28 November, 2013

Between all the whining

Thanksgiving is not really big here in India. The reason I say ‘not really’ is because some of the restaurants have thanksgiving dinners, and since ‘Eating an entire turkey’ is on my bucket list (ironic, considering I might kick the bucket after eating an entire turkey), I’m guessing there is some market for that here. That being said, I enjoy the sentiment of Thanksgiving and felt it’s an appropriate time to put out some of the things I've been thankful for this year.

1. I’m thankful that I have a job that pays a respectable wage and that every morning I have the opportunity to wake up, go into an office and comfortably work. That’s a big thing considering how bad the economy is and the number of friends I see struggle to make ends meet who have way more responsibilities than I do right now. PS: I’m also thankful the job sent me to New York where I saw ‘The Lion King’ musical on Broadway – dream come true. 

2. I’m thankful for two awesome parents who've not begun badgering me to get married…yet. I’m thankful for a mom with whom I can have an open honest conversation about marriage and relationships so that I’m better prepared. I’m thankful for a dad who despite my post-graduate degree keeps me under his roof unconditionally (that includes playing guitar and singing at 1 AM); and how he never misses and opportunity to teach me ‘responsibility’. 

3. I’m thankful for two friends in particular who are still willing to hang out with me despite my weirdness and uncalled for mood swings about trivial matters like the car stereos and ‘why don’t you know what Thor’s hammer is called?’. I've been going through a whole lot of emotional puberty, which was previously put aside during my growing years thanks to computer games (namely Counter Strike). And these long talks (normally me just talking) with these friends about all the craziness going through my head has really helped me come out the other side a slightly less confused carbon-based life form.

These are the top 3 things I am especially grateful for this year. There are so many more things I am really thankful for despite all the whining, but I’ll limit myself to the top 3 that came into my head the moment I started writing this post. 

What have you been thankful for? (Someone please say ‘I’m thankful Nikhilesh is still bitter and insecure and uses sarcasm as a defence mechanism or else his blog will cease to be funny’)

26 November, 2013

Here’s my card

The great part about being in a marketing team is that you get to attend really fancy conferences in exotic locations such as Vegas, Phuket, Monte Carlo and so on. There are exceptions to all rules, and as always yours truly is the exception. I’ve only done one event in New York so far (and I’m still hung up on that…. I start crying when I watch Friends because the show was in New York). On the flip side, I do get to evaluate a lot of events where higher ups can go to. (I just think of it as vocational training to become a stoic detached travel agent)

As part of the evaluation process, one tends to look at a lot of criteria. Pictures from the event are one of them. I was recently checking out pictures from an event last year and noticed something – All Indians, irrespective if they’re working in the US, or there on a business trip from India, always look like they’re trying to give you their business card, or are happy that you gave them yours.

I went through over a 100 pictures from the event that showcased the speakers, the booths, the parties after wards. Every Indian is standing there like they were in-front of the Taj Mahal with their significant other on their 5-year wedding anniversary having that ‘We’re excited, but this is a public place  so we’d better stand beside one another and look constipated instead of being romantic’ look about them. People from other nationalities are busy having fun wearing wigs, fake moustaches, dressed in casuals and talking over a beer. But most of my fellow countrymen are wearing suits and are armed to the teeth with their business cards. I came across one picture of an Indian chap who looked happy and was smiling, only to spot the corner of business card in his jacket pocket. 

I’m not sure why this happens. Is it because a large part of the workforce doesn’t know how to switch off from work? Is it because our idea of networking is gathering business cards to send out emailers rather than get to know people at a slightly more personal level? What is it that makes my fellow Indians want to run about collecting and handing out business cards as though they were the Easter Bunny with his eggs? I remember this colleague whose sole purpose to attend an event was to ensure he gave out at least 100 business cards. He managed to do that at an event that had only 40 people!!! (Valet and bell boy got lucky I guess… they probably called him for an enterprise grade business solution related problem they had)

Why can’t we have fun while networking? Why can’t we treat people like people and not ‘prospects’? A friend of mine was once pulled up by the higher chain of command for having a casual conversation about the city she did her post-graduation in with a ‘prospect’ that happened to be from another college in the same city. It’s ridiculous as to how we insist on talking about work with prospects all the time. I apologize if I come across as naïve to you “experienced sales people” and “captains of industry”. I’m not sure why I apologized because neither group has time to read this blog because they’re off somewhere handing out a business card. Aren’t these the same guys who write things like ‘I’m a natural-born extrovert’ in their resumes? (Like us caesarian-born extroverts are any less). And that translates into ‘will give soul to get business card’. Maybe that's why they don't send me to many events.

A word of advice to my people attending office related gigs, have fun, network, but for heavens sake don't make handing out cards your sole objective. Quality vs. quantity.

By the way, below is a picture of me at an office party. Don’t I look like someone whose business card you want? 

13 November, 2013

Post No.401... we've come so far.

Can I start with an apology to all my loyal readers for not having written anything in a long time? No? How about I give you a hug? Don’t want chubby tambram hugging you? How about I calm you down with a pastry? No wait… (thinking… that’s 30 odd readers, assuming Rs.50 a cupcake…that’s 1500 bucks…).. leave it! No cupcakes! I don’t want all you beautiful people becoming fat. Let bygones be bygones and let’s get on with life.

So, what have I been up to? The high point of the last one month has definitely been my trip to Pune for the NH7 music festival. And since I’m taking the time to talk about it…clearly something happened there. Did I meet a girl whom I really liked and we slow danced to some EDM? Did her thinking and mine get along in a way that people confused us for relative major and relative minor chords of one another? (Didn't get the music geek talk huh?) So did that happen? 

Sigh! No. But these two separate girls did talk to me. One asked me who is the band on stage and what song were they singing. And the other one was from Mumbai who asked me directions to some place in Pune. Not being a local, I said I had no clue. And since I blanked out at the prospect of a higher-than-average looking girl proactively talking to me, I didn't have the presence of mind to check the directions on the map application on my darn phone. Hopeless!  To make things worse, my mind in its Brownian state asks me to make small talk. Great idea! “Soooooooo…. Where in Mumbai are you from?”. She just mentioned some place that I have never heard of. I nodded as though I knew Mumbai like the back of my hand. That was pretty much it. And since she didn't bother inquiring as to where I was from, I'm guessing I was coming across as one of those creepy desperate guys whom I normally make fun of. Best to be silent. Sigh! Hopeless!

A shout out to the somewhere-in-the-universe- future Mrs.Murthy, I’m not as shy as the blogs make me sound. I just have problems initiating and sustaining a conversation with people I don’t know. We will get along fabulously if you stick to talking about music (non-Bollywood), games (Candy Crush is not a game. Neither is Angry Birds), football (no club other than Manchester United) and food (Please don’t be a vegetarian). 
PS: I am an artist, drama is in my blood. In my case, it comes with a side order of ‘melo’.

So besides the awesome awesome awesome music at the festival, and the much drinking and eating, the Pune trip was pretty uneventful. 

I did however buy a new camera and began taking tons of pictures of all the bands. I believe I may have found my new passion. I took almost 900 pictures over 3 days and put up the best 100 on Facebook. Do check them out if you are on my friend’s list. 

On a closing note, this is the 401st blog post. Much thanks to all you guys for posting comments and keeping me motivated to write. More importantly, thanks for coming back to the website even though lately all I can seem to write about are my failed attempts at better acquainting myself with the opposite sex. Look forward to keeping you folks entertained for the next 400 blogs.