don’t hold much respect for thespians to a point where I would mourn their death, but then, people have their own unusual priorities. Why would I write about an actor of regional film passing away? I have never seen any regional film…not Kannada at least, so why do I dedicate blog space? I want to talk about the fall-out and the shameful display of “fans” (cough…cough…hooligans).

I call up home this afternoon, to find dad picking up the phone. Now, I know the parental unit are having a very good time in my absence, but Dad taking leave was a little too much. All educational institutes are closed and he got the day off. And there are riots? Riots on account of the death of a thespian… well, this would not be the first time Bangalore has witnessed this sort of behavior from what can only be politely referred to as numbskulls whose humdrum lives are filled with cinema. Wait! Cinema is the wrong word….humdrum lives filled with a mere commercial vulgar display in the guise of a movie. The first time around, when the stalwart of the local film industry passed away, all the unemployable and frustrated youth were out on the streets burning cars, beating the police, any citizen they found, ransacking of stores and an overall break down of order. And this was ignored as the government felt people needed to vent grief….on that accord, the next time I am filled with grief, I can burn cars! If the same behavior were done by any affluent taxpaying hard working citizen, the local regional hooligans would be up in arms screaming how we are tainting their culture. Who would then respond by hitting and beating our women and destroying our lives.

And few years hence, another actor dies, the story remains. Bangalore burns and is brought down to its knees thanks to the mob. And there is only one reason for all of this…our good old democratically elected government. A government that keeps the people poor, stupid and hungry. A government that ensures they remain the way they are so that their lives are filled with the inane details of politics and bad cinema. Why should they care for the tax paying citizen, they don’t vote! And if those citizens ever cry wolf, we’ll throw our trump card of culture in their face and do what we feel like.

Hypocrisy has a new definition…the Indian government.

Some actor dies, and my grief is expressed by targeting the honest uncaring citizens. So, in short, if we don’t feel any connection to the actor and are not filled with sorrow, and wish it were us dead instead of him…we will be filled with grief that our city burns. Call me a radical…but sometimes, democracy needs to be forgotten. Shoot a few of the rioters….and hopefully the rest would follow. If they love the actor so much and are so stricken with grief…why don’t they commit mass hara-kiri and rid us of their presence. Perfectly good waste of a soul and a physical body…. Well, at least the government did not disappoint. Trust them to stay silent and blame it all on grief.

25 December, 2009

Twas a satisfying Christmas...

With all the enthusiasm for diwali and stuff, the environment at college seemed morose around Christmas. Well I don’t blame the guys, exams being scheduled worse than the mood swings on a pregnant woman and placement creeping up on us, the times seems a little too overwhelming. Deciding that I would be the Santa Clause and try to spread some cheer, managed to rustle up some funds and got a Christmas tree and the works. Now, this Christmas was special because I have never ever decorated a Christmas tree. So this was all pretty exciting. Took a cab to town and went to this amazing store that was a Christmas exclusive one. I went total nuts in that place with all the Christmas goodies.

I can’t explain why, but I always feel a little extra attachment to Christmas. The whole caroling and plum cake thing, and more so the decorations. Oh, we’re even doing a bit of caroling soon. But then the whole experience of buying decorations, the tree, setting it up was totally fun. I think I am going to do this every day. Now, here is the part where I am looking from some sympathy… I got no gifts this Christmas (like all the others) so this time I decided to buy myself a simple t shirt and gift it to myself. Feels totally weird doing that though. But I guess some care (even from self) was needed.

Anyway, the tree was a total success, we got a huge cake, upon whose gaze - grown men forgot all decency and turned into savage beasts. I think the last time I saw a bunch of creatures move so fast was a bunch of Piranha on the discovery channel stripping a cow to its bones in a few minutes. The poor organizer, yours truly, was left licking a little bit of the icing…which was just before the stray dogs who roam our campus came to lick what I managed to ignore. But the best part of Christmas, even more than the apparent fleeting joy I brought to my classmates was the joy on the faces of the cleaning and kitchen staf to whom I presented a plum cake. The one thing we all seem to forget during Christmas are the people who are nothing to us yet do a lot for us. For example, the chef who dishes out the bland meals day after day is still playing the role of food supplier to us. The staff who ensure that the rooms and washrooms are kept clean…especially after my guys have had a little too much to drink. It’s these people who keep our life on campus a little cleaner and safer. Although it was a small cake, it felt totally awesome giving it to the entire staff who were present. They were obviously shocked….and were quite happy that someone acknowledged them. It felt a whole lot nicer doing the Christmas for them. Its these little things that make Christmas a truly spirited affair a it was meant to be.

Anyway, hoping to get something nice ( wishlist that cant be shared) from the good lord tomorrow… till then, here is the tree we made. I am all in red…the Chennai Santa Clause. Had a red t-shirt, red shorts and the cap on. Was kind of weird…but still…had a satisfying Christmas. Merry Christmas readers....hope you all get what you want. May life be filled with love,food and ale always.

19 December, 2009

Work beckons...

I had gone to town yesterday to get some information for a retail project. As always, I donned my classic Tam-bram accountant look. Well partitioned hair, glasses, got rid of the Tony Stark goatee – much to the dismay of the smitten damsels in college. Our good luck, the guys at Shopper’s Stop were really helpful with all the data and information. They showed us a lot of new stuff. Now the one thing I sort of realized that was happening during the whole Q&A was that I seemed to be thinking better. I seemed to be more motivated to find out data and understand everything. I could not figure it out…but then it sort of struck me later; Office-Nikhilesh is way better than Student-Nikhilesh. Student-Nikhilesh is unmotivated, generally morose, and not too keen to lift a finger or twitch any of those brain muscles. But Office-Nikhilesh, besides looking terribly smart, was thinking on his feet, spoke more coherently, and had a greater understanding of the situation.

This I guess was the case at work too, I never did too well in any of those horrible CAT mock exams, but would do extremely well (at least that was the review I got) and would be motivated, despite the hilarious salary, to do more and improve. There was something awesome about office-Nikhilesh….which is just not being translated into Student-Nikhilesh.

We began placement related work this week at college. As expected, the companies with decent profiles, I don’t seem to match the requirement in terms of years of work experience, and the ones whose roles I match….I really don’t want to work. All the titles given seem a totally humdrum affair. I can picture me being student-Nikhilesh there too. Dragging my feet into work, sit at my desk, make a few presentations and excel sheets with the really expensive jargon that I have learnt, draw a salary and come home to nothing. I don’t seem to digest the profiles they are offering, and the salaries are not that tempting that I am willing to trade all decency of living for a mere monetary existence. But even then, am looking forward to a pay-check again. While the parental unit is being totally supportive financially, I do feel guilty about spending money.

The fest seems to be coming along fine. Going a little crazy, must be the medication, but patience levels seem to have dropped…more so with me than with the rest of the species. Hope all goes well.

15 December, 2009

So much to do….so little time

As always, life decides to get interesting at the same time. Besides the unwanted visits to certain places of last week, back at college, I’m going nearly crazy trying to catch up. Besides this, we have the B-school fest happening. Now, I was warned that the days leading up to the fest would be filled with sleepless nights and tired days. I automatically assumed people were seeing too much of that reality show where they show cased students trying to organize a b-fest and having a tough time. All the politics, the arguments, sex, lies and videotape….ok….no sex or videotapes, I just got carried away on that one. But no kidding. This fest is going to be awesome…so naturally, I pay for awesomeness with sleep.

I am particularly enjoying the arguments we are having with regard to student participation. While some people feel that we as hosts must not participate, many feel we ought to. Well, it has come down to a strict ruling that hosts will not take part. Many are disappointed…there is a lot of moolah to be won. Actual money, and not like when we got ripped off for prizes. I am going to be sore about that for ever. That e-bay pricing of what we won is not worth more than 3 grand…anyway! And being in a b-school. The one thing that comes naturally to all of us is ego…and the clashes are going to get intense. I need to make it a point to sleep….lest I pull a Scrooge on everyone.

But at the end of all of this, I know it is going to be a great fest. Looking forward to meeting folks from other b-schools…. And looking forward to the great after-party for the organizers. Anyway, you folks can keep check out our event website. It's called L'Attitude 13'05...Look forward to more ranting of me getting annoyed with people and then getting annoyed at myself for getting annoyed with people…. Something tells me the fest is going to be Legen….wait for it…..dary!

13 December, 2009

Uncomfortably certain...

Well, the last two weeks of all the pain and hospital visits has thrown up some writable blog moments. Well, this one happens back while I am at the hospital, barely 24 hours, I’m still in a fair amount of pain. Smiling through most of it actually. A good friend of mine comes in to visit. So after all the sympathy, he’s back to being the friend and showering me with all the affections a friend must…which basically means they all get a kick out of putting you into trouble with the parenting unit. Mum congratulates him on his recent announcement of engagement…and wishes that the wedding is in back home in town. So, my friend responds saying that the reception would be in town but the wedding elsewhere.

This is where he should have stopped and changed the topic, but he had to ask, “Aunty!? No plans of marriage for Nikhilesh?” Through all the antibiotics, pain and needles shoved into me, I sense this is going to be a very uncomfortable few minutes. I was wrong. Uncomfortable just does not seem to be an adequate word to describe the same. Mum, quite unexpectedly decides to transgress from her normal reply of “ Let him study first….then we can look at this”…which has sort of become the standard answer to annoying elder folks in the family who think I ought to get married. The answer from mum …she starts the hand thing which most Indians do (Russell Peters spoke about this)…where you hold your palm out as though you would show the number five and move your wrists which resemble someone trying to screw in a light bulb…and mum says,” No…What to do? No girls seem interested in this fellow? No plans even if we wanted to. No one is showing interest”.

Erm…okay…. I am no longer sure if the pain is due to the infection or the fact that mum is mocking the fact that I am still single. Friend could have stopped there….but nooooo! Where would the fun be in that? “ Aunty…you sure he is interested in girls only no?” It’s bad enough I am lying in those horrid hospital PJs….my mum is worried I am single and my friend hints that I might have jumped the fence to the non-straight side. Oh wait…it gets better! Mum’s reply,” No! No! I know he is interested in girls. I have seen the screensaver he has on his laptop…all nice looking actresses and other women I have not seen. Also, Nikhilesh thinks I don’t notice…but I have seen him looking at girls when we all go out to the movies.”

Pain goes up, the needles in me no longer matter. I am not sure of how to feel anymore. This is probably the moment in most guy’s lives when their parental unit discover the stack of dirty magazines under their bed, or questionable content on the computer. Since I have been a fairly well behaved boy and have refrained from either, this is my reward. My mum confirms to all friends that I am interested in women while I am lying on a hospital bed moaning in pain. I haven’t the energy to refute the claim. I do have a collection of simply gorgeous Kirsten Kruek, Keri Russell ,Gul Panag(and others) wallpapers on my comp. But note, all very tasteful, not one wallpaper is questionable in anyway though.

I am sure mum was kidding and just humouring my friend....or was she? yikes!
Note to self: When home, put wallpaper of Counter Strike and not Gul Panag.

06 December, 2009

There was pain…then it just got annoying

I’ve been unable to put up any posts for some time; life has been keeping me busy…and away from the internet. First there were exams, followed by this competition at the IMT in Ghaziabad where my team got the first place…thank you very much. But, the significant event that kept me away was a major attack of appendicitis which kept me in a hospital bed and away from the internet. Now without going into gross details…oh wait…then where’s the fun? Okay….i’m getting into the details and the lighter side of all the pain and tragedy. The acute pain began while I was at Ghaziabad last to last Friday night. I assumed it was gas. Two reasons…one – I’m specializing in marketing, so we lot are full of gas and two – I saw the chicken being served at the canteen there and went berserk.

Right throughout our stay there, I kind of grinned and moaned and bore the pain while we gave our prize winning presentation. I must say, it was nice to beat the chaps from IIM who are absolutely sore irrational losers. We gave the presentation and I ran out to my room. The best compliment I could ever get was from this chap from FMS, “Dude! You’re costing model was absolutely brilliant. Detailed to the last. You must be a finance chap…or else no way it could have been so strong!” I am thinking to myself, “ Me? A finance chap? Really? Holy mother….why isn’t my dad around to hear this?” There is no way in reality I could be a finance chap…all those numbers make me dizzy. Come to think of it, I believe the acute pain might have begun thanks to designing that costing model. Anyway, Sunday evening we are out of IMT, with 10k worth of prizes, which means they gave us absolute crap which we could not divide amongst ourselves as there was no cash involved. Atleast we got certificates and I have something more to add to my resume. Another occasion where I win first place, but cannot enjoy the moment as I am in terrible pain.

We land in Chennai and I manage till college. Next day, hell breaks loose and I feel like I have been shot. Or at least, the description of how a bullet feels in you kind of matched the pain in me. Now, I go to the hospital to get a scan and what not. Leaving aside the details, I’ll talk about the CT scan which was a totally fun affair in my head. First and foremost, the guy asks me to wear one of those ridiculous gowns and then asks me, in broken English, if I have any metal inside me. Uh-oh….not the best thing to ask a geek. I wonder to myself, “Should I tell him about the adamantium that has been infused on my skin? And the claws that would come out and slice him into two if he ticks me off?” (Think wolverine) But then, the joke would have been totally wasted. While the wheels of geekness turn in my head, he stares and asks, “ Sir ,I meant in case you have a metal plate in your head or something?”….Seriously dude? Metal plate in my head? That was the first thing that came to your mind? I look like the ‘plate-in-head’ types eh? You could have asked a million other things…but nooooooo…..plate in my head? What about my titanium hip?

After clarifying that I am metal free, I am made to lay on the CT scan table. While the scan by itself is a boring affair, you can make it fun through imagination. All the sounds and the green lights had the geek-wheels turning again. I am sitting there imagining that the next minute there is going to be a radiation blast and the pain in my abdomen is a anger-gland waiting for a radiation catalyst. Next minute, muscles ripping through the gown, I turn into this big green muscular abomination (Think ‘The Incredible Hulk’). Next minute I am smashing through the walls and running into the wilderness. But then, there is one basic thing missing. All super-freak heroes need to have a dame who still believes that the freakiness in them can be cured. It was the same with Superman, The hulk, Wolverine and many others. Since there is no Dr.Betty Ross right now…applications though are open…. I quickly threw aside the Hulk fantasy. New fantasy….Half Life. Next minute, there is a resonance cascade and a portal to the Zen world opens up through which aliens come through. I am busy fighting them off with my crowbar and gun. But before I can let that fantasy develop in my head, the scan is done. Boooooooooooooring! Nothing happened!

I made my way to Bangalore and home…went to the hospital. Turns out I have this humongous b*tch of an infection thanks to all the travelling and without that being taken care off; no surgery. So I get admitted. Being the quintessential hero that I am, I say that I refuse to be pushed on a wheelchair and that I will walk to my room. 4 steps in, the pain is too much. I give in and call for the wheel-chair. Mum tries pushing…but then, she needs to realize the last time she was pushing me around was in the pram as a baby. I have gained a fair amount of weight since then (Really? No way? No kidding….) Out of nowhere comes this tiny dynamo of a nurse who pushes me so fast that mum had to break into a slow jog to keep up. Where that dainty little thing got the energy to push me ….I’ll never know.

It is also medically proven now, that I am thick-skinned. I kid you not. It took the nurse a fair amount of time to find a vein to shove the extremely large needle for the intra-venous thingy. (It’s a good thing I did not get into medicine…imagine going about referring to stuff as that blood-pumping thingy in your chest…).When a suitable location was found, she pushed the needle in. And it refuses to budge. On the contrary it actually gets bent at a 20 degree angle….The nurse announced, “Sir, you are thick-skinned….I have never seen a needle get bent inside a person.” I can’t help but smile and tell mum that all the years she kept beating me to get me to study was not her fault…it’s just the way I am. Note to my friends too. I am not stubborn….God made me this way. I remember the scene from ‘Superman Returns’ where they can’t administer the injection as he is made of steel. Kind of makes me feel invincible.

Coming to the part that might have the guys interested… NO! I did not have any hot or cute nurses. There were no sponge-baths and the doctors were all male. The one lady doctor in the entourage was old and looked like she was suffering from some disease herself. But she knew her job, and that was important. I did however get one hot intern come and stare for 2 minutes on the last day before I checked out. So some salvation! I am one of those guys who have all the luck when it comes to such matters. Not even a remotely cute nurse. Everyone who attended to me were German….in the sense, not much to look at…but awesome on the service and efficiency. Not once did we have to call to get the saline bottles or antibiotics replaced. They always knew the time. On the other hand, my friend who was getting her eye fixed was getting a fair amount of eye-candy. Ironic isn’t it?

With all this, I did my best to crack jokes and smile through the pain. Mum on the other hand was terribly worried and bore the look. Many people asked if she was the patient. Even as a patient, I could not be taken too seriously. One guard told me to get out of the wheelchair once while we were waiting for the room. I looked too healthy and jovial to be a patient. If there is one thing, I refuse to look morose and on the verge of meeting my maker. People come in with something as non-serious as a fractured toe and look like the good-lord is taking them away any minute. Sad, droopy face with an “I am doomed” look, pleading for the sympathy of by-standers. I refuse to be that. Even if I am going, I going out with a smile on my face as I am grateful for all the little things I have in life to call my own.

On a serious note, I am back home after 4 agonizing days of pain at the hospital. I am recuperating quite well. Mum cracked a joke saying that I am to stop eating non-veg for the next few months. I already more or less drink once in 2 months, have quit junk food all together…. Have quit gaming, stopped playing football, don’t have a girlfriend…I’m better off dead if she thinks I am going to quit my chicken, fish and prawns. I am now subjected to salt less…spice less….hence, tasteless food, but apparently its good for me. The antibiotics make me high and sleepy. I did not bring any spare clothes when I came down from college, and I can’t wear any of the shorts I have as the elastic presses against the stomach. I have to wear dad’s humongous PJs which, besides being terribly large, are terribly short. This makes me look like an ugly hobbit. Anyway, I hope to resume classes by the end of next week and to be back to my normal junk-food eating self soon. Am just praying that they say I don’t require surgery when I go in for my check up on Wednesday. I can’t take any more of those sky-blue hospital gowns, those pista-green walls and the incessant injections and blood taking. So, pray for me whenever you get the time.