26 February, 2010

A Moment of weakness...OR...The day I nearly killed myself!

Well, another good company for placements came in today, but then again like many others before it, quite irrelevant to my grand plan for world domination. By that I mean, another IT company. While I have the utmost respect for IT and all that it stands good for…the sodexo vouchers, excessive coffee, team bonding = excessive drinking, mindless hours spent billing customers for work done on beating the top score at solitaire, or even the hours spent chatting up the new receptionist, all that and more…. I really want to get down to the basics of selling soap and shampoo. It’s at these levels apparently all the marketing is learnt. Well, that's the game plan....for now! But then, the only offers coming in are from the ivory towers of IT. Anyway, the company comes….puts up profiles, I quite drearily browse through and my eyes fall upon one profile….business delivery manager (or something like that) for the music industry.

Now my face glows with a certain joy that could only best be described as when Smeagol lays his eyes upon the ‘precious’ ring…which eventually turns him into Gollum. Hey! Wait, isn’t IT kinda like that? Fit young able minded MBA chaps go in, attracted by on-site opportunities and fat pay check, and ultimately turn into pot bellied unfit managers with carpel tunnel syndrome and can think of only one thing? OMG… Tolkien saw it even before it happened! A little voice in my head goes" IT…Nooooooooo! "

And then it happened…. I caved! For that brief moment in time, I felt weak….and I did the one thing that I would never have forgiven myself for….I applied. And all it took was the carrot called ‘music’ dangled in front of the donkey called ‘Nikhilesh’. I had more or less put up my soul for auction on e-bay. My soul looked upon me in the same disappointed manner that Elrond looked upon Isildur when he decided not to destroy the ring at Mount Doom. (What's with the LOTR analogy today?)

The next 2 hours were spent with me holding back my tears, for this was perhaps the most shameless thing I had done…which was to give in to temptation. In that one fleeting moment, I had let myself down in every possible way. Even as I put on the suit (customary battle armour) I was unable to look me in the eye. The image in the mirror was clapping sarcastically yelling “Bravo you Dodo…so is this how much you sold your soul for? So easily…so cheaply…we are very proud of you now”. You see, I had not even joined IT and I was already developing a dual personality. While I sat in the common room holding back tears , I felt so ashamed. A feeling that I described to a friend as probably how a sex-worker feels the first time they ….you know. Young, money starved and this is what I do. And my face bore the look of acute disappointment and disgust. Tweets go out requesting my angels who were watching over me to weep.

How could I ? tsk tsk….Was not the mistake of Engineering bad enough to scar me once? have I learnt nothing about listening to the inner voice?

I sit there in disgust, loathing the very thought of my existence on Earth….and then God intervened. He saved me. I was not shortlisted. People…you won’t believe how happy I was. I came out of this unscathed. Normally, when I do something stupid, I have scars to remind me forever. And stupid things normally happen uninhibited to me. This time, I got lucky. It was like a mere flying kiss with the devil herself (yes...the devil is a woman....like Elizabeth Hurley). Phew! Saved….imagine, that one moment of weakness could have been the complete undoing of me. Well, today would have been the day Nikhilesh Murthy died. I rushed back to the room and played Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’ at full blast. Normalcy restored. Back to the job hunt.


24 February, 2010

Sachin for President

It’s always nice to be witness to history in the making. And today was pretty darn awesome. Now, I’m not one to really write about cricket but this one is a thought worth sharing. First and foremost, all hail Sachin Tendulkar the great. I think he’s done every single record there is worth doing…except a world cup, but then, we’re all not perfect. The scene at the hostel TV room was mind blowing. I knew India is a cricket crazy country…now I am certain we are cricket delusional. We don’t have cricket fever, we have cricket pneumonia. People were actually calling poor Dhoni names for not giving Sachin the strike, I mean, isn’t sports always about team before personal records? Anyway, at the end of it all, maestro reaches the 200 run mark and the crowd goes crazy. In fact, I don’t recollect a single time when people were happy to see the opposing team stop a boundary. For a brief moment, Amla was a greater hero than Dhoni, who just went on the rampage.

Coming back to the point I was hoping to state before I got so engrossed in describing the scene, I think we ought to make Sachin Tendulkar President…actually wait…let me rethink that….yeah…Make him PM and President all rolled into one. Think about this, if there is one thing and one thing only that unites most of India, it is cricket and more importantly Sachin Tendulkar. I am sure that the entire nation would vote for him without blinking an eye. No more party divisions, no more BJP congress….Sena Vs Gandhi…everyone loves Sachin. I can imagine it now…picture the scene from Nehru’s speech of ‘when the world sleeps, India awakes’….and put Sachin there. Crowds thronging to hear his first address to the nation. Move over Obama….Sachin aaya re! We’re looking at an end to a whole lot of problems…the stock markets would be ebbing (all the problems in this country, and this MBA type can only think of stock market…he’s not even moderately aware of what goes on…but it is a nice buzzword to use)….naxals and Maoists would stop terrorizing folks because, hey, everybody loves Sachin. For once Babri Masjid may not be the critical issue…we’ll make a stadium there. So many advantages.

The only problem is that Sachin’s record as a leader has been so-so. But what the heck, everybody loves Sachin. I am sure there may be a small section of Bengali’s who might disagree with me and say this is all hype and Dada is to be made supreme leader of the human race. But let’s be honest….there are more positives in this than anything else. Anyway, screw all that …. Time to head to the library to study! Good stuff Sachin..... now win that darn game!

(Yes….Library....he is depressed after the recent fire at the Carlton Towers which is where TGIF is located…sniff…tons of weird behavior happening! Library and all that....60 days to end of the course, and now he goes to the library....sheeeesh.)

16 February, 2010

Alternate Career Path

Allow me to show off another one of those otherwise insignificant things that brighten up my day. Yours truly was featured in a photo with three other classmates in the latest issue of the Outlook Business Magazine. The entire photo shoot was quite grueling considering the fact that I was in a black suit, looking awesome in the middle of the day, in college trying to look professional. At least this photo shoot went off successfully unlike the last time I tried my hand at modeling.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yours truly tried his hand and being part of the fashion show at college. To save me the agony of weeping, let’s just say it ended up very disastrously. I am actually considering a career as a model for plus size clothing. It could happen. I mean, I will be a close second to Milind Soman, in terms of appeal, but I don’t mind being second best. ( He seriously needs to get out of college and back into society…excuse the delusions of grandeur). The former has washboard abs...the latter has...erm....bored abs. Your thoughts on the matter? If any of you know where they are looking for such assignments, please forward my photographs. Thanks! Anyway, here is to what I hope is the first of many modeling assignments.

Link is here.

Ooooh....Aaaaaaahhh....CLICK CLICK .....


12 February, 2010

Not Bangalorean enough for my college

The pen…or in this case the blog…is mightier than the sword. Admissions for the next batch have begun at college. It’s unbelievable that just a year ago, I was nervously filling out essays and admit forms and waiting for my interviews and the whole show. 260 potentially bright candidates would trust their futures with our esteemed institute and would be set on the path to greatness. ( I am expected to be saying all these nice things…just in case one of them are reading). Anyway, I am helping out the admissions committee. Why am I doing so? A couple of reasons. The sheer entertainment of reading various peoples essays extolling their greatness through the essays and vainly attempting to glorify mundane feats like “ I am awesome because I attend work every day” , keeps my mood up. In fact, friends have genuinely commented that I seem happier. I thank the future batches for the absolutely free entertainment. I don’t think I am to be saying all these things, but then when you look at the second reason, you’ll understand my angst.

The second reason I decided to help the team was to get a chance to render my services during the admission process as a true Bangalorean and get a chance to head home for a few days. But apparently, to the committee, I am not Bangalorean enough. Call it red tape, and ‘might is right’..or whatever to justify that the committee guys get first choice, but I can only laugh at the logic being thrown at me to justify ‘ I am not Bangalorean’. First and foremost, people who have merely worked there for a few years in the city, do not qualify as Bangalorean; as the common destination would have been office, pub, mall, store, office, pub , mall , store,….and the vicious circle continues. Hardly the ‘Bangalorean’.

But it is this excuse that takes the cake and got me laughing so hard that the old appendix began hurting again. One member is apparently claiming that since all that person’s friends have moved to Bangalore, they qualify as being Bangalorean. By that decree, I am a native of Chicago and Sydney too. (Ola peeps…wasssaaaaap?). This is absolutely hilarious…. I decided to stop listening to anymore excuse for the fear that my spleen my burst out.

I don’t understand why people cannot come straight to the point. Think of when we were kids playing cricket and the kid batting got out, he would proclaim ‘ Mera batting khatam…mera bat…main ghar jar aha hoon’ (translated for the benefit of some…I’m done with my batting, it’s my bat, I am going home). And apparently future managers still follow the same tactics. We just cleaned it up and put the tag of ‘strategy’ on it. Anyway, I know…and hope…you admission committee chaps are reading this and taking a good laugh at yourselves. Gnaaaaaaaaahhhhh! :P

11 February, 2010

10 long years…


It was not until I received this month’s Rolling Stone magazine, that I realized it has been ten whole long years since I begun this ever so painful journey in moving from school into the corporate world….passing teen age on the way. An entire decade has gone by. And when I look back and analyze the days that have gone by, the one word used to describe the decade would be - CONFUSING. But then apparently that’s what becoming an adult is about. You tend to question your beliefs, likes and dislikes and slowly start to change the way you are to confirm to the way society wants you to be. And this is where all the confusion begins. All those hours spent in moral science class and lessons learnt from Aesop’s fables disappear when one enters the real world, and believe me when I say it can mess with your head at a lot of levels, and this is where scotch and smokes and other ‘enhancers’ play a role….fortunately, I developed the taste for scotch only in the later years when I began working and really don’t care for anything else, so hallelujah.

It seems that just ten years ago, I was coming out of the silly phase of music namely a time when you thought Savage Garden were the greatest band ever, and now I can’t even tolerate them. Music has been replaced with more mature choices like Metallica, Megadeth and a lot of other bands. Music no longer became about the beats, but became about the meaning. And at times just plain heavy to head bang life away. It was probably songs like ‘Fade to Black’ and ‘Unforgiven’ that kept me sort of sane through most of engineering.

Music aside, if I were to go back and speak to the me from ten years ago this is what I would say,” Hey dude! Wassap? How’s it going? A couple of things and more I need to talk to you about to prevent life from going horribly wrong. First thing, don’t worry, you will lose weight…it may not be much, but you will lose weight. It would be nice if you can lay off the burgers and steaks and get into the gym a little sooner. You’ll feel awesome. Now, as far as the band thing goes, please don’t wait until engineering to hit that guitar. A little sooner would be cooler. We need to have more than a handful of performances under our belt. But stick to the music…do not play it for the chicks. That is something that is not happening. And do not waste any time on the same. It’s all a dead end. There are two occasions where it will lead to excessive intoxication, suggest we don’t go down that path as it is tough to get the smell of puke out of your clothes and shoes. The biggest thing you need to put your foot down on is the choice…well, the imposition…alright, punishment of engineering. You would want to do either journalism or law, maybe even architecture. You will be forced into engineering as in some corporate definition is “the right thing to do”. Put your foot down and say NO. If needed, throw a tantrum, a few days of starving would do you good. This is one decision which is going to come back and haunt you for many years to come. Even if you do decide to do engineering, do not take up Electronics and Communication. One thing you need to understand is that your strong point is never going to be exams, and this restlessness is never going to change. You’re always going to get bored of things quickly and will look to move on to something new, so do not beat yourself up because you are not scoring marks. Most of the people whom your folks compare against you will turn out to be average people, so don’t waste your time competing with them. There is something bigger out there and look towards that. Think Metallica, not Dave Mustaine. Oh…Manchester United would be winning the UEFA championship some time from now…so good time to place bets. There are whole host of things I want to give you advice about, but then I know you’ll turn out pretty alright. Life will toughen you up when required and all will be alright. So I don't want to spoil any of the fun or excitement in the decade. Things will be confusing, but then it is just natural...don't get too overly worked up in your head. Anyway, I still wish you pay a little more attention to grades…..Ciao”.

Knowing the chubby me from class 10, I probably would not take myself seriously and would shrug the advice given by me and go back to my burger…or steak..or …oh well, you get the picture.

07 February, 2010

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley


I got down to seeing the movie with the same title as this poem. I am not sure if it was the moment, but I read the poem later and was really moved by it. in a lot of ways, I think Henley has captured every emotion I am going through right now. Thought I would share it with you guys. Enjoy. And the movie is quite good too, Matt Damon terribly underutilized by Clint Eastwood. Morgan Freeman gave the best performance of all.

04 February, 2010

The Unsung Engineer

Of late, thanks to placements happening, friends (and others) seem to be taking a keen look at their own resumes and those of others, especially at the resumes of the ones who bagged good gigs with packages of above 10 Lakhs. Somehow, a lot of people seemed bemused and amused by the fact that by some twisted logic in the universe, I am an engineer. I still shudder at the thought and have chills run down my spine when I think about it. But then, only I am allowed to hold my own sarcasm. Not others, and well…I feel a little offended.

People stare at my resume, and say, “ YOU are an engineer?” Most do a double-take, point, snigger. Some are polite enough to hurt the great one, by merely smiling and muffling any signs of laughter. One friend the other day started explaining a concept to me saying “let me show you this thing which is taught in engineering courses….” Taking offence, I say “ Dude! I am an Engineer…and I understand this!” Friend goes,” YOU’RE an Engineer? Don’t joke yaaar……”. Another friend goes saying, “Dude….non engineers like us have major issues with placement…all companies want engineers”…figure out my response to that one.

What makes an engineer? Apparently – not what I have to offer. I don’t blame the peeps, I am hardly the quintessential engineer one would expect. I don’t talk like an engineer looking at the scientific aspect of things; I am hardly the rational being one would expect of my kind. I worked for barely over a year in the engineering domain, and quickly moved to a role where I quickly gave up most of the engineering mindset I was expected to harbor. But still, I don’t think I am that far down the road of being labeled a lost cause.

I still get very excited…sometimes to the point of being called a geek…when I come across any new technology. I still enjoy rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty dismantling stuff. It’s probably this behavior that led the parental unit to believe that I am engineering material. But then, that is another great debate all together, and I am hardly in the mood to open up old wounds and begin whining. In fact, just the other day, when the professor at the MBA course put up some sort of graphs with lines that were criss-crossed, and he asked us to interpret, I was pleased with myself. Somewhere, those 4 wasted years of engineering kicked in and I sort of figured it had something to do with the triangles that I was seeing and the area they covered. While I did not hit the nail on the head, I was close. I still doggedly sit and figure out aspects of any new gizmo I get, many times at the cost of skipping meals. I am giving up food here…so imagine the love. I love looking at how things work and love to understand the same. So at the core, I am the inquisitive eager beaver and curious cat. But I particularly despise dabbling in formula and excessive technical ‘paralysis by analysis. I love seeing the features thrown up by electronics…but don’t really enjoy it when you tell me what thing-a-majig they did to some electrons to make them go faster defying some universal laws of attraction while making sense of the derivative of the tangent of the angle at impact.

Oddly enough, I want to go through my engineering course now….YIKES! What did I just say? Do I really want to go back to all those electrons and protons and transistors and other jargon I never could relate to. But I would not mind going back and doing it in a discipline of my choice. - maybe automobile engineering or aeronautics or something cooler.

Anyway, before I start to frighten myself with this idea or sow seeds of self destruction, let me conclude. Yes, I have and engineering degree, I do at some twisted level think like one. No, I am not particularly proud of it. But I still will not be written off as an engineer. I request….no…I demand respect for the torture I went through over 4 years. I demand respect for the absolutely mindless delivery of education and evaluation of competency I had inflicted upon myself. Most of all, I demand to be included in the extremely large subset of engineers owing to the money my parental unit had paid for that degree I received from the VTU in the form of fees. If you still believe I am not worthy of carrying the tag…please question the university on their evaluation techniques and their entry criteria.