Saturday, March 05, 2011

Stupid Sam - Know the difference?

"Five Pipty", he said, casually.
"Huh?" Sam did not catch that.
"Five hundred and pipty!", he repeated.
"Sorry?", Sam asked, a bit of alarm gripped his voice.
"Five pipty pa!"
"Engitta avalo cash illanga. Paathu pannungale", Sam replied. He was cautious about not conveying a casual tone.
(I don't have so much cash. Please cut down your demand.)
"Illa pa. Five pipty. Receipt vaangiko", he continued the usual act of I-will-not-budge.
(No. Five Fifty. You can take a receipt)
"Engitta nooru roopa thaan irukku. Enna pannalaam?", Sam insisted.
(I have only 100 bucks. What can we do?)

The guy insisted a couple more times and even pointed to an ATM nearby. When Sam did not show any sign of agreeing to pay more, he gave the situation a bit of serious thought and proposed a new deal. "300?"

Though stupid he was, Sam realized that his act was working. It was past 9 PM and he jsut wanted to get this done with. His mind worked out the math (luckily he was good at it) in a whoosh and spoke slowly, "Engitta avalo illanga. Oru 150 try pannalaam." (I don't have so much. I can try gathering around 150 bucks).

The guy sighed. It was getting late for him as well. He wanted more money to put up his booze party for the night and at the same time did not want to lose the customer.

"200. Final.", he said and walked away to find one more person to make up for the difference.

At this point, Sam knew what had to be done. He quickly asked his colleague for any change she had. She looked through her purse and handed him two ten rupee notes and a ragged five rupee note. He took the notes and put together the bits and pieces from his purse. He rushed to the guy, handed him the currencies and grunted, "Ellathayum vazhichu 125 irukku" (after cleaning up my purse here is 125 bucks).

The guy accepted it with gratitude and quickly slipped the notes into his pocket, so that his superior did not notice the little business deal he made for himself. Sam went back to his bike and shushed his colleague to quickly get on. They left the place in no time.

On the ride back home, Sam couldn't but wonder at the fact that the differences between tourist spot vendors and traffic policemen were gradually decreasing.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Mirror of the Erased

If you stumbled upon here amidst important work, please come back later.

Having woken up completely drained, sore and strained, the side-effects of too much physical activity after a long time, I realized that its almost two and half hours past the rise early - sleep early schedule I've been practicing for the past month - so much to stabilize the social animal's system. After groaning a 'Oh ****!', my mind promptly dived into re-scheduling the day's activities. Postponing shaving and choosing to take bath in cold water helped me get ready earlier than usual and in no time I was driving back home with breakfast and newspaper for Dad. Thanks to the closing of a signal in GST road, the due-to-metro-rail traffic is less intense these days and I was waiting for the lift (at work) five minutes later. Compared to the past two months, today was expected to be a 'less issues' (I did not say no issues) which meant that my mind was devoid of preoccupied problem solving and the security didn't have to remind me to sign in the laptop register, but, as the day progressed, my mind did register to forget tomorrow. So passed by, one more day where I tried to be sincere (apparently 'good' is way far) at something I remotely imagined I would even be doing by this time in my life. Just like that I was unlocking the front door (back at home). Followed, the routine of freshening up, dinner with F.R.I.E.N.D.S, online for sometime and settling down for a chat with Dad by his bed.

Chats with my dad by his bed almost often turns out to be the most interesting part of my day. We discuss from movies to technology, past to the future, dead to the to-be-born and more. Sometimes we end up laughing really hard, sometimes it would result in me storming out after a furious argument, or sometimes one trying to cheer up the other. In short, its a jugalbandhi of sorts and without dedicating an entire post to it, I'd not be able to do justice. However, today, we dug deep into our past, deep enough that we reached the 1970s about how my Dad's career started. I don't even remember how it lead there, but it all started when we talked about how my career started amidst some of the most dreadful days of our lives - Madurai.

At the close of an hour long talk, I wanted to write (an entire post) today, unlike other days where I start, write two lines and close (the browser). And to make sure I went through with it, I set Jet Audio to play Varanam Ayiram in a loop. How amazingly true is the fact that our minds are so pictorial and musical, one complementing the other. The moment I listen to 'Nenjukkul Peidhidum' I can picture myself sitting in front of my PC in the hall of our flat in Madurai, on a Sunday afternoon, chatting or blogging, Dad lying down in his bed (next to the PC), both of us with no clue of what we are going to do for the rest of the day. Well, that just describes a selected few Sundays, because all the other weekends (except a couple at the start and many towards the end), I spent the rest at work or should I say second college.

Madurai (September 26th 2008 - April 29th 2009) was just a flash in my interesting life filled with irregular connectible events. A positive attitude of expectation is half way to satisfaction. In Madurai, the corollary of that statement worked pretty well for me. Agrini, the home to most (of the little amount of) software engineers and families, was probably the best thing that happened to us in that city. The first time I saw that place in July 2009, I decided that it was going to be my home (irrespective of the duration of stay) in Madurai. Just like India in Sunday's match with England, I got off to a quiet but steady start - pretty decent workplace, my CSE background (or tag), my determined will to get along (no matter where), an AWESOME, (almost) like-minded set of colleagues and the feel-at-home setup including my Dad, his cooking, filter coffee every morning, hot lemon rasam when I wanted it, unlimited internet (though it was from sucking BSNL) and a lovely set of friends (back home) who often called to check on me. Just when I started to sink into that place-for-the-next-few-years feeling, the pressure started to build.

After 17 continuous days of 7 AM to 1 AM schedules, somehow, I (we) managed to cross the first bunch of hurdles and cruised into the next phase, for which all of us were better equipped and prepared mentally. All that preparation to get through that one more month for life to be set milestone was in vain when I (we) realized that the three months of grooming was going to be wasted grooming down doubly during that fourth month. I have talked about that many times here and am not getting into it again.

So, I'm summing up those seven months as a set of picture moment memories below:

1) September 27th 2008 (around 10 PM) - Dad hung up on his friend promising him (after lots of persuading) that he'd be there for the elections (next day) at The Kerala Club, Coimbatore. I never imagined that I'd be visiting CBE two days after I said Good-Bye. It was like a 'Always my home' kind of a thing.
2) October 21st 2008 (late evening) - Celebrated a colleague's birthday that fell on the next day. The day I realized that God was not all that cruel. He did know what and whom I liked to have around me.
3) October 31st 2008 - First salary. I was all teeth. :D My first withdrawal was to buy a shirt for Dad.
4) November 10th 2008 - First accident in my bike. Crazy old man freaks out in the middle of the NH road. My nose hit the rear view mirror with full force and bulged to the size of a capsicum. I got so much attention at work that day. :P
5) November 18th 2008 (around 9 PM) - End of the first day of C++ lab evaluation. I cracked down and cried like a little child after the pressure filled day (ever) of not talking to a SINGLE HUMAN SOUL from 9 AM to 8 PM. No food (except for a few cups of coffee). Mobile phone switched off. 100 other famished, hopeless soul-sucked beings around me. I did not feel bad about the day that had passed by (I had done my best). I was dreading the next day. The next evening, I prayed sincerely that I (we) should never ever come across two days like that forever.
6) December 6th 2008 - Played cricket at the TCE campus grounds. I had registered in the team for the New Year Cup. The batch mates who selected the team looked at each other and shook their heads in disapproval as soon as I bowled my first ball (No! The batsman did not score a run. Wrong answer!). I don't think they knew I noticed their non-verbal communication. :P I was laughing loudly inside thinking that these guys actually took me serious when I said I wanted to play. :P
7) December 25th 2008 - A Christmas I celebrated long after my Lisieux days. It was by far the happiest day for me in Madurai and the fact that I spent a gloomy 25th December 2009 is a testimonial.
8) December 29th 2008 - The day I gave up on corporates. How will you feel when someone in-charge announced that the training program you were slogging your a**es off, was actually started as a social service for the rural youth - to send them into the market (not for recruitment); and with a smile says "Have a ball on New year's eve. Don't regret later!" We did have amazing fun that New years. Only curse noises filled the room.
9) January 17th 2009 - My roommate was driving and I was the pillion rider (for a change). A phone call I was so happy to answer, but wanted to kill myself when I hung up changed my life forever.
10) February 2nd 2009 - I was back from Cbe all geared up for the (for the sake) extended training. But, the soul-sucking continued. I opened the link to submit my resignation, but the last traces of common sense forced me to shut my PC down and rush home asap (after calling sick).
11) February 19th 2009 - Got my first build (after God knows how much of effort) running successfully and tested it. I went home whole-heartedly.
12) March 5th 2009 - Gave a demo to the domain lead (periya thala) and he appreciated my efforts to have developed what I had in such a short time. Beaming with pride, I booked tickets to Cbe for the weekend.
13) March 18th 2009 - I was given a firing by my manager because I inquired about a "merit-list" they had mentioned. I was told (as a general statement), "You may be a top performer. But, I get to decide who would be working here". I sent out 65 job application mails in the next two days.
14) March 21st 2009 - Successfully headed and conducted a Medical Camp in a village near Madurai. The only day spent with purpose during my eight month stay.
15) March 31st 2009 - I went home dejected. Nine of us had applied for a development job in B'lore. Seven of us got a call for an interview the next day and no prizes for guessing, I did not. I was so depressed that my Dad forced me to go out and buy new speaker systems for my PC. :)
16) April 1st 2009 - The company that did not consider my application for the development job called me and the other guy for a testing position. We were happy but were dejected to learn that none of the seven who attended the interview that day nailed it. Third round exit. Fifth round exit etc. Nerves!
17) April 2nd 2009 (B'lore) - Seven of us attended the set of written tests and interviews. Two of us nailed it and not sure you got it right, I did! :) I was asked to join on 14th April.
18) April 3rd, 4th 2009 (Chennai) - Different company. One more written test and two rounds of interview. I did well. I went back to Madurai hoping I get it in Chennai, awaiting the results that were supposed to come by 7th .
19) 7th April 2009 (Madurai) - I resigned anyways. Even if I did not get the job in Chennai, I was going to join in B'lore. Made the decision. A confusing decision, which I realized after few months to be right. Finally, I sent the good-bye mail I was longing to send.
20) 9th April 2009 (Morning) - Results of the company in Chennai were delayed. I booked my tickets to B'lore for the 12th. It was a long weekend from the next day and if the results did not come by evening, I decided to join in B'lore.
21) 9th April 2009 (Around 7 PM) - Got a call from Chennai. I had gotten through. That phone call decided and has maneuvered my professional life and parts of my personal life since then.
22) 25th April 2009 (9 PM) - Boarded the bus to Chennai. Waved goodbye to a lot of memories, bitterness, short-lived happiness and hell a lot of learnings (technical and way more).

1) Usually I reread my posts a million times before posting. Today, I'm just posting it. So don't mind typos and the length. I'm sure you were bored by the end of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed reliving those seven months.
2) Jet Audio has looped the Varanam Ayiram tracks have around 10 times by now. So, the song selection did work for me, as always. :)
3) Regarding that cricket cup, I was in the squad though and I fielded for an over in one of the matches. We won the cup and I have a trophy at home. No, I have not listed this in the extra curricular achievements section of my resume. :)