Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hairy Scare!

Well there are times when I become completely numb with dumbness and do things which no sane person will ever do and this phase strikes me about once in a month (some of my ‘friends’ will insist it’s more frequent)… anyways yesterday was definitely one such day.

To begin with I caught the first bus to the city and then headed to KP, which is almost at the opposite end from my campus: all because, bless me, I wanted a fancy haircut! Well, I did get a haircut, but definitely not what I would describe as “fancy”- it looks more like a crow’s nest than anything else. Anyway, as luck as would have it, it rained heavily since I have come to Pune, and I got drenched to the skin because I didn’t carry a umbrella. So invariably whatever little stylizing was done to my hair, by the time I returned, I looked more like a ragdoll with hair all over the place rather than a smart, sophisticated, cool senior that was the original plan! And of course the fact that it left me 500 bucks poorer adds insult to injury…

But my hair wasn’t the only disaster of the morning. For my KP trip I was saddled with a psycho autowala (I know I have bad luck with autowalas): a sweet, well-meaning old man, who somehow decided on me as his newly adopted daughter. So the 30 minute journey was punctuated with eager questions about my hometown, what I do in Pune, my name (which he liked incidentally) and why I was traveling all the way to KP. Don’t know when I renewed my vow of truth and nothing but the truth, I told him I was going there for a haircut. Next he proceeded to lecture me about the evils of profligacy, about how I was wasting my parents’ precious money, and generally made me crawl in shame, and before long I started apologizing to him (rather than my original dad)…

Once he had made me feel like the Prodigal Daughter, he became kinder and offered to wait for me till I get my hair done and take me back to the city. The return trip was more about his life: his wife who died seven years back, his only son in the Gulf (no, he didn’t look at me as his prospective daughter-in-law, no matter how much my ‘friends’ insist on that) and asked me if I was able to take care of myself, what my father did (there was no point explaining that he headed a company), if he sent me money regularly or was I hard up, because if I was, he was ready to support me. I was touched by his kindness, but also alarmed: did I really look THAT hard pressed (or was it the hair?). I insisted that I still had my parents and friends. He snorted that friends are only fair-weather people and my parents were far away back in Calcutta and reminded me I was all alone here (except of course, now I had him). The conversation got even more ridiculous when he asked me if we could go for a cup of tea and assured me that it will be his treat. I refused as sweetly as I could, and said that I had a class for I which I was getting late. But that fired back, as he now insisted in dropping me back at my college, so that I don’t miss out on my class. I could not possibly show him where I studied and earn myself a stalker, so I lied saying I studied at Pune University. So he drove me inside the University campus, unheeded to my pleadings of dropping me at the gate. Finally as I thankfully paid him (he asked for a surprisingly cheap amount), he patted me, and said with a smile, “I don’t know you, but you are like my daughter. Par kaisi beti hai tu, ek chai bhi nahi pi sakti mere saath”. I smiled my dumb smile, eager to run, but waited behind a shade till he took in another passenger and left. After a few minutes, when I considered it safe to make a move, I started running all the way through the campus, to the main road until I reached the Symbiosis Centre. Drenched, with clothes sticking to me and my hair in a mess, and running in platforms, with furtive glances behind me to make sure my adopted dad wasn’t there, I was quite a sight!

I don’t know what came over him, I don’t know whether he was a sweet, lonely old man with paternal instincts or just another psycho, but I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt. It’s a cynical world, and I am a product of the Groucho Marx school of cynicism, but somehow, I always strike a chord with the most unlikely people, and I still trust them. But stylish hairlady- I sure don’t trust her!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Queen of good times!

It’s 2 p.m. and I just woke up! Yeah, that’s quite a statement, isn’t it? The statement being, “I AM A SENIOR NOW!” Every morning I look at the junior kids scampering towards the academic block in empty stomach, scared that they will miss their attendance, while I take leisurely walk around the campus. Life is indeed unfair, but so long it is unfair in my favour, I kind of like it! But I am keeping myself busy exploiting the other facets of my “learning institute”- gym, swimming pool, cafeteria, basketball court, juice shop and when that also gets boring, we turn to the juniors for entertainment. We call late night batch meets, we take attendance and then catch the proxy givers, and then we fine the absentees. But speaking of fines, I have been fined 1500 bucks for no fault of mine. I am tired of pleading and begging and wasting my time with illogical and unreasonable people whose sole aim is to make our lives as difficult as possible. I don’t know if this is also a part of management education, but our admin process sure is more stringent than any bureaucratic red tape. Dealing with people here drains a lot out of u, both emotionally and financially…I have been exercising like crazy, but also eating chocolates in the same pace, so my weight maintains status quo. I think I should just accept myself as I am and give up any hopes whatsoever.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rendezvous with a potential murderer!

So like a prized idiot I am back on campus, even though most of my batch mates are still getting pampered at home. I mean, I am the kind who has a serious apathy towards studies, so me being one of the earliest to report is kind of uncharacteristic… guess I don’t hate my college so much after all!! And ahem, I am a senior now and the next year promises to be the best with loads of parties, holidays, city trips and eating out (and putting on weight)…

We started the second year in grand style as me and a few other losers (who are also back on campus because their parents got tired of them) went for an impromptu trek when we didn’t get movie tickets… Dressed inappropriately for a steep climb, we nevertheless panted up the slope: overweight and overaged people huffing and puffing our way to the top! We were almost there, when we met a couple of local guys: ordinary people with sticks in their hands, the kinds you meet in local trains every day. But as one of them started talking to a guy in our group, the rest of us froze, as he casually told us: “Mujhe kisi ka quatil karna hai… aap log jaldi yaha se chale jao”. While I was relieved that we weren’t his chosen victims, a part of me felt kind of inadequate. Why didn’t he even consider us for fulfilling his cherished ambition of being a murderer? Are we not good enough or strong enough? Did he think we were too easy a prey? After all we were five men and two extremely strong women (yeah I am one of the female wrestlers)… still he didn’t consider us a big enough challenge? Yes, the guys are not-so-young and not-so-strong morons, and while I may look obese, I would have started crying at any sign of violence- but he didn’t know it right… So I wasn’t altogether flattered. But hey, life comes before pride, so we judiciously lost ourselves from there. As we turned back, one of us wondered whether he should tell our “aspiring quatil” that he might want to consider a change of weapon to be successful in his mission: a thin stick is hardly the way to go about your life’s cherished ambition.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Summer of 2008!

End of two months, end of summers, end of Hyderabad and yeah, end of Deloitte too!
Somebody asked me to describe the experience in three independent words: my answer was “Awesome, Fattening and EnRICHing” and it couldn’t be more aptly described. I know during our final presentation (which kind of went well I must say) we talked about first experience in the corporate world, the Deloitte work culture, and all that jazz. But my biggest takeaway was the respect I have received here. Usually trainees are treated as a nuisance (yeah, I am speaking from first-hand experience), a cost-centre who get in the way and erode company resources (stationary, work station, and yeah, the coffee vending machine). But here we have been made to feel a part of the organization, we were given an opportunity to really be involved and motivated to give our best: even I like to work at times and not just be wasted!

Things I will miss about Deloitte:
1. The people- they have been simply awesome
2. The other interns- they were a major pain, but I will miss them
3. The guest house food (in fact Hyderabad is THE BEST PLACE TO GET FAT)
4. The subsidized Barista
5. And yeah, the work culture too (it’s not just on paper)

Things I won’t miss:
1. The American English (I mean the first thing I learnt in school was that it’s colour and not color, flavour and not flavor. But here I unlearn it again… IT HURTS!)
2. The excessive focus on formatting (It drove me insane)
3. The lack of creative freedom (yeah, corporate life rarely allows for it, but hey, I am still young and idealistic…)
4. Certain people (ahem… I will leave it at that)
5. The fake accents