The Unknown Aashiq Sunday, December 20, 2009

When I joined my present employer as a fresher, I was extremely anxious on how I would fit in into a multinational of such huge size an equally matching reputation. I was told that my particular department is swarmed by IITians and PhDs alike.  A place where the canteen air is filled with lively discussions on pending patents and worshiping software. The haven of geeks in front of whom any banter was forbidden. All this was before my path breaking discovery in the printer room.

This is what our printer room looks like. There is a reason why I keep peeping into dustbins in this room. This is the best and the most genuine source of office gossip. Want to know who's earning how much? some day you might get a salary slip printed out lying somewhere. Want to know who's job hunting? Chances are some fool would have taken an extra print of his CV and forgot. Divorce papers to pregnancy test, you'll get em all here. Another reason is that fact that when God decided to give me some of his superpowers, he decided to reduce my brain size, just to balance things out. So in order to make my mark in my office, I'm in the constant search for stolen ideas. In an overly reputed company even the dustbins are supposed to store failed designs of awesome inventions. Unsuccessful plans on how technology would save the world. Sensors that would sense partners faking orgasms to algorithms that would calculate the percentage chances with a girl. I was kinda prepared for such shit. Not prepared for what I found.............................

Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK???
Could it be the ending footnote of a suicide letter being currently drafted? Could it be front page of a love letter written to an imaginary female colleague... or worse, an actual female software developer? Taking into account the number of girls in office, could it be a love letter written for a male colleague? The only source of communication that this 'zaalim samaaj' would allow? Wait a second.... could it be.... for ME? HOLY SHIT..!! Damn you MTV style check!! Screw you and your 'skinny tight jeans with a body hugging pink T-shirt is in' episode!!

Pumping Iron Saturday, November 28, 2009

"If a person can't dedicate a single hour in a whole day to his own body, he's good for nothing" -Akshay Kumar's views on fitness.

 "Fuck you Akshay!! If I were told that keeping myself fit would tranlsate into a thousand  crores a year, I'd be bench pressing my ass off." - Anonymous

Like all young guys grown up watching actors whose bare waxed chests shine more their acting prowess, one fine day I decided that my time has come. A sexy physique was every man's birthright and I was out to have it. There was only one problem though. It couldn't be done over the internet, ordered over the phone, or happen by watching TV (the ways I preferred  most (all) stuff should happen). It required actual physical workout, I was told. DAMN!

I did join a gym eventually, the most expensive one around. You shouldn't be compromising on quality you know, it's your body after all. The first day was nice. An amazingly hot 'client manager' showed me around the place. The equipment was nice but ordinary, the crowd was anything but ordinary. As I walked around inspecting stuff (which included asking weird questions like the playlist of the songs they will be playing and will the machines be able to withstand the huge force which I'll be putting them through), I was greeted by wide smiles worn by the most beautiful women ever assembled to lift weights. My idea of how a women weightlifter looks has always been influenced by our olympic medal winner Karnam Malleshwari. That changed today. Women body builders could be hot I now knew. Their grunting noises while they lifted weights seemed to inspire me. One of the many inspirations I got from these noises was to look fab. And so I decided, this gym was what I had been waiting for. Within three months I would be adding six new packs to my abdomen and six new hotties to my facebook friend list (which would take my total number of female friends to six).

Cut to scene: 10 days later,

I had erred gravely. Below my chest instead of six packs was one giant family pack, visible only when I bent forward. The smiles I saw on the first day were not actually smiles. They were actually a series of muscular movements our cheeks make when the body is in intense stress. I knew it because I had been smiling non stop for 10 days. My friends thought gyming had made me a happier person. Instead of correcting them I encouraged them to join and make their lives happier as well. The hot women I saw on the first day had disappeared too. I was told by another conned member that they are seen only on special days. Days when fools like me are beeing shown around. Apparently they were experts trained in the art of slow motion running. An art which unfortunately I am a keen admirer of. Among the few genuine females left, a couple were not so genuine. They mocked me everyday by repeating the very same exercises I did but only with twice the weights. My male ego was being given the ass whipping of its life. One of these (suspected) females was supposedly married, which forced me into thinking about her husband. He could fall into one of two categories. Physically equal to his lovely wife, in which case their lovemaking could be publicly shown on National geography. The show would highlight the limits a human body can endure. On the other extreme, her husband could be physically just a normal guy. In which case their love making could also be shown on the same show... highlighting the same limits a human body can endure. Only in this case there would be a good chance he could die while filming. 

Apart from these two the other women were decent enough. But I soon realized that gym is place where you can't cover up your sissyness. As far as impressing girls goes, dressing up in cool clothes and walking a cool walk are any day better than shrieking like a girl while lifting weights, and then limping your way to the wash room when your over. This is that facet of a guy's personality that maybe okay for his mother, definitely not for a prospective girlfriend. The added physical strain on my body soon started to take its toll. My scores in online shooting games fell drastically and so did my booze intake capacity. These being the top two priorities of my life are something I can't sacrifice. Doing physical labour each day untill I tired myself out forced me to compare myself with construction workers who go through an equally similar grind each day. A big difference being that they get paid to do it, while I pay thousands to people who make me to do it. And that's when I decided that it was time to quit. I bid adeu to the suckers at the gym feeling proud of the enlightenment gyaan which luckily I received in just 10 days while others slogged it out not knowing that it was all worthless. When they turn 50, they will have kids yelling back at them and a job they'll hate, just like me. Having great triceps would offer no help.

Inspite of all the technological advances our race has made, bodybuilding still remains the same old traditional art. There are no pills that magically enlarge muscles (even steroids demand a workout) or no operations to give you those six packs. It could take many more years for science to develop these.

I, have decided to wait.

A quarter of a century of survival Thursday, November 12, 2009

I just returned from Delhi last month. Visiting my folks back home after a long time felt good. The long vacation ended with small family get-togther to celebrate mom-dad's 25th anniversary. And that's when I realized the significance of the event. It didn't take long before I started imagining how my 25th would look. I've imagined myself doing a whole lot of things I must admit, a wide range which includes romancing Jessica Alba to peeing on the Everest (on the China side, Nepalis are friends/good watchmen) to hitting Brett Lee for a six in the world cup final. All these imaginative masterpieces seemed very much possible when compared to the one I saw that evening. And when talks started of mom-dad's 50th anniversary, BOOM! The cloud over my head burst as I couldn't even imagine myself doing that.

At the current rate at which both, our attention span, and the beauty products industry is shrinking and growing respectively, silver jubilees like these would no longer be common. The shrinking attention span would make our spouses boring too soon and the beauty product industry growth would make us look good too soon, which would in turn give us hopes of attracting new talent once we get over our respective partners. The rare 25th anniversaries in that age would most certainly be met with a presidential citation and a possible Padmashri (only the citation for those who divorced and then patched up). A 50th anniversary however would be so rare that it would deserve a Nobel. The ironic nature of the Nobel peace prize is well known as it's named after the guy who invented Dynamite. If the Nobel committee people in sweden are listening, give it to the those who have gone through 50 years of Dynamite in their homes and survived to tell the tale of peaceful co-existence. Now that's an apt scenario for the prize,something even Alfred Nobel would've been proud of.

A misogamist I'm not. On the contrary I must state bluntly that regarding marriage- I'm all for it. It's an amazing medicine of love that everyone needs. It's just the lack of an expiry date to this medicine that worries me. Even the person you love the most has those habits which can truly irritate you to death. Once the honey moon period gets over, it is the slow death you are getting used to. To get rid of this fatal dosage which society has forced upon us, I propose an ideological shift. Do get married but also do: Say NO to the "saat janam" theory. Say NO to calling your husband/wife your "soulmate". Say NO to long term joint home loan repayments. And to give this blog post its sole sentence of sense, Say to NO to drugs as well while your at it. Make marriage the short term fling that all of us would remember and cherish forever.

Getting over your partner could prove tricky at times. But you got to believe in yourselves. You would have to shed your insecurities and fears of dying alone. At the current population expansion rate, Each individual would have like a billion people to choose from. Even someone unfortunate in the looks department like myself could find himself a decent looker. According to my estimates, on an average each one of us could marry roughly 5 times. Each of those 5 people would in turn marry 5 more, and so on. Now thats what I call real networking. SCREW YOU facebook/orkut/linkedin.

Like all revolutionary ideas all of this may sound a bit ahead of times. History tells me that visionaries like me have had to face the wrath of the society of their times, and I'm prepared. But as time will tell.........., one day, when it will be a ritual to assemble together in your dying years and rate the top 3 of your spouses, they all shall raise a toast..... to the man who envisioned it all.

A career in befuddlement. Any openings?? Monday, October 12, 2009

When I was a kid, I was never asked the most popular question of my times, "Beta.. what'll you become when you grow up?" The sooner I would have realized this torturous self interrogation that was going to haunt me later, the earlier I would have started short listing my options. I wish I was asked. I wish I could have replied... anything! A million of IT people in the country today, I wonder how many could actually pronounce "software" let alone telling their parents of their dream career then. I definitely wouldn't have. But still I should've been asked. Atleast my dream at that age would have helped me decide my ambitions today. Everyone bored with their profession has the childhood dream as something they always want to do given a chance. Except one of my friend of course. When asked the aforementioned question in his childhood, he naively disclosed his dream of becoming a Salman khan. Looking at him now, at the speed he is gaining kilos, the only bollywood personality he can aim to become is an Amjad khan. He still is lucky. I have no backup dream to pursue from my childhood. And with the kind of dreams today's 24 year olds are getting, I'm not that optimistic either. At this ripe age of 24 I feel I've been there, seen that, felt too lazy to do that. A life without an ambition does look scary. And I'm staring right at it.

It wouldn't be fare to blame my fate completely, God does give chances. To me however, he just gave a few. On passing my 10th boards with around 99.356% marks, I ranked a humble 12th in my class (Okay.. a little exaggerated but a definite reality in a few years). The world was my oyster. A pretty ugly oyster considering the choices in life were all but lame academic subjects. I almost took biology thinking about the hot girls I would be catching, literally, while they fainted while dissecting rats. The entire scene had already been rehearsed multiple times in my dreams. Each rehearsal separate for each of my crushes who I had conveniently put in the same biology class. But in one of those badly choreographed dreams, it was me who was doing the fainting bit. Therefore, I decided biology wasn't supposed to be. Lucky for those of my future patients who who could have been lying with their open bodies under my knife. Considering the quality of code I type today, the thought of similar standards in the operating theater makes me uneasy.

I then decided to take up non-med with economics. Non-med because my friendly neighborhood aunty and not so friendly chachis/maamis would be shocked to see my unimportant yet ridiculously high marks go down a 'commerce' drain. And economics because.. well.. 'Eco honors' had a tacky thing to it. A nice sounding degree. Thats reason enough! But the eco section turned out to be full of nerds who were neck deep in the 'Pradeep' books which were so thick that 'neck deep' was no longer a phrase. A small guy almost choked himself to death when he accidentally slept with his head in the middle of that huge book. I found out that all my buds were in the computers section. Computers is what I went with finally. Clearly a software engineering was a life I had always wanted. It just needed a few detours.

There are two kinds of accidental choices you can make in life. First are those that you end up telling your grandson in your eighties "You won't believe it kid, as much as I love my job.. its hard to believe how I got into it...". The second kind are those which are just that, accidents. Accidents which you regret. Accidents which are followed by the long lasting profanity sessions targeted at the person who you think caused your suffering. I feel sorry for me. I met with the second category accident a few years ago when I sacrificed a glorious (and a population controlling) career in medicine for what I do today, but I've only one person to blame.... that almost choked kid who scared me off from my economics class!!

p.s: A dorky looking Harry Potteresque spectacles wearing short guy who stammers while he speaks. Test for confirmation: talk about UFO's or Star Wars and his pupils expand to enormous proportions. Do let me know if you know any such person. I swear.. I'll be gentle.

Found this on youtube. Very appropriate :)

I have a dream... Monday, September 21, 2009

...said once Martin Luther King jr., possible talking about on a dream he had a day before his historic speech (A dream with an entire speech ready for the next day.. You can't get luckier than that!!). I too had a dream last night. And since for a change this dream could be written and discussed publicly without attracting censorship, I decided to write about it.

Like the great Martin Luther's dream mine was too about liberation and equality, in a lesser domain nevertheless. My America was my office, and my blacks were my male colleagues. I dreamt of an office bustling with the most gorgeous females who had just recently switched from their boring and monotonous modeling careers to the ever so happening life the software industry offers. The dream soon ended (to my disappointment), but I was left with so much to think. Was it a message from the almighty? Was it an instruction to sex up my office?? Would productivity increase?? Why the hell is God so interested in where I work?? Does He buy shares of my company?? Did recession affect Him??As you can imagine, the questions started to enter nonsensical domains. I thankfully stopped questioning and started realizing the gross injustice us men have to face in this demanding industry .

The reason software engineers are the most eligible bachelors in matrimonial columns is wrongly attributed to their fat paychecks. It is actually the security of a happy marital life that is the big plus. For a wife, her husband being surrounded by the same gender all day long for years can ensure her that she's the most beautiful thing he'll be seeing all day. And given those nights when cable TV ain't working, She even might end up being the most beautiful woman he sees till the next evening. Our industry today faces a challenge of immense proportion. The dwindling sex ratio in the office place could have serious repercussions on our intellect. The biggest example being yours truly, who at this moment should have been inventing the next big Operating system after Windows instead of unleashing his rants through this illogical and should I say never-visited-by-except-if-you-are-a-google-search-indexer-bot blog. I strongly believe that instead of the cost cutting measures being taken by all major corporations around the globe, they should have improved the gender imbalances in offices. I can safely bet my ass on the fact that the percentage increase in productivity would dumb-found any analyst. We would be armed with one-liners far superior and failure proof than the standard (AND lousy) "Have I seen you somewhere" crap. Take this for example, this stunner is looking lost in the photocopy room and meddling with the copier like a kid with a time machine. You sweep in.. a geeky lookin superhero to her rescue, press the right buttons and in a fake (previously practiced) baritone.. say this, "I think the amorphous selenium coating on the photosynthetic drum need some refilling." Ladies & gentlemen.. we have a sure shot winner! A few days and a few Wikipedia searches later, You'l be sipping coffee with her. Not only does a innocuous conversation with a female out of your league give your ego and hence your efficiency a boost, it also surprises your manager with the excess time you start spending in office.

In a time when Women folk are so very much vehement in their demands for quotas and rights, we software engineers feel sorely left out. Such a furor on getting job reservations for government posts exclusively for women, and not a single letter of protest demanding similar reservations in the software sector..!!

Life indeed is unjust.

Stuck in satyug Sunday, August 30, 2009

I am fortunate enough to have a couple of friends who are big fans of the Indian mythologies that were a rage in the nation before the guys were even born. These guys have managed to keep tons of GBs of entire collections on their PCs. The reverence they pay to our Godly avatars in human forms is simply shown by the fact that porno-flicks and Mahabharata/Ramayana episodes are not permitted on the same drive. Even separate folders on a single drive is disrespectful they say. What's even more fun is when they tell stories. They seemed possessed with so much knowledge of the events that happened a millenia ago, it feels they were there. I can actually imagine D'Costa (a real name of a real friend by the way) standing and applauding Dushasana's awe inspiring moves in a blind king's darbar (If D'Costa has his way, he might even whistle). I can also safely bet on another friend's deep knowledge of not just the mythologies but also their ever so complex joint family structures. For fun I once asked this other friend to name Arjun's mother in law's nephew's name. He not only gave me the name but also the prince's title, the kingdom he ruled and the prince's sexual orientation. It was at his place that I caught an episode of Ramayana. I immediately recalled the stories our fathers told on how the streets emptied when these episodes were aired. The few families that owned a television set had hordes of people watching, all sans footwear, armed with aarti plates and bells to chant bhajans during commercials. This is when I thought the horrible plight of the innocent actors who didn't realize that the characters they are playing were going to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
  • Dara Singh who played Hanuman, had someone else (thankfully) dub for his dialogues. If not for the dubbing, a Punjabi accented hanuman would have caused a laugh riot. Known for his impromptu improvisation on dialogues, there wouldn't even have been a war had Raavan heard “Oye raavan oye.. Sita maata ko lauta de.. nahi ta TERI BHAEN DI.... “.
  • Deepika who played Sita, made a very bad choice so early in her career. Inspite of her stunning looks, she was off-limits for the million of young Indians who feared Lord Vishnu's wrath. No producer would sign her. The risk for making her romance anyone but Lord Rama could have meant a burning effigy, and a raging bajrang dal crowd outside his house.
  • Arun Govil who played Lord Ram, would have faced the worst. Understandably, how would anyone feel when one goes to a liquor shop to buy his favourite brand of whiskey and is told, “Bhagwan, ye paap na kare, Lakshman bhaiya pe bura assar pudega...”.
  • Girija Shanker who played Dhrutrashtra would have had a few people helping him cross a road, sometimes forcibly even though he had no plans on crossing it.
  • Gajendra Chouhan who played Yudhishter could have easily won a few court cases just by showing a few Mahabharata episodes to the judge, who would have been easily convinced that this case involving ancestral property between the warring Chouhan brothers must go in favour of Mr. Gajendra. God was at his side even then, must also be today. The advantages in court might have been balanced by a few drunkards who kept him awake on some nights, ogling at his wife and wanting one last game of chausar.
Apart from the plight of these actors, there very loads of other funny things I noticed, the 15 minutes each arrow took to kiss its counterpart and magically return back (why the fuck didn't it go ahead), Entire episode of one of Raavana's brother uttering just 5 words while still having a screen space of over 40 minutes. The rest of the time he just laughed, and man did he laugh..!! A strange casting of a south Indian guy to play Kumbhakaran, who not only amuses by calling Lakshman Ram's 'bai' but also has a mountain thrown at him hit his insanely big paunch and fly back (just like the arrows). In spite of everything, one must not forget that these were indeed cult classics who inspired an entire generation. I guess what we are doing to them is what our grandchildren will be doing to MTV Roadies. :)

Peer pressured Friday, August 21, 2009

Not so long ago, I wondered how much free time these 'blogging' people had on their hands. What do they write for? The only reason must be to kill time.. what else?? My over simplistic line of reasoning which failed to take into consideration the pleasures of writing (and the magic of adsense) stands validated as ever even today..!! I'm bored as hell and got nothing to do. Living in Pune these days is like playing Will Smith in 'I Am Legend'. the streets are deserted and shops empty. For survival even the calamity proof 'thekas' have turned to innovative schemes like free home deliveries and free namkeen packs with every khamba ordered. In times like these I have heard stories of super bored individuals doing super weird acts¹ all under the pretense of passing time. It seemed everyone was doing something or the other... why the hell was I feeling perfect doing nothing?? Peer pressure got me to blog, and I explain how.

Like every other child, my childhood was in a continuous state of destitution. There were always toys that my folks could't afford. There is a reason I put every other child in my league. I have no doubt in my mind that even one Mukesh Ambani Jr. would have cribbed atleast once for this spaceship that his dad could not afford and which he very much needed to play with. Wanting something simply because someone else has it was the norm. "Dad..!! if saamne vaala munnu can have it why can't your punnu have it..!!" (only used to elaborate, I swear I wasn't called by that name). As I grew old, clothes replaced toys as the subjects of envy. The Akshay kumar 'khilaadi' look with the super tight jeans was in and I had no plans on adopting it. There are a few things in life however, on which you don't have much control. My neighbour 'Munnu' was one such thing. He revolutionized the entire mohalla into suffocating their lower abdomen. Peer pressure got to me and there I was playing cricket in an attire which was impossible to even walk in. Adversity does bring out your best, even though it means that there are constant adjustments to be made, which I was making on the cricket field that day... in a corner.. on a regular basis.

Adulthood hasn't changed much. My roommate drives a sedan while I cruise around in my motorbike which falls into the fuel-efficient segment of all motorbikes. I would stop short of naming the model because of embarrassment related reasons, embarrassment which my roommate faces because of me & requests me to not mention this 'ride' of mine in public. Add to this the fact that both of us go to the same office and take identical paychecks. The very thought of evolving my mode of transport to be in sync with my mate takes me back to that nightmarish cricket field (which I never visited again by the way). When I was just thinking that I had resisted the urge, the flu situation happened and when I had absolutely no clue on what to do, I took solace in peer pressure and did what most of my friends where doing, writing blogs. Peer pressure I guess has trapped me in forever.

p.s: I was just shocked a few months back with news that one of my friends friend became an unmarried dad..!! aarrggh... this pressure's getting to me ;)

¹I'd have loved to explained these acts but I can't. Apparently, I did say 'no' when asked "will your blog have adult content?" Stupid mistake on my part. Sorry

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