I am in airport, thanks to my cab driver. About 40 minutes ago, I was in a state of panic as I looked at the stagnant road filled with lifeless trucks. The driver of Uber cab tells me that I will miss my flight and there was no denying the fact. He told me horror story of a family stuck in traffic jam for 3 hours. He became quite perplexed with the situation himself and started shouting loudly. "Yelling" could be an even better choice of verb. I asked him not to yell. It had an inverse effect. I had obviously insulted him deeply. He started shouting that there was no need for him to be concerned and reminded himself that it was I and not him that was going to miss the flight. Somewhere he seems to be suggesting that this was all useless and we should go back home and take a nap. He took a turn to make the cab part of dead trail but then his compassionate sense prevailed and he took the U turn. His mind seemed to be processing our options at the speed to light and he said - I will drive in the wrong side of the road for entire duration of Rajouri but you will have to pay if policemen catch him. He also called his friend to verify if this was a feasible option and he confirmed that it was risky but a risk worth taking. Finally he looked at the oncoming traffic intensely and said it was a big risk and I will have to pay a thousand bucks for him to do it.
I suddenly realized where it was going. I resorted to negotiation. 500? And then 700 but he wouldn't buzz. It was simply a question of risk and reward. His car, his life, his children's lives were at stake if something was to happen to him or his car. I said I was taking the risk too. Pushed to the corner I said yes.
After traveling on the wrong side of the road for about a 100 meters, he got the cab to usual route to airport and I knew I had been taken for a ride.
I maintained silence as he called up his friend telling him how he took biggest risk of his life by travelling in wrong direction. I evaluated my options and felt the only choice I had was how I should feel once this episode was over. This was life with its ups and downs. Good side was that I reached airport quite ahead of time and that gave me a lot of time to think about what had happened the previous (actually this very) night.
V had come back and it was decided that we would drink. I had had three pegs of whiskey the previous night and I had thrown up. Also I did not want to get too drunk in order to be able to get up early to catch my 7 AM flight. So we decided to have beers. Later I would need some whiskey to process reality.
V told me what the mood of NY office was. About Central Park.
Then B joined us. V showed off Double Black label: brand of whiskey he had brought with him. I remarked how we would have taken off all of our clothes if we were women in a James Bond movie.
Things took a turn for interesting and B started to narrate a story that now runs like a dream sequence in my mind. I remember watching Walter White reminiscing in Breaking Bad and saying "What are the odds?"
U pings B around a question on a company event that she helps manage. She later organizes a meeting with him to discuss the matter further. B is surprised when she mentions that she thinks that he is awkward around her and she wanted to make sure that everything was fine between them. B says that everything is fine. He is generally "in his zone" and that could have left that impression on her. She suggests that they start afresh and goes on to introduce herself. B follows her initiative and introduces himself. They must have had a basic Q&A session afterward because I remember B mentioning U asking him where he lived and finding it pretty impressive that he lived alone. This meeting ends.
Afterward, U pings B again, saying that she has a confession to make. B suggests that they meet again but U insists that is not required. She tells him that she used company event as an excuse to talk to him. B does not know how to react to that but does pretty well in asking if she wanted to exchange numbers. She takes time and finally says that she shares her number only with family and close friends. There is no no in this answer.
And that is the story so far.
I asked B why he told us about this when it was so intimate. But I knew. V is one of his closest friends. More importantly, B thought I was interested in U. I confirmed that I was.
I requested him not to share this with anyone and respect U's expectation that it will stay between two of them. Respect is the keyword here. I can only imagine how difficult it could be to put yourself in that vulnerable spot and express your feelings. If that expression is not met with a dignified response, it can push you deeper inside the shell. Apart from that U is also a friend, so I need to protect her interests. I told him she was top of the line gal and he should go for her.
He asked me how I was interested in U and still wanted him to do as he pleased. I told him that I asked her once.
We told him that it is alright to be feeling flattered and he should enjoy it while it lasts.
V was there too and he must have appreciated sensitiveness of the whole situation. One can always depend on him when the situation arises.
I had few interactions with U during those two days and now I would successfully correlate everything that I saw in her with her turbulent state of mind.
On Thursday afternoon, while we were having lunch, U passed by with a cup of tea and told us that she was having a terrible headache. On a side note, later, on my way to meeting room, I would see her and B in another meeting room - again what are the odds?
On Friday, we were expected to decorate our bays to celebrate Diwali. Our team won a prize, BTW. It was kind of expected that U would make a trip to our bay but she did not. I went up a couple of times and it looked as if she was most busy person in dh. She was on phone and did not seem interested in festivities at all. Later in the evening she wished us Happy Diwali from outside of the glass door.
I was not sure if B telling us about this was a good thing or not. Now I am pretty sure that it was a good thing because it gives so much insight into U psyche. For one, we haven't had that lunch so far and I was willing to attribute it to her lack of initiative. I'm clearly wrong. Women can take initiatives when they want to.
Also she is complex and much is going on with her that I'm not aware of. On multiple occasions, she has confessed to be not very trusting of people in general. It will be fascinating to know series of events that led her to B. Maybe, it is a case of instant attraction but she just did not seem like that sort of girl. B has that boyish charm. U is womanly and mature. It will be interesting to observe.
I have been trying to strategize my behavior toward U in coming days. Am I hurt? How do I compare against B? How do I compare against everyone else?
I saw this lecture on sociological imagination that tries to answer the question: why are we here? We have a biography - our little orbits - and we are part of a history and a lot of our biography is influenced by history of our times. In turn, our collective biographies shape our history.
One way of evaluating this whole episode could be to say that it is a story of three individuals and the outcome is direct result of how these three individuals interacted with each other. I could have done something and the result could have been different. It is definitely part of the puzzle. Sociological imagination tells you that there are factors in play that individuals don't have control on. For example, there are factors that influence liking that I have little control on. It has made me less critical of myself and demystified the idea of love a little.
Back to the question of how I should interact with U in coming days. For a considerable time now, I have tried to be best version of myself. I have been non judgemental, patient and funny. I have been prompt to respond to her requests. To be honest, I might even have been happy. One strategy could be to maintain this. This would also be very boring. I have zeroed in on the cold treatment.
I have thought about potential justifications for why I chose to write it into a blog post. I have very limited and controlled readership. I have been careful to start off the post with relatively boring tale of my journey to airport and it is likely that even few readers I have will not bother to complete this post. There was also a need to document this historic moment in this blog which has turned very personal of late. These are all good reasons. My favorite: I'm breaking bad.
S: Are you prepared to handle some randomness from me?
(Two minutes pass)
S: I want to go watch a movie with you. What do you think?
U: Did you not say that you did not like watching movies?
S: Yup but I think the experience depends on the company. I think you will be a great company.
U: I think you are overestimating quality of my company. Even I don't enjoy movies so much now but I am open to the idea of going to one in a group.
S: Ok. I asked because I had to ask. Thank you so much for handling it so kindly!
Just like that the pressure was taken off and I felt happy.
Later, V asked me how my day was and I couldn't help confessing that it was good. Isn't it scary how dependent we are on external factors for our happiness?
I watched a Ted talk () where the speaker asks the audience what exactly it wants for itself (not what other wanted them to want). You have about 5 seconds to take action towards getting what you want otherwise you will talk yourself into how you really don't want/need it.
I asked myself what I wanted and there was a moment of clarity. I wanted to ask U if she wanted to go watch a movie. This sounds so juvenile. At the same time, it became so important that I physically responded to it. There was an increase in my heart rate and everything else dissolved into background. It was very annoying.
That is when I pinged her. She was working from home so I could not talk about it in person. Maybe, it was for better because it allowed me some time to phrase my request in a better way. I knew that it was not important whether she agreed or rejected the request. I was overly concerned if it would be weird and come in our day to day interactions. At the end of it, I was impressed with the way she had come up with an option between yes and no and avoided the situation.
I remember my discussion with M about "responding to a situation" against "reacting to it." The interaction that I had with U is an example of her responding to a situation. It is always impressive.
U just changed her team. It was a right move and we let her go. Her move was so abrupt – we come in one fine Monday to find that her desk has been moved to new team. Now S seemed to sit on my left and U on left. S and I have had our share of differences and he decided to move his desk. He said that he was doing it because the seat he was moving to was a premium one but somewhere I realise that I had something to do with it for sure. So I don't have anybody sitting on my left now I did not have anyone on right. "I am suddenly feeling very alone," I told U.
I had a session with her to give me feedback on her experience working with me. What did she say? I am helpful. I think that was the only positive thing she had to say about me. I was expecting to hear "absolutely brilliant with problem solving." That was disappointing. On improvement side, I needed to work on my mood swings and general state of well-being. I need to be happy. On communication side, I need to work on my facial expressions. Fair enough.
When I got promoted, N and U2 took me to lunch. I don't know why but I still remember that lunch given the general high level of forgetfulness I show. It was very personal and we had a good time. In the same spirit, I wanted to take U out on lunch before she switched her team. We have been planning it for months now and I believe that it will not happen. It is as if she is actively avoiding it. Maybe she is aware of my hidden motives here.
This behaviour of postponing things indefinitely is part of her charm. Or maybe it is flawed part of her personality. This behaviour has been demonstrated in multiple occasions where she starts off with passion but fails to take the task to completion. The project that she was working on and struggled to complete was boring so I cannot blame her there. However, there is this instance of taking a group photograph, making a video, putting things on auction, where things just did not end with a bang. The amount of labour she puts in is monumental, only to be contrasted by relative lack of impact. "Work is force into displacement," I told her as someone had told me once.
This week has been so eventful. I was waiting for Monday, after all S was here. I spent about five minutes debating if I should shave or not. I decided not to shave. I also received an iron bed that I had ordered from pepperfry. I went to office to find that I was to take an interview and was late for it. Anyway, I called the candidate about half an hour later, apologized and conducted the interview. I asked him some pretty cool questions (and tough too) and I was satisfied with my performance in the interview. Unfortunately the candidate didn't make it. Then we had a potluck and my cake was well appreciated and it was a good event overall. And just like that it was already well past afternoon. Things looked very good so far.
There was also a significant shaking because of a distantly centered earthquake and that made sure that I did not sleep well in night.
Also, we were made to move to ground floor from Third floor. I always get very emotional when it comes down to leaving places. It is almost like I am performing to an audience that wants to see me cry. I kind of picked up my stuff from my drawer. There are rectangular whiteboards around our desks to write down something inspirational. A day before I wrote - Alcohol conserves the brain. On Monday someone had written - Satish was here. I liked that somehow.
I also had a chance encounter (from a distance) with "S" and "K" on the ground floor and rest of the day was spent assessing my character for reasons as to why I could not just go and meet her.
I shaved on Monday evening and shaved some more on Tuesday morning. I realized that S was here and I had spent a day without saying "hi" to her. So first thing I did after I went to office was to go to fourth floor and look for her. She was not there. I came down with mixed feelings. I was psyched and happy to see her near my desk asking people where I was. We hugged formally. I introduced her to team members - which she must have thought was weird or maybe not. Then we sat down in office Sofa - for first time since I moved to ground floor, I felt that that sofa belonged to that space and was most likely serving its lifelong purpose. What did we talk about? She gave me updates on what was happening in her office. Business is going through some tough time and few people have had to leave and that kind of made her emotional. Apart from that we had few laughs around how she was very young and must be very polite to older colleagues in office. "Do they make you serve them coffee in office?," I joked. I told her about my career plans. She told me that she was looking forward to a change in role as well. We decided to figure out a way to have lunch together. I was suddenly happy for the rest of the day.
I had ordered a mug from an online store. It said WTF but in Hindi. It seemed very funny at the moment. Later in the evening, I kind of felt that it was an idiotic gift so I decided to buy something that represented India. So I stopped at Galleria market on my way back to home and looked around for a book store. Fortunately, I could not find it open. I went to Archies and bought an overpriced gift bag. Then I decided to explore Handloom house for scarves. I saw a few but was not sure if it was even gifted to people or not. I came out and called U for some quick advice. She did not pick up the phone. Most likely she missed it at the time and later did not call because it was very late in night. That's the sort of stories optimists tell themselves. Anyway, I returned home and pinged S on WhatsApp. She had given me her number and had asked me to add her on WhatsApp. Eventually, I ended up asking her advice for a good gift. She asked if there were any options. I find that part about women fascinating: how they take time but come with perfect responses. I told her about a silk scarf and she said she would love it. Later, I would discuss this with U and she would comment how it is much more in practice to insist that one did not need a gift when asked for what they would want for a gift. On reflection, it made me happy that S did not do that.
Tuesday night people from pepperfry visited to assemble the bed for me. It was dissatisfying to see that I had ordered wrong kind of bed. Maybe, I will return it. See how that turns out for me. I woke up till 2 doing random things.
On, Wednesday morning, I went and purchase a scarf. That was unsatisfying too. There were not many options and I did not like any scarf particularly. I also had zero knowledge of what was hip in scarves. I bought something that was kind of different - one that is a rectangular scarf but is already folded and stitched along its length so it looks like a strip. While I was on my way back, I remembered my newly committed motto - "hell yeah or say no" and felt sad that I had compromised on that motto. I had also ordered a winter Jacket online and it did not fit perfectly. I could have kept it if I wanted to. But I just told you my motto in life and so I had to return the jacket. On my way back home from office, while facing wrath of cold gusts of wind, I said to myself - "I should have kept the damn thing".
During lunch, I remember telling S2 that I was feeling sad and he made a joke about it. (On a side note today I shared some more news with him and even there he seemed more amused than happy. Is he an unnecessary source of negatively and should I avoid going to lunch with him?). As I told V, I share a complex relationship with S2 but more on it in a different post.
Weather was unusually cool too. I asked P if it was "happy" weather or "sad" weather and he said it seemed rather "gloomy". I felt happy for a brief moment there because now I could attribute my sadness to weather.
I had the mug and scarf in the gift bag. I pinged S telling her that I had brought a gift for her. I did it on Jabba and her response was something that uplifted my mood for sure. "Did you? Did you?! Did you?!", she asked with enthusiasm. Ha Ha! I asked her to collect it exactly before she leaves office so that nobody in office gets to ask her what it was and who gave it. I told her that it felt very child-like.
In the afternoon, U pinged me and said she wanted to discuss something with me. I said I had a discussion with her "now" manager in 10 minutes. We agreed to catch up after that discussion. This discussion was kind of an opportunity for me to give feedback on U. I am never satisfied with the feedback I give about people. I want good things to happen to U and I want her manager to have a good impression about her. I see her strengths and I see her weaknesses and most of the times I give my unbiased views. But U is also a friend. So I feel that I am not being fair to her if I give my objective feedback on her in a corporate environment where favoritism seems to be the norm. Anyway, most likely I am assigning more importance to my feedback than it actually is.
So later we (U and I) went out for a walk to discuss what was happening in her new role. We crossed U's now manager taking a round as well. That was weird. We felt like co-conspirators. U commented that we should do more of this so we don't catch unusual attention. Anyway, we had a good laugh about it.
In evening, the team went for snacks outside. It was impressive that everyone was up for it given that such events continually get postponed. Especially an event that was scheduled by U. Even more specially because a person was shot dead this morning right in front of the place where we intended to go for snacks. Yes, Gurgaon is the Sincity. The logic was that the probability of having another shootout at the same place was probably lower than other places in Gurgaon. It was fun. I had a Kachori and a Jalebi and a half Samosa.
Anyway, in the evening S came to ground floor and I took her to the place where lockers are and gave the gift packet to her. She took out the items from the bag. The message in the mug was in Hindi so she asked if it was a personalized message. I said it was not a personalized message. Or maybe it was because it was in Hindi and was given to her precisely because her colleagues will not be able to read it. It was a slightly inappropriate message and she needed to hear it from me. I did not want her to go about asking people what the mug said – that would have been funny though. Strangely, I could not bring myself to say "What the fuck" in front of her. I said "What the.." a couple of times and finally she got it and laughed about it. Just to make sure that she really got it I asked her what it was and she said "What the..?" And then she took out the scarf and tried it on. She asked me for directions around how it was to be used. I said I had no idea. She said she would figure it out. After she was gone, I realized that she is just a great taker of gifts. The best one, maybe.
I came home little late at night and I had a slight headache due to lack of sleep and overthinking so I slept after having dinner and a pint of beer. V pinged at night and asked how to kill a SQL query.
On Thursday afternoon, S and I went for lunch. Customer service in the restaurant was top class and there was no one else except for us. They played good music. I wish the food was better though. We discussed about PP and how it is always funny to think up of ways of destroying it. We discussed common friends. I gave S some feedback too – I shouldn't do that. We also discussed how we are lagging behind in getting promoted. How does one prepare for a visit to India. It was good. She also paid her part of the bill. Few years back, I wouldn't have allowed that but now I let people do what they want to do.
We came back and went straight up to attend IMU. It's kind of a town hall meeting.
After that I had a discussion with L who is visiting India as well from London office. We could not find any meeting room and so we came down to CCD and ordered coffee and continued with general discussion. L mentioned that coffee was good and I agreed.
Thursday was truly a great day. S had also brought a gift for me – it was a face mask and a toner from Korea. He he. Talk about gifts that are also useful. I tried the mask on and shared the picture with her. I asked her few questions about how to use them (instructions were not very clear) and she didn't reply to them. I remember feeling sad and stupid about it.
On Friday morning, I received an email from L confirming some good news. It was also an early Friday so I left early for day.
On Saturday, I helped move S3 into a new house in Gurgaon. They had dinner at my home in evening and A cooked some really good chicken.
On Sunday, A, my flat-mate, asked me to join him and his girlfriend for dinner and we had a really good time.
We had been planning to meet for a few weeks now. We finally did meet on the day of Dusshara. The earlier plan was to go to Kingdom of Dreams. However, they did not have an afternoon show of Zangoora and so we decided to watch Shaandaar instead. One good thing was that we did not have to collect ticket at the counter. M got the printouts of the tickets (very proactively) and we got in without any trouble.
We went upstairs and waited in the lobby. M told me this rather scary story of travelling alone in a bus to visit her sister. It ended well so we can laugh off it now. But this is a story that plays itself on every time a female passenger boards a bus. It makes me sad. The question however is – what am I gonna do about it?
That conversation was very interesting and it was abruptly ended by theatre staff telling us that the movie had started.
Since having watched this movie, I have read many reviews of it. I see people rating it average or above average and I wonder how much variation human beings show in their perception of things and world. At some level, it makes me hopeful. At another level, it makes me question authenticity of these reviews – especially those by critics.
I personally found this movie insulting to its audience. What was the point of the movie? Before we get to that, here is my summary of the story in the movie. Although, some would argue there was none.
There is a wedding that is also a business deal. The bride is cute and fat. The groom is an asshole. The half-sister of the bride is hot and falls in love with the wedding planner who is also hot. Father of the bride is weak. Grandmother of the bride is hated by everyone. Mother of the bride does not leave much impression but is hated anyway. Groom's brother is loud and idiotic and does not die at the end.
The only thing good about the movie was that it ended. It was excruciatingly long though. There was a 10 minutes long and completely unnecessary segment where Karan Johar made an appearance. In the world of anime, it is called a filler. The movie is filled with annoying fillers.
I cannot help but review a movie with regard to social messages that it delivers; stereotypes that it breaks or reinforces. As is clear with the story of the movie, all characters can be describes by a single adjective. My worst moment was when the groom makes fun of the bride in front of everyone and the father of the bride reacts musically. The groom later apologises (again musically) and is promptly forgiven. These are all cases of actions without repercussions; similar to how both lead actors have insomnia but they look fantastic nonetheless.
I had read a review of a Bollywood movie (Queen actually) by a Norwegian national and he expressed his annoyance at repetitiveness of events designed to prove how groom in that movie was an asshole. I thought he had a fair point.
What are the stereotypes associated with rick folks? They are insensitive, ignorant, disrespecting of poor and willing to trade emotions for money. How true is that stereotype? I think it is oddly off. I think rich people have the education and grooming to understand importance of appearances. Education alone is enough to give them a better view of the world and mould their behaviour that maintains their richness.
The movie could have scarred me for life but I had the pleasure of M's company. Not to rob her off of any mysterious elements but she does not seem to have a dark side. She is in the category of genuinely nice people.
We spoke about sunshine's blog and how the way she responded to a situation was inspirational. We spoke about how private jobs compare with government jobs. How she changed her sleeping cycle to be able to read late at night. Inspirational stuff.
As with the last time, shaandaar part of the meeting was that there was no hurry to get somewhere else.
In the last post, you read the part one of curious case of S (CCS). S is trying to plan his career with one major objective of correcting his salary. He has an offer from an organization and wants to decide whether he should negotiate his salary with them or straight away decline the offer. He consults his friends to get their perspective and has a list of pros and cons.
Pros: It will be a change of scene and at a leadership position, S will have a lot of say in guiding vision of the organization.
Cons: The organization is little known. It delivers services that do not align with S's primary interest in developing solution and can cause long working hours.
Eventually, S decides to decline the offer.
Dear reader, you are in for a treat because I got S to write rest of the story himself. As you would see he is a much better writer than I ever was.
I am S. This is my search for meaning and satisfying closures.
I have heard that one should write a story for their ideal reader. Specifically, they should write it with the intent of making their ideal reader pee in their pant with delight. I write this for you.
Let me quickly contextualize my frame of mind in these last few months.
In September, last year R left the organization and suggested that I should leave it too. I eventually created my resume and gave a series of interviews to eventually learn that I was not very good at them.
I also spoke to many experienced people that I respected from my current and previous organization.
I spoke to T and he recommended that I read "What you are really meant to do?" He also mentioned to take interests in activities outside work – joining an NGO maybe.
I also spoke to S and he mentioned that he would like to see himself as "head of analytics" kind of role where one is generally good with everything but not particularly good at something. The idea appealed to me.
I spoke to T2 and he suggested that I should not try too hard to plan my career and go where people welcome me. He asked me how I felt about my current role and I said that I had found it to be enjoying.
A asked me to start creating a list of all the projects that I had done and really work on my story in preparation toward interviews. He also wanted me to start created a list of companies, primarily through research on LinkedIn. He kept on reminding me that my stint in dh has been very fruitful majorly because I was well respected and I had time to think about my priorities and do things that I enjoyed.
I did all this because I had time at work. I was not particularly busy. The objective of our team was more or less met and there was no clear future pipeline. I remember the conversation I had with M during the time I decided to join my current team and he had asked me to get clarity on what happens when the work is over. That was a good thought.
I briefly mentioned in my last post that I discussed about my offer to my manager to get his views on the matter. One repercussion of that discussion was that I needed to change my team. I was still aligned to my current manager so I continued to sit with my existing team. However, all of my work was to be managed by a new guy now. And boy, was he annoying!
This new manager does not believe in the concept of listening. He has few things to say and he will say it in most aggressive way and not bother to see your response. At times, he is downright disrespectful. Most of all, there was complete lack of feedback and I kept myself motivated with whatever I could. I did create new visualizations on Shiny and that was good.
In summary, things were not great at office and I was not entirely convinced that it would be worse off if I had joined this other organization. So when I was again contact by them at the end of 3 months, I had more positive feeling towards them. After a lot of negotiations they offered me good money and there was an additional incentive of international travel. Eventually, I expected the offer and resigned from dh.
My manager asked if there was anything they could do to still keep me with the company and I told him that I was incredibly bored and I just wanted to leave. I asked him to release me early and he was kind enough to accommodate that without much fuss: I really didn't have much dependency anyway.
This decision of leaving dh and joining TS was made by keeping a couple of factors in mind. Money was good and if this decision did not turn out to be a good decision then I could always leave. Also, in my previous dealing with assessment of this offer, I had asked opinions from many people and they only seemed to add noise to already existing state of indecision so I had decided to take this decision on my own. I had all the factors identified through my previous discussions anyway.
After resigning, I really felt happy for few days. There was some noise around how this could be a bad decision but I had made a decision and these noises were not able to work up my piece of mind.
What happened after that?
Happiness intentionally left out of the list. Seeking happiness is like seeking examples of great presentation in google. Presentations about great presentations are rarely great.
Expressing myself - why does that top the list? It is such a powerful idea that I didn't have to list points 2 and 3. It also captures the essense of my worst fears that force me into a shell.
S and I entered in the elevator and continued our conversation, I said, "It's been so long. It seems absurd." "What is absurd?," he asked logically. "Us living for so long."
For a bit, I was impressed with the promptness of my response. Generally, after making such quick - apparently smart - remarks, I find myself questioning their validity and end up feeling stupid. Not this time. Really, 30 years. That is a lot of time.
Later in the day, a friend and colleague asked me a question about a solution (more like a product that helps you optimize promotions in a store). This solution is so overly and unnecessarily complex; and it has taken (sorry wasted) so much of my time that the thought of getting involved with it brings me down like nothing else. Anyway, I empathized with this poor fellow who has to deal with it now and so said I will look into it. After few minutes of result-less investigation, I felt very depressed and gave up. Later, I jokingly sent him a message on how the exercise made me suicidal. I really didn't know spelling of suicide back then so I searched for it in google and was impressed to find a helpline number thrown at me.
I told about this to a friend and he asked me why I was searching for it and later announced to the team about it. I found it very annoying.
I have become increasingly aware of negativity in my relationships - when someone is trying to push me, or take me to a guilt trip. For a couple of days, there was limited attendance in the team and I was surprised to observe how liberating that felt.
Now, I am managing this girl, U. She seems to have the talent but is not delivering to it yet. A certain Rohit Sharma comes to mind. Well, I am trying to be the best manager here and so I experiment. She is new to the in-house technologies and she labours to make them work. She approaches me and I solve it in seconds. Literally. It surprises me at time. It also make me realize how good I am with this stuff.
I thought she would be impressed too. But now I think it otherwise. Maybe it annoys her. Maybe, I am not able to contain my smugness. But I am rarely smug. I am rarely proud of my work. There is this tension between us at times and I don't like it. She really is full of energy and positivity and I often wonder if I am the source of this tension. The way I get negatively influenced by others in the team; am I influencing her negatively?
And there is more to it. She asked me to help her with something and I managed to say to her (after of course promptly fixing the issue) - "that is very basic, U. you should take that as a personal insult." I mean who says things like that?! With all my commitment to kindness, I still said that.
She did take it personally. I am trying to bring the situation to normal.
This whole episode made me think. During my time in MS, I had people reporting to me who really respected me. Here in dh, I have repeatedly got signals that people are not really crazy about working with me. There are a number of factors that could explain it.
I don't want to go into self persecuting mode (How true you were, M?!) but people don't exactly fall in love with me right after meeting me. I also have the fear of over coaching and that could very well be limiting our interactions. I also have this absurd idea of people responding positively to challenges.
There are people of different kinds. Yet, we all so want to praised and respected. That seems to be the key factor. People feel that I don't appreciate them. It is an area where I do need to work. From a technical point of view, I always see gaps in the way something has been done. I look at them from far above. This realization is interesting because I also said in the same post that I am not proud of my work. Either I am one ignorant bloke or I have contempt for everyone else's work. This last sentence gives me clarity even though it is intentionally ambiguous.
I also pondered over the idea of being in love with her. I mean she is intelligent, independent, beautiful and kind. And who doesn't like the idea of exploring associated emotions and behaviours that come with love?! Does she think good of me? Am I invading her space? Is it right to for me to be thinking about her like this? Is it right to be writing about it?
A wise man on television once said that if you want to get over a woman, turn her into literature. What does that imply?
There is a thin line
But with no sign
We'd try to transform it into a spline
and that could buy us some extra time
For what is love if we don't test its soul
Eternal love is no love at all
Only great highs can yield great falls
In another world and another time, I would be that superman guy
I hope I can learn to walk. I don't mind if I cant fly.
Thank you RhymeZone.com
This Sunday, I got to meet N and M. What do I have to say about it given the fact that they (at least, one is) are going to read about it.
N calls on Saturday. She is in Delhi and asks me if I am available to meet M and her on Sunday at Hauz Khas Village. She also mentions that she had almost forgot that I lived in NCR.
I am waiting at Green Park metro station for M and N, and share a fleeting glance with a girl sitting on next "what-dya-call-it" circular bench. I have a feeling she could be M but deal with it in boring "Satish" way. After a second, I get a call on my phone as I see her silently on phone too. I stupidly still pick up the phone before dropping it. We shake hands and I address her with "aap". She says she has already read my post and wouldn't have any of it. I'm mostly flattered that someone is still reading my blog.
N arrives shortly and gives us both a big hug. The hug sets the mood for rest of the meet.
We arrive to HKV in an auto. M is really quick with making the payment.
We go to Elma's. We order a sandwich, potato skins and cold coffee. We discuss blogs, jobs and bhabhiji's dresses. M gives N a personalized gift and N is almost about to cry. Oh, and there are photos. Lots of photos.
M is again quick with making payment.
We go to Hauz Khas. N talks about rolling joints. We compare Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai in middle of squirrels, butterflies and eyelashes.
We go to Navaidyam. We order idli, dosa, utthapam and filter coffee. We discuss powerful friends that M has while N brings up references of her drunk friends. I unsuccessfully search for existence of any friend that I could proudly boast of. We miss R and then we call her. I finally rise up to the occasion and manage to pay.
Then we leave.
Back to now:
We all had an amazing time, didn't we? HKV was an amazing choice but it was really about the company. There was no rush to be somewhere else. Many times, when meeting with people, I have out-of-body experiences which is to say a copy of me is observing me from a distance as if assessing how well I was doing. Here, I could just be.
They (seems so distant) are from different fields of work too. That is just so rare for me. More ever, right now all of them are taking a chance. I just did not think about simply quitting my job and doing nothing (or something that I believe in) so strongly till now.
N seems most ready to break all useless social norms.
M is quietly efficient. I'm so glad that she is friends (in "friendship" defining way) with R.
I am really close to my sisters. There is one who exemplifies having a sense of duty and delivering to it. There is one who simply loves me. I have a strong opinion that we need women running governments to make this world a better place. Seriously. That will be a revolution.
I have a page on Facebook where I post my favourite lines from my favourite songs and it is about to reach 1000 likes. Before that, I already have a milestone. Recently I posted the line 'Yeh kahan aa gaye hum, yunhi saath saath chalte' with a snapshot of the video - of Rekha and Amitabh taking a walk in a garden together – and it reached to more than 1000 users and about 80 of them liked it. Talk about a scandal! I was really psyched to see it.
What are the learnings? Lines accompanied with pictures get you more likes. That is one. And simplicity: you get more likes on posting opening lines of the song. Sometimes, I get carried away in my attempt to show off my taste by posting lines that show more depth. Here, I successfully avoided an urge of posting "humein milna hee tha humdum, kisi raah bhi nikalate".
The second learning is especially relevant. It took me a long time to understand important of repetition. While being asked to talk about myself in my interviews, I somehow wanted to be "new" every time. I will try and come up with different aspects of my personal and professional history in each interview. It never worked. You hear politicians – AK, e.g. – and they make sure they say same thing again and again and suddenly they make the truth.
This week has seen me go through a sine curve with regard to range of emotions that I have felt. I am trying to get better at saying no. I am trying to get better at negotiations, in general. You know what they say – you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. Job negotiations generally involve you interacting with strangers.
Interacting with strangers have always been a challenge to me – especially if power equations are not clearly defined.
I remember our extended team offsite where we got a younger colleague – let's call him R - drunk and stuck with a question – you know when people get drunk, they insist on knowing answers of deep questions of most philosophical nature. So before he got drunk, we were evaluating effectiveness of Hindi as a language. I have a major crib with Hindi – presence of "tu", "tum" and "aap" has made interactions with new acquaintances so much painful. I am always struggling to find the right word to address a new person. My default tends to be "aap" but I have realised that people take that as a sign that I am younger or on the lower side of imaginary power pyramid. With women I still use "aap" without feeling much confusion – I am in love with all of them. Anyway, with "prioritizing new" as my motto, I have started to call people that I think are younger than me (and most of them are) as "tum". I see that English has escaped this problem quite simply. So R really wanted to know why there are different variation of "you" in Hindi and whether they are a hurdle in making new friends. Except that he never completed his question and even when he did, he wouldn't allow a response.
So coming back to my struggle with interacting with strangers, I made a comment to V that I somehow manage to idealize strangers. On top of that I start to believe that they know all of my weaknesses. Honestly, I don't like this level of self-awareness. My only hope is that it's a positive step towards self-improvement.
What could be a plan of action in a situation like this? I need to "not be me". I am going to do that by wearing hats – I should wear my "smart" hat, "honest" hat, "grandfather" hat and I need to keep shopping for new hats to see what works for me. There is a side story on "grandfather" hat that will digress me further so it will have to wait.
I should also de-idealize them. I need to see weaknesses of my hr manager in the hr manager that is interviewing me.
In this quest of me mastering the art of interacting with strangers, V and S have been most helpful. At times, I look at myself looking at them for approval – but maybe, I do that with everyone.
The first time I spoke in order to negotiate with the consultant, I don't think I was particularly good. I felt bad that I could not be good. Second time, it was marginally better. The interaction with the HR was a really nice surprise – that maybe I don't need rules. Just don't be presumptuous and don't take unnecessary guilt trips. I could almost be in control right now if it was not for an unplanned stupid experiment.
I am sitting on a bench. Behind me a group of senior citizens are discussing earthquakes.
This is the 4th time that I have used stairs to come down from my 11th floor flat. The first time that I came down, I was half asleep and did not have my sleepers, mobile phone or wallet with me. I was lying down on my bed and felt that I was moving synchronously with floor. Simultaneously I heard knocking on my door and was informed by my flatmate that there is an earthquake and we should be moving down. I half sleep walked behind him.
I have had mild experiences of earthquake before but this really shook me. I asked my friend to search for news and there was nothing much available online. Later we came to know it was 7.8 scale earthquake that was centered in Nepal. After about 30 minutes of us going back into the flat, we again felt a major tremor and came down again. Since then it has been a series of aftershocks.
Night was a different matter altogether. I had plans of attending a friend's wedding and I should really be in Bareilly right now. I'm not sure how it happened but somehow I have managed to not attend it and live this moment of scare instead. I think it was a case of communication failure between me and another friend who was in charge of organizing the trip.
Taking about communication, I ported my number to Vodafone and feel disappointed already after facing same reception related problems. In the aftermath of airtel trying to keep me with them, I got the calls from different people saying that they will fix my problem. I also felt that call quality was relatively better on the last week with airtel. Anyway, I gave already written to Vodafone and hopefully they will respond. Getting a customer care representative on their customer care number is impossible.
I also wrote my first YouTube comment last night. At about 2 at night I realized that I could not sleep. "How do I know that I am not in middle of an earthquake right now?" I was experiencing an augmented reality where I felt as if I was in middle of a continuous earthquake. Finally, common sense prevailed and I decided to focus my energies to the ceiling fan. If it starts shaking like a pendulum then I know. I also decided not to force myself to sleep anymore and instead, waste time on YouTube. That's when I came across Tara's channel. She was reading comments that she had on her other videos. She plays video games and reviews them. She is also very comfortable taking about her sexuality and its importance in getting her the views. I know you know the mix of comments one expects on YouTube videos. You have funny ones, full of hatred ones, nonsensical ones, disgusting ones. It's like a democracy in its most efficient and representative form.
She was funny while replying to comments. She could really work with accents. She was smart and she could see through holes in arguments. Most of all, to me she was reassuring and a connection to sanity.
So I wrote a really boring comment on one of her videos thanking her. I do that quite often these days. Whenever I see someone doing something good, I leave a message thanking them.
Earlier this week, I also went to Noida to give a job interview. It was very conversational in style and I loved it. The person interviewing me had Mu Sigma roots too so it was really good to look back at a time worth remembering. I was honest and funny and philosophical.
Noida is really far away from Gurgaon. I woke up at 6 and reached their office at 9:45. On my way, traveling on the Metro, I thought deeply about my value proposition. I went through few answers that bookmarked on Quora and that helped too. I also met B waiting to be interviewed. Talk about coincidences.
I am also deeply into reading History of India by John Key - I have read first two chapters on Vedic Era and Epic Era and it was really interesting. However, I am struggling to continue 'If on a winter's night a traveler'.
MNP is Mobile Number Portability. I recently applied to port my number to Vodafone from Airtel.
For months now, I have had a bad experience talking on phone. Earlier I had a magnetic cover on my moto g mobile that used to interfere with my calls. For a long time I did not realize that it was the cover causing the problem so I unconsciously became frustrated. However, I never realized that I could do something to take care of the problem. Change the phone or Sim card. I can be very ignorant like that - particularly when it's my problem. Somehow, I think my problems are not important enough.
Then I realized that I could change my mobile and maybe I would have taken action in that direction but luckily I ended up checking if my mobile cover had anything to do with it.
Few of my flatmates also have airtel and they agreed with me that there has been a drop in call quality so I finally decided to use another network provider. I chose portability over buying another Sim because I had never made user of MNP before and also because I wanted to teach Airtel a lesson. They are in middle of net neutrality debate and they are willing to compromise on call quality.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, we have a new joiner in the team that I am managing. She seems to be following few rules from psychology books while dealing with people. And she seems to be doing it quite effectively. One thing that she does is call out whatever it is that she does not like in a slightly subtle form. There is this example when another team member was standing behind him looking at her laptop screen and she asked him what he wanted. There has also been few examples with me when I reacted to something in trademark Satish way and she wanted to know why.
Another thing she does is ask me what I would do in the situation where she has not been effective. That's a killer strategy I would say.
Only problem that I see in her practicing these strategies is that she can become predictable. I am not that bright with identifying people's motive and if I sense this then maybe she needs to learn more.
I also cleaned by room. Ordered books and a measuring tape. I am going to order a curtain and a bed sheet.
So how was the last week? I have decided to write a post every week that summarizes major happenings in my life every week.
Major achievement of the week was that I completed Kafka on the Shore, a 500 pages long fiction, within a week. Did I tell you that I was struggling to finish a book ever since I was trying to read non fiction? I had almost forgot what fun it was to be immersed in a story!
My laptop gave up on me and that also helped my mission of completing the book as soon as possible. I was trying to install Skype on my Linux laptop and went few steps of the limit in experimenting. The laptop has had it. I am very happy with my laptop though. I bought it for 16,000 and decided to install Ubuntu, a Linux distribution, on it. Since then, I have dug deeper into open source. I have installed single node Hadoop, Hive, Shiny server on this laptop. Another major milestone was when I decided to explore world of cloud computing and got a free server on AWS - Amazon Web Services. I am going to build my own website now.
I have also decided to review every book I read. Every interview I give. Every code I write. Every joke I make.
Kafka in the Shore is supposed to be layered in its meaning. Now I can read the analysis of the story and be surprised at how much I missed. But before I do that I can write down few thoughts of my own. There are two main characters in the book and one of them is Nakata. In the final stage of the story, Nakata takes a series of steps in most unusual way. He can know what the next step would be only once he reaches the step before it. Isn't that life?
Nakata can also talk to cats. All the conversations between him and the cats are a pleasure to read.
Did Nakata have a happy life? Hoshino thinks that he did. Happy, maybe, is not a right word here. Meaningful seems more appropriate.
I also visited landmark group in their Bangalore office. Apart from about 2 hours that I spent with them, I spent all of my time in the cab and then in the bus and I felt happy just being able to identify streets and buildings in Bangalorean wind and sunshine.
On my flight from Delhi, I opted for a window seat and was amazed to see cloud in their full glory under sun. They redefine whiteness. You could jump off the plane and land safely on them.
I asked a new joiner within the team to tell me about her weekend plans and then got ready to answer the dreaded question myself.
What do you do with your weekend?
So I can spend entire weekends within my flat. I am working on few pet projects that keep me busy. And I read. I mean I hope I read a lot.
But what is a really good answer to such questions? I somehow feel a need to rethink answer of this question every time when I don't have to. I think this is a big realization. I could simply say that I relaxed.
Anyway, I wanted to meet Sanjeev and Natasha and Fanny for a long time. Fanny, by the way, is a 3 months old Labrador. They live in Noida and it's about 2 hours journey if one wants to go there from Gurgaon. Anyway, every once in a while we would make plans of meeting and then drop it at the very last hour. I think there is some guilty pleasure in canceling plans.
Anyway, this Saturday they did take trouble of coming and meeting me. They came with Fanny and I was happy to see them. I was not so crazy about Fanny though. She seemed harmless at the beginning but then she really scared me by trying to crunch my ribs.
We decided to buy beer and few other items and so went to local market. And boy, was I in for enlightenment! People stopped and asked permission to play with Fanny. I realized she is the celebrity and felt guilty for not being reverent enough to her during our interaction earlier.
And we didn't talk much about anything else. If you are in a relationship and you have run out of ideas for conversations, adopting a dog could be a winner choice.
But we did talk about other things, didn't we? How NCR sucked. How I'm old and have never had a girlfriend. Where do we go from here?
I think it is a tough time that I am going through. I have time and if I don't invest it somewhere judiciously, I will waste it, look back and repent. Or worse, I could develop a wrong (or true) perspective of world and really not care about anything.
My plan is to read and write. Create something that I can be proud of. Be aware. Not panic. Be happy.
I watched Source Code this evening. It is name of a movie, by the way. By the end of it, I had tears in my eyes. And I really wanted to cry. It must be my periods. I thought. Or who cries after watching a sci-fi movie.
So to stop myself from analysing why I wanted to cry, I decided to distract myself by taking a walk outside. Its a residential society consisting of about 15 towers - big enough that people can be found taking a walk outside when weather is good.
It was 7:30. It was windy. There were people. I wondered if they were suspicious of me.
I took a turn.
Now it's 11:45. And it's raining. And I'm listening to Jennifer Lopez. Where were we?
So I took a turn. And after about 5 minutes I felt lost. But I knew I would find my way back.
I sure did. For those 5 minutes, I paid more attention to world outside.
I am back from office after an unproductive day. Had a good discussions with Rahul (the name that is so generic that it doesn't even need masking) around what I wanted to do, where I should focus and books. I am continuously talking about how I miss reading fiction these days. I should just order God of small Things.
I asked him where we lacked and he answered in bullet points as if he had thought a lot about it. We are extremely slow, we are extremely expensive and we don't speak our clients language. I was wowed.
And he also mentioned how I should better market myself.
V pointed that I was alright in the middle. It was only at the beginning and at the end that I sucked.
So back to the walk. I was lost but I also knew that if I walked enough I will eventually encounter the familiar and I did. I eventually entered into this little play ground that large residential societies have for kids. Except that it was late in evening now and you couldn't find any kid there.
And so I sat down on a bench. And played a randomly selected song on my mobile phone. 'Chal akela, chal akela..' it told me. That happens a lot to me.
Next song was thankfully 'is reshmi pajeb ki jhankaar ke sadke..'
How have these two months been?
I started off with a high note. I realized power that books have. 100 years on, they can still make people join the battle you started. Do I write with a purpose now?
I am at the peak of information consumption these days. I still have a choice. I know it is only a waste of time and energy.
All these times I have been waiting for someone else to tell me what I need to do. I need to develop my own view of the world.
I came across this quote on Quora and it just made sense. Specially after Rohtang trip. There is no escape but only a chance of acknowledgement.
I have already read Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance once. This quote seems like a good example of something that deserves little attention when you are reading a book.
I don't know how but I have been consciously trying to remember advices given to me by different people.
1) Try to control your sense of humour in front of your manager when things are not going great at office. (2008, it must be?)
2) Don't take it lying down. Give it back to them. (2014)
There was one that I wanted to put at number 3. Just cant remember at the moment.
3) Change is always good. (2011, at the time of switching)
4) It's only a matter of time. (When I told a friend that my decks suck)
5) Self persecution
It has been a fortnight since I moved to a new flat my another colleague.
I don't know how one goes about writing a humiliating experience but I am this close to giving it a try.
It irritated me for a few days. It still does. And I am looking for a resolution, a closure. After a week now, I realize there are no easy resolution. It's more about what kind of stories you choose to tell yourself and steps you want to take to be better prepared for the next time.
I knew it could happen. And it did happen. At least I now know an iota of what it feels to live through your worst fears. It's always exaggerated. Reality has that effect on nightmares.
Is it just me or mosquitoes in Gurgaon are smarter than mosquitoes in Raipur? It used to be real hard work to get mosquitoes killed in my Gurgaon home. Here at Raipur, they seem to be not caring about their life. Not caring about one's life.. Is that dumbness or enlightenment?
So at least after a couple of years, I have been home for Diwali. It was a good trip. I did make some good decisions. Visited people who matter. I need to be better at articulating my decisions and getting into telling mode than asking mode when really it is my decision to make.
Also I wanted to thank ladies who are kind enough to visit me in my dreams. I am generally an unsatisfied sleeper which is to say that after hours of lying on the bed, I don't feel I have slept at all. It's more like I lose my senses and drop to sleep. Anyways lately I'm very aware of my dreams and whenever I realize that I have been dreaming I kind of feel happy thinking that dreaming means sleeping. So these three nights so far I have dreamt of women. In the very first case it was Britney. In the second case it was a colleague. In the third case it was someone that I can't remember now. Now a question to my large female followers - was writing about these dreams a good idea?