Sunday, February 28, 2010

...and so he is off to B-school

My latest favorite movie is 3 Idiots. It's got Amir Khan in it, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi were wonderful, Chatur 'Silencer' Ramalingam was super hilarious and the story on the whole was very relatable, all of which totally negate the fact that it also has Kareena Kapoor in it. So that's good. 'All izz well' in 3I speak. So why am I talking about 3 Idiots now, a few months after it has trail blazed itself into Bollywood history books?

Because, like I said, the movie was relatable. As in, I could relate to it. Take this for example.

I was out of town on work a couple of weeks back when one of my friends (I happen to have those you know) left me a scrap on Orkut (yes I am one of the two people in the world who hasn't jumped on to the Facebook bandwagon. The other one is the man in my mirror) saying he has something important to tell me and that he will call me when I am back. I started thinking about what the important thing could be and decided that he was going to get hitched. After all, I knew his mom had been insisting for some time now that he should "Marry a nice girl and settle down" (as opposed to being single and being able to sow his wild oats around. Hmmm!!). With that decided in my head, I put it on the back burner as I had more pressing things to take care of.

Two weeks go by and I am back home and I get a call from this guy. "Dude, I have quit V***** and am moving to H*****". Wow! That’s not the marriage news I was expecting. This was a job change news he was giving me. And thinking about it, I thought this was in-evitable because he had been complaining about his current job for a few years now. No pay rise, no promotion, office politics, the lot. Made sense that he had finally worked up the courage to let go of the devil he knew for the god he didn't. So I asked him, "Where in H*****? Which company?" And he says, "Dude that is a hint I just gave you. I have turned in my papers in V***** and am moving to H*****. So guess where I am going." And it hit me then. He wasn't going to any other company. A move to H***** could only mean one thing, at least between the two of us. He had finally made it to the B-school.

It's been a few years since we both met during B-school preparation courses. We hit it off immediately and from that time have been constantly in touch, keeping each other updated about our futile attempts at getting into an elite B-school in the country. Along the way, my efforts petered off, I started concentrating more on my job, I got married and today my B-school dream is all but forgotten. At the same time, he had given up, made peace with his work and work environment, went abroad on an assignment, tried to get into a school there (and failed) and finally settled down for a career sans a business degree. Or so I thought until the call yesterday. He hadn't given up and now he is going to one of the best schools in the country. Wow!! Congratulations man.

So what does the movie have anything to do with this? There is this one scene where their first exam results are out and two of the guys (Madhavan and Sharman) anxiously scan the results only to find that they have just about made it, at the bottom of the list. But they don't see their friend’s name (Amir) there and turn back, sad that he has not even made the cut although they have made it. Then they come to know from someone else that their friend has topped the exam while they both have just managed to scrape through! Their faces fall even lower and the voice over says, "It is a common enough feeling. We feel bad when our friends don't do well. But we feel worse when we know that they have done much better than us."

Dude, there is this corner of my head where I am feeling real bad that you made it and I didn’t (I think it’s the J word) but pay no heed to that (I won’t either). You did it and that's what matters. All the very best to you and let me know how it goes.

February 2010

The last month has been frantic to say the least. And I had managed to make it through the most hectic and frantic month of my work life.

It all started with my annual master health check. They said it was a good idea to get it done once you hit the big 3'oh'. Well, I did hit it pretty hard and fast last November, so I thought of doing something different for a change and took them on their advice. Presented myself at the doctor's at the unearthly hour of & in the morning and proceeded to spend the better part of the day there being poked, bled and x-rayed, not to mention going through the mandatory peeing-into-a-box routine. At the end of which the doctor declared that nothing was wrong with me except for my lifestyle because of which I was overweight. Duh! What did he think I was, dumb and overweight? If I knew I would be hearing stuff that I already knew, I wouldn't have blown the thousand bucks which I ended up blowing. I was still steaming out of my ears and foaming at my mouth as I returned to the car and started on my way back. Thankfully I calmed down as soon as I got out of the gates there because I knew I would end up wrapped around a tree if I drove in that mood and would, in all probability, end up in the emergency ward of the same place I was trying to get away from. It also slowly dawned on me that getting to know that nothing was wrong with me (apart from the weighty issues I already am aware of) was the whole point of getting the check done. By the time I was home, I was only thinking about losing 13 kilos. Fast.

It's been more than a decade since I stepped into a badminton court and so when a friend told me of this place he was going to, I was excited. What better way of shedding excess weight than a good workout on a badminton court every morning? I made arrangements to join him every morning and the first day, I was there. Racquet in hand and looking spiffy in my new sneakers, I was ready to shuttle those love handles to oblivion. That was the beginning of the month, mind, and by this time I was supposed to have regained a bit of my touch around the court. Alas! That first day turned out to be my last day on the court, all courtesy my ankle. I had started out well, managed to become breathless in the first 15 mins on court and managed to come down rather heavily and awkwardly on my left ankle in the next 15 mins. Imagine 90 kilos coming down on one ankle, that too the wrong way. After that I spent the next 15 mins limping and hobbling around before calling it a day and getting back home, getting ready and going to work. It wasn't until the next day morning that the full extent of my problem hit me. The ankle was swollen up to the size of a tennis ball, I couldn't put any weight on it and my limping around the house on a tennis ball freaked out my folks. So off I went to the doctor once again. Second time in a week.

At the doctor's, looking at an x-ray of my ankle
Doc - "Thankfully, there is no fracture. But seeing how bad it has swollen, I suggest you take a lot of bed rest. Try to keep your leg horizontal as much as possible."
Me - "But doctor, I..."
Doc - "I know, you have to go to office and all that. It's all right. Make sure you find a small stool or something to rest your leg on while in office."
Me - "No, that's not the thing. I am travelling tomorrow and will be gone, probably till the end of the month."
The doc didn't say anything after that but he did give me a look which said, "I told you what you are supposed to do. You want to travel. Be my guest, break a leg!" And off I went, armed with a week's dose of tablets and an ice pack, along with my clothes, neck-ties and laptop. Over the next ten days (not counting the weekend in between during which I was not working) I religiously popped the pills, regularly wrapped the ice pack around the ankle and almost always kept the leg up and horizontal (except when I was standing in front of the clients in the training hall and while having my food). The size of the swelling started going down, the limp found itself out of work and the pain wasn't apparent unless I masochistically poked around my ankle to find it. Not bad at all.

If all this were not enough to deal with, there was this small, tiny matter of my first wedding anniversary. This was on the weekend that was bookended by my travel to different clients in different cities. Any other weekend, I would have spent the weekend lazing and dozing around, recharging batteries (That's what I told everyone. I actually just like lazing around). Not this time though. So back I came from one travel, drove the wife out to a resort we had long wanted to go, spent a serene couple of days relaxing and getting surprised by the staff at the place before driving back home to real life, work pressure and general mundaneness. Not to mention more travelling.

Off I went again, packed bags and all, to another place to once again stand and deliver. And stand up and deliver they made me do because I realised that the client's expectations were different from what I was informed about and for what I had prepared. This trip, which I thought would be the most straightforward of all my journeys in the month, just turned out to be the worst. I ended up staying up late in the nights preparing for all the new stuff that I would be handling the next day. This went on for the whole trip. I feel the need here to give a pat on my own back because I think I did an admirable job, given the circumstances. Just as I started thinking that I had it under control and was very much looking forward to finishing it and getting back home, the wife informs me that she will be flying out the same time I would be flying in. She's part of her company's recruitment activities and she's got interviews lined up for the weekend. So much for getting back home because I was spending too much time away!

Now, here I am, just back home and just off the phone with the wife. In all of this month, this is the most time I have had to sit and gather my thoughts. I am just lying back and ruminating now and waiting for the nwife to come back so that we can start March afresh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Female Bloodsuckers

There I was, standing near my desk and thinking about kamikaze pilots. There were these madcap fighter pilots who used to load their planes 'till-the-gills' with explosives and then dive down into enemy ships. They were Japanese and were called 'Kamikaze'. The Japs must have been crazy! But then that action of theirs, towards the end of the second great war, did give all of us some new vocabulary. Now instead of saying 'suicide bombers' or 'reckless bikers' or 'rash drivers' we call them 'kamikaze'. Simple!

Like I said, I was standing near my desk and thinking about kamikaze pilots. More specifically, I was thinking if any of the kamikaze pilots of old had been from the fairer sex. But thinking about suicidal, women pilots was not the only thing I was doing. Someone watching me from the side of the glass wall (we have one in our office. Not to be confused with the proverbial 'glass ceiling' which is also present in the office but this is not the time or place for me to write about that) would have seen me with my legs firmly rooted, my upper body rotating slowly and alternating between straightening and bending at the waist, my eyes following my hands with sudden claps ringing out. There is a chance that they might have thought I was doing some kind of slow dance or practicing tai-chi or doing an odd mixture of both. I won't hold that against them though.

I won't hold that against them because they don't know what I was actually up to. I was there, in an extremely frustrated mood, trying to follow and swat the living day lights out of the b****y, blood sucking, flying irritants found in large numbers in this part of the world and of late, inside the office. We call them 'mosquitoes' here. When they get their act right, the result is large spread mayhem in the form of malaria or dengue or some such disease. When they get it wrong, well, they are nothing more than a black and red smear on your palm. They always seem to swing for the fence and they are the closest I have come to experiencing 'kamikaze-ness'.

But why was I thinking about female pilots in particular? Well, I read somewhere that only female mosquitoes suck blood! Hmmm.