Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fun things I'd do if I was boss....

My designation at my workplace reads "Member, Technical Staff". In the hierarchy of workplace designations, it is only just higher than "Intern" and "Coffee-machine-attender-dude"... I'm really not totally sure whether "Coffee-dude" is really lower in the workplace hierarchy than me, but it would be incredibly damaging to my self-esteem if I were to uncover evidence to the contrary. Hence my beliefs and assumptions... Anyways, whatever my designation is, it most definitely isn't "Boss". What that means is that I don't have any underlings, which is really quite sad because I have a whole host of ideas which I could implement as boss to make life exciting for both me and my underlings... Well, I may not be boss, but as "Member, Technical Staff" I still have the right to dream (at lest I think I do..). So, if I were boss, here's how things would be:

a) First things first.... the first thing I'd do as a boss would be invent some kind of a welcome anthem that my underlings would sing when I got to work in the mornings. It would sound something like..

Underlings: All hail Pushkar.... the wisest, kindest and smartest being that ever walked the planet... Master and Supreme overlord of the cubicles [cubicle numbers of underlings inserted here]... Protector of the meek and dispenser of justice.We submit to your awesome power and pledge total and undivided allegiance to your mightiness.
Me: [after surveying the scene solemnly for a moment...] Who da man?
Underlings: You da man....
Me: Correct....

b) There would be a custom designed elevated chair that I'd occupy during team meetings. This would give the team meeting the look and feel of the court of a monarch (which would, in case you haven't quite grasped that already, be me). For good measure, I'd ascend the throne wearing my bike helmet and carrying a borrowed umbrella, which would act as crown and scepter respectively. The meeting would commence once I had ascended my throne. I'd then point the scepter in the general direction of the underling that I wished to get a status report from. When I wished for the person who was talking to stop talking, I'd point the scepter skywards. And if I didn't like what I'd just heard, I'd simply point the scepter to the door... and that would be the signal that the offender make himself scarce and crawl back into the crummy cubicle whence he came from...

c) I'd make it a point to include buzzwords in my conversations with underlings that I knew hated management buzzwords..... just to get a kick out of watching them get red in the face and nod pleasantly when all they really wanted to do was throttle me to the world beyond..

: We must attempt to augment our revenues by leveraging our partners to streamline our offerings so they seamlessly integrate with products from heterogeneous sources.
Underling: Huh!!
Me: This would only be possible if our disparate business units synergistically collaborated towards a shared vision aimed at forwarding common business objectives.
Underling: (foaming at the mouth following this barrage of buzzwords..)
Me: hmm.. this coffee is really good...
Underling: (unable to absorb this debilitating context switch, falls to the floor senseless...)
Me: Coffee-dude.... Could you mobilize the resources necessary to facilitate the transportation of my underling to a medical facility in the proximity of this establishment?
Coffee-dude: (falls to the floor senseless...)
Me: uh-oh...

There's a whole host of things I'd like to do as boss, but I guess now would be a good time to stop given that I'm at my workplace and beginning to get a little carried away. Accidentally doing something boss-like right now could be extremely injurious to my career prospects and do my chances of ever becoming boss some serious damage. So, I'll stop now, but one day I will be boss... and then... hehahahaha... until later.. cheers.. 8-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The House-hunt

A couple of months ago my friends, bro and I had the luxury of a once in a lifetime experience.... hunting for accommodation in Bangalore. Once in a lifetime 'cos a man would sooner be dead than have to go through the ordeal again.. and if he had to, the experience would probably kill him anyways. When we set out on our quest, we cockily thought that the entire operation ... looking at accommodations, shortlisting the ones that appealed to our collective senses and confirmed to our individual tastes, talking to prospective landlords, negotiating on the final rent to pay and shifting to the new place... all would be concluded in a month's time. And even that if we were being exceedingly lazy... after all how hard could it be to find reasonable accommodation in India's fourth largest city and its software hub? Turns out, it is very hard indeed.

It was not long after we began our search that we realized this was going to be a little harder than we initially anticipated. Most house-owner dudes just seemed to have seizures when we mentioned that four of us planned to move into the accommodation. Those that didn't, asked for exorbitant rents when they realized that three of us were employed with software firms. The average house owner dude's thought process seemed to work some like this... "Software engineer => earns a ton of money => deserves to pay more => will pay more." Still another class of house-owner dudes seemed to be under the impression that renting out their places to bachelors would bring upon their households the seven plagues of ancient Egypt. After they'd unceremoniously shooed us off, they probably went straight to the temple to seek divine protection from any evil we may have brought to their doorstep. Then there were places for which the landlords expected a pound of flesh in rent just because the Bangalore municipal Corporation had accidentally laid a road in front of their houses. And still others that expected the king's ransom in rent just because they felt like it.... I mean, what the hell. The entire population of house-owners in Bangalore seemed to have collectively lost their common sense and decency. It was like the house-owner was the tyrannical king and the house-searcher-dude was the harassed commoner. The house-owner could as well yell out, "What? Bachelor?? Sentry.. off with his head" or "Four of you searching for a common accommodation? I'll humor you... Sentry.. put them all in a single cell... a really small one." It was like that...

Here's a hyperbole of a conversation between the typical house owner chap and us:

Me: Sir, we're here to see the accommodation you are renting out..."
Owner: (After subjecting all of us to his searing gaze for a good minute). It's a two bedroom place. The rent is 10000 per month. Utilities charged separately. The rent should be paid on the first of the month.
Me: Ok Sir.
Owner: So, which of you plans to stay here?
Me: All of us...
Owner: (Eyes getting wider than I'd have thought humanly possible) What?? I thought one of you would be staying here with his family..
Me: No Sir. We're all bachelors.
Owner: (Nearly falling to the floor in shock...) Bachelors??? (Taking a few deep breaths and thinking happy thoughts to regain some degree of equanimity) Sorry. I intend to rent out the place only to a family.
Me: Sir, this (pointing to my brother who's lost interest in the proceedings by this time and decided to focus his attention on a cute number walking a stoopid looking poodle) is my brother and the other two are close friends of mine. So, in a way, we are family. (All of us putting on our happy, ek-duje-ke-liye-hum expressions)
Owner: (looking a little undecided now..)
Me: (deciding this was the time to go in for the kill..) Three of us are software engineers...
Owner: (All previous animosity now forgotten..) Oh, why didn't you say so before. Which firms do you guys work for?
Me: (Rattling out the names before the man changed his mind again.)
Owner: (Pointing at Girish, the non-software-engineer in the gang) He's not a software engineer?
Me: No Sir. He's an architect.
Owner: Ohh!! ( A poignant "Oh" that conveys both disdain and mild pity.) Civil engineer?
Girish: (Anger barely contained) No, architect. Civil engineers study four years. We study five.
Owner: Its finally the same thing...
Girish: (looks like he's going to lose it but somehow manages to keep from strangling the owner dude to the next world with bare hands..)
Owner: Ok. Rent would be 12000
Me: But Sir, you had just said the rent was 10k.
Owner: That's for a family. You guys are bachelors... the four of you will be sharing the rent payment. So you guys can pay 12k.
Me: (Still reeling from the blinding flash of the man's logic..) Ok Sir. If you insist....
Owner: C'mon, let me show you the accommodation... (and leads us up a dimly lit stairwell to the first floor and drives a shiny key into a door that looks like its going to come apart at the hinges...)
Me: (Having taken a grand tour of the house and astutely observed that apart from the single bathroom and ceiling fans that looked like they were in use when Lord Mountbatten signed the declaration of Indian independence, wardrobes were conspicuous by their absence) Sir, there seem to be no wardrobes in the place....
Owner: What do you need wardrobes for? You guys are bachelors...
Me: (Not quite grasping the complex logic he had hurled at me) Sir?
Owner: You guys don't have to worry about keeping the house clean and all that. You can dump the clothes wherever you want to...
Me: (Realization striking at last. Not realization about the owner's super logic, but that this was a total scam..) Ah!! Ok Sir. Thanks for showing us the place. It's really quite good. We'd like to discuss it further.. Can we have your number please? (already walking backwards and out of the house...)

So, that was about how the average accommodation assessment session progressed. Anyways, after about three months of painstaking efforts we lost patience and zeroed in on a place. And I'm proud to announce we've moved into our new place. Sure, all the faucets leak, the place has more ants than a king-sized anthill, the ceiling fans look like they were in use when Lord Mountbatten signed the declaration of Indian independence and the L-shaped living room's acoustics make the TV sound like its broken.... but atleast the place has wardrobes.... and two bathrooms... woohoo.... until later.. cheers.. :-)

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Case of the Crazy Crow

If my posts of late seem a little less regular than past trends would indicate, it is purely because I have been enjoying the good life for sometime now... good food, lots of TV and very little else. In plain words, I have just been too damn lazy to post anything. Another effect of the aforementioned "good life" is that there's not a whole lot going on in my life right now and if I were to start posting about it, I would soon have a lynch mob on my hands, which I am not a big fan of. So I have to revert once again to my childhood when the days were filled with untold excitement. And if you are thinking, "Oh no! Here he goes again... prattling about some inane tale about the time when he was a fat and stupid kid..." , you really couldn't be more wrong. This incident occurred before I got fat and stupid. At the time of this incident I was fatter and stupider. Anyways, these details are inconsequential to the story. So, here goes..

This incident occurred when I was no more than five, but the details are still very clearly etched in my memory and its only a miracle that I grew up to be a normal (smart, rational, intelligent and allround excellent) human being and not some raving psycho with anti-social tendencies after this traumatic experience. It was summer vacation time for me and my parents and I were visiting our relatives down at our native village on the west-coast of India. The village had all the trappings that make for an excellent rural experience... a river flowing through it, a small river beach, lush paddy fields, mountains in the horizon and even a tiny island in the middle of the river. Even as a kid I appreciated these small pleasures of life and settled very quickly into the rustic lifestyle of a country gentleman.

One day, as I was strolling in the courtyard munching on a piece of hard candy and generally admiring the peaceful life, I noticed a crow perched on a wall and generally not doing a whole lot... all this while chewing on the hard candy. To this day I don't know whether it was the hard candy that interested the crow or whether it just took offence to me staring at it, but the vile creature flapped its evil wings and made straight for me. The gravity of the situation didn't dawn on me until it was too late. And then, the stupid crow crashed into me sending me, him and the hard candy all to the ground. He then stumbled to his feet, looked around for a bit and flew off as if nothing had happened leaving me shocked and wondering what the hell had just happened. Excitement had come crashing into my rustic lifestyle... quite literally... I gathered the pieces of the fragmented candy and ran indoors. Rustic life and all that was good, but rustic life indoors, watching TV, was a lot safer.

That was my first brush with the animal kingdom. I have since had run-ins with dogs, house lizards, snakes and a psycho squirrel, which I shall not delve into at this time. The point is, the crow incident taught me early on to be wary of even harmless looking critters. Now my philosophy regarding misc. fauna is, "If it looks cute... beware. If it doesn't, beware anyways...." and to this day, it has not let me down... until later.. cheers.. 8-)