Life from a saint's perspective

Friday, May 25, 2007

Home Alone - II

If you are thinking staying at home, after two years of hardwork at a bschool, gives you complete jurisdiction over the 20 sq ft area around the TV, you are mistaken. In the eyes of the higher authorities (read mom and dad), nothing holds greater importance than their little daughter. Even if she were going to college, a good 4 inches taller than me, and responsible for half the cases registered in our neighbourhood hospital in the last decade, she is always their “little” daughter!

Our intellect and common sense are two things we always take pride in. Whether we have it or not, we are certainly better off than Sam who sits opposite you at work and goes grocery shopping for mrs boss, or the girl you are dating who keeps telling on-off-on-off when you ask her if the indicator on your car is working fine… I cant think of a more outrageous way of emptying our preciously little brains than watching hindi tv serials! Every night for the last two months, I have been exposed to three hours of gut wrenching soaps that would make you want to trade your sister for Adolf Hitler himself, if given the opportunity!

A typical soap “woh rehne wali mehlon ki” (such a crass name!!!) has run for 1000 episodes revolving around three characters: Pari, her husband Sowmy (even men are given ladies’ names to increase TRPs!!) and her grandmom! Even Pari is fortunate enough not to have a younger sister! Sigh! An entire episode was about how Pari and her husband went out and she wanted to pluck mangoes from a tree! Didnt she hear about the special discounts at big bazar???

The cameraman and the makeup man are the most active people on the set. Hardly any job for the guy who writes the story and the screenplay.. Each dialogue is followed by a zoom on every actor in the room. The makeup man’s job is to drape the actors in shiny purple costumes that take the viewer’s attention off the actor’s face that always has the expression of an xler reading a gango question!

These soaps are somehow kinda like renting out your apartment in Bombay to 3 bachelors! Each time, one of them gets married and pushes off to greener pastures, another one comes in to take his place. Two Paris, three Sowmys and two grandmas later, the serial dint have any of its earlier cast…Little wonder that I couldn’t recognize it when I came back home after two years of MBA! “Mom, why is Pari’s hair grey? Did she grow old in just two years?” “That’s not Pari, stupid… she is now playing the role of the grandmother… because they found a better looking girl to play the role of Pari” Oh, I am the stupid one for not having figured this out! Not the director, crew and the million women watching this all over the country! Somehow this kinda sounded as though James Bond and the villain decided to swap roles after the intermission!

Neways, thank god for these serials… they provide a lot of employment to dumb and pretty people who can find nothing better to do… they keep the 40 yearold housewives glued to the TVs and lessen the burden on the MTNL fone lines…they also some youngsters like my “little” sister busy and decrease the number of hospital admissions in the vicinity…

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Home Alone - I

There are few events in life that generate as multifarious emotions in a 23 year old guy as the prospect of going home and facing one’s mother… I had left home and tasted freedom as early as when I was 15. Now, a school and two university degrees later, the God up there decided that excessive freedom bestowed on me was a danger to society and as if it were by his bidding, the angel of fate had found me a job close to home…..

My friends were much happier at these developments than I’d have liked. Probably because they were blessed with the foresight to expect some entertainment in this post and the subsequent brickbats. “Dude, the way I see it, the only problem with staying at home is that you cant bring a chick home…” No, don’t get scandalized. The two of us were known on campus as ‘Laurel and Hardy’; not exactly a description that would entice chicks to our messier-than-prison rooms! But that never stood in our way of fantasizing about greener prospects.. In any case, I let him pour his emotions and opinions out… After all, he too was in the same boat. “Just think of it dude. Havent you had enough with all the mess food? Do you really want to keep eating potatoes your entire life?” Well, this last point put things in perspective. It has been found by HR managers that nothing motivates their employees more than hurling abuses at the mess food during their bschool and engineering days. Well, if you are thinking that some of us like to abuse HR managers more, that’s a moot point here because the findings were made by HR managers themselves! Finally, to beat bang in the middle of the bush, I headed off for home with an appointment letter asking me to report exactly 58 days hence.

The first one week was heaven! With the typical euphoria surrounding a son’s return home! But then things started falling in place….. much like the difference between the PPTs the companies present on campus and the actual work you find when you land there…. A typical day goes on like this…..

“Rishi……rishi…….Rishi….RISHI!!! how can you sleep till 8 in the morning????? Remember what I’ve told you! Early to bed, early to rise….” Mom, since you told me that last, the earth has revolved around the sun 10 times, India has lost a zillion cricket matches and Iraq and Afghanistan have practically ceased to exist!

“How long will you keep staring at the comp! Already you look like a four-eyed alien with glasses thicker than a soda bottle!” Okay dad…….just think of a more endearing description when you advertise in the matrimonials, please!

“hello…. Oh shanta, kaisi ho?..... accha! Sri sri Ravishankar’s art of living discourse? Obviously we have to go… no, no… don’t bother….. my son is jobless only na! He’ll take me!!!” excuse moi?? Did she say that I’d take her???? Doesn’t my mom even know that my agnostic principles rest on the firm foundations of extreme lethargy and lack of willingness to go to far-flung temples and attend these pujas?????

I decide to shrug away the “jobless” tag by enrolling for driving classes…. At least, at the end of a month, license tho mil jayega! “Oh Bhai! Cycle samajh rakha hai kya? Main road hai…. Khud marega, mujhko bhi marvayega @#$%!” great………at least first three days I had to put up with only my mom’s abuses! To think that I sacrificed that to hear abuses from a complete stranger!

The uneventful day does have its perks like daily visits to the grocer, engaging him in challenging discussions like how the price of tomato has gone up by 2 Rs over the last one week, or how Ramu charges 1 rupee lesser for the “bigger” coconuts at the end of the street! These lively discussions are often interspersed with suggestions from Mrs Desai (that’s the generic name I give to all 55 year old housewives I meet at the grocer), who reminds me of the CP done by eager bschool students sitting in the front row! No new opinions… just the prof’s statement rehashed with a few synonyms…

All said and done, staying at home is quite refreshing and different… It’s quite flattering knowing that there is someone who keeps track of all that you are doing and takes care of you every second of the day! It’s flattering when you don’t have to make the long walk to the mess and wait longer for the spoons than for eating itself, but instead someone comes to you and feeds the food in your mouth… It’s flattering when you stop seeing potatoes in your subji, and in its place a tomato for which you haggled for 15 minutes with the grocer… nah! Nothing is worth all the haggling. I’d rather take the Karnam Malleshwari sized potatoes, that look as though they were cut with an axe!

Monday, May 21, 2007


Yesterday, my dad was elated when he got back from work. His former colleague had landed in Bombay for a few days to initiate his daughter into a high profile ibanking career. My mom, like all PR-specialist moms on earth, was scandalized that her son hadnt managed to get the most lucrative job on the planet. Trivial matters like the fact that this chick was gonna be at their equity research desk, or that she is getting paid less hold no significance whatsoever…

“dint they come to your campus??” as if that’s the only formality left for me to join the firm (leave alone attending the ppts, filling a zillion page form and beating 119 other smart asses to the job…) As a friend at my engg college described me to the fresher girl both of us were hitting on, a face like that of a constipated gorilla doesn’t help at the interview either!

This i-bank craze is something I will never understand. Nobody really knows what an i-bank does. But everyone wants a piece of the action. A few days back, I was having pav bhaji with a lady… any hopes of a second date were blown when she asked me how many ibanks came to our campus!!! Can u believe it? as if that was the only topic to discuss!! Just go to any of those pre-mba forums like pagalguy…. Everyone has decided that ibanking is the career for them! Well, if you cant beat the crowd, join it! so I keep telling my less informed friends and family that I have an ibanking role in a normal bank… whatever that means….

Being a banker means we buy the ET everyday and fold it neatly under our armpits, even if we don’t understand a thing of what is written there. First of all, I’d like to find the smarty pants who decided the paper shouldn’t be white… How else would you be able to spot a banker in the stiffling mumbai local train, that has more people per sq cm than the mosquitoes in Kochi? As they say, ET is more a part of the uniform rather than anything else… half of it is full of tables on the stock and commodity exchanges. They always use a font size smaller than the one we use to put our GPAs on our resumes!

Empirical research has shown that:

20% of the crowd is too old to read this tiny font
20% is too senior up in the organization to read up prices of individual stocks
20% are stockbrokers who monitor the prices real time on the ticker and so have no use for the stale news
20% are bschool students who just want to show their colleagues that they are majoring in fin
the remaining are final year engineering students who want to show their colleagues that they are so unemployable after engineering that they are being forced to take up an MBA.

Okay, granted that the empirical research quoted above is like the one these business magazines use to rank bschools..... with a sample size of 5 ensuring that the percentages and descriptions are as accurate as a Zaheer Khan yorker... But the point here is that those pages full of tables are not there because someone reads through them, but because it is sacrilege to have a business newspaper without stock prices on them! In the words of one of my HR graduate friends, “Doesn’t the futility of it all strike you?”

Moms calling me for lunch….I’ll finish off with a slew of new PJs keeping up with the sentiment of this post….

Q: why should boyfriends beware of i-bankers?
Ans: Because they specialize in hostile takeovers!

Q: Why do investment bankers remind you of pimps?
Ans: Both make their money by taking their clients public