Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Inconvenient Truth ...

Yes its true ... (pause) ... Mr.Watson poops in office !

No no, I am not saying, all around the office floor in a medically challenged way. I mean, he is no doubt a respected senior colleague. And I am not suggesting that it is like, one day you are in conference room with 10 people doing win-loss analysis for the last quarter and then suddenly he jumps on the table, squats and decides to have a go.

No ... Am not saying that (head shake)

What I am telling you however, is that he is one of those rare few who uses office toilet to take his first dump of the morning.

And this is how I know it - See, I am early bird and I like many others have a set routine. For the last 2 years I come to office early, setup my work desk and then go to the men's room to tidy up and wash the train journey off my hands. And every-time just as am done & right when the hand dryer is shutting down with that dying woosh sound, this uncanny welsh accent greets me; "Gud Mornin Brejash, Al well !!' and in the front mirror I see Mr.Watson coming out of the last loo cubicle, adjusting his belt ... Every Single Day

For the first few months I took it as a co-incidence & played along, generally replying along with my weird office laugh; "Morning Mr.Watson, I see you just completed your boss's appraisal !" or "Hey Mr.Watson, saving some water at home are we. ehh?" or some crap like that.

But with time I have noticed 'a' pattern and have arrived at the conclusion that there is a good chance that Mr.Watson construes the option of taking his first morning bowel movement in office Toilet as a job perk. Sad as it may be,, that is the truth.

Emotionally, for me, the realization was very disturbing.

Time although is a great healer and over the months I have sort of come to terms with the fact that I am the sole custodian of what perhaps is the most smelly of my office's secrets.


That is Disgusting! Preposterous !! Gross !!! Bloody, some sort of a twisted fetish stunt that he is pulling on me !!!

I mean who does that to a colleague??

I swear I have started to get this creepy feeling that the last bit effort of his morning pleasure is now in some kinky way linked to the scent I wear and or the near perfect sound of me blow drying my hands.

It is as if he sits there waiting for me and on the days that I don't come to office he just refuses to come out !!

Freak !!! ... I feel so used ... So violated.

And all this for no obvious fault of mine.

I have been and to this day remain, a firm believer of Toilet karma. I know your Toilet sins have to be repaid in the same life. In a different Toilet maybe, yes, but definitely in the same life.

And I am sure that in my lifetime I have not wronged anyone in there, to deserve this.

I mean yes there was that one time when I did sprinkle my Vice President Mr.Seethi in the Mumbai Office. But that was different. And by any standards this is too harsh a punishment for an innocent mistake.

What?? .. O the sprinkle .. Ahh, well it was nothing .. Forget I said that .. A minor accident if you may.

.. Ok Ok, if you must know, it happened in Oct 2010.

Flashback ...

15th October 2010, Mumbai. That day, I was in an awesome mood for no obvious reasons. I had an amazing morning workout at Gym and came to office still listening to my iPOD.

I clearly remember it was our Mumbai office Toilet on Floor 6. I had gone to take a leak and standing next to me at the adjascent urinal was our Vice President, Mr.Seethi. It was one of those Toilets you know where the urinals do not have that partition in between. Not a uncommon feature in Men's Toilet if you ask me. 

Both of us were minding our own business. I was listening to music. My iPOD playing the last bit of Govinda and Salman Khan's "Soni De Nakhre" from the movie Partner. 

I went on to take my position, aimed right and then closed my eyes to let things take their own course and lost myself to the music. 

Everything was going fine and nothing could or should have gone wrong. I mean it is a well rehearsed routine perfected over the years. I can do it in my sleep. I mean, no I don't do it in my sleep,  but eh ... Its like .. I mean ... arrgggg, you know what I meant.


So everything was normal ... And then, 'it' happened ... All within a matter of seconds.

I was maybe fraction of a second into my 'act' - the iPOD was on full blast - then abruptly the current song playing ended - and almost instantly the track changed to 'Jalwa' from Salman Khan's movie Wanted - First Drum routine from the 'Jalwa' number hit me at full volume - The effect only magnified by my Bose headphones ...

Instantly, in that unpredictable and sudden turn of events, Mr Seethi's fate was sealed. 

Two things I learnt that day. One - you can not stop the flow just micro seconds into the act of peeing and Two - with the bigul & the drum rolls sequence in the first 15 seconds of the 'Jalwa' track you cannot stop your body from moving and your hips swaying all over the place.

Mr Seethi claims he did yell, to the extent of invoking my first family in a typical Delhi Punjabi style but I could not hear any of it over the music volume in my ears. I was in my zone. My trance, matched in intensity, only by the tranquility of a Buddhist monk.

Mr Seethi apparently had his career progression meeting with the CEO which he missed, having had to rush back home for change of pants & shoes.

.... End of Flashback

But that was then. Even then it was not as if I did it on purpose or have not already paid the price in my 2010-11 appraisals. I have since moved to a different office in my profession and a much higher level of restrain in personal life.

From my end I have long forgiven Mr.Seethi.

But without doubt what Mr.Watson is doing here, is wrong. I was scarred by Mr.Seethi incident for nearly 2 years and just as my life is returning to normalcy, he is again making me Coprophobic.


I do not want to spend the rest of my Toilet life in an ever prevalent threat hanging on my head of me accidentally peeing all over a senior board member or instead end up getting molested myself by a serial Pooper.

When I visit the Toilet the next time, like every man and woman,  I have every right to look forward (without fear) -
To that quirky jittery sensation in the end of every-time I pee !!

(Disclaimer: Some names and locations appearing in the story may or may not have been changed to protect identity. The author cannot accept or deny the incidents that led to this work of literature. The author also solemnly refuses to bow down to HR pressure and be held accountable for expenses towards any shoes or trousers that may have been soiled in the making of this work of art. The story itself varies in authenticity from being a true representation of real life incidents to being a mere literary documentation of a bad dream which felt so real as if seen in full HD.)

(Acknowledgement: Mr.Watson for his poop punctuality that was the genesis of this article. Office cleaning staff for using miraculous room freshner which makes washroom accessible even post Mr.Watson. Mr.Seethi for his reluctance to deal with some moisture. And the countless amazingly mind numbing conference calls that push me to write rubbish pieces like this for release.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Fellowship of the Ring

A friend most dear to me got married last month. While like always I wished him the best, I was a little sad for two reasons. One, that I could not be with him on his special day and the other, that I could not timely convince him against his decision to get married in the first place.

But then I have made my peace with it. I have realized that what you cannot do is, stop IT department in your office from blocking torrents and soft porn. But what you can do is, be updated on tricks of evading URL and IP filters.

So the only practical thing I can do is to share with him wisdom from my experience vide this open letter. May this help him prepare for the struggle ahead.

For thats what marriage is .. Its a struggle ..  A war - A series of battles that need to be won, a field peppered with land-mines that need to be navigated without loosing a limb, a constant struggle of one up-man-ship (no pun intended). A game with you in & as Mario, where over the stages the developer intermittently keeps on taking away your powers to jump, fly and fire.

Girls prepare for it from day one. They pray for their prince charming to "be dressed in white and to come riding a horse". White representing wealth, prosperity and mild nature. Wealth that she'd splurge and calm so he wont snap back. Riding horse representing strength and chauvinism so he'd protect her and do chores for her. In no time however these chores, these acts of valor of saving her from danger and romancing her will take a dramatic u turn & become doing dishes & ironing clothes & cleaning up after babies.

As an extreme exception even if they do accept a lesser mortal, say a frog for a husband they do it with hidden malicious intent of kissing and turning him onto a "prince charming dressed in white and riding a horse". There is no risk in it for them as they'll nag him to death anyways if he doesn't become one.

We guys are different.

A man realizes the gravity of lifelong situation they he has gotten himself into only on the wedding day when he takes notice of the "carefully chosen words" in the two distinctly different sets of congratulatory messages being showered on him and his newly wedded bride.

To the bride they say; "Congratulations dear. You are looking beautiful" and to the groom; "Remember you are married now. One has to make lot of adjustments and compromises to make marriage work."

"WTF !!!"; you think. "I didn't sign up for this."

But by then its too late, there is no turning back now. The only graceful thing you can do is get on with it,

Still, you dont have to go unprepared. To give you a head start, here are some master strokes that you'll otherwise only learn with experience.

Wrong is right: More than "make" you need to be a master of "break". Let me explain. There would be times when you'll hear; "Baby, can you prepare the tea today.", "Listen ... am not feeling like cooking or eating out. Can you please make something for me honey?", "Have an early morning meeting tomorrow, can you do the dishes today ... pleeeease".

What do you do in such scenarios? You can't say no. Remember, you "vowed" to support her in all walks of life. So you go ahead and do it for that one time. But here is what you can do to ensure you don't have to do it ever again. Make Tea, but ensure she pukes at first taste, prepare elaborate meal but burn the chapatis and make gravy taste like feet, Do the dished but break the bowl her mother gifted.

Forgive but never forget: Love in marriage is overrated. Count is what matters.The key to successful marriage for a guy is to keep track of times when her lady love goofs up. So when you screw up, and screw up you will, you can throw in her face the magnanimity you showed on her last debacle. Keep a tracker and hide it beneath your dirty underwear if you may.

Hone up your stage skills: You need to master the art to pretend sleep and read signs of a pretend sleeper. The former you'll need early morning to win the game of - 'How to get her to prepare morning tea" and the later skill would come handy for you in the other end of the day [wink .. wink]

Generosity is the key: Get and do what you want. But be man enough to first make her believe its her decision. 

On the bright side my dear friend, now that you are married you'll be able to relate with LOTR at a whole new level. Next time when you do a LOTR marathon and at the end of his three movie long ordeal see a bruised, tired, bleeding, dying Frodo just about to throw his precious in the molten lava, you'll instinctively look at your own wedding ring and think - - - - "That lucky bastard."

I would have loved to share more, but am getting the feeling that the ever watchful eye of Sauron is casting her gaze on me.

So I'll sign off, but you - Be Safe, you are married now !!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thanks Meenu Kalra, this time for VIAGRA !!

Viagra Open Letter of thanks to Ms.Meenu Kaur Kalra

How should I thank all you men & women who over the years, by intruding my inbox, have helped me to pick the best holiday, not miss a paid seminar, opt for the best insurance scheme, buy the best property in chincpokli, alerted me from drinking Pepsi-Coke-Juices-Alcohol or water and largely for keeping me in best of health by sharing info on best of medicine that i don't need.

Just today you, Ms.Meenu Kalra (mkaurkalra@gmail.com) landed in my inbox, helping me with all the information on generic Viagra, containing Sildenafil Citrate, which enables men with erectile dysfunction to sustainably beat nature for prolonged period. In your mail you go on to tell me that since it became available, Viagra has been single biggest support for avoiding unwarranted lack of enthusiasm.

How your kind self assumed, that I would be the perfect buyer for you (no pun intended) remains a mystry but I would like to thank you for the brochure your shared. I was rather amused by the names on the colorful pills which in my understanding are all but means to attain the same stiff ... err ... stuff.

Anyways if anything your mail did offer me a few smiles. Thanks for that and please do read on.

Monday, November 19, 2012

अब मैं ट्रेनों की कतारों मे नज़र आता हूँ,

Friends, this post is strikingly against the larger theme of this blog which is that of blissful ignorance. But then who does not welcome change? As a matter of fact the company I work for is just crazy about changes. We just got a 3rd major “strategic” org structure change communication in as many months. People who work here change their underwear less frequently!! But then I digress.

Coming back to this post, I wrote this on Diwali eve on my way back to home on a crowded London Tube. My fellow Indians here in London or for that matter any son or daughter working away from their families, trying to create a home away from home, may be able to relate to this. Hope you like it.

अब मैं ट्रेनों की कतारों मे नज़र आता हूँ,
अपने वतन से बिचाड़ने की सज़ा पाता हूं

घर से निकलो तो चेहरे अनजान हें,
जगह बहुत हे, फिर भी लगता हे लोग मेरे होने से परेशान हैं,
देखो तो सबके पास सबकुछ है, पर जाने क्यूँ दिल बियाबान हैं,
इस परेशां भीड़ के बीच ..
इस परेशां भीड़ के बीच, कभी कभी, हाजी अली की दरगाह पे गाते उस फ़कीर की वो बेफ़िक्र मुस्कान भूळ नहीं पाटा हूँ,,
.. अपने वतन से बिचाड़ने की सज़ा पाता हूं ।।

दोस्त यूँ तो यहाँ भी उतने ही दिलदार हैं,
होली के रंग उतने ही लाल, और ईद पे उतना ही प्यार है,
मिल के मनाते हैं तो शायद उतनी ही ख़ुशी देता हर त्यौहार है,
पर जाने क्यूँ ..
पर जाने क्यूँ, दीवाली के जलते दीयों में, गली में पटाखे जलाते मोहल्ले के बच्चों की वो हंसी ढून्ढ नहीं पाटा हूँ,,
.. अपने वतन से बिचाड़ने की सज़ा पाता हूं ।।

ठंडी में यूँ तो रूम हीटिंग पूरा आराम देती है,
कमरे में रक्ही वो मशीन, कॉफ़ी भी पिला देती है,
पर जाने क्यूँ ..
पर जाने क्यूँ,  वो एक सर्द लहर जब कभी चेहरे को छूती है,
तो वो गली किनारे टापरी पे, मिट्टी के कुल्हर में गर्म अदरक चाय की वो चुस्की भूल नहीं पाटा हूँ,
.. अपने वतन से बिचाड़ने की सज़ा पाता हूं ।।

आराम के साधन यूँ तो यहाँ बोहत हैं,
नये देश में काम करने के फायदे भी अनगिनत हैं,
पर जाने क्यूँ ..
पर जाने क्यूँ, कभी कभी जब दिनभर की थकान मिटाने, अपने मेहेंगे बिस्तर पर जाता हूँ,
तो माँ की गोद की वो गर्माहट भूल नहीं पाटा हूँ,,
.. अपने वतन से बिचाड़ने की सज़ा पाता हूं ।।

अब मैं ट्रेनों की कतारों मे नज़र आता हूँ .. अब मैं ट्रेनों की कतारों मे नज़र आता हूँ ।।

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Letters from London

I started writing this on a fine Sunday afternoon when I had work on 3 strategic business case presentations for senior executives, 2 major sales deals reviews with my business unit head, 5 unavoidable super-urgent escalations from my boss, appraisal for my team and my own mid-term performance review pending for completion by Monday morning. In short I had nothing important or even remotely interesting to do and my mind wandered worrying about the party I am supposed to go to in the evening.

I say worrying coz my approach for social interaction is borderline psychotic and is marginally better than the autistic Dustin Hoffman of Rainman. So while I don’t throw feces or stomp my chest upon coming in contact with people,, I do prefer avoiding meeting them, if there is an option.

But as fate would have it, I happen to be in a career where a major part of my job revolves around working and getting work done with people who I don’t directly control. And to make it worse I support Global markets, which means I have to follow varied patterns and understand behavioral traits to get on a good rapport with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Tough ask, but then it’s not work if you enjoy doing what you are doing and of-course one can always find small games within parameters of work to make it fun.

Reading human behavior is one of them, that I personally like. And at the risk of being judged by you all for judging you all, I must say we are all slaves of patterns.

I am from India and have worked there for major part of my working life. Back home survival for a people haters like me was, I would say - rather easy. You see, in India you don’t really need social skills. You can get away with murder as long as you are an authority over cricket, can discuss the private lives of Bollywood stars including & upto that of their second cousins, adjust your crouch in full public view, burp aloud post lunch (or for that matter post breakfast,, or infact without even remotely coming in close contact with food) and convincingly be an ostrich in claiming Indian growth story being at par & perhaps better than that of China. 

Gossip, crib, loath - that’s basically all that you need to be good at to be popular.

And of course it does not harm if every now and then, out of nowhere, you just stand up wherever you are and shout; ‘Sala poora system is kharab hai’ (‘Bloody whole system is rotten’). PS: This shouting will work anywhere – office, railway station, airport, shopping mall, while waiting at red light, at passport office line, bar, dance bar, amidst annual performance review with your boss …   just anywhere. Feel free to use it as a natural conversation starter, if you may.

Now while largely the thumb rule applies across the nation, you may have to do minor customization based on region.

For example if you have to “fit-in” in Delhi you may want to; periodically burst out into loud laughter without any obvious or remotely sensible reason, address every male as your ‘Bhai’ (brother), ogle at every female form in sight including girls at work who know you and have lunch with you, be prepared to kill for ‘bread-pakora’ or 'Chole Bhature' and ……. every morning in traffic, invoke mothers & sisters of every single fellow driver on road as an early morning pleasantries exchange.

While the rest of the country is content with just a smile and ‘Good Morning’, we in Delhi say; “B*$#^%@d side mein kar le na isko”. While largely misunderstood amongst general public, the phrase to us Delihities loosely stands for, “*Smile* Dear Brother, can you please let me pass. Thanks. And yes .. have a good day *Smile*

Mumbai is different. Bring a “Practical Approach” to life, and you’ll glide through. You would be just fine in this city as long as you are willing to jump over a dying man on road, while running for your single-minded focus in life, which is to catch your 8:30AM fast local train to Church Gate. Repeat the same with not even a smidgen of shame or iota of guilt in your eyes in the evening and you are golden.

Chennai calls for some pretentions, especially if you are not from there. You have to pretend that you like having Sambhar in all there meals of the day, you have to pretend that using coconut oil for preparation of ‘Chikken Tikka masala” is acceptable, you have to pretend that their English accent and unwarranted emphasis on yum (M) and yun (N) is completely normal and more important than all, in night or on dark cloudy days you have to pretend that you can still see their faces and not just their teeth.

Anyways not dissecting Indian personas in detail, I must say I was a little skeptical to start with, when I moved to London. But then all you need is a keen eye to catch those unsaid rules and you would glide through any after office catch-up over beer (… which BTW must happen everyday as a rule!).

Now take a break my global audience for a moment, and listen carefully my Asian friends. From a brown man to a brown man, I must tell you that here in London, you will always find herds of “Likes”. And you would need a different strategy to fit-in each one of those groups.

A British accent for example while desirable in a white gathering is decidedly catastrophic in a desi group. When going out with fellow “Asians” (and mark my words you will!) the success mantra is to mock without distinction all British born confused desis & any brown skinned living form with the slightest hint of an English accent. Forget how good a person he/she may be, “they are all faking it” is what you must maintain to be accepted in that group.

With white men you would be just fine. Don’t worry too much about what you speak as half of them come with heavy stereotype & they are just amazed to see a Asian man talking in legible English which is grammatically better than their own and other half are too awed by the sheer genius that is “An Indian Mind”. O PS: Anything that is brown is ‘Indian’ here.

Now for all my readers from across the globe, while you are in London, as long as you can criticize the royal family, make fun of the queen, effortlessly jump between metric & imperial system (and trust me you will have to .. while giving directions for journey they will tell you the distance in 'Km' and speed in 'miles/hr' ... genius, sheer genius!), crib about the dark & damp weather, pretend to accept that pound is the best currency of the world and portray London Tube as the best thing that happened to mankind after sliced bread, you would just be fine.

I have lots more to talk about this beautiful Island nation and its innocent people who genuinely believe UK & Europe are two distinct recognised continents, but then that calls for a different post.

Also for the moment I have high stakes with the embassy of ‘The country that must not be named’, so I would refrain from making any comments about them ... But then you all have already seen the ‘The Dictator’...

Disclaimer: I hope you do realise at all of what’s written above it made up … I want t go on record to say that I officially believe you don’t behave like that … More importantly, you know you don’t behave like that …. Well, don’t you?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dear Sender, I will be Out of Office …

Well you may have often come across people working in MNCs, complaining about their hectic lifestyle, whining about the odd working hours or moaning about those oddly timed conference calls running past midnight. They make their work life look like hell as if each workday they go to office and are made to watch CSI, CSI Miami, CSI NY and C.I.D back to back all day long. Let me tell you the truth. They are all liars … Ah, well most of them are.

Well yes, the life working in an Organization with work interests spread across continents and time zones can be hard but only if you are not smart enough about what you position yourself into. Under the projected back breaking work schedule and the false facade of rough life what such companies offer you is a rare opportunity for those who can find it - to make their work calendar look sexier than Madhuri & Vinod Khanna’s kiss in Dayawan.  

Lost ?? Eh, Let me illustrate.

Over the next few pictures I will impart wisdom that you’ve never been exposed to and will enlighten you to attain nirvana in this very life if you can find the right company, the right profile and the right location.

The main and only trick is -- TO HAVE YOUR BOSS IN A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE !!

That scenario my friends, is the holy grail of the superior-subordinate relationship, the epitome of work satisfaction and that actually is the very life that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tries to take you to through the ‘Art of Living’ – the life without any stress, worry or anxiety !!

PS: Expecting your boss’s boss to be in a third time zone all together would in all honesty be an overkill, but if you can find it, it would be like having multiple orgasms without you even being a part of love making. But then I must caution you. Over the ages, millions of mortal cubicle dwellers have ruined their lives & careers in search of such a highly improbable scenario … its like … its like a Yeti or a Big Foot, we know its possible & out there, but then who has seen it ??? ... Sigh!

Anyways, Lets Begin:

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real person, living (in London, working at Old Bailey for a company starting with T and with his bosses in India) or dead, is purely coincidental.

Imagine if you may, yourself to be a Data Center Product Manager working in UK, supporting the regions of UK, APAC, India & US with his bosses are in India.

Here’s what the individual public holiday calendars for India, Singapore, UK and US look like for 2012:

Holidays All

Now the fun is not in the Individual calendars, but is in the fact that your total non-working days would be a carefully drawn superset in the composite view diagram of the above four calendars. The non-working days superset thus would be a superimposition of these 4 calendars into one whilst being governed by the following hypothesis: You would not be working if (#1) your region is off, (#2) region you are supporting is off and (#3) your boss’s region is off.

However extending the hypothesis (#3) to your boss, your boss would not be working when your boss’s  boss’s region is off. So we add one more hypothesis of not working as when (#4) your boss’s boss’s region is off.

Now if you combine the 4 calendars along with the above hypothesis into one superset, here’s what you get … Taaadaaaaa  !!!


137 days of blissful holidays …

But, Did I say I was done? … No I am not.

What we have missed is, that the darling that such Companies are they would also offer you 20-25 annual paid leaves and about 10-12 Sick leaves. So why don’t we throw them in the mix and see what it does … Whoa !!!

Holidays_Merge 2 

… 205 holidays !!! Looks beautiful isnt it …

But hey, Did I say I was done yet ? … Well, No I am not.

We all know what weekends mean to us. “But you have already included sat-sun in the above holidays”; you’ll say. Yes I have but here’s what you missed. The day that brings it all – Friday !!

That my friends, along with the fact that whether or not your bosses in India likes it, the earth would always spin about its axis. So every Friday it would already be past mid day his day in India when you get up & ready to hit work in UK. His weekend would already be knocking on his door. And then you would already be drawn into the weekend mode past mid-day your day by the time US gets up & ready to work. So in all there’s hardly anything that you’ll accomplish on a Friday. So why don’t we be practical and throw them in too …

Holidays_Merge 3

So you’ve got to work 112 days a year.

Something does not seem right?

O yes, when we are adding the Fridays, how can we forget the regional holidays … Haan ??

Counting regional holidays & election days for India alone can change the above equation dramatically. Before I stopped keeping count, India had  28 states and 7 union territories and we go to elections more frequently that we celebrate Diwali !! And its not just India that will give you these unexpected off days.United Kingdom for example is not due anytime soon to increase the IQ of an average Brit, to become more than slow stammering 5 year old. So you can always expect this country to come dancing on streets, united in their looniness, every time a prince gets married OR a queen completes yet another decade of rule OR every time the British supreme court lifts the super-injunction off a football legend, thus making it legal for media to publically share pics/videos/tweets of his infidelity with his <insert one of the following> (brother’s/friend’s/captain’s/teammate’s/neighbor’s) <insert one of the following> (Wife/Fiancé/Sister/Mother/Brother(??)).

Am telling you even by a modest guesstimate of 30 off days a year against this bracket including all regions wont be a overkill. So here’s what you are left with:

Holidays_Merge 4

So my friends in all you have about 290 holidays and a total of 76 working days … 76 !!

That’s like 7 days per month !!! Those late night conference call with US are suddenly not looking that bad, eh ??

But then, did I say I was done yet? … Well, No as a matter of fact I am not.

Now while the above work calendar already looks better than the best front foot cover drive that ever came out from Tendulkar's bat, there’s still more.

See, my dear statistics believing friends, probability tells us that there is no chance that the 25 annual leaves and 12 Sick leaves of yours that you have mapped on the above superset would sync perfectly to a similar calendar of your boss and your boss’s boss when they map their annual leaves & sick leaves on to their respective supersets. So their would be a maximum of 37 leave days of your boss’s boss when your boss would be not-working and another maximum of 37 leave days  of your boss when your boss would not be working.


Leave it, all am saying is that by extension a maximum of 74 additional days Days can be added to hypothesis (#3).

Even if you take a modest view and include just 15 – 20% of the above to convert as holidays, it would give like a total of 52 days to work in a year.


That’s, That’s like 1 days per week !!!!  < wink .. wink :) >

Do I even need to share a pic for that view ??

Well, now while penning this article 2 months ahead of my annual appraisal in March may not have been the smartest thing I have done off late, but it sure has been liberating. So while am at it, let me also say what am going to say now - If you thought that I was done and you would definitely need to work for at least 54 days a year … you most certainly don’t deserve this position.

See for any MBA graduate worth his salt - to make 1 excuse per week to not to come to office,,, is what an upper cut is to Sehwag or what head butting is to Zidane .. It their natural instinct.

So all am saying is that if you have it in you to make 1 excuse per week, you’ve have got a job at hand that will give you the one thing, that William Wallace died fighting for all his life – FREEDOM !!!

But please o please do be innovative in those last minute frantic calls to your boss. Explore your mind and you can easily avoid the clichéd ‘not-well’, ‘struck in traffic jam’ or ‘death in family’, to come up with gems of excuses that will become case studies for generations to come.

Illustrated Example: Monday morning 9:15 AM, just when you know your boss is about to inquire reason of your being offline from office communicator, you call him; “Hey chief, I wont be going to office today, the wireless broadband guy is coming in to troubleshoot … helloooo … hellooo … hey, droping signal in lift … hellooo … <Click. Disconnect>”. Now if you’ll carefully observe, what you’ve done is that in a stoke of genius you’ve not only delivered a master excuse to not turn up in office for the day (any boss would shudder at the possibility of you not having internet at home) but also subtly mentioned that you would not even be working from home for that day (its the wireless broadband that is not working remember !!).

I have more of these masterstrokes but that calls for a separate post altogether.       

Anyways,  now before I end let me tell you I am looking to hire someone in Singapore. Remember, I am in UK and my boss is in India .. Send me your resumes if you’re interested !!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

O Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyo; Dama Dam Mast Qalandar

I just love this song. And if you like music, it is impossible that you at some point have not been driven into a trance by this mesmerizing piece of sufi music which is but one of the countless gems of the rich cultural heritage of the Indian sub-continent. Countless singers & artists from Pakistan & India have given their voice to this sufiana magic, originally written in praise of Hazrat Lal Shabaz Qalander. From Nusrat saab to Allah Jilai Bai, from Runa Laila to Abida Parveen, in a bit modern version from Junoon to Hans Raj Hans, various masters of their gifts through the generations have explored new depths with this song. Each version equally melodious and each one adding his own soul to this cry from heart to ‘Hazrat’.

Love as we know may be a mix of unparallel emotions, feelings or faith of varying strength towards a person, a cause, a belief, a relation or a thought. Love as we experience may be defined around or be free from the grasps of expectations and in its own way lets you put your beloved before you, your wants, needs and desires. Making no claim of what I am saying is right I would say Sufism takes this definition of Love beyond defined or know boundaries. Sufi music for that matter leaves no differentiation between the lover and the beloved, the beloved here being the God or that one elusive truth you seek. You seek him while knowing he is in you and that takes your love above desires, wants, expectations of love in return or even beyond being affected by his wrath. That’s the beauty of Sufi music, it makes you be so much at peace with yourself that you seem to even love the hardships coming your way as you become one with that one you seek.

Music has not language they say and rightly so. But knowing the meanings of the words beaded together in this song to weave its magic, takes this song which while sung originally in praise of Hazrat, to a new level.

“O laal meri pat rakhio bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz kalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, Ali dam dam de andar”

Loosely traslated as; “O the red robed, May I always have your benign protection, Jhulelal, O the lord, the friend and the Sire of Sindh and Sehwan (or Serwan ),The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, you who have mastered life, glory unto to you.”

Born Syed Hussein Shah, this sufi saint was and is known to his followers as Hazrat Lal Shabaz Qalander, a name where each word has a meaning and or legend attached to it. Hazrat  is an Arabic a title used ahead of names as a mark of respect, pretty much akin ‘His Holiness’ or ‘Your honour’ used in English language. “Lal” is used to refer to him as he was fond of wearing red attire. Also fondly parents in this part of the world call their child lal, here Hazat is probably referred to as Lal or son of god. “Shah” means king & “Baaz” means falcon; the title Shahbaaz apparently also goes with another legend associated with him that he once turned into a falcon and saved his friend from the gallows. Qalander a word of Persian origin is a title given to wandering sufi dervishes, he is also referred to as Qalandar as he was from the Qalandria order of Sufism. Hazrat Lal Sahbaaz Qalandar is also referred to by his followers as “Jhule Laal”. He hailed from Marwand in Afghanistan and finally settled in Sehwan in Sindh, Pakistan, the places which are invoked in this song. “Pat(t)” while used in different connotations at different places, here loosely refers to ‘honor’.

Dam;'breath in' & Adam;'breath out' colloquially sung as Dama-Dum, refers to a person who has mastered the control of his breath thus taking control over self and knowing the secrets to remains happy forever. Ali called here is to incite Ali though Hazrat.

“Chaar charaag tere baran hamesha, Panjwa mein baaran aayi bala jhoole laalan … O panjwa mein baaran aayi bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar,”

Loosely translated as; “Your shrine is always lighted with four lamps, And here I come to light a fifth lamp in your honor.

“Hindh sindh peera teri naubat vaaje,, Naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan … O Naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar,”

Loosely translated as; “Your heroic name ring out across (Naubat khanas) in Hind & Sindh (or lets the gongs bell loud ), Let the gong ring loud for your glory day and night by the people.”

The word ‘Naubat' originated from the Persian word 'Naubat' which means a traditional ensemble of nine musical instruments. Among other the main instruments comprising the Naubat as we know them now are Shehnai, Tabla, Drum, Nafiri (long clarinet), Flute and a Gong. In fact Naubat Khana or Naqqar khanas are a distinct feature of Mughal Architechture. Found in royal palaces these were the drum houses or orchestra pits during ceremonies. In India Ustad Bismillah Khan’s family has played shehnai for generations in the Naubatkhana at Red Fort, Delhi, which overlooked palaces and temples, and enabled their music to be heard across the countryside.

Some also sing this as Ghanan ghanan teri Naubat vaaje.

“Har dam peera teri khair hove, Naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhoole laalan … O Naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar,”

Loosely translated as; “O Lord, may you prevail every time, everywhere, I pray of your well being, In the name of Ali, I pray to you to help my boat cross the river of life in safety

Search ‘Lal Meri pat Rakhiyo’ on You Tube and a score of versions would pop up. Here’s one of my personal favorite by none other than the master himself – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Also sitting in the group (if you noticed), a young boy then, is another legend on the making Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. If you hear some of the original records (Akhiyan Udeek Diyan for example) from Nusrat saab you can recognize a unmistakable alaap by Rahat. In most qawwalis its just a alaap, but you sure cant miss to recognize the distinct voice and the commendable attempt trying to measure up to the God of voice.  Interesting if you like this kind of music …

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How do I look ??

No no, relax,, I am not seeking your honest opinion on my personality. I do know that, that wont be the best of starts for a new year for any one of us. This my friends is more about this perennial question itself. A question that you may have come across many a times in different shapes & forms. On the onset it looks like a simple query, harmless, innocent to the extent of being a drag. But don’t be fooled by its cunning disguise, this question my fellow brethren from mars is the single most cunningly disguised plan against all the male species on earth.

The plot is deep, the plot old and the plan is bloody fail proof. See the one rule that Jesus, Allah, Ram, Nanak or the one God in the form & shape that you know him gave to mankind was that if you lie even once in life for your own good you would have no place in paradise in the afterlife. Men heard it and just nodded their heads, ‘That’s ok dude what else’ they said, the women however gave it a thought, rolled their eyes, took their time and came up with the impregnable question for their men - - - -  How do I look?

It a bloody ruthless trap. And if you are a man then you would know better that it is tirelessly thrown at you again and again until you fall for it. No one in the history of mankind can claim not to have never been a victim of this perfect crime irrespective of what you may have replied. And its not just the answer that will tear off your ticket to heaven. Its the way you say it, the speed with with you respond, body language, positioning of eyes, shaking of our earlobes and whatnot …. Do what you may, reason to doom you would somehow appear. Sometimes for example it may be your act. For example am pretty sure that to start with it was Eve who ate the forbidden apple first and then when she knew she was dammed she tossed another apple to Adam, came out from behind the bush and spoke in a low husky voice - - - How do I look? …… Apple did not get the man, the question did, and rest as they say is a story.

Anyways, while each man is responsible and mostly solo witness to his own doomed fate on answering this ill fated query, there is one place where the response becomes public, and the humiliation is to be shared with an audience ….. Outside the fitting rooms in shopping malls !!!

If an angel dies ever time a person lies, then the sale period around holidays is a bloody plague season for them,, waiting area outside the fitting rooms their graveyard and poor unsuspecting husbands & boyfriends their death daemons. Nowhere else in the world can you see an army of otherwise righteous, god-fearing and pious looking gentlemen lying through his teeth in series one after the other …. If you are telling me you have spoken nothing but the truth standing at that place, you’ve just killed another angel.

man happy.jpegThe sad part of it is that you cant help it … Lets me take you to a sample store with a nice sale offer on a warm sunny day …

Men accompanied with their chosen ones come in the shops with their happiness in their eyes, spring in their feet, songs on their lips, money in their wallets and moods high in anticipation of something they would be able to get for themselves. Little do these unsuspecting poor sacrificial lambs know that all of these would be snatched away from them by the ill fated finger of not fate but the damsels whom they themselves selected. (PS: Thats the bitch of it!)

Anyways their high spirits are soon dampened with their better turned bitter halves parading them through the female section of the shop floor tirelessly hunting for gold in the long line of clothes that the store has put on display for the single reason of they having not been able to sell that crap through the season. Oxymoron as it may sound, almost always most of these damsels are able find their perfect dream dresses in that heap of otherwise season long discards.


man sad.jpeg And after hours of this mad frenzy of rushing from one aisle to another, mentally mapping the aisles to be attacked in priority, almost snatching of clothes from other shoppers, comes the dreaded walk to the one area in the shop that is every man’s worst nightmares – The Fitting Rooms !! <add doomsday music>. By now the shopping spirits of majority of the men is already broken and they are reduced to mere slaves of the finger motion and eyes contact of their women. The unending wait outside the fitting rooms would do the trick, for the last few remaining ones who still see light at the end of men’s section tunnel.

As a new couple approaches the waiting area of the fitting room, quick glances are exchanged. The waiting men do a quick scan of the new cat and her kill. They act as one big clan in analyzing the couple and the common feeling towards the approaching man varies from sympathy to hatred depending on how many garments for trial his lady is carrying. The one with his woman carrying most trial garments gains the highest position in the clan with special privileges like right to sit in the few available seating spots in the waiting area and ignorance by other members of the clan at large to his leeching looks at others wives. He can be spared a murder, for the sheer torture he is in for. Such an empathy from this group towards a man walking in with his wife carrying say more than 20 garments matches in intensity only to the common grief & sympathy towards a husband hosting condolence on the untimely demise of his newly wed wife.

Quietly the newcomer joins the clan at his level of hierarchy and waits patiently for the missus to come out and look at him with just one question in her eyes. No words are generally spoken at this point but the letters in her eyes convey a loud and clear – HOW DO I LOOK? And this cycle goes on. This is but the price you have to pay to be in a relationship. Painful as it may sound it also brings some happiness to men. Puzzled? Well marriages or relationships may directly bring any evident happiness for a man but only when one is in it, does he realize how petty all his earlier issues & pains were. Only then can he truly experience glimpses of happiness, even if that is in his nostalgia of his such untroubled past.

Waiting in that dreaded area, looking at others as these thoughts cross your mind, almost always there suddenly appears this intriguingly dressed lady of waist size 48 and bust size 52, who has somehow managed to get herself into a 32’’ waist dress. As she comes out all eyes scan the waiting area, other men looking around more eagerly than her, trying to find the poor husband who would be in direct line of damage of this hurricane. Not coz they empathize with him, but so that the pain & suffering in his eyes can act as a soothing balm on their own. Weird, GOD gives you pain and miseries but if you are a true believer he also gives you means to ease your pain by bringing in your sight others whose pains out measures yours … Who are we to question his ways.

Anyways this massacre of male emotions goes on every single day in every single store. Only faces change.

Men come and men go,,, and then there are those men who stay behind at these waiting areas of the fitting room, long after their wives have gone to billing counter,, wait showing on their faces, their eyes pasted at the fitting room door, eagerly waiting for the appearance of the blonde who went in to try the minis ………