In the Land of Women

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.

Quick flashbacks: 
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.