The bechara who needs a Cinkara

Caution: This is a piece that I wrote in Nov 2000 for the light-hearted journal of my the then employer. Its full of usual jokes and PJs and probably doesn’t deserve a read, now. So why is it being carried here after 9 long years? Well because Yahoo geocities is shutting its shop and these articles had to be saved for eternity 🙂  Bear with me!

They say that life begins at forty. May be that’s true, but everything else starts to wear out or fall out. Why, I’m still too young to consider that, but God knows why, I feel like getting older than my age. Premature..err..ageing?

cinkaraSo you ask what evidence? Mere faazil dost..there are three signs of old age. The first is loss of memory, the other two..I forget. The case is not so serious though like some of my other friends who sometimes find themselves on the landing of the stairs and can’t remember whether they were on their way up or way down.

So what does a married man like me who took to his heel from his 6 years young ‘illustrious’ sales career grunting over in IT with colleagues fit to address him ‘uncle’. Uncle sam? Or the temptation to surf the Net (that ultimately lets you gain so much weight, because at almost every site they give you a “Cookie”) or was it the inability to decide regarding ‘com’ or zyada. The decision to jump in the IT-bandwagon, clever or not, apna raam thinks with Rayben clarity that philhaal work is a lot less fun-and fun is a lot more work (so now you know folks why I did a bunk from parties and never even stroll in the vicinity of Basketball stadium). Imman se, is umra main caution is the only thing I care to exercise.

Still people envy me? I could smell that! They feel that girls flock me. Trust this bhaisaab, one should start realizing that he is getting older when the girls at the office started confiding in him. And you thought.. shiv..shiv..shiv..

So back to the issue of me feeling that I have arrived the stage of taking longer to rest than to get tired. Boss, it’s been ages when I stopped growing at both ends (and begun to grow in the middle). Frankly I never have had this choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get me home earlier. But you know which one I would have chosen. Reason perhaps, half of the guys who shake hand with me in morning will complain “Arre tu itna dheela kyon rehta hai yaar?”

May God forgive the nadaans for the folly of not their own because even I wake up with that morning-after feeling, while I didn’t do anything the night before. So that’s it guys! It’s a pity you are compelled to cope up with a veteran. But remember even Microsoft gives DOS with windows. When you can have faith in India winning a gold in next Olympics at least I can expect a bit for me..as for now please note that tomorrow I may be late because meri kamar mein dard hai..Ouch..

In short, Acronyms

Caution: This is a piece that I wrote in 2001, most of the stuff being ‘inspired’. So why is it being carried here after 9 long years? Well because Yahoo geocities is shutting its shop and these articles had to be saved for eternity 🙂 Bear with me!

acronymAcronyms were invented as essential AIDS to memory and their application surfaced as equally contagious as the capitalized word; memory-aid that has to be mugged up to successfully clear any GK test. Many, if not most, of the abbs are funny or at least can be given a witty bend, which ironically may also be their true face.

In earlier times abbs were the hallmarks for cherished degrees – BA, BSc, M.A, MSc, LLB… And no body perhaps expected that the newborn MBAs from IIMs would steal the limelight from the formidable PhDs and IITs so much so that even the ordinary bosses metamorphosed in to CEOs and COOs. Incidently the PhDs were the people with solemn looks and thick lenses on their noses because all their life they Patiently Hoping for a Degree and had no energy left to recoil with josh when they were Phinally Done. It’s another thing that the most coveted three letter word still remain as IAS, though the buzurgs could hardly locate the halo that surrounded its predecessor – with the middle component as ‘Civil’ instead of ‘Administrative’, reminiscent of the Indian Cancer Society. Sad indeed for the Indian Forest Services and the Indian Foreign Services, who had to settle down for the common IFS.

Acronyms could have brought ease to the public works department after it became PWD but for the people, who find the more notorious name of Public Wastes Department easy to remember. The DMs and the DCs took a cue from this and acquired a credo of Don’t Mingle with the public and then Don’t Care for them too. VIPs gained more limelight as VVIPs and then shied away as ZVIPs. Post-tehelka, PMO’s doctrine appeared to be “Pehle Maal phir Office ka kaam”.

Americans are infamous acronym enthusiasts. A laudable World Wildlife Fund has been reduced to World Wrestling Federation. You have the US of A, NASA, NATO and the toe licking UNO, UNICEF and WHO knows what not. Their FBI simply became Feds perhaps protesting against their over-exposure in Hollywood movies. Our own RAW is no match for ISI and even though the institution has been re-christened the Bureau of Indian Standards, most people want the ISI-approved products.

Speaking of demand, think of the time people acquired cardio-vascular ailments or did the P.C.Sorkar trick if you mentioned IT raids. Strange times I tell you, the same people talk about jumping into the IT bandwagon now. Simple earthly desire, this? Chanakya, backed up by his erudition from HTML to WML, from SAP to WAP to SOAP, from EJB to CORBA, and armed with colossal MCP, MCSE & SCJP certifications, simply wants to go phoren and turn out to be chunki, not mentioning the neighborhood Manakya who would better not go for a similar feat. The guy OTOH would rather be J using the net-lingo in the chat forums.

Brain drain was bye-product of the angrez education system, realized the swadeshis. By introducing the lessons of Socially Useful Productive Work, SUPW they wanted us to transform into Anna Hazare ASAP. Students, bunking the classes to see a HAHK, DDLJ, DTPH and the more recent KNPH with their GFs, however thought differently. To them these sessions remained Some Useful Periods Wasted. In colleges doing a bunk have become, the more sophisticated, GT. Here, the preparation for GK test helps during ragging when it would be a KLPD you couldn’t expand on the newly acquired geographical wisdom on JAPAN and HP.

Finally, not all abbs are enduring happy anecdotes to bring smile to a face. A bad ECG, DD’s newscasts, the mighty-September 11-fall of the twin towers of WTC, FM’s budget proposals, MPEB’s bills and the thinning index at BSE and NASDAQ are bound to cause dropped jaws.

A book that doesn’t tell you to be perfect

I normally don’t get too affected by moral sermons. No, I did pass those “Moral Science” papers at school, but somehow those idealistic preachings and “pointers to life” from Shiv Kheras, Dale Carnegies and the like don’t survive in my mind for long. I always end up asking myself: what if all the people who read these books really applied each and every advice in their life? Will this world be full of flawless, successful, content people who have never seen any lows, any failure, any discomfort in their life.

The fact is: these sermons are so hefty and impractical, you may probably never be able to practice what they preach. In fact, they almost always tell you to become perfect beings. IMHO, their books wouldn’t have any misprints if the world were so perfect.

The Big MooOn the contrary, this book that I read recently, seemed different. It’s very unlike those books with sermons. “Stop doing things that hurt, ignore what authority figures tell you and…practice, practice, practice.”

Can you imagine such gem of thoughts coming out of 3 jokes that Uncle Shecky tells Ben. Well this is what “The Big Moo” is all about. It’s a book that’s edited by Seth Godin, a compilation of the experiences of 33 people (with names such as Malcolm Gladwell and Guy Kawasaki). But the real highlight of the book, as the tagline says, is that it doesn’t tell you to be “perfect” or something, instead it tells you how you or your organization can become remarkable. The anecdotes and observations tell you how people have just done simple things to remarkabilize their organizations, their lives and their career.

Amongst the many things that I liked in this book is that it’s concise and the articles are crisp, focused and unattributed. You can pick the book and practically start at any page, which is a boon for people like me who hate long mind-numbing chapters and long sittings. The book really dares you to take risks in life and ignore your critics, which is good probably for professionals and organizations alike and shows that good advice can really come from anyone. Picture an advice from a sex-therapist’s coming handy for a marketing company.

All in all, an astoundingly good book for which I must thank Seth, also for the 3 copies of the book he donated to the winners of Indibloggies (and that actually gave me the opportunity to read the book). Proceeds from the book’s sale go to charity so do buy a copy, if you can.

And lastly, an excerpt from the book that I liked immensely, it’s titled ‘What exactly are you afraid of?”

What exactly are you afraid of? Here is a list. You pick:

  • Getting yelled at by the boss
  • Getting fired
  • Not getting promoted
  • Doing the wrong thing
  • Getting caught using the copy machine after hours
  • Not knowing the right answer

Here’s the big news. If your strategy is to lie low, do your job, follow instructions, and hope that nobody notices you, (a) nobody will ever notice you, and (b) you’re actually increasing the chances of something bad happening.

If on then other hand you develop a reputation as the person who is always pushing the envelop, challenging the organization to go to next level and getting your influence to get good stuff done you’ve got the worlds best job security.

You can’t shrink your way to greatness.