Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ascend: The Beginning of my Descent!

This week, our company bribed us to attend some training program designed by some bigshot (who wants to get brownie points for his “organizational activities”- mid year review is approaching people) in Hyderabad. Five star accommodation, awesome food, no work for two days: well worth it, even if it means going through some inane exercises, some clichéd jargons, and some hackneyed jokes by the “who’s who” of the company. It was a trade off, but one that we were willing to take up! And then I decided to improvise! I left a couple of days early for Hyderabad, which gave me the whole weekend with my friends: the first ones in the company, whom I met during my summers, and who continue to be an integral part of my life. So yes, giving up the luxuries of Novotel was a tough choice, but all the haggling with autowalas, sleeping on the mattress, washing dishes, and walking 30 minutes in the sun were well worth it, because it gave me the chance to go back to my Summers days, when I would stay up with the same people, discussing the same nonsense, bitching about the same people (this time, we just added more people to the list)!

Now the training program was the typical exercise in corporate jargon, big words, and “best practices” laundry list, interspersed with “simulated team games”. Titled as “Campus to Corporate”, it was supposedly a “revisit” of our marketing and HR classes in MBA (but since I never “visited” them in the first place, I wouldn’t quite call it a “revisit”; however, whatever little jargons I had picked up in between my sleeping sessions, like “customer value”, “change”, “responsiveness” etc etc in college echoed here as well). And of course, how can I forget: it also gave us a chance to “network”, to “interact with the senior people” and to “broaden our horizons”. I had no expectations from the program: for me it was supposed to be a paid holiday, a chance to catch up with friends, free alcohol on “ladies’ night”, and yes, when we were asked to mention our key takeaways in two words, we were tempted to say, “breakfast and lunch”.

But it turned out to be quite an enlightening experience, much to my surprise, as I met someone who could have been the potential love of my life. The only minor glitch is that he is 20 years older than me, married, with a teenaged son. But note, it’s only a “minor” glitch! This was our coach, in Breakout 6, where I was thrusted with a bunch of strangers, and asked to “bond”. I reached late, as I was too busy talking to my friends who were all in different groups, hating this huge conspiracy of the company to keep us away, and therefore forced onto the front bench, where I couldn’t’ possibly sleep. But 15 mins into the session, and I knew that there was no way I can sleep! The guy had this uncanny ability to keep you enthralled: while he said nothing awe inspiringly new, he articulated simple things in a simple manner and the sharp wit made it all the more lively. Before I knew it, I was eating up all his words, listening agog, and actually participating! (People who know me, also know how rarely I open my mouth in a public gathering, and especially in classroom like environments). More than the chocolates he gave me, I appreciated the way he got my name right in the very first attempt! Anyway, before I start sounding like a ‘crush’ed and mildly crazy teenager, I would just shut up…

By the way, I decided experimenting with my hair, and got more than I bargained for, and ended up spending more for something I didn’t want in the first place. So yes, the disease is spreading: from clothes, to books, and now to hair!

Hyderabad rocks, and it also marks the beginning of my descent to complete degeneration…

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Hangover!

It’s been ages since I wrote something… anything really! It was the subprime crisis that got me into Deloitte two years back, and two years later, subprime continues to haunt me. For the past ten days, I have been struggling with CDOs, delinquencies, foreclosures, and loan modification programs, thanks to my never ending project on subprime which simply refuses to leave me. By, now it is as sick of me as I am of it.

So while I continue to be haunted by the crisis, other aspects of my life seem to be falling apart. Like my drinking capacity for instance! I was never a seasoned drinker, but I was at least dignified enough to hold my drink. There have been times when I have had a quarter, walked home without humiliating myself, and gone to the gym the next day morning. But now, I am kind of losing it. Like yesterday, for instance. I will not elaborate further to prove my high loser quotient (LQ), but trust me, I am an embarrassment. I also found out how difficult it is to shop for certain things, and also how liberating it is, to walk out of the shop one and a half hours later, armed with a fancy gift and increased knowledge. Finally, I have developed this penchant for watching extremely pathetic movies at exceedingly high prices. Yes, the world will come to an end in 2012, but please, when will the movie end?

All said and done, I kind of like this phase of my life, the confusions and the uncertainties notwithstanding. At times, it amuses me that my life is happening, when I am waiting for other things: things I am probably not even ready for. So yes, rationally speaking, I am drifting but while I am doing so, I am kind of enjoying the ride. Well, you get the drift… the hangover refuses to go away!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Revisting (running away)...

The advantages of ‘estrangement’ (don’t ask me about the disadvantages) are that you suddenly rediscover yourself, the world around you, and most importantly, other people who had suddenly stopped existing for you. So while you are running away from some things, you also end up running into some other things and remember that they aren’t so bad after all…

So this weekend, I ran off to Pune and stayed with Webstar, my ex roomie, still my best friend. She is as mean with her words as she was in college, but as sweet in her gestures as she used to be. In fact more so, now that we hardly get to meet each other, that I was visiting her place for the first time, that she has mastered the level of domestication. I watched her in admiration as she scolded the bai on the phone (as I memorized her words determined to use them on our bai who is absconding at her own free will), as she cooked me breakfast and lunch, and as she mothered me about small things (she is even worse than Monica Geller in her obsessive compulsive disorder). I revisited the old places: the lassi from Mann Dairy, the dosa at Idlicious, the movie at E Square (It seems I can never get enough of Wake Up Sid) and my favourite parlour (which conned me into paying 100 bucks more for hurting me more).

While you are so caught up in your mundane life, the newsletters that you have to complete, the trainings that you have to finish, and yes, the very important sms hours that you have to enter, you tend to forget the good things in life that you had given up so easily: going back to Pune kind of brought back those happy memories of the past two years, shared with the people (in this case person) who made it so special. But from tomorrow, I am back to my usual life, back to my routine, back to my reports, back to the mini meal, and yes, back to ‘estrangement’: which defies logic, rationality and definitely happiness!