Fiction or Philosophy?

philosophy-humorI was in a discussion with my wife yesterday. The topic was, “If given a chance, what kind of book will you write?” I obviously vouched for fiction. I have a thousand stories running in my brain all the time. Its quite obvious from the fact that I watch and review so many movies. I feel it like the normal philosophy of life. We like to read (or watch) what we want to be… or wish to be.

My wife, on the other hand, like philosophy more than any thing else. Although she is a big movie buff herself. She argued that we should read stories that teach us some thing. We should always be on a look out to find ways to live our life better than the way we live right now. So she’s got authors like Dr. DeMartini, Napolean HIll, Rhonda Byrne and Jack Canfield. Whereas my collection is adored by Sidney Sheldon, Geoffrey Archer, Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum and the likes. The only two authors lucky to have found a common shelf space between us were Ayn Rand and Paulo Coelho.

The big argument that broke out as an outcome of this discussion was, “Do such books really teach us the philosophy of life?” I had a one word answer, “No.”  I couldn’t possibly relate to all the good willed quotes and sentences full of gratitude. I’m too practical to get inspired from some one’s preaching. After all, how many of these authors have had a perfect life? I would rather read about a perfect love life, a perfect marriage, a perfect lady or a man, an exciting adventure, a luckiest and bravest guy… list is endless, so is imagination.

I would like my readers to tell me, “Do you really believe in the philosophy of life written by some one else?”

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From ‘Can Do’ to ‘Will Do’

Going down the memory lane, I remember how I was during my teens and early twenties. I had a lots of ‘can do’ thoughts that never materialized. For instance I never wanted to be an Engineer. I wanted to be an architect. I used to think I can get into the ‘big’ schools easily. But I didn’t and ended up being a civil engineer. I thought I could be an actor, because people appreciated my comic acts. But I couldn’t. Then I thought I could get into a ‘big’ MBA institute, pass out with flying colors and work for a ‘big’ MNC, or could have been a business man. Today I’m a sales manager in a small company. There are probably 1000 other instances where I thought I ‘can’ but I couldn’t.

I’m not regretting though. I don’t rue my chances or the lack of it. Just that I never had the ‘will’ in me. I always thought I can do things but never ever fully committed myself. I lacked determination.

Better late than never. I have now started speaking the ‘will’ language. As a starter, it pumps my confidence. Well begun is half done. Let there be action and let the actions speak now… “i will… I will… I will…”

Me and job offers

Yesterday, a distant friend called me up and asked if I could refer him for a sales job in some company. He was even willing to do door to door sales. Sadly, he was a victim of lay offs from an MNC, thanks to latest crash of American economy (I know the economy hasn’t crashed. But I’m optimistic) :mrgreen:

Interestingly, he was the same guy who mocked at my luck saying how incompetent I was to crack job interviews at multi million dollar corporations with 10,000 goats tied at different desks. Well, and he came to me yesterday because the same company no longer needed him. So much for a secure job 🙂

Its not about him, there are enough other people who ask me why did I change 4 jobs or why haven’t I worked with big brand names. I have a simple answer, we couldn’t get along. I have a goal for me. And I try to align that goal with the organization who considers me or employs me. If I feel the mismatch, I don’t go there or I leave them. I can not work with people who are just working or sitting in their offices for the heck of doing it. Such are the people who dwarf the growth of the company. And I have no time to waste on morons. Life is too short, I need to learn a lot and climb to where my destiny lies.

Quoting a recent experience with a CFO of a mid sized (by their definition) company. Right from the moment he said hello to me, he was down right rude from the word go. He had a problem with me switching jobs. He had a lady who called herself the HR head of company. And then poor fellow me was grilled and stressed, almost coerced to accept that by working in a company for only a year, I behaved in an unethical manner. Because I just gained whatever knowledge I wanted to and moved on. I some how knew all my explanations would fall flat on the table. So I said this, “Mr. <snip>, forget my ethics… you run an off shore software development shop. Are you not stealing jobs of innocent Americans? Is it ethical?” Bingo! The old man was taken aback. It was his turn to explain. He said most of the Americans drop out of college because its a culture there. Hence they don’t get literate resources blah blah! … And hence we are not doing any thing unethical. I said fine. Now as the interview progressed, we argued on some more things. Then came the time to throw my hot blow. I asked him why couldn’t we Indians build a Firefox or a Chrome. At his explaining best, he told me how we Indians are brought up in a culture which is service oriented. He went on and said that some American geeks conceive the products, write core architecture and send the non core activities to us. Why can’t we do it? because we are not brought up in an environment to think out of the box… they are.

Now for the knockout punch: I said Mr <snip> you just now said that there is a shortage of brainy resources in America. Now you are saying they develop the product and we provide services because we can’t conceive products. Are you not contradicting yourself? He was pissed off… and there went my offer letter. 🙂

PS: For the record, I have rejected more jobs than people who rejected me in interviews. I wish some day I find a perfect match.

Second Class Waiting

My journey to Nagpur last weekend was no less than eventful. The festival of Rakshabandhan fell on the long weekend. Moreover some people also had a leave on 19th August. So taking advantage of the leaves and spacious Indian Railway bogies, most of the home going enthusiasts thronged Vidarbha Express (It runs between Mumbai CST and Gondia via Nagpur). I was one of them 🙂

I couldn’t muster a confirm reservation for myself in the Third AC compartment. So I asked my friend who apparently knew an agent to book a tatkal ticket for me. Promptly he helped me with the bogey and the seat number. However there were two others who had sought his help and one of them was handed the ticket. So my first task was to locate them once I enter the compartment. All I knew was his first name. Anyway, so the train romped its way to Dadar station. I was in no hurry to get inside assuming since I had a confirm ticket, there was no way some one else could occupy my seat. I was proved wrong later. Even before the train could halt, the riotous mob was already inside. I some how managed to save my bag and made my way inside through a herd of wise men, large suitcases, crying children and seething ladies already occupying their places. I was up for another surprise… and frustration.

Although I managed to find my accomplices, there were 15 other people trying to occupy the cabin that could only hold 6 of them. Sweating profusely and grinning sarcastically, I pushed, shoved, chided and planted my bum on the whatever available space I could occupy. Beating Mumbai humidity in an extremely crowded train, that too when you have every right to occupy your seat is very difficult. I at least had a right to ask for my place. But imagine my situation if I had been traveling on a second class waiting ticket.

My anger subsided pretty quickly though, I was awed by the comfort and cheerfulness of people around me. They were ecstatic, warm and surprisingly at ease. With hot cups of tea, the communication broke out and the group started discussing Abhinav Bindra, Indian Cricket team, Nuclear deal, Nagpur, Manmohan Singh, IT industry, jobs etc. One of the families also offered us some food to eat. They had a small daughter who was very naughty. She made sure no body slept till midnight. And when I got a chance, I slept on half of the berth with remaining half occupied by the luggage. My generous mates shared a berth and gave the other one to a lady and her son. They were traveling on a waiting ticket.

I could hardly realise when it was dawn already. I reached Nagpur with happy memories. I called up my wife to tell he I was safe and sound and at home. She said, “Honey the train must have been very crowded. How did you manage?” How do I tell her, Second Class waiting was indeed fun.

A tale of my city

I belong to a mid sized but wonderful city of Nagpur, located in the heart of India. Although known more for its oranges and tropical weather conditions, Nagpur is much more than ‘some city’ in India. Its been more than 5 years now when I left Nagpur in search of better prospects professionally. But my heart still lies where it was born.

My latest visit on the occasion of Rakhi was full of emotions and surprises. My stay was going to be 5 days long. One of the warm afternoons, I decided to take a bike ride across the city. You may not believe it, but despite being a large city, you can go from one end to the other in less than 45 minutes! Thanks to all the wonderfully built wide roads and splendid infrastructure easily giving Mumbai and Pune a run for their money. No wonder Nagpur has attracted huge investments recently, especially after the MIHAN cargo hub project was launched. It gives me all the more proud feeling 🙂

My ride started from Itwari via Mahal (because its near to my place). Amidst all the hustle bustle in the main market area, it was very nostalgic going through the familiar by lanes, drowning in the memory pond. I remember walking through these lanes, going for festival shopping with my mother. I always used to accompany her and help her carry all the hand bags laden with grocery or vegetables. In return she would feed me Paani Poori (yummy!) and delicious Dahi Kachori. I decided to go to the same stall and savor the taste I grew up on. While the inflation pressure has gripped the nation, I was surprised to see the ‘bhaiyya’ still sold the Paani Pooris at R. 3 per 5 servings. And the taste was even better! 🙂

Making my way through the corners of Gandhi Sagar (a lake) I went to Sadar via the imperial Nagpur railway station building. For those from Nagpur who have not visited our city for long, Kasturchand park at night is still as beautiful as ever. Making my way through the VCA ground and the lush green roads of Civil Lines, my next stop was at Telankhedi lake. Of course I was alone (yeah… my wife went to her ‘maikaa’ for Rakhi :mrgreen: ) so I decided not to halt. I went to the Samosewala and had one Samosa and one Kachori each. Again, no Jaswant in Andheri or Gurukripa in Sion can match the taste. Believe me!

Ah! I don’t know how much I can continue writing. I love Nagpur. Probably I will end here and come up with a part II where I will cover about me and my college RKNEC. If you are reading this and you are from Nagpur, do share your experience. If you are not, do visit our city and ask/tell me.

Ride to the school

“Mayuuuuuuuuuuur… now chuck that kite and rush down. Its already 10:30!” My mother would shout. I would then hurriedly bring the kite down, roll the ‘manja’ in the ‘chakri’ and rush from the terrace, 3 steps at a time, straight into the bathroom. These were the sunny days when I was 10 or 12 year old and still a small school boy. Ah! the good old days.

Well going to the school was always an exercise for me. I never hated going to school though, I never enjoyed the classes either. Its so boring to stand on the bench or outside the class almost every second day. (yeah, it was pretty much a routine for me. Not that I was a dyslexia patient, I just didn’t enjoy obeying the teacher.) Anyway, so 10:30 it was and I had to be ready by 11:15 so that I could reach the school by 11:40. And I had taken no bath, hadn’t had my brunch and as always, hadn’t completed my home work.

“Oh damn the cricket match now… why can’t you be serious? You will miss the bell again today. Mayur its already 11 and you have still not polished your shoes. Let me do it for you… and where is…..” and my mother would go on. I sometimes pitied her, and some times I pitied myself. It was sheer good luck to be born to her. But I didn’t deserve it. She was so organized, and how was I? I needed some time management lessons badly (I need it even today). So I stuffed two parathas in my mouth with some subji embedded in it and was off to school.

My school was about 6 and a half kilometers from my home. We stayed in the old Nagpur city and the school was in a relatively new area. Despite that being a BIG distance by my city standards, I still went on a bicycle. Yes you guessed it right. My mother was against it. But then… this was just one more thing I wouldn’t listen to. So she never really protested.

The ride to school used to be very interesting. There was a big nullah on the second right turn that would lead to a big 4 lane road. On the way I used to surpass the Government Medical College (GMC). GMC, they say is one of the largest medical college in Asia. Understandably so, half of my journey would be to pass through the GMC area. It was full of lush green lawns, big lineage of trees, old hospital buildings with different departments. What I never used to like is the scores of patients queuing in front of them. It makes you so numb, and leaves that feeling for long time. This is probably why they make the hospital areas very polished. Leading the way, the road would turn to another bridge, this time over the central railway line. Nagpur has one of the largest railway yards in the country, being centrally located. On my way, I would pass the Ajni substation. Since it was a small station, normally express trains would surpass and zoom ahead. It used to be so thrilling to watch a speeding train from the top of the bridge. The thrill subsided pretty early though, as school was near. And as it would happen most of the days, I would make it just before the school gates closed. Never mind all the delays, I always compensated by staying extra hour after the shool, in the play ground 🙂

When I travel to my city now (sadly its not very frequent) I always make a point to stroll down the same road at least once. A lot has changed not, GMC has built new buildings, Ajni has become a bigger railway station, lot of new buildings have come up. The numbness of passing GMC, however still remains, and so does the joy!

Quick facts about me.

I have observed that besides the most popular post on the blog, the next thing in demand (?) has been the ‘I am Max’ page. So people are inquisitive about me huh? No problem, I’m happy to tell you more. Here are some quick facts about Mayur Pathak

  • Age, 26 years 10 months and 1 day as on today. (Check today’s date)
  • Height, 165cm. Can be conveniently classified as short.
  • Qualification, well a civil engineer who knows nothing about buildings, except their shape and a Masters in marketing who knows nothing about Sales. This is no joke, I’m serious.
  • Passionate about Cricket, Football, BMW and business. Read in the reverse order.
  • Strongly believes in the quote, “Maut wo hai jiska jamana kare afsos. Yun to sabhi yaha aate hai… marne ke liye” Meaning: Death is when the world will mourn. Every one lives to die one day… anyway. So believes that it is imperative to make big in life.
  • Also believes in “who says you can’t pierce the sky? Try tossing a stone with all you have got!”
  • Full of ideas, most of them useless.
  • Talks too much, think too much but write very bad.
  • Ingenuous, was almost thrown out of the first job. But was ingenious as well, got my boss on toes instead.
  • Married… K No more comments.

Some more coming up.

Happy reading.