Saturday, 20 October 2012

Karl Marx and me

Today i've quit Computer Sciences Corporation. Why i quit is anybody's guess, they did not pay me enough. But just as a forethought, when have we ever been paid enough? I remember getting about 15k every month in my bank and think that i have climbed the success ladder. 15k was a lot in my days of bachelorhood, we used to drink ourself silly, make day trips on bikes and still have money left in the bank. 

Now i make a fairly good amount considering my brains stopped working a long time back but still feel i don't have the money to lead the life i want. I'm skeptical every month end, sometimes i stretch filling up my car till about the last few liters of diesel. This can been looked up in two different ways either i'm becoming an ass in dealing with money or i'm not earning enough to satisfy my appetite for a lifestyle i don't need. 

Life was simpler back then, was happier sharing a cuppa with my buddies in a tea shop than having latte in Coffee Day. Dinner those days ment a shop on the roadside or Kaiyendhi Bhavan's (diplomatically), today it has to be KFC, PizzaHut, Anjappar else it does not qualify as a proper dinner. Drinks and catchup with friends used to be at a local bar (we did not have TASMACS back then), today it has to be in a Pub.

So where is this consumerism coming from? Consumers are willing to pay more and been seen in a McD than have a simple healthy meal at home, we have a false sense of status and the need to spend money to feel important and show that we have climbed the ladder of success. Basically trying to emote a class of people above us inspite of not having the means to do so. 

I'm 30 yrs old, educated, paid sufficiently yet cribbing about the most basic things in life? Maybe Karl Marx was right, we don't need this capitalistic society, we don't need this class struggle. What we need is a classless society, a place where everybody feels equal, there is dignity of labour, a place where a software engineer is not necessarily better paid than a carpenter. We can call in socialism, Communism whatever, as long as it serves my purpose of leading a happy life in a happy society where money is not the only thing buying happiness. 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The scooter story-'Like father like son'

I'm about 6to 7 years old standing in the gap (between the handle bar and the front seat)of my dads scooter. He is driving it at a sedate pace and i can feel the wind on my face, i decided to be brave and asked Dad if i can ride. "Sure" he says and i can feel the sway of the scooter responding to my hands, feels like magic, the thrill is enormous and i'm grinning ear to ear.

I'm 11 years old sitting pillion on my pals bicycle, facinated by the cycle i cajole my dad to buy me a second hand Hero Ranger Jr. The next day my first solo riding leasson is down hill with a steep curve and further down hill ride. I'm screaming my lungs out as im thundering downhill at impossible speeds for a 11 yr old not hoping to make the curve, i make it and i feel like the all conquering .

I'm 14 years old sitting pillion on my Dads scooter when my mechanic asks if i know to ride, i lie 'Yes'. Next day i decide to teach myself, i kick start the scooter and slowly move it and oh boy it moved. My addiction started young and by 15 i was driving motorbikes and ripping my dads scooter to whatever impossible speeds it could take.

I'm 15 years old washing my dads Maruti 800, deciding to be brave i turn on the ignition and reverse park the car. Dad is mighty pleased but sternly says 'Only reversing, okay?' Gradually i start sneaking the car out for a little spin every time i wash the car and park it exactly like it has to be parked after being reversed.

I'm 18 years old, dad was out of station and i decided to take the car on the main highway. Take it out for a quick spin to my friends house about 5 kms away and my confidence is in full bloom to handle highway driving.

I'm 23 years old, dad and mom visit me in the UK. We decide to go on a vacation and im the driver of the hired 7 seater van. Dad gets to taste my real driving skills, the needle inches towards 100 miles/hr and dad sitting with a horrified expression! Priceless!!

I'm 28 years old, have my own car and my family goes for a vacation to Mysore. Dad forces the keys of my hand and drives the car. Before i realize it he is hitting 100kmph on the hills with a childish grin on his face and i sit riveted on my seat shit scared! He is 60+ yrs old and i realize where i got my genes. Its all in the family!!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The State Bank of Idiots!!

I recently had the misfortune to gift away my wallet to a perfect stranger. Having 3 different bank accounts made it all the more fun. I'm listing below my experiences with all the banks involved in blocking the cards, applying for new ones and finally reactivating them.

* Call up their call center
- Promptly attended by a very polite and courteous agent
- Very professionally dealt with the problem
- Card blocked
* Card reissued (earlier than the proposed date, with extra charges)
- Pin issued (earlier than the said date, with no extra charges)
* Call up their call center
- Card activated

* Call up their call center - Prompty attended by a very polite and curteous agent
- Card blocked* Card reissued (later than the proposed date, with extra charges) - Pin issued (later than the said date, with extra charges)* Call up their call center for reactivation - Advised to visit the nearest branch again for reactivation
* Visit the branch
- Promptly attended
- Card reactivated

State Bank of India
I look up on the net for their call center number, two different numbers turn up! One is a toll free and another is a land line number, needless to say, both the numbers were not attended to when called. I get frustrated and go to the nearest branch only to find it deserted. It was apparently lunch time and all the staff had decided to have lunch together and then sit in a corner to yap about their wives/husbands.
After an agonizing wait in a deserted branch with no customers some guy decided to return to his seat. I approach him and tell him the issue, he listens and after much deliberation tell me to call their call center. I prompty tell him that i did but nobody answered, he smiles and says 'lunch time boss!' He dials the toll free number from his desk and hands over the receiver to me. The IVR asks me to press 2 for English, i look up to ask the guy to press the number for me and he is gone! Im stading over a counter with just a receiver expecting somebody to press a number on frikkin phone a good 5 feet away. I hang up and wait, the guy comes back. I ask him to hand over the phone so that i can do the sync without me shouting orders at him to press numbers.

After the usual ritual of pressing a series of numbers, a very sweet girl answers the phone. The conversation goes like this:

Girl: Hello, Sheetal speaking. Welcome to SBI, how can i help you?
(without any goddam emotion, am i calling up an escort service for Christ’s sake!)
Me: Hai, my name is Abhishek, i've lost my card can you block it please?
Girl: Give me your accnt number. (idiot!)
Me: xxxxxxxxxx
Girl: Where are you calling from? (dumbass)
Me: Chennai
Girl: Which branch? (do I have to ask you all the frikking questions myself?)
Me: T.Nagar
Girl: Is T.Nagar in Chennai?
(i realize she is sitting up in Delhi or Mumbai)
Me: Yes
Girl (after much thought): What does T stand for?
Me: Thyagaraya
Girl: Spell it for me
Me: T*H*Y*A*G*A*R*A*Y*A
Girl: Im sorry, i dont have anything like that on my system, can you spell it again?
Me: I try again
Girl: Sorry sir, i can block your card only if you give me a correct spelling
Me (dumbfolded): How does a spelling for T categorize as a security setting!! Ask me a personal question on the account for you to confirm. (Only now I realize that the girl is actually asking me a Security question)
Girl: Ok, Give me the bank code for ‘T’ Nagar?
Me: How would I know that?
Girl: Ask the bank guy. (dumbo)
Me: (totally confused) But u said it was a security question?
Girl: (agitatedly) Sir, can you please give me the bank code?
I ask the bank guy for the code of T nagar branch and he promptly hands over a sheet to me with all the branches of SBI in India. I filter through 100’s of branches of SBI to locate T nagar branch which is invariably listed as Panagal park branch when all the while I was search on branches starting with ‘T’. After much deliberation I manage to find the branch code and tell it to the girl.
Girl: Your card is blocked now. I’ll give u a 13 digit number using which you can reapply for your Debit/Credit cards.
Me: Thank you

Armed with the 13 digit number I visit the T Nagar branch of SBI for reapplying my cards. Invariable i go on a lunch time and wait for the pan chewing ‘almost retired’ uncle to help me reapply. He advises me to fill up an application form situated somewhere between the printers. By the time I find the form and return to his desk, the uncle is gone! I duly fill up the form and wait for another agonizing 15 mins when a ‘I am still young’ maami asks me to leave the form on the table and that she will inform the guy. I thank her and leave.

[2 months later]
I have no clue about my card status……. The wait continues!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Life is parts that is!

I sat on the couch and watched my gang of absolutely idiotic friends dance to "My dream is to fly" by Yves Larock. We were at Havana, Raintree hotels, Chennai celebrating friendship and all that comes with it, laughter, fights, jealousy, joy, sharing, crying and the last but not the least the joy of knowing we will there as friends forever.

They danced without a care in this world, the laughter, fun, gossiping, drinking was all so spontaneous. Nothing looked artificial, i could look into all their moist eyes and see the truthful innocent bonding of friendship. We have always been together in spite of the grossly different attitudes we carry as individuals. But the time had come for us to bid our goodbyes and everybody knew that on that very night.

Niteouts were never planned, Blore, Kodai, Pondy was always at a cruising distance. Drinking chai was always an excuse to drive down to Kovalam on the East Coast Road. A planned dinner will invariably be at Moonrakers in Mahabalipuram. A planned niteout will be in Bikes n Barrels and unplanned ones will always be a drinking session on the Besant nagar beach parking lot inside the cramped confines of a car.

As i watched them smile and dance and tease each other on the dance floor my mind went back to the memories and moments which will forever be etched in my memory about this gang. Its the last few days we'll all be together as individual friends. She is getting married, He is relocating to Bombay, She is flying to US and I might relocate to B'lore leaving just one guy stuck in Chennai. In effect we are celebrating the spirit of friendship and separation with equal joy and sorrow respectively.

We will thread different path, each will find his/her own circle again, we will go partying/drinking/dancing again, but for sure....if i would like to dissect my life into phases; I've just lived the best phase of my life, the guys will agree it too on their part. It can never gets better than this. Life is beautiful!!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Never listen to your heart!.......sometimes

The digital clock on the dashboard shows 11:25 pm, im thundering down the elevated highway across Electronic City, Bangalore. One look at the Chevy Cruze speedo and i know im covering distances fast, very fast infact, 140kmph. Having the whole of the expressway to myself decided to put the pedal-to-the-metal. The turbo boost was instant 150's came, 170's came and went, trees and buildings were passing a tad faster and turning into a speak very quicky on the rearview.

Soon the needle was inching 190's, the car was gunning for glory with all its mighty 150+ horses going flat out. I realize suddenly there is absolute silence in the car, my passengers are dead silent. The only muffled sound was that of the turbines spinning at a furious pace. I look at the needle, its 200kmph and still there is a lot of road left and strangely the car seemed to kidd me on. It was like a galloping pure bred stallion happy that its caged life is over, moving at a frantic and controlled pace with vigorous enthusiasm which can be easily mistaken for aggression. I could literally hear my heart thumping at a 1000 beats per minute as the meter now read 210kmph and was still on the upward spiral. The Chevy Cruze was infact cruzing to glory. I realize either i have to be completely mad to listen to the car or equally insane to listen to my heart to go further. I decided neither and took my leg off the pedal. The closing meter was 210 kmph and the meter had only another 10kmph left (220kmph)!

As i crawled to a steady 100 kmph i realized driving gave me a better satisfaction than anything else in the world. Also realized, life has to be never taken make your choices and dont f*c#$%in look back!!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I am an Atheist!

She looked stunning in her jet black salwar. The fact that she was sitting on a rather drab railway bench made her look like an angel. Although she didn’t seem excited her eyes moved on a frantic pace and her senses seemed to respond to every twitch and movement around her.

I watched her transfixed and with great interest (obviously!), partly coz she had those mesmerizing eyes which seemed to tell a strange tale and partly coz I had nothing much to do and ogling at a beautiful girl is the best way to kill time. It had to compensate for the train delay , afterall it was already past midnight and my 11:30 pm train was late by another 20 mins.

She caught me looking at a her and I gave a sheepish nod to which she responded with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Having been fully occupied I didn’t notice the train pulling into the platform.

It was when I caught the reaction of the pretty girl in the black dress my heart sank. The same feeling when you fail for the first time, when you hear a terrible news, when you drink and end up calling your ex-girlfriend (and repent in the very next morning) etc etc you get the drift. The pretty girl picked up her baggage and with a series of animated hand movements mentioned to somebody next to her to help her out with the luggage. Yes, she was probably speech devoid, I stood there frozen, the world seemed to move around me. It was like waking up to a bad dream only to find the dream to be true. It was less than 10 mins back I see this extremely pretty girl all lively and beautiful and now I realize she is speech deprived. How can god create something this very beautiful only to deprive it so something so basic to exist in this world? I’ve always been an antagonist but that day I was an atheist!!

Thursday, 15 October 2009


"A vagabond is an itinerant person. Such people may be called drifters, tramps, rogues or hobos . A vagabond is characterised by almost continuous travelling, lacking a fixed home, temporary abode or permanent." - Wikipedia

No im not a vagabond, it is just a reflection of the state of my mind. While im gradually getting used to the aspect of working from Chennai and making a new set of absolutely cracking friends my soul keeps harking back and forth between Coimbatore and Chennai. Chennai is a fine city (if u could overlook the filth, climate, population, traffic jams, power-cuts, water problems....etc).

I would have been bored to death if i'd not met a few people in the recent past. We form this amazing gang of jokers who would drive down the ECR to Mahabalipuram in the dead of the nite, have a few drinks at any day of the week, go for dinner at 3:00 am, make a mockery of every member and still be able to laugh it off. So coming to the point, during the times of recession and crises in the IT industry its a welcome relief for me to share my thoughts and feelings with this set of like minded Vagabounds.

Life has been tough on me the past few months, i've been drained emotionally and physically but have manged to hold on thanks to a few good people around me. My addiction to driving/bikes/cars helps me to keep adrift of the many problems. Thanks to this gang, none of my addictions are in short supply. I get to drive the best diesel engines at breakneck speeds and no one complaints.

All this bonding is too good to be true and im aware of the fact that good things not lasting long enough but may this gang stick on.........God willing!