Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Flashback into childhood

Finally, prayers for a relaxed weekend were answered. Spent the weekend in the laidback town in Gujarat to be with my granny and uncle/aunt. It is a nice township like a college campus with greenery all around. Pleasant scents emanating from tall eucalyptus trees, shade-providing age-old banyan trees, smooth winding roads, peacocks astray all over the place, variety of birds, nicely maintained lawns and shrubs and a nice huge house with a lawn and a swing and truck load of books and goodies to eat. That's Bharuch for you.

Have a lot of pleasant childhood memories associated with the place. There was a time when my parents, my bro and I used to visit the place almost 4-5 times in a year. This was when my parents lived in Mumbai and any long weekend or school holidays translated to a trip to meet "Paati and Thatha" (grandmother and grandfather for the non-tam's). For us kids, it was a fun trip to paint the township red with the cousins. Waking up at 6AM in the morning was never a tedious task during vacations. We used to go for long walks looking for the peacocks in the morning. There was this spot where lot of peacocks used to, collectively, dance with feathers spread out - Totally fascinating sight. We'd be gone practically the whole day (except when tummy growled for attention) doing 'adventure' things like getting into the eucalyptus jungle, rolling down the sloped lawns near the township temple and be itchy the whole day after that, playing for hours in the parks, quizzing each other on country capitals, playing name-place-animal-thing, 20-questions and all such kiddy GK stuff, swimming, table tennis etc in the local sports complex, playing cards, Mille Borne, Scotland Yard, battleship etc with the family in the evenings, watching movies in the open air theater, ice creams and juices in the shopping complex and so on... Everyday was something exciting to look forward to. While moms and granny dished out yummy stuff like cakes, sweets, munchies etc, dads spent time watching TV and discuss work and other boring stuff and thatha kept busy with his poojas and shloka sessions and relentless hours of writing "Sriramajayam" in his notebook everyday and we, kids, had our own gang of friends and most afternoons were spent playing games with the neighborhood kids.

It was a mixed bag of feelings this trip. Some things have changed and some not. The kids have dispersed to far-away lands to shape their destinies, thatha passed away, uncle/aunt shifted apartments within the township. But the parks remain, the peacocks still lurk around, the roads still are winding and smooth, Paati's bhajans still ring through the ears in the morning, the temple still have sloping lawns. Some things will definitely not change. Our fancyfree childhood memoires and the immense fun that came with the baggage.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Raindrops falling on my head

"Yippie..!! Rains are here..!"
I screamed with joy and exhilaration when the season's first rain happened this week. It rained torrentially for an hour or so and stopped. And the weather, outside after that, was absolutely fantastic. I sat by the window, smelling the first rain and watching the raindrops cleanse away the parched leaves, making them alive and sparkle. All animals, including the homo sapien variety, poured on to the road enjoying their moment with raindrops drenching their bodies and souls. The steady pitter-patter against the trees and the asbestos roof above the sun-shade of the balcony, the lightning and thunder seemed to make a statement that we have arrived and are here to stay. S and I went out for a drive that evening around marine drive. Was absolute magic. How I wish, the blissful moments just paused there.

The next day, all the ecstacy turned into harsh reality. I was ready to leave for work and it started raining slightly. *OK..! I can handle that* I decided that I wouldnt want my nice white shirt and black trousers to be spoilt by the drizzle. It was so far so good for the next 10-15 minutes in the auto-rickshaw which was err .. reasonably protected with two flaps of plastic curtain on either side of the back seat. The next minute, one terror Sumo came prowling out of nowhere. The angle and the trajectory from the tyres through the front seat was just perfect to splash water right on my face and my precious white shirt. *Eww..!!* The rest of the journey was spent ducking these predators and getting to work in less deplorable state. Its been raining cats and dogs ever since and hasn't stopped. In fact, one of these days, I had to actually force myself to stay indoors because of the heavy downpour throughout the day and postpone important meetings at work. That did it!!

The moments of bliss has come to a resounding halt. Much as I try to enjoy monsoon every year. Incidents as these spoil it for me. I am off to this sleepy little town in Gujarat called Bharuch tonight. The serene and quiet surroundings, golf, granny's pampering and lots of goodies to eat - totally looking forward for the relaxed weekend. Also with crossed fingers, hoping Its less rainy and mucky there. Amen to that.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Movie woes

How does it feel when you've had a long, dreary week and you struck a lucky chord and managed to get tickets in the weekend for the movie you've badly wanted to watch and the hall is abuzz with noises and distractions throughout the course of the movie?
I have deduced 2 axioms on viewing movies in theaters in India.

1. Wherever in the hall you are seated, the guy/lady next to you can never stop yapping on his/her mobile
Ah! How tempting is the thought to clobber the fool in the movie hall who thinks setting the mobile to silent mode is the most heinous crime? Au contraire, it would be a shrilly Dhoom-theme in the loudest volume which could, in fact, ring through ears of Will Smiths or Abhishek Bachchans performing on screen. More so, the movie hall is the only place left in the whole world for these pesky creatures to be discussing their new hair color or sales statistics with some worthless beings at the other end. It is a matter of surprise, really, that it never occurs to them that they are such menace to mankind.

2. When it is a movie of serious viewing, there is bound to be a howling child in the neighboring seats.
Children are usually fun to be with and bring a lot of joy in life and all that. But while watching a movie, I cant help but look at them as these little evil imps on prowl to spoil the evening of the others. It is when there is pin-drop silence in the hall in a very intense scene of the movie, when the kid would want popcorn or would want to go to the bathroom or would want to simply shriek and howl for attention. I can't understand why these parents can't leave their kids with the maids or whoever and let the others watch the movie in peace. It’s sad that the whole tantrum thing of their children makes the hearts of the parents swell with pride. But sorry folks! All I feel like, at that time, is to box the ears of those devils and give them a good spank.

Children and mobile phones must be left at home before one comes to watch a movie. If they cant part with either then they should be banned from the hall premises as well. Hail Hitler!!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Farewell parties and the associated hazards

There has been a spate of Farewell parties at work. People travelling abroad, people quitting, people getting transferred, people moving to other projects and roles and so on.

Apart from good food (Usually Pizza Hut or the heppish Indian cuisine varieties) and a small hole in the pocket, its fun listening to some farewell speeches - Some too whacky, some too politically correct, some too diplomatic and some totally bizarre.

When I had joined the project a year ago, one dude (Lets call him 'S') got a hard-earned transfer. Poor dude had lived all his life in Bongland and Mumbai's brash and fast life did not seem to suit him and his bong sensibilities too well. After a year of trying, he finally managed to get a transfer. His speech goes something like this:
"hello ebrybody, Its been a bhery great learning experience phor me working in VOS (prononced "bhaws") project. From the day I joined this (we hereby call it XYZ company) company, my only dream was to get a transfer to Kolkata and I have finally fulfilled my dream."
*Wow..! Talk about ambitions in life.*

In another instance, it was a farewell party for these veterans in the team who were travelling abroad. Pizza Hut comes up with these most whackiest songs for birthdays and other occasions. Where else does one hear rap for a birthday song with emphatic "Yo's" as fillers wherever it fit in to the song or didn't fit. Anyways, we happened to see this bunch of college-going kids in another table, one of whom had her birthday and the Pizza Hut crew made the kid stand up on her chair and made her announce to the whole floor that it was her birthday and they broke into this "Happy Birthday Yo!" type jig. Taking cue from this, we promptly informed the crew that it was K and S's special day too (the dudes travelling abroad). The same exercise followed for them too. It was good fun to see them go red with embarassment yelling to the whole floor that they were travelling abroad on an assignment with the crew throwing some more yo's for them..:-)

The latest one was the funniest. It was this Project Manager who joined our team for a brief time and got himself transferred to Delhi eventually. He was a total joker who spoke first and thought (or probably never saw the need to think) later. He used to come up with vaguest ideas on things he had no inkling about. He had the most chauvinistic thoughts on working women and very openly voiced his opinions to the 'womenfolk' of the team. He claimed to be the best cricketer after Tendulkar and just that he was forced into a 9-5 job.*
Thank god for Tendulkar, Mr. A would've been the poster-boy and driving that Ferrari*
And he, evidently, thought that women do not like to play outdoor sports or keep fit and they are best doing cleaning washing or read books for recreation. *Like washing, cleaning does not involve any physical exercise as his supposedly sporty activities*

When he was not at his desk, which was most of the times, we knew where to find him - gym or the Table Tennis room of our workplace. Since he was new, he had a lot of questions and I, as a lead, used to explain rather patiently the works. Then he would throw a fit and start comparing how things were better in his ex-companies and how XYZ was making things more difficult. This had become a habit and after a while, I used to avoid him like plague or give him dirty glares or raise my voice to show my disapproval at his attitude. I, then, hit upon this bright idea and got him introduced to co-lead of the team who complimented him totally. A rather demure and meek guy called N who spoke less and thought more..:-)
This dude stopped bothering me after that and life was good.

Enough said about our boisterous, women-hating, sports-loving, ever-lamenting manager. Finally the day arrived to say good-bye to him and we asked him to come up with a farewell speech. He started off with all the pleasantries about what all XYZ and the team had given him. * Ha! Liar! *
Then he went on about all the hardships he faced and how things stabilized with time. He had a word or two about each of the 20 members in the team starting with me who according to him was helpful, a good listener but one who got irritated very soon.
*Well, I cant possibly fake a smile for every occasion when your rant-mode is switched on. I have more 'real' things to worry about than your machine being slow or meeting rooms being busy or women not playing Table Tennis*
Then he went on in a clockwise manner around the table passing un-wisecracks on all the team members finally ending with N. And he goes, "I was new to the company and was quite lost in learning the processes and getting hold of the projects... (rolling his eyes lovingly to meet N's) Aur maine N ko dekha...!"

Now we all knew what was with the women-hating tendencies...:-)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

All in a week's work

A huge 'hum-saath-saath-hain' type family gathering, hajjar pujas, smoke all over my hair and eyes, 4 saree changes in 1.5 days (all worn 100% by me with no external help. Now thats something!), acting a coy not-so-newly-wed, indulgent socializing, nice yummy avial-type food, acting host for dinner to 25 guests spanning 2 days with strict CTQ's like no onion, garlic, rice or hotel prepared food, getting few praises on my culinary abilities, terribly terribly busy 12-14 hour work schedules, teleconferences with UK, France, China and US simultaneously while stirring paav-bhaji in the kitchen, lots and lots of driving through impossible roads and a bad stomach and fever and anti-biotics through the weekend..

This pretty much sums up my last week..:)