Thursday, December 16, 2010

Going back in time in Mysore....

In the last year and half, I have been to Mysore several times with my colleagues, mostly a come-to-the-town-take-a-cab-to-client’s-office-and-return-home-soon-as-possible type of trip. I had not really seen Mysore despite my two dozen plus visits there. But then, a few weeks back this changed when my boss asked me to go to this sleepy town for two days. With an agenda which did not include the usual routine but many stops across a town experiencing communal tension…and I was going in solo! After my futile pleadings about the language barrier and threats of coming back as a ghost to haunt him if I become a casualty in the riots, I set out for my unwilling adventure.

When I got down from my bus I noticed the cool weather and a relaxed population, a tame scene for a city inflamed with communalism (I expected a man holding an axe as a part of the welcoming committee). Nevertheless, I began to explore the town I thought I knew so well and realised that for a small town, Mysore was very spread out. Everything was little further away from everything else. A friend explained that a distance of 7-12 km between two destinations was normal in Mysore.

The local authorities had kept enough room for future growth of the town. This also meant a lot of walking to move from one point to other. Once I stopped complaining about the distance, I realised that I was in a land where time has stopped since early 20th century. Passing through the streets, I saw numerous houses which could have been easily constructed at least five decades ago and still going strong. I was a little shocked to see some famous Mysore based companies housed in establishments which could easily qualify as locations for horror movies. My afternoon passed by appreciating the architecture scattered around the city. The famed Mysore palace was just one in scores of similar monuments.

Later in the evening, my friend explained that the town had several palaces and monuments which are being used for various reasons ranging from the art galleries to corporate and government offices and of course, hotels. We dined at the Lalit Mahal palace, built exclusively to accommodate the Viceroy of India, but today functioning as a heritage hotel. The great food, the local folk musicians and lanterns in the garden proved to be an amazing dinner experience. After dinner we drove around the city, enjoying the cool breeze, my companions pointing at various towers with teeming lights around the city which falls asleep before the clock strikes ten.

Despite my early apprehensions of being a casualty in the riots due to my very questionable knowledge of the local language, I was surprised that I was able to move around the town without any difficulty. Of course not everyone knew Hindi and English (the only languages I can speak) there, but the people were quite helpful giving me directions with broken words and sign languages (lot of hand signals) to my next destination. Twice, I reluctantly agreed to let some stranger drive me to my next destination, fearing that this might be the last thing I do before I become another statistic in the line of fallen men in the unrest. But nothing happened!

My visit was almost ending and in spite of my apprehensions I was yet to see some action which was being spoken about so much in the media these days. Out of curiosity, I asked my hotel manager about the riots. He joined me for coffee and explained that the unpleasant activities were actually limited in only one neighbourhood and the rest of the city was completely unaffected by it, unlike the media reports

As I set off for home, a bit sheepish that all my fears were unfounded, I was quite happy that I had been sent there by myself. Mysore had opened itself to me in a number of ways which I had missed on all those earlier visits. Now, to learn the language... just to be on the safe side, you know.

Also Published in DNA, Mumbai edition -

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Searchin for Angels

Last evening, while walking down to my room something struck me.. i looked up to heavens and asked the question breeding in the corner of my heart since last few weeks
the stars kept shining, as if they they were expecting it and were amused. Well... its the first time i look around and do not find an angel next to me, so i wasn't that amused.

Over the years there was one thing that never changed in my life. No matter how things were going there was always someone standing next to me? This person has been with me through the toughest challenges and the greatest successes. Sometimes the face changed, but rest assured someone was always there. Noticing this trivial change I concluded that I was blessed and that the “Powers that Be” decided to make sure that I never have to face life alone, hence I called these people ( commonly known as friends) as my Angels. And over the years these angels have watched over me to make a world away from home, introduce me to music, spiritually, how to love and then how to mend a broken heart, literature, unconditional loving, and pursuing perfectionism and even taught me Photoshop. I stood up to adversities and kept going on when there was no hope left.

I will not say that they changed my life, because that’s an understatement. The reality is that they have shaped my life and me as well. I look at myself and I see that it’s just not me anymore; there is more than what others can see. They say that a man’s true identity is known by the company he keeps. Well… I can say that in my case it goes beyond that. I am a reflection of all my friends, those who are still with me and those who aren’t anymore.

To all my angels, Anup, Manish & Manish, Madhu, Sangeeta, Shilpa, Sneha, Vasanth, Nisha, Punit, Ankita, Anuradha, Mahish, Ajay, Ramya and Nithi, you will always be a part of me.

Thanks for everything

Thursday, March 9, 2006

New year resolution

Do you remember the part in Armageddon when Bruce Willis nukes the asteroid? I favorite scene was when he detonates the bomb and at that very moment, his life flashes before his eyes. All the special moments, people and thoughts race through the mind in that one split second before everything stops. Can you imagine what you will see when that moment comes in your life?

For good or worse, I don’t have to imagine that like you are doing right now. In the first day of this year I lost balance in the deeper end of the pool and needless to say started drowning. By now you can infer, I can’t swim that well. After fighting to come up for a gasp of breath for almost 15 seconds I lost hope. It didn’t mater how hard I tried I always ended up in the bottom. With air out of my lungs and water in my body I finally gave up and embraced the inevitable. as my motionless body sank even more, I saw a slideshow, , a few days of my life I will never forget , there were people, some I knew and some I remembered from my past. And then the show stopped at one face. Someone I know I love more than anyone and anything. Someone who has changed my life… gave a new meaning to it... Someone I wanted to see once more.

I am sure all of this happened in one second but it was then I found myself filled with a boost of energy and a will to fight. Something inside me shouted, “I will not go, I will not give up” probably for my sake or for the sake of that someone who was (and still is) everything to me. I somehow made my way back to the top just too get some air and shout for help.

I survived that day, but I came back home a new guy. I found myself o longer confused or disillusioned, as if all the cow-webs have been removed from my path and I knew what I really wanted in my life. Long back I attended a PD workshop where the trainer asked us to write down everything I want to do if I knew I had only 24 hours to live. in the end of that exercise he simply asked,” we don’t know if we are going to live after this day, this hour or this minute, then why don’t we do all this things when we have the opportunity?” though it made sense even then, It did not create the impact which this incident did. I guess practical is always more effective than the theory. Usually we always fail to see the bigger picture. Some things which seem right at the moment makes us regret for rest of our lives, and something which seems like a mistake brings out the best results in long run. since then I try to live every minute to the best way I can, and in sticky situation just ask myself “What if this is as good as it gets?” As Robert Frost said “miles to go before I sleep”, but i know when i DO sleep I will not have any nightmares

Friday, October 14, 2005

Life.. Outsourced ! ! !

Well.. this story has a simple beginning and a very relieving End (for me altleast)

since im not tht far away from the gr8 city of Bangalore, i too was "handpicked" for an exciting career in a BPO few months back. but this was diffrerent as per the employment agency and they representatives from recruiting company. Why? coz this was a IN HOUSE unit of a international prestigious financial outfit. the opporutnity did sound good tht time and i just hopped to it.

A month after finishing my graduation i was in the city of Outsourcing, living a complementary 2 week luxurious life in a fully furnished Penthouse owned by the company and life was GOOD. i really beleived tht i have got the best deal over my class mates now working in various organisations for almost half my salary or the ones persuing higher education....So was the begining, and next few weeks were pretty euphoric for me and the bunch of newly joined group of guys from various cities. i was on top from the beginning, active team leader, volunteering for everything and maintaining a gr8 professional realtionship, determined to prove tht i belong here. after a month and half i was finally trained in ligustics for US accent, and trained for the process ill be working for.
And then it started hitting me. the charm of the new hi-tec workplace was gone and i saw a different world all together. people were nice and the work was good, but for my guts kept telling me none of this was real. even though it was a very enjoyable scene while we worked, some thing kept warning me that it was too good to be true. and then the real picture came out of the blinds. people were nice because they were expected to be nice or rather paid to be nice coz it kept the employee morale up. no one really cared. a colleauge of mine who s been here long enough to know the real picture behind the smiles and hi - tech walls was trying to leave the job from ages, only he coulnt, not any more. he was destined to be in this industry for rest of his life. knowing what he s really gotten himself into, a corporate quicksand. no escape what so ever and if he does get out he ll have to work for another BPO coz this particular industry doesnt give u many career options.

i started asking myself, if i stay in this job what will i have to show for after ten yrs? nothing!! i had seen people of different age, sex, background & education doing the same job as i was. few more weeks passed and one day while returning from office one morning (yep, i was in the night shift from the beginning) i knew i cannot go back there anymore. i couldnt stand another day of making calls to States.

i packed my stuff, called a few of my frineds and bid them farewell and headed back home. and while the train left the glittering city behind me, i could here someone singing "you can check out any time u like... but u never leave........ "

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blast from the past

Few days back i happend to contact an old friend of mine from school days. She had to leave town unexpectedly and we sort of lost touch after that. it was jus fate that we could ever speak again, after SIX an HALF yrs!!!

and the most beautiful part of the conversation was that in a few seconds both of us forgot that we have been out of touch for more than half a decade and over a thousand miles. she was still my best friend and it was still yet another chat over the phone as we used to do yrs back.....

some of us fail to see the beauty of it, some thing so simple yet so wonderful. all of us had had fair share of people around us, a lot of close friends. we all had to let go of someone over the time for reasons ranging from inevitable things like transfers to meaningless misunderstandings.

Most of us never get to say a real good bye coz the idea of being "FRIENDS FOREVER" is too tempting. but gradually we all loose contact and our closest friends jus become part of our memories as new people come to our lives. we hardly think about them once in a blue moon and wonder whatever happened to them.

i think it was Ford or someone who once said " if i have two best friends near my deathbed when i die, ill die as the richest man on earth" how many best friends have u lost through out your life?