29 March, 2011

And I’m contemplating a funeral…

How did we come to this point? A funeral? Wasn’t life all hunky-dory? And just like that…we choose to end it. Let’s take a few steps back before we can come back to this point. I don’t understand this… Why the devil do you corporate fellows take a bunch of people, fly them down from all over the world, take them to a 5 star spa resort on the outskirts of town, only to have them locked up in a conference room discussing company strategy for 11-12 hours a day? Why? Can’t you do that over a video conferencing tool? And it’s not just my company….it’s almost every darn corporate entity.

“We’re having a strategy meeting in Barcelona” (Not my company….this is some fictitious company) New employee, probably fresh out of B-school thinks, “ Oh wow, we’re going to Barcelona for a strategy meeting. Think of all the Spanish women there. And I’m actually being considered to give an opinion. But I can go sightseeing later. Maybe get some flamenco dancing classes too” Employee flies down there with floral shirts, shorts, sandals and a single suit, only to discover that the suit is all he would be wearing all day while sitting in a board room listening to more ‘experienced’ men talk. And that could not have been done here at the company board room because???? Simple….it sounds cool. We don’t want our employees feeling unhappy.

While it’s great to be in these meetings because you do get to learn a lot from experienced people talking about issues regarding the company, and also it’s great to see so many different points of view on the matter. But the point I want to make is, why do it in a fancy spa resort if you’re not going to give me the time use the spa???? And after an entire day of staring at ppts made by fellow MBA grads who love to put up tables with entries of font size 8, just so that no one really bothers to read the numbers and instead concentrate on the fancy graph, one does tend to get a little tired. And it was through the end of the day of one of these sessions where the presenter was talking about something (not allowed to tell you….corporate stuff) that my mind thought,’ Death must be like this…and the glare from the screen must be that white light that everyone imagines’. Jump to next station, ‘ If I died today…like right now…maybe because of a seizure or something…what would people say at my funeral?’

So…what would people say at my funeral? I imagine the pall-bearers would say,’ Why couldn’t he have lost some weight?’. Or some very smart friend, who is there because it’s socially correct, saying, ‘ Now there will be more food in the world for the children of Somalia’. Besides that, I really have not a clue to what anyone would have to say at my funeral. I don’t think I bear that much of an importance to anyone’s life that one would have anything to say, no real dependencies on me…except for the guys at Corner House and Purple Haze who’ve lost a good customer. So what am I leaving behind? And imagining what one’s funeral would be like is probably a good way to evaluate one’s life. What is it really worth to anyone?

I know some schools, as part of an exercise makes you write your own eulogy. I remember very sincerely writing my eulogy, which I won’t share obviously. And to be very honest life has not quite turned out one bit the way I imagined it. So what does one do now? This is all too depressing. Thankfully, before my head could explode, they announced the one part I was looking forward to during the sessions, “Ladies and Gentlemen….the bar is open!”

What would you say about me if you had to attend my funeral today?

22 March, 2011

It’s only words…

Nope, not writing about The BeeGees or Boyzone. This is yet another blog on the wonderful phenomenon known as ‘Indian English’. Ok, back to the basics…listen please.

1. Your’ and ‘You’re’ - “ You’re a moron and your English teacher is one too.” Got the difference? No? Shall I repeat?

2. Repeat again” – You can repeat it once….but it’s up to you if you want to say it again. But saying it twice does not make me understand you better. YOU’RE still a moron.

3. Understanding” - ‘ I am not understanding you!’… I hope not. I’m quite an understanding person, but if you don’t understand that….YOU’RE a moron!

4. Revert Back” – So like ‘repeat again’, you’re going to do it twice…. You can reply via email through YOUR laptop…but you can neither revert me…nor revert back to me. Revert means ‘to go back to a previous state’, like the moron that you were.

5. Going to go” – ‘ I am going to go home’….so I guess tomorrow, you’ll be coming to come? No?

6. Can’t able to” - ‘I am can’t able to understand you’…..I give up on this one.

7. ‘Too’, ‘to’ and ‘two’ – English is tough, but with a little bit of effort, we can get it right. But ‘ We are going for a movie. You are coming two?’ is an insulting fat joke.

PS: My apologies if you feel this is directed at you or you think i'm a prat. The blog comes after a long painful day. This post is dedicated to those who have an education but have really learnt nothing. And if you say English is not the national language and that you don't need to know it.... I've heard you speak Hindi too. And even that sucks. It's a question of 'clear communication skills'. No hate mail please.

16 March, 2011

Just saying…

Infatuation is when you think he’s as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Connors. Love is when you realize that he’s as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford – but you’ll take him anyway.” – Judith Viorst

Not implying anything …but I’m more athletic than Henry Kissinger. Jimmy Connors might still be able to wipe the courts with me.

09 March, 2011

I’m either just a moron….or I am easily bored.

Took the car for a quick service last evening and had to wait for an hour at the service center. There were about 8 other folks with me, who were eagerly watching Ross Taylor belt the devil out of the Pakistan cricket team. Now those who know me, know that I don’t care too much for cricket….i’d watch or feign interest only if India are playing and that is purely out of the fact that to be a part of Indian society, you’re expected to know cricket. Anyway, I spent most of the time browsing through the newspapers there and was done with an over to spare….in the game that is. While the 8 gentlemen there were going nuts, I was getting thoroughly bored….so, once the innings was over, I decided to speak to the gentlemen next to me in a fairly audible tone….here goes

Me: So what is this that is going on ?

Person( In moderately miffed tone): Cricket….World Cup.

Me(in surprised tone): Oh…very nice. Where is the world cup being played?

Person(turns in shocked manner to look at me): India man….it is being played in India.

Me: Oh! Good good….is this match the finals?

Every head in the room turns to look at me as though I had openly asked if anyone could give me the keys to their car. There was a disturbance in the force…. I decided not to take the joke further. Stuff like this happens when I’m bored….sigh! One day, I will surely be beaten up for insolence.

07 March, 2011

Even my ailments are uncool

I was reading this book called ‘ Don’t get me Started’ by Mitchell Symons over the weekend (recommend you read it too) and am going to elaborate on a point I read.

Ever notice how we tend to, for lack of a better word, ‘celebrate’ certain ailments and diseases more than others. Hear me out hear before you think I’m being inconsiderate to those with fatal diseases…. But the fact is diseases to us are like rockstars and each gets its own treatment in apathy and sympathy from the people around you. For example, someone with cancer or AIDS is generally given the highest sympathy, and deservingly so. It is a tough struggle that sometimes does not end pleasantly. And people are also sympathetic towards colds and asthama. But what about stuff that is equally serious, maybe not deadly, but just because you’ve never heard of it, you assume it can’t be too serious.

Let’s talk about me (yeah…like we were talking about anyone else in this blog). I suffered from gout and acute rheumatic fever for quite sometime. Now, did you go ‘awww’, tilt your head in pity and say ‘that’s bad dude….how’re you holding up?’ when you heard about the above two diseases???? I’m guessing not. But you would have probably felt more sympathetic if I had said that I had a cold. The reason is simple…..even among the entire gamut of diseases that one can have, my body chose the most unfashionable one. Not that I’m complaining or anything, because I know there are many out there with far more fatal ailments than what I’ve got.

I blame all this on bad marketing from the medical community. The above two cause recurring joint pains that are sometimes really bad that you can’t even form a fist with your hand, grip a pen, or even type on the keyboard. The simple task of climbing a flight of stairs is daunting. The person with the above two is generally in a lot of pain….and I mean a LOT of pain. While these are not exactly fatal, they are a big dampner on day-to-day life. My being over-weight was conveniently blamed for the same, until of course we discovered what was going on, on the inside and am on the slow road to recovery. But then, when you tell people you cant come out, or eat certain stuff because of your ‘condition’, their lack of knowledge of the ailment makes them think you’re just looking for attention. Makes matters worse if people like me start cracking jokes about it. “Oh, it can’t be that serious…he’s cracking jokes na?!”.

Ever notice kids in school who got fractures???? They got all the attention….especially from the girls. Yours truly comes from a family of strong bones and never got any fractures( I was the cause of 3 of them also…and this was before I hit high school). I’m still fracture-free (touch wood and praise the lord).Yet, the delicate boy who broke his hand because he slipped down two steps, got more attention than everyone else as though he was dying and sympathy would make him heal faster. And you wonder why I signed the cast, “Look where you’re going next time” (PS: I think a lot of the bitterness started here)

Ailments are like rockstars if you think about it. If you’ve heard about them, then you’d probably bother about them. AIDS and Cancer are like Michael Jackson…everyone has heard of them. The common cold is like Bob Dylan or The Rolling Stones….been around forever. Smallpox is like Elvis…was taken seriously back then, but now not so much. Chicken Pox is like Bryan Adams…once in your life you must go through the phase. Malaria is like Bob Marley….seems to affect only coloured people. Migraines are like Britney Spears….sorry…I meant Migraines are caused by Britney Spears. Asthama is like Shankar Mahadevan….breathless…get it ? No? H1N1 is like Lady Gaga….new kid on the block scaring the pants off everyone. Gout and Rheumatic fever however are like Sue Foley…been around with all the top people, a decade of music , but still heard of in very small circles, almost never heard of in fact.

You know what annoys me the most is that you rarely find support groups or online forums for such diseases. Check ‘breast cancer’ or ‘ dengue fever’ and you’ll have a whole host of websites which have people discussing what doctors to meet, what exercise regime to follow, what diet to follow and other stuff. But ever seen a ‘ Gout-anonymous.com’ or ‘rheumatic-fever-forum’???? Ever? No. Heck, even ‘lactose intolerance’ has more forums than we do. What’s the big deal with lactose intolerance…”don’t drink milk stupid” even if the carton has a picture of Pamela Anderson on it. But far more painful diseases which are a hindrance to daily living have no place…..tis but a sad world we live in. Do you know the cure to rheumatic fever??? It involves a nice long injection of penicillin right near your hip once every month for 5 frickin long years…..and that’s painful. Still think you sissies want to discuss ‘lactose intolerance’?????

Anyone here have any ailments you would like to throw some light on? So that if we meet, I would understand as to how serious matters really are. BTW, I am on the road to recovery, I'm not dying or anything.....so please don't think otherwise.

02 March, 2011

The sound of ‘squeamish’

You can say what you want, but India is still not ready for sex and nudity on screen. It is still limited to the domain of desibaba and DVDs for those too scared to download. I recently went for ‘ No Strings Attached’ with a few friends. For those of you who’ve not seen the movie, it has a bit of ‘ushooooo’ factor. I sort of expected that after the guy behind the booking counter told us that people under the age of 18 not allowed. I do look 17 don’t I??? Must be the Justin Bieber haircut. ( How much is the bounty on that twerp’s head????)

So, the movie is going on and Natalie Portman and the other guy start doing it….much heavy breathing, and a little more than what most Indian audiences would consider appropriate. And I’ve never heard a crowd at a cinema go so silent. No rustling of popcorn, no cellphone ringing, no couples talking. I look around and everyone is staring straight at the screen as though hypnotized or not to say anything inappropriate. Heck, I did not even hear someone slurping up the last few drops of coke from their cup. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of an audience uncomfortably shifting in their seats. Even the guys behind us, one of whom I figure had broken up with his girlfriend recently (thanks to the ‘humphs’ and ‘yeah right’ comments he kept making whenever something moderately couple-ish came on screen) had fallen dead silent.

India is not ready for this much skin show on screen. But then I guess the movie would have been slightly stupid if they kept cutting out all the ‘ahem’ scenes. They did that in ‘The American’, which was already a sad excuse for a movie, (Clooney machaan….I want my money back). Maybe ‘the scene’ could have saved the movie. I remember ‘Watchmen’ being the first movie where they actually showed stuff on screen…. And no one in that theater was prepared. The ‘owl dude’ and ‘spandex woman’ start doing it aboard the ‘owl plane’ and the audience went dead silent. You know, the worst part is that you really can’t say anything to ease the mood. You’ve just got to look straight, or down….almost like in the men’s loo. It will be interesting if they ever manage to get ‘Love & other drugs’ past the censor boards. I’ve already seen the movie, so I doubt if I’ll go to the theater to listen to the silence of the audience while Hathaway and Gyllenhaal are doing it.