Tuesday, October 31, 2006

tribute to a Chelsea fan!

at least get the ball right!

Me: Are you a football fan?
He: Yes.
Me: Which club do you follow?
He: Chelsea.
Me: Why?
He: They have so many stars and moreover, they won the premiership title for two consecutive years.
Me: Who is your favorite Chelsea player?
He: Frank Lampard. He was the runner up at some competition. The journalists voted him the second best and some South American guy won the trophy. I bet he cheated.
Me: You mean Ronaldinho.
He: I am not sure. All their names start with ‘R’ right?
Me: What do you think of John Terry?
He: Is he the new striker we(Chelsea) bought?
Me: Mighty close. He is the central defender who also happens to be Chelsea’s captain.
He: Oh, we buy so many players these days that I can’t remember all the names. He plays for England right?
Me: No, for Sudan you dope-head. Yes, of course. And what a coincidence, he is also the England captain.
He: But, isn’t Sven the England captain.
Me: He was the England coach before McLaren took over. Coach is different, captain is different.
: Whatever!

Me: So, do you think Chelsea will the treble this season?
He: When does it start?
Me: Treble is not a competition. It is a term used to collectively represent the FA cup, the premiership and the Champion’s League.
He: Alright. I am not very good at remembering all these names you know. I just love Chelsea and that is all I care about.
Me: What do you think about the new signings?
He: Did the new owner, that American guy sell Chelsea? What is with the signings? I don’t remember hearing anything on it on last night’s sports center.
Me: It is a Russian guy, Abrahomovic by name. and he sure would love to sell Chelsea with such supporters. Anywayz, I was taking about the new players you guys bought.
He: Oh…Bullock and Shiva.
Me: Yeah, Ballack and Sheva.
He: Yeah, whatever. I think they are good. They played at the world cup right? They should be good. All Chelsea players are bound to be good. One of my friends said that Frank Lampard is the best player to have ever played in England.
Me: Did your friend ever mention the existence of a man called George Best?
He: No. Nice nickname though. Best. Was he that Good?
Me: Pele considered him the best player to have ever walked the earth.
He: Pele??? I bet every member on the Pele committee was bribed. Blink.
Me: Is there any other club you follow?
He: Chelsea won the trophy the last two years. Why should I follow any other club? If they lose, I may think of switching. I hate Manchester United though.
Me: May I ask why?
He: They beat us last season and they are also our rivals and…all my fellow Chelsea fans hate them. I think they suck.
Me: Is that so?
He: They have always, in the last two years, finished behind us. They have won a few I should say. I don’t think they even have the kind of heritage Chelsea has. The blues rule.
Me: Manchester United has more silverware in their cabinet than your Chelsea Owner can hoard in his mansion. And as far as history is concerned, I don’t think they have much to be proud about than being the third most successful club in the history of European Football.
He: That is all in the past.
Me: That’s what we call history in the rest of the world? What is it called in your part of the world?
He: But whatever, Ferguson is a sucker when compared to Chelsea captain or coach or whatever. Look at what he has achieved and what Ferguson has.
Me: Yeah. Sigh. How can you compare the two premiership titles Mourinho has achieved with Chelsea to the 8 titles, 5 FA cups, 1 Champions League trophy, a treble, and yes .. a knighthood for his invaluable contribution to English Football that Sir Alex has achieved.
He: And moreover, we have a rich history of players too. Jimmy Floyd err something and all.
Me: Zola? Vialli? Petrescu?
He: I can’t remember any of the famous Manchester United players though. Probably they did not have any.
Me: Charlton, Best, Law, Hughes, Robson, Cantona, etc. Yes. We did not have many famous players. We had a few legends though. Or maybe it is because you are too young to remember them or even better…the names were too European to remember.
He: Anyways, catch you later. I am in a hurry.
Me: Hang on, the match is not on until Sunday.
He: What match? I don’t see matches. They are too lengthy. I am going to watch sports center.
That’s where I get all my knowledge from.

Me: So long buddy. Sigh. So much for a Cheslki fan.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A 10-year-old glint!

Posted by Picasa the glint...

He sat on the bench and looked around. It was only 9.00 am but there were still a few people walking. He opened his school bag and felt the inside pocket. Through the lining the rustling sound of the crisp notes made him want to take it out and count it one more time. Just then a dog ran towards him wagging its tail. He wondered if he should feed it a biscuit from his snack box. But he had a long wait ahead. So he merely patted its head.

Mummy said he always came to Cubbon Park for a walk. It was a routine of many years. A walk and then a morning coffee at Koshy's. He raised his water bottle to his mouth and drank deeply. What if this was the one day he decided to stay at home? He wondered.

Rahul had not seen his father since he was one. He was still crying on his mom’s shoulders when she walked out on his father. He couldn’t quite remember his father’s face. 10 years was a long time indeed. But somehow, that glint in the eye, that shone even brighter as it welled up, was etched deeply in the one-year-old’s head. After all, that is one thing his growing eyes had been searching for all this while – the only memory of his dad. Today, he was going to see that glint again.

When his mother remarried a year after the divorce, she thought that she’d filled the vacuum in her son’s life. She had succeeded in bringing a man into her son’s life – a man for him to look up to. But would she be ever able to replace a relationship, she’d probably never know.

His granny used to tell him that he looked exactly like his father – the green eyes, the broad forehead… Every time she told him a tale about his father, he’d feel jealous. He wanted to meet his dad. With age, the urge had also grown within. Every time his friends talked about their dads, his little heart would pound away in excitement. It was filled with a lot of things - a lot of things about his dad. He would open his mouth and then it would strike him. The realization that he had nothing, but a 10-year-old-glint and a few silent tears tucked away in the corner of his heart, to talk about.

It was on Rahul’s 11th birthday that his mother finally granted him the wish. She had given him all that money could buy. She had kept him the happiest son on earth. She had never imagined that what her son would ask her this time was something that couldn’t be bartered for anything in the world. “I want to see dad, mummy,” he’d asked. For the first time in her life, she did not have an answer. She could only manage a moment of speechlessness before walking out of his room. When she returned to a half-asleep Rahul at night, she had decided. “When do you want to meet your father”, she whispered into his ear. Those were the sweetest words he had heard his entire life.

The sun was shining in its full glory. The crowd had started to diminish. Yet, there was no sign of him. The dog had found a cozy spot under his bench, and looked all set to take a nap. Unlike Rahul, he had no one to wait for. He slowly opened his pack of biscuits, took one out, and threw it to the dog. He opened one his eyes, glanced at the biscuit indifferently, and went back to his nap.
The summer in Bangalore had changed a lot. The cool shades had given way to mirages. This was not the Bangalore he had known. However, whether it was the anxiety that was making him sweat, or the sun, he did not know.

It must have been hours before he lifted his stare off the green grass. “Tak.Tak.Tak.” “What’s that noise,” he said to himself. There was nobody in sight. Must be a woodpecker, he thought. His stare returned in search of green. “Tak. Tak.” There it was again. Leaving his bag on the bench, Rahul got up. A man was slowly entering through the gates. He was too far away to for Rahul to get a clear glimpse, but he could clearly see that the man was limping. The tapping noise was produced by the cudgel he was carrying which aided him at every second step he took. As he sat staring at the man, he felt some sudden movement near his feet. The dog had woken up. It must have been the familiar sound. He rushed to the man at the gate. The familiarity stamped the fact that the man was a regular at the park. Would he be able to tell me something about my father, he wondered.

He looked at his watch. It was almost 12. His hunger was slowly overpowering his patience. The tapping noise grew louder. The man and the dog were approaching him slowly. Suddenly, the thing dawned upon him. The man was blind. His cudgel was not making up for a physically challenged leg, but his vision. His acquaintance with the place had disguised the fact for some time. But now that he was quite close, it was clear. As the man neared him, the sun reflected directly into Rahul’s eyes off his glasses. He turned away. He looked at the gate and around the park. The man and the dog were the only living beings around the park apart from him. He picked up his bag and slowly got up. “This was not to be the day,” he thought. As he walked towards the gate, he turned back one final time. The man was walking away slowly towards the other end of the park - with the dog at his heels and the glint neatly hidden behind his dark goggles.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The lady with the lamp!

Posted by Picasa the sweetest thing!

If I say that my life has changed dramatically over the last six months, I wouldn't be lying - because it has. I had been drinking and I had been doping,I had been whoring, I had a huge loan to pay off, I had a few habits to get rid of, I had more than a debt to see off... and I had a huge hollow to fill up. It was not that I loved being in such a dilemma. It had become a part of my life or rather, it had become my life itself. I had taken it for granted that there was no escape. This is what was meant to be. I am going to lose the battle. I did not have the guts to fight it alone, because every time I tried to fight, I was losing it. I felt that I was destined to lose. I had given up the attitude to win or maybe I had become too used to taking failure that I was too lazy to try and win. I did not enjoy the phase, but I did not hate it either. I was running away from the challenges that life was throwing at me. Every time I stood up to face a task, I would be taken down. I was driven to the brink. All the fake smiles could not wipe the tears nor heal the wounds those were running deep down inside.I had almost given up.

And then...I met her.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Almost Famous

Posted by Picasa the destiny is ours!

A small write-up I did for a community I believe in with a lot of passion and conviction. Though the community failed to do its purpose of uniting a cult of dreamers, I think it brought out the best piece of writing that my keyboard has produced. I probably am a little biased about this - because I had nothing else but my heart to put down in words as I sat down to write this one.

"Everyone on this planet is destined to be famous, but only the dreamer grabs the destiny by its throat and chokes the best out of it. Each member of this brotherhood is a dreamer and the only destination the journey called life will lead us to, is fame. We haven't missed the train to the land of fame, we are just on the waiting list. We might not have the tickets, but we do have a moral pass.' We will get on board and no one shall stop us. God might come on the way as a ticket checker, and we will give him a bribe he won't be able to refuse - our dreams. We will get there sooner or later, and fate shall tremble and get out of the way. We have almost conquered destiny. We have almost forced god into a compromise. We are almost there. We are almost famous."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A tough lesson in parking!

Posted by Picasa it is not a walk in the park...

As population rises faster than mercury on a summer afternoon, there are few things that tag along. The need for food, the need for shelter, and not to be left behind, the need for more parking spaces.

Like everything else that is proportionally growing with population, parking spaces have their own methods of influencing day-to-day life. For instance, take my case. I have a long and winded waking-up procedure. It is quite sophisticated. It involves several scientific stages. Let me begin with the previous night’s exploits. The time I wake up is very much dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed the previous night. The more I dunk, the more I bunk. Step two involves a little help from technology. Even while in the last stages of consciousness, I have a 98.214% accuracy rate with my alarm timings. It has been 7a.m. with 6 out of my 9 jobs. On occasions I can barely remember, and that very much being the reason, I have mixed more than just drinks. I have mixed PMs with AMs and hence woken up half a day late. On all other days, I wake up at the second of those obnoxious alarm tinkles. Then comes a quick assessment of the time required to perform my Morning Raga before setting off for work. In this case, on all occasions, I manage to fit it within the time left if I were to sleep an hour more. I am excellent at time management during these early somnomaniacal spells – and only then. I reset the alarm at least thrice before I finally decide to part with my bunker. During the space of these adjustments, I have considerably shortened my agenda for the pre-job stage. Breakfast is mercilessly bludgeoned, and bath is truncated depending on the availability of a deodorant.

Leaving my getting-ready-to-office aside, let us come back to the point. How does it influence one’s life? I wake up promptly, get dressed, erase nothing from my agenda, and I speed all the way to work. I am a prompt employee. From satan to a saint in 60 seconds; a dedicated worker from a lazy-bone - No Freaking Way! If I do not do the aforesaid, I stand a sore loser as I reach the parking lot, that’s why. The spaces are taken and I will have to park my bike elsewhere and walk the grueling distance. But knowingly or unknowingly, the lack of parking space has converted me into a better person, an opportunist, a philosopher, a cynic, a fast driver, an early-riser, a punctual employee, an efficient time and space manager, my boss’ darling, and hence a higher pay package earner, a richer boyfriend, a richer friend and so on… Do you want more proof of how It has drastically changed my social life?

The parking space at Origami has also made me a manipulator and a story-teller. It is a tiny 6x20 right in front of our office. A puny little man with an evil heart manages the lot. Let me call him the vulture. He sits there and awaits his prey. He does not feed on the fully healthy and loaded machines that fit into the parking space comfortably. He waits. He waits for the weaker ones that are separated from the pack. He waits for them to stray. And then he pounces. He pounces with deadly accuracy. The pray struggles, unable to move its neck due to an invention known as a handle lock. The cold-blooded shows no mercy as he drags the helpless machine across and away from the lot. The writhe of pain is brutally ignored. He is the servant to the mightier ones. As the tortured lay next to slain, the mighty ones move away. Within a minute the tormentor turns a loyal servant. He drags the prey back and pushes the little bike into the space vacated by its predecessor. The hapless might lose a limb or break an indicator. The vulture doesn’t care. He moves back and eyes all of them. He goes back to his perching point, awaiting the arrival of the weakest links. If any of the weaklings try to rebel, he punctures the tire with the pinpoint accuracy mentioned earlier, and plays the innocent bird. I take special care not to victimize my bike and hence drive away right under his greedy eyes.

A little away from the vulture’s lair is another parking spot. A gentle stretch of road alongside homes that are neatly tucked either side of the road. Unlike most parking-space-seekers who ignore the ‘no parking in front of the gate’ signs, I pay extra attention. That is when the manipulator in me takes over. The supposedly intelligent house owners have arranged rocks to mar the boundary called – ‘that is right where you are not supposed to park you bastard.’ Some of these boundaries are more controversial than the Kashmir border. If there is space for manipulation, I look around, do a quick geometric visualization of how my bike would fit in the gap- that-is-yet-to-be-created, and move the rock. They are heavy, trust me. One more thing the parking thing does to me – it gives me something that I lack the most – exercise. After a brief session of sweating, I stand a proud and panting man – mission accomplished.

The summary of this piece is – Parking has a major influence on your social life – it changes your outlook and instills qualities in you that you did not know even existed. Early to bed and early to rise will get you ample parking space. If any of the parking lot managers eye your bike with greed, avoid them and renew your insurance in case of future situations you can’t avoid. If you are strong enough to displace little boulders – you can ignore the whole article and say – Why the fuck did I waste my time on this bull-crap!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Coming soon...'Freedom is my birthright and I've had it!' Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

lost in translation

Posted by Picasa all is greek...

Among the religions I have lost, punctuality is distinctly placed on the top of a long and happening list. As a result, I walked into the office an hour late. It had only been a month since I had joined and I had already used up all my excuses. When I say that I have used up all my excuses, please do not underestimate my imagination. I regard myself highly when it comes to cooking up creative excuses in all situations, times and languages. For instance – once upon a time there was a black panther that cut my path. The very superstitious me couldn’t make it to the office that day. A Unicorn that drilled a hole in my petrol tank and the Santa who peed in my water tank during his Christmas flight are also contenders for the top spot. It looked like my boss had given upon me. He tried professional advise, changed it to a Coreleonish threat and now it was just an old man’s plea. I ignored all the three with equal disdain. I make the rules around here!

I had an ad campaign to finish. A break from those boring classified clones. I had been sleeping with that ad for the last 3 days. My boss though, did not share the same lust for the ad as me. He threw me in the middle of a couple of nymphomaniacal black & white 3x8 ads. I succumbed to the pressure. And now I am sounding too melodramatic. Anyways, after winning the battle of the classifieds, I went back to my love. The love making session was too short even for the ejaculation of a headline. The jealous boss was at me yet again. “We have a meeting in another 15 minutes. We need to revamp a website for Karnataka State Women’s development corporation. We are serving the government and hence that should be our first priority.” Despite my strong love for women and everything about them, I despised the job.

I reluctantly got up from my chair and joined him. If you have seen a government establishment in any corner of the country, you can describe one anywhere in India without any trouble. They are all the same. Old people with huge tummies that do not represent their salaries in any way; primitive chairs which has seen more bugs than humans; dilapidated walls that told tales of unemployed employees; an elevator where you have to knock on the door for any response; Pentium MMX computers that are slower to react to human command than the peons at the place; and stuff like that.

A small session of introduction took place, wherein I was introduced as the incarnation who would revolutionise the life of women in the state of Karnataka. I was greeted with some respect and treated to a cup of tea that I badly wanted to swap with my boss’ coffee.
I simply cannot explain the torture that I was put through for ‘the 2 hours’ after that cup of tea. Long discussions in Kannada, a language I can hardly understand, forget speaking. Every two minutes, the client and my boss would look at me for acknowledgement of something I was vaguely aware of. I would nod with a look that was a mixture of stupidity, ignorance, intelligence and sophistication. The one, and the only one, that was needed – a look of understanding – was missed dearly. I managed to bring my boss’ attention to the ads pending at the office that had to go in the evening for publishing. A five-minute lecture on patriotism and the state of women in Karnataka was the answer. I surrendered.

I reached back at my work place after a very ‘fruitful’ meeting. I felt as if I was back after fishing in the Sahara. Sudden realization – Mr. Boss was ogling at my campaign beauty. All of a sudden, it had replaced the ‘empowerment of women’ as the top priority. “Women can get their rights later, but these kids need to know their fashion,” said my boss. I had just squandered two hours trying to decipher a language, and here he was, totally indifferent to my multilingual endeavour, brutally ignoring my efforts. At the end of the day, I had racked my brains over impotent fruits. I was lost in translation over nothing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

brief encounters of the third kind

Posted by Picasa run Forrest, run...

One thing in me that amuses people, and generates a lot of curiosity, is my passion for hopping jobs. I am not sure whether I can blame them for this strange interest they show in me. I am currently on my 8th job in just over a year and strongly contemplating yet another switch. However, I have persuaded my CV into stating that my current job is only my third. As it is incapable of raising a voice against my dishonesty or suing me on the grounds of manipulation and molestation, third it shall be.

I started my Job Venture back in (I am sounding like one of those retired or army men speaking of their endeavours in battles ages old and fought at places vaguely known) Delhi, on the 26th of January, 2006. I remember the day precisely because it was a national holiday. It was our republic day. The day on which, 50 odd years ago, a bunch of our countrymen who were too eager for independence and too lazy to frame laws for our country, begged and borrowed laws from less lazier people from around the world (primarily from the guys who had then, just left us). If we could thrown them out and then call them for help, we might have as well asked them to stay back, frame the constitution, and then bugger off. Anyways, I had the faintest memory of any of these when I joined McCann Erickson, Delhi.

McCann, till date, is the finest work place I have encountered. Hence, my stay at the place was longest of my brief encounters - 4 months. My CV has been forced to mention 8. I left McCann only and only due to financial reasons. At 1500 bucks a month, I couldn't even survive at the truck driver's dhaba for over 3 weeks. I used to play Frisbee in the office with my boss, for which I have been reprimanded on numerous occasion. I used to walk in at 11, 12, 1, 2 and sometimes even later, making a sorry face along with tales of a sleepless night at the office the day before. Booze used to frequently visit the office disguised in bottles as per the demand of the occasion and the drink. Beautiful babes(McCann, Delhi was known for its babes. Thanks to a few lecherous bosses) were ogled at mercilessly. Yet, I had to leave. In spite of all the joys, dal roti at the trucker's dhaba was not a delightful meal by anyone's standards.

The next place was neatly tucked away at Lajpat Nagar in Southern Delhi. Lajpat Nagar is heaven for MILF Hunters. Take my word for it, coz I am one. I collected my joining letter from the agency and never showed up. A better offer the next day was my reason. It could also have been the name of the agency. It was enticingly called 'Grasshoppers'.

Studio Smile was a decent online advertising place. They were desperate for a copywriter and they hired me giving me a 1000% raise(a record that still stands) from my previous pay package. Thanks to my helplessly faithful CV yet again. A staff of over 100, mostly techies, and a small creative team. And only one person speaking and writing for them all - Me. They considered me god around there. The miracles I performed in order to claim the title being - writing subject lines for emails, devising games, conceptualising screensavers, naming good for nothing web portals, etc. And one day my CEO triggered the departure of god. He asked me to create a web site for him. (I hate promoting my own company.) As a result I developed a sudden stroke of home sickness, applied for a leave of 10 days and headed home. That was the last I saw of studio smile. A nice place, very good money indeed. But money is not everything, is it? Yeah, sort of. My boss did try enticing my dad with huge pay packages, flights abroad and what not. I did not budge. MY luggage had by then settled at Bangalore... and THEY WOULDN'T LET ME WEAR SLIPPERS ON SATURDAY FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!

Imagic Creatives. A place infested with Mallus. Not a very nice thing to say about mallus, but being a mallu myself, I shall take the liberty which Khuswanth Singh took to father santa and banta. They, as in mallus, are always more interested in what others are doing(the others I referred to may or may not be mallus) rather than their own priorities. If I take a leave, before reporting to my boss, I would have to walk up and down three floors reporting to every mallu brother and sister as to why I was absent the previous day/days. It was only after the ritual that my boss would have the privilege of meeting his employer who is being paid by none of the mallu brethren but him. I did not my put my papers down here, I threw them. Not being allowed to smoke in the company of my art director friend and an egoistic bitch as my boss are very strong reasons to quit a job.

I got into Idiom through my Art Director friend at the previous company, which incidentally is mentioned in the previous paragraph. Idiom was a design house and coincidentally, I was the only copywriter. Reminded me of Studio Smile. That did not augur too well. After two days of naming shoe stores and shopping malls, and free lunch, I vanished.

After a month of unemployment and poverty, I joined OpusCDM. Here I met Nagesh Manay, the finest copywriter and the finest boss I had ever worked under. I did advertising campaigns, hunted for models, attended parties, and lived a dream. But it was indeed too good to be true. I was partly responsible for changing it into a nightmare. I spent more time at home than at work during my Opus stint. My boss merely encouraged my habit with a heart as big as the grand canyon. I was in self-destructive mode and self destruct I did. Opus is known for its lack of affinity towards copywriters. For the finest copywriter he was, Nagesh was also the most finicky of them. You don't expect to know a brand in three months as good as a man who has created it 7 yrs ago and seen it go from knees to its feet. He wouldn't understand it though. I stayed at Opus Long enough to claim the title of being the longest staying copywriter. I carried with me a couple of very good ads for my portfolio as I left.

As a result of deciding to quit Opus at midnight, I was again driven to poverty. What next? 270 of them, walk in interviews every other day and a job in a week for anyone who can spell his name right in English - So I joined a call centre. An IBM call centre. I had decided even before joining the place that I wouldn't last beyond the fun days of training and I was a man of my word. A month and I was off. I had just shunned one of the biggest MNCs in the world!

A week after quitting IBM, one of my not-so-favourite colleagues appeared as a messiah informing me about an opening at a small ad agency called Spectrum. I joined without second thought. The interview was a mere formality with tall promises to somebody who had worked at McCann. I threw my weight around, the whole 90+ kgs of my 184cm frame. Right now, I am sitting in front of the computer they have provided me, after facing an intellectual masturbation session by my boss, eagerly awaiting the result of the interview I have given just the day before. The intentions are quite clear, aren't they? ;)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

mysterious death of one Ms.Biondi

Posted by Picasa death doesn't have a pretty face...

I saw her for the first time while I was climbing up the stairs. She was rushing downstairs. She paused at my sight, hesitated for a moment, and brushed past me. She had been up to something – something unpleasant; and she had been spotted. The expression of guilt and anguish on her face had given her away mercilessly. Neither the perpetual innocent look nor the setting sun could prevent me from identifying those expressions clearly. What has she done now? Upstairs, the look in Simon’s eyes told me nothing different. Something had happened, and it definitely wasn’t pleasant. And she was a part of it, or maybe even the cause.

She had moved in with us a couple of weeks ago. To move in with 4 men, none of whom would qualify as the pope even if they were the last four on earth, was a bold move. I had tried to befriend her. Somehow she seemed to send me a secret message that nobody had ever tried to, and nobody ever will succeed in befriending her. I gave up my quest. Time and a vast number of failed attempts had nearly convinced me that she was only a dream, a work of my semi-conscious mind. Whether it was the enormity of the apartment or the diminutiveness of my urge, I do not know.

The stench was unmistakable. I was just back from work and ran to the washbasin as soon as the air in the room started torturing my nostrils. Nearly suffocating myself to death with a hankie, I ran upstairs. There was no sign of her. I did not find her in the bathroom either. The creaking cupboard door grabbed my attention. As I neared the door, I could feel myself trembling. Then I saw it. A hand. There was the body too. Simon. I whispered under my breath. I knelt beside her. She looked peaceful even in death. There were stains of dry blood all over her head and her neck. I did not know what to do. I looked at her closed eyes once again and turned back.

What had she done to deserve it? Did it have anything to do with ‘that look’ on her face? What had she done on the occasion of our first meeting that had resulted in something as brutal as her death? What had she done to disturb Simon? Simon was a very patient man. To invoke this sort of inhuman behavior in him would have taken more than a mere act of disturbance. He had never been fond of women; in fact he had avoided them throughout his life. So any advances of that sort was improbable. Was it an act of mere sadism? No, definitely not if it was the Simon I have known for nearly 20yrs. He was glued to his computer most of the time to even notice her petite figure. Alcohol though has changed many a man to an animal. There was an empty bottle of rum next to Simon’s bed. My suspicion grew stronger.

The bell rang thrice to free from a quagmire of thoughts. I sighed and opened the door. It was Simon. Before I could ask him anything, he spoke. “I did it. I did it. I hold none of you responsible for this. I will clean up my mess and bear the consequences if any. Is that fine?” I was stunned at the indifference. He had just taken a life and he had no regrets or at least his face showed none. “But…why Simon? What did she do to you?” - I asked after a pause. I followed him quietly as he led me upstairs. He opened the door and pointed towards the corner.

There it was. Yes. Now I knew what had enraged him. After all, he had spent sleepless nights and hungry days for it. “What else could I do? Tell me. You know what that meant to me. Did we not give her shelter? Did we not give her food? Did we not give her company? Did we ever harm her? The why?” He nearly roared.

I was speechless. He was right. I knew what it meant to him, for it was a part of his life. It was a mess. Well, the murder was justified. We had given her everything. She had no right to chew up the Creative 7.1 speakers that he had purchased just last month. Especially, when her digestive system had no clue as to what to do with all the plastic she was swallowing. I went down and switched on the television. Simon laid the body of Ms.Biondi in a large plastic bag and walked towards the municipality trash bin nearby…

Is it just me or can anyone else still smell a rat?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One month @ a call centre

Posted by Picasa thank you for calling ...

note: Except for the title of this article, it has absolutely nothing to do with Chetan Bhagath’s book. On the other hand I feel that this has more meat than the one by him, as this is more factual than his cooked up work. Wholly my perspective, arguments not welcome yet again!

A call center to me would be what the church of Satan would be to a catholic. I had not the faintest of ideas as to what went on behind the high stonewalls, but whatever the deeds were, they were as black as hell. I despised it with more conviction than Manchester Untied fans hated Chelsea. I don’t know why. Despite Mr. Gandhi’s sermons about every job having a dignity, I couldn’t find anything dignified about picking up a phone and reliving pre-1947 yet again. So much for our father of the nation’s inspirational charisma.

I left my job at my ad agency, Opus, at midnight. Freedom at midnight part II. Reasons were aplenty. I don’t want to list them, as you would find them as meager and amusing as the ones Chandler Bing uses to dump his girlfriends. In the process, my bloated up ego prevented me from seeing the financial crisis that was lurking across the ‘month-end’ street. By the time sanity punctured the ego blurb and cleared my vision, the crisis had me by my balls. As my struggle for survival continued as per the ‘one cheap meal a day’ policy, I realized that the drinking curve was at an all time low and was hitting the ‘x’ axis with so much pressure that it could fall into the negative zone. Well, I can stay hungry for a day, but thirsty (in this case, thirst for whisky, rum, vodka, etc.) for a day is unheard of in my part of a self-created Utopia. I needed a job. I had begged. I had borrowed. It was now time for me to steal. I decided to steal my vow – the one that said - I would never ever work at a call center.

Time and circumstances change people. Time referring to the time of poverty and circumstances being the ones under which one turns to a pauper from a prince.
In spite of the long list of jobs I can boast of, trust me, an ad agency job is a hard nut to crack…especially in the creative department. Hence I looked for options.

I had a few optional jobs on hand – ways to quick money.

1. Looting the World Bank - Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven inspired

2. Ingenious billion dollar ransom generating kidnapping of Laura Bush

3. Auctioning the torch statue of liberty carries, courtesy of my adulterous great grandmother’s French Connections.

4. I could cash the cheque for a million dollars; the one I found under Mr. Bill Gates’ table in a state of trance a couple of days back.

But I needed an option that was quick, easy and ‘possible’; therefore I opted for a call centre job.

I joined the Lloyds Bank Collection Process at IBM on the 24th of February. Very contrary to my expectations, it wasn’t a shit-hole. I was reminded of my college days as I walked in fashionably late into my training hall on the first day. I was greeted by the sweetest of the voices, cutest of the faces and the warmest of smiles – all the three belonged to my communication trainer – Kala. Mrs. was prefixed within a week when some bugger wanted to know whether she was married or not in a stupid game of ‘truth or dare.’ I would have preferred to have a Ms. Kala any day in the above mentioned, self created Utopia. Moving away from the unapproachable Kala, Raja was my best friend in the training room. He was a brand of chewing tobacco. As they don’t allow smoking on the premises, I had to find my ways to meet the nicotine demands of my blood. Shamim, a godforsaken heavy metal drummer from Darjeeling helped my cause. He was my second best friend.

Process training was ‘banking’ raining cats and dogs. I have had the fear of numbers since the year 2000. It started when I met this particular section in my largely unused mathematics text book called Calculus. Truckloads of numbers on the black screen brought back ‘not-so-fond’ memories. I conveniently renamed the black screen as the ‘Black Screen of Death.’ I smiled proudly at the baptism performed. I scared myself when I started liking banking. I was supposed to hate this. I was supposed to pick up my first salary and leave the damned job and head back. Against my will, I was liking it. I scored the highest in process tests. The last time I scored the highest in a batch was when … I can’t recall. It is not my fault. My brain is incapable of remembering and recollecting things that never occurred.

‘Credit card collections’ is indeed an interesting process. First of all, you get the British to listen to you; secondly, you get to boss around a bit - giving them threats as to the fines that will be imposed on them on late payments; how we could go ahead and hand over their case to outside agencies (money extorting thugs) and remind them of England’s poor show against India in the one-day cricket series. People were cribbing about and damning the process while I was bathing in the unforeseen and uncommon limelight.

The training was cut short. My heart broke with such a loud crash that it set off the fire alarm in the building. The requirement was urgent, or so did we hear from a cute, fat and ugly bong lady, who wore the assistant manager’s badge. What I understood was, in spite of all their ethics and principles, the Brits were just not paying back the money on time. If I were the bank, I would have unleashed the extortion dogs on them. Grrrrrrrr….

Call center, to me, was not anymore what the church of Satan was to the catholic. The walls had fallen down, the deeds were fairer and dignity had stormed into the scene and was in the spotlight. It was indeed a nice place to be. But as you know, some habits seldom die. I had to quit didn’t I? ;)

I had to take calls from the next day. I collected a few hundred pounds. As I left for the day I collected my salary. At the transport room I collected my ad hoc transport request, without which you were as good as a flat tire. At the cigarette store I collected my pack of cigarettes, paying 20% extra on each. At the gate, I turned back and looked around at the overwhelming building. I was going to miss the place. I collected the first and last memories of the call center, and in whole, and boarded my cab.

another note: I have nothing against the Brits. They have produced the finest writers and football players in the history of the world. Manchester Untied, William Shakespeare, Hugh Grant, Iron Maiden, David Beckham’s right foot and David Beckham’s left foot – they all rule.

Monday, April 17, 2006

How I took a bus back to advertising!

Posted by Picasa that's me in the corner...

It’s been nine months since I have been in this city. Looks like I have become immune to the hands of the clock and the flipping pages of a calendar. I have become immune to time. To justify, I am still finding it hard to digest the fact that it’s nearly been a year since Delhi saw the last of me. Good riddance, we’d both say!

Apart from time, the other thing that has glaringly avoided me is the public transport facility. Petrol prices are sky high, traffic is at its malicious best, driving is as tiring as a marathon; but when your friend has affectionately left his bike at home and deported himself across seven seas, the temptation and comfort are too much to resist. It is my first day at my new office and though I don’t care about first impressions- about bread and butter, I do. The temptation of the two-wheeler at one’s disposal had wooed my roommate at approximately 5:30 am in the morning and hence resulted my first bus ride.

I have enjoyed bus rides since college days. A seat by the window on the left side, (keeping in mind the right-hand drive in our country) drooling at the cute things at every stop is all I ever wanted inside a bus. Bumpy rides, torn seats with spring erections and bloodthirsty bugs are all ignored. A friend who was kind enough to drop me at the bus stop early in the morning helped me find this luxury without difficulty.

The engine growled to life (it was too arrogant to purr and didn’t have the energy to roar) within 15 minutes of my entrance. If I say I got Goosebumps, you’d call me a freak. Hence I won’t. If I were to, I’d be exaggerating. I’d be falsifying in order to attain an impact. In short, I’d be lying.

I get really excited when I travel through familiar territory. The thrill I get on predicting a turn or guessing the delay time between signals is quite unseen among humans. It is probably because of my general lack of road knowledge or my extremely poor sense of direction (I have once traveled around moolchand flyover 4 times before I could find my way back to the road). But there I was, sitting at my throne by the window, proudly analyzing roads and naming them in the process, loud enough for my fellow passengers to hear; foreseeing traffic jams with the finesse of Nostradamus and calculating the approximate time by which I’d reach the office! Quoting Jack Dawson from Titanic with slight alteration, “ I felt like the king of the world.”

I reached the office 15 minutes before time. The impression was made. Let me proudly state at this point of time that my travel time calculations were flawless. I walked up the stairs, looked at the lock on the door, returned to the stairs and lighted a cigarette. After a disappointing month at the call-centre, I was back where I supposedly belonged. I had taken a bus back to advertising!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To Life...

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Haven't tried my hand at poetry in a long time (since I broke up with my first girl). Well, now that my job demands it, I
have no go.
To the desire that drove us through joy and sorrow
To the hope that promised us a better tomorrow
To the ambition that showed us light all the way
To the trust that helped us through night and day
To the one thing that made all that happen

To the many ups that followed a down
To the wonderful smile at the end of a frown
To the promising day that brightened the night
To the vision that made every morning a delight
To the one thing that made all that happen

To the dreams we have passionately shared
To the ones who have selflessly cared
To the joyous hours we have always cherished
To the challenges we have always relished
To the one thing that made all that happen

To life...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

She - part 1

Posted by Picasa the chosen one!

December is an extremely cold month in Bangalore. The perspiration beads on his forehead did not seem to bother. Well, they had every reason to be there. After all, he was going to pick a girl up. Yes, a girl. Not just any girl, but the girl. It was a special occasion. His friends had come down from the neighbouring town. He had always been an entertaining host, the taurean in him just helped the cause. Maybe, for a change,he could entertain himself too. 'Was it that special?', he smirked - a smirk covered in sarcasm, disdain and disbelief. At a distance, he could see the blinking lights of a vehicle. He was getting closer to his destination - his heart pounded away in agreement. He slowed down the bike as he neared the vehicle, making sure it was the one. He stopped, waited for a couple to pass, and then progressed towards the vehicle under the tree.

She sat in the corner of a Maruti van, notorious in the business. She was amongst seven other girls packed into the back of the van. They were waiting - for someone they wished would never come. His eyes almost missed her as they wandered around the crowded little cabin. Tucking away in a corner, she might have been hoping to avoid him…but it wasn’t to be her day... nor his. “She is nice,” the words left him almost instinctively. He hadn’t seen the entire group, but he was glad he had seen her. She was timid, pretty and maybe 20.( How easily did I say that!) For all the cold outside, she wasn’t wearing anything warm or maybe... she wasn’t allowed to.

The pimp seemed to have the whole world to save as he pulled her out and grabbed the money from his hand. He wanted to bargain, but for the tension and urgency in his mind, it wasn’t worth it. His pride was at stake at the very familiar 100ft road. Anybody could have spotted him. A relative, a close friend or anybody for that matter. As he paid the money and hastened towards the bike, she followed him obediently. She was shivering as they rode home,he could tell that from the trembling arm she rested on his stiff shoulder. The human in him urged him to offer her his cap, but again, the human in him made him think otherwise as he sped through a multitude of familiar faces. He couldn't be spotted with such a girl. How disgraceful can that be! He smirked again, this time unsure of whom or what it was meant for.

She quietly climbed up the stairs as he accompanied her to what was to be ‘the slaughter chamber.’ He had a million things to ask her, but thought better of otherwise. The first time she opened her mouth was to politely decline the water he offered her. He left the room without a word. She had just used her last bit of freedom for the night by declining him. She couldn't reject anything anymore. Leave alone a glass of water, not even humiliation; not even the ripping apart of her self-esteem.Not even...anything. As he slowly sank into the couch in the next room, it struck him, and struck him hard. He couldn’t do it. For all the manhood in him, for all the lust boiling inside him, he couldn’t. His guests had already started making jokes about a carton of condoms they had bought, and how the vendor was stunned at the purchase, and a few other dirty jokes about whoring and STDs. He enjoyed none. Whenever they stared at him for acknowledgement, he managed a wry smile.

One by one, they climbed up and came back. Like heroes who had won a battle for their motherland, they had their own tales of conquests. Not the kind any one of those great warriors would be proud of. The tales about how each one had managed to make her plead them to stop, how they had exercised positions unknown to even Vatsyay, and a lot many tales of how the man in every one had just proven how less he had evolved. Finally, it was his turn. He knew he couldn’t go alone. He thought about it for a minute or two and then decided. He decided to take a couple of pegs of whisky along, a trusted companion in many a dilemma, many a situation where he was lost for words, and incapable of deeds.

(to be continued...)