Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The thing I hate worst in the world is change. You get into a routine, a rhythm, you know from the moment you get up what you’re gonna do all day, and you feel secure. Not for me the adventure of not knowing where you’ll end up by the end of the day. Give me the choice of walking into a familiar environment, getting myself a cup of coffee that has tasted the same for the last two years, greeting the same people in the same way every morning -- and you’re looking at one happy woman.

But due to an unfortunate giddy moment of adventurism, I started a chain of events that got me a new job…

And now I’m sitting here serving my notice which feels more like a final countdown to a painful period of uncertainty…new desk, new people, new coffee. I felt this torn only once before, when I resolved to leave the comfortable womb of my home town, Calcutta to start a new life all the way across India in Hyderabad. I was attached in the most unhealthy fashion to my family, and most of my college friends there, and I didn’t have a job, or a home in the new city…all I knew was my heart was in Hyderabad and I had to follow it.

College had been a dream…attending the classes I felt like, hanging out by the jheel, the hilarious things me and my close group of friends got up to those five years…I was inconsolable that I would have to leave. But leave I did.

Now, some four years later…though I carry my heart with me more or less, I feel a familiar turmoil at this decision I’ve taken. I think the hardest part about leaving a job you love is that YOU have taken the decision…and can blame no one else (not that I won’t try) if things don’t work out later on. Every time I look around at my desk I wish that I could see it a month from hence. Every face I look at I wish wasn’t only for the last few weeks, every time I laugh at a joke a friend has cracked I wish I didn’t have to wonder if I’d ever hear that particular brand of humour ever again.

People tell me I’ll make new friends again… call me unreasonable, but I would pick friends I already have and love over the ones yet to be made.

Life is very unfair in that what’s good for you is rarely what you want to do. So here I am packing up my two-year old life here…a few more days to go…having extra-long lunches with friends and making plans of meeting after we part ways.

The only thing that consoles me is that I am still fast friends with most of my college mates, and that maybe life has intended me to be lucky with respect to friends.

So I shall harden my heart and move on, lest life passes me by. And I’ll let you know about my friends in a year or two…


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I am quite the enemy of technology, and another thing which I use but wish I didn’t have to are elevators. It’s just that people don’t make buildings close to the ground anymore…it’s always the fifth floor or the 13th floor. So one day, I made the hard decision of using those metallic box-like thingies that shoot up and down with a sickening lurch and that bottomless feeling in your stomach.

But here is the nub. I don’t dislike elevators because I’m claustrophobic, or scared I’ll be trapped in them alone during a powercut. It’s the fear that I won’t be alone. I don’t think anything beats the awkwardness of having a stranger with you on an elevator. Both people spend those few minutes staring fixedly at the numbers on the screen, silently willing the lift to -- get there faster! It’s all very embarrassing.

And if you know the person slightly, but are not on regular talking terms with him/her…it’s excruciating. You spend most of the time darting little glances at each other, wondering whether you should talk, or whether you can get away with not talking. And then the lift doors open and you burst out like you never thought you would see your floor again, and practically weep with joy when you get to your doorway, far far away from nasty pregnant pauses in little metal boxes.

Down with all elevators, I say. Institute the Stair-hour in every workplace so employees can climb the stairs to office without being late. Not only will it solve all weight problems for those with sedentary jobs, it will also dramatically reduce embarrassment in our lives.

Up with stairs, down with elevators!

Chivalry is alive and kicking!

Bangalore is one big DRAIN right now. It's disgusting and very inconvenient. Try travelling around in a drain and you'll understand -- now I know why cockroaches are so pissed off all the time.

I took three hours getting home on Thursday, and the auto fella nearly kicked me off his auto because my road was inaccessible and I didn't know any other route. It was 10 at night and this young feller-me-lad suddenly materialised out of nowhere, calmed my auto fellow down, got in, guided us through the vaguest back alleys and dropped me to my doorstep, before taking the auto all the way back to his home, which was nowhere near the route he'd taken to get me home.

Chivalry is alive and kicking! I was very touched and am telling everyone I know this story.

So I got home at 11-30, but quite happy that there is still some goodness in this world.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I think fables and stories with a moral are one of the worst products of the human story-telling tradition.

For one thing, they’re annoying…giving the person who tells it a rather superior air, even though he’s not doing much more than telling a tale about a dog who fell into a manhole.

For another, he will tell you the story about the dog that fell into a manhole like it is particularly applicable to whatever situation you’re in right now (which has prompted the whole fable telling in the first place). Of course it is not at all applicable, because I am not a dog, and though I might be in deep shit at the moment, it didn’t happen by falling into a manhole.

But still they’ll tell you the story to its predictable and usually gruesome finish “…so the dog drowned in the manhole, far away from the family that loved him.” -- and sit back with a satisfied smile like that tells me all I need to know. So then you have to ask them, so you’re advising me not to look down manholes? Or are you in some way insinuating I shouldn’t look into matters that don’t concern me?

It’s all very confusing and very rarely helpful.

Because you see, fables are crap. By themselves they are (no doubt hilarious) and educative stories about what bears, wolves, crows, and dogs do in their spare time. But I don’t see how they can be considered at all applicable to a particular problem: my situation might not have much to do with a crow that was thirsty and had nothing better to do than fool about with a pot of water and a lot of stones.

I think to prove my point conclusively, say to convince someone that it is wrong to steal, I should tell them a real story about another thief I knew. Maybe how he was lynched by a mob and then fed to vultures or such like (if you must have animals to illustrate every point), rather than an elaborate story set in ancient Greece where a bear is stung to death by honey-bees. You cannot blame the auditor for saying (after he has mulled over the story you have so patronizingly told him and wasted 10 minutes of the time he could’ve used to get on the next train out of town) “So what if the bear got stung? What the hell does that have to do with me? I asked you for an escape plan not a bedtime story!”

So for all compulsive fable-tellers remember this: There was a fox who was very fond of giving advice, but always imparted his wisdom through very improbable stories about how stupid other animals were. The advice-seekers (dogs, sheep, and cows who were the fox’s neighbours in the woods) finally decided he was really annoying and stopped coming to him for advice.

I hope that was helpful.