Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Saturday night in Corporate 'light'

I had the most enlightening Saturday evening in enchanting company to start with and a depressing movie to end with. Some friends of S (my husband) decided to meet up for dinner and a movie. Since I am a newly wed and all, I was expecting myself to be the center of attraction. I guess I would let you decide that over the course of the day and its happenings.

All these friends were the IIM graduate types. I have heard a great deal about MBA communique and admittedly, I got quite a solid dose of it. It started off with a brief round of introduction. Soon after, the discussion veered towards more 'exciting' topics like VAT and its consequences. Almost seemed like I was moderating a group discussion. Well.. I am quite aware about VAT and stuff but its certainly not something I would be found discussing passionately about and that too when I am meeting some friends after maybe 3-4 years. Soon, my existence dissolved in the animated quotes from Liar's Poker and jokes of the 'corporate' world.
*Get a life, dudes!*

After some 20 mins of fervent exchange of cerebral thoughts, one of them finally realized I was around and not quite contributing to their conversation. I was asked some routine questions about where I work and how far my office was, why I was still with the same X company for 4 years. And some reminisced how none bothered attending X company's pre-placement talks during their campus placements.
*Now, how considerate!*

The discussion shifted to who from the class of 2000 is doing what and where. I did not know ABC from XYZ in the names and companies being mentioned. But was kinda hoping some juicy college gossips and some hidden skeletons of S will be out.. ;-)
But their idea of gossip was how one guy messed up his case study and how S's aquarium always had fishes with low mortality rate. Ok now that's news (haven't heard too many people owning an aquarium in a hostel) but certainly not a hidden skeleton. Soon the discussion got too cryptic for my apprehending abilities with liberal use of terminologies like strategy, marketing, acquisition, merger, equity and the likes. After what seemed like a lifetime, someone hit upon the idea of getting out of the house and watching a movie.
*Bless her*

Hit Lokhandwala and dined at a poshish restaurant. Its definitely good to be in company of the rich and famous on some occasions as this. Realised I was quite famished despite all the 'food for thought'. :-)
The jargon diarrhea continued undeterred throughout dinner. And at the end of it all, one of them remembers my presence again and tells me that they are very well behaved today because they are meeting me for the first time.

Watched Million Dollar Baby. I thought the movie was very depressing and over-hyped (I don't know if it was the movie or the day or the drink). But, great performances by all. All in all, an enlightening evening in the company of the distinguished and the brightest, a nice dinner (but not enough to sustain my hunger pangs again at 2:30 am) and an Oscar winning movie. Feel like an elite pseud now..:-)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Its just another manic Monday...

I was going through a string of thoughts today while getting to work. It started with how bored I am at work and ended at the same thought again. Manic mondays are always that and today is no exception. I was hoping some dressing up better than usual (which essentially means, some make-up and junk jewellry) will do some sprucing up to my mundane day. But that did not seem to help much. While on the thoughts, I couldn't help noticing suddenly how hot the weather has become.

But there was a time when summer was a season of mixed feelings.
  • Summer was a time of exams. Though one ate, slept, breathed history, science, physics, maths and the ilk, it was also a time to build up an aura of sympathy around you.
  • Summer was a time when parents and relatives and friends parents and friend's friend's parents fussed over you, when there was no pressure to forcefully socialize at family gatherings, when we could watch any arbit serial on TV under the pretext of calling it a 'break' from studies [I guess my penchant for soaps started there.. Its different that Ms. Ekta Kapoor would probably have been writing boards then.. :-)].
  • Summer was a time for whiling away during the 2 month vacation, evening walks with friends discussing each others' crushes, playing spider solitaire/freecell all day, sleeping all through the hot day without a care in the world.
  • Summer was a time for yummy recipes Mum used to dish out and lots and lots of ice cream.
  • Summer was a time for renewing the next-door book library membership. So what if it took a lifetime to filter out the better ones from the Mills and Boon varieties?
  • Summer was a time for spending all morning solving the crossword.
  • Summer was a time for out-station trips - Beautiful beaches of Goa or scenic Manali to sultry, water-deficit Chennai.
  • Summer was a time for nice comfortable shorts and t-shirt, cottony salwar-kameez, white chikan suit and khadis.
  • Summer was a time to be pampered by grandparents and relatives.
  • Summer was a time not to worry about a job.*sigh*
  • Summer was a time not to worry about joblessness.*groan*
How I wish the same carefree summers came back. How boring is work life..!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The stellar vehicle..

Two weeks ago, our vehicle arrived. It was parked in my husband's office for a while, almost a week actually. Firstly, its arrival to his office slipped by 4 days from its planned day of arrival and its arrival home slipped by another 6. In effect, the 10 km journey from Santa Cruz to Andheri along the western express highway took 10 whole days. (This is blog of a techie, so numbers and jargons come naturally to me)..:-)

Before you think we bought a bullock cart or something, I must clarify that the vehicle is one of the swanky, state-of-the-art, gizmo varieties and belongs to the so-called A grade cars with all the hi-tech stuff like power steering/windows, power suspension designed for Indian roads, advanced e-Tec engine and all the lingo most of which I don't understand.

It is a 2-year old Opel corsa bought from a GM of my husband's company who decided to find a new job and subsequently a new car. You know these hi-Fi GM types na. Hence the car was ready to be sold off (at a decent price to any employee of the company). My husband decided to buy it for reasons best known to him. I am not particularly fond of these Corsa, Ikon, Lancer, Esteem type cars. I think they are the most boring-looking cars ever designed. They all, first and foremost, look the same to me. I mean its really hard for me to just shoot one glance at a car speeding at 100 kmph on a highway and decide it was Honda City or Hyundai Accent or whatever else. I guess its totally a man's area of expertise to identify cars, just like they manage to identify what stupid cricket match highlights are telecast on ESPN - in which ground along with statistics like dd/mm/yy and hh:mm:ss, what would be the next shot of the batsman, which chewing gum is the bowler chewing and which umpire is going to scratch his head next or whatever. I guess, you got my drift..:-)

I like smaller cars because they are easier to handle, take less parking space (that's a secondary reason) and they give better mileage and blah blah. Power steering and all that jazz give me a headache because slight deviation of the steering wheel takes the vehicle totally out of course specially at higher speed and slight acceleration zooms the car at unimaginable speeds. But my secret love is and will always be for SUV's. They have such a magnanimous and commanding identity of their own on the roads. I cant help but gape at any such vehicle parked or on road in my vicinity.:-)

So back to my Corsa saga and its adventurous, slow journey home! It so happened that my parents-in-law were of the firm opinion that the vehicle must be bought on a 'so-called' auspicious day where all the favorable stars in the sky shone at the same position as the day you were born. ('You', here, refers to my husband). Its an 'astronomical' wonder to me how these astrologers and god-men come up with such accurate stuff that even NASA guys fail to with their hi-tech telescopes. So the GM guy, had to keep the car with him until 4 days after. On the 4th day, the driver of that GM left the car at my husband's office basement parking. The next task was to get the car home. My husband is a proxy driver with a driver's license. I was slightly better than a proxy. So it was decided that I bring the car home.

Now me, being the meticulous self and all that, declined any suggestions by my husband to get it home on a week-day. Peak traffic, night driving and the ilk were a strict no-no. I decided to bring it home on a Saturday morning before half the city (junta with half/full working day) woke up. That meant foregoing my most treasured weekend beauty sleep. But its better than wait until eternity for another cosmic alignment.

I was very jumpy at start trying to figure which were the gears and where the brakes were and where the indicators were etc. :-) But later, I was comfortable after I got on to the highway. The roads were moderately inhabited near the airport area but nothing alarming. Along the route, I encountered this fat lady who refused to budge from the middle of the road in spite of my loud honks. She finally got a slight hit on her fatter backside, more like a spank. Serves her right though. The car really got tested for all the suspension claims the ads make and I must admit it was a smooth ride over most potholes. I couldn't help enjoying the drive after that. Nonetheless, I decided that I need to polish my driving skills with a more seasoned driver next to me like a 'real driver' for a few months.

So the car sleeps yet again in the back of our apartment, waiting for yet another right stellar configuration when we find a chauffeur who works 6 days a week (maybe nights too considering our crazy working hours!), who waits on us patiently at shopping malls and busy temples (not me- my MIL), and also comes sasta-aur-tikau when it comes to salary. Its an arduous task to find one with such stringent CTQ's. Perhaps the ever-dependable, family astrologer can help here..!..:-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Birthday Blues

Last weekend, it was birthday of my friend S who recently shifted to Phoenix, Arizona. There was no way I could contact her except through email. Now, I am not particularly great with remembering dates. Well.. The reality is that I do remember birthdays and the ilk of close people. But I dont keep track of days in general and finally end up forgetting to wish the person on that day.

Now, with early alzheimers setting in(!), I forgot which day of March was her b'day. One day suddenly like lightning across the sky, it hit me that her birthday was around the corner or probably already past. Yikes..!! My reflexes immediately reached out to the mobile phone to call another friend A to check up. I got a reassurance from A that things are under control and her b'day was a week later. What a relief! Better to call and check than get into a crib session with S when I touch base with her on a later date. She would then crib and whine about me, her sister, the libran clan of the world, the neighbor, the roadside dog and whoever else she can think of for forgetting to wish her.

There are also some other more 'understanding' friends who'd patiently wait for me to call. Maybe set an internal deadline to see if I remember, after which, they'd call me and tell me that a milestone passed X days ago. And I'd go on a ritual guilt trip to which, they'd give a its-ok-we-know-how-abstracted-you-are type nod. Usual conversation goes this way.
Me: Hey girl..! Whats happening with you?

She: Doing great.. Had a great time last weekend.
Me: Oh? what was that about?
She: Well, it was the day I was born you know. But its ok, as usual, I did not expect you to remember.
*Aww crap!!*

The easiest are friends more like me. The types who dont remember that I forgot to wish them. I, then, breathe easy, maintain a sympathetic look on my face and tell them convincingly that I wished them at x hours y minutes of that day. With an expression like Utpal Dutt in Golmaal when he learns Ramprasad's mother and sister are twins too, they give me the benefit of doubt and save me from a guilt trip. :-)

Now coming back to S, since her bday was on a saturday, I mailed her on friday evening before calling it a week at work. And what do I see when I am back on Monday?!?
She thanked me but outright refused to believe that I remembered to wish on time without seeking external help. Now how did she know that..!!
Poor A, she had reminded me the date but she forgot to wish S on time. She wrote to S pronto on Monday. And as irony and destiny would have it, S cribbed that I must have helped her remember.
Well... life's truly like that..!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi...

Yesterday was a south-indian reply to karva-chauth festival and my first one at that. My MIL made it a mandate for me to get home from the office which is 15 kms away by 1:30. That is apparently "the" time when one month ends and the new one begins. And if I tie a yellow thread at that very moment and pray for my husband's long life and blah, I'll gain salvation. (Holy crap..! In retrospect thats quite a cool way to be sure to get a ticket to heaven!).:-)

Just when I have finished reading the morning newspaper, she breaks the news to me about the other terms and conditions about the festival which weren't as 'easy' as travelling back and forth 30 kms and spending 200 bucks for a yellow thread. I was supposed to be on a fast too. Now how unfair on someone who is supposedly known to be 'underweight' and on regular days fed up to the brim with a perpetual complaint that she doesn't eat enough. I was totally devastated on the prospect of starving. Well.. you know, I may not exactly look like the "khate-peete-ghar-ki-ladki" types but then I hate to stay hungry. And I admit I do get into one of those eccentric moods then, ready to lash out on anything that comes my way - living or non-living. As though reading my mind (says who that MIL and DIL do not share a telepathic connection), my MIL promptly called one of her friends and had a hurried whispered conversation. At the end of it, she reached a consensus that I can have roti and sabji. I jumped at the idea and got into the kitchen before she changed her mind..:-)

Since I had gastronomical interests to take care of, I decided to get to my workplace after witnessing the 'divine' intervention of the new month. I quickly got a couple of potatoes to boil and made a quick aloo-methi ki sabji and kneaded the dough for roti. When something as auspicious as this was to happen, how could I be walking around the place in a sleeveless salwar kameez? I was promptly asked to change into a 9 yards saree. Yikes!! After much-required help from my MIL, I managed to drape myself into one and did some parrot-like activities, repeated whatever she asked me to say/do in front of the so-many-idols-of-dieties which occupy nearly 1/3rd of the kitchen (Talk about space constraints in Mumbai!!)...Soon after, I was asked to tie the yellow thread around my neck and pray for the longevity of my husband's life. I was also permitted to eat some prasad made for the occasion (Thank God for small mercies)..:-)
I quickly made a beeline to change into my salwar-kameez again, had the aloo-methi and roti which for some reason tasted the yummiest. And made sure I got to work by 3pm.

Every now and then, my thoughts drifted towards food. Having scandalizing thoughts like how does my starving make any difference to my husband's life? Or for that matter me attaining salvation? Why is it that the wife bears hardships like suffer pangs of hunger while the husband eats what he likes? Why is there there no such tribute that a husband does for a wife? why why why... ? I could go on forever on this one but will save it for another time and another day. Anyways, I got home at 11 PM and was more than glad to see food laid out for me on the table. So what if it is still the same aloo-methi and roti which no one ate? It still tasted the best. Talking of no one eating it, I realised my MIL has been on fast too and she hasnt eaten half as much as me. I felt an instant sense of sympathy for her though I dont think she minds going on hunger trips every now and then on pretext of one pooja or other. But at the end of the day, I know she cares and I care too. After all Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi....!