Sunday, December 24, 2006

I'm afraid I've been silent on the blogging front. I'd love to tell you that I've been too busy to blog...but then I'd be lying. As an MBA, I am prone to frequent bursts of frenzied activity, true but then I do have time to do other things too...its just that when I do have the time I dont feel like writing at all. I need something like an exam or a project presentation to be made tommorow to inspire me to blog tonight :-)

I'll be flying back to chennai for a week in mid jan. Hope to write something decent then.

Friday, December 01, 2006

This is an ad I shot for an event at a B school competition in Delhi.Its an ad for a product that deodorises smelly shoes. Do let me know what you think of it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dirty Dancin@IMT

We all suck at dancing...but hey its fun!

P.S: Turn up the volume

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dancin' little marionette
Are you happy now?
Where do you go when you're lonely?
Where do you go when you're blue?
Where do you go when you're lonely?
I only wish I could follow you

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In fond memory of Cocoa...

February 14'th, 4 PM. No women, no romance, no candle lit dinners, no dreamy looks, no intimacy,no passion, no hugs, no moonlight walks, no Eros,no Cupid, no Amor,no Venus, no Aphrodite,no Kama. No sir, all I had was a dogs ass.

A rather unpleasant sight to behold when your in the middle of a cricket match and a dog is lying placidly in the middle of the pitch and chewing the brand new ball . Shouts, warnings, cuss words, a swinging cricket bat, nothing perturbed Cocoa as he calmly exercised his mandibles. The ball morphed rapidly from a shiny sphere to a sorry looking pancake in his very capable jaws but he showed no signs of relenting. On and on went his magnificient molars until all that remained was a piece of dirty dripping rubber. This too was relished and he held it daintily in between his paws as he added the final touches. The job done, Cocoa got up, trotted 11 yards, sniffed around, gracefully raised a leg and peed generously on the stumps. He cast me one final contemptuous look, sneezed violently and then went back into the house.

The match was completely ruined. We couldnt possibly raise the capital to buy a new ball and it also became certain that the stumps would remain pegged to the ground until the world collapsed and crumbled in a dust heap. We groaned and resigned ourself to cursing Cocoa's apalling behaviour.

I met Cocoa for the first time when he came into my friends house as a skinny puppy with an enormous head. I still look back with longing at those days when Cocoa was small enough to fit in my lap. Each time I sat down, he'd run towards me and clamber into my lap. I'd delight in the fact that the animal felt genuine affection for me and I'd grin proudly and stupidly each time he sat on me.

My affection for this particular behaviour began to wilt after a few of months. Cocoa weighed a solid 35 kilos and it became increacingly difficult to breathe when he sat on me. I realised it wasnt affection that made the dog push me down at will, it was downright contempt. I spent many hours lying motionless on the ground while Cocoa gnawed a bone or a coconut on my chest. I couldnt move, each time I twitched, Cocoa would stop chewing and glare menacingly.We would regard each other in complete silence until I let my head fall back. Cocoa would then resume his work, pausing occasionally to growl softly. As reward for my good behaviour, he would leave the remenants of the bone or coconut on my chest which I could chew if I wished to.

When Cocoa went from cute little puppy to terror of the household in a span of two months it I who suffered the most. I was nipped, bitten, scratched and mauled on all possible occasions. When we played downstairs, there was no way I could escape those incisors. I could never outrun him on a straight road so most of my childhood days were spent running round and round a car. I've lost count of the number of times I perambulated around that batterd Fiat car in an effort to preserve the sanctity of my bottom. A million Dinesh's could be cloned from the material on Cocoa's teeth.

Today, February the 14'th was a special day, not because women took extra care to avoid me. It was a special day this year as Cocoa was about to consummate his love for an unknown doberman so that another dozen Cocoa's could be introduced into the world. The thought of a dozen Cocoa's chasing me around the Fiat caused be to break into a cold sweat and I began making plans for a cast iron underwear.

My friend and I secretly envied Cocoa. We'd provided the dog with a home, cared for him, fed him, bathed him, played with him and guess who was getting lucky first? The damn SOB!

The mother to be was to arrive at 3:00 PM and Cocoa was expected to do his stuff and quietly leave. The female would take care of the rest. Cocoa ofcourse had no idea of what was in store for him as he quietly chewed my shoe under the bed. The tension in the house was terrific. My friend paced rapidly back and forth while I hobbled up and down on one shoe. My friends dad kept waiting at the gate , hoping to catch the first glimpse of the mate. We chewed our nails while Cocoa calmly regurgitated my shoe lace.

The suddenly the female arrived. Instantly there was as a flurry of activity. Gates were opened, the female began barking and we began scurrying up and down in search of Cocoa. After an exhaustive search I found him under the bed.

" Come out Cocoa! " I whispered.

" Growl "

" Come out! Come out!" I whimpered.

Cocoa regarded me ominously, a bit of shoe lace sticking out of the side his mouth. Long being used to having my hand bitten, I grabbed the shoelace and yanked with all my might. Cocoa drew his head back and firmly resisted growling all the time through clenched teeth. My friend pulled me and I pulled Cocoa until with great reluctance Cocoa emerged. His eyes had turned a dull red and the course of action became obvious. We dropped the shoe lace and ran. With a great howl Cocoa bounded after us, leaping up to permanantly scar our backsides. Thanks to Tom and Jerry I had learnt the art of skillfully retracting my buttocks at the last possible instant. Having adjusted my shape from convex to conave, I ran towards the garage where the happy couple where scheduled to meet for the first time.

I got the garage and with a roar Cocoa rounded the corner and bounded into view. One look at the female and suddenly everything went quiet. Cocoa was suddenly unsure of what to do and he tread cautiously towards her, his ears cocked and eyes curious. The female growled continuously undertone and snarled the moment Cocoa got too close. Cocoa leapt back and surveyed her with interest. Could it be that it was finally time to abandon the table leg for the real thing?

We decided to leave them alone together. We sneaked out and lightly closed the door. I took the time to survey the crowd. There was my friends dad, mom and sister. The in-laws consisted of a fat hairy man who owned the female and a driver who also doubled up as a " Mating expert ". I was slightly puzzled at his role. What was he expected to do anyway? Cocoa just had to follow his instincts and all would be well. I threw him this question and he grinned.

" Just wait and see " he replied and spat on the ground.

We looked with interest towards the garage and waited for Cocoa to emerge strutting, the female devotedly following him with a meek look in her eyes. In stark contrast, the door suddenly burst open and Cocoa rushed out squealing, hotly pursued by the recalcitrant female. I watched with digust as Cocoa ran round and round the same battered Fiat car. It was obvious he hadnt got lucky.

" Looks like he hasnt made a good first impression " grunted the Mating expert. He spat once more and made his way towards Cocoa who was still galavanting around the car, long after the female lost interest in his blood. I love Cocoa but I would be lying if I were to say he had a high IQ. The mating expert firmly grasped his collar and tried dragging him back to the garage. Cocoa stubbornly resisted and was dragged along his butt back into the love nest. Having shoved him in, the door was shut and we waited once more for Cocoa to emerge the man.

Silence.Complete silence.Sepulchral silence.Cocoa the silent lover silence.

The ME had a frown on his face. I guess he wanted a bit more passion, so he tiptoed towards the garage door and opened it a crack. The frown deepened into a look of complete disgust. He beckoned towards me but I declined. I like Cocoa but there was no way I was going to burst upon him now.It would be sacrilege!

" They arent doing anything " the ME hissed.

" Maybe he's done it and he's taking some rest " I hissed back.

" He's standing on top of the motorcycle, bloody fine place to rest!" he snapped back.

The ME came back obviously digusted with our hero.

" What now? " we asked.

" It simple, we muzzle and tie the female. I hold her head while he does his job." he replied.

All visions of Cocoa, the dog of pure testestorone vanished immediately.

" Cant we give him some more time? " I asked timidly.

" Listen boy, we could wait here all evening but I assure you he isint going to leave that motorcycle. Unless your suggesting we lift the female onto the motorcycle too, I'm afraid nothings going to happen!".

So we bound and gagged the female while Cocoa watched alertly from atop his perch. When it became clear the female was completely immobile, he came down and approached her with great caution. I fled the scene, I didnt want to watch this.

An hour later, Cocoa emerged strutting. He swaggered into the garden and once again relieved himself on the stumps. His manly display was abruptly cut short when the female emerged unbound and ungagged. All pretence was dropped and Cocoa rushed back into the house pausing only to snatch the ME's chappals.

Within a few months, a dozen Cocoa's came into the world and everyone was happy. All I had to do now was to patiently wait for 12 dobermans to get over the fascintation of my tempting backside.

So that is the happy tale of how Cocoa became a daddy. It is also the unhappy prequel to " Cast iron underwear, where can I get one? "

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'd sent a writeup to the Hindu Business Line about a month back and they never got back to me. Thus I was a bit surprised to find out that it had actually been published. Here's the link to it. Its been edited quite a bit however the original remains on my blog.

Hindu Business Line Article

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My orkut fortune for sunday said "You will pass a difficult test that will make you happier".

Well, I took the test...but has it made me happier? Only time will tell.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It’s a hot and sweaty Saturday morning and I'm standing at the gate of the institute, waiting for an important alumnus to arrive for a meeting. Being part of the alumni committee has lots of perks but this isn’t one of them. The alumnus had said he’d be here in ten minutes. That was over an hour back and I curse my luck as the full sleeve formal shirt complete with a tie gently cooks my body to medium rare. I don’t even like the tie. It isn’t mine and I'd been forced to borrow it. It’s bright red with garish yellow stripes and it makes me stand out like a beacon to passerby’s who need directions. With my broken Hindi, I try my best but I get the feeling they don’t have a clue as to what language I’m speaking.

The security guard is amused and he calls out from time to time, “ Not come yet has he?
I shake my head in remorse and he grins. I guess it’s nice for him to watch a student sweat in the sun like him instead of dozing in an air-conditioned classroom. As a drop of sweat runs down my nose, I spot a small thin man with a battered suitcase make his towards me. Another lost soul, I presume and I decide that I will talk to him only in Tamil.

“ Why are you standing at the gate?” he asks me in crisp English and for a moment I’m surprised. He looks like a man who lives on the street and the last thing I expected was faultless English.

“ Is the institute open today”, he asks his next question and before I can reply, he answers himself “Oh yes, you have students in the hostel who will be here on weekends too.”

“What is the fees they charge?” he asks the next question and I find myself getting a little annoyed. It’s not pleasant being assaulted with questions by a complete stranger. The fees is fairly steep and not something you feel comfortable disclosing to someone you don’t know.

“You may ask at the admission office.” I reply and look away. He smiles knowingly and shifts himself in front of my gaze.

“What is your educational qualification?”

I look into his eyes. They are large, bright and have a maniacal gleam in them. The security guard looks on with avid interest. I don’t want to answer him but don’t know how to avoid a direct question. I struggle inside and finally mutter, “ Engineer.”

“What specialization?”

“Electrical and Electronics.”

“What specialization have you chosen here?”

“ I will decide in my second year.”

I hate every moment of it. I don’t have the guts to ask him to stop bothering me and I hate the way he’s wringing answers out of me.

He senses my discomfort and smiles.

“Listen to me. In two years you will get a job that pays you a nice fat salary. Then you will get married. But remember this! Keep your wife close to you!”

I look at him in confusion. I don’t know how to react. He comes close to me and looks penetratingly into my eyes. His smile disappears and is replaced by a fearsome scowl.

“Only ten percent of your salary to your brothers and sisters. The remaining ninety percent goes to your wife. If you don’t do that, you’ll end up like this man, a divorcee, a pauper who walks on the road with no chappal.”

He turned around and began walking away rapidly. I didn’t know what to make of the whole thing but it bothered me. I looked at the receding figure and wondered. Did he have some place to go? Was he walking with a great sense of purpose towards a place, which did not exist? Was there anything at all in that broken suitcase? Did he have any food or clothes in it? I wish I’d asked him his story. What had gone wrong with his life? Could the same thing happen to me?

When you studying in a B school, you completely forget the world outside. You assume everyone will earn a six-figure salary, everyone will drive an expensive car and everyone will travel the world. You party, you get drunk, safe in your knowledge that in the near future that some well known company will scoop you up.

As I stood at the gate of my B school, I realized that I was standing at the line that divided two very different worlds. I turned to the security guard.

“Call me when the alumni comes, I’m going inside.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The song that haunts the corridors of IMT and now my room...

tere bin main yun kaise jiya
kaise jiya tere bin
tere bin main yun kaise jiya
kaise jiya tere bin
lekar yaad teri raaten meri kati - 2
mujhse baaten teri karti hai chaandani
tanha hai tujh bin raaten meri
din mere din ke jaise nahi
tanha badan tanha hai ruh nam meri aankhen rahe
aaja mere ab rubaru
jeena nahi bin tere
tere bin main yun kaise jiya
kaise jiya tere bin
tere bin main yun kaise jiya
kaise jiya tere bin

kabse aankhen meri raah mein tere bichhi - 2
bhule se hi kahi tu mil jaaye kabhi
bhule na mujhse baaten teri
bheegi hai har pal aankhen meri
kyun saans loon kyun main jiyu
jeena bura sa lage
kyun ho gaya tu bewafaaa mujhko bata de wajah
tere bin main yun kaise jiya
kaise jiya tere bin ...
tere bin main yun kaise jiya
kaise jiya tere bin ...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm home!

However my biological clock is on IMT time. I slept through the entire day and woke up late in the evening.Its 12:30 AM now and I feel fresh and ready to take on any challenge...but I'm alone..everyone else is asleep.

Fresher's party at IMT....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I'll be going home for 4 days this friday, I cant wait!

As much as I crib about the life here, I've actually had a really good time. The pace of life and trying to be a 4 places at the same time does get to me, but its been a really nice experience.

Right now I look forward to filter coffee(Not Nescafe cat piss), rasam sadam, thair sadam, no phone calls at 2 in the morning("Can you come to my room for the OB project meeting?"), no falling asleep at peculiar hours, not waking up with my heart hammering("Shit, do I have a presentation to make today??").... I need peace...home made peace...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Being in a B school keeps you on your toes. I’m always running around and doing so many things I completely lose track of why I’m actually doing the thing I’m doing. I’m having trouble prioritizing things. Do I study for the quiz or head for the alcom room to make my calls? Do I attend the meeting for the OB project or attend the meeting for the marketing project? Do I figure out how to make a decent profit loss account or do I research the next company that’s coming to campus for summer placements? Everything seems important, I want to do them all but I find myself doing something while wondering if perhaps I should be elsewhere.

There are those who manage to do them all and still find time for a basketball match. Something inside them is driving is them….and I’ve realized I don’t have it yet. There’s a part of me, which rebels at all the hard work. I’m a type B personality caught in a type A environment and I feel guilty about it.

I realize I came to a B school not for the academic learning or the placements. I came to a B school because I felt there were a lot of things about me, which I needed to change. I felt a B school would drive the dreamer out of me and turn me into someone who was assertive and got the job done. Now as I actually try to accomplish a dozen tasks a day, I long for the day I can just loll on the bed without a care in the world. Will that day ever come? What is more important to me? Getting the job done or sitting back and reflecting on life? Can I do both? Only time will tell.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

At the end of 3 weeks, we were a limp demoralized lot. The faculty had taken pity on us initially and hadn’t objected too much to our corpse impersonations in class. As the weeks went by however they became more and more irritable and took to prodding those of who drooled on the table, far away in their own sweet world where no senior would bang on the door at 4 in the morning.

Now we found it impossible to sleep during the nights. The 3 weeks had turned our biological clocks inside out. We were wide-awake at 2 PM and colder than stone at 9 in the morning.

The faculty soon started adding to our trouble. Quizzes, exams, assignments and projects began rain down on us. Only now apparently, was real life at a B School beginning.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I spent the first week of my life at IMT leading the life of a hunted animal. I wasn’t alone in my misery; every first year student at IMT will have the memory seared in his brain forever.

Every morning we would be woken up at 6 to attend yoga. We would bend, stretch and groan until 7:30. After which we’d be given an hour to bathe, have breakfast and attend class. For the first time in my life, I faced the problem of sharing a bathroom with 16 individuals fighting a frantic battle against time. I bathed in the loo for the first 3 days.

Breakfast would be eaten in a daze. It was the best meal of the day but we were too bombed to notice.

The first week was supposed to have introductory classes. I say supposed to because none of us were actually conscious to notice. Classes were followed by lunch followed by an alumni lecture. We’d be left alone for a couple of hours and then dinner. Dinner was followed by presentations made by the various committees in college. It would be 1 in the morning by the time it got over. That when the horror started.

We would assemble at the amphitheatre and the seniors would come roaring out of their rooms, fresh and charged up at the time half the world was in bed. We must salute them, they said, wish them, respect them, a senior was always right, don’t you dare forget that. And remember, it is not morning until the classes have started. Nobody cares if its 5 in the morning, you still say Good evening sir, all right?

We saluted, we roared Good evening sir over and over again but they were never satisfied. You can’t say Good evening, at least sing for us, cant sing? Dance then. Stop stop! You call that dancing? Run around the ground, waving your arms shouting, “ It’s raining, it’s raining! Oh I love the rain!”

A senior would come, scan the group and pick the guys and girls he wanted. We’d be led to different corners of the ground and made to do his bidding. We’d start of by introducing ourselves. In the first week, I introduced myself about a thousand times.

For my first PDP (they never called it ragging, it was a personality development programme), I was asked to market ‘Grassy Swipes’, nature’s all natural toilet paper.

When the senior finally got bored of us, he’d send us of to another eager senior and the whole thing would start again. I was asked to enact Rakhi Sawant yelling at Mika Singh, Kareena Kapoor caught by the press kissing Shahid Kapoor. After which I was supposed to throw myself at the feet of some unsuspecting senior and weep “ Don’t leave me, don’t leave me, what will become of our unborn child?” I don’t know why, but I always got the female roles.

Sometimes the senior would take pity on us and send us back to the room. The sympathy was wasted because just after we went back to bed, another senior would bang on the door and take us out.

The ragging would go on till 5 in the morning after which we would be bid good night. We’d stagger back and collapse on the bed. At 6 it was time for yoga. Another day had begun.

I went an entire week without sleep, bombed out my senses, not hungry, not thirsty, totally immune to the fact that the campus was actually filled with lovely women. The 7 days went by like a horror movie played in slow motion.

Updates will follow soon.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I havent got around to really writing about my experiences at IMT yet but my friend Kshitij has taken out the time to do so:


Needless to say I'm pretty flattered with his description of me :-P

Friday, July 28, 2006

Its been a month at IMT. One month of consuming nothing but chappatis, panneer, rajma, daal and holy mother of god, about a billion kilos of potato. Right now I'd just kill for a plate of this...

A more detailed post on my life here in the last month will follow soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Many apologies for this very delayed update. My life has been a blur in the last couple of weeks. I havent slept since I entered the IMT campus. Will give more details once things slow down a bit.

Friday, June 23, 2006

At around 6 PM, Balaji, Arnab and I decided to take a break from work and headed for the pantry. Balaji and I munched on our egg puffs while Arnab sipped his tea. I normally avoided coffee and tea because even after two years, I still hadn’t mastered the art of holding a thin paper cup filled with scalding liquid. For the life of me, I couldn’t drink something that hot in less than two minutes. That by itself made me a pariah in the IT community. I’d already lost count of the number of times I had dropped the cup. Needless to say, my friends stood a few feet away from me each time I did decided to have a hot drink.

Balaji took a large bite out of his puff and looked thoughtfully at the tube light above us.

“You know, I think a kid from school could work in IT without any difficulty. Lets face it, what we do isn’t rocket science.”

I had finished my egg puff and I stared hungrily at his, not really paying attention to what he’d said. Arnab on the other hand choked on his tea.

“How could you say that? I work on multiple technologies at the same time to get my project running. Think of the long hours, the impossible deadlines and the terrible pressure! How could a school kid possibly handle all that?”

“ Bullshit multiple technologies. All we do is copy and paste code. It’s the same whether you are working in java, dot net or any other language. Anybody could do it. We sit in an air-conditioned room and do manual labor. Besides I think only Indians are willing to compromise on their personal life to sit and slave in the office.”

The argument went on and despite myself I was drawn into it. I couldn’t side with Balaji who just dismissed all the work I’d done in the last year as childishly easy. Nor could I side with Arnab who believed all he had done was holy. I was somewhere between the two of them. I liked to think I was using my head to do what I was doing but at the same time I realized that if google were to shut down, I could as well retire.

So what had my last couple of years in IT been like?

I can’t say much about the first place I worked at. I wasn’t there for very long. I made a few good friends but the only thing I’ll remember is the awful time the HR gave me when I tried to leave. That instilled in me the deep sense of mistrust that almost all techies have for HR. Perhaps I have a slightly warped view of them but to me all they seemed to do was dress smart and talk smart. Software engineers are mostly an unsophisticated lot and quite incapable of verbal jugglery. This however was what HR did with ease and more often than not, they confused or scared the poor techie and then showed him the door.

I then spent the next couple of months in my second company being completely ignored by everybody. I didn’t have any work, I didn’t have a computer, I didn’t have a cubicle and I didn’t have my own dustbin. It was fun at first. I loved to travel in the big airbus to office. I loved to flash my access card. I loved using the small hand shower at the loo. I loved to use tissue paper and liquid soap at the restroom. I loved to eat at all the different joints in the cafeteria. It felt great to use a shoe polishing machine and most of all whenever people asked me where I worked, I could say I worked at company C. I worked for a known brand and I loved it when people nodded knowingly.

Two months passed and the only thing I did with the team was eat lunch and dinner at places I could never even dream of entering before. The meals were lavish, the deserts made you drool and almost everybody got drunk. I was pitied because I was both a vegetarian and teetotaler.” Go have curd rice and drink milk” my teammates would jeer. I would ignore them as I ladled vast quantities of malai kofta, panneer butter masala, mushroom masala and kashmiri pulav onto my plate. We ate every joint on ECR. We frequented GRT Grand days, Radisson, The Residency, Benz Park and Le Meriden. In short, the two months were a gastronomic delight.

All this however paled quickly. As time went by, I began to get increasingly insecure. Why was I being ignored? Was I going to spend the rest of my life without a project? If by some chance I was shifted to another project, what skills could I say I had?

Having all the time in the world and having nothing to do, I decided to start preparing for the CAT. I figured I could just sit in the library the whole day and study. At least that way I would know where my life was heading. I paid the fees at IMS and collected the material. The next day I was chucked into a new project.

With that began the most trying period in my professional life. Everything seemed just too complicated. I figured I would just design the presentation layer and then the senior people would take care of the code at the back end. That didn’t happen. At each stage, I was pushed to take on a slightly higher responsibility. I was nervous all the time. I thought that at any moment they’d realize that I wasn’t smart enough to do the work they wanted me to do. That didn’t happen either and slowly I began to enjoy the responsibility.

Between June and September, the 5 of us in the team worked 7 days a week from 9 in the morning till 2 in the morning. We became pale and lost weight. Often we forgot to shave. We also had to get used to each other’s personal eccentricities. Raja would be in a coma the entire day and then suddenly come to life at around 11 PM. He would jiggle with delight in his chair as he played Telugu movie songs at full blast.

“Chiranjeevi movie man! It is a sooper doper hit!” he would yell over the music. Through Raja, I became familiar with the world of Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and Ballaya.

“Who is a better actor? Chiranjeevi or Nagarjuna?” I asked once at four in the morning.

Raja pondered over this briefly. “Surely Chiranjeevi! Nagarjuna has style but Chiranjeevi can dance man! He is over fifty but he can really dance!” Raja would get excited and do a vague bharatanatyam movement with his arms, wiggling his bottom while never getting up from the chair.

Whenever work became a little too much for Manish, he would open up Adobe Photoshop and morph photographs. Late one night he was struck by inspiration and proceeded to graft T.Rajendrans face onto a gorilla. The final masterpiece was to remain our desktop background for several months.

Behind me sat Uday. He wasn’t in my team but he worked extreme hours too. Uday’s sole reason for existence was the promised “Onsite opportunity”. To get it, he worked insane hours. As the months went by, everybody but Uday went abroad. This pushed him further into depression and he’s pass time checking out the maximum and minimum temperatures at California, Chicago and New Jersey. Then he would call up his friends who were already there and talk about the weather.

One evening as I sat at my computer, I felt that it was getting a little dark outside.

“Is it raining? ” I turned around and asked.

“Wait I’ll check.” I half expected him to get up and go outside but I should have known better. Uday checked the weather on google.

Uday had to endure 3 last minute project cancellations before he finally caught a plane to New Jersey. As luck would have it, he managed to lose a hundred dollars even before he got onto the plane.

Work meanwhile for me was intense and fast paced. Most of the time I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. I would use the senior peoples code as a reference and then blindly copy paste most of it. “Code first, understand later” was the advice I was given. I was too confused to object.

Working late into the night was interesting at first. It made me feel I really belonged to IT. When I had lunch with my friends, I could look wearily at them and say, “ I was in the office till 4 in the morning!” They would nod in understanding and there would be a moment of respectful silence. “Here’s another guy slogging it out to meet deadlines” I imagined they would think. “He’s one of us all right.”

I enjoyed the new respect I was getting but I hated working nights. It left me totally disoriented. I was always nervous and subject to frequent bouts of depression. I didn’t have a personal life and I lost all hope of clearing the CAT.

The project went live in September and the first couple of weeks were used to fix bug after bug. This is when I began to really understand what we’d done over the last few months. I had to delve deep into the code to fix these issues and I ended up learning a lot. I began to take a more active part in the conference calls with the onsite coordinator and the client.
During the first couple of calls, I was awkward and nervous and I spoke too fast. I couldn’t understand what the clients were saying. Their speech was slow and measured and I found it hard to wait for them to finish a single sentence. With a little more experience I began to enjoy leaning towards the speakerphone and speaking in a deep loud voice.

“So would you like the data to be validated in the front end or the back end?”

“I think we need to code a daemon thread to for that requirement.”

“Ha Ha! It does not snow in Chennai!”

I loved to speak in jargon. Most of the time I didn’t understand what I was saying but it made me feel really good. I was a hardcore techie using hardcore computing terms.

After a rough first couple of weeks in September fixing bugs, suddenly I had no work. But for an occasional enhancement I was usually free. Having ignored the CAT all along I jumped back in right earnest. I sat in the library all day and worked out paper after paper. This was my revenge for being forced to work night and day and I was lucky to have a very understanding team leader.

“Get out of here as soon as you can.” He advised me. “ You’ll get stuck in a rut if you stay on. Software engineers are a dime a dozen. You’ll be just one among the thirty thousand people who work in this company.”

The CAT came and went and I did ok. I still didn’t have any work so I spent my time on google and wikipedia reading up on India’s history, geography and economy. There was so much I didn’t know but wikipedia had answers to everything. GDP, NDP, Fiscal deficit, globalization, capitalism, socialism, stock markets, banking, the WTO, cross border terrorism, China, Pakistan, Jack Welch, I learnt it all sitting at my cubicle.

By the time the next set of requirements came, I was the only experienced guy left in the team. Everybody else had either left the company, the country or the project. Now I had the privilege of being admired by the freshers. They had exactly the same fears and doubts I had when I entered and it made me feel really good when I answered all their questions and handled their code hiccups. I strutted about, gave orders and felt gratified when I was listened to.

Coming back to the original question. So what’s it like working in IT? Besides the money, are you doing any soul satisfying work? Is there intellectual stimulation or are you just doing quantity work?

With just under a couple of years of experience, I’d find it hard to give you yes no answers. I know the way I view whatever work I did now is very different from the way I looked at it when I first joined the industry. Whatever excited or challenged me in the beginning became routine in a couple of months. Unless you are trying something new all the time, work can be really frustrating. There is no fixed timetable. You could be jobless for months and then suddenly thrown into a high-pressure situation. Rarely will you have a perfect 8-hour day.

In the end what you make of your job depends on perspective. As a software engineer I felt it was my God given right to look down at those who worked in the BPO industry. “Their lives must be so boring.” I would think “All they do is speak English to some dumb foreigners at 2 in the morning.”

When I got into IMT for my MBA, for a few moments I felt intensely superior to all the software engineers who surrounded me. I was moving onto something better while the rest of them would go on copy pasting code. Now I know I was being silly. I just somehow assumed that whatever I was doing now was far superior to what everybody else did.

At some level I always knew I would be leaving and so I didn’t worry too much about performance appraisals, salary hikes or onsite opportunities- the 3 things around which every techie’s life revolves. At the end of the day I can neither bash up the IT industry nor can I worship it but I’m grateful for what it gave me. I had a lot of fun; I met some wonderful people and also saved up some money on the side.

So that’s IT for me. I don’t know if I did mind boggling work but I had a good time.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I have indulged in extreme sloth in the last few days. I watch movies on my recently purchased laptop and when I'm exhausted with that, I topple off my chair and go to sleep.

Some warning bells are beginning to go off in my head. I havent picked up a textbook in two years. How am I supposed to just slip back into the routine of classes and exams? The subjects look alien to me : Managerial Economics, Financial Accounting, Quantitative techniques for Business Decisions....I'm clueless.

I'm in Bangalore for the weekend, celebrating my 23'rd birthday. I'll be back in Chennai on monday and then I have to get serious about the packing and the shopping.

More insipid posts later.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Today was my last day at work.I'm officially unemployed now.I cant think of anything poetic to say at the moment, more on this soon.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

When we go out to meet friends or relatives, my uncle will put his arm around my shoulders and announce proudly "Dinesh is going to do his MBA!". The relatives will be suitably impressed and I will smile shyly. After which my uncle will ruin the whole thing by saying,

"He's got into IIM Ghaziabad!"

This is profoundly embarassing. The more ignorant relatives wil congratulate me for getting into an IIM while the more knowledgable ones will look at me like I'm some sort of fraud.

"Its IMT!" I'll hiss at my uncle.He will dismiss me with a wave of his hand.

"IMT, IIM its all the same..just changed a letter thats all."

While the IIM's are a powerful brand, known to everyone irrespective of whether they have prepared for the MBA exams or not, IMT is known only to those who have taken all the exams and know that it is among the top 10 schools in the country.

My mother fares no better than my uncle.After I got my admission letter from IMT, she called up all her friends and said that I had got into IMS.That was really irritating because IMS is a coaching center for entrance exams and not a B school by itself. Later that evening when we went to a relative's wedding, people shook hands with me for getting into IIFT, IIM Bangalore, TIME(another coaching center) and MDI.

"Ghaziabad is a very modern city" someone told me very gravely. "You wont believe that you are in India, its full of malls and sky scrapers!"

"Err..thats Gurgaon, not Ghaziabad.Ghaziabad is a small industrial town in Uttar Pradesh."

Its really annoying when there is not even a flicker of recognition when I say I'm going to IMT Ghaziabad.You are quickly robbed of your sense of achievment. At the end of it, you start hating the IIM's.

My only comfort comes in hobnobbing among people who have passed out of B schools and friends who have also given the exams and got into other colleges. Only when I'm with them do I feel a certain sense of satisfaction that comes from being associated with a well known brand.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I'm eighteen again. I'm at a party. There's fast music playing and people around me move and gyrate in synch with the music. Janak rotates his hips clockwise, anticlockwise and then launches into a frantic backstroke. Nikhil is jumping from point to point doing what I think is a cross between Bharatanatyam and an orangutan in heat. Gitanjali is in her own world. Her eyes are closed and she snaps her fingers as she sways to the music. In the midst of a sea of people lost to the rhythm, I stand rigid, blinking and immobile.

I can’t breathe, I can’t move and I can’t think. I hesitantly try to move my feet to something resembling a dance step but my mind rebels in a flash. For a few seconds I hold the pose, painfully self conscious and then I give up. I make my way to a corner and slouch with exaggerated nonchalance.

Several thoughts run through my head. Part of me has already dismissed my friends as fluff brained rich spoilt brats who think 'partying is so cool'. My middle class morals are offended. Discos, pubs, 5 star hotels, fast bikes, Nike shoes, foreign vacations and outrageous pocket money seem to define the limits of their consciousness. What would my grandmother think if she saw this?

I know I'm lying to myself. Truth be told, I envy my friends for their ability to just let go. I can’t. They fear of making an ass of myself in public is just too great.

As I stand in the corner, I begin examining my own shortcomings. Why am I so afraid to dance? I gently probe my brain for memories and then slowly I remember.

I'm six again. My mother who is a biology teacher in my school is organizing an educational skit on the Food Chain. At the bottom come the plants, then the herbivores, the carnivores and then finally, mankind. Due to lack of volunteers, my mother is forced to use me as a plant. I don’t object, this is the only way I can bunk math class.

Trouble is, I underestimated my mother. I assumed that as a plant, all I had to do was stand and stare expressionlessly at the audience. She has other ideas. Apparently we don’t just stand there, each layer of the pyramid is supposed to sing and dance its way onto stage and into the audience’s hearts. Honestly, my mother can be painfully naive. I'm only six but I know I'll be singing and dancing my way to public ridicule and humiliation.

Along with a dance teacher, she finalizes the dance steps for the plants:

1) Sit on the floor with your arms wrapped around your knees and your head tucked in.
2) Raise your head and look around with wide-eyed wonderment.
3) Stand up and twirl while joyfully raising your arms towards the sun, thanking the lord for the light. (Photosynthesis rocks!)
4) Link arms with your partner and sway happily from side to side as the herbivores prance onto stage and start eating you.

The dance teacher is unhappy. The dance is not cute enough for some reason and she ponders over what moves we could use to entice the audience. She hums to herself as she moves experimentally. Seconds later she hits on the perfect move.

“I want all of you to this as you come up,” she says as she twirls upwards. She turns around wiggles her bottom.

There’s not much one can do when a forty year old woman with an iron will wiggles her bottom at you. I was only six, so in mute agony, we turn around and wiggle our bottoms at her. She’s thrilled.

Now they’ve discovered a technical snag. How exactly do the herbivores eat us? My mother answers almost immediately. She runs out and returns with a few plants stems. She removes a few of her hair clips and forcibly pins the stems onto my head.

Now the herbivore is asked to leap around me for a while and then pull the leaves out of my head with his teeth. I screech in agony as he tugs away with great determination. The clips are too tight.

I have no memories of the actual performance. My brain in all probability suppressed them in an effort to salvage my ego. I just remember they painted my face green and then strapped a potted plant to my head.

I’m going to be 23. I still can’t dance. Will I ever learn? Can I overcome that traumatic experience?

I’ve decided that in the three weeks I get before I leave for Ghaziabad, I’m going to attend a dance class. Will I have the guts to go for it? Only time will tell.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Its been a year since I received that fateful email.I cant believe time flies by so fast...

Its been a year that has been both rewarding and punishing.I've had a great time at work.Life at the office has been challenging in a fun, positive kind of way.I've been lucky to have some truly amazing people as my colleagues.

My career goals are also on track.I knew I wanted to get into one of the top B schools in the country and I did manage that.Yes,there have been times that I rued the fact that I didnt get an IIM call..but its ok.I'm sure IMT is going to be a great experience.

On the downside, its been a year where I've struggled with deep loneliness, anger and extreme confusion. I've asked myself what went wrong and relived and analyzed every mistake a thousand times.Its not easy to just let go of the past.Im not someone who can switch off my feelings and carry on when I know that what I had was beautiful.

But I'm putting my demons to rest today.I know I did my best.Sometimes things just dont work out.People change, but for better or for worse depends entirely on ones perspective.I gave it my best shot and thats enough.

I know I'm moving on to something better.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The weekend finds me in Calcutta, I'm travelling to Orissa tomorrow to attend a wedding.Whose wedding you might I might as well tell you.If what I heard was right, its my mothers-brothers-wives-uncles-grandaughter who is going to tie the knot.As you can see, we are all very close :P.

I dont feel very wordy at the moment.More updates soon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

LR and Kroopa,I deleted the post because I thought it was very badly written.Forgive me for deleting your comments in the process.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Well, my brief but lively career as a software engineer will come to an end soon. I've been offered admission to the MBA program at IMT Ghaziabad.

Just a lil dazed at the moment. More on this soon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

As I make my way down the stairs, I notice Mukund, my four year old neighbour standing at the door. His shoes are a shiny black, hair oiled and combed and holy ash smeared on his forehead and arms. With his school bag hanging from his shoulders, he’s just raring to go. Only one problem, he does not have a shirt on.

I look quizzically at this bare chested Tarzan.

“Dei, Where’s your shirt?”

He looks down and casually examines himself. He looks up and a beatific smile slowly spreads across his face.

“I put my pant zip today!”

I congratulate him heartily. Big mistake. Fired up with enthusiasm, he advances towards me to cross examine my own zippered condition. I beat a hasty retreat.

At the office, I spend the morning looking deep into the gory innards of my project . Another bug has been discovered and I know the rest of my week is ruined. This is one of those terrible bugs whose origins are unknown. It occurs under a certain conditions though what those conditions are, the on-site guy is not sure.

A great wave of helplessness overcomes me. Just as I’m ready to weep, my TL taps me on the shoulder. “Video conference with the client, we have to stay back.”

A video conference sounds interesting; I’ve never been to one before. When I first joined the project, attending my first audio conference filled me with pride. I felt pretty important as my group sat in a circle around the speaker phone, leaning forward and straining our ears to make out the words among the static.

I remember waiting with bated breath as my TL leaned forward to utter his first words to the on-site chap.

“So have you been to a strip club yet?”

This time, it’s even bigger. The video conference is to be at the exalted sixth floor. That’s where all the top management sit. I can’t wait.

As the day goes by, I start getting a little worried. What if I get self conscious and start grinning into the camera? What if I giggle and titter as my project manager discusses matters of high importance? My stomach churns at the thought.

Finally its 7:30 PM and twenty five of us make our way to the sixth floor. The security guard lets us in and we stop to admire the interior decoration. It’s a far cry from the miles and miles of cubicles on my floor. I’m tempted to sink into one of the sofas and pick up a magazine but my TL nudges me ahead.

The conference room looks like a scene out of Star Trek. Two huge flat screen TV’s with a camera on top are positioned in front of a horse shoe shaped table. One TV to show us the client and the other to show us how we look to the client. The chairs are incredibly comfortable and I choose one right at the corner where I won’t be visible on camera. Seconds later my project manager politely nudges me and asks me to sit elsewhere. Now I’m bang in front of the cam and I know I’m going to end up humiliating the entire team.

We wait as the technicians hook things up and make the connection. There are a couple of freshers in my team who keep grinning at each other and I hope they crack up before I do.

Suddenly we see the image of our on-site coordinator smiling awkwardly at us.
We make some stilted conversation while he waits for the clients to arrive. I'm quite relieved though, the TV images are a little blurred. Even if I lost control and simpered at the camera, it wouldn't be very noticeable.

The clients arrive and some awkward small talk is made. They want know to in which part of India we are sitting in and when we say Chennai, they look at us blankly.

“Does it snow there?” they ask and some of us choke.

To them we seem like curiosities,Indians sitting in some vague part of India where for some reason it does not snow.

They gradually bring up the agenda for the meeting and we go through a power point presentation. They start talking among themselves and we gradually realise that we have absolutely no role to play in the meeting. Its 9 PM and most of us are starving. The clients show no signs of letting up and continue to engage in what seems like a pointless conversation. Suddenly one of them starts fumbling in his bag. We sit up and take notice. What exactly is he doing?

He takes something out of the bag and starts unwrapping it. Seconds later he takes a big bite out it and starts talking again as he chews. We cant believe it. He's actually eating in front of us.

I cant take it anymore. I mute the speaker so that we cant be heard and hiss at my PM.

“Whats he eating???”

“Its a bagel, it comes in different flavours. Cheese, garlic and so on....”.

I don't get it. Here we are,sitting so formally and trying to ignore our rumbling tummies. There they are, eating live on television.

The meeting stretches on and on. He finishes his bagel and sips coke. Most of us here are in an advanced stage of coma.

We suddenly lose the video. We can only hear them and it takes them some time to realise we cant see each other. Then they agree that we had an extremely informative meeting and that it was good to meet the offshore team. So much was discussed and a lot was learnt. I rouse my team mates and we gradually make our way out of the room.

I'm never attending another video conference.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I dedicate this post to the South African Team for the most thrilling match of all time!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Kroopa,I'm sorry you didnt like it, I guess I'll have to work on it a bit more.

Who art thou LR? Will you ever forgive me for deleting your comment? :-). I deleted the entire post on my English teacher, fixed every single spelling mistake and grammatical error I could find and put it back on. You were absolutely right,I should not have written a tribute to my english teacher with faulty grammar. Forgive me for deleting your comment in the process :-)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Forgive me my gentle readers, I've been bitten by the writing bug. For reasons unknown, I wish to write my first book. Written below is my first attempt at a beginning. Feel free to criticize :-). PS: The title is Indian Born Confused Desi :P

Three distinct wails were heard the night I was born.The first emanated from me as the doctor repeatedly spanked my newborn bottom to get me to cry.The second came courtesy my sister who wailed when she heard she wasnt exactly getting a baby sister. The third and final one came from my mother minutes after emerged from the influence of the anaesthetic.

"This is your baby boy!" gushed the nurse. My mother took one look at me and burst into tears. I was born into a world of sorrow.

Each one of us in our own way was quite justified. I had been flogged on arrival. My sisters dearest wish to have a younger sister had been rudely squashed after the doctor quickly examined my essentials.

My mother, heavily depressed by sedatives stared blearily at her latest offspring and then slowly turned right and looked at the healthy baby in the neighbouring bed.She turned back, took one final look at me and unleashed the tears.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

For all you bloggers out there, there's a blogging competition being held at Saarang. You can get more details at and

All the best :-)

Friday, January 13, 2006

How does one behave when one is in the presence of a celebrity? Do you dog his footsteps? Or do you ignore him completely and go about your business? I wish I could have neatly fallen into one these categories. Instead I walked about the gym with casual indifference and then when no one was looking, goggled at him with my mouth open.

I didn’t really think of asking for a photograph until it occured to me that by pure luck I had my digi cam with me. Earlier in the day I had taken a lot of snaps at the office. Our internal website needed each individuals photograph and profile and so my digi cam was in high demand. My cubicle had been converted into a mini studio. I took the photographs while my colleague beautified (and later mutilated with warts, pimples, buck teeth, drool, Veerappan moustaches and horns) them with Adobe photoshop.

When I realised I had my digi cam, I became simultaneously excited and nervous. The rewards were obvious. I could flaunt the photo at the office and be popular for a day. On the other hand there was a good possibilty that Vikram would give me a disgusted look and ignore me.

I circled him hesitantly several times and each time he looked questioningly at me, I’d pick up the nearest dumbell and exercise some randomly chosen body part. In the space of one hour, I lifted 2.5 pounds for my biceps, squatted 100 pounds for legs, performed over 15 sets of crunches for my abs and did endless sets of push ups and pull ups.

I gradually realised that while I was setting up myself for an early death at the gym, I still hadn't asked him for a snap. So I drank a litre of water, did another 5 sets of squats and tripped and stumbled my way towards him.

When I actually asked him, it felt like an out of body experience. I heard my voice say something like “Vikram, would you mind if I had a picture taken with you? Then the world stopped rotating.

He smiled back.” Shall I take it using my cell phone?” he asked, showing me his fantastically advanced mobile. I didn’t hear a word of what he said. My God, he’d actually replied!

“I’ll bring my camera!” I blurted and ran up to fetch it.

So then I got him to stand next to me and got the former Mr.Chennai who is one of the instructors to take the picture. Because Vikram is one of the biggest stars in the Tamil film industry, he can smile confidently at a camera. Because I am a software engineer with one-year experience in Java, I can look with supreme confidence into a camera and look like I have amoebic dysentery.

I guess Friday the 13’th was a pretty lucky day for me :-)