Saturday, June 19, 2010

5 years to realize I am NOT an Employee !

Sitting across the table, biting on his pizza, my mentor (let's call him Mr.M) reasons that I may never be able to do 'business'. I'll let Time answer that.

That evening as we were heading home, our discussion headed in the direction of all things, according to me, not right at the work place. Mr. M was critical of my thoughts and disagreed vehemently. His remarks - a bitter truth - were something I could not ignore:

'At home you are willing to make all sorts of adjustments, but when it comes to work you think you are entitled.'

'You talk about American and Japanese economies and compare it to ours. Those people respect their work. Do you?'

One of the last things I remember of that conversation was something on the lines of viewing the workplace as your home; its people as your family and owning up things and fixing the wrongs yourself. With the ride coming to an end and my journey back home alone in the city bus, those words were a constant companion - because I could not bring myself to agree with his thoughts entirely. The night passed but the thoughts remained until the next morning. And then it came - a moment of subtle realization.

I am NOT an Employee
Growing up in the family of businessmen, as a child I often used to see my dad entertain some of the silliest requests of his customers with a smile and never complain. Whenever I'd protest, his reply was the same, unaltered over the years - 'They are our customers and we earn our bread because of the business opportunity and the support they extend to us.' There was something about Mr.M's remarks that reminded me of my dad's words; I could see that the dots were waiting to be connected.

I'm not on-board with Mr.M's thoughts on treating thy workplace like your home. I am going to treat my work - as a business. And the goal of every business is to earn a profit. This keeps things much more simple and less emotional.

Balancing Production, Sales and Relationship.
I have certain skills to 'sell' and the organization I work for is my 'customer'. While I continue to sell my skills to the best of my abilities, I mustn't forget that my boss, my boss' boss, my colleagues, my peers and everyone else in that organization is my customer - in one way or the other. Prudent relationship management coupled with quality deliverables will lead to long term profits in terms of 'larger opportunities' (which equates to 'more business' with the customer).

Loss is part of running a business.
You don't always make a profit - most businesses start out making losses in short term before they begin earning a profit. I may not get to do exactly what I want to and it will just have to be a short term loss - I can't worry about it anymore. Fulfilling the customer's needs are more important.

Do what you are best at.
Every businessman has his style - you could choose between making a Toyota or a Bugati. I will play on my strengths and deliver high quality products. I am aware my deliveries tend to take time, and I will do a better job at communicating with my customers. My focus is going to be less on the competition and more on the results of my deliverables.

You never tell your customer how to run his business.
It does not matter to me the kind of workspace, recreational facilities, or cafeteria my customer provides me with - I am NOT entitled to anything more than what is provided to me. All I know is that I sought to do business with the particular customer and it was my decision. And for the opportunity given I can only be thankful.

Add value to customer's business at all times without any expectations.
Until yesterday, I took things to heart when my suggestions were not heard. I will now try to add value to my customer whenever I have an opportunity to with the knowledge of the fact that my customer is not obliged to agree to all I suggest. My customer knows his business best and I must learn more about it.

I once asked my dad (he owns a wholesale business of fabrics) what was the most interesting part of the work he did and he replied - 'Buying the fabric at Rs.x and selling at Rs.y in a way that both my customer and I are happy with the transaction.'

Until now I was in the adolecence of my career and a few people who have taught me some very valuable lessons during this period and whom I cannot thank enough include: Andy, Jacob, Mike, Subbu and Khivraj. I had once told Mr.M that everyone takes time to realize - some take months; others years. It has taken me 5 years to realize that while I do my job I do not have to be an 'Employee'; I can be an 'Entrepreneur'.

Friday, December 18, 2009

One more Long Island (large) please

Please come now I think I'm falling
Hold me now
I'm six feet from the edge
And may be six feet
Ain't so far down

(See the video and lyrics links below)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Today, 18th December, has been a long day and it refuses to die.
Kiwi left for UK; I got off the CRS project; witnessed the annual awards ceremony at work - all of which leave me pained. Worst of all - all of them on the same day. "It's funny", I think.

I wonder, come Monday whom will I call when Kiwi won't be around; what would my work day be like - without Jacob, Patrick, Abhay and Jatin; how long will I need to wait for that formal note of appreciation? The thoughts I've been thinking over the past couple days are no different from Nelly Furtardo's song - 'Why Do Good Things Come To An End?' A great friend gone away, a great team, with some of my dearest friends, which I am no longer a part of; a job well done appreciated by all except by those who control the strings of my career's growth. I wonder: 'Why?'

My 'self' tells me this is 'Balance'. You simply do not get all you want. And so you always crave - you get some, others you don't. And then the cycle repeats. It also tells me that in life I will meet them again so I should cheer up.

Alas, I know that 'Time' and 'Distance' make great barriers. And there is only so much one can converse over a phone call or IM. The feeling is familiar - just as when I had to leave behind Mike and Debbie in AK; Sajal and Supriya in Mumbai; and my team in Houston. Here are these people who come into your life, and without the slightest hint they become a part of your life, who care for you and whom you care for, adding to the meaning and making sense of your life. And just when you feel lucky to have them with you, it's time for them to leave. And you just stand by watching their distant bodies fade away.

Now I hang in a limbo - uncertain about everything - yet again. "Surely you aren't supposed to feel anything right? Surely you're strong right?" I wish I could answer in affirmation. 'But I can't', so I hear my 'self' scream.

And so, I want to raise a toast of a Long Island as I bid my friends adieu. Sadly, only saline water fills my peg. And I am ready for a second round and a third please. I refuse to pass out just as this night refuses to give in to the next day.

One more round please... and please keep that Rock playing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hold me now
I'm six feet from the edge
And I'm thinking may be six feet
Ain't so far down

(See the video and lyrics links below)

Video :

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ho Ho Ho ... Merry Christmas

"Its Christmas Day 2008 and I am running frantically towards gate B11 to board flight CO1581 from Seattle to Anchorage (Alaska) with my mind racing ahead to imagine what's next?..."

I am guess that there's a strong bond between the three of us - winters, air planes and I. My vacation this Christmas turned out to be a sequel to my first visit to the United States back in Jan 2007 only more benign this time :). If I were to use one word for all that happened in these 9 days it would be - Serendipity !

19 December, Friday

Flight CO152 lands at the Liberty International Airport, Newark but it was way past an hour before I got to get out of the plane. Yeah I know what your question is and here's the answer - The ground below was covered with at least an inch of ice and the ground crew was finding it hard to move the ramp towards the door of the airplane. Safety you know! I guess Santa decided to shower some snow (storm) as he flew over Newark ;o)

My connecting flight to DC was cancelled. Well, I could not be more happy. Ok ok... I am answering that - My original plan was to travel to Newark on Monday coz I figured my uncle and aunt in DC would be busy with office work. It also worked because Thauseef's final exam would be over by then. That meant 4-5 hours of travel each way to meet Thauseef and Sanjay (friends from high school).

Now you know why that smile on face ;) Well the good news was - Bhai's exam got postponed. And so I got to spend the night at Thauseef's place; meet Sanjay after 8 years; meet Bhai's friends from Punjab; playing Bhabbbbi (a card game) while mixing from Long Island to an exotic Margarita to Mangolain MotherFucxx (that's the name really !) to RC and so on; chatting with Thauseef while he played the guitar for me and quitely going to bed while soft rock music filled the air. I was flying to DC the next morning.

20 December, Saturday ~~~~~> 23 December, Wednesday

The 2 years long wait finally ended - met Jitu uncle, Roopal aunt and their little one Kanish ! Reaching home I was welcomed by garma-garam Aaloo parathes.. mmmm... and uncle's teekha green chutney.... uffff.. mann it sure did redefine the word 'HOT' for moi. Had a very peaceful sleep that night... like the kind you get on the first day of a long vacation.

I woke up to a steaming cup of mast 'masala Chai'. Refreshing ! In the next couple days that followed Goddess Annapurna showered her blessings in the form of uncle and aunt's cooking - pani puri, thin crust hand-tossed pizza, bean-garden salad, hot upma, traditional rajasthani gatte sabji, garama-garam roti and dal chawal. And since we are talking about food here, lemme not forget the best Falafel uncle got me at the Amsterdam Falafel Shop located at the 18th St NW, DC. People planning on visiting better not miss this. I was also enlightened on a new style of eating Tangerines with cilantro-mint chutney and lemon juice - a Jitu uncle creation. That, my dear readers, was by far the best food I came across in this entire trip. Ask me and I'll be happy to pass on the wisdom ;)

The next 3 days were spent going around DC and seeing its spectacular monuments; visiting The Museum of Art and the Air & Space Museum respectively. From the little experience, I can now say that anyone visiting DC should plan for at least a week to be able to see at least half of its museums which are not only world-class but surprisingly generous in that there are no admission fees to visit any of its museums.

Click to see pictures:
National Mall

Museum of Arts

Air & Space Museum

These 3 days also allowed me to get to know uncle and aunt better and get a closer look at the life of two individuals after marriage (which I too will come across in a couple years I guess). Playing with Kanish filled in for the time I missed Guddu and Pari (my nephew and niece). He's a real cute kid. Muah :)

Jitu Mama, Roppal Mami and Kanish

A Christmas party was planned for 24th eve which incidentally was the day I'd fly to Anchorage. So the evening before I left, all of us got together and decorated the home and clicked a dozen pictures of Kanish and family.

Home Away From Home

24 December, Wednesday

The time is 6:25 AM. Waiting at the DCA - National Airport, I am devising a strategy as I picture this in my mind - "In 20 mins, I'll be flying to Cleveland. I better rush to catch my connecting flight to Seattle which would leave in 40 mins of my arrival at Cleveland..."

Now you see dear Santa had a differing agenda which you shall discover shortly. And so I came to know in the next 5 mins. An announcement was made indicating that the ground at the Cleveland airport was covered with about 2 inches of ice and no flight would be landing in or taking off from there. Great !!! Santa strikes again. Fingers crossed I hoped that by the time I make it to Cleveland, my connecting flight stayed. Only after 2 hours did we finally leave for Cleveland while I mentally prepared myself for his next surprise.

Reaching Cleveland, my fingers still crossed, I bolt for the Customer Service center of Continental Airlines only to be greeted by an agent who very politely informs me that my connecting flight to Seattle has already left. Wow !!! Now don't you agree with what I said a little while ago about winters, planes and I. See! You can't 'not believe' me now.

Now the part about Santa's differing agenda. After waiting in queue for about an hour I finally get to a Continental representative who is to help me look for alternative routes to Seattle. For a moment I was saddened when I was told that all flights to Seattle for the day were booked and the earliest I could reach there was only the next day. Damn! This also meant my connecting flight to Anchorage for that day was missed as well. But pay attention to those words dear reader - 'for a moment...'. Yes, coz the next moment I was all excited in my heart. I know exactly the question that's popped up in your head and the answer is I would reach Seattle the next morning but not via Cleveland... it would be via Vegas !!! Yippiee !!!!!!!!!!! And so I got yet another gift from Santa - An overnight stay in Vegas - the City of Lights, the entertainment Capital of the World.

Two hours later I am aboard a flight and by 3:00 PM I have already travelled across the breath of this country to fly from the East coast to the West arriving in Las Vegas.

. . . . . . . . . .

Uncle dearest, as always, helped me in time to book a hotel for the night. After checking into the hotel and freshening up, I decided to head out on 'The Strip' (the stretch of road where you'll find the biggest casinos). "But wait a min...', I heard my stomach complain. Poor guy had nothing interesting to feast upon since morning. Not to let down my tummy dearest, I walked to this desi restaurant - India Oven.

While I relished eating my meal, my eyes wandered off to this gentleman across my table, who very gently and carefully decorated his Samosa with 'green' chutney. I could not help but ask how he was enjoying his Samosa. 10 mins later I was sitting with Dan and his wife Errin who were vacationing in Vegas. Another 20 mins later I was with them in their truck driving to The Venetian. We spent time together visiting these architectural marvels moving from one casino to the other on the Strip. How I spent that night in Vegas, you can see for yourself - Vegas

Dan, Errin and I

After about 1:00 AM the couple and I parted ways. I spent the next couple hours touring other casinos; loosing money and clicking photographs and until I got so tired that I did not wanna see any more casinos. It was a long walk back to the hotel. Slept for a couple hours and got ready to leave. I hear a silent prayer in my mind - 'Please no more more surprises !"

25 December, Thursday

But that wouldn't fit into the equation devised by Santa rite? Why ? Well here's Y - My flight from Vegas to Seattle was delayed. By now, I had lost it. I was already deciding if I missed the flight to Anchorage, I am simply calling off my trip and returning home. 30 mins later I can see the clouds below me.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Its Christmas Day and I am running frantically towards gate B11 to board flight CO1581 from Seattle to Anchorage which would take off in dot 10 mins, with my mind racing ahead to imagine what's next? I swear, this was the fastest I ran in my life from the moment the doors to my flight from Vegas opened on the grounds of Seattle.

9 mins and 29 secs later - Phew! Relief! I get to catch a breather. As I stand in front of Gate B11, I am thankful to dear Santa. My flight to Anchorage had not left yet. A delay again! Turned out to be good for me just as everything else that's happened in this trip. I had just enough time to grab a cafe mocha and a muffin before I sat back on the seat, closing my eyes to see once again the most beautiful place I've been on Earth - Anchorage, Alaska.

25 December, Thursday ~~~~~~> 27 December, Saturday

Walking towards the Baggage Claims area, I could smell the familiar scent of the Alaskan air. Climbing down the stairs, I spot Mike standing in a corner in his beige jacket and black woolen cap. As I walk to him and extend my hands to shake, I am surprised as he welcomes me with a warm and tight hug. I was overjoyed. I was happy.

Riding in the car with Mike, memories from 2 years ago came back alive as we began hitting each other with wit. After checking into the hotel and freshening up, we headed for Mike's home. I was visiting their home for the very first time.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

As I closed the door behind me, I find Gabriel leaping towards me. Gaby is their dog, a real sweet pet :) I walked to the kitchen area and found myself giving a warm hug to Debbie. I had waited for months to see her. She seemed tired and stressed.

Gabriel & I

Over the Christmas dinner we had together, I enjoyed the war of wits between James and Matthew, their sons with Mike and Debbie stepping into the game occasionally.

We then set out to decorate the Christmas Tree. My joy knew no bounds when I came to know they had saved the Christmas Tree decoration until I came bcoz its a family thing and so it could not begin without me. Decorating the tree was fun, and I was amazed by the fact that Debbie had saved decorations from past Christmases - decorations dating back to Mike and Debbie's first Christmas after marriage, when James and Matthew were born, stuff their grandparents had made and so on. Suddenly I found the entire affair of decorating the tree so interesting. It was beautiful... very special.

Our Christmas Tree

I then got to open my Christmas presents - a nice and soft woolen cap, a pair of warm gloves (a very thoughtful gift given the temperature outside -20 degree C), a cool wind chime with Alaska inscribed on it, a Barnes & Nobles gift card and a beautiful little box of chocolates. I was all smiling.

And here are the Christmas Gifts I had got for them. It makes me smile when I think of how I have left a souvenir decoration hanging on their tree for future Christmases.

The Christmas Tree decoration I got for Mike and Debbie

Halfway through the decorations, I decided to take a break and the next thing I know I fell asleep. A little later Mike drove me back to the hotel.

There's one thing I ought to mention about the rides in the car. Whenever Mike and I are riding the car together, we've got a third companion - Music. This time around it was even more special. This time Mike was playing his own recorded songs and those sung by his vocal teacher - Peggy Monaghan. I was immediately hooked to 2 of Mike's songs Peggy had sung - 'Here I am' and 'Waste My Time'. Her voice - soft, soothing and captivating. A beautiful voice. I had him play these songs over and over :)

The next day Mike and I went to the Open Mic at Phlyis's Cafe. Here's a song that Mike performed - 'Here I Am'.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Over the next two days, Mike and I spent time visiting his new office in Downtown, revisiting the 5th Avenue mall where we used to have our lunch, and meeting up with Craig Fisher (friend and colleague with whom Mike and I had worked together on a project couple years back) over a cup of coffee. Debbie was busy with cleaning up the home and completing the decorations at home. I had cooked some corn soup on the last day of my stay there and while I am not sure about the rest, Matthew seemed to like it ;).

My Team in Anchorage - Mike and Craig

Click here:
Christmas in Anchorage

In all I flew about 7000 miles in this vacation covering travelling in all 4 directions - Newark & DC (East); Vegas (West), Anchorage (North) and back home to Houston (South). I am glad I was able to make this trip to meet Mike and Debbie before I left for India and what better time than Christmas. With the trip completed I am happy, just as Mike and Debbie were, to have been together once again. This will be Christmas to remember. Thank you Santa. :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

reality BITES !!!!!

I really did not when Mom and Dad repeated this for the zillionth time as I grew up under their watchful eyes. Seems like the time has come and reality as it occurs to me now 'reality really bites'.

I worked from home today; trying hard to complete my tasks so that I could be with Yash as he underwent surgery. My work appeared as an obstacle; I could not be there where I felt I needed to be. Guess I am waking up to yet another sight where things are no longer served on a platter. You can't get everything you want, as you want, when you want. As I kid I was always shielded from this 'reality'; my parents understood this and protected me from getting hit as much as they could. And I owe more than my life to them for that beautful childhood. Away from home, away from them, I am lost, scared now.

As a kid I guess, my biggest mistake was to have nurtured the illusion - 'When I grow older, I will run things my way.' Little did I realize then, that then was when I really did run things my way. All it took was - cacophony of my crying and a few tears to get to what I wanted. Now I crawl up in a corner and allow them to flow away with the shower, easily escaping the count. Five minutes back, it dawned on me that I cried not only for the time thats gone by - the days when I could imagine about the perfect peaceful world and not get an inch closer to reality; more so for the blows pa and ma took to provide for me and the rest of my family. I am not sure if I can ever display such courage of surviving in this world.

I figured we have limited vision when we look straight. You get in control when you rise above the plane; with a bird's eye view. I have no clue where I am heading. Quarter life crisis - interesting term they found for the state of this confusion too - what am i earning? is it enough ? will it be enough ? do I wanna study futher ? do I wanna get married ? should I be religious ? I dont even have the slightest cue of whether this is exactly why i am pissed off. My intellectual mind is giving me a hint - may be its that sickening email from some crazy asshole who is threatning to withold our increment/promotion letters. What do I do - lill' kid can't run to papa and cry; can't throw tantrums anymore. So who is gonna protect the kid now ? The show that ran for past 25 years suddenly has reached an end; and the kid is all guesses - What's my role now? Having said that I realize my problems are not the worst in this world and thinking of that makes me feel even more guilty - for having felt guilty in the first place over what someone more miserable has the right to say - 'hardly a thing to worry about'.

Feeling the misery, that I did over the past few hours, when I was scared, a thought crossed my mind - Moksha! May be thats the ultimate goal of life. If it really is then its the BEST SADIST game ever invented. For that one moment I felt I understood why one would want Moksha - to get off; to escape this miserable cycle of birth and death. For sometime now I have seen my self change from an atheist to an agnostic and now to someone who is even losing that ground of defence because he can't find absolutely no logic that explains it all - Life ? So I seek shelter now, willing to open my eyes to religion, wanting to learn to escape. And then when I try to work things out, I am forced to feel guilt for having surrendered to the pleasures of senses.

The other thought that crossed my mind was this - god and alcohol - one and the same. They are both a path to attainment of bliss. Yeah one may be for the real while the other is only ephemeral. Yet both offer me a way to get rid of all my worries, my frustrations and heighten me to the state where I can be carefree, dance and sing and experience joy.

Am I feeling any better now - as my post nears its end, as I have no more words to scribble? Yeah I could only consider my current state of mind as Yash's - as an affect of being under the influence of anaesthesia for as long as I can until I feel excruciating pain; until reality bites - again... and then again... endlessly.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thick Dark Clouds... Move Away Ever So Slowly. Hang on !

I get in to work as usual and DJ pops in a 'Congrats' over the Communicator. and then it hit me - I completed 3 years as a Software Engineer last week. As a day it marks the anniversary to casually get back to ppl from your batch and pass on the 'congrats' note and be nostalgic about the 'great' time spent during the training. But there is a ballooning question growing every single day i think about it - 'Where am i Heading?' No answers yet. No knock knock on the doors.

In spurts of excitement every now 'n' then I tap in a few keys on the board to folks long forgotten over gChat and everytime I wake up from these long hibernation periods I am pleasantly surprised... to know everybody is doing so 'different' from what i am doing. Over the last few days I did a remote handshake with Polly, Thauseef, Jayshree and Akshay.

Polly has taken to Photography (she was always a brilliant artist making my maps in history classes); her elder brother is a Fashion Designer; the last I heard about him years ago - he was in Paris; her younger brother Somdev is growing as a Tennis champion, currently play8ing and studying here in the US.

I met Thauseef after an unknown period of time (running into several years) couple weeks back in Harrisson, NJ. The innocent looking funny guy with spectacles, otherwise teased as 'Underwear bhai' in his circle of friends', has indeed groomed himself into, as he puts it, 'Ultra-aware' Bhai. Dude has turned into a master writer and I've turned a patron of his poetry passing on the link to his blogs to as many ppl as i can.

Jayshree has finally reached the point of putting down her papers at Google and take a U-turn from doing dumb job-work to plunging into the Publishing industry. I just learnt that she loves animals from her new blog.

A chance hovering of my mouse over Akshay's profile in gchat revealed that dude is also into poems. His poems are different from most others I have read. I haven't read a lot of them to express a clear opinion but the immediate feel I got was - his poems are a revelation of his depth of thought.

And then there are others as well - Sanjay into Visual designing, Sarvesh, Nishanth taking their family business to newer heights, Jayanth finally doing his MBA in Singapore, Abhishek working @ Texas Instruments, the list can go on endlessly.

When I see them, hear about them I am happy for one simple reason - they are doing things they've always loved doing. The unemotional situation at my end being - 'I am still not sure what am I looking for.' Unemotional - because I always loved everything related to 'logic' from the time I learnt of its meaning from Jayanth, back in 11th standard, walking towards the school gates carrying in my hands my Computer Science paper in which I had failed for the third time. But it does not feel 'right', somehow...

In the past three years, I can only recall a handful of days where I felt 'real excitement'. I've been developing software for the past 3 years and even while I hate to admit I cannot resist confessing that 'I don't have my basics right.'. May be that's some reason for joy, cos I know what I don't know. And I am hoping that by the time I bridge this gap, and have what I have then, I will know if thats' what I wanted.

The corporate setup within which my art sells sometimes takes away all 'logical' excitement. It is replaced by a different excitement, if it excites - 'working' with ppl to 'create' the software. As I continue to notice around me - its one of the most challenging tasks I've come across in these past 3 years. You are no longer the sole owner of what you do. Its not the same as me drawing Pencil Sketches; creating hand-made frames or developing a slick 'C' code sipping at my coffee in my study. It appears to me that more than the skills to develop clean code; u need 'knack' to make a team 'work'. My own experience working in 'Teams' have been nightmarish for most part. Did I learn that if the word 'TEAM' were to be an Acronym then 'T' would stand for 'Tolerance' - Yes. Do I enjoy it - NO. Reason ? I hate the idea of compromise. Learning to know compromise as a vital tool is good, but livin with it does not seem to be my cup of tea yet.

Its a long road ahead and ironically the bright light of the achivements of such ppls becomes blinding for me sometimes. I am only being honest here. However, amidst these thick dark clouds, my instinct tells me there is light waiting to tear the darkness apart, only I can't see it just yet. The feeling is growing only stonger everyday that - I too will find 'my' way, just as everyone, just as anyone. That will be the rainbow after the storm. :o)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Welcome to the SOC?AL

Vrrr... Vrrrr.... Vrrrrrr.... Vrrrrrroooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmm....
Life could zip by you even before you get the faintest clue.

What exactly do I mean by that?? Well just expressing how fast things can change around you. A friend of mine once told me... whether life moves fast or slow, its all relative (to how fast you move)!! For an introvert, the change can be overwhelming !

We were taught in school - 'Mans a social animal'. Doesn't matter if you think ur an introvert, u'd still need someone around him; you just can't be alone, cos its just not possible. This is best expressed by Tom Hank's attempts to get back to the city in movie 'Cast Away'. Everyone of us will have their mood swings, will wanna be alone, but after that whaT? The idea sunk in only this early.

Theres a myriad of ways to connect - blogs, social networking sites, chat messengers, mobiles, SMSs, emails - tools to save you building the boat to get back to the mainland. You never know you might find something to hang to for a brief moment in time. Its only a matter of 'when' you sense that and 'want' to go back.

We returned this morning - Toffee and I, after a night out in the streets of New york - the city of people. As you walk those streets, watch people around you - some laughing, some just having a fag, some indulging in puppy love while others goin crazy, some lost, some mouthing obscenities, some just wanting to achieve a straight walk or talk, whichever.. whatever.
You'd think - 'these are all real people... all of them...'

The first pub we visited, [which by the way was Toffee's idea of showcasing his cheap skates - $10 for 5 shots of any alcohol ;o)], I saw this man head-banging, the pair of men women exchange, occasional dancing to the sound of beating music, a deafeningly noisy floor jam packed with ppl. Another pub we wnt to had karaoke and boy it was fun watching them sing and dance. Toffee too did a number 'Common baby light my fire' by 'tHe dOOrs' which, by btw I think, was better than most others. and then...
the thought continues - 'people... all these people that are out here... are here just to steal some moments off of their 'everyday lives' and have a good time and be 'happy' while the night lasts.' - a single thread seemed to run through all.

I have an interesting thought around why world preached - 'say no to alcohol' - its a conspiracy - it doesn't wanna hear the truth, and thats all you get - just plain and simple (and sometimes HARD) truth when you hold that glass. I wondered what my reasons were to take on to alcohol - guess its was frustration and anger from work last year. Sometime from now, I might think of its as an excuse to spend a good time with ppl. I still have to be pulled into joining the rest of them though.

If you ever thought as I did, you'd think we all have 2 personalities at least - one what the world sees us as, and the other is what you know about yourself. All these days, I've worked to gel these 2 personalities. I am on the verge of taking a U-Turn here. May be theres a reason why I thought the way I thought of the 2 personalities. Sometimes, maybe its just better to forget your self... for just a little while... lighten up and greet the world with your arms wide open, embrace the love that you get in these tiny packets of time while you can. You may not find the perfect 'true happiness' but you'll realize you were not sad either and that those moments were indeed moments of happiness.

Rahul, Welcome to the SoC?aL !

Friday, May 02, 2008

Demands of an AgoraSocioPhobic

Before I can put together this blog, I have to search for a word that describes my condition when having dinner in a restaurant with a group of 11 folks who live in my neighbourhood.

Not bad, it did not take me long to find a word. Bad news is - it ain't a complete match - Sociophobic - fear of society or socializing? May be but my guess is not always.

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[wondering what those numbers mean ??? - trying my luck with the Matrix approach. Nah, ain;t drunk yet, still waiting for folks to join the party]

I've had a notorious history of being incapable of making any decisions, selections, choices etc When my family went out to shop, I would be the only kid who would not have purchased anything - unable to decide what to buy - either what I liked seemed to be outrageously expensive to me or nothing in the racks ever deserved to catch my attention. It might sound trivial, but for me it wasn't. I started despising the thought of shopping; dreading another embarrassing episode in the shopping store. The most recent episode that I can recall is 3 years back, when I was shopping before my deputation to Vashi. I could not zero in on a pair of shoes for over 2 months. I had practically roamed any and every shop selling shoes in Chennai but simply could not buy a single pair from the hundreds I must have seen. Now don't imagine I haven't secured one till date. I did... and I had written a blog about it then My search for the Perfect One end . I still have that very pair of shoes.

People who have come across me, will know me to be 'extremely' demanding if that's the best superlative they can find. I guess we all have a 'taste', but I seem to have a 'richer' one. It would be unlike me to settle for something 'I' consider mediocre. Maybe thats' how I've grown up - saddened by the fact that my elder brother got all attention, I crawled up in my own shell; took to hobbies which weren't the usual male things - sketching, cooking, arts and crafts etc. These activites require a lot of detailing. I guess, I was trying to liberate myself from the constant comparison between me and my brother by every damn soul around me; maybe this was the way the little me chose to get attention. After 24 years, I can only say, "I am conditioned to behave the way I behave. This is me."

Another behaviour I tend to showcase, which people can testify to is - "I get saturated with just about anything very early." Again, I tend to 'realize' the monotonousness of any activity much faster than most other individuals. Once I reach that point, I have to have something new, something different, else I get restless. I used to hate myself for being the way I was and having to hear people complain about me was pathetic. Life away from home in the past three years and meeting so many different kinds of people had brought me closer to my 'self'. Now I have got 'saturated' with all the embarrassment and self-kill... now I don't really care... You can call it ignorance... but I choose to say:

"t h a t 's    h o w    I    r e a l l y    a m    !!!"

Would you rather call me a sociopath, self-centered guy? I guess, it does not worry me now. If you knew the me about 15 years back, you'd know me to be the most talkative child in my entire family. I would talk to just about anyone. I still love to talk. The difference is I wouldn't open up to just about anyone. Its like shopping, you know what to look for in the wheres only after a series of [its not here]s - because you learn with every mistake. Sames the case with me, guess I got saturated of meeting the wrong people and naturally learnt to be careful and selective in whom I choose to share my thoughts, feelings - happy/sad with.

Taking a pick of some of the recent event since yesterday:
1. Going out to dine with a huge gang - Hated it
2. Have the same people over at home to drink with - Liked it
3. Go to Space Center NASA with a gang - Will Hate it
4. Go to a beach house with the same gang - May Like it

I know how 'I' will respond to events such as these. I 'hate' being pulled up in a gang, with all the sweet talk that I should join em.. blah.. blah. I could be misunderstood very easily here. I know and understand ppl care that's why they bother to ask. But there are 2 things to consider - 1. I feel suffocation in places I don't like to be 2. I would rather be happy if ppl knew how I felt in #1. See... thats' me - demanding.

Googling for my word all this time.... Hey I think they have a word - Agoraphobic - fear of places?? But is that the word? Nah... I think it ought to be AgoraSocioPhobic. You tell me !