Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I feel autumn

Yes, that pretty much sums up what I'm feeling right now.. I feel like that lone twig which is still holding on to its droopy leaves, while all the twigs around are shedding their leaves and getting ready for Spring.

Almost every other friend is either switching jobs, going back to school, coming back home, flying away from home or moving in to a new city.

BujiSuni left last week and it's the Grinmonster girl's turn this week to pack her bagful of grins+charms and leave. I'll be missing you girls terribly and all our gupshups and cribbing over lunches and coffees.

G is back in town and it amuses me how easy he sounds about re-locating a couple of times in just a few months. Kiddie Singh and KM just left good old Quark for good. They have been among my last few friends who had made up their minds to stay back there till doomsday. KM's come down to Bangalore and his chronicles here remind me of my initial days in Mohali. Facing the culture divide and finding a home in a seemingly alien land, and to leave all that one fine morning, to take back home only a bunch of sweet memories and cherished friendships. It's been almost a couple of years now since I've been missing that kind of adventure in life. And now I can see how much the nomad in me has been missing all that!

Impermanence, though bittersweet, has always been a necessity for me and almost the only constant in life, all this while. Today, it beats me to realize that I've grown more or less complacent over the past couple of years. Wait, not complacent, I must be trying to fool myself if I say that. The fact is, I really feel stagnant.. which is sad..

The threatening-to-rain-anytime-now climate is not helping either.

This might all have to do with the fact that I'm missing Amoomma (Daadi) a lot lately. I always used to tug along her whenever we went to the Church in Chennai. And there at her Funeral Mass, when I turned to my side to wish peace, I almost half-expected to find her smiling face greet me. Some of these days saw me getting way too hypersensitive n paranoid about a lot many things. And to add up to the woes of seeing another death and a couple of heart attacks and strokes in the extended family. Life really is too short, isn't it?

On the up side, Dimples is coming back to India for good. Though it's yet to be seen how long she stays back. Planning to catch up with her and good old Kochi sometime soon. Hopefully, we should be able to realize all those backpacking plans we've been making over e-mails and phone calls all this while.

The only thought that makes me smile now is of my 2 weeks vacation to Home. I should be home by this weekend if all goes well. Lemme go pack my bags! Buhbyes, folks!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This is Bangalore, Madam!

It's been an year since I moved into this new apartment. Which is good otherwise, except for this cumbersome annual activity known as 'Renewal of Rental Agreement'. Not at all a pleasurable activity, considering the fact that you need to do a hell lot of negotiations all over again. The landlord of this apartment lives in Dubai who comes down to India once in an year to visit his family (or to update Rental Agreements, I'm not too sure!)

He hands me the new agreement.
He: You can give me 150 rs. for making the new agreement. You can sign on the agreement and keep it to yourself.
Me (thinking): so kind of you *smirk*
He: We will keep a copy of the agreement. You sign, no?
Me: Let me read, no?
He: Madam, we are genuine people.
Me: I know, btw, you have taken off the % of rent hike for the next year. And have replaced it with this tricky, 'will decide on mutual consent'.
He: Madam, we will be fair. we can decide later, no?
Me: why don't we decide that now? like we did last year.
He: Madam, this is Bangalore. we can never predict the rents for the next year. you know, it may increase or decrease(!!)
Me: exactly my point. This is Bangalore, not Dubai. And we are talking about house rents, not the stock market, you see?
He: No Madam, you see, the guy next door just signed it!
Me: The guy next door pays you 20% less than what I pay as rent?
He: No, No, Madam, that house is not compliant with Vaasthu. And it has a smaller bathroom.
Me: And a bigger hall?
He: What difference does 2000 rupees make these days, Madam?
Me: Oh, in case you did not know, it does. We get paid in INR, not Riyal, you see?
He: What if we write 15 or 20%?
Me: Then I will have much time to find a better place for a better price. Btw, dint you just say that you are fair people?
He: Madam, you see the new building which is getting constructed on the other road. They are planning to charge 30% more than this.
Me: Folks who stay across the road pay 50% less than what I'm paying you.
He: OK, we will think about the % increment and let you know.
Me: And what's with this notice period of 2 months? Ideally it should be 1 month, no?
He: but Madam..
Me: This is Bangalore, Sir. We get notice periods at the offices here for only one month.
He: But, this is Bangalore, Madam.
Me: Thanks for telling me. I thought this was Vellarikkaapattanam! *Eternally grateful smile*

Monday, March 3, 2008

some waiver issues

I'm a self-confessed newspaper enthusiast. So, if I were to say what do I read the most, it has to be newspapers.. or what do I watch the most in TV, it again has to be news programmes.. guess it might have to do with some of Papa's habits rubbing into me.. So we used to have these discussions at home on current affairs, to which everyone had their own two cents to say.. well.. that was long before the days Barkha Dutt came up with her Big Fight, and the likes. And now, trust me, my appetite for discussions on current affairs have died a fast and silent death..

So these days when someone at office stops by my desk, looking forward to find an easy prey to get started with some analysis of the current financial budget, I run for cover.. the most effective and more used excuse is "I need to rush to the loo. Catch you later?" This one's a sure shot, I say! it used to work all the way from schooldays to work! Of course, one does run the risk of being labeled as someone with bladder issues or something even worse.. but that's ok, I guess.. there has to be a trade-off anyways, right?

So, this time, as usual, a news enthusiast in my friends network, forwards me the excerpts of the piping hot budget, and me like any other tax payer worth her salt, find the loan waiver to farmers amusing, wondering whether they would do the same to the huuuuge EMIs of the Indian Software coolies, someday down the line.. c'mon.. so, ok, you say, the farmers have been toiling hard, to feed the country while they've always been shortchanged, and all that?
So, don't you think our software professionals also do good to the society?
Infact, they play such an important philanthropic role in maintaining the eco-system.
For one
1. They pay huge taxes.. (so what, movie stars pay even more.. but let's not think of it now)
2. They pay non-sensical rents to the house/shack owners in the villages where their swanky MNCs are set up, apparently shooting up the real estate prices.
3. They pay through their nose to this breed of bloodsuckers known as house brokers, who make a living out of it. So, there you go!
4. Anyone from the sleepy autowallah to the grinning neighbourhood subjiwala charges the poor soul a double rate coz he's a software moron.
5. The RTO offices and Telephone offices loot him of whatever is left
6. The multiplexes and malls thrive on them.
7. They pay for a piece of land with their blood, and keep doing it for the next 20 years, during the course of which, the municipality lets them know that their dream house is right above a sewage canal, or that the site was actually meant for agriculture or the construction is illegal.

I mean, c'mon, all the techies take huuge loans, and what do you think will happen to them in case the recession takes (un)expected proportions? Can we too look forward to a waiver in that case, Mr. FM? Please do let me know if your answer is positive. 'coz I don't want to be the only techie around who took no loans just because she's paranoid about even thinking of living on credit. hmmph.

All this thinking made me tired and anxious, and to add up to the woes, my scripts were all running crazy. so, I think of grabbing a mug of caffeine.. (oh did I forget to mention the favor the s/w enggs are doing to the coffee industry?).. and this colleague catches me mid-way, who I guess was on the prowl to find another fool to discuss, yeah, you're right, the budget again...
She started talking a lot of statistics to which I was vertically nodding my head (so far, so good) and then she asks me what do I think of it? I don't quite like answering questions.. especially when I'm on my way to get a coffee.. so I blurt out whatever was running through my mind then.. 'you know i really wonder how many women past 60 yrs would be working as a salaried class person in our country, who can benefit from the additional tax rebates' and she comes with this counter statement which could put all the news channel discussion forum members to shame: "well.. you never know.. these days all the women look so young and all, that it's so difficult to guess their age..." !!?
Just when I was looking out for the nearest wall to go bang my head on, my phone rang! I've never felt more thankful to Alexander Graham Bell!

Talking of which, another conversation I overheard on the walkway.. (yeah, good guess.. I was supposedly rushing to the loo..)
Of two guys discussing a female colleague (Incidentally, the bestest gossip feeders and gossip mongers I've ever come across are all men! Could that be mere co-incidence?)
guy1: She's like, more of an introvert, I think..
guy2: no no.. she's not an introvert.. you see introverts are people who talk to themselves. She doesnt talk to herself.. only she doesnt talk to anyone else!

AAAGHH!!! yeh toh too much hogaya!

PS: Why don't all the people at office become that kind of introverts and start discussing the budget to themselves? No, seriously? At the least, they can blog about it, and send across the links so that we'll know for sure, what not to read. Fair, no?