Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ant and the Grasshopper - Indian version



Came across this browsing on the internet ... Sad but True :(

The Original Story:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The Indian Version:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs dances plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NDTV, TimesNow, CNN-IBN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Mayawati states this as 'injustice' done on Minorities. Amnesty International and various NGOs criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven & Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance). Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for 'Bengal Bandh' in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat. 'M KARUNANIDHI remarks ANT as THIEF'. Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'. Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the 'Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act'[POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter. Congress makes 'Special Reservation' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions in Government Services. The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it's home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV, TimesNow, CNN-IBN. Arundhati Roy calls it 'A Triumph of Justice'. Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice'. CPM calls it the 'Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden'. UN invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later..

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley. 100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India AND As a result of losing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the grasshopper. And India is a developing country 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Patriotism & Identity Crisis

Well, getting hit by the Identity crisis when you are 25 is not good at all, no?

This one is specific to the way I feel when someone says 'I'm an Indian' ...

Yup, u r rite in sniggering, these questions often confound the desi brains when he/she is in a foreign world.

Silly as it may seem, but this question popped up in my mind a few weeks back, when I read an article in the news about China asserting its claims on Arunachal Pradesh ...

Why do I feel the anger in my belly, when a pestilent nation rakes up this non-issue (in my and countless other Indian's mind, I bet!) ... Why do I feel my blood boil at the thought of conceding even a single district - Tawang, of the 16 districts in that state to this noisy, roguish nation??
I've fantasized about visiting the NE states at least once in my lifetime, but have not even been there yet ... nor do I know of anyone from that part of the country ..

Does it really matter what I feel? What really makes me feel as an Indian? Is it just Bollywood & cricket which binds us mainland ppl wth the Assamese or the Manipuris or the Nagas or in this case the Arunachalis??

Why do I feel this kinship with them? Is it because I've been always taught so since I was in school?? Would I feel the same if I was a slacker in school and never ever opened the Geography texts unless I could barely pass??

Why does this piece of info cause me this unease?? Of course, this is not going to make the slightest bit of difference to my day-to-day life, whether here in the US or back home in Pune ...
Why does it bother me so, then??

What exactly is this Patriotism everyone talks about?? When will or will I ever get to experience and feel it?

Why do I feel compelled to even bother about such news???

I dunno, hope I will get the answers in the near future ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random thoughts ...

When do you lose respect among your friends?

--- When you talk too much!

When do you lose self-respect?

--- When you know the above already, yet keep on repeating the same mistake!!

Inebriated or not, that shouldn't be an excuse, eh?

The most basic problem a person faces is - whom to trust, and more importantly, how much?
Things don't take long to go down hill, the shit may hit the fan anytime... watch out!!
Think! Many many times, before you make new friendships/rekindle old ones...

You may have been in the same plane once, but that was a long long time ago...
Things change, people change ...
Assumptions always make an ass out of you and idiotic self ;-)
Remember that ...

And most important, don't crib ...
Even if you can't stand this person in front of you, living with you as your roommate, acting all hunky-dory and palsy in front of you, but bitching about you and trying to sabotage your every move, every chance of glory, behind your back.

Because, as it may turn out, this guy might just be too cheerful .. too airy ... too naive ...
too INCREDULOUS !
And you -> plain paranoid !!

LOL

Well, even if you are not, there is no need to give that asshole the benefit of doubt, coz u have to watch your own back ... ALWAYS!

I hope this doesn't make sense tomorrow when I read this ...
It will then be the same for anyone else too, no? ;-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Worth A Thought...

This is something which I came across when I saw a forwarded mail from a colleague...

Will this control Inflation???

Nice Logic - It May Work !!

A man eats two eggs each morning for breakfast. When he goes to the Kirana store he pays Rs. 12 a dozen. Since a dozen eggs won't last a week he normally buys two dozens at a time. One day while buying eggs he notices that the price has risen to Rs. 16. The next time he buys groceries, eggs are Rs. 22 a dozen.

When asked to explain the price of eggs the store owner says, "The price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly". This store buys 100 dozen eggs a day. He checked around for a better price and all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors have begun to buy from the huge egg farms. The small egg farms have been driven out of business. The huge egg farms sell 100,000 dozen eggs a day to distributors. With no competition, they can set the price as they see fit. The distributors then have to raise their prices to the grocery stores. And on and on and on.

As the man kept buying eggs the price kept going up. He saw the big egg trucks delivering 100 dozen eggs each day. Nothing changed there. He checked out the huge egg farms and found they were selling 100,000 dozen eggs to the distributors daily. Nothing had changed but the price of eggs.

Then week before Diwali the price of eggs shot up to Rs. 40 a dozen. Again he asked the grocery owner why and was told, "Cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.

This pattern continues until the price of eggs is Rs. 60 a dozen. The man says, " There must be something we can do about the price of eggs".

He starts talking to all the people in his town and they decide to stop buying eggs. This didn't work because everyone needed eggs.

Finally, the man suggested only buying what you need. He ate 2 eggs a day. On the way home from work he would stop at the grocery and buy two eggs. Everyone in town started buying 2 or 3 eggs a day.

The grocery store owner began complaining that he had too many eggs in his cooler. He told the distributor that he didn't need any eggs.

Maybe wouldn't need any all week.

The distributor had eggs piling up at his warehouse. He told the huge egg farms that he didn't have any room for eggs would not need any for at least two weeks.

At the egg farm, the chickens just kept on laying eggs. To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm told the distributor that they could buy the eggs at a lower price.

The distributor said, " I don't have the room for the %$&^*&% eggs even if they were free". The distributor told the grocery store owner that he would lower the price of the eggs if the store would start buying again.

The grocery store owner said, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buying 2 or 3 eggs at a time. Now if you were to drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers would start buying by the dozen again".

The distributors sent that proposal to the huge egg farmers but the egg farmers liked the price they were getting for their eggs but, those chickens just kept on laying. Finally, the egg farmers lowered the price of their eggs. But only a few paisa.

The customers still bought 2 or 3 eggs at a time. They said, "when the price of eggs gets down to where it was before, we will start buying by the dozen." Slowly the price of eggs started dropping. The distributors had to slash their prices to make room for the eggs coming from the egg farmers. The egg farmers cut their prices because the distributors wouldn't buy at a higher price than they were selling eggs for. Anyway, they had full warehouses and wouldn't need eggs for quite a while. And those chickens kept on laying. Eventually, the egg farmers cut their prices because they were throwing away eggs they couldn't sell. The distributors started buying again because the eggs were priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price. And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.



Now, transpose this analogy to the gasoline industry.

What if everyone only bought Rs 200.00 worth of Petrol each time they pulled to the pump? The dealer's tanks would stay semi full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tanks. The tank farms wouldn't have room for the petrol coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the oil fiends.

Just Rs 200.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill up the tank of your car. You may have to stop for gas twice a week, but the price should come down.

Think about it.

Also, don't buy anything else at the fuel station; don't give them any more of your hard earned money than what you spend on gas, until the prices come down..."

...just think of this concept for a while.

..................please pass this concept around....reaching out to the masses ...the world .....


This is my re-joinder :

Quite an Interesting concept...

I don't know about the Car owners and their habits regarding tank-filling, but I can say this for the Bike Owners who need Gasoline as much if not more, compared to the four-wheelers.

Almost every two-wheeler owner buys petrol worth Rs. 50/- or Rs.100/- at a time and then refills his/her tank as and when further need arises.
So, the Petrol Pump Owners have nothing to fear from this community, seeing as the number of two-wheelers on Pune roads far outnumber the 4-wheeler percentage.
And they are used to this pattern for years on now.

The analogy presented over here may look good at a first glance especially since it pertains to a localized issue with a distribution chain involving mainly local players.
Whereas in the case of Petrol, the same cannot be applied as is.

The Distribution Chain in case of Petrol involves players with huge (and by huge i mean really HUGE) cash reserves and the logistics involved is mind-boggling!
Add to that the essential nature of Petrol in case of our day-to-day lives, it leaves us with little choice but to shell out whatever price set out by the Petro-cos.
Indian citizens are still a bit sheltered compared to some other countries(though its not much of a difference these days!).

The OPEC countries are to blame over here (similar to the huge egg farms in below analogy). These Oil-Producing countries hold the monopoly over Crude oil manufacturing as well as its pricing mechanism.
Mostly people don't know this, but the petrol we use in our vehicles(in India that is) comes from a different grade of crude oil as compared to the one whose prices has been shooting astronomically in the last few years. This should not have caused a sudden jump in the petrol prices for us. But the government has decided to pass on to the citizens the cost it has been bearing for decades during the administered price mechanism.

Basically, we are shelling out some extra money to balance out the imbalance in the govt's order books and are indirectly subsidizing Industrial & Aviation Use Petrol.
What ever be the reasons behind this increase in price, one thing is clear - the public can only take measures that offer very little solace to their inflation-added woes!
Pooling by four wheelers and two wheelers has been touted as a way to save energy and money since we were kids! But nobody ever took it seriously.
Now it seems like a 'Too Little Too Late' situation!

Petrol Pumps which used to operate 24*7 until a few weeks ago, are closing early now-a-days due to paucity of fuel!
Gasoline is not a commodity that is being produced in bulk...Its purposely kept in short supply by the OPEC community.
The consumers (in this case, its the non-oil producing nations) have no option, but to keep buying the crude oil they need at artificial prices and simultaneously explore non-conservative sources to meet their energy needs

Ergo, the 'eggs situation' would never be applicable in case of gasoline!

What we need as of now, is not the means to save gas costs!
The time for that is long past...With a scarce commodity like oil, be it genuine or artificial, what we instead need today is a major breakthrough in the technology for usage of non-conservative fuels which will propel us into a world of almost nil dependency on crude oil, thus breaking free of the stranglehold of the Oil-Cartel on our world. A technology which will be not only technologically viable, but also economically feasible and sensible for the masses.

Until then, all we can do is wait...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yet Another Close Shave...

Yesterday night I was involved in yet another accident, though this one I was neither responsible for, nor was affected by directly. Not that it was a mortal situation for the actual people involved, but it still left me a bit shaken...
I was off to see one of my friends, who would be leaving for his MBA studies at the 'Case Western Reserve University' in Cleveland, Ohio and was giving a send-off treat to a few of us at the local Pizza Hut. It was quite some distance from my workplace and halfway through the journey, it happened.
I was driving along the left side, as is usual for me these days, at a steady and serene pace, with half my thoughts on the forthcoming get-together. Late as it was(about 9 PM in the night), I guess everyone must be in a hurry to return to their homes. But, as I crossed the signal before the Sun N Sand 5* hotel, this bloke decided in his enormous wisdom to over take me from the left. In his haste to cut my lane and speed ahead, he didn't even bother giving a horn or any signal from his dipper lights to indicate his need for a pass. What happened later in the span of a couple of minutes, was so fast I barely had wits to stop and park my bike on the side. Trying to cross me on a road, wet and slippery due to rain, he apparently misjudged the traction and grip his bike could handle and at the speed he was trying to pick up, slipped and skidded right in front of my eyes. My voice of protest and the choicest of my swear words died in my throat however, when another scooter coming from behind (this one on the right side of the road) hit the prone guy's bike and fell too.
For a moment or two I stood stock-still, my heart pattering in my chest, and as I caught my bearings all I could think was how lucky I was not to be in the same position as the poor lady and her companion who had hit this guy's bike and fell. The crowd around us had stopped gawking thankfully, and a couple of them started to help around. The 30 something guy had obviously hurt himself quite badly as their was a stream of blood gushing down below his right elbow, but realizing the situation he had caused, tried to help the lady who was still lying down on the concrete road. Though some of the people present found this guy's situation more dire compared to the other two, who had just a scraped knee in case of the lady's companion and dizziness for the lady, I was not at all feeling any kind of compassion or sympathy for his pains at the moment. It could very well have been me in place of that middle-aged lady and who knows how badly it would have ended up for me. I have been involved with enough accidents to last me a lifetime by now. So, when one of the guys from the crowd asked me if I could take him to the hospital, I couldn't find it in me to do so. I would have started shouting at him instead when face to face with the idiot, I'm sure. So I just waved him off and went to see if the others who were involved needed any help. As it happened, I just noticed that there was a kid aged about 8-10 too with the lady, and was crying very loudly. Since there was nothing else to do, I went to him and tried my best to soothe him, until his mum was feeling okay. Finally the crowd scattered and people got on their way thinking the excitement was over. The culprit of the accident was taken to the nearby hospital by one of the on-lookers while I had hailed an auto and helped the lady and her son get on her way home too. The entire drama had lasted for about 30-45 minutes, so I wasn't much late for the get-together.
Anyways, this incident brought to my mind similar such instance that happened with me way back in November. I even remember the exact date, 22nd Nov, my sister's birthday. I was on my way to my office for a late night shift at around 11 PM. It was a Saturday, and the route I used to take passes through a cluster of pubs, party-joints and restaurants and is extremely crowded with the party-goers on weekends. These revelers normally have scant regard for the law and traffic rules or the safety of pedestrians, speeding down the narrow roads on their four-wheelers at dangerous speeds, listening to booming loud music.
One such thoughtless creature had swerved his jeep jarringly close on my right and overtaking me, without any thought of honking a horn or using his dippers for asking a pass. Shaken and stirred, I watched the jeep vanish from my sight at the next turn. A few seconds later, I heard a loud sound of screeching tires due to emergency brakes being applied, followed by a wail from a person in a lot of pain. As I reached the next square, I came across the mangled remains of a motorcycle as well as splinters of auto-rickshaw parts strewn around on the road. A young guy about 25 lay moaning on the ground, clutching at his twisted leg in apparent agony; passersby gathered around to have a better look at what exactly had happened out there and the jeep in question had obviously sped away to escape the aftermath. One of the fellow bikers and I decided to pursue that bastard, and we sped away in the direction he had fled. Luck was on our side as there was some road construction work going on ahead and the jeep driver had had to slow down considerably. I overtook him and parked my bike in front of his jeep blocking his way as the other biker approached the front door of the jeep and pulled out the driver. Within a few minutes, this guy was forced to turn around and come back to the scene of the accident he had caused. As the jeep was parked on the opposite side and the driver stepped out, I had the first opportunity to take a good look at his features and realized this guy fit the bill perfectly for the now commonplace stereotypes in this part of the city. A management student from some city in the north, with rich and well-to-do dad who has shelled out enough money to make sure his otherwise undeserving ward gets admission to one of the reputed MBA colleges in Pune. The types who will never learn to appreciate things that don't come so easily to many other deserving and hard working candidates, and which are really handed out to them on a silver platter. These arrogant and unscrupulous egoists, who have been brought up in a life of affluence and prosperity, who never give a damn about the costs of their actions which the average middle class pedestrians have to suffer at their hands.
And to top it all off, the guy was of course, drunk! It had been just two months before, when the High Court had sentenced Alistair Pereira from Bandra, Mumbai to three years rigorous imprisonment for drunk driving that resulted in the death of 7 people. But by the looks of it, the impact had yet to be felt amongst these wealthy classes. The crowd who had gathered by now was quite agitated and the rickshaw driver whose rick had been hit in the earlier melee was baying for the young driver's blood. "Hit him, hit him!" was the constant chant by him and his fellow brethren. A few had even caught hold of his long hair and tried to slap him once. The poor biker who had got hit, had sat down by now. It didn't look as serious as I had thought before - his ankle was definitely twisted, but not broken. The back of his shirt was splattered with blood at various places, but he was lucid enough and cognizant of what was happening around him.
As the public started to raise their voices, surprisingly it was this victim who decided to make himself heard and requested the people not to resort to fists and deal with this in a civilized manner. It was heartening to see a sane voice standing out from the mob - that this voice should belong to the party affected the most was even more appreciable. But the others were not ready to listen and wanted some action now that the culprit had been caught and brought back by the gruff of his neck. The mob always takes perverse pleasure at such times in making the offenders suffer. It was doubly so in this case as they could see this was a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and had never even cared to stop and see if the person he had struck down needed any help or if he was leaving him behind to die in the worst case scenario.
The driver in question was now making every possible offer to help out with the medical costs and reparations, but it was obvious to all that this was not his first reaction. That had been to flee at any cost and the public wanted to see him punished. I had tried three or four times to calm down everyone and make them listen to the wishes of the hurt bloke; even I had wanted to see this guy getting punished, but not by the jungle law! When I suggested calling the police and handing him over to them, almost everyone shot down the idea immediately. None of them wanted to involve the cops, and the reason was apparent even to me - just with the help of a few thousand bucks, this guy would be able to go scot free and the common public would get to see yet another instance of mockery of justice take place in front of their very eyes! Its a very pessimistic and skeptical view and does not paint a very flattering picture of our law-enforcement agencies. But its the hard hitting truth of today's society, where the cops inspire almost nil confidence in the minds of the commoners. No wonder, when such incidences occur, people prefer to take action and dispense with their frustations before the onset of the police on the scene.
The crowd of people was still surrounding the jeep driver and hurling angry accusations at him and his companion, when the sister of the biker who got hurt arrived and slapped him hard. And again and again, she had a go at him four-five times, while the rest of the crowd watched shocked. That was the trigger and finally the rickshaw driver, who had been restrained till now by a few others, got free and hurled a few kicks and punches of his own, satisfying his vengeful need.
A few of us who were still sane, brought attention to the bleeding victim and pointed his need for an immediate trip to the hospital. Seeing this the crowd started calming down little by little and soon both the driver and the biker had been shipped off to the nearby hospital. Seeing the excitement was over, everyone started dispersing and I too started off towards my office where my night shift awaited me.

Both these incidents however brought into light the utter disdain which the people in Pune show towards basic courtesy and rules and regards while driving a vehicle. There are countless number of accidents, big and small, all over the city daily due to the carelessness and disinterest the junta shows while being on the roads. Be it the pedestrians who will cross the road as if the vehicles should stop or slow down to let them pass whenever they want, or the cyclists who always make it a point to ride on the right side of the road thereby slowing down the traffic further, or the two-wheelers who will cut lanes and break traffic signals, drive into one-ways and turn left or right without showing any indicators or be it the four-wheelers adding to the merry mix with their own impunity towards the traffic wardens and speeding away on narrow roads as if they are the kings of the roads, glancing by hapless 2-wheelers or pedestrians; its an unholy situation one finds himself in.
This all when they are driving in broad daylight! Imagine the perils when they drive drunkenly at night time! How dangerous it is then when you are out on the Pune roads in such a midst of crazy blighters! Before coming to Pune, I'd only heard of the infamous and incorrigible traffic sense of the Puneites. Its been three years now that I've shifted here, but believe me I'm still not used to it even now!
Hopefully, I'll never be...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Few Timeless Gems...

Came across a few soulful gems from Rafi today night.

Couldn't resist adding them here...

"Ai Naragis-E- Mastana" from Aarzoo(1965)

"Ai Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan" from CID(1955)

"Khoya Khoya Chand" from Kala Bazar(1959)

"Dil Ke Zarokhe Main Tuzko" from Bramhachari(1968)

"Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar" from Tere Ghar Ke Samane(1963)

"Tu Kahan Ye Bata" from Tere Ghar Ke Samane(1963)

"Tere Mere Sapane" from Guide(1965)

"Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho" from Haste Zakhm(1970)

"Chaudavi Ka Chand Ho" from Chaudvi Ka Chand(1960)

"Sou Bar Janam Lenge" from Ustadon Ke Ustad(1964)

"Chhu Lene Do" from Kaajal(1965)

"Darde Dil Darde Jigar" from Karz(1980)

"Hum Tumse Juda Ho Ke" from Ek Sapera Ek Lootera(1965)

"Kya Hua Tera Vaada" from Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi(1977)

"Teri Galiyon Main Na Rakhenge" from Hawas(1971)

"O door ke musafir hamko bhi saath le le" from Uran Khatola(1955)

"Duniya Ke Rakhawale" from Baiju Bawara(1952)

and one of my all time favorites along with the lyrics :

"Tute Hue Khwabon Ne" from Madhumati(1958)
toote huye khwaabon ne hum ko ye sikhaayaa hain
dil ne jise paayaa thaa, aakhon ne gawaayaa hain

hum dhoondhate hain jinako, jo mil ke naheen milate
ruthhe hain naa jaane kyo, mehumaan wo mere dil ke
kyaa apanee tamannaa thee, kyaa saamane aayaa hain

laut aayee sadaa meree, takaraa ke sitaaron se
ujadee huyee duniyaan ke, sunasaan kinaaron se
par ab ye tadapanaa bhee kuchh kaam naa aayaa hain

Friday, July 04, 2008

Getting Back

Hmm..I've been away for a long long time from this place!! A year and a half almost and I haven't posted anything...Lots of things have changed since then, I've been through a lot too...Its not like I had forgotten about my blog, more like I didn't have enough motivation or enough energy to take some time, gather my thoughts and shape up.
But as they say - Better late than never...
So here I am - eighteen months later, wondering as to how the time flies by so quickly! So many of my half baked plans and my aspirations have withered away; to be replaced by those which have mushroomed and evolved in their stead...
Almost exactly one year after my last post, I was in such an envious position, some of my friends used to tell me I was real lucky to be where I was...I was facing new and challenging responsibilities on the career front, my financial position was firm, my familial relations for a change were cordial...
And then it all went downhill...
My job has never been one to give me 'Job Satisfaction' as they put it, but by the time December ended and January rolled out, I was feeling immense boredom due to the repetitive nature of the tasks I was handling and the hours I was putting in, definitely didn't seem worth it. The only thing that kept me sane in those couple of months I believe were my friends. I was in the immediate need for a break, and when one of my friends proposed a 11 day trip to Malaysia & Singapore, I jumped onboard. Getting leave from work was easy, for I had a three year backlog of unutilized leaves; the hard part was convincing my parents...Well, since they know how stubborn and hard headed I am, they had to give in eventually.
It was a fascinating adventure, immensely enjoyable and a perfect way for someone who was looking for a break.
Looking back however, I think a vacation to a foreign land, where all we did was sight seeing and indulging in fun and pleasures, was not such a grand idea.
What I really needed was some time alone to think things through and plan my immediate future. Coming back to work, I found out my job didn't hold anymore the little interest i had before. It was like I had just realized how stupid and inane things could be.
My immediate superior went on medical leave and the team's responsibility fell to me for a while, since I was the senior most person. Of course, it was a great learning experience for me, after all where do you see a two and a half years experienced guy getting to manage a ten people strong team? But when you cease to be just a colleague and become responsible for the actions of the people under you, you realise how frustating and exhilarating things could be at the same time.
All the mistakes and escalations due to such mistakes, are your responsibility and you have to find a way t o explain those things to your manager. Earlier, you could get away with passing a few comments (or bitching in general) while on a tea break with your team mates. Now, you don't have that option anymore. Instead, it is you who becomes the target, butt of the joke as they say...
But still, barring one or two experiences which I could have done without, I think I managed everything pretty well. Its the other things I neglected, that caused me so many problems.
I am a known procrastinator amongst my friends, and this bad habit of mine has gotten me into trouble so many times before that I have lost count now. Not that I learn from my past mistakes anyway. This time, I dallied in submitting the proofs of my Investments; Ergo, I ended up paying 60k as Income Tax, and found myself in great trouble financially. Things have settled down a bit now, but its six months later that I find myself able to breathe a little easier.
In the end, it all comes down to planning your finances sensibly and making judicious decisions regarding your investments and expenses. The Credit Card is a bane one must use only as the last resort, but I found myself relying on it very heavily at times. It's a lesson learnt, nay ingrained, in me that shall never be forgotten. Not that my credit history is bad now, but whatever obligations I still hold, make me uncomfortable and squeamish. Well, not much I can do about it now. I was hoping for a good raise this year, but it seems highly unlikely seeing as we were told rather categorically in the Employee Meet, not to expect more than 11% hike in our salaries. A big disappointment to be frank, but I guess the Industry has to compensate for the slow down somehow. And what better way to cut down expenditure, than to tone down the raise percentage? Atleast there were no pink slips handed out! Not that the situation is that bad, not like it was in the immediate aftermath of the dot-com bubble bust.
We are supposed to get our letters sometime next week, but this year there will be little to no celebrations or champagnes opened, that is for sure.
Anyways, apart from all this work and money stuff, things have been okay for the most part.
Well, Liverpool lost the CL finals in 2007 and the semis in 2008, but other than that things have settled well more or less.
Well. there was one nasty incident mid-October on my friend's birthday, that could have been avoided. But as they say, life teaches you things from both good and bad experiences.
This was one of my worst ones...
I was involved in an altercation with some street goons when being piss drunk, and the results were not pretty. My room mates are from north and I am the only person who speaks the local language, and being drunk was not much help to sort things out and get the hell out of there.
I don't even remember how it started, but I guess it must be something foolish and flimsy.
One of us had the urge to have tea at 2 in the night, and we ended up in one of the shadier parts of the town where you get tea and snacks 24*7, not hygienic, but who cares when you are still tipsy?
We were riding on the highway while we were quite drunk, very risky for both our lives as well as some poor soul who might have encountered us. I was spewing quite a mouthful of profanities in my mother tongue, Marathi, the local language which none of my mates understood. Unluckily, the locals knew exactly what I was saying, and one of them thought it would be a good idea to shut me up. In the end, my friends had to get me back home, I was too banged up to be conscious.
I remember one of our topics of discussion while we were drinking earlier(we get into some really heated debates once we start drinking), was the choice of our language of communication. On a professional level, we are supposed to use English, but sometimes we also mix in the national language, Hindi. My roommates are from the North and hence Hindi is a natural choice when we get together with other friends, but one of our friends present that day has a few problems with Hindi and is more at ease with English. Someone from the group raised a pointed question as to why don't some people feel the need to know the national language properly. I being myself, objected to Hindi being thrust upon us by the Northerners, for I myself prefer either my mother tongue or English, rather than Hindi, given a choice.
How ironic it was that it was my mother tongue that made me a target that night! None of my other friends had a scratch even, haha...
Well, I have never drunk and rode my bike since then. And never will I am sure.
Two months later just before Christmas, me and my friends had gone for another outing. None of our parties are dry ones, but we were far away from home, 30 kms almost, and I could see there were only two people who should have been driving back home. I had no choice but to ride pillion with one of my roommate. We reached our locality at about 4 in the morning and the bike slipped and we had an accident (just 1 km before we reached home!!). Another lesson learnt, never trust your bike nor your life in the hands of a drunk person.
Its been almost 2 and a half months since I have touched whiskey, only had a beer twice.
Not that we have had a reason to party since then, but I'm sure next time I will be the one in the driver seat if we end up going far from home. And I won't be drinking anything hard than a beer or two... ;)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

When the Scruples bother you too much...

There was a time when I was rarely ever bothered by my conscience..or mostly it was about things so inconsequential,I tend to laugh at how much I wud giv importance to those little things back in my childhood...
But now that I have reached adulthood,past the time when I cud leave the decisions to my dad and forget abt it..now that I am reponsible as a citizen of this country that i stay in..I dont have the same liberty afforded to me in the warmth and ignorance and bliss of the childhood.

Wondering wht this is all abt??

Let me come straight to the point..
Last month i had been to my sister's place at Tarapur.One has to take a shuttle from Virar or a Gujrat bound expresss for reaching Boisar,which is near Tarapur.
When i was coming back to Dadar,me and my bro,my sister and my bro-in-law,the 4 of us got tickets for the Saurashtra Express..Now when you get into the long distance trains,you are not supposed to board the Sleeper or Reserved bogies..thr r 2 separate bogies known as the General compartment for passengers like us..
Naturally,u r expected to get into them and nowhere else.
Not that i didn't knw this basic piece of information..it was thr sumwhr at the back of my mind...
So, we 4 were waiting at the platform for the train to arrive..chatting and whiling away the time until then..none of us noticed that we were at the wrong place for the General bogie would not come where we were standing at..tht was the place for the Reserved bogie..
Eventually when the train did arrive,we all boarded the Reserved compartment without any qualms for it had slipped our minds to take care of that little technicality!
But after we got in and the train started,I realized sumthing was amiss and mentioned to my bro-in-law tht this might be the reserved bogie we got into..But he allayed my fears saying it was a free-for-all(if u knw wht i mean!) compartment and I shudn't bother myself much over it...
Suddenly thr was a commotion nearby wth 2 passengers squabbling over a seat and one of whom informed the other rather testily tht he had resevation for the entire berth and cud sleep on it if he wanted to!!Of course,now we were pretty sure we HAD got into the wrong compartment and decided to get down at the next station..
But as luck wud have had it...a Travelling Ticket Examiner came along the very next moment and asked me to show my ticket..So,me and my bro showed him wht ticket we had and the TTE took immense pleasure in informing me that i was in the wrong compartment and had to get down at the next station...after paying the required fine of course!!
The TTE hadn't bothered to chk my sis's and bro-in-law's tickets and thy were obviously not interested in drawing any attention to thmselves in this case..(my sis was already asleep by this time!!)
Well,i knew i was in the wrong and had no problem doing wht i was told to do..Then the TTE called me at the gangway near the door away from other passengers.There were a few passengers caught ticketless,others without a proper ticket like me standing there waiting to hear his verdict..
But the TTE was in no mood to take out his challan book and fine anybody,but happily accepted whatever the caught passengers gave him..for some he charged Rs.50,others 100 bucks..depending upon how much thy had grovelled..
First thing he had told me in front of the other passengers was to shell out 640 bucks--320 each for me and my bro..
Incidentally i did not hav more thn 250 bucks wth me then in my wallet(or so i thot!!),and i told him so..
So he asked me to pay up 100 bucks instead and get down at the next station like he did wth others..
Here's when the trouble began..my conscience pricked me..how could I pay a bribe to this dishonest officer and weedle out of the situation??!!
I told him i wud get down at the next station and take out money from the ATM and pay up whtever was the actual fine..The TTE looked at me for a second or two like i was barmy or maybe had a few nuts loose in my head..Someone present there even asked me if i was stupid!!
paagal ho gaya hai kya?? hehehe..
I said No..i made a mistake and i am ready to pay for it..whtever be the cost..i dont care!!
I dont think the TTE had ever met a person so willing to pay up the fine and not ready to compromise when the said fine was Rs.640..not a small sum for the average Joe, is it??
There was quite an argument between us and tempers flared on both sides..I was insisting i wud pay him once i get down and take out money from the ATM..he was insisting he was doing me a favor by letting me off lightly in 100 Rs.,if i didnt listen to him,i wud hav to go to the police station and all tht crap..So i told him i dont care.If he wants me to pay anything it will be all or none..by now,the onlookers had had quite the entertainment, most were coaxing me to giv him wht ever he was demanding..
It was then that my brother took out a 100 Rs. note from his pocket..quite the practical bloke,ain't he??:)

The TTE,by now too frustated wth my antics decided to giv me a receipt for 320Rs. as a single person's fine..Suddenly i remembered,i always keep 500 bucks spare in the inside pocket of my wallet in case of any emergency..Quite happy wth myself i took it out and told the TTE to make another receipt of Rs.320 for i had the required amount...
That did it for him i guess..My bro was too astonished to say anything other than 'arrey..' at this apparent stupidity of mine...
I will always remember what the TTE said to me then:
"Arey,main itna dayawaan ban raha hun...aur tum kyun Raja Harishchandra banna chahate ho??!!"
And i told him its not abt being someone like Raja Hasishchandra or sumthing..just that there are some who believe in honesty at some levels...hehehe

But he didnt budge, just one receipt of Rs.320 he gave me and told me not to worry abt any more problems from anyone else...I was free to travel in that same compartment until Dadar comes and shud take advantage of many a passengers alighting at Virar to take a seat,relax and travel comfortably for the rest of my journey!!!

But i got down at Virar along wth my bro and took a local train to Dadar.When i asked my bro if he didnt realize we took the wrong compartment,he quipped he tried telling me at Boisar,but I was too distracted and busy checking out two hot females on the platform!!
Well,I was guilty as charged..its not often u get to see nice birds in that part of the town!!;)

I don't knw why this guy made it a prestige issue..but i did want to check wth the Station Master at Virar, the validity of the receipt he gave me!!
I didnt get time to do tht however and the ticket along wth the fine receipt still lies wth me till date..maybe i will do it next time i go to m'bai,who knws...hehe;)


This was not my first experience wth the authorities when the issue of bribing ur way thru came into the picture..i have been caught before travelling ticketless thrice, when i used to do it just for the thrill of it..pretty lame,i know...however,i had paid the full fine then..each time so!!
And then when i was in college, i had altered my quarterly pass so that i cud use it well past the expiry date..Forgery!!!I cud be jailed if i had been caught,hahaha..

Where was this conscientious person then,u might wonder..
I used to get a kick out of robbing the govt of some money..but tht's in the past..
Then i bought a bike for myself,and with it came the driver's license i had to get from the RTO..
Hordes of agents stand outside the RTO office waiting to pounce on you if u giv 'em any indication u r out thr to get the driver's license!!I had decided thn i wud try to do this on my own...without paying any middlemen a single rupee..nor the RTO officer who issued me the license anything!
And i didnt!!I had to stand in the queue twice to get it done,but i did it all by myself without any help from those agents,one of whom had so helpfully remarked to me tht i wud never get the license without paying any commission to all parties concerned!!
Well,the RTO officer did give me receipts worth Rs.90 as my help to the fund for widowed wives of police personnel,without asking me if i did want to contribute in the first place!!!
But i didn't crib much as i hoped it really went for a good cause and was not a front for those people to collect money from the junta like thy did, in a backhanded way!!
Wht ever..i thot,and was very satisfied wth myself in proving that pesky agent wrong!!
Then came the compulsory helmet rule and all hell broke loose in Mumbai city..
The city police was supposed to fine 100 bucks to every rider without a helmet and most of them took it quite seriously ..most of the time ..People got away with paying 20-30 bucks too..so one always tried:)
I was caught once (yes only once when i was on the rider's seat:P) But i didnt have 100 bucks wth me thn..and didnt want to surrender my license ,go home and pay up the fine..Money was scarce for petrol then, and i told my conscience to shut up..
Quite the hypocrite,eh??But after i came home,i felt so bad wth myself..i decided enuf of this..no more bribes ever!!!
Little did i know this resolve of mine was to be tested in days to come...
I needed to apply for my passport for i was thinking abt giving the GRE test thn..
As is always my norm,i kept procrastinating and one day i realized i wud hav to postpone the exam date coz i didnt hav the passport !!!
but even after paying 1800 bucks extra for postponing the GRE appointment,i didnt take the matter urgently..
Boy ,did i pay for it!! when the time came to apply for the passport,i was told i cud get it done in 15 days if i paid 1000 bucks extra to the middlemen...But i decided to go ahead wth it on my own..
wht i didnt knw was the local police are in cahoots wth these middlemen,and if u dont go wth an agent thy wont fwd ur file to the verification dept..Tired of waiting ,i caught hold of 2 of my friends and went thr myself,completed all the formalities and asked for my passport..
The police officer told me in simple terms : "200 rupaye kadha"..i was surprised at his audacity to ask for a bribe in such a shameless and obvious manner.And being the smartass that i am,i asked him "what for??" A simple question really,ain't it?
And like a seasoned player of the game that he was,he told me elegantly to fuck off and come later...

Eventually,i had to shell out a 100 bucks as consolation to both of our egos..but the damage was done..
I didnt get the passport in time for my exam and i didnt have the heart to tell my dad i wanted to postpone the exam again..


Why shud one compromise on his principles?If u bliv in sumthing,u shud also have the courage to standup for it,stick to wht u bliv..rt??

Me and one of my best friend from college had decided never to pay any bribe and all that stuff in the final sem of my BE..
I know he will always stick to it..But when the time comes,i had thot...will i be able to hold my own against this rotten system??

I didnt knw until i had to pay my taxes this year...last yr,i decided to be generous to the govt and as atonement to my earlier forgery crimes,i paid the tax in full....more than 4 grands,actually..tht more thn made up for it,i bliv...Yes,i didnt show any HRA either!!
(Now its a different matter altogether tht i cudnt hav shown any investment even if i wanted to..i didnt hav my PAN card until then..hehheeehe..procrastination wat else??)
But his year,if i dont show any investment i have to pay almost 43,000 in tax..and i am defintely not that generous to gift it to the govt.!!!
How far do i go howevr??The HRA exemption i am eligible for is Rs.2900 but i pay only Rs.2200 as rent..
I dont want to get fake receipts from the brokers illegally showing my house rent as Rs.3000!!
I dont mind paying Rs.1020 extra in this case...
Same the case with my medical bills too...where wud i get bills worth Rs.15000 to evade the 30% tax on it??
It feels all so wrong...so unclean...so unethical and i know i will come back home feeling horribly disgusted wth myself again....like i did when i paid the 30 rs bribe to the traffic havaldar once..
No..once was enuf..

I dont know how long i wud be able to stick to my decision of not paying any bribe or cheat or act dishonestly...someone told me once, thr comes a time in ur life when u r at a crossroad...whr u dont hav the soft option..whr u have to choose one of the two things,which might decide the course of ur life ahead...will u then giv up all ur beliefs, compromise on ur integrity and honesty??
and i had said..only time will tell!!

So trite..yet so true!!!
But i am gonna try as far as i can...tht much i know!!