Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blame Game

The Blame Game is something that we see in our daily lives. It’s increasingly being used in all fields and at ones workplace to be a pro @ playing the Blame Game is considered a pre-requisite to become a successful boss.
Now why did I choose to write about this all of a sudden? Well it has been over 6months since my last post. Owing to work/travel commitments I’ve not been able to write. But today when I was reading my regular dose of news feed on my way to work, I saw this piece of article by the Pakistan Hockey Federation & their national hockey captain. Then I thought its time that we learn how to accept defeat/mistakes gracefully and learn how to be successful not only in superficially but by the word itself.
Now, coming back to the article that instigated me to write this post. The Pakistan Hockey Federation claimed that the Indian crowds were being too abusive and booing them so much so that they lost against India in a do-or-die match in the recently concluded CWG. Now, there is a possibility that there would have been a handful of people in the crowd that would’ve used profane language but in general the crowd was just supporting and cheering the home team (any crowd would do this). If this was a reason why the Pakistani Team lost in the hockey match, I think they should consider having a tie-up Bose and ensure every player uses a noise-cancellation wireless headphone if & when they play (no pun intendedJ ). Secondly, and most importantly, if losing and if finishing bottom wasn’t enough, they try comparing their result against the Aussie’s and proclaim that their loss was better than India’s loss!
Now the other blame games of Kalmadi to Modi, from Rooney to the Aussie’s everyone is busy playing the blame game like it’s something to be proud off. There may be instances where you get blamed and criticized for something you are not solely responsible for, but doesn’t it make more sense to let your actions do the talking than words. Why do we always look for a temporary way out and never ever look at the bigger picture?
Before I sign off, when I say we it means all of us (including me), so I’m not giving ‘Gyaan’ (an Indian word for an over-rated, unnecessarily long, metaphor filled, stern toned piece of something that is supposed to be advice & instead ends up being meaningless and agitating the recipient).
I just wanted to say that it is not enough to be good in everyone else's eyes, rather its more important to have a good character and do the right things even when nobody's looking.

PS: This post has no image nor formatting as I couldn't wait to get home and do the necessary on my computer hence I've posted it from my phone.. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Was it 'Just Another Day'?

It was about 9.15 on a saturday morning and Bruno (My Labrador) woke me up and it was then I realized that I’m late! Freak I’d missed 2 alarms thanks to sleeping with the AC gushing on my face… Nevertheless I still made it a point to read the newspaper before getting ready to leave.. I had to be there at 10! After a longish Taxi journey I reached Air India Building (Nariman Point, Mumbai) by 10.15. For a second after paying the taxi I thought to myself “I’m late, but still I’m here and it’s only going to be a couple of minutes to the 10th Floor on the elevator”.
I went through the regular security checks only to realize that the elevator wouldn’t go above the 2nd floor for some stupid reason. As always ‘when you are late, the environment around you delays you further’. So I ran up the remaining 8 floors to finally, I mean finally, reach the 10th Floor conference room for my ‘Toastmasters Session’! :P
I hadn’t missed much as the session itself was delayed due to last minute logistic issues. The theme of this session had drawn inspiration from the ‘IPL’ and was called ‘Toastmasters Premier League’. It went on really well with excellent speeches. For the record I even learnt the origins of the word ‘Shanghaied’. But yeah, I was done with the session by 11:30 and after a bit of ‘Socializing’:P with the other toastmasters, we (four of us) found ourselves at the building’s exit wondering what to do on this insanely HOT Saturday afternoon?
Just then I remembered the last scene from the Hindi Flick ‘Wake Up Sid’ and decided that I wanted to go to that edge of Marine Drive. The other three were nice enough (actually nice would be an understatement, I should be more grateful) to accompany me in the blistering Sun. After a while, we all realized we were human and that it was too hot to stay there without getting something to drink! So we decided to go to a Barista at Colaba Causeway. But it was to be only three outta the four of us as one our dear friend (Prathaviraj) worked on weekends.
It was a feeling of being in heaven when we sipped our mango smoothies after sending off Prathaviraj and getting to Barista. Just then I randomly suggested about going for a movie. So, we walked down to Metro Big Cinemas and were left with no option but a new Hindi flick called ‘Paatshala’. We got tickets and then went ‘hotel hunting’ as it was time to treat our tummies! Somehow after a lot of calls and walking into juice bars (our hunger made the juice bar look like a hotel that served Aloo Parathas and Paneer Sabzi) we reached a small hotel, but more importantly it had an AC.. Something that was as important as food to us, at that moment!
After that it was just busy belting (a synonym to eating when we eat like we’ve been starved for a week and the conversations are just Umm’s Ahh’s and hmmm :D) Cheese Pav Bhaji! It was about 3ish when the three of us got a cab back to the multiplex and were on time for ‘Paatshala’. It was Sreejith’s (one of the 3 souls of occupy most of this article) first Hindi movie in a theatre. In fact the day already was different for him, as he had Vegetarian food for lunch which he considered an unforgivable sin being a Pure Non-vegetarian! The movie began and man the Jinx had not yet got over. The Jinx which meant that I get to watch such movies in a theatre which don’t even deserve to be screened on an iPod sized screen. Poor Sreejith was under shock and was on the verge of saying “Who needs enemies with friends like you’ll”! ;) We (Anushree, the third un-introduced character and me) were the reason he was here. To make things worse he even missed watching his favourite football club Manchester Utd’s match (I can’t believe that being a Chelsea fan, I actually gave 14 characters of space on my blog to my rival club).
Cafe Leopold & Cafe Mondegar

Finally at about 6’o’clock the movie was over, and we now had to do something to get over the traumatic experience of the worst directorial venture ever seen on the face of the earth. This time it was Anushree calling the shots and there are no prizes for the guessing what it was! It had to be shopping, and we headed back to Colaba Causeway (a street shoppers delight). The next two hours went by with sounds of bargaining, the smell of food & beer (as we crossed Leopolds & Mondegars) and a crowd that had an equal number of Foreigners as Indians. We reached the end of Colaba Causeway only for Anushree to feel bad and embarrassed that being a GIRL she hadn’t shopped enough to reach the benchmark (average amount of shopping that has to be done that is virtually set in the minds of every girl). But we realized it was already getting late and we headed to the ever famous Marine Drive. The Queens Necklace as it is called was as good as ever. We took at nice stroll down marine drive, with the cool sea breeze, a few people jogging, a handful of vendors trying to make a quick buck selling bottled water at a premium and a few couples snogging.

Marine Drive

But, as all good things come to an end, so was this day! But not before a nice, yummy, chill, thick chocolate shake and a signature Mango Fruit Cream from ‘Bachelors’ (a 70 yr old Juice Stall at Marine Drive). Wow! It wasn’t like we’d gone clubbing or had a night out or gone white water rafting but it still was an amazing day. It was a day that was nice not because of what we did, but more because of the people involved in it and the fact that it was a day full of impromptu decisions! :)

BachelorsSo, Cheerz to Anushree and Sreejith and looking forward to more such day’s with a difference! I’d like to end this post with a quote by Fydor Dostoevsky
We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken

Sunday, March 14, 2010

4 Acts

The first time you try to go in it is not easy. You tend to wonder how people can like something like this. But as you do it more often, you start enjoying it and realize that it is indeed the best there is. Moreover I’m talking about a phenomenon that most of us are familiar with. In fact nowadays people are forced into this at a very young age, as they have no other option.
I can pretty much guess what’s in your mind at this moment. There may be a few who think I’m bordering on perverseness and the others who are sure that this is a mere attention grabber. I think I’d partially agree with the latter school of thought, as only when things are done with a difference, it is retained by our human brain. Well, all this while I was talking about Getting into Mumbai Locals! :)
It is hard to get in the first time, you hate the crowd and a few of us tend to feel claustrophobic. But, it’s indeed the lifeline of Amchi Mumbai. Youngsters today use it on a regular basis to get to school as it saves time as compared to the school buses of the past. Lastly the more you use it, the more you appreciate the time it saves and like it!
Mumbai Local

I’ve been here in Mumbai for about 3months now. Before I could land in Mumbai, I had a lot of people advising me to rent a residence very close to my place of work. Another bunch of them trying to tell me how horrifyingly crowded a train would be. But, as always I stood with my belief that ‘Experience is thy best teacher’ and decided to try it out on my own. So let me share a few of my experiences in Mumbai Locals. I have structured my article drawing inspiration from Shakespeare into Acts! J Act 1 to Act 4.

Act 1: The awakening
I landed in Mumbai on the 22nd November 2009 and reached my aunt’s place in a silent location in Mumbai called Malabar hill. The next day was my first day at work, a new page in my life. I was to go to Malad from the Grant road station (these are two stations on the Western Line in Mumbai which are 35kms apart). I bought a ticket (and initially wondered how it could be so cheap, just 8 bucks!) and waited for a train. The train came by and I got in, it was all ok (for an instance I thought what were all my friends fussing about.. hmmm.. sissies). The train went on and it reached the ever famous Dadar station, and all of a sudden people got into the train as though the world was about to end, and this was the only train that would take them to safety. People stood everywhere, on the windows, above the train, between compartments and a huge number of them hanging out and still giving an expression of being in a luxury suite of a five-star hotel! That is the exact moment I got to know from a co-passenger (who guessed from the look on my face that this was my first time) that there was also a first-class compartment to this train. A little too late, but nevertheless the train went on, and there was an announcement that ‘Goregaon’ was approaching (this is the station that precedes Malad). Just then my co-passenger told me to stand in case I wanted to get down at Malad. Finally we were at Malad, and before the train could come to a complete halt, this person from behind shouted ‘MALAD’… and the next thing I knew, I was on the Malad Platform (and thankfully in one piece, but for the rest for the day, I was forced to call my shirt a crushed look designer wear)..
I was awakened and I knew this wasn’t easy and I had to keep my eyes open. But I did have this old habit of assuming things once in a while, which was to be revisited the very next day. That brings me to:

Mumbai Train Route

Act 2: Never Assume in Mumbai
I was proud to have got my first class pass made for the route, and I stood with pride and a crease-free shirt with a ‘cool water’s’ fragrance. The train came by and I got in, it seemed a nice journey today. No pushing and even the crowd getting in at Dadar was comparatively saner, I felt delighted. The train went on, it reached Andheri(one of the major stations on the western line between Grant Road and Malad) and interestingly a lot of people got in and the train halted there for a surprising 3mins. And, all of a sudden the train started moving backwards. Before I could react, there was my second lesson in Mumbai, not all trains goto Malad, there are trains that go only till Andheri and Bandra.
I had to get down at Ville Parle (the station before Andheri) and take another train. Funny for a few, in fact even I had a laugh. In all it was another learning, and a page added to my diary of experiences. But I still hadn’t gone through an experience that was rather common. That brings me to:
Act 3: It is rather common
A few days went by and I soon got the hang of Mumbai trains and especially the western line. I started talking the railway language, ‘Churchgate Fast, Borivali Slow, All fast trains after 8 stop in the last three stations’. I was pleased with my new skill in using public transport so effectively, something I had never done in Bangalore. Moreover it was a small feeling of an achievement of sorts.
Over a period of time, I started getting off at Ville Parle and going with a friend of mine in his car (as he was bored to drive alone to Malad). I used to give him a buzz when I reached Santa Cruz station and it was like a signal for him to get ready.
Then one fine day, I got in to the train as usual, it went on and suddenly I get a call from this friend of mine asking me if ‘I’m not coming today’. I wondered why he was asking this, and Just then the announcement in the train said ‘next station Kandivili’ (this station comes after Malad). I’d slept for the first time in a Mumbai train and it turned out to be another mistake rather another experience for me in Amchi Mumbai’s very own local train. An experience that is rather common.
All these experiences and I thought I’d learnt a lot about Mumbai trains and that now I could proudly proclaim to be a mumbaikar. Reality struck, and it told me in a loud voice that ‘You’ve a long way to go my son’. That brings me to:
Act 4: Why only me?
I had made the mistakes and learnt the hard way. I had gone through crowded trains, I’d overslept and I had got down in a wrong station. The final Act which I would call a grand finale was on a Thursday evening when I had to attend a friend’s wedding reception at Borivali. I finished work at Malad, had to goto Andheri the same afternoon for work, after which I took an auto to Borivali (as the trains in this route during evenings were too crowded). It took me just 2 hrs and 20mins to reach Borivali, but nevertheless I’d reached on time! I met my other friends and had a nice time. It was about 11.30 when we guys decided to leave.
All my friends stayed rather closer to Borivali and hence decided on taking an auto. But for me ‘train’ was the only option. As this place was at the end of Borivali west, I could’nt get an auto to the station. Finally one guy agreed to drop me for 100bucks to the station, not Borivali but Dahisar. I agreed (not like I had any other options) and reached the station. It was a rather bald station, with literally nothing. No proper digital sign boards no people no chai-walas nothing. I waited for 15mins and a train arrived. I got in only to discover 5mins later that this was a Virar fast (Virar is the last station on the western line, it was about 55km from my destination Grant Road) and I had got into the train in the wrong direction. Holy Jesus Christ I exclaimed, but what could I possibly do. I thought it to be very risky to get off at any other station and hence I had to goto Virar and come back to grant road in that very train.
The story didn’t end there. As the train approached Malad on its way back, this person got into the rather deserted first class compartment and sat next to me. Soon he even asked me if I was new to this route as he is a regular and hadn’t seen me ever. I did agree only to discover from him that ‘after 11 getting mugged was a very common feature in first class compartments’. Man what a day and what a time for him to spook me with that? One hell of a train journey it was. First of all I got into the wrong train and was close to getting lost over that I listen to this from a man at 1.30 in the night. Wow!! J
Anyways I did manage to get home safely by 2.15 that night.

Train journey's in Mumbai has thought me a lot and I’ve learnt to be cautious, never assume, to be tolerant and to always be on your toes. Hence I’d like to finish my article with a quote about Mumbai trains from Suketu Mehta’s famous book ‘Maximum City’:

Of hands unfurling from a packed Bombay train compartment like petals, reaching
out to grab that one more commuter and whisk him on board. Here the metal of the compartment is unfurled like some grotesque petals, side and top.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meet the Corporates: The story of every common man WITH a MNC

Before you jump to any conclusions of a grammatical error, I’d like to expand the acronym ‘Multi National Cannibals’! Well I’m pretty sure every normal human being who hates wasting time, hates being told what to do and likes using his brain would surely agree with me on that acronym! (If you’ve got better suggestions... your welcome to express all your frustration in three words! Lolz..)
I’ve heard a lot of people fuss over corporate life. In fact for a while now I’ve heard all my friends talk about how monotonous and boring your life becomes once you enter this phase of your life. But no one actually told me how and why it is such a spoil sport... Guess it was left for me to find discover! Like they say, experience is thy best teacher! :)

Corporate LifeBased on a lot of inputs and strangers reviews over corporate life, I’ve kinda figured out a few theories that work here:

  • Theory 1: The Diligent v/s Intelligent Dilemma
    Well if you’ve to be successful in a huge corporate then you have to be intelligent. Before you jump to any conclusions, what i meant is you have to be intelligent enough to realise that here people only look at diligent workers and if you give break-through ideas you would be considered inexperienced.
    Funny isn’t it? If you are Intelligent then you wouldn’t use your intelligence!
  • Theory 2: The Dual-faced Architecture
    Every person who enters a corporate and wants to sustain in it, has to learn the art of Hypocrisy. This is an art that is learnt and honed with practise. Some MNC’s call this KT (Knowledge Transfer)
  • Theory 3: Meeting Impossible
    Meeting Impossible has two meanings. This is by far the most used theory in MNC’s today. Firstly, it refers to the fact that every organization loves taking care of their employees. They are always ready to give you a excellent salary hikes or bonus for meeting their so called TARGETS (the possibility of meeting which is equal to that of a crow turning white)
    Secondly, it refers to the amazingly long meetings which specialize in changing the way decisions are made. In other words, a decision which normally would be taken in 2 minutes would be taken in 2hours. The Rationale for which is that the decision maker already has made up his mind, and for 2 hours he tries to flaunt his authority and tries his very best to demean you!
  • Theory 4: The Boss-Superboss Chemistry
    This in other words is the ever efficient supply chain of your organization. It is the only SCM technique where the final output is always exponentially more than the input. To explain this technique I would like to illustrate with an example.
    e.g. X is the head of a vertical in a MNC. Y reports to X and is a Proj. Leader (PL). The rest of us are the TM’s (Team Members). On a sunny Wednesday morning, X is about to leave for work and just then his wife asks him to put the washing machine on his way to work as she has a kitty party to attend. This results in a clash of egos and X is totally irritated and drives to work (as usual the traffic is bad and he misses all the traffic signal’s as his day is already bad).
    He reaches work and looks for reasons to vent out his anger. So he calls Y and yells at Y for a missing comma in a report. Y in turn comes to his/her TM’s, yells at them in double the intensity ‘quoting the missing comma’ and puts a full-stop on their appraisals.

What say people?? The Moral of this article is open to interpretation!

Disclaimer: All the characters in this article are purely unintentional. J This is written without keeping any real/living person in mind. :)