People- the biggest mysteries of all

I’ve never understood people.They are a constant source of amazement to me. I’m convinced that if the entire mankind works hard enough, they can decode and accurately predict the functionality of every living being in a few years but not of humans. It is not because they are super duper intelligent alone, it is because they are the most dangerous and evil of all species living. There is only one thing I can do now to a certain extent – categorize them. If you think analytically you’ll be amazed to find how easily they can be grouped into the following categories (in my opinion).

1. The show-off: I think this is the largest set of people I can find. From their college to their car to their shirts or tops to their shoes, everything is about telling others how wonderfully unique and expensive or exotic it is. From faking accents in two weeks of coming to a foreign country to telling loudly to the entire class how his GIRLFRIEND bought him the t-shirt he is currently sporting to the new Merc coupe he’s just bought with a down payment or counting the number of bedrooms in the house on their fingers or announcing loudly which city in an XYZ country their genius of a son has settled into, these people are everywhere. And they are obnoxious, spreading the disease to everyone around soon starting a wave of blowing-your-own-trumpet with no one really interested in anyone else with hardly a conversation between them.

2.The trackers: They need to know everything about everyone. From knowing why so-n-so is no longer dating so-n-so to which party some other person attended to which college he/she is in, which company, which job, if he/she has a gf or not, these people know every minute detail about every other person. They are the database-keepers, they maintain databases of the world’s citizens tracking every movement of every other person through whatever means they can find.

3.The hypocrites: Lo and behold! The least favourite of mine. They are the ultimate evil in my opinion, all pretense and no genuine feelings behind it. They will hold ur hand when u cry and once its done, will be the first to ensure more tears flow down ur cheeks. They fake emotions, they act all nice in front of the very same people they bitch about in the background. At the surface its all fine and dandy and only when u scrape out the sugar coating, the fungus infestation appears. Very dangerous people. The scary part is you never know who really a hypocrite is until its far too late! ( At the risk of discriminating – larger population among the female sex).

4.The use and throw: Call in need, discard if they’ve done the deed. I’m sure everyone has met such people. They act all nice, call , pretend to be really interested in you until you do what they want you to and then vanish all signs of familiarity. I once had this good friend for three-four years in high school who refused to recognize me post board exams after all my help was extracted. Another very commonly found specimen.

5. (for girls only) The hooker: No no, now dont get ideas. This is that variety that plays with emotions to get work done. Once they know your soft spot, they’ll use you to get errands done, almost faking a relationship knowing they can extract maximum work from you because you like them just a little bit more than everyone else and love to squeeze you for their work only to tell you flatly “I wouldnt believe we will work out ever if I were you”. They keep you on the hook only to throw you down crashing years later. A tad worse than the use and throw since they mess with your emotions. Its not a lie that boys can fake relationships. Its true.

6. The sharp hitter: I love these people. They are blunt, true to your face people who speak the truth at all times and behave normally to everyone. Very annoying to be with but they make the truest friends/ lovers / life-partners. These people have the least friends, but make honest dependable ones. You can be assured of a true relationship with these people. Extremely rare, like pink diamonds perhaps.

These are the classifications I could come up with. It is nice and convenient to brand people so you know exactly how to deal with them. I’ve named these groups, more classifications are welcome! 🙂

Ignorance Exposed

Note: No exaggeration here.

With graduation comes the inevitable question, “What next?”. What I have experienced is that, unless your answer is “A job” or “Job then MBA” or just “MBA”, those eyebrows do narrow into a frown, or vanish into the hair often accompanied by widened eyes and the mouth blurts out various hilarious things which I have tried to put together here. Many of those things are just blaring examples of ignorance or as I like to see it; a success story in the continuous attempt by the media to brainwash the people. Oh Boy! They have done a splendid job.

The sadder or funnier part is these very people are the educated class, the newspaper-reading, tech-savy individuals or so I thought. So without any further ado, let me get started with whatever I have been told so far.

Aunty1: (On hearing I’m going to USA, she didnt wait to hear what for) Arre ! How are your parents sending a jawan ladki all by herself to the USA ? Wahan jaake pata nahi kya karogi ( WHAT THE…! )

Aunty2 : (On hearing its for higher studies) You can give CAT again you know, ek baar mein haar nahi maan-te. Dont run away to USA just because you didnt crack CAT the first time. ( Eh? When did CAT come into my scheme of things..people just assume CAT is just another exam as compulsory as the XII boards I guess).

Uncle1 to my dad: Why are you spending so much money on sending her to USA?If you want her to go to the states get her married to a US-settled boy, yahin kaam karne do.

Aunty3: Why didnt you join your job in Wipro? Its so much better than what you are opting for! (Hahahaa…I’ll tell that to the PSD, they’ll be thrilled)

Aunty4: Bina interview ya exam ke selection kaise hua? (Without interview or exam how did u get through) Management seats or what ? ( LOL)

Aunty5: (Now she was a sweetheart till I told her I’m going for an MS-PhD): OMG! PhD! Doctor?! Arey if you study so much which boy will marry you? ( There goes all the sweetness)

Uncle2: I never expected this from you, why are you wanting to be a professor ? ( I clarified that I never uttered the word professor) he continues ” A PhD means a professor only na? What other jobs do these people get?” ( Umm…)

Uncle3 to my dad : Now she will wear soda-glasses and be like those irritating scientists,hahahaha… (Hahah, very nice imagination)

Relative1: You didnt get any job ? Dont worry I have contacts and will help you out, just sit and prepare for ur CAT this year till then. (:X)

Relative2: Why do you want to study so much? You are a girl man, enjoy your life.

There were so many more but these responses stayed in my head. CAT forms the other other respectable career-choice followed by working. None of this is exaggerated and it is in fact downplayed since I didn’t convey the gasps or the mortified facial expressions. Of course there are those few people who are in fact happy with my decision and accept it wholeheartedly and genuinely ask me to enjoy or even help me by telling the hot research fields, but this is a snapshot of the general perception of the people.The word “marriage” is a hell lot prominent now and the USA factor giving it a special boost. Ignorance raises its ugly head in the most flummoxing manner.

Many a time, the way your IQ-estimate in their head plummets, leading them to hastily change topics to bollywood or weather is funny. Sad, but true.

Sexist nation

“Its a baby boy”
“Whew! Very Good. Thank God it wasnt a girl”.
These words left me stunned. Twenty first century. An India we proudly show off to the rest of the world and I am standing here in my kitchen listening to this awful gender discrimination. Worst thing to hit home, my cook happily said that to me, a girl.

After two more huge gasps of relief from other people whom I was told to inform, and one blessing I got (already) that I would have a baby boy too, I was feeling a little hurt. To hell with all the gender equality. Even today, majority of this country treats women as second-grade, a burden and a second-choice when it comes to children. Sad, very sad.

You might argue that education is the key but I am amazed at how gender discrimination exists in the most subtle forms even in the most forward societies. The most hi profile families focus on how to make the boy achieve the highest qualifications and leave the girl on the pretext that in any case we’ll get her married by 25. End of college for a girl in many cases moves on to the next stage of life i.e marriage and hardly are parents concerned about careers of their girl-child. Then comes the whole social factor of marrying her off in grandeur, saving money, minting jewelery and all that hogwash.

I wanted to turn back and ask those people in what way are girls inferior to boys. They help at home, are more responsible and match up to a boy in every sense of the word. In any other forward society, never is there a discrimination of the sexes. Nowhere else in the world will you hear gasps of relief when a boy is born or even dream about female infanticide. It all happens only in this country.

This suddenly makes me feel we haven’t moved an inch from the olden days of sati and dowry.Just now that the situations are rather different. Indian women are beaten when they go to pubs. Jeans are regularly banned from colleges everyday.A bold statement by a woman is instantly called lewd and the character of the girl comes under the scanner. A girl is ruthlessly ogled at by every cheapskate, sex-deprived Indian male everywhere she goes. Women who work late hours are chased behind by drunk youths and shot in the head when they try to evade them. Groping, rape, eve-teasing, I can go on and on and on. Its sad to be born in a country where people are disappointed by your very existence.

I know this post is all feminist and all, but happy as I maybe on the arrival of my nephew, I wasn’t actually thanking anyone that he is not a girl. It just pricks when someone throws such an offhand comment on you making you feel second-grade. India needs to sensitize itself to the female gender. Only then will we really surge ahead.

Till then, I’m celebrating my new Aunt-hood. 😀
Yoyo!

My rockstar forever – MJ

I caught the news flash just seconds before my visa interview. I was next in line, waiting for one of the counters to clear and the authorities to beckon me to their window. “Micheal Jackson is dead.” I gulped. I was genuinely shocked. I don’t know why his death saddened me so much. Briefly putting it out of my head till my interview got over, I kept mulling over him for the whole day yesterday, the news channels giving enough flashbacks to make anyone nostalgic.

Someone correctly pointed out that Micheal Jackson was all pop music was in India a few years ago.His songs were the first English numbers more than half of India heard. He was the face of English music which grew very popular in the country, given that the followers of ABBA, Beatles, Elvis Presley, Boney M were not so many. I remember myself when my sister brought home the entire collection of MJ recorded in 5 cassettes (yes, those were the cassette days) from college more than a decade ago. Thriller, Beat it, Bad and ghost were the first songs I heard. The first four English songs of my life. I was hooked. They were brilliant. I used to stare transfixed at the tv whenever his videos were aired. His cassettes were forever in the car stereo. I was a true blue Micheal Jackson fan. I still love his music. I did the same stuff every kid dreamt of, dancing like MJ and moonwalking like him. He will always be my true rockstar (though he is a pop icon), much before Metallica, Iron Maiden and the others took over.

Later into college, blessed with an enormous music collection on the LAN, I was hooked to Jackson 5. I had caught a few numbers ages ago and had been wanting to listen to them ever since. I was delighted. MJ did stand out even then being one of the youngest. His ballads were soulful and a real treat to listen to. He was a pop-legend in the making even then. And you just had to listen to him sing once to determine that.

Of course, his life has been more controversial than an average pop star’s life. What amazed me more is him grafting his skin (which now people say was a disease that caused him to turn white – I doubt that) and his continuous tinkering of all his body parts. People called him mad, imbalanced and crazy. But honestly, most of these superstars are. After all if every move of your life is a headline and is tracked by a hundred photographers, it is difficult to stay normal. These people should be loved and admired for their skills, their art, their music and MJ was the master of his game. One of the true iconic entertainers of his time.

Ending this sombre post on a hilarious note, the funny joker rightly said “So Michael’s career did end with an arrest after all”.

May his soul rest in peace. His music will be played and will continue to enthrall the world for a long, long time to come.

Amen.

Chinese Embarassment

I celebrated my graduation with my parents in Sikkim. It was a sudden holiday planned in order to spend some quality time together away from the hassles of everyday work. It would also be a long time before our family reunites thanks to some hectic schedules in the coming months for each of us.

It is a beautiful place. Paradise of sorts. I cannot possibly string together enough superlatives of the cool locales of Sikkim having just come from a hot-as-hell place myself. It is gorgeous, with all the mountains and the clouds drifting into your hotel rooms, the fog, the rain hmmm…its a different world out there. The one day we spent in Sikkim, I insisted on going all the way upto Nathu-la (the famous pass and one of the original silk-routes bordering China (Tibet)). I had seen enough monasteries in Dharmshala and Mcleodganj to satiate my urge to see more ( Rumtek is the famous one in Gangtok). Our clearance was obtained, all the papers sought in a jiffy and we were on our way to the border.

The road was awful (almost non-existent) and the rain and clouds bore down upon us mightily. It took an unusually long time to get there, exceptionally long even by local standards but it was a breathtaking drive. We passed around 100 army trucks laden with horses, provisions, troops and other eclectic mix of things being taken to the base camps below and others trucks moving troops to the upper reaches. After a bone-shaking five hour drive we reached Nathu-La. It was spectacular!

After a 500m walk and a few steps, we saw the barbed wire between the nations that formed the border. Five chinese soldiers stood there gawking at the huge crowd. Only thing they kept asking is “Why so many people today?”. Suddenly one Indian extended his hand to an armed chinese guard standing a few feet away. The chinese soldier stubbornly turned his face away saying a brute “NO!” to the Indian. This sparked off a major chant of “Jai hind”, “Mera Desh Mahan” which snowballed into full recitals of the National Anthem. I was embarrassed. You could see muscles tighten and faces fall in the Chinese battalion. I wanted them to stop singing. I wish they did.

The lone Chinese officer asked one lady politely if there was any special occasion to draw such a huge crowd to the border. I dont know if she understood the question because she replied “We are true Indians” and chanted “Bharat Mata ki Jai” complete with the arm movements. I fled from that place. I wanted to slap that lady myself. Why incite? Why provoke?

On the way back down I kept thinking about this incessant show of uncalled-for patriotism that we Indians seem to have in plenty. Only if they showed this concern and care for our country when they spit on the road, use the roads/rails as public toilets or damage/misuse public property, perhaps India would already be a superpower.

Now that was a Chinese embarrassment!

Not What I asked

Has it happened to you that the person often asks a different question which you hear as something else and well give surprising answers? In my case, it is almost routine since my bouts of cold leave my auditory senses only partly functional. But many a time the pronunciations and accents are so perplexing, you end up giving funny answers.

Case I: First day of office with the head of the Engineering Division.
Sir: Okay what’s your (u) sername?
Me: Chandrasekhar.
Sir: Illai ma, what is your (u) sername?
Me: (Now a little perplexed) Chandrasekhar only sir.
Sir: Aiyo! Ellai maa..OOSERNAME…the one we put on the computer..!!
Me: Oh! That…
(I walked away minutes later thinking maybe his impression of my IQ must be hitting rock bottom!)

Case 2: To the Cashier at the desk:

Sir: Kiske saath ho yahan par? (Who are you with here?)
Me: Ten others sir.
Sir: You are with ten people! I need all their signatures on your salary voucher.
Me: You need the signatures of my PS mates on my voucher?
Sir: Yes, 10 of them. Which department here has 10 bosses? (Thankfully in English)
Me: Oh! No no, I have just one boss.
(Only then I realized the first question was about the boss)

Case 3: With the Head of Finance (A true blue Oriya)

Sir: Are you a (some word I didn’t understand) Trainee?
Me: (Nodding vigorously upon hearing trainee).
Sir: How come it says Engineering department on your voucher?
Me: I’m in engineering department.
Sir: How come you have management trainees in engineering department?
Me: I don’t think we have management trainees in the engineering department.

(He was now positively gaping at me and slowly shaking his head in disbelief. Only later, another Ps mate told me that he had enquired about me and was relieved to know I wasn’t a management trainee after all!)
He reminds me every time he meets me “Since you are from an engineering college you are an engineering trainee, understand? Management trainees are from Management Colleges”, before telling his colleagues “Some youngsters just don’t have the IQ , its genetic you know”.

I went to get my final voucher approved from him today and he asked me something I didn’t understand (I had already asked him to repeat his question) and just caught the words “yahan par?”
I instantly replied “Till 13th June sir!”
He smiled and said “I actually asked who your boss here is, but your information was useful too”.
“Babu Sir”, I said sheepishly.
“Finally”, he said “You told me the name of your boss. You shouldn’t be so scared to take his name you know”.

I’m sure the heads of finance and engineering are putting their heads together and muttering something darkly in disbelief every time I pass. I just can’t stop laughing at myself imagining their discussion about me!

Lolest!

Road-craze

It is ironic indeed. Pune is one of the most-industrialized cities, the smaller brother to one of the largest metropolis and houses the finest and the biggest industries. But there is something that goes beyond the infrastructure that tarnishes its image in less than an instant. For Pune, it is the crazy traffic.

For starters, the traffic signals are mostly disobeyed. The number of two-wheelers are in such abundance (thanks to the lack of public transport) that it is virtually impossible to drive without losing your cool or completing one auto ride without praying to God. People, however educated they might or might not be, seem to have NO sense whatsoever about traffic or roads or any rules or regulations of that sort. Pathetic is the only word that strikes me. In all the places I have lived in so far, Pune’s traffic is perhaps the WORST. The traffic sense here stands right at the bottom of a long list.

I was jolted out of my thoughts one morning on my way to PS as a PMC bus zipped past me at more than 40 kilometers an hour, a mere 4 inches away from my shoulder (with me walking outside the road on a mud-track), motorcyclists regularly brush past despite having the whole road to themselves and the ride in an auto is really very scary since the trucks and buses seem to appear like giant monsters ready to crash into you anytime. People verve, swerve, turn, stop, walk simply anywhere.

The old Mumbai-Pune highway is full of huge circles, squares and crossings and people seldom bother to stop at signals despite them being fully-functional. It makes life for pedestrians like me total hell and the mere task of commuting a real pain. I wonder if people missed out some crucial lessons on road-sense. I just hope someday they get atleast a little of it!

Till then, I will continue to pray everytime I travel in Pune.