Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Ode to my manager

Wow!!! Feels exhilarating to be an author on management. Just for the record, I have not done any kind of MBA nor am I a veteran self proclaimed manager. I am just on the brink of joining an MBA college. But I have worked in a corporate company for more than 2 years and have been fortunate to get the worst manager one could get. The fortunate here is not a sarcasm but it really is the best thing that can happen to me because now I understand that what a manager is supposed to be and the “do nots” that the manager should follow to earn the respect of his subordinates. I have learnt some valuable lifelong lessons which cannot be taught by a tutor. He is mean, evil, rancorous, a bully and a swellhead (never noticed the similarities between him and a spoilt bossy toddler until now) and still I love him. Why?? Read on.

This is not the “chronicles of a disgruntled employee”. This is a “on the job” learning for any person even remotely interested in becoming a manager, entrepreneur and a person who would not like to be shot by his subordinates. I take back the alleged accusations I showered at my “revered” manager (although it felt like having a pizza with extra cheese topping on the moon after a particular uneventful and hungry journey from earth) but I would still like to give the unsolicited advice and “do nots” from my precious experience.

Disclaimer: I do not wish to malign any person no matter how disgusting they have been in their miserable lifetime. This is just my personal opinion and is in no way related to any person living or dead (I have ceased to consider him as a dignified life form). The characters and incidences in this blog are 100% real and authentic.

For the readers convenience I would call him Mr. M. You can interpret as Mr. Miserable or Mr. Manager – that’s up to you. So this M has lots of Tics. No please do not mistake him for a patient of Tourette syndrome as these Tics are not medical but something that he has ingrained in his lifetime. One of his Tic is he loves to speak. So you’d say, what’s wrong in that?? Speaking is our fundamental right, I agree. What I meant is that for him garrulous and loquacious are under statements. If his mouth was somehow attached to a dynamo he would be a marvel in the field of regenerative energy. He has to give a comment or suggestion in each and every thing that is going on even if he does not have an iota of idea about that thing. Now I am the ubiquitous software engineer and like all software engineers do, I too have to talk to lot of people to get ideas and clarify my points. I have a policy – Talk only as much as you know, listen a lot, do not interrupt and don’t act oversmart. M obviously does not believe in my ideals and when in a group of respected people he tends to make a fool of himself. Not that I mind, but this sometimes costs my group a lot of humiliations and people tend to think that we too are as stupid as him.

Lesson 1: If you are discussing something in a group, it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people wonder if you are a fool than open it and confirm their doubts.

M’s a unique fellow. Well if I think deeply about it, he is not a unique fellow. The world is brimming with such people. The world is brimming with Hypocrites. I once asked M for leave. Considering the M’s liberal use of leaves and his disposition to skip working Fridays, I considered my leave to be readily accepted. Was I doing something illegal? Was I being illogical by asking to go home after a period of 6 months? Was I asking him to allow me to remain absent without using my paid leave quota? Negative. I was a fellow who thought that since he as a manager gets to go home early and take unofficial and undeserved leaves, I am atleast entitled to have some reasonable leaves using my paid leaves quota. What naivety. I was subjected to 100s of irrelevant reasons why taking leave was going to bring the company’s shutter down. Suddenly from a lowly corporate laborer I was the most important person in the company. Leaves, I was told, was a rare commodity not accessible to me. Hypocrites are a specie in themselves. They have this amazing brazenness about suggesting something that they religiously fail to follow. This leaves all your subordinates angered, one thing leads to another and then there are protests, back bitching and suddenly the office becomes a good prospect for realty show.

Lesson 2: Practice what you preach

M is like a bread. You either have to fire him up or butter him up in order to make it taste good. He style is more suited to Indian Government employee. He will be ready to do something for you only if you lick and slurp him like a candy or if you fight and pressurize him to go your way. He could never be an easygoing person even if I were to choose different Ms from a billion parallel universes. The curses that he gets everyday due to this is are so plenty that I could live like the king of Brunei for the rest of my life if I were allowed to encash them.

Lesson 3: Sycophancy can only be popular among pets vying for their owner's attention.

I have never understood the workings of IT company. There's are popular joke about some cannibal employees joining a company. They work hard and are appreciated until one day the director mentions that an old employee is missing. The leader of the cannibal group admonishes the rest of them telling "now which of you ate the employee?? we were eating the managers till now and no one noticed" M is like that. He does not do any worthwhile work for the company. He says that he has a brand vision and we are that vision's facilitator. I try to keep a straight face everytime I hear that but a smile always escapes which is interpreted, thankfully, as a sign of approval of his wisdom. So all the hard work is done by the subordinates while the manager keeps dreaming the vision. Recently there were chances that he was going to be laid off so he had to try his hands on the technical stuff to appear for interviews in other company if need arises. The crash course was given by the same subordinates who are paid 1/10 of his salary while they work 10 times more than him. Do I need to say how he fared in that crash course?

Lesson 4: Deserve before you desire.

Maslow’s pyramid says that when you get the basic things like food you aspire to have a good job, home and family and when you attain that, you aspire for a good position in the company you work and when you achieve that, you become a sadist. Well that is what I have experienced and if Maslow disagrees then he is welcome to work under M and see for himself. He likes being a sadist, he enjoys and revels being a sadist. This is the top of the pyramid for him. He derives his life energy by seeing people under him suffer. You go to him for a leave and he will make you beg for it. You make a mistake and he will insult you infront of everyone. His sadistic pleasures are an epic in the company.

Lesson 5: Live and let live

These invaluable lessons which I have learnt will forever be imbibed in me and the only fear I have now is that I don't turn into M one day. Love you M for making me a better person. You have turned the clay into pot with your fire.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

KILL GHAJNI before it kills the audience

Commercialization is one thing and senseless murder of creativity and depicting mindless nonsense on screen is another.
Guilty of treason to Amir khan’s fans and accountable for killing my few functional neurons.
Ghajni is not a movie, it is a crime, it is a mortal sin, it is unfair to the humanity, it is an idea which has been copied from a Hollywood movie and stabbed millions of times with a razor sharp sword. Ghajni is terrorism. It is a spurious display of intellectual dysfunctionality on the part of the director, actors, producers and each and every one that is involved in this blasphemous presentation of mindless production.
I know life is not fair and sometimes you are dished something that you do not like, but it hurts a lot. I am not a diehard fan of Amir khan and this movie should not affect me that much but the fact that he raised the expectations so much and considering the novel idea of the movie, the movie could have been done in a lot better manner. This movie has brought down the level of Indian movies buy quite a few rungs.
Since so much of money has been put into the movie, the producers are leaving nothing to chance and the marketing of the movie had been flawless which means that more people inside and outside india were looking forward to this movie. A movie which has this much exposure should have been made with an objective towards not only pleasing the audience but also showcasing art and sane situations. Some of the movies have excelled in doing this and have been embraced with gratitude from the cinema lovers in our country but this movie has proved that Indian filmmakers have not yet matured, atleast not all of them.
With the movie hitting the theatre curtains, I was excited to watch it as soon as possible and see if Amir khan would be able to match his past performance or not. My excitement was killed brutally when I saw that a group of suited people (supposedly Amir’s subordinates) are approaching a girl working in an advertisement company. If they had a little sense they would have just called her or met her at her home instead of assembling a whole army of executives to visit her at her work place. Probably the directors were not satisfied with the heroine’s overacting and decided to torture the audience more with Amir khan joining the party. He did work out pretty good and left no stone unturned in showing off his biceps or abs. It seemed as if he was very conscious of his body and looked quite uncomfortable with it. His natural charm waned every time he tried to bulge his muscles.
Giving a lecture in Hindi in front of the international journalists and being stupid enough to offer credit card to pani puri wala freaked me out of my wits. The heroine displayed the epitome of her stupidity when she started giving lecture to the villain who just told her that he has killed two girls and that too at a place where she could not avail any help at a time when even all the owls would have fallen asleep. When Amir khan with his short stature was beating the hell out of hefty villains it seemed like that the law of gravity did not apply for the villains. At one point of fighting Amir khan punches a man on the face and the man falls down on the ground with his neck turned 180 degrees. That was the point I did pray to god to give me “short term memory loss” just like Amir khan so that I would also forget the onscreen torture. Tattoo makers could have had a brisk business outside the cinema halls if they were offering “KILL AMIR” tattoos.
Such a big star carries lot of responsibilities on his shoulders and he is capable of doing much better. I am sure that I will be able to forgive Amir for this fiasco and be able to go to his next movie……but only if I don’t watch ghajni again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Helter Skelter

You let a small thing a little leeway and before you can blink, you have a huge problem in front of you. America with its Spendthrift inclination and its propensity to attack any un-inundated land for the sole purpose to support that spendthrift disposition has the whole world in shrieks of agony. I have been avoiding the business page of the Newspaper since last few days as I am bored reading the same thing again and again. Recession, depression, illusion, separation (from job), Suspension and god knows what other –ions (attrition has understandably been left out) have been reported so often in the dailies that they have actually replaced the bomb blasts news all over the world as the most frequently occurring manmade disasters. Terrorism has taken a new face.
The economic crisis has got everyone worried. Jobs are tough to stick to, not because they have become difficult but because they have become so far and few. People who bought lot of clothes and jewelry are now worrying about their house which they got through a broker and paid for it from a bank loan. They are not buying the clothes anymore which were manufactured in factories and sold in retail malls because their jobs are on the verge of oblivion. They plan to default on their home loans due to which the bank is going broke. The brokers are not finding someone else to buy that house and are going broke. The factories are going broke while waiting on the stockpile of clothes which malls are not taking, who themselves are going broke because people are not buying them. The beggar in my street is now not emphasizing on 2Rs and 5Rs coin and instead accepting the 1Re coin which has suddenly seen its image improve due to credit crunch and every company is vying for every rupee that they can get hold of. ‘Broke’ has been awarded the word of the year by the financial circles with every other person and company announcing that it is going broke.
Scotch on the rocks has been replaced by coke on the rocks and cost cutting has taken up a gargantuan stature. Airlines are planning to scrap the business class seats as even rodents have resigned going over there due to lack of food morsels dropped by travelers who prefer the economic seats or would even take up the job of janitor on the airlines to travel free. Software engineers who used to brandish their badges have had a lesson in humility with dwindling numbers of prospective brides who are willing to board a sinking boat. Pink color has become quite unfavorable and for a change people with jobs are more tensed than people without job.
So who is to blame for all this? Who is responsible for the recessionary trend that is gulping down companies after companies and countries after countries? Is it America which started this domino effect? One would certainly think so because there were no recessionary cues before America declared its dismal figures. But I guess that Americans are not the only one to be blamed. The banks should not have been so greedy, People dealing in stocks should not have been so greedy, builders selling homes for a staggering premium should not have been so greedy, the oil countries should not have been so greedy, environment spoilers should not have been so greedy and Exporting countries should not have been so greedy. It was we who brought this problem upon us and just like how the home sapiens lugubriously got through the ice ages we will also get through this phase (speaking of the indomitable spirit).
After all humans are the smartest creatures on earth, or so I thought.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The exotic feline just passed away

Life is difficult. You have to bear with the everyday abuses that your bosses make, do the work to see the credit go to someone else, stand in the bus because you have to offer that solitary empty seat to a lady and the fly just committed suicide (overwhelmed with its own difficult life) by drowning in your morning cup of tea.
Difficulties have a way of coming at you and pounding you but in the process it makes you stronger. There was one such difficulty which consumed many an intellectual personas this week. Some fought to live another day, some conquered the difficulty and some simply gave in to the sheer pressure and nervous wreckage that it caused. Never was this feline specie so daunting and so coveted in the history of human kind. This 16th November was a very important date for some of the people.
CAT commands a fear and respect just like the Yuvraj Singh’s centuries against England, but more than that it has the power to change the lives for some which is beyond their imagination. I was one such candidate who was subjected to this treatment on last Sunday when I sat to write down the entrance exam to the most coveted institutes in India. Oblivious to the fact that I am competing against some 0.3 million aspirants I was attempting the paper at my own peril. Vying for that elusive seat at the acme of the institutes which teach management, I was quite amused at the proceedings of that consequential day.
Frowned brows were the expression of the day accompanied with faces of sheer concentration, sly smiles of overconfident aspirants and happy faces of those who had lost all hopes. God must have had a busy day with plenty of suddenly turned spiritual beings thronging the centre. I was bowing to the spirit and the never ending quest of knowledge of a middle aged lady who had come to write the exam. I was thinking that when I am of her age I would never have the courage to battle out a CAT paper when she promptly destroyed my inferiority complex by giving some words of encouragement to her daughter whom she had accompanied to the centre. There was a huge crowd of students blocking the entrance of the test centre but there was another small group of extremely desperate people who had gathered at another door which got me curious. My curiosity was swiftly answered when that crowd broke into jubilations on the opening of the door which I realized was named “Toilets”. They were literally under pressure before the test for quite some time.
In between the frenzy, the gates of the centre finally opened and all of us rushed into it like we were some hungry earthquake victims vying for food aid. As I sat on my desk with the weapons of my choice – two wooden pencils, eraser and sharpener, I could not help but notice a pretty girl sitting next to me quite anxiously. Regaining my concentration back I focused on the formalities and waited tensely for the paper to arrive. The exotic feline arrive just as I had imagined, neatly covered in a plastic wrapper like a freshly wed bride adorned in wedding dress waiting for someone to open the hood of its sari, and there it was lying before me like some angel with a halo around it. The test started at the stipulated time and my requests to god for an all India earthquake strong enough to just postpone the test to some other time were evidently ignored.
Silence……Pin drop silence prevailed and you could hear the smallest of shuffling and coughing. I feverishly started marking answers hoping that they were right. Nervousness and tension were on the top of my mind when grappling with a particularly tricky question. Such a question which you think you can do and want to take advantage of it, but still you are not able to arrive at any answer. The limited edition of my brain with some pretty tired neurons was working at its full capacity and the world seemed suspended in all the dimensions when suddenly the ice was broken when the guy sitting ahead of me farted. The sonic boom reverberated through the classroom attracting some giggles and calming the nerves though our olfactory organs were not that amused.
The stipulated time got over and I was relieved. The exotic feline had just passed away with promises to come next year bringing with itself hope, fear, excitement and testing the audacity of aspirants like me. Difficulties in life can be quite amusing some times.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coo chi coo chi coo

The other day I went to meet my aunt’s mother in law’s daughter’s second cousin on the occasion of her daughter’s first birthday (they called me Gaurav ? didn’t even know my name and here I was celebrating with them).
The toddler was pretty cute and with red chubby cheeks (thank god kids are not heath conscious) and looked really pretty in that parka. And like me everybody wanted to pluck at her cheek and cuddle her and peck at her cheeks and ruffle her hair. Kids are really lucky I wonder if all the girls did the same to me when I was small (damn why don’t I remember but I am sure that I must have chuckled giving them all the more reason to continue doing it with greater fervor)

It was a pretty sight with all the ladies in saree showering adulation on the baby and the "gents" forming a group around and talking about how bright the future of the baby is going to be and which school should their parents enroll the name (i have heard parents enrolling the names even before the child is born-what must they be giving in gender?).
And suddenly there was a commotion. It reminded me of the days when I was in my school doing the march pass on 26th of january 2001 and the earthquake with ferocious intensity struck (sorry like the K-serials i also have the habit of going in the back flash, fortunately i don’t cry that much and my mother in law doesn’t harass me too).
The ladies were moving away from the baby in embarrassment and the gentlemen were also moving away muttering something. The reason was that the baby had just performed one of the god's wonder and confirmed the universal principle of Einstein that mass gets converted into energy. The baby had pissed into the lap of one "aunty" who was the most excited and now the most horrified at the sight of the soiled sari.
The excited children squealed in pleasure and started shouting causing another lady in pink sari to startle and accidentally overturn the cake on the floor. Well well i thought after all the party didn’t turn out to be as boring as i had thought earlier (i have a feeling that wherever i go something always go wrong- my friends can testify to it).

Now here is my main point. Maybe it was all a coincidence that the child has an urge to destroy its own party or maybe it was an act of vengeance. My cerebral hemisphere is inclined to believe that the people constantly cuddling and cooing the baby incurred its wrath as it was getting annoyed. I mean when somebody is constantly pulling your cheek and articulating undecipherable words like "coo chi coo chi coo" and "shi shit (i swear i didn't mean that)" leave alone that kissing on the cheek with the lipstick on the ladies and the mouchstache on the men, then the child is bound to get irritated. Even i must have done the same thing when i was small (one of my aunt still looks in a very frightened way at me whenever she is wearing a new sari) but as we grow up we start getting embarrassed more and more at the cuddling of our elders in public. When you are in your teens then you say to your parents that stop calling me by my pet names in front of my friends and then you slowly move out of your house. Perhaps to work or go stay in a dormitory in college and then when you are in your early twenties that’s when something happens to you which had happened to me when i went home this time around.

I started to wish that my parents call me out by my "good" name and not the original boring name that everybody calls me in office. I started wishing that my mom would take my head in her lap and give me a massage or give me a big kiss on the cheek or my dad would give me a big bear hug whenever i meet him. I constantly longed for that extra attention and my parents obliged me.

Now i don’t remind them that i am Gaurang and not "chintoo" and i let them scold me in public or let them give as many advices as they want.

So people the moral of the story is? - Stay away from kids when they are annoyed - naaa.
The moral is that everybody (yes even spiderman) requires that bit of extra attention be it from your friends or parents or that neighborhood street dog. Don’t ever turn anyone down when they extend their love to you.

“Good judgment comes from bad experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.“

See he is speaking the 's' word...

I really enjoy the moment when kids come up with questions. Is sky the highest point? No son. Then what is beyond that? Universe son. Then what color is the universe? Colorless son. Then how come the sky has color. Do you think that God is partial? No son that's the way it is. And the questions go on.

But the most hilarious situation occurs when the child asks questions like "papa where do the babies come from?" (i sincerely hope to God that the papa also knows the answer) and there is poor papa blushing and looking here and there making sure that no one has heard what the kid has said. "Keep quiet son, don't ask such questions, i don't know" and the kid goes that "papa you don't know? Mummy was saying that there is an angel up in the sky that comes down on earth and blesses the ma with the kid". Overhearing it the big brother says "that’s not true otherwise why they would invent honeymoon".
Indian people are very afraid of saying the 's' word (can you imagine i was telling a friend the topic and she is asking "what do you mean by 's'").

I mean in a country which has the second largest population in the world (here is one area where we are going to beat china soon) how can the people avoid or avert discussing the 's' word (see i am still writing 's' instead of......oh my god even i cant say it). Someone might say that this is the reason that we are contributing so much to the exhaled carbon dioxide and that perhaps is the right reason.
Let me analyze the reasons as to why are we so afraid of saying that word.
Reason number 1 : we feel shy. Hey who was that? Who said that? When you don’t feel shy pissing the wall in public and when you don’t feel shy hitting the fairer gender in the family (although it increases the employment and gives work to employees of women rights groups), then why is that you feel shy saying the word (the last time i felt shy was when my parents joked that they are looking for a girl for me).
Reason number 2 : our culture doesn’t support it.
That’s the most preposterous thing i have heard. Probably the dude who said this isn't aware of the ancient Vedas and literature (kamasutra is the best selling book on this topic. My friend says-what’s kamasutra?) adorning the history of India along with epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Reason number 3 : ummmmmmm. Maybe because the pituitary gland located in the hypothalamus over secretes hormones which affect the medullar oblongata and thereby affecting your spinal movements and deactivating the current discharge in the synaptic space between two neurons - infact i am not finding any other valid reason to not publicly say that 's' word.

So my point is that sex (phew finally i am able to say it) education is extremely important in today’s atmosphere where AIDS is spreading like an epidemic. Sounding too swami Ramdev baba type of blog right? But people sometimes the right thing is pretty boring
The next time when your little brother or sister asks you that where do babies come from then i am sure that you will at least give that child some true facts and not a reason to think that you are a fool (today’s kids know everything)

so sex is not a
Severely Embarrassing eXasperating word

rather its a
Sound Enlivening and eXeedingly socially acceptable word

"You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice."

Gender bender - battle of the sexes

Doesn't the topic sound somewhat weird and abstract (i usually think up the topics when i am in the loo or in a stupor in the office). Yes my friend it is exactly that. Weird, funny (if i were serious then i n would be in ICU), dramatic and somewhat path breaking.

So i believe that i always keep you people stranded wondering what the contents of the blog are going to be. This time around the topic revolves around what men love and hate the most. Yes it could be going out to a party and visiting your mother-in-law (not necessarily in the same order if your boss is also coming to the party and your mother in law is beautiful) but unfortunately the answer is only one so its the wrong answer. The right answer is one of God's most amazing creation which is not completely understood by god too (the 'too' is for the men). Yes and no prizes for guessing but its wo(o)men.
Women=the topic of discussion when more than 0 men get together.
Women=the proud owner of a wardrobe filled with so many clothes that it directly contributes to the Indian GDP.
Women=who makes the sabzi wala shudder with dread at the thought of bargaining with her.
Women=the pain and panacea for all the men.
Women is one definition which i never had to by heart as i am now practically conversant with the subject along with all the derivations and equations.

But hold on for all the men who are rubbing their hands in glee, i am with the women and not with the men this time. Why??
Once Henry Kissinger said that the battle of sexes can never be won by either of the groups because there is too much fraternizing with the enemy and you can gladly call me the vidur of Ramayana.
For the girls, don't thank me i am just giving you what is your due (and trying something different than lamenting females every time).

So for starters here's a quote
"the perfect man, flirts not, smokes not, drinks not, exists not". Hey it’s true. For once in my life i want to be completely truthful and honest and tell you people what guys think.
Whenever a beautiful lady passes our way (i call them ladies keeping in mind the crowd reading this article-my friend calls them something else) we usually stare at her dumbfounded and not even giving a thought to what if that lady notices us and she has a boyfriend who is a gym instructor, then which cemetery should we be buried in. But here i would like to praise the spirits of the darker sex cause if by chance the lady is present with the boyfriend then we don’t get demoralized but utter the epitome of optimistic lines like "he must be her brother (then how come the girl is so fair and the guy so dark)" or "they are just friends (that’s what i call undying spirit)"

There is a joke on the men "what is the difference between men and pig-pigs don’t turn into men when they drink"

Okay so maybe i am being too harsh on the males and i am sure that some of them are already waiting for me with baseball bats to beat me (if something happens to me then all the males who read my blog are responsible) but its because i believe that men have got some unfair advantage on women. Take the example of the office itself.
When a woman works in a traditionally male field ...She must be twice as knowledgeable, twice as proficient, twice as accurate, and twice as humble as any man to be considered half as good at the job! And that’s not true vice-versa. Take the example of cooking. Most the restaurants will have male chefs as preferred to female.
Exaggeration is integral to me but some of this stuff is really true. Men are physically well built than women and intellectually too (i challenge somebody to say that there are more female scientists than male scientists). So God gave women some powers like emotional superiority, ability to take care of children in the house (the difference between women and men is that women love their children. They know everything about them, including birthdays, allergies, likes and dislikes. Men are vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.) and greater debating qualities. It is said that there are two theories to arguing with women - and neither of them works.
I know that now the blog is getting increasingly long so i will be concluding it.
But i just want to express something to the male species listening to me. Its called unsolicited advice and here it is. It is men's duty to take care of the women around. Maybe its too old fashioned but courtesies like not letting the lady pay the bill when she is with you, or pulling a chair when she is coming to the table should never become obsolete. A gentleman is not a gentleman if he doesn't respect women.

Ending with a poem by an unknown person
Sometimes we must be hurt in order to grow,
sometimes we must fail in order to know,
Sometimes we must lose in order to gain,
because some lessons in life are best learned through pain...
Face the truth, it has no Bias