Sunday, November 1, 2009

GolMal hain bhai Sab gOLmAL hain

During my onsite trips in early stages of my career, I used to write long emails back home to my college friends giving them "update".Those emails were not my usual tour diary, covering common stuffs,but I used to focus on any weird, foolishly funny and mostly unique incident that occurred on that trip surrounding me. So, when few days back, one of my college friend told me that I am blogging good and that he first noticed the "writer" inside me after going through those long emails, I thought why not revisit those emails from Hall of Fame (read from the old mail archive of yahoo group mail ) and share with a larger audience here.So, without wasting further time on introduction, here are those real funny stories, bole to ekdum 'dil se'

Words of caution: This post contains mild non-veg, I could not edit them as they are being integral part of the story itself. Viewer discretion is advised :-)

Story #1:

While going to US, I had a stop over in Frankfurt for around 2 hours and it being my first trip, I got lost while searching my connecting flight.I was late and did not have time to freshen up in the morning,thought will do it once I board my connecting flight. As soon as I boarded the flight to Chicago, I headed for the restroom with my toothbrush and toothpaste. But after I started brushing my teeth, I found something unusual, weird, indescribable taste, not the usual foam, too. I came back to my seat with a disgusting feeling inside my mouth that I never tasted before. But when I was about to keep the brush and paste into my shaving kit, I realized the toothpaste was already there!! What did I use then? I looked at my hand and I was holding, along with the tooth brush, a tube of HIMALAYA AYURVEDIC CONCEPT......ANTICEPTIC CREAM!!!

Story #2:

Once me and my friend were travelling & I was driving the car. As I needed to change my lane, I started blinking th indicator, but there were cars coming at a faster speed on the adjacent lane, so I had to wait. I let the first car pass by, then the second and then the third. By this time, I was impatient and I thought it's now or never. I sharply changed my lane in front of the incoming car from behind and almost instantly, all those colorful lights started flashing on my back. I was very confident that i was within the legitimate speed limit. Not knowing what my fault was but following the rules, I stopped at the sideways and the flashing light followed me, I was sure it was "him" and it was me he was after.

I came out of the car barefooted, with my shorts on and started walking towards the cop .By the way, I did not know that in such situations, I am supposed to sit in my car and wait for the cops to come. Any approach made by me could be seen as revolt and the cops are allowed to shoot me. Anyway, knowledge posessed at the right time matters and not afterwards. I heard the guy shouting at me but did not realize his words. I gradually reached towards him and after a long discussion with him, I finally realized what I did. The cop was chasing those three cars which I let pass by in the beginning as they were over speeding and I actually blocked him from following them. Poor me, but I was still fortunate that I was not fined and more importantly, I was not shot.

Story #3:

After exploring all the nice scenic beauty around the Miami beach, we felt it was time to take a step forward. Yes, you are right, we wanted to explore the nude beach!!! We did not know the direction, nor did we get any help from Yahoo Maps. Only information, we had was one of our senior visited there few days back with my same old friend (I mentioned before) and now that friend is to lead the way for us from the front. But unfortunately , he only remembers some turn at some places not the exit number not the name of the place. He told us "You take me there then I can recognize but I can't tell how to go there"!!Can you imagine a better navigator??

So, we set out for this audacious adventure and after roaming around for an hour or so around Miami, finally we reached the parking lot of a beach. My friend told us the name of the beach sounds familiar to him, but as opposed to what he promised before, he can't recognize the place!! Anyway, we entered the parking place hoping to get some information from the security guard there and to make things worse for us, there was a lady at the ticket counter. How could we ask a lady whether that is the nude beach!!! Everyone was hesitant but at the same time not ready to back off after coming so far. So, I (Why me? I don't know. Either I was the foolest of the lot so they could have convinced me or somewhere I had read before leaders step up in situations when no one else does !!) finally gathered some courage and approached the lady

"Mamm..(mumbling already) is it the XYZ (I don't remember the exact name now) beach?" Even though we had read the name at the entrance but we had no other idea of starting the discussion..
Lady: "Yes, it is the nude beach you are looking for. $20 per hour"!!! We were still as if struck by a lightning, we did not expect to be exposed and that too in front of a lady that we were looking for a nude beach. We might be just interested to visit the beach in general and not interested in that "special" fenced area!! GOD knows what made her think like that, but I hope it was not evident on our facial expression.Still feel shame about that incident :(

Story #4:

This is the second part of the story related to the same beach, happened after a year during another trip, it was time to guide our juniors. This time, we did not have any difficulty reaching there, enjoyed a lot and came back to our apartment. Everyone got involved chit-chatting of what they have seen, they have done there etc. Suddenly I saw one of our junior very depressed, not taking part in the discussion and sitting aloof.

"Kyu re kya huan?..tu itna udas kyu hain" (what happened? why looking depressed? ) I asked...
"Nehi actually not feeling good, mujhe wahape(he was referring to the beach) nehi jana chahiye tha" (I shd not have gone to that beach)..he replied.
"are thik hain" I said, "parents ko thodi pata chalega, aur tera abhi GF bhi nehi why r u worrying"? (anyway parents will not know this and you do not have a GF yet to answer, so chill)
He replied instantly "yeh thik nehi huan, kuch cheese ey shadi ke bad hi dekhna chaiye"!!!(This was not right, certain things should only be seen after marriage!!) I have never heard a better one liner than this in my entire life.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Customer is GOD

If there is one mantra driving business all over the world, then it had to be "Customer is GOD". Since the day we turn into a professional till we retire, so many times in so many situations we are bombarded with this single line phrase, that the real GOD sitting above takes a back seat.And because GOD is the super power, he can't ever go wrong, he even can't afford to and so are His so many avatars on the mother earth.'They' are always correct.

Whether we like it or not, this business model will continue until and unless someone comes up with a better idea/better slogan to run the businesses with a bigger profit margin.And this model works OK as long as we are inside the four walls of our neat and clean AC offices, some time we curse the customer, some time we make fun of them to flush out our frustration but we accept that he is the GOD and we move on.But the ugly teeth of the problem comes out even bitterly when we are out of the office, the role is reversed and now we are 'the Customer'.We start behaving as if the rest of the world is at our service, be it the restaurant we go to, the airlines we fly in and even the mere grocery shop we go to.

Basic dignity and respect towards a fellow human being is vaporized. We are all out with our 'the Customer' tag, a slight mistake on the other side make us furious (only we forget the lesson "To err is human") and we don't mind asking for his head, after all how could he make the customer unhappy.We easily forget we were nothing more of a kitten a few hours back inside that four walls, not even daring to speak. In a country where the demi Gods (read the cricketers) are often treated better than the real GOD & where money talks more than anything else, this is of no surprise at all.Incidents of human being harassing another human being in the name of not adhering to 'Customer Satisfaction' is so common that we have lost the sensitivity to even notice it.

Once I was traveling from Mumbai to Kolkata on a flight and because of traffic or whatever reason, the airplane was waiting for long on the side ways before taking off.I was feeling very hot and asked the air hostess whether the temperature inside the flight is Ok.In the same situation another discussion goes between the person sitting beside me and the air hostess as follows:
P(Passenger): Is not the AC running?
H(Air hostess): Yes sir, it is running perfectly.
P: Then am i lying? Are not you able to see the I am sweating? (How on earth an air hostess would know whether a person is sweating?Is that part of her job responsibility)
H: Sir, I am sorry, but as soon as it would be air born, the temperature would be just fine.
P: Why is it taking so long to take off? Why don't you ask the pilots?
H: Sir, I don't have any idea and because this is take off time, we are not allowed to go inside the cockpit.
P: So, then what do we do now? Wait here for eternity and sweat like pig? (This was not some dehati flying for the first time, but a suited booted executive)
H: Sir i am really sorry, we will try our best to adjust the temperature.Sorry for the inconveniences.
And as soon as the air hostess is gone, that guy starts talking to me to gain support in favor of him and as always I feel disgusted talking to such people, so just after nodding my head once I looked other way.

We copy so many things from the west and we don't forget to refer to the west when cribbing about our country but more often than not, we forget to imbibe the good qualities from them and one of them is "No job is detestable".There are better jobs and there are not so good one, there are highly paid ones and there are of low wages, too but nothing of them gives any one the right to disrespect the other fellow human being.Why are we so much self possessed about our social status that we don't waste a single opportunity to show it off?Why don't we be a little considerate in our demand (I agree that we should get the service if we are paying)?And above all, why do we forget what mental trauma we go through when humiliated by our supervisor/customer? When we are serving the customer, we wish if the customer was understanding, flexible and shows respect to us and unfortunately we forget everything when we are sitting at the other side of the table.I don't think I have ever seen a worse example of double standards...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our Eid, Their Durga Puja

The religious demarcation does not leave as much an unfathomable impression on the aged mind as it does on a young soul. Being grown up, you make a choice and take a decision, but for the younger ones, who are yet to conceive the true essence of religion, it is baffling as well as sometimes heart breaking not being able to realize why Durga Puja is “their” festival where as Eid is “our”s.

All my close friends till date are from non-Muslim background & I never seemed to have questioned why. Neither had I any prejudice of considering their religion before making friends, nor my traditional parents ever forced me to be friend with “Muslims” only .They were my closest circle and they still are and I never found difference in religious beliefs making any interventions ever into that sacred territory.

But it was that time of the year, when the two biggest festival of both these religion, the Durga Puja & the Eid, were celebrated I used to find myself secluded from this known circle of mine. Neither did they do it intentionally, nor did I keep myself away. I was never fascinated about wearing new clothes during festival, but when they used to boast of their increasing count of Pujo’r Jama (Puja shopping), I wished the same for me, too. When I saw all their houses coming to live with pre-puja preparation, it was the usual day-in-day-out in our house. The gentle touch of the sweet breeze without the suffocating humidity from the previous rainy season, the blue sky above except a cluster of clouds scattered throughout, the huge puja mandaps being built and the roads being lit up to embrace the Mother Goddess, everything in the whole environment seemed to have gone for a facelift except my nearest vicinity being the usual same, everywhere I used to sense that pujo pujo gandho (I could not translate it into English, but here are the ingredients to make that "pujo pujo smell" in the comments section of this post ) , except no activity, no hustling bustling in and around our house.

Of all the four days, I missed the Ashtami the most. All the people used to gather at the pujo pandels to offer the Anjali to Debi Durga. While for the elders, it was devotion time, it was that unique golden opportunity of the year for the Gen Next. The boy would anxiously wait for her since morning and plan the timing for Anjali together (the girl will obviously come with her family, so the enactment had to be perfect with precious timing as if they just bumped into each other to sweep away any suspicion). Therefore, on the D-day, while all my friends would be rigorously working on their self made assignment, I would be trying my heart out to concentrate on my studies, just to distract myself from being left alone, just to brush off the despondency of not being able to offer my Anjali with her, not being able to contemplate that rare glimpse of her in those gorgeous sarees (Well…for those looking at me with a suspicious look, you know most of these were one-sided that time & today I don’t have slender idea of where she is & I am happily married, happy ha?).

Nabami night is the one, I would be earnestly looking forward, when all of us would go for our puja darshan. This was the only breather for me in those suffocating four days, when, I would be among them again and enjoy the festival, which is as much of mine as of theirs. We would roam around the town for Debi darshan with most of us eagerly looking for the "other" debi, the love of our life, how fabulous they look in their puja dresses, we would also keep an vigil so that we don’t get caught off guard by any of our teachers, and we would finally end our excursion by having an sumptuous meal in a restaurant (in those days we did not have cultures of eating at places every now and then and so we would look for this day to have a full meal outside, of our choice and most importantly sponsored by parents :D)

And when it was Eid for us, my day would start with praying Eid er Namaz at the nearby mosque in the morning, taking blessings from the elders and giving blessing to my younger sister too, a 100 rupee note,and then having delicious meals in friend's & neighbor's places. Somtime it also included various sports competition arranged by a local club. But amidst all these, I would still feel solitary, my celebration being incomplete and would be impatiently looking for the afternoon, when all my friends would visit our house. Then only, my Eid celebration would be in full swing. Without them, it would be just another day gone by.

Today, staying away from Kolkata I don't miss Durga Puja as much as I did then and I also don't miss Eid without my friends, for my very own circle has grown up with my wife, brother-in-law, nieces and likes. I have also realized friendship is not about meeting them day in day out, more importantly be there when they need. But the silent solitariness of those 4 days still scrape my inside, and the ineffable pain of missing those precious moments makes my heart tattered at times. My sacrosanct childhood questions my profane adulthood "Was I incomplete? And why was me different from my coevals"? Is it because the month long Puja'r chuti, the family vacation, the Rabindra Sangeet being played out at almost every Puja pandels, everything created an exuberance that wrapped the whole ambiance which Eid never did for me.Or is it because somewhere the thin underlying religious difference played its part, if I was to offer Anjali
with them and if they were to pray Eid er namaz with me, religion would have reached the pinnacle of divinity. If i had Muslim friends, would the celebration be different? Whatever it may be, the aged me never had an answer to the question of that effervescent child and I will never have the answer...

Friday, September 11, 2009

My MOTO: Memories Forever

This is my personal opinion about one of the organization I had worked before and I have intentionally ommitted the name of the organization to avoid any
unnecessary controversy. I have used "MOTO" below whenever I need to refer to the organization.
I repeat this is my "personal opinion" & everyone is entitled to have their own and agree/disagree with me.

Hardly a couple of months back, with MOTO announcing the closure of one of its business division in Hyderabad, the journey finally came to an end. The journey, that started a decade ago in a tiny little corner of a rented house with very few employees, made MOTO-Hyderabad standing on its own feet on the Indian IT map. Over the years, it had created an identity of its own, shredded the image of being a younger sibling of MOTO-Bangalore, crafted an platform for so many success stories worldwide. The journey reached its pinnacle with the release of "MyRazr" (dummy name of a world famous mobile phone), when it almost become the #1 player in the mobile world.

But unfortunately of late, a combination of various reasons resulted in declining market share & the graph started descending. People had started to leave for better opportunity. There were those who tried to hang on till the very end, but some of them had to be practical, leave their emotional attachment aside and move on. But everyone, including the one who already left and the one still hopeful, prayed that MOTO should bounce back. The most surprising fact was that more than the one still being with MOTO, it was those who already left, wanted MOTO to return to its glory. They already had seen the world outside, the work culture, the relationship among people and so many other factors that they were quick to realize what made MOTO stand out from the rest of its contemporaries. Every now and then I used to receive those phone calls from my ex-colleagues eagerly waiting to know any sign of a good news. They were on their toes. just to be back to the old family. I could see the dreams of reuniting again in their eyes.

With the decision of MOTO shutting down one of its business division in Hyderabad center, these dreams are all shattered. Everyone has accepted the reality that the distant hope they had of going back to MOTO again, is no longer feasible. The far reaching effect of this lost hope is more than the immediate effect of some people losing their job. You loose a job today, you will hopefully find another one tomorrow, but it is painful to accept that you will hardly get those relationships where one is in hurry to catch the train to go home and his manager is doing his work sitting at his desk to meet the deadline or the one where you can ask for your manager's opinion about the organization that you are going for an interview next week or even the one, where an appraisal meeting went for 5 hours till the wee hours in the morning because the person being appraised had lot of issues to discuss other than his own assessment and the manager believed it was his responsibility to listen to all those issues first, whether or not they are relevant, can be discussed upon. MOTO is not the only organization in the world, where you find such instances, but such examples are very few and MOTO is one of the best among them.

There are not too many places in the world which teaches you that human beings are more important than the mere deliverables, that taking care of personal responsibilities is as equally important as taking care of professional assignments, that relationships are built over time with respect and trust irrespective of an individual's position in the organization. It is always believed that a base should be strong enough to build a monument and I am fortunate MOTO has given me that base both professionally and personally. And the same feeling is echoed by others, too some of them even are introspecting whether they took the right decision by leaving MOTO. I guess it was then rightly said that when something is not with you, then only you realize its actual worth.

Like every other good thing, this was to come to an end and may be so did it happen. But the name "MOTO" is etched into our hearts, those memories are still vivid in our minds and that very dream of reuniting again may be still alive in some eyes. Some dreams are too good to be realized, but still we should dream, who knows one day it might just materialize.

Note:I would specially request to all my MOTO ex-colleagues to share your experiences with MOTO. And stick to "MOTO" please, don't take the name while commenting :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Women Education: How much it can do alone?

I know this post is bit long, but I could not cut it short in spite of my best effort as I felt the message could not have been conveyed in a better way as two stories are involved here. So, if you have patience, please go ahead and share your opinion.
I was shocked from head to toe when I heard one of my relative got married to a girl (let's call her A)15 years younger to him.The boy was around 33 and the girl was hardly 18. Even though I was utterly ashamed, I did not say a word against this bizarre incident(bizarre to you and me but not across rural pan India) as they are my relatives but not close enough that it matters to me, so I just moved on.

Few days back,I read a post at
Chai Garam and opined that we should raise our voice against such incidents (though she was talking about a complete different incident). Since then, my conscience is being haunted day and night asking me whether I am guilty of not protesting, because these are the incidents where we, the educated and cultured ones are supposed to stand up and raise our voice.

Before you and me reach a quick conclusion here, hold that thoughts just for a second before I give little background about both the family involved here. The incident happened in a village in West Bengal. A was studying at 10th std, her father has a small scale business. The boy is a graduate, runs his own medicine shop (financially independent), has a very small family (which today people find worth considering before even considering the groom's educational/financial status), any sort of abuse on DIL is a distant dream, no question of being thrown away for giving birth to a daughter , so in a nutshell, in that environment he is considered to be a good eligible bachelor.

And the environment I am talking about, "outside knowledge" is very much limited to their four walls, financial independence of a girl they have heard I guess but not realized certainly, importance of a girl's education they know but caught in the dilemma that over educating their child might jeopardize her chance of getting married because not too many educated groom they can find in their circle (And i know "the boy MUST be more educated and earn more than the girl" is a precondition prevailed across all societies over India ) and most importantly marrying off their girl to a family ensuring "roti, kapra aur makan" & "sukhi sansar" is their up most task in life. And regarding the compatibility factor you and me think about, the girl is brought up in an environment to have limited expectation, she is not probably familiar with the concept of personal space and therefore will not realize the absence of it, if any and physically age difference will not be much of a hindrance unless the boy is of Mike Tyson category in bed or has some hidden disease which even I am not aware of.

On the other side of the horizon, there is another story quite radically opposite to this one. The girl (let's call her B) had a Master's degree (now keep in mind that obtaining master's degree may be a cake walk for most of us, but it was not so for her, when her nearest school was 5 km away, the college she went was 20kms away and she had to walk a few kms, then on rickshaws, then on boats to cross a river and then finally catch a bus to her college, no private tuition to avail and this incident I am talking is more than a decade old) and not to forget B was reasonably good looking. But as destiny had it, she was married to a boy of 10th pass, in a village which is remotely located beyond our imagination. The reason? according to the matchmakers, there was no highly educated suitable boy for her in the nearby vicinity, her father being poor, couldn't afford dowry and to make matter worse, the girl was taller than average girl's height (she was 5'6"-5'7"). The parents were least interested to agree to the proposal, but had to give in, they had no other choice. I have heard from my mother that the girl's mother repented "Wish I had educated my daughter little less..." Whom do we blame here? What do we teach and to whom? The girl is happy with her family, no usual hassles in her family (consolation prize for her parents), but does she wish something else would have..? I never dared to ask her.

Keeping all these in the background, it is now time for me and you to think whether I did any wrong by not protesting against A's marriage. I am sure that she is married to a good family, even though she could not educate herself much. I am sure probabilistically she might not get too many better families as her in-laws. I know any time at any condition, living her life independently is not a choice for her , if required (bad marriage??). Even if the education could give her the courage, she might not accommodate the pain of being tabooed in the society (even if she has her parents on her side) and more importantly educating her more does increase the probability little of getting married to a better groom (as happened to B) , because as we all know family status matters. Would any of my educated modern bachelor friend (I am asking to all the single male blogger friends too,) marry to a girl of this category where she is educated enough, but lives in a village, social status is categorized to be lower middle class or so, her parents may not be educated at all and if I exclude all the educated bachelors for the sake of simplicity, a boy having the same parameters as this relative of mine but staying in urban Kolkata would want his sasural to be in a distant remote village!! And if I ask what B has got in life after putting so much of hard work, exhausting herself to the last drop of life she had inside? Her fate would have been anyway the same without the education. I am not authorized to judge both these marriages, but just for the sake of perspective, I personally feel that this 18 yr old 10th std girl is luckier than the lady holding a prestigious master's degree.

I am disturbed because I am confused and don't have a blatant answer to the question thrown by my conscience that what good has education done to B. How do we bring a complete mind set change of the overall society? It is a Herculean task and we, the intelligentsia have to take a collective responsibility to lead the way for the rest.

Buttt.....but, it is easier said than done. The other side of the spectrum, the people needing education has to come forward and how do we even do that first, forget about teaching something!! Think about this, every one of us a got a single life to live, naturally the mantra for them would be to live happily and not think much. So, the parents of A are happy to marry off their daughter to such a family. Now, why should they listen to you and me about importance of girl's education? And as I said before, in the current context (situation,society, their social status) educating their child more does not guarantee them a better and happier life, so why should they then take the risk (and they will always have examples of so many B's which they will throw at you and you don't have an answer). It is a choice for them between a secured present vs uncertain risky future, even if that might be better. Even people like you and me also sometime settle for secured establishment rather than taking risk wanting for betterment and when we take risk, we take calculated risk. These people does not even have the wisdom to calculate that risk factor.

And here comes the biggest challenge. No amount of public awareness through electronic/print media can do that. It is only through personal guidance & mentoring, we can achieve this. How can we living in urban city life can enlighten this large backward society scattered throughout India?

How do you suggest practical solution for this and what would have you done if you were the parent of either of these women ?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Memories of Ramazan

From today, begins the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. To the Muslims all across the world, this is not only the month of self restraint, but this is the month when Muslims ask for forgiveness for the past sins and pray more often then regular, as the rewards are manifolded in this sacred month. So, as I have nothing to do since morning (no eating, no drinking and therefore no nature's call itself :-), so I thought of just sneaking into the past and relive some of the old memories, which are associated with this holy month.

I remember the very first time, I did fast was when I was 11-12 years old. My younger sister had already practised this in the previous year, so I was kind of feeling humiliated within myself . This year, I must do it. Also, there was the feeling that if I do fast, I am grown up, I am no longer a kid, I am also fasting like the elder do :-) Even though there was no compulsion from my parents, but it was a challenge for me within myself. So, it all started very good, the lunch time passed smoothly. It was all going fine until the afternoon. As my mother started preparation for the Iftar (the evening meal we take to break the fast), the smells of good sweet dishes were flowing all over the house & it was raising the bar of the difficulty level for me with each passing second. That is the first time, I remember when I realized how long each second, each minute can be. Anyway, finally the TIME came for Iftari and what a sense of achievement!! I still remember the feeling when I drank the first drop of water, it was as if the whole world surrounding me was cooled down, as if some one poured a big bucket of cold water over the universe. That day, I literally understood why water is called an another alternative of "life". So many Ramazan have passed by since then, but that very moment of drinking water after a day long fasting is very much live inside me!!

I remember I never liked going to my Mama bari (maternal uncle's house) during Ramazan. They had a big joint family of over 50 members and it was a Herculean task to prepare the Iftar for all the people who were fasting. So, we the kids only used to get the left over after all the fasting people were well served and I was not satisfied. Where did it mention that if we are not fasting, we should not get our share of Iftar ,too? And as a trick, the elders encouraged us to play outside till late evening, even though in other months, there was a strict rule as what time we should be back from business (playing)!!.

Once this holy month is over and the new moon is observed (which means tomorrow is the Eid-ul-fitr), I actually go through a mixed feeling. I feel happy that the month of restriction is over but on the other side, I feel sad that one more Ramazan has passed by. This month, the blessings from the Almighty becomes manifolded and the believers pray more and more to extract the most benefit out of it. So I feel sad whether I have utilised this month to the maximum, whether I have secured enough points to secure my place in the heaven, whether I will get to see the next Ramazan. But as the day goes by, a new day comes and we start celebrating the holy Eid, we prepare to live our normal lives for the next 11 months until the next Ramazan comes.

Finally I would like to end with a relatively funny story. Once I was returning from US & I was fasting. By the time, when I boarded the flight, there were still 2 hrs to go before I could break my fast. As soon as the flight took off, we were served evening snacks and I just kept them aside to wait for the Iftar timing. There was an American old lady sitting beside me. Now I realized that the lady had already started having her meal but after some time she stopped & asked me,

"Why are not you having your meal"?
"I am fasting because of our religious belief, and I can eat only after 6.30pm", I explained.
As soon as the lady heard this, she was like shaken, got bit scared, kept her meal aside and sat silently.
Being curious, I asked her,
"Why did you stop having your meal"?
The lady replied, "You are fasting, and if I eat in front of you, what if your GOD curses me"!!

I was totally taken aback, but quickly realized it would not be decent enough to laugh in front of her.I calmly explained her it was OK, if she eats in front of me. There was no problem either with me or with my GOD and the GOD will also not punish her. Being ascertained, she continued having her meals & I just smiled :-)

**************Added Later ******************************

How could I forget my memories of Hyderabad, where I had spent more than half a decade!! I doubt in India, there is any city better than Hyderabad to be during the month of Ramazan. Be it the famous Haleem or the Khurbani ka Meetha (I think I got the spelling correct) or the numerous Chicken/Mutton dishes available almost at every corner of the city during Ramazan. I wish I could just go there, spend this one month and again come back, I am really missing Hyderabad and its Haleem beyond words!!

Also, how could I forget my good old friend Motorola!! I should be severely punished for this!! Even though we used to pray our daily prayers together in the office, but the month of Ramazan was special. Everyone used to get something, which we would then share among ourselves during Iftar, the true spirit of brotherhood:-) These are all history now, gradually becoming faded memories...

Please do share your memories of

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The day I became a Motorolan

It was one of those busy college days (it was 14th Aug'2001) when the campus placement was in full swing. The result for ST Microelectronics' written test was just out and as I could not make it, I was just thinking of what next. One of my friend (it was Kusumita for whoever knows her)suddenly came running to inform me that Motorola would be coming to our campus day after tommorrow(16th Aug'2001) and she seemed to be very excited. But my reaction was expectedly indifferent as I used to consider Motorola to fall under that elite category, where I can't belong!!

Before that, I had failed in 6 consecutive interviews, had tried every possible combination to perfect my attire, with tie, without tie, full sleeve, half sleeve and all sort of technical preparation,too, but nothing seemed to be working. Today I took the approach of nothing more to loose,nothing worse could happen.So, on the morning of 16th August,2001, I went to the college hoping that it is better to be rejected as early as possible so that I can come back home and prepare for the next MNC coming. I was wearing a half sleeve shirt, a trouser which I had alredy worn before, unlike a new one taken from the almirah which I used to do for my previous interviews, there was no tie, I even did not shave on that morning!! And as if this was not enough, I appeared for the CS written test where I am from ETCE background and I had applied for ETCE tests in all my previous attemtps. The test was over and I was eagerly waiting to know who among my friends got through as I had no hope about myself.

After couple of hours or so, the results for the test was out. Kusumita came all smiling as she cracked it. I went towards the notice board and I must admit there was a little hope (without any reason)at the furthest corner in my heart.After all, miracles do happen!!

And miracle did happen. I found my name at the end of the list, I thought may be I was better in CS than in ETCE and was cursing myself for wasting my 4 years studying ETCE. Then I was just browsing towards the top of the list to find out who all made it and suddenly, to my utter shock(I will surely not call that a surprise) I discovered that I was being listed in the ETCE list, where as I appeared for CS test. All my smiles evaporated immidiately, as I was more than sure this was a mistake. I came out from there, sat alone under a tree and was going through numerous thouhts as what I should do now, should I tell them that they have done a mistake or should I just keep silent and let them find out.

After a lot of brain storming within myself, I convinced myself to let the truth prevail. I went to them, informed everything and expressed my opinion that there might be a mistake somewhere. Here came another surprise, a bigger one when they told me that it was not a mistake. Thanks to my hard work during my school and college days, because of the excellent academic record I have, they thought of giving me a second chance to see whether I can prove my potential to be a Motorolan. The rest is history. After several round of interviews ( one round extra for me as I had to start from scratch to prove myself in ETCE) the final results were out around 11pm and I had made it. What was impossible for me just 2 days back, is now a reality. If ever I had any doubt about the existance of GOD, it was gone for ever that day. I dont know and I will never know why almighty chose me, but according to the religious belief, I might have done some good work in the past and this is the prize I got.

From that day onwards till the very last day of my tenure in Motorola, whenever I was down, whenever the thought came to my mind of leaving Motorola, whenever something was not working for me in Motorola, I used to remind myself of 16th August,2001 and tell myself that may be, may be GOD chose Motorola for me and if it is not working for me, it is my fault and no one's else. That gave me motivation to go forward, to work harder and made me feel I belong to this place, I work with those elite group of people, which I had thought I could never belong to.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Love Aaj Kal - A food for thought

*** Just a word of assurance that this is NOT a movie review. I am not telling you about the movie storyline, rather sharing my thoughts only after watching the movie ***

Saw Love Aaj Kal today, simple, beautiful and very cute, a must watch for everyone, specially for today's generation. It is gloing to teach you a lot. The subject is so close to my heart, that I thought of just sharing my thoughts without leaking a single scene from the movie.

The movie not only reminds us once again what relationship is all about, but also tells us how much we try to fool ourselves, we have to face ourselves one day. And that day we go through unbearable pain, if all along we have tried to live our lives to the tune of others, if we have not listened to our heart, if we always tried to be smart and practical. The problem with today's generation is that we get everything, yes i mean "everything" so easily, that we never realize the real worth until and unless it is being snatched away from us. And then, who are lucky, get a second chance, but most of us, being not so fortunate, live the rest of live with the thought "I wish I could have...."

In today's world, where money comes before relationship, brain always overshadows heart, sex precedes love, we need movies like this which teaches us the fundamentals that basics are always basics. Values never change. The time changes and so does the context, but there is no replacement for honesty. However difficult we might feel at times to face the truth, but once we take the step forward with courage and conviction, the mental peace we get nothing can be compared of.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On my 30th Birthday...

Man!! I am already 30!! The realization came just 2 days back. I knew my birthday was approaching, but I did not realize that magic figure of "30" until 2 days back. And I was paused for a moment.Will I celebrate my 60th b'day? If not, then I have already spent half of my life. All my near and dear ones seemed to appear in front of me, whom I have to leave one day.Did I feel like crying? I felt so. It was a difficult moment. The thought of one's death comes to everyone's mind at times or the other, but it never came to me so intensely. It was too heavy for me to let that thought creep into my mind further, so I had to close the door. It was just a few seconds, but it took me a journey 30 years forward and I had a glimpse of what is lying ahead.Everyone of us have to face it one day.

But today is my b'day yaar!! Let's try to forget those thoughts for a moment. I woke up in the morning after receiving a sms from my sister which says "Be happy and keep them happy who brought you here". It again struck me. Am I keeping them happy? Are they proud of me? They know the answer best but I am making a promise to myself today that I will keep my sister's words, if not already. Today I stay miles away from my parents to earn my bread and butter and at the end of each passing day my heart becomes heavier with the thought that I have missed one more day staying close to them.Every day of my life starts with prayer and ends with the same prayer "GOD, please do something..please let me go close to them".But GOD hasn't answered me yet.Feeling heavy again, but can't let my emotion takes control over me, I said to myself "STOP it here!! It's your b'day, it's time to enjoy". "Oh yes", I realize.

I can see my orkut scrap book is floating with wishes since yesterday, received few calls from close friends.But the number of calls certainly have reduced over the years. There was a sense of pride during the school/college days as who wishes the b'day boy/girl first, but it does not seem to have any relevance today.I am not complaining about it,either.Everyone of us had got busy with our individual lives, but in spite of everything when two my close friends, one flew more than 1000 miles and the other took one of the biggest risk of his life by driving 300 miles on US highway for the first time after getting his DL, to make it to my b'day, I simply had no words for them.I used to feel bad if someone close forgot to wish me but today I realize it is more important to have a friend whom you can always bank on at your difficult times, even if he forgets your birthday. The definition of friendship has certainly changed for me over the years, wishing "Happy Birth Day" is the peripheral, not the core of friendship.

All the wishes are pouring in. My wife is cooking the dishes i like most. My parents are sending their blessings and praying for my long and happy life. But still amidst all these, I am not able to get rid of that "30"!! Is it because this very thought never come to my mind before or is the realization true that i might have already lived half of my life, anything extra i would consider as bonus.Live is a 360 degree circle and from now on, every step will take me towards where from I started. It is as if I am reminding myself that if i have not already woken up, it is time for me to wake up. If anything worth doing is not yet done, I should start doing it. On of my ex-colleague and mentor once told me "When you will be lying on your death bed and you will be looking back, you should be proud of what you have achieved in life, you should be proud of the legacy you are leaving behind. The lesser regrets you will have that day, the happier you will be. And all through our life, our sole aim would be to make us the happiest on that very day".

Therefore, I have set my focus.Henceforth, I will live everyday of my life as if it is my last day on earth. I will do whatever it takes to make my near and dear ones happy. I will try to be a better human being with each passing day. I will make a life so that everyone realizes when i will be no more. I had read a bengali poem long time back, but today i am realizing each words of it....

Jedin tumi pratham eshechile bhabe
Tumi matra kede chile hese chilo sabe

Emon jivan hobe karite gathan
Marane hasibe tumi kadibe bhuban...

Equivalent english translation

When you first came to this world,
you only cried and everyone else smiled

You should make a life so that after death,
you will smile and rest will be crying...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


To begin with, at an abstraction layer, almost all of us have the same definition. But when we start to break the abstraction into clarity and try to find what lies beneath, we find no two human being have the same concept at a more granular level.It then means that even though everyone of us have a different unique definition of "soulmate", still we (probabilistically most of us) are able to find the right person and happily live ever after with him/her. But is it so simple? Are so many varieties of people living on the earth so that everyone is able to find the perfect match or do most of us pretend to be happy but we are not deep inside or does our definition of that abstract concept no longer hold true once we face the reality?

The process of building the image of one's ideal match starts from the teenage when it is still blurred and it gets a definite shape with more clarity as one grows up.And this process is controlled by many factors, primarily the family background that one belongs to, the society one lives in, the peer circle one is surrounded with and mostly the personality one develops. That's why i thought she must be someone with whom i must "connect" to, she should be aware of all the current affairs so that we never run out of discussion, she must be fluent in English so that i should never feel embarrassed of taking her to any place,she must be a working professional preferably in S/W industry more preferably in the same organization as that of mine so that we can make our on site trips together and so many other criteria, the list will go on and on.

These are I thought the bare minimum criteria one must have to be my soulmate. And standing today, I must admit I was all wrong. I was right till the abstraction, but no more when I tried to break the abstraction. I was right that we should always have something to discuss so that we don't feel bored in each other's presence, but that discussion need not only be centered around current affairs.I was right that I should be proud of her and never feel embarrassed because of her but i was wrong that speaking English is not the only way to make me feel proud.I was right that we should enjoy any trips we make together, but that need not be an on site trip and she does not need to be a S/W professional.
Today i never feel bored in her presence because of her enchanting personality to make any discussion interesting.Today i am proud of her because people appreciate her in spite of the fact that she is not fluent in English and my joy sees no bound when people call me lucky to have her in my life. Needless to say, i do connect to her, because our core values match, our ethics/principles do not contradict and our view towards life do not differ.

So, why is this big difference between what i thought what i wanted and what i now realize what i want. To me, the reason being we do not know what we want in life as a whole and therefore, we do not know whether what we think the best match for us is indeed the best match for us. And to make matter worse for us, we don't listen to our heart, for whom we are searching the mate, rather we try to get the best "deal" for us. And when the "deal" does not match up to our expectation, that is when we realize what we were actually looking for.

This is when one realizes the true meaning of "being loved". You realize nothing else but just the assurance of someone will be your side for the rest of your life, no matter what happens is the biggest deal you can ever sign on. When you hold her tight close to your heart as if you do not want to take a single breath being away from her and when she clings to you as if you are her last support if the world falls apart, is there a more divine feeling? It is said one's soul always remains sacrosanct, no matter if the brain becomes dysfunctional, the mind becomes corrupt. And we must free ourselves from all dilution while searching the mate for that sacred soul.

We will reach the destination....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Social Imbalance: How much is IT industry responsible

Two facts, radically opposite to each other have only one in common, just the mere figure. The amount, I pay as rent per month is the same amount earned by one of my close relative holding a decent post in West Bengal govt, not to miss he is 6 years older than me in terms of professional experience. I am supporting my family and so is he and he has two kids, too. Socially also we don’t have hell and heaven status difference. There are for facts, things which I can afford, if need be but he may not.

For those, who are finding it unfair to compare a Govt. employee to an “IT” professional, let's consider one of the topper from either of Electrical/Mechanical/Production engineering dept. (I will tell you later why i am handpicking someone particularly from these backgrounds) from any reputed engg. college, who had chosen not to join the IT industry like the rest of us and went to one of the organization who does their respective core departmental work. I am sure, in most cases one working in those organization having same experience does not earn as much an IT guy does with the same work experience working in an equally good S/W company. I have not even considered millions of other people, who are from different professions and many of them, without earning even closer to what an IT professional does, are still happy in life. And not to forget, there is not much difference in talent between a student from ETCE/CS background and the one from the other backgrounds I mentioned above, the later ones might have just missed answering a question worth only 2 marks in the engineering entrance exam, which is the starting point for the ultimate race called life.

Have you ever thought of the difference of lifestyle between these two categories of people, the "IT"ans and the "rest". I am sure getting loan in time of need is not that easy for the "rest", they don't get frequent calls for credit cards; they don't dine out at McDs/Subway that frequently, watching a movie in a multiplex is still a luxury for them. And even if I turn a blind eye to these trivial incidents pretending as if there is no wrong doing because they don't earn so they don't get to spend, simple!!! But could we still be ignorant to the problems they face when it comes to basic amenities. Haven’t you realized the primary criteria to get a house for rent in any city today has to be your IT background, where will the “rest” survive? To have your own flat before you are even 30 is not only a dream for them, it is beyond that.

I sincerely agree and appreciate the economic growth IT has brought to India and to the world in larger context, it has obviously created a greater job opportunity for so many people, it has given that financial independence to the Indian youth, specially to the young women which was non-existent before. But have we ever thought how many of the IT projects are actually making our life better? What good is it doing to people’s cause? I don’t find too many assertive answers there & I don’t seem to have enough reasons to be optimistic. There is a growing tendency to categorize us as being “IT” people. Even though this “IT” tag is working in our favor today, is actually isolating us from the rest of the society and that is not good, even dangerous.

Even though it is not prominent today, but is not our progress and development in the areas of science and technology getting affected because most of the top brains are opting for engineering as getting an engineering degree is the easiest choice today to get a job and that too in the earliest stage possible in your life. A mediocre student, who would have otherwise struggled for his entire life to to survive, is leading a comfortable life whereas a brilliant Ph.D student from science background is not even making his living before 30, life is unfair correct? Some would say what’s wrong if IT is helping us to get better life which no one else could, my argument would be no one should enjoy what he is not worth of. How would a bright young be encouraged to opt for science/literature, when there are easier and probably better (at least in monetary terms) career opportunity in front. Would we still be able to see same quality and quantity of contribution in the fields of science and literature 10 years down the line compared to what we have today and what we had 10 years back?

During school days, I dreamt about getting that dream job of an IT engineer, wearing suit boot, working in an AC office, traveling all over the world, a pay cheque to start which was even more than what my father got at the time of his retirement. But today I feel I am suffering from lost identity. Barring your own circle consisting of friends/colleagues mostly from the same industry, who recognizes your position to its true value, for the rest of the society, you are just an “IT” guy, no matter what you do, which organization you work for and not even what education background you have. Anyway, it was my choice, and even though I failed to envisage the bigger world, I shouldn’t complain.

Neither do I have any ill feeling towards the IT industry nor do I question the talent of all those working in this industry. I am concerned about the social equilibrium getting misbalanced; I am worried about the difference getting larger between “us” and “them”; I am even horrified just to think how our life would be in future without any good book to read, without any soothing music to listen. I hope I am exaggerating the fact and I am proven wrong. I would be the happiest of all then.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Turning point of my life

I have been thinking for quite some time as what should I write in my very first blog. Should it be something related to my profession, or rather should it be something personal to me. As a human being, I have always listened to my heart than to my brain whenever I am in double mind and I chose to follow the same protocol here, too. I have finally decided to write something which is very close to my heart, an incident which I consider to be the turning point of my life.

I was in 6th standard then. We were a family of four including my parents and my younger sister and living happily in our moderate house. My father was suddenly trasferred to Dhanbad for next 5 years, he would come to meet us but that may be once in a month or even lesser than that. We would not be seeing him everyday leaving for office in the morning and coming home in the evening. As a kid, I always stayed with my parents, so I was not sure how to react when I first heard this. And I did not realize the pain until the day my father left for Dhanbad.

In the afternoon, I was sitting in my study room, trying hard to concentrate on my studies but I was unable to do so. I was trying hard not to cry, at least in front of my mother, but mothers are from a different world. They understand everything, even if you don't tell them. She consoled me, tried to convince me that 5 years is not a big time and it would pass by just like that. And at the end she told me with firm voice "Don't hard and be a gentleman. People should not get an opportunity to point finger at me(to her) and say that I could not do your upbringing properly because your father was away from us". I could use her words within quotes as these words still keep mumbling in my ears.

That was it for me.I might not have understood everything she said at that time, but later when I came to my room and was going through those words again and again in my mind, I gradually came to realize what was actually meant. Of all the expectations she had from me, I was very clear on one thing from that day onwards that I should never let my parents down, be it whatever. Even today whenever I find my self at the cross road of good and bad, I try to remind me those words of her and follow the right path.

And as a student, I was mediocre. My target in the school exam used to be to be among the top 20-25. I never thought of being in that "Top 10" as I never thought myself that talented and I kind of accepted it. Life was going like this for me until the Durga puja came and we all went to Dhanbad to stay with my father for the next one month. As I had nothing to do, no friend to play with, nowhere to go, all my time which earlier was spent in activities other than studies, is now being spent only in studies and surprisingly I did not find studying to be boring , rather it was interesting ( I know lot of eyebrows would be raised, but this is fact). I used to go to a neighbour's house to see the cricket matches being played in Sharjah and Aquib javed did that infamous hat-trick, I remember I came home crying and never went to their house again. I think it was blessing in disguise, that I did not waste any more time in watching cricket and concentrated completely on my studies.

As a result, I was among the top ten (precisely 7th) in annual exam for 6th standard and I never looked back. Earlier my target used to be not to rank below 20-25, now it had become not less than 7th. As I grew and improved further, my target used to also climb with my progress. To many people it would be just "another" story, but to me that one month along with my mother's expectation from me changed everything around me. Had this not happened, I believe I could not come even closer to what I have achieved in my career. And being religious, I had begun to believe whatever GOD does for us, it is for our betterment only, however painful it looks temporarily. Even today, when I go through bad patch in life, I remind myself that my father used to cry so much in those days as he could not bear the unbearable pain of staying away from young kids, but he hardly knew that all his pain is actually making the future of his son. Who knows, may be if I was destined to reach where I am today, I might have reached here by some other means, had my father not been transferred, but I don't know what did not happen and what could have happened. I only know what has happened and that's why I consider this as the "turning point" of my life.
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