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KANPUR CENTRAL…

Kanpur

Tere chehre me woh jadu hai, bin dor khincha jata hu

jana hota hai aur kahee, teree oar chala aata hu…

The song played in the background as i was coming back home, from a friend’s place, in a Tempo. It was raining outside. Not heavily though, slightly more than a drizzle. There had been an unexpected change in weather that day, and it had become real cold and dark. There was a cold breeze blowing from door to door, across the partially opened vehicle, so much so that the driver and his aide had to wrap a piece of cloth around their faces, while i sat cozily sandwiched between them. The song erupted from the vehicle’s audio system, and it was somehow lighting the otherwise dark atmosphere outside.

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This was in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, for those wondering. And for almost all people ouTempotside of UP, the vehicle i was talking about, the Tempo, does deserve some explaining. You see, it’s a strange sort of a vehicle. Its for public transport, and by far means, the most popular means of transport in Kanpur. Its got 3 wheels, but its quite different from the more conventional autos. They are all CNG operated in Kanpur, and easily carry 11 people including the driver and his aide/side-kick, who sit at the front of the vehicle, along with one more passenger sandwiched between them. Then there are 8 passengers at the back, perched on 2 bench like seats, meant for just 3 people each. Its a strange vehicle, least efficient but highly viable, and something that identifies the city itself.

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Nevertheless, this piece of writing is not about the Tempo, but about the city itself that it identifies with. The city of Kanpur. You see there is an old saying that goes as, “Change is the only constant”. Well, whoever said this, definitely did not visit Kanpur. Because, nothing here changes at all. Roads are constructed with enthusiasm, and de-constructed with more enthusiasm, just to leave the city in the same state as before. The same holds true, for buildings, shops and all that is worthwhile. The road from Lucknow airport to Kanpur city, roughly about 70 kms, has become much better now. But as soon as you enter the city, via Koylanagar(yeah you heard that right), you see that nothing in the city itself has changed. There are some under-construction roads and fly-overs which seem to be there, every time you visit the city, at precisely the same places.

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Then you come to my area, which is called Kidwai Nagar Chauraha(Interesting fact: There is a Kidwai Nagar in the US too). This is pretty much the heart of the city, and a very big area. You won’t see the road though, as the entire area is but a huge Tempo-stand. Tempos standing, Tempos waiting and Tempos broken. You need to tell people, that there is actually a road behind them all, leading to my house.

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Around this area, nothing has changed at all. There used to be this samosa center  called Janwadi. Hugely popular since last 10 years. Still the same. The prices have gone up though. The boys selling samosas, still the same, have now grown up. The barber shop where i got my first haircut, is still up and running. I cried a lot that time. The man is old now, but he still does a decent job. Diamond Shoe Palace, where we used to get all our shoes for school and outside, still the same. The owner still the same. Huge, hunk like, but now with grey in his hair. Still a great seller. The jalebis of Krishna, still as delicious as ever, on Sunday morning breakfasts. Triveni Market has still failed to expand since last 20 years. There are more shops in front of it now, than inside it, and still it is hugely popular. On the other hand, the other market called Chaalees Dukaan, literally meaning 40 shops, has survived riots,fires and everything worse, and has still managed to look the same. Even the Falooda shop, on the road opposite, is the same. Its the same Falooda, which we used to enjoy so much in our school days. Still bloody same.

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A bit far from my place(4kms, which is a big distance in a small city), things are still the same. The Govindnagar shops, the road bridge, still as crowded as ever. Fazalganj still has the same sardaar selling tyres, the shop is big now. Devki Cinemas, still plays B-Grade Hindi movies. And all around it, are coachings of all sorts, from IIT-JEE to CPMT and what not. This was where we came everyday for 2 years, 10 kms from where we used to live, in our school days to prepare for IIT-JEE. We had so much fire in us back then. We thought the world would dance at our feet. But now, the only fire that still burns, is the Holi Fire, every year, on Holi Eve, the festival of colors  at various places across the city. The enthusiasm to play with colors has gone down a bit, but you can still see children enjoying the festival of colors with full gusto, and childhood rivalry.

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Then there are some things which totally bring a smile on your face. The JK Temple, which is pretty much the only place to must visit in the city, still stands tall, and pristine white. It brings a sense of pride each time you pass it. The zoo, which was always more of a botanical garden than a zoo, still boasts of the same feat. The city has become richer over the years. Cars like Volkswagen and Renault have made it to the city. But the city has this strange urge to spell everything in Hindi  So the Volkswagen showroom spells something like “falkwagan” in Hindi  And that was hilarious. The city never stops amusing you.

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The song in the Tempo changed to

Tum hum pe marte ho hum tum pe marte hain…“.
I was close to my destination. The rain had almost stopped. It was cold now, but the wind had receded to a gentle breeze. My chain of thought was broken and i quietly started walking towards my house. Nostalgia is like a dream. You eventually do come out of it. The next day was hot and humid again.

It was time to leave the city once again.

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JK Temple3063198557_7798068d34

 

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INCH BY INCH…

InchByInch

DISCLAIMER : This Post of mine has nothing to do with my own Office Life. This is just a piece of literature, and in no way represents my own feelings towards my own office life or career. SO please do not misunderstand this post, and simply enjoy it. Thanks

I don’t know what to say really.

Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives…
…all comes down to today.
Today’s your performance appraisal day.

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Either we heal as a team…
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch…
project by project…
till we’re finished.

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We are in hell right now, gentlemen
Believe me ..
and
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
or
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
We can climb out of this shit job.
One inch, at a time.

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Now I can’t do it for you.
I’m too old.
I’ve spent way much time here than i oughta’ have.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a young man could make.
I uh….
I pissed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me,
anyone who has ever offered me a better job.
And lately,
I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.

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You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
Your position in your job…
goes to that new face who always smiles at the boss.
That’s, that’s part of life.
But,
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is your fucking job.
Because in either game
life or your fucking job
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don’t quite make it to that top rating.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in every break of your daily job
every minute, every second.

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On this job, we fight for that inch
On this job, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that’s going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.
between that TOP RATING and NEED IMPROVEMENT.

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I’ll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The 21 inches of monitor in front of your face.

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Now I can’t make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch before you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice you for his job
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

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That’s how our job is, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That’s our job guys, our daily, frustrating hell of a job.
That’s all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?

OF DRINKS AND PARTIES…

It was a pretty shitty Sunday afternoon. It had rained the whole of last night and now the sun after the cold rains had been piercing each and every hole in the apartment in a particularly fierce way. The room itself had been spinning wildly ever since eyes opened in the morning. There had been one crazy shit-hole of a party last night at the apartment, one that had started at 9 pm the night before and ended at 9 am in the morning with alcohol still pouring in and crazy men still standing. The room could not take it all and as a result had been spinning crazy for most of the men.
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The Saturday before had been a particularly long and slow and boring and stretched. Even when it started at 9 am..it still stretched beyond the usual standards. Jarvis had to be taken to the RTO for its registration. Thought that would take a lot of the day…but it was done in two hours. They checked Jarvis and noted down its body details and we were OK to come back. It had rained on Friday too and Jarvis shone with its garnet red pride in the bright yellow sun. The number came in by the evening as dark clouds hid the sun again. Dan and Vanessa had gone for a leisurely stroll in the evening leaving Jarvis back to rest for the night. It was cold dark and windy and there was a party being planned at the apartment. Pretty usual Saturday night stuff. No one knew that the night had something else in mind
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When Dan came back to the apartment..after kissing Vanessa good night..the party was just starting. Bottles of blue liquor lay sprawling on the floor and the smell of fried-chicken filled the air. It was going to be one hell of a party, Dan thought. Now, most of the people who were at the party were friends with Jack, who shared the apartment with him. And Jack had this awefully huge social circle of juniors, ex-flatmates, and crazy office guys. And against popular wisdom, Jack had invited both his group of college juniors and his group of office colleagues to the same party. No one thought much of it at that time, but in hind-sight that was the single biggest mistake of the night.
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Of course there were other mistakes as well. Like finishing up all the liquor by 2am, and then going out to bring more bottles of liquor. Like going up to the roof top and shouting on top of their voices. And like, breaking into a fight when all was well and the party was in full swing.
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No one exactly remembered what had really happened that night. Some were drunk and passed out. Some were scouring the kitchen for whatever food they could get at 3am. Some were still craving for more liquor. And amidst all, some were arguing. The voices had been high the whole night, so no one really paid much attention initially. Until, they heard the bottle break. Everything seemed to stop for a moment, as pieces of shattered glass spread in the air. There was a loud shattering noise, and the next sight that everyone saw was blue-black blood oozing out of the head of one the guys. The guy, who had hit him, still had the broken bottle in his hand, and his eyes were fixed on the bleeding half-dead guy, still in a fit of rage, venom spitting out of his mouth in the shape of foul words. The guy who took the hit, was a junior and he just dropped on the floor, with his head turning the whole floor into a pool of blue-black blood. As for the others, they were just spell-struck for a few moments. Almost as if, time froze.
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I broke into a cold sweat. I was in my room, on my bed. I was severely dehydrated. And when i saw that black and blue blood, all over on the floor, i woke up screaming. It was a terrible dream, i thought. It was Sunday afternoon and the sun was piercing each and every hole in the apartment in a particularly fierce way. The room was still spinning wildly. The dream just seemed so real, until, i got up and walked outside to the drawing room and saw that terrible scene…

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Violent Dreams

WHEN PEOPLE LEAVE…

Well, when people leave, they leave. What prompted me to write this was the fact that today, one more of my colleague, is leaving my team, to pursue his career somewhere else. While its not at all a bad thing to do, it does leave behind this strange emptiness, which i cannot really explain. I know from tomorrow, the guy on the opposite side of my open-cubicle wall will no longer be there. While i wasn’t particularly close to the guy, we did share the occasional tea, coffee, evening snack, a game of Table Tennis, more recently a game of carrom, and of course the usual bitching about our bosses, and i know that from tomorrow, he will not be there to share.

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The person next to me, is leaving too. Come mid of June, i will have another empty chair and a powered-down terminal next to me. I was more fond of this guy, as he belonged from UP NORTH, from where i belong, and had the same good-natured-humour that i think i have. It would be really cruel when he leaves.

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And its not that people haven’t left before. Our team strength when i joined around 4 years back, was as much as 26. We wouldn’t fit into one meeting room. Some had to bring their own chairs, some had to stand. Now we are down to almost 9. No one has to stand now. But people are still leaving. And its getting cruel now.

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Come to think of it, people always leave. People leave in a relationship. People leave in a friendship. People leave in an organization. People leave life. People always leave. When a person leaves in a relationship, it ruins lives. It ruins individuals. When people leave in a friendship, it is depressing. The world gets lonely. When people leave life, well we move on slowly. When people leave an organization, well we still move on. We forget people. That is one of the most amazing gifts that mankind has. We forget people. We forget anyone who is not infront of us for some time. And that is important. Or else we would have never moved on with life.

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Life is hard, especially when people leave. For the people, who are left behind. There’s a void. It will be filled eventually. But it will be there staring at you for some time.

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Will there be a void when i leave?

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The organization?…..i suppose not.

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Life…..well maybe.

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To be clear, am not really depressed or anything. These are just thoughts that are in my mind, while i wait to go lunch now and i know, there will be one person less today.

Image

Adios…

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I woke up to the buzz of people outside my window. It was a Saturday morning, and the sunlight was filtering through my window and warming my pillow. I picked up my cell phone, near my pillow and looked at the time. It showed 10. Well, I had gotten up early on a Saturday morning, at least for once in life today I thought. I rubbed my eyes, and tried to figure out all the commotion. But I was too sleepy-headed to decipher anything. And also, there was this lingering headache, which I guessed was the stupid hangover from the drinks I had last night. My head hit the pillow before I could think any more.

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I got up again. No idea, how much time had elapsed. Quite funnily, the cell phone still showed 10. Maybe I was dreaming I thought. But then, my hand was burning in the sunlight from my window. So I wasn’t dreaming definitely. Maybe, I had read the time wrong, the last time I woke up. Nevertheless, I woke up and washed up my face. Then I opened my laptop, to see if the DEXTER Season 4 had been downloaded. I was disappointed to see the download stalled at 2.7%. It had stopped at 10pm last night and never resumed. Instinctively, i tried to open google.com. It wouldn’t open. The router was on. But there was no connection. No internet. What the F***!!, I thought. This time, I would be strict in complaining to the Airtel guys about this. 4th time in a year now. But first, I needed some food.

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There was an eerie silence in the whole locality, as I was brushing my teeth. Pretty unusual for a Saturday morning, I thought. The newspaper and the milk were delivered near the window, and I picked up the milk to heat it. Today, at least i will read the newspaper, what with no internet and all. I brushed my teeth, and the milk was ready by the time. I poured some milk, and the honey-almond-favorite corn flakes in a bowl, and went to the drawing-room. I was kind of enjoying the loneliness of not having my room-mate in the house for the last month. I switched on the TV. Something good must be on, I thought. But the Satellite TV just showed blank. I swapped a few channels, and all were the same – blank. Strange I thought. This had never happened before.

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I finished my corn flakes though. I thought,lets first get the internet fixed. So I went to my bedroom and picked up my cell. It still showed 10. I was a bit surprised now. Nevertheless, I dialled. And then, I realized, that the phone had no network at all. Now this was surprising. I restarted my phone, but still the same. I was afraid now. It was a 13K phone and I didn’t wanna spend money fixing it. The clock in my cellphone still showed 10. But now that i looked, it showed 10PM and not 10AM. Which meant, it had stopped working last night itself. I never realized it, while drinking my regular scotch glass in the balcony last night. I was a bit angry too. 6 months into the phone, and it’s already gone bad.

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For the first time that morning,I tried to assess the situation. No Phone. The phone was a piece of metal now. No Internet. No TV. God, i was back in stone age I thought. I was supposed to call mom today, but I couldn’t now. Mom must be worried, i thought. But then, I wondered, how could this happen to me alone? This thought stirred me. The commotion i heard in the morning, suddenly came to my memory. I went outside to talk to my neighbors. They had the same story to tell. And they were surprised as well. They had realized it much before me though.

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I came back inside, still trying to comprehend it all. It was then that the newspaper caught my eye. It just had a blank first page, on which was written in bold letters, “THE WORLD HAS STOPPED”. And then slowly, the gravity of the situation sunk in.

No Cell Phone.

No Television.

No Internet.

No Communication.

The World indeed had stopped.

And I didn’t know what to do, except let a gulp down my throat.

TO BE CONTINUED >>>

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NOSTALGIA…

Nostalgia is a very strange word. First of all, its got nothing to do with the feeling you get when you get nostalgic. And second, its got nothing to explain the feeling itself at all. Why i write this? Because, last evening I texted this to my friend, “Too much of Nostalgia here”. The reason. I was walking down some roads, where I last went almost 3 years back, to where I had spent some good old times. The people who lived there, do not live there anymore. But walking down those lanes, made me nostalgic the same.

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3 years back, when I first came to the city, it was a new experience. The city was new, and so was the weather, which I think was rainy when I first came here. I was excited enough to post some posts about the city , on this blog. Not sure,if anybody read them. I write nevertheless. It was at that time, that I befriended these 2 guys from my new workplace, who got settled into a not-at-all-wonderful penthouse, not so far from the house. The rooms were as far from being called a penthouse, as sreesanth being called the king of bowling. But no one knew, that I was to spend some good time myself in those living quarters.

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While I myself took up residence in a slightly far away locality, this location being on my way to office and to home both, and also because of new-found friends, became a frequent hangout spot. Sharing a common interest in exploring the city and hanging out-doing nothing, we bonded well. Particularly with this huge guy called G.

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For the first few months in office, we were almost inseparable. Not like lovers though. But like good friends. More so, because we both needed each other. Again not as lovers, but as friends in a new city. So, for the first year or so, we did a lot of things together. We could not come to office together( for he was the early bird, and I came office only at 11 ), but we made sure that we left the office together at 6pm. We even had lunch together. Sometimes we even had dinner together. The occasional alcohol was also there. We explored the city together. We took, whatever the city had to offer to us. Once his bike came into his hands, we explored places outside the city as well. We went to far away lakes that no one had heard of, and to far away hills that no one had climbed before us. Some of these places, no one knew even existed. We met with accidents and injuries, particularly the great 26-JAN-2009 Accident. Lucky to survive them, we never gave up. We continued our life of adventures and misadventures, alcohols and hangovers, food and well more food, in the same spirit. Well for the first year or so at least.

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Gradually, we met more like-minded people. Some who shared our enthusiasm for travelling and doing weird stuff with weird hills. Some who just shared our love for the food and the drink. We took them all in. The group grew, and the so did the fun quotient. And so it continued for another year or so.

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We knew that life would not be the same forever, but we were willing to ignore it. But we realized this the day, when this guy, came back from home, and told us he was engaged and to be married in the next 6 months. We went on to drink to that, and drank all the more heavily, all in pure celebration for the next 6 months. January this year, we went to attend his marriage, and we drank to our merriment at his wedding too. In a dry state. 4 days of blissful ignorance, where we were happy to see our friend getting married, and happy to ignore the fact that he was to leave us soon.

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And then, everything seemed to go reverse. Our parties decreased. Our closeness too, in a good way though. And soon, on one fine day, he packed his bags, and left for his family. I did not realize all this , the day he left. But that day, when i went to his old home here, to make some enquiries on his behalf, and then sat in the juice shop nearby and ordered a mango shake, as I sipped on the shake, all of this came in front of my eyes. Nostalgia they term it. It doesn’t even come close to explaining what I felt at that time.

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Adieu.

🙂

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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Employee Class of 2011,

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Drink coffee. If I could offer you one tip for the future, coffee would be it. The long term benefits of coffee have been proven by scientists, engineers and countless HR managers who gave up their lives in search of healthy office food. Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

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Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind, you won’t understand the power and beauty of your youth unless you have been working for 18 hours a day for 18 straight days without any break, but trust me in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you could have been if the background of at least a few of those pictures weren’t the office cubicle. You are fatter than you imagine.

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Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to meet a deadline which should ideally take 10 people 10 days, all by yourself. The real troubles in your life are the ones which are outside the office walls: the kind that blindsides you at 11 pm while returning home from office. And they will never be solved by sitting in front of a computer, and will always involve other people. And people are unpredictable sons of bitches.

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Do one thing every day that scares you. Make an excuse and don’t go to office. Or bunk office to watch a movie.

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Sing. Sing your own praise. Sometimes that’s needed in your organization. But sing well.

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Don’t be reckless with other people’s work; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.You never know, when the work might be of use to you.

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Jog.

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Don’t judge yourself by how much money you make. Someone you know is always making more than you. (And no good comes from knowing who that is.)

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Record all the review comments you ever get in your career. Especially the inaccurate, pointless, biased and vague bits that made you wanna kill the reviewer. This will help you when you eventually review somebody yourself.

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Keep a copy of all your old resumes. When you are stuck in a deep existential crisis of faith, flip through them in chronological order. Do the same with resignation letters.

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Decide.

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Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.  People who kept thinking what they were meant to do in their life, never really did anything. You will find various amounts of meaning and satisfaction in various things. Choose your compromises wisely.

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You’ll like the job a little better if you like the office food.

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Take chances when you’re young, single and don’t have loans to repay. You’ll take larger chances when you become a manager or the president. Large chances are more fun than small ones.

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Be nice to people for the heck of it.

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Maybe you’ll retire when you’re 45, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll get an 20 year outstanding service Award, maybe you won’t. Maybe you will marry the office hottie, maybe you won’t. Whatever happens, do not forget those probability lessons they taught you in school. Things tend to even out.

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Whatever you do, don’t forget to party once in a while. But don’t party too much. Your money can be saved for better things, and so can be everybody else’s.

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Dance. But keep it classy. And not when you are in the office party. Chances are your dead nanny could dance better.

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Read the directions (even if you don’t follow them). You never know, when you might be charged for using illegal softwares on your office machine.

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Avoid reading engineering or business books. However feel free to write them.

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Get to know your parents; they will always be better than your bosses.

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Understand that colleagues at work come and go, but what a precious few should hold on. Work hard to  stay in touch with them, because the more experienced you get,the more you need these people for forwarding your resumes.

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Travel light. Don’t be ashamed to ask the company president to give you a lift home.

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Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, and your salaries would not in the same proportion. You too will get old; and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, and your salary could have been better and you could have saved money for a house.

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Don’t expect your organization to support you. Maybe you have a life insurance, maybe you’ll have a wealthy wife, but you never know when either one might run out.

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You will most certainly face difficult choices. In most cases it helps to think of what choice maximizes output and minimizes efforts, instead of agonizing over issues like quality.

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Invest in a good suit, pair of shoes and get a shave. Thanks to society’s shallowness, your return on investment will be considerable.

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Calm down.

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Let people give you advice. Develop the art of looking interested even if you are not. Pay attention to advice from people who have a stake in your happiness, and not a stake in your success.

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Please stop listening to Pink Floyd. You are not in college anymore.

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But forget everything else.

Quickly go get a cup of coffee.

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P.S. I know you’re thinking that this is a complete rip-off and I am merely doing this to update the blog without actually putting in any effort into writing an original post. You are thinking very correctly.

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P.P.S. However when i read this again, its not as bad as it looks. Plagiarism be damned.

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Also listen to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfq_A8nXMsQ