Friday, April 29, 2005

Roll back

Today I want to thank those numerous people who came into my scholastic life and made me what I am. I would like to apologise to those who failed in their mission in making me a world class athlete, rocket scientist, nun etc..

Sr. Fatima: Thank you for introducing me to James Herriot, Jim Corbett, Salim Ali and E P Gee. I now know my Great Indian Bustard from my Turkey.

Thank you Sr. Isabel for banning Archie comics and Mills and Boon in school because it made me all the more determined to read them.

Ms. Michel: My English teacher for making me realize that there were no bad girls in English nursery rhymes. Only bad boys like Georgie Podgie. (Hah!) And that wearing extremely short skirts in class were not good for boy’s grades.

Sr. Josephine: For telling me that ‘guys are after only one thing’. This led me and friends to covertly read books about that ‘thing’.

Sr. Alphonsa: For those dreadful s** education classes where you hummed like a bee and chirped like a bird to drive home the point.

Sr. Brigitta: For trying to guide me back to a prayerful life with gentle hints like the 12 pound Bible you gave me for my b’day with the ominous words “open a random page everyday.” The first page I opened read “drink not water but wine for thine inequities”.

Sr. Maria: For taking me with her on her numerous shopping expeditions to the vegetable and meat market and commenting on the disgusting dressing style of the ladies in “A” movie posters. Also for wondering out aloud in a crowded shop what the “A” written on the poster meant.

Ms Mary the lab attendant: For letting us have a peek at the lab tables arranged for next days practical exams! God bless your acids and alkalis.

Mr. Phillip the PT master: For making us run around the sports ground 7 times for coming late to PT class. I knew then that I was never going to be another P T Usha.

Mr Bose: My Physics teacher who killed a budding career in Physics with this announcement. "All those who are not willing to work hard 24/7, burn the midnight oil and give up worldly pleasures in pursuit of science, please walk out of this classroom now.”

Monday, April 25, 2005

Proselytizing for Bacchus and clients

I dragged my carcass to work today after an interesting night with Rum and Cola, Vodka and Peach Schnapps, Gin and Sprite: not necessarily in that order (hic). These Internships are a bummer. I dare not open my mouth for fear of sanitizing the floor where I sit with alcohol fumes. But I am sure the cop at Infant Jesus circle could smell me through my helmet. Never again I swore, will I touch a drop of Bacchus’ elixir. Alas alack! These resolutions however, last only for the duration of the hangover.

I gingerly lower myself into my seat and wince at the sharp twinges that run through my raw nerves.{ Now now… I am not a recovering alcoholic. It is just that I have friend’s who swear by their brand of poison and come weekend try to win over converts like me with a zeal that would put a Christian proselytizist to shame}

I sit on the floor where a fair number of marketing guys also occupy various cubicles. (Now these cubicles are for decoration purposes only and are rarely occupied). They are a lively and aggressive lot who will not hesitate to tear each other out at the drop of a client’s name. They are fiercely competitive and happily poach on each others clients. Year end sees them hopping around like sad frogs desperate to meet the year end sales target. There is this small open space thoughtfully laid out for them by the Admin dept. (after numerous complaints from other departments), where they bash each others brains out whenever a client is struck. ( no pun intended).

A stapler lands in my cubicle, narrowly missing my head.
Biff! “saale kuthe” ( loosely translated this mean – brother-in-law dog), “how dare you approach my client? You know very well that I have already given him a demo?”

Sock!!!! “ Gadhe" ( donkey)Your client, my foot! I had approached him last year itself!”
SOCK! THUD! And another good man bites the floor.

My head is pounding. I spot the Finance Manager. Beseech him to allocate funds for a roof over my cubicle. He looks at me severely and says he does not have the budget. I crawl outside and get my helmet.

-Abey gadhe ki dhum ( hey donkey’s tail) how dare you go through my mail!!
-Poda patti ( go dog), “evinde thalel oru ennam kodukaan thonnunu” ( no translation needed)
-oye, you don’t speak in your language. I know what you are saying.
-Avanuku moolai ae ella, muttal!!! ( he has no brains, fool!)
-arey bhai, mera client lay gaya woh! ( hey brother, he took my client)
-ondhu dina, naa avanna kolo thene.( translation withheld)

Aaahhh! It’s Monday and notwithstanding the headache, it’s good to be back. Disregard my earlier observations about Internships.

I swallow a couple of Crocins. I think I will go insane if I were put in saner surroundings.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Went to Infant Jesus Church today. Waded through the throng of pilgrims to reach the shrine. Heads are bowed in prayer. There are Christians and other denominations among the faithful. I watch them, my prayers forgotten. What are they praying for. I wonder. Wealth, health, peace of mind???? How many are actually thanking God for all the good fortune that he has put in their lives. A roof over the head, food to eat, security and love of a family, healthy limbs and minds and jobs. Everybody (including me)are praying more more wealth, more jobs, more houses and more of everything. This happens in every church, temple, mosque and Gurudwara I guess. Thanksgiving is a forgotten part of worship these days.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


So Ratzinger is the new Pope. Well I was sort of hoping for a more liberal candidate.Hope he keeps the legacy of Pope John Paul alive.

Friday, April 15, 2005

( car) pool out of hellish roads!

Left for college early today at the unearthly hour of 9 am. As I cooled my heels at the inevitable traffic pile ups, I couldn't help but notice the staggering number of cars that were lined up with only one occupant..the driver cum owner!

I looked at the various shapes and sizes of these cars and marveled at the sheer waste of fuel to transport just one individual to office/elsewhere. Not to mention the fact that these cars took up a good amount of road space too.

Peppered amongst these cars were chauffeur driven cars with a driver and an important looking man in the rear seat. The important looking man will usually be reading important looking papers on tapping away at an expensive looking laptop. I mentally counted and estimated that about 40% of the occupants at the traffic jam on a Koramangala road were such single owner driven vehicles.

As I weaved my tiny Scooty through the big boys like the Prada's and the Tavera's, I silently thanked my neighbor, a businessman who made it a point to leave his Scorpio at home and make do with a Kinetic Honda within city limits.

May his tribe increase!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Vitamin M (men)

Yesterday the girls had a heated discussion about ..who else but MEN!!! And it got me thinking. Ask any self respecting woman about men and the reaction is same. Horny, insensitive, lazy, mama’s boys etc. etc. In fact a married soul announced that men had outlived their usefulness on this planet. “If Nature is perfect then how do you explain Men???” She asks plaintively.

I think the presence of men in our lives give us various advantages. For instance in the case of procreation, today most woman can chose to be pregnant or not. However in the absence of the male human species women will have to face the inconvenience of letting Nature to the procreation bit.

Imagine a world without men where women procreate by bionary fission (cell division) like bacteria ???

A typical day in office would go like this.
“Hey where is Shanthi?”
“ She is on leave today. She is going into bionary fission today.”
“ Oh, God. Poor thing. She had just multiplied last week.”
Another voice “ I think I am also going into bionar fission. I just can’t afford another me. I have already reproduced twenty times this year!”

Or imagine if women were to become pregnant automatically when they reach maturity. Another typical day in college/office would go like this:

Tina:” I think I am pregnant again….! This is so inconvenient. I wish I had greater say in these things. Wish my body should realize that I am simply not earning enough to produce a kid every year!”

Ramya: “True, I am thinking of getting a hysterectomy done as soon as possible.”

My regard for the male human species has gone up considerably after penning this blog.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Fat rice, Bad aatta, Worse attitudes

Went to work one Saturday. I am a summer Intern here, so had to oblige. Thin attendance as it's Saturday and most of the guys working here are nursing hangovers, split jaws, black eyes etc. after Friday night's jam sessions at various bachelor pads.

I am 'invited' to sit with a motley bunch who originate from the north of the Vindhyas as I am the only 'bakra' from my dept working today. There are males and females and other persuasions at the lunch table.

The conversation is polite as a Southie like me is 'accommodated' by the gracious hospitality of the northies who have deigned to invite a Dravidian to their august table.

Mr A: "You like rice" arched eyesbrows, disdainful eyes on the humble grains of rice on my plate.
Me: "yes, I am a riceaholic"
Mr J: " Rice is so.....( he fumbles for word) so South Indian. Has no 'bitamins'. Only 'staaarch'.Wheat you know gives energy, good baady..."
Ms C: " you know, I am finding out that the more black the maid , the better she works!" Everyone laughs.

Mr A:" You know my parents came down and my mummyji had such a hard time getting good 'atta'. The 'atta' here is so bad. Back home in 'Dilli' the 'atta' is so good."

Ms C:" Bangalore is such a dull place. It's so boring and you peeple are not at all social!I used to have so much fun in Jhansi."

Me:" There is a lot happening in Bangalore. All you need is a good bunch of friends and the mood to party."
Ms C: ( cups her finger over Mr A's ears and says ) "chee I am not spending my weekend partying with madrasi's."

"Oh, by the way , you don't look at all south Indian.More like a Punjabi." She smiles condescendingly. I have just been made a honorary North Indian!

Mr. J: "Have you tasted the rice these Malayalees eat? God! the grains are so fat! Don't know how these guys eat them. Do you know educated south Indians are now eating chappati's?"

I almost choke on my food. My ears are burning and my hands are twitching to slap the smug faces.

Me(a trifle tightly): "why don't you guys work closer to home...Gurgaon for instance is full of IT companies."
Mr J: "No, no, I live too far from Gurgaon in Lucknow."
Ms C: " And I live in Jhansi almost 100 kilometres from Gurgaon."
I look expectantly at Mr A from 'dilli'.He clears his throat and says smoothly." Oh, I have done XYZ technology and this company is the only one in India where XYZ application is used."

I get up and say "well looks like you guys are well and truly stuck here.But if you are serious about moving North, do let me know. I have a classmate in a placement agency in Delhi who will be happy to oblige you."

There is general consternation.

Them:"Sure, sure we will let you know."
Me(muttering to myself): "Sure when hell freezes over."

Now I don't mean to hurt anybody by this post, but this attitude is humiliating. And then they complain of being marginalised here!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Vendors a.k.a. wannabe millionaires!!!

Sorry Su, Sri and all my long suffering friends(?!?) who HAVE TO compulsorily read my blogs and praise me ( still waiting for your comments guys... and my patience is wearing thin. )
I am in a grouchy mood today. Been getting calls from vendors a.k.a. ad agencies whole day! Grrrrrrrr
Actually the whole process of wading through wannabe-our-adgencies, PR agencies etc etc can drain more blood out of your system than an entire bunch of Draculas or Income Tax wallahs. Actually I prefer the former. They do leave you in peace when they have licked you clean But the IT guys... that's another story I will tell some other time.

Today I shall rant and rave and froth at my mouth about the aforementioned unmentionables. I come into office at 9:30 am( lowly college Interns come on time ) and the phone rings. A saccharine sweet voice introduces herself. Ms XYZ has a proposition. She is going to remake our brand a la "Intel Inside" campaign. The price would be of course a measly crore ( for Bangalore alone!).

Now we have no plans to make or break our brand , thank you, but Ms XYZ is persistent. She drops names. Intel, Jugnu Software...... Intel I have heard of but Jugnu Software...?????? My hand surreptitiously moves to the keyboard. I type Jugnu Software on Google and what do I get???? Nothing.

Ms XYZ is pained. It's a new company she explains patiently. Ok so how come there is no mention about it???? I hear her audible sigh. She is clearly collecting herself from my moronic onslaught. She clears her throat and a male voice speaks breaks in. "Hello ". The transformation of Ms XYZ to Mr. XYZ is astounding. I am amazed! How do they do it? But it is Mr ABC from the same agency, who has clearly taken over the delicate albeit explosive situation from his distraught colleague Ms XYZ.

Mr ABC explains that they are in the process of building the brand image of Jugnu Software ( I guess the world will soon experience a media onslaught in a few months from now.) I am suitably impressed. I ask him to send his company profile and before we say our goodbyes 'lo and behold the company profile is in my inbox!

Post lunch I decide to drop into their office. Armed with intelligent questions about brand building I set out in an auto. I reach Audugodi and alight in front of a pink building. The lone security guard has never heard of BrandGuru Pvt Ltd. But he says , there is a house behind where suspicious activities do take place. That has to be an ad agency I decide and navigate through yards to steel wire to the hiney of the pink monstrosity.

An old dilapidated building squats in the dusty backyard, a poignant remnant of happier days. I am reminded of the movie "Bhoot Bangla". There is no one in sight. I walk in through the door. A pentium I greets me. An old wizened man sits in front of the computer staring sightlessly into the screen saver. There is another door. I walk in and two people are watching cricket on TV. I clear my throat and the two spring to attention. The girl speaks first and I recognise the polished voice of Ms XYZ. I introduce myself and she flushes in embarrasment. The man in the room Mr ABC of course , asseses the situation quickly and informs me smoothly that they are moving into a spanking new building shortly(!).

I am made to sit (firmly assisted) into an old rexine sofa which has also seen happier times. I refuse the proffered glass of water and quickly get down to business. I want to see their work. Mr ABC looks around without luck and walks into another room. He comes back dusting a couple of brochures. They seem impressive, however there is a hitch. The brocure has been clearly been made by another agency. I spot their name in miniscule print on the last page. Mr ABC explains that he had made the brochure when he was employed with them( of course).

I get down to brass tacks. What software have they used for this particular brochure I ask ( I am partial to a mixture of Photoshop and Corel Draw) . Mr ABC loses his composure for the first time. He says he can't recollect. I see that the graphics were of a high resolution and query him about the same. Again he flushes and says he got them from the internet! I am amazed that a 72 ppi graphic would print without pixelating. Pixelating??? what is that.... his agape mouth seems to say. Mr ABC is clearly lost. I size up the situation very quickly. These numbskulls were obviously a wannabe ad agency. I decide to have some fun.

"So Mr ABC" I say imperiously. " How important is brand building to a company's overall mission?" Mr ABC stammers and stutters and takes a quick swig of some brown goo from a cup. The brand should be built from scratch he says. You must first design the "thing" you plan to manufacture and then design a label and then advertise it! Now it was my turn to gape with my mouth wide open.

I am stupefied at this man's guts, stupidity ... whatever and dumbstruck at the whole situation! Mr. ABC's face crumples and he informs me that he had worked in an ad agency as production assistant.... Ms XYZ was the receptionist there (of course) and the two had decided to start an ad agency after eloping, wedding, honeymoon etc.

I feel stupid. Stupider than these two. As I walk in stunned silence out of the building I think I heard a wall crumbling somewhere or was it my self esteem?????

I reach the office by 5pm and head straight for the cafeteria. After many gulps of the tepid and acidic brew they call coffee I return to my cubicle. The phone rings. It's the receptionist and she has another wannabe ad agency on the line. Office etiquette does not allow cussing, swearing and homicidal tendencies to be exhibited in the premises. So I pick up the phone and brace myself for another onsalught on my intelligence. "Hello" says a silky voice. " I am EFG from HIJ advertising. I was wondering if your organisation would like to consider us for below the line communications." Ah! at last a genuine vendor call.

"Do you do Direct Mailers?" I ask hopefully " What is a Direct Mailer?" enquires the silky voice nonplussed.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Go with God Pope John Paul II !

He was a rare religious head who commanded a deep and unconditional love from his flock. The millions who thronged St Peter's Square that fateful weekend is standing testimony to his unifying powers as a religious head.
His refusal to compromise Church laws to suit the secularists won him many detractors and admirers. His fierce protectiveness for the unborn is an example of Christ's love for his flock. He is a standing testimony to the fact that Christian principles are ageless.

God bless Pope John Paul II !