Friday, June 22, 2012

Not at all what it seems!

We grow up fed with a lot of ideas about things, in general. A lot of Indians would like to believe that we keep the culture flag flying high, Americans have no values, a woman who prefers traditional sarees to comfortable western wear is ideal wife material any day, men who smoke and drink are bad people who decent girls ought to keep safe distance from, and oh yes, dating is scandalous.

In the same vein we Indians love to tear our country into bits, and have inane ideas about the different sects of people who habit these myriad bits. I was never a believer of these- but some of the outrageous/hilarious/commonplace ones, I would share.

Hand-me-down thoughts and the influence they have on the way we think and act these days!

Coming from Chennai, I would start with this. Tamil boys are the most decent of all men out there. Chennai girls cannot speak English and cannot leave home without their malli-poos. Bengalis are dirty, smelly folks who love their fish and cannot eat/sleep/live without them. Delhi boys are to be shunned by decent south Indian girls because they all think about is ‘only one thing’. People from Bihar are uncultured brutes who you can never trust with anything. Malayalee girls, are always ready, anytime, anywhere, for ‘it’. Maharashtrians are rude, snobbish people who would never give a thought about anybody except folks who speak Marathi. Oh, and don’t get me started on the Sardarji jokes.

Now, where on earth did these notions come from?

I definitely did not make them up- these are views put forth by friends of mine- and I can boast of a big circle of them, from all over the country. And it is very saddening/ heartening to say that- every-single-one of these I could negate. My opinions are the result of a very miniscule sample population, and would be insignificant as well. But nevertheless I simply HAVE to say that- Gaurav from Kolkata is one of the smartest men I know, who comes up with the best one liners I have heard till date. He is one of the best dressed people at work, and his nails are always clean. Delhi boys might, on paper, do anything for ‘it’, but all the Delhi-Punjabi boys I have known, have always been sensitive to what their women want and don’t want, and have never, not once, manipulated/influenced/thrust their wants on them. Gaurav, from Bihar, is the one person we would never, ever, plan any trip without- simply because he is the one man we all feel safest with. He is patient, sensible, and knows when the party has to wrap up. He is like the mother hen of our gang- or, Daddy ..Hen? Ok I will stop the poultry talk here. I know 3 girls from Kerala, and not one of them remotely resembles Shakila, in thought, manner or bearing. Enough said. And I have the second highest number of friends in Pune, after Chennai, and every single time I land there, I am welcomed and showered with so much love- by, sometimes the very same Kokanastha Brahmins who every non-resident calls the bane of Maharashtra.

In the end, it is not as much the perceptions that are the issue. It runs deeper than that. To the extent that, such repelling ideas would dictate the way we behave with these – normal people- who we have no knowledge about, except that his or her second name is- say, Joshi or Sharma or Bannerjee or Balan. This- again- is no cock-n-bull story that I have made up. The moment a fellow Indian, from another state sets foot into Chennai, he is given the look, scrutinized, branded, and left to his own resources. I know that I get the same treatment too, the moment I leave the Delhi or Mumbai airport- but isn’t that what we need to change? Be the change!

By the way, I deliberately did not use certain words, because of outrageous stats that feedjit has been giving me, like this.

Peace out!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I have been reading Eat, Pray, Love. This is one of those remarkable coincidences, where a book lands in your lap, exactly when you need it. In fact, the past couple of weeks have been a bundle of coincidences- myriad paths- taking me exactly where I wanted to go, but had no idea that the place existed - I landed on this amazing blog, which I keep going back to read, time and again, and I have started to reconnect, with a lot of old friends, and God. (Kind of Déjà vu, still)

Today, I was in, kind of, the lowest of the low. And I decided to go to the temple. We frequent a lot of temples, but there is almost always, just one or two, where you really feel at home, at ease. The sort of places where you think you can have a nice (seemingly one-way) conversation, and feel like you are being listened to. I went to one of those, feeling very numb all over.

As I stood there, I felt the presence of this man behind me. Now this guy is all over my neighbourhood. Sometimes he is in rags, other times he is clean clothed. Disheveled at times, at other times, somebody takes pity on him and gives him a haircut. He just landed on the street parallel to where I stay, nobody really took pains to know where he came from, but he bothers nobody, so we just let him be. The local, mad man, who mothers point at and scare the hell out of children.

I was pouring my heart out, standing right there. If God’s gender was masculine, I am sure he would have gone, ‘okay, okay child, I’ll take care, shush, just, just quiet, go home!’ when I was only 1 minute into my ranting. But, yeah this post is not about God’s gender. And God was listening, as I went on and on and on about ‘oh why, why, why, why ME?!!’ A placeAnd as I went ranting, I heard the mad man plunge into a cacophony of- sounds. He was not speaking, he was- just going on and on in some alien tongue, and for some reason it was getting on my nerves.

So I wrapped up my monologue (within 7 minutes), and started on my pradakshina. Just as I finished the stipulated 3 rounds, there was instantaneous silence. What made the mad man stop his gibberish, I know not. I shouldn’t call it gibberish too. But when that silence descended on me, it was like an answer, a promise.

And I felt the calm still the palpitation that my heart was experiencing for the past few weeks. And then I knew, this, I would cross :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

And we lived to tell the tale :)

Management Trainee Batch of 2010 :)
With today, I finish 2 whole years in the corporate industry. IT. All my life, I grew up telling myself that if there was one thing I would never put myself through, it would be a stint in the IT field. (No, I never knew what they did then. Yes, there was a time when I never gave a damn about money :P) So post school, when all my classmates went on to slog for four years to earn a degree in the Engineering Sciences, I was playing grasshopper in WCC, cutting frogs and rats open, poking my fingers and analyzing blood samples, volunteering at museums and zoos, birding and wrestling baby crocodiles, camping, trekking and – in a phrase- living the life!

Then MBA happened- out of nowhere. Not that I regret it. I never cry over spilt milk. So futile, I say! I loved college, I – got used to the course. Made great friends, learnt that I could love Marketing as much as I loved animal sciences and literature, and then looked towards getting into an organization where I would “sweep in, earn amazing profits for it, come up with brilliant ideas and turn around the way the place operated”. Yes you can smirk. :P

And then I landed here. My first company. Where I have been hanging around for the greater part of these 2 years. Time sure has flown by! No, I did not get to do all that I had dreamt of doing. I learnt a lot. Some leanings- might be funny, some might be bitchy, and some- downright crazy. But we survived! And that earns me a pat. And icecream.
I learnt that- impressions matter. A lot.

People will always speak behind your back- there is acute shortage of conversation topics in these companies.

There are good people around, the world is not a dark, mean place, yet.

Anything, once mastered, becomes a chore.

If you do not have a communicative relationship with your boss, you are in deep trouble.

Smiling helps. Appreciations help more.

One screw up can sweep down a whole year’s worth hard earned reputation.

Building back lost trust is more difficult and tiresome than constructing a space shuttle.

Most people have a problem with attitude. Whoever said despotism died away?

Be judged, or be ignored. Your call. (flicked from Seth Godin)

A bunch of friends make office worth coming to. Laugh aloud, let everybody see it.

Take feedback, don’t ever take shit. People telling you what you can never be or what you can never do qualify as shit.

Respect, where it feels mutual.

Take vacations. I look back on these two years- I remember, more than all the work I did- my various trips- trekking, the Himalayas, Ooty, Bangalore masti, Delhi..

Try to love what you do, try hard.

Salary- is THE motivation factor.

There is life beyond these walls. This is not the end :)