White Collars

Christian B

Image via Wikipedia

A senior (by age) colleague in my office wears white collar shirts. The first two days I saw him do so, I thought probably his washing machine/maid must have broken down and he did not have a fresh shirt to wear. But continued wearing such shirts almost daily. I wondered what could be the reason to do so. Probably he wanted to identify himself as a bigger idiot (read VP, Director) than the other fools (read managers) and bozos (read executives).

That prompted me to do some research on the term ‘White Collar‘. According to wikipedia, “The term white-collar worker refers to a salaried professional or an educated worker who performs semi-professional office, administrative, and sales coordination tasks, as opposed to a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor.” The origin of the term is traced to 1930s and is generally credited to an American writer Upton Sinclair.

Although it is not written any where, I guess the ‘real’ white collared shirts were invented and meant to be worn so that the manual labour workers and the administrative workers could be separated. Although limited to work, later the term was also extended to corporate crimes.

Anyway, I know this is not an exceptionally intelligent post. I just did not think some one will actually implement the white collar distinguishably on his shirt. Some people are bummers, aren’t they?

Traffic Rules!

… and ladies and gentlemen I’m going to teach you some traffic rules. The post will be insightful and will comprehend your judgement about the traffic on Indian roads and more importantly the traffic sense of Indians.

  • The mirrors on the sides of the vehicles are meant to see the road behind that your car has covered. Mind you, to see the road behind and not the vehicles on the road that may approach you while you are blindly taking a turn in the middle of the road.
  • The no parking signs are meant for you to understand that parking over here is compulsory.
  • You are absolutely right in believing that even the cars and bikes talk to each other when they are in a gathering (read traffic jams). For how else will you justify the blowing of horns?
  • The broken white lines on the highway are not meant to mark the lanes. They are meant so that you can try zig zag drive between the broke white lane, especially if you are a biker.
  • Helmet is not a protective headgear but a fancy cap. Most helmet designs justify this point.
  • The red lights on the signal, especially when they are on late night or early morning are meant for decoration purposes and not for control of traffic.
  • The foot paths are meant either for the road side vendors when in a market or for bikers to ride on it when on a busy jammed road. They are not meant for walking.
  • If you happen to brush another vehicle in traffic, it is important that you settle the score then and there without worrying about the ensuing traffic jam behind you.
  • The ascend or descend of the flyovers are meant for the buses to stop and offload passengers. If there are pileups behind or bottle necks on the other two lanes, it is not their headache.

Few more rules coming up as soon as I discover them. If you know any, let me know and I will put it in y rule book.

Cheers!

Up at 5!

I’m not used to getting up early. The earliest I have woken up on my own is 7am (and the latest is 8:30. Yay man! great consistency.) Since the time we had our baby boy, we as in the family were used to getting up at odd hours. In fact, my kiddo made sure we woke up at the oddest of hours. 🙂   But I managed to go back to sleep every time, even if it is for 15-20min. Today it did not happen that way.  😉 Continue reading

Aim as a Moving Target

How many of you have a clear and defined aims, or goals you may call it? Mostly every one of us have at least 1 present aims and we often rehearse that I want to achieve ‘this’ before ‘this’ date. I’m calling it as a present aim because in my opinion aim is a moving target.

In my early professional days, I used to hate the question, ‘Where do you see yourself 2/5 years from now?’ But I understood the meaning and importance of the question very late. After you matured, you may have maintained a wish list that I want to become ‘some one’ by ‘this’ time. But when the defined ‘this’ time gets over, most of us do not achieve the ‘some one’ tag. Mostly it happens because we change the definition of ‘some one’ midway through the completion of ‘this’ time. For instance, as a 5-6 year old, I was fascinated by buses and wanted to become a bus driver. By 12 I wanted to become an athlete, then a doctor, then architect. But finally ended up becoming an Engineer, then a Manager and started working in the ‘nth’ IT company in India. So does this hypothesis lead me to a conclusion that if we have a concrete long term aim, we often lose interest in pursuing it?  Probably yes.

Then why not break the one aim into a million small ones? If we have short well defined aims, there is a chance that we will achieve them and possibly succeed. Plus you can make the aims more realistic and achievable. Examples are good. So I’m going to give you another one. Suppose your wife caught you talking to some one she thinks is your ex girlfriend, you have a problem in your hand. So your immediate aim is to prove your innocence and convince her that you are not a philandering person. Even if you aren’t, you can at least try to become a decent guy.

Well, I know the example is unrelated. But the point is well taken. Breaking your strategic and very important life’s objectives into small achievable and less dangerous targets sure does help. Try it once. Even if you fail, there is always another life to live, right?

PS: I told you, I’m out of touch!

Help Me PLEASE!!!

Help!

Image by Dimitri N. via Flickr

Before you courteously offer some help to me, let me clarify that I’m not looking for help. Perhaps this post is about people who keep seeking help from others, mostly emotional help. I’m sure you will comprehend what I intend to say here and may have sought or offered help to people who keep running back to you for some reason or the other.

I think I’m naturally very rude. The way I talk ‘hurts’ people. But my wife isn’t like that. She enjoys these occasional bursts of compassion and charity. So no wonder the list of people seeking her blessings is much longer. For example yesterday one of her recently added friend cum blessing seeker called her up to tell her that his new found room mates were not treating him well. Now what has my wife got to do with it? I’ll tell you (patience is requested). She had helped this guy, who is apparently her colleague, to thwart his boss’s plan to expel him from his project by drafting a good email for him. And why did she do that? Because one day this guy sat besides her and opened his can of worms (read problems), just like that. That email was sent to the Vice President of the company and did wonders for the guy. Since then, every time he calls her or meets her, he keeps talking about some new problem. Finally my wife recently realised that he is sort of a cry baby (no wonder why his room mates dont treat him properly. I’d have beaten him. Anyway…) and now she has started ignoring him. Continue reading

How to Avoid Office Meetings…

Simple-

  1. Pretend to be the sickest person on earth on the day when meeting is scheduled. Call your boss and cough as hard as you can. He should fear for his life, for he could catch TB.
  2. If point number one doesn’t appeal, pretend to be busy in a client call. I’m sorry, let that be a call with either partner or a supplier. This saves you from sales targets. I’m told when you pretend to be busy with the client, they increase your monthly targets.
  3. If the first two are not good enough, call your boss and tell him your father’s uncle’s step son’s aunt fell down from the first floor. Generally first floors are safe. They dont kill you. But you can then spend next two days at home pretending to be in the hospital.
  4. If nothing of the above works for you, the reason that I’m caught in traffic must and always works… without doubt.
  5. If your boss is as smart as you are and he asks you to join through a conference call, make sure you stand near a junction or a parking lot. Ask your fellow commuters to blow (their) horns as if their life depended on it. Then dial into the conference call. You know what can happen next. 🙂

I hope you were satisfied with my reasoning. If yes, kindly press 2 or 7. If not, press any thing else nearby. Neither of the inputs are going to reach me anyway.     🙂

OMG !!!

For the purpose of representation only. Picture credit theoneenigma.com

On my way home few days back, I picked up a pet bottle of 7up. The label read ‘New and Improved lime and lemon flavour’. But when I drank it, it tasted the same. Now I dont need to tell you that 7up (or for that matter, Sprite) is just a carbonated sugar water. And I bloody paid 24 bucks for a ‘new and improved lime and lemon’ flavoured carbonated sugar water. Feeling cheated eh? I did!

I decided to check other such products whose marketing team might have cheated on me or many other such people around me. The first one I spotted was a Bajaj Pulsar DTSSi. I remember an old Pulsar who had an equally powerful engine as the new one. And it didn’t have an adjective to define its power. Then came DTS, then DTSi, then DTSSi and now a DTSFi is also in the offing. Now if I understand correctly, DTS means ‘digital twin spark’. But I dont know what it means to Bajaj. And I’m sure by the time I add another 40 years to my life, Bajaj will add at least 100 permutations and combinations of the entire 26 alphabets.

Bajajs are not the only ones. The Ariel I use says it has some ‘anti stain chargers’. So is it some thing like Deccan chargers? Not only Ariel, all its competitors have some or the other fancy ‘some thing’ inside them. May it be dirt magnets or active oxygen or stain busters or what not. And there are many others… a ‘DNIe’ television, a ‘Silver Nano’ washing machine, a ‘Bio Sleep’ air-conditioner, a deo fresh refrigerator and even a ‘thermo some thing’ shirt! I wonder what the ‘exxttrraa’ adjectives have added to the products. They have certainly not added any value to it. Try checking the ingredients of the washing powders of different brands. I’m sure the brands who command a comparable brand value will more or less have similar contents… and similar results.

I also heard a radio ad of a gutkha brand some time back. It said “<snip> khaoge to jeet jaoge”. I’m sure they meant exactly what they said. 🙂   Marketeers are getting creative these days. And they are aptly aided by the creative team from the ad agencies. And when you realise what they are actually playing on and with your mind with their DTSSi and dirt magnets, all you end up saying is OMG and WTF! Let this be an SB- a stress buster.

The Meetings!

Office meetings are always so funny. Every time we have a meeting, I remember Scott Adams. If there is one guy who has understood the corporate world well, it is him. And boy, how well he captures it.  🙂

This incident is from one of our review meetings in the office last week. The bosses were discussing the usual and the obvious, as usual. I listened to it for some time. But then I found out that I was invited only to make sure that each of these bosses have at least one listener (me) who will look at them and pay attention. That was injustice man, and without any perks too. Of course, there are those bourbon biscuits and wafers. But the idiot office boys keep those plates in front of the bosses. So even that ‘perk’ is gone.    😦

I decided I had had enough. I opened my laptop and started the old favourite gtalk. Then started the series of pings. Hello to him, Hi to her… boy I was all over the gmail. Just when I was discussing one’s prospective groom on one window, telling a friend how boring it is on the other and discussing a break away proposal on the third I realised that the conference room had gone silent. Every one was looking at me, some of them in anticipation and one of them (my boss of course) in anger. All I could do was smile, why is it not funny? 🙂

Boy, the meetings are just like the classrooms. You cant even do your own stuff when the teacher is not watching you.

Catching the Pushpak

Pushpak is not a bird, but a train. I almost successfully ruined my record of never having missed a train despite trying to do so each time I have travelled alone. In the story ahead, I will try to narrate you the sequence of events that led to me almost missing yet just managing to get on board the Pushpak Express. Enjoy…   🙂

Date: 26th February 2010

7:24am: After snoozing my morning alarm twice in a subconscious state, I finally heard and registered that it was my mobile phone’s ring and not the Nokia tune I composed in my brain. “Haan main uth gaya hu… nai yaar… I was about to enter the bathroom… Yes I will… cya.” That was me lying to my wife. Actually I had to. She is aware of my ‘almost missed the train’ stories and was righteously worried.

8:00am: The spring in me had to function really well. Exactly 28 min after my wife’s call (yes I slept another 5 min after she called), I was all ready and about to leave my home. 5 minutes to go down, 25 min to go to Thane station, 5 min to punch the coupon, another 5 min to catch the local and then 30 min to Kalyan station. Meaning exactly at 9:10 am, I’d have been standing at the platform No. 4 of Kalyan station, waiting for Pushpak express. The scheduled arrival of the train was 9:12am. I had also called my friend to drop me to the station on a bike to save those additional precious few minutes. The plan was perfectly in order and, what you say as a slang, “Cut to Cut”.

8:35am: Let me remind you, you are on Mayur’s Blog and reading about MY story. So every thing here IS INDEED cut to cut. But I cant say the same thing about my life. Meaning we met traffic on our way to station. Forget saving, we ended up losing 3 minutes. Add to that, the coupon counter was crowded. So it took me another 5 minutes to punch the coupons. In the process, I lost the 8:35 slow local to Kalyan, which I was originally scheduled to catch. Since I had to recover the lost time, I thought if I could catch the fast local to Badlapur from platform 5 instead of the next slow Kalyan local at 8:40 from platform 2. Par wo Kehte hai na, jab gidhad ki maut aati hai to sheher ki taraf bhagta hai. Aur main bhaga bheed ki taraf. The foot over bridge was so over crowded, I ended up being caught on it, in the middle of the two platforms, haplessly watching both trains depart. I cant describe you the agony here. I can only laugh.

8:45am: 10 minutes lost. Crucial 10 minutes lost!!! The next fast local on platform number 5 was 9:03am fast train to Ambarnath. There was no way I could hope that it ran ahead of Pushpak (since they were supposed to run on the same track). The fastest a slow train could ply between Thane and Kalyan was 25 min. I still had 2 minutes safety margin. Considering this and hoping that there was a next train from Platform 2, I muscled my way back only to read the next train was at 8:48am AND going only to Dombivli. And then I looked up… and then down… and then sideways. Gosh! I was sure to miss my train. (For those people who dont know, Dombivli is 2 stations before Kalyan. Meaning now there was no way I could reach Kalyan before Pushpak express reached there.)

8:48am: I called my wife, “Shayad meri train chhutne wali hai… arre nai yaar… naaaa! Sab thik ho jata agar… forget it. Dont worry, I’ll be there.” Another 2 minutes went off and there was no sign of the Dombivli local train. I was now getting increasingly nervous. I had no idea if I was going to make it. If I managed to miss the train, I had two option, one was to take a flight (at INR 10,000 it was a very costly option) or to board the next train (at 1:30pm) and travel in an unreserved compartment. I just prayed for a miracle.

9:10am: Getting out of a terminating local in Dombivli in the morning rush hour is like fighting the old British rulers in their own backyard. It is THAT difficult. But I could not afford to lose time and energy both. “Jai Bajarang Bali” I decided to jump and cross tracks from the wrong way and get to the adjoining platform. Within seconds I was standing below the indicator. It read the “9:16, A, F12” meaning the next local was a fast local train to Ambarnath departing at 9:16am. And Pushpak’s departure timing in Kalyan was 9:15am. “Cut to Cut”, is what you call it?

9:13am: I called my wife again. I have always found it very soothing to talk to her when my a** is on fire. Because she starts laughing, whose intensity becomes the indicator of my performance. Anyway, in the background the lady was announcing the commuters on Platform number 4 to stand away from the border line as a fast train was about to pass. We both uselessly prayed, I dont know for what. May be we were hoping that the train was not Pushpak. And a train approached with vehemence & ferocity.  And it WAS Pushpak Express. Sigh! How does it feel when the train you want to catch actually rumbles in front of your eyes while you hopelessly watch? Ask me.

9:16am: I was now feeling like a tail ender batsman on whom lied India’s world cup hopes. I had to hit a six of the last ball, whereas I was not even confident of connecting with the ball. And I was hopelessly hoping for the guy to bowl 6 no or wide balls. But what option did I have? I decided to take a chance and board the Ambarnath local train. My circus had come to an end. Now only god could help. No doubt I had my favourite Ganapati Bappa on my finger tips, my lips, in my brain and all over the body.

9:21am: Still in the train, I was getting desperate. The equation was tough. Pushpak had to stop for 10, or at least 8 minutes on Kalyan station for me to have a real chance. The probability was very low, since the scheduled halt was never more than 4 minutes. Moreover there was one more catch. The express and fast local trains normally travel on the same track, and so take the same platform most of the times. By this time the train would have reached the platform4, I thought. So I hoped that if at all Pushpak had not departed, my local train had to take a different platform (possibly platform 5) for me to have a real chance. It all became the game of probabilities.

9:25am: My local train slowly chugged on to Kalyan station. Since it was crowded, I couldn’t figure out which platform it was taking. The relative ease of the driver was very disturbing for me. Had Pushpak left? Were we going on platform 4 or 5? I didn’t want to think. Who would want to take a choice between spending big money and be saved from the beating down from wife and mother OR take a 13 hrs journey in an unreserved compartment and then face an angry wife? The choice was difficult to make, especially when I was standing on the foot board with my haver sack tugged behind and eager to jump down.

9:26am: I got down amidst the chaos not knowing which platform it was, only to realise that the local had parked itself on platform no. 5. That was a good news, meaning there might be a train standing on the other side. I swiftly squeezed myself between some people ahead and bulldozed the others who refused to acknowledge the courtesy to reach platform no. 4. I could see a train standing from distance. It had started moving slowly, very slowly. I ran towards it. I could slightly imagine what was written on the instruction board. “2533 Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Lucknow Pu… PUSHPAKKKKK!!!” Yessss! I made it!

9:28am: My wife got a call on her mobile. “Hello… Mil gayi train. Haan haan mil gayi… ufff! Ya ya… achha baba I’ll be careful… Pata nahi S9 ya S10 hai aur muze S4 mein jana hai. Dont worry I’ll go…” I finally caught the Pushpak and made it to Bhopal. Holi was great.

Hope you enjoyed reading.  🙂