Thursday, May 10, 2018

How much is too much?

I dint update my blog in the month of April, considering the fact that  I had updated twice the month I gave birth in 2011. No I did not give birth to quadruplets in April, just that some software projects sucked the life out of me and is only a tad less uncomfortable than childbirth.

Before I go into whine mode let me say that I love my job, colleagues and the space and recognition I get professionally. I am very much loved around here and get to laugh a lot. I love to write software codes, my work is not repetitive, I get to face a lot of challenges, my boss is cool and I feel blessed by all this.

That was a disclaimer that leads to the fact that in IT, one is expected to work regardless of time of the day, day of the week, gender, marital status, weather conditions, earthquake alerts, flood, political situations, bad health and the fact that you are a human being. I haven’t had a proper weekend in a long time and now I am in a ridiculous situation in which I am wondering what I did on weekends when I had them.
To be honest, working on weekends and then going back to work when the week starts feels MEH.  Meh is an understatement, actually. Man there should be a day when one is not expected to wake up and show up, right? A day I can sleep peacefully until I rise on my own, without any evil external forces trying to barge into my happiness. By evil external forces, I mean my family. Honestly, I love my family but my idea of ‘taking an off’ or ‘letting my hair down’ or ‘taking a break’ involves switching off the wifi and data, and lazing on the couch watching TV or sleeping ALONE without any disturbance whatsoever. It is completely harmless right? I am not asking anything of anybody.

 I am not a foodie, nor do I feel hungry every now and then. Neither am I a cleanliness freak so I don’t shower five times on a weekend. I don’t sing, dance or make noise.I don’t harm anyone on purpose. I am not crazy about gold, diamonds, cars or property (not because I don’t have the money).  I don’t pollute the environment in any way nor do I use any non-renewable resources. I am highly eco-friendly. I just want to do nothing on the sofa.

This is another idea of "taking a break!"
Image Courtesy: Here
Not getting ten official calls less than five minutes is luxury. Not having to check emails and not having to reply to them with a solution in less than an hour is luxury. Sleeping knowing that the alarm is off for the next morning is luxury. Peace is expensive. Being able to laugh to Tom and Jerry cartoons is luxury. Sigh.

My luxury may not be your luxury, but my idea of taking a break is very reasonable. I want to be left alone with TV, sofa and electricity to run the AC as it is freaking hot here. Oh and some wine would be good. And a Thai masseuse. And a Bose speaker that plays my favorite songs on loop.

Is this too much to ask?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Corporate Survival for Dummies.

No one ever enthusiastically came out of a meeting and said ‘Wow! That was life-changing!’ unless they got fired in that meeting. The IT sector is not as cool as the air conditioned cabins we are stationed in.  Sometimes elaborate mails are received which are too much to make head or tail of. You read it, and read again, and again, still no clue. You see the list of people to whom the mail has been sent to, and look around to see their expressions. This is one of the best forms of entertainment in the IT department. There should have been a meeting to discuss that rocket science of an email but some mastermind decided not to.

On other days, there are meetings which are long and completely unnecessary after which you feel like a month passed by and it is time to do eyebrows again.

Image Courtesy: Here
However in my case I do not go prepared for any meeting. I am not proud of it though. I check with my boss whether my presence is absolutely necessary. If she feels I should participate, I make a guest appearance. My public speaking skills are as good as Varun Dhawan’s acting skills, so my boss does not drag me in unnecessarily. My strongest skill is the ability to write email. If anyone tries to ruffle my feathers, they stand the chance to receive the most elaborate, shrewdly worded email, with screenshots, bullet points and hints of sarcasm that could be nominated to The Literary Award for Emails. This has not deterred anyone from picking bones with me but my email attack is never mild. There will also be atleast ten people it would have been copied to. At some meetings, if you could listen to what I am talking inside my head, you will be blown away by my incompetence on the verbal front.

I like to watch my colleagues bring books, pens, ipads or laptops to meetings, and how they take these discussions seriously. They fiercely debate over topics, disagree aggressively but leave the room holding hands or making jokes. I mean, how is this possible? When I have an official argument with a person I’d be secretly planning to screw his life.

Then there are legends that arrive with punch dialogues. Like for example I put forth a suggestion and they say “There are four disadvantages to that option”. I wouldn’t have finished saying my suggestion and they have already counted four counter arguments! FOUR! I am completely NOT in awe of such people. How did he possibly come up with four points before I finished talking? Basically, there are only 3 points - the 1st and 3rd are the same, they are just worded differently. The second point is not related to the topic.

So the moral of the story is that if you want to be taken seriously inside the air conditioned glass cabins:

1.      You should have that confidence to say in a forum, ‘I have three points to add’ when you actually have none.

2.      Argue with a person on their field of expertise in a language and tone of speech that bowls over the entire panel.

3.      When someone talks logically and you don’t know what to reply, smile sarcastically as if you knew what he is talking ten years ago.

4.      When someone brings up an idea, immediately spring up from the chair and claim that it was your idea and that you were about to say it (then what held you back you moron?)

5.      If you are not the boss, ACT like one. Laugh only at the boss’s joke. Ignore the jokes of everyone else.

6.      Never keep your phone on silent mode, and answer your calls (most likely from the credit card section of the bank) with an expression like Trump called for a mission to save the planet and walk back in after the smoke in the meeting has subsided.

7.      At any point of time, maintain the constipated expression.

Looks like I could go on and on and publish a book about ‘Corporate Survival for Dummies’ (written by a dummy who is still trying to stay afloat) but honestly, my department is bursting with ideas to write more!
Let me go back to work now, I have an email to compose ;-)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The best place to yell.

Teaching a story to a six year old for his story telling competition after returning from crazy work days is like sticking my head into a beehive. Especially with my curious son who has a thousand questions to ask starting from the origin of the story and the author. Humpy the camel walked down the desert with his mother. ‘If Humpy is the name of the baby camel, what is the name of the Mama Camel?’
‘Her name is Anita..! ANEEETAAAAAA…!!!!Now can we proceed?!!!!!’  -

The doctor next door would have definitely heard this. Next time I visit him at his office, he will start writing out a prescription without asking any questions.

My edgy responses laced with sarcasm, shrill voice and raised eyebrows mostly evokes suppressed laughter from the little boy. Even my most serious conversations and advice are met with laughter and mockery by both the guys in the house. I am happy to be raising a boy who is unaffected by high decibel levels of a highly impatient mama and remains cool as a cucumber. Surely he will work with any hot tempered boss.  The hubby also does not remember what I said five minutes ago. If these guys can manage my crazy moods and high decibel levels and still insist to have me around all the time, then this is exactly what differentiates family from others.

Whenever I make a serious conversation at home, both the guys look at each other, then at me and start murmuring. The hubby guy has a habit of making jokes at hospitals and churches. I am the only person who laughs inappropriately at such places when the man who cracked the joke acts as if he is not related to me, making me look like a complete loser who has no sense of surroundings. Then there are others who take my jokes seriously. Like for example a college mate who needed explicit clinical bifurcation between jokes, facts, information and general loose talk. There is an element in our DNA which identifies them automatically, which was missing in her.

Image Courtesy: Here
 I have always looked up to people like my Dad who never responds to negative criticism or even insults directed towards him. We feel like losers when there are disagreements because he does not put up a fight and let us win. He forgives, forgets and most of all does not let anything affect him. These are all biblical qualities which we should NOT try to imitate at any cost (as we may become better people, this evil society does not deserve such people).

If I am not taken seriously by the boys back home, I think that is the best. They don’t remember why I yelled at them last evening.

Because the socks are still stuck inside the shoes and both don’t seem to care. Surely they don’t remember it today, and they will not carry it forward for years to come and judge me for it.
Family is the best place to yell: D

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Xmas Hustle.

I can’t seem to remember the month of December 2017, so I am guessing that I may have been in a coma which no one is speaking to me about. I do remember the Xmas cakes and garlic breads straight out of my Moms oven melting in my mouth gulped with generous amounts of wine. Christmas, as usual, was spent with my people in peace, love, music and lots of food. I earned this break after slogging and stressing out in office trying to reach somebody’s insanely impossible goals and timelines.

I applied for a month vacation, and my boss was highly amused at my great expectations. She cut it down to ten working days. My husband was allowed more leave and he said ‘Bye, Roomie, Merry Xmas’ and went on his way. Well, my son and me had the best time ,did our Xmas shopping, ate countless tubs of popcorn, watched late night Disney, slept and woke up on our terms. It was such a jolly good time without rules and husband ! Finally the day of travel arrived. I was supposed to leave office a bit early as it was busy Xmas season, traffic was slow moving towards the airport and the flight dint belong to my Dad. I targeted to leave by 4:00 pm.

Meanwhile some logically-challenged guys at office requested project related training at 3:00 pm. I had to pack bags, weigh them, get food for my son, dress him, lock all doors, switch off TV and Gas, arrange documents, remind the driver for airport drop, pay the cleaner, park my car somewhere safe, handover keys to neighbor to water my microscopic and malnourished plants in my absence, lock bedroom doors amongst many other things.

Image Courtesy: Here
As I had emptied my fridge and every meal had to be arranged, I came towards my car in the afternoon with a thousand things running in my head and official calls ringing continuously. I found a car parked perpendicular to mine, completely blocking any forward movement. Who on earth parks like this as if I abandoned my car there? All hell broke loose in my head. My animal instincts woke up. I rang up a colleague who usually parks adjacent to mine and blurted ‘Hey do you know which stupid is the owner of this purple Mazda? What kind of ..what ..what nonsensical…’ …I searched for words to complete my sentences. He said ‘Anita first of all calm down, you can find him at___’ I cut the call and made an angry walk towards the human who was doomed to be at the receiving end of my wrath.

He was happily joking in his cubicle oblivious of the fire he started. I said ‘Can you move your car from there?’ What I really wanted to say  was ‘Hey pea-brained useless creature! You better move your damn car out of that place else I will scratch it with my keychain!’. To be honest I am the useless creature whose mouth goes against her brain. The guy who heard me loud and clear said… ‘I wrote my number there…dint you see?’ Oh well ! Now he expects me to walk around his car and find his number and call him whenever I have to go somewhere? Dude, I don’t even call my husband whenever I start my car. I replied to him. ‘NO!’. He looked at me closely, measuring the rising mercury levels and quietly moved his ridiculously flashy car. The fire that started in my head couldn’t be extinguished.

Later the training started at 3:00 pm and the trainees had segregated all the doubts in the world to ask me. I kept talking and simultaneously looking at my watch every five seconds trying to signal the crowd that I am not interested. However they seemed to be brimming with a thirst for knowledge. Finally I scraped through that meeting around 4:10pm. Later everything happened in a blur, packing, tidying, locking etc. , and soon we were on our way to the airport.

Wearing similar tee shirts and jackets, my son and I cuddled in the backseat of the car, when he looked up at me and asked. ‘Ma did you take the passports and ticket?’

‘Yes I did, baby’. I said confidently, after having successfully sailed through a busy day alone.

‘Are you sure ma?’


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Emotional Modulation.

I am an emotional wreck. If the character in a movie violently dies, my tear glands start pumping up tears from the air and starts generating renewable energy. Whereas when it is comedy I will make sure your eardrums blast with my laughter. It will be so explosive that after you watch a movie with me and go home my laughter will still ring in your ears and you will regret your decision to have hung out with me. Any emotion, be it happiness, grief or anger is expressed by me and my maternal family in its extreme form. The way anger of my relatives usually pans out, we can rightly measure it on a Richter scale. When they yell you can actually feel the tremors in the neighborhood.

Even though anger dominates any other emotion in the family, I am slightly different. Laughter mostly dominates my moods. I can remember jokes heard in movies or told by my friends during meetings and get myself into a situation wherein I struggle to control my laughter. I am, but wired to find a funny angle to situations and do not keep myself sad for long periods of time. I just keep the tears for the pillows, laughs for the ones who deserve it and stay far away from negativity. It isn’t easy but with determination it evolves.

If science develops a device that modulates emotions it would be a breakthrough for my family to be sane with each other and the rest of the people destined to be around them. I would buy it in bulk and distribute it an act of benevolence for Christmas. My anger outbursts are not very common. My laughter never hurt anyone. My sadness is fortunately short lived. I do not stew in regret. Basically the algorithm which runs that device should be inspired by me. Okay enough self-praising for now; I need a device to control that actually :D Even my boss tells me to stop self-praise. It is not even appraisal time, she thoughtfully added.

Last week I was on a cleaning spree when I dug out my son’s toy bin. Expectation was to find everything from shoes to food bits from 2011. However, I was in for a surprise. At the bottom of it was a comb, which belongs to my Papa which he was frantically searching for while he was here in September with me. He had to settle for a new comb, which we bought after his precious comb which seemed to have been handed down through generations was lost. Ever since, he had been dissatisfied with the very act of combing hair. Finding it was a eureka moment for me. Immediately I took a selfie with the comb and sent it to our family group captioned ‘Look what I found!!’. The group witnessed an outpour of sentimental emotions about the comb, tears of joy and one earth shattering revelation from Papa - ‘It is the closest to my heart’! And here I am, stupider than the stupidest, thinking vainly that I was the closest to his heart!!! My heart broke into a thousand pieces. No problem, in December when I meet him I will breakup with him.

Coming to think of it, have you noticed that some people actually value objects and situations more than we do? I wouldn’t even notice if my comb was lost (because there are hundreds of them at home, you know, just in case). Papa wouldn’t notice if his shirt was ten years old, but I care too much about what I wear. I search for sense of humor in people I meet and get along better with them, whereas Papa prefers knowledge and sensibility. He hates lame jokes and wasting time on small talk, whereas that is what I live for.

So coming back to that device I was talking about. I know what you are thinking. Don't gift it to me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Church Etiquette for Dummies.

As an uber-cool, club-hopping, midnight partying, forever socializing person that I am, one of my much-envied weekend activity is waiting outside the church for two hours in the scorching sun while the son is at Catechism. By the way, I don’t know what is club-hopping or midnight partying and if checking Instagram for the 137th time in one hour counts as socializing then yeah I am forever socializing.

To be honest I am not a regular church goer. My partner-in-crime (legally addressed to as husband) does not believe in the concept of going to church to pray. He says he wants to retain whatever peace that is remaining. I don’t disagree completely and I don’t agree also because in marriage we are not supposed to agree with each other. It is sinful.

Image Courtesy: Here
When I was younger (I'm still young), our grandparents taught us to dress conservatively while going to church. My Mom always wears her new sarees to the church first. All people in church were dressed either in sarees or salwars or tunics that were appropriate for a place of worship. Now if you see, times changed drastically. People arrive at church in their luxury vehicles with a statue of Jesus stuck in the front (which needs immediate cleaning because it is starting to look like Che Guevara) and makes a grand entry in a black t-shirt with a picture of a beer bottle right there in front captioned “Beer is Life”. Inside the church, at every 100 meters there is a small board that says ‘God sees you’. I am not sure whether these people see the board (or a mirror).

So yesterday I had to pick my son fifteen minutes before the mass was over and drop him at a birthday party. Oh yes, that is a sin and I am a sinner. He is just six, it’s not like he was on his knees and talking to God from the subconscious.  In my defense, I am sure God will agree that it is better this guy leaves the mass. He is that guy whose pranks distract everyone. His Catechism teacher rolled her eyes at me as if I was Satan. “You can take him when the mass is over” she said strictly, pointing to my son who was winking behind her and making few other kids laugh. I pleaded ‘Ma’am we have to go somewhere, it’s very urgent” (otherwise we won’t get cake ;-)) and she was burning with fury. So this is a Catechism teacher with a zero tolerance. I now know why I have to literally drag my son to church on Saturdays. This is the exact opposite of how the scriptures have to be taught and practiced.

Once you exit the church there is a 45 minute wait for traffic to clear until the main exit. This is a ground for cut-throat competition because either you go first or ensure that others don’t go. The priest said something about patience but what does he know- he does not drive and travels in chauffeur driven cars. Priests often give us marriage advice also. You should see the hues evolving from myriad facial expressions in the congregation.

Then there are others whose phones do not have a functioning silent mode. In my knowledge Charles Babbage would have invented the concept of silent mode in the 1800s. The intention of bringing the phone or keeping it in full volume inside the church is something we have to ask God in fasting and meditation. I am sure He also will not be able to comprehend such complicated psychological behavior.

I am not holier than any one of you to lecture about church etiquette but I really think that keeping a gadget away and dressing better is not as hard as trying to get your car out of the church premises.