Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Problem no .1

Some things are closer than they appear.Like Project deadlines.

My life has been buried under a lot of Microsoft Excel worksheets , calculations , figuring out PAT and EBITDA and such things.

By the way , EBITDA stands for Earnings before interest , tax , depreciation and amortization. Ah,the joy of showing off.

Anyways, this post is about a rather dark aspect of my life.Nah.I did not hide behind any bushes and watch any murder happen which still haunts me.Nor was i molested by my neighbourhood uncle who lured a six year old me into some kind of shady room by waving a cadbury eclairs.

Its about a much more realistic , yet hard hitting phenomenon.My name.You read it right.My name.


It starts with an A .Good enough.But what is crucial is this 'B' right next to it.It effectively takes my name pretty high in the alphabetical order.And this can have more consequences than you know.

My parents did not seemingly think of the existence of a concept called "Roll numbers" when they named me.I was the Roll no 1 throughout my school and engineering college.Never did any aastha , aaditya , abhilasha walk into my life to take up the roll number 1 mantle.Abhisheks were aplenty.Not one Aamir.I dont blame my parents for naming me such.Only another roll no 1 could have imagined this.you need to be a "been there , done that" type to have this far sightedness.

In the examinations , I graced the front desk right under the invigilator's armpits . When almost the entire class passed slips ,verified answers upto three decimal places, and used answer chits stacked in their socks , sleeves and a lot of other places , i was subjected to the forced virtue of being a person of high moral standards who would never cheat.
Because When you are perched at the front of the row and havent got an idea what to write in the answer sheet , except for the name and date ,you cannot do much.The most I could do was to watch the teacher pick his nose standing alarmingly close.I wish my dad had been a great fan of zeenat aman.Maybe he would have named me zeenat in her honour.

Then there was this viva we had at school and college.I was the first one to present myself to the panel.The first one to enter the arena.All the eyes zoomed towards me as roll number 1 was called in to start the proceedings.I felt like I was entering a boxing ring with a "ear-hungry" mike tyson in there.

And at that time , the panel guys were as fresh as dew drops.But started off with the vigour of a viagra drunk bull seeing the first lad of the day.I always got the toughest questions.The freshest questions.And there was always this huge crowd of my classmates waiting outside when i finally escaped from the interview room. And they pounced on me asking things like the number of guys in the panel , if they were polite , if they gave me any clues about the answers.Now I know how the CBI chief feels when mobbed by a gang of journalists.

Even at the school assembly we had in the mornings.I was right at the front of the row.Facing the stage with the school principal and the vice principal and a few other frustrated men .They pulled me out if I had hair a little long .They said I was spoiling the decorum of the school by sporting unkempt hair on my head.While guys at the back with perfectly electrocuted hair styles were left untouched.And those boring speeches that were made at those assemblies.The guys at the back of the row yawned , scratched their heads , gawked at the girls while I listened to the principal muse about "corruption in society and what students can do about it."

Even the telecom revolution has added to it.Now as is expected , my name is usually the first name in the phone books of known ones.So sometimes , my number is dialed unintentionally/accidentally by them due to pressing of keys. Once the entire microprocessors lecture was beamed live to my home through the cellphone of a blissfully unaware classmate . Once this "unintentional dialing" happened when the other guy was with his girlfriend.I found out a lot that day.I still manage to blackmail him.

And this roll no. 1 thing somehow stuck to me.Few called me abhinav at school/college.I was jokingly called coolie no.1 , hero no.1 , aunty no.1 , khiladi no.1 , biwi no 1 and a lot other no.1's .Courtesy David Dhawan.

A guy even called me a McDowell.On further probing , i found McDowell had a punchline : mera No. 1 .

And how close I was to escaping this identity crisis.My granny had named me Kunal soon after my birth.Kunal.Starts with K.K of the ekta kapoor fame.But then they could not see a happy cuddly kunal and named him abhinav at a later stage.

But things are partially better now here at IIM Calcutta.the parents of one of my batchmates watched a little too much of "mahabhaarat" on doordarshan.Besides becoming a little more of couch potatoes , they got inspired by the episode with the "chkravyuh stunt" and named my batchmate Abhimanyu.So I am the roll no.2 here at IIM Calcutta.Who says doordarshan sucks ?

But I hope some good comes out of it.You can spare your kid this agony.In true sarkaari style : " Zara si saawdhaani , zindagi bhar asaani."

When you think of naming your little bundle of joy , just remember my story.Dont name him without knowing that one mistake ,and things can be a lot worse.Name him/her zaheer , zayed , zeenat , zaakir, zubeida.If you are running out of names.just name him a simple "ZEBRA".

Aamir Khan.Zebra Khan.I would prefer the latter any day.

Monday, May 16, 2005

P.G ; M.G

Don't you worry.Its just that MBA education puts you in the habit of complicating simple things by using scary abbreviations such as "P.G ; M.G " .This post is not about any economic models or corporate debts, rather its about grandmothers . So relax.

Now , as is somewhat obvious , my dad 's mother was my paternal grandmother , whom I shall abbreviate as P.G ( Daadi in Hindi).
And in keeping with my penchant for abbreviations , my mom's mom , or my maternal granny would be called M.G (Naani in Hindi).

Now , P.G 's dad was allegedly some pretty important guy who handled a lot of important legal stuff for some Raja Yashwant Rao Holkar ( i cant resist pronouncing that as "Khol Kar" ) .This holkar guy was a highly lazy and useless lad. So P.G's dad amassed a lot of wealth.He had a sprawling farm house with an artificial lake and real rabbits and ducks .He owned a couple of cinema halls which played black and white movies . And as is pretty obvious , his ego was as high as a eucalyptus tree.I have seen his photograph which hangs at my P.G's place. He looked grumpy , constipated and ready to whip out a hunter any moment. My dad recalls how he got mad when my dad , as a five year old , broke a flowerpot at his farm house .So that speaks fairly of P.G's dad attitude.

And my P.G ( daadi ) inherited her dad's ego along with his grumpy outlook . I am sorry to sound disrespectful , but this blog is the only place where I can be my disrespectful , unashamed , corrupt self , so kindly let me be. She had a ego huge enough to outweigh a blue whale and a jewellery collection huge enough to kill a blue whale under its weight.( Sidenote : I have nothing personal against blue whales). P.G had three sons , all of them had sound education . The eldest studied engineering at DCE , another at IIT Delhi and the youngest studied medicine at MAMC .Also , the youngest son grew up to be the father of a dashing and handsome boy .In other words ,he grew up to be my dad.But everytime I visited P.G's place , it sounded as silent as a monastery with the only talk being about education and our highly "respected" ancestory.

But if I felt P.G to be as dry as the Sahara desert , my M.G ( naani ) is the pacific ocean of "mamta and dulaar". Everytime I visit her , she feels I look as thin as some undernourished refugee from Somalia , even though in reality I am more like a burden on India's food reserves. She doesnt undertstand what an IIM is , but asks me about my studies with interest . She is too simple to understand what a cricket match is , but laughs to see me celebrating Sehwag's century. She is not educated at all , she doesnt know how to dial a telephone number , is embarassingly low on ego and religiously feeds "baajra" to sparrows every morning. At family gatherings , while P.G used to be surrounded by women in heavy silk sarees who looked like a walking jewellery store , M.G used to stand around shyly in her plain and ordinary cotton saree.

But both P.G and M.G taught me the same thing , in their own and disparate ways.

That before being a educated and rich person , try to be a good person. That more than the jewellery P.G wore , the cinema halls her family owned , the elephants who trumpeted at her "baraat" , I would fondly remember the stories M.G regaled me with , the way she exclaimed how thin I had become after the hostel stay , the compassion she treated even a street dog with .That its not about how much you own , but about how you make people feel.

And even though there is no point in writing what I would now , I would because I have to .I feel I have betrayed what my M.G stands for. All I want to be is someone who is more like my M.G .But after my breakup , there is one girl in this world for whom I am the most detested person . I have infused her heart with hatred and mistrust. Even though I never touched her , I feel I have violated her emotionally by making her dream the dreams I was too weak to turn into reality . And I don't want her to forgive me , because it is not her hate I detest. It is my own opinion of myself as a good human being which has degraded.More than for ending it , i am sorry for starting it at all . All I wish is that her hate is just against me , not against the concept of love , which may rob her of the love she may find from someone who is a better person than me .

Anyways , since this post has been a lot about grand "motherly" antics , I would take your leave with a "motherly " piece of prose , to be found below.

Once a pretty girl was happily drinking a coke in a restaurant when a cockroach comes out of the bottle of the coke.She screams and is about to squash the cockroach....
Cockroach : " No mom !!! dont kill me !"
Girl : "Bloody cockroach !!!! how did you imagine me to be your mommy ??"
Cockroach : " Kyunki main tumhari " Kokh " se nikla hoon "

Monday, May 09, 2005

Watching my life

Once upon a time , I was 7 years old.Then one day , I turned 8 years old . My folks hung balloons and ribbons all around the house.Uncles with their hanging bellies and aunties with their hanging jewelleries came down in large numbers.They looked at me , ruffled my hair which irritatated me a lot and said the same old "rishtedaari" special pleasantries.( kitna bada ho gaya hai munnu ! chota sa tha jab last dekha tha ..godi mein susu karta tha).As if they did their respective "susu" at the White House when they were kids.

Anyways , these guys kept giggling , ate a lot of food and forced me to perform a modern day "mujra" wherein I was made to sing n dance to "papa kehte hai bada naam karega..." along with my pesky cousins . Though with my front two teeth missing at that time , I may have looked a shade less charming than Aamir Khan .Anyways , it was a very soul disturbing experience for me and I almost sued the guests for child exploitation.

But when these guys left , they left behind some good stuff too along with the dirty utensils : the birthday gifts. And one of the gifts was this boardgame called LIFE.For those of you who are not aware about it , you got a better option than bathing in the sea of ignorance , go to this link :http://boardgamecentral.com/games/life.html.

So what happenned in this game was that you were allotted a coloured piece which travelled along a curvy path on the board .The number of slots he moved ahead depended on the roll of a wheel ,like the ones they have in those kathmandu casinos. You moved along the board doing all the life stuff , becoming a doctor , engineer ,gangster etc etc ; marrying , divorcing , raising kids ,taking bank loans , buying houses , you even got this salary via a toy version of the american currency. I recall trying to sneak a few extra notes frm the box while my sister was rolling the wheel.

Lately I have started viewing my actual life as just a bigger version of this game.I am just a piece like that in the game , whos just rolling along the boardgame of life. The difference being that on which slot I land aint exactly decided by a rolling wheel, but largely by my choice and effort..And just like the game , one day god will decide hes had enuf fun with this guy , and would pick me off the board n toss in the box .And all the currency notes , bank loans , the houses I won during the game , would remain back on the board , to be played with by the other guys.

And this makes me view my life in a rather dis-engaged way.I dont exactly go gaga with my so called achievements,which anyways can be counted on the fingers of a man with a missing hand. And neither do I plunge to the depths of despair with my failures and problems , which can be counted on more than the fingers of your hands , toes and the rest of your body. Its like nothing in this world seems to affect me too much.Its like I dont know what I want to achieve , what I want to possess.

I feel like a toddler who has been left to play on the floor of bombay stock exchange.I see people yelling , excited , angry , racing to get somewhere and wonder whats it all about . Sometimes I feel I want to earn a lot of money and spend my life with angelina jolie on my left arm and jenny lopez on the right , and swap their places after every 30 minutes.Then I feel i want to spend my life in my room with the AC on , munching on tomato flavored wafers and watching espn and AXN and star movies,and that too on a flat plasma screen TV. A little later , I see my life's purpose in setting up some NGO and serving the needy. What do i want out of life ? Is there any purpose at all of this entire life thing or are we just trying to have a good time pass ? Have all you guys figured out what you want in life ?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

My daughter's boyfriend

Its about to happen anytime now. No bells would sway heavily at any church or temple or masjid ; no white or black or maroon smoke outta any chimneys and no channel wud cover it , not even cartoon network .But its a decently historical moment in my life. I am about to get the first salary of my life.Wont be crisp and good smelling cash but a much more "seedha saadha" cheque. Even the amount is not astronomical enough to trouble any satellites or stars up there but then its decent enough for a 23 year old bachelor with no "zamindar ka karz" to pay , no " ma ka operation" to be paid for and no "chote bhai ki fees" to handle.

In other words , its good enough for a 23 year old bachelor with no immediate responsibilities to handle.Infact , my parents have been handling all the serious stuff in my life and to my discomfort , have started to urge me to be more responsible lately.Responsible about things like awareness of paperwork regarding our property , ironing my shirts and shorts myself , getting up on time and not chewing too noisily.

And this makes me think. Now , I have got a very carefree existence right now ,as I have already highlighted in rather filmy phrases in the preceding para .All I have to do with some kind of seriousness is study. Which I have been doing to a decent degree , i sneaked into a pretty reasonable engineering college and then directly pole-vaulted to IIM Calcutta.

But now as the formal education part of my life is about to end in an year or so, provided I dont flunk , I think about life. And when I think about life after IIM , I see a job in some kind of multinational , I see my boss cursing me , I see long working hours , I see keyboards , I see career moves , I see balance sheets , and I see a lot of other important but unromantic stuff . And a little later , I see a wedding. And to my slight horror , I see that this is my wedding.This is a very crucial and "scrutiny demanding" episode of my life's soap opera .I am a little confused about this thing called shaadi .

Agreed , I may marry a person to share my sorrows and joy n moments but what if the girl turns out to be more interested in stuff like forcefully discussing about how my neighbour gets a new car every three months , or how she finds my way of chewing irritating enough to make people jump off a running train , or how she makes me watch "jassi jaisi koi nahin" instead of soccer on TV . What if shes an "ekta kapoor-TV serial-inspired" lady dripping stuff like jealousy and family politics and backbiting.

In more polite terms , what if she turns out to be someone who is not "my type" ,which anyways very very few females have been identified to be,infact i have been unlucky to bump into some highly stupid and disgustingly intolerable females throughout my nursery school , school and college.And I am certainly not the guy to follow girls like sum puppy on a leash , like some guys are.

And even if shes mature , its a hell of a job raising kids , which i think will automatically follow in a few months time frm my wedding , if I am biologically capable enough , which I vigorously claim I am.You see , the fun part about cute babies ends soon enough , n thereafter its about serious work.I would wonder how much to "donate" for their school admissions , how to stop my son from flunking in maths yet again , how to make my wife stop attending kitty parties and pick up kids from judo classes instead , how to stop my daughter from meeting that guy in her college who looks like a gangster and is found drunk every fornight. And then they grow up , and you worry about IIT s and IIMs and how to get your kid into them. And then they grow up further and you see them going off to silicon valleys and other such valleys while you are left applying "zandu balm" to the hurting joints in your body and reading spiritual articles.

In short , I see life after marraige as a little bit of fun and love and sharing and a lot of responsibility and sweat and tension.But this is just my view , and I need to figure out why almost everybody goes through this seemingly not so relaxing experience.

So I have to ask .

If you are unmarried and plan to marry , why ?
If you are already married and dont plan to get divorced soon , why ?
If you are married once ,then divorced and plan to remarry , why ?

I gotta think .It scares me to imagine about my imagined daughter's beer-guzzling boyfriend who carries a gun .


Added later :

I just came across this quote from the movie "shall we dance".

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness."

Makes me think a little...lagta hai ghar basana hi padega....

Parting note- I got my cheque today and have been adoring it , smelling it , wiping it clean , caressing it since then.