Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Well Yes...I am "NON-CORPORATE-ive"

Few days back…I was spring cleaning my old drawers. No surprises, the bottommost shelf was the most neglected one ...since the last 4 years never touched, never cleaned . I sat down on the chataai…and started pulling things out one by one.  The first ones waiting there - were all my CAT MAT SNAP practice sheets and MBA books. It took me back to the days of life - when every moment was about “competing” and getting that 99 percentile and cracking the CAT. Today these sheets were being eaten by the small red cockroaches …I went back to those days of life when Life depended on clearing an competitive examination …I smiled and started making a pile of papers which will today reduce the burden of my cupboards by a few kilos.

The next ones were the numerous companies profiles I used to print in my 4th MBA Sem for the campus placements …It Read ..Microsoft , HCL, Infosys, RBS , Satyam…I went back in memory of the days of my campus placements …The days which were about clearing a GD and a PI, where every morning at my college canteen started by asking people on the breakfast table – “Placement Hua Kya” ? “Kitna CTC?” I went back to those days of life when Life depended on clearing an interview of a Brand  which would put a price tag on me …I smiled and added the papers to the pile ,  900 grams added !

Then came my 3 years appraisals sheets…A…B…A…B… I saw the column between the GOAL Description and Appraisers Comment. The column was about “Appraisee”  which I used to fill– I read amused at my “convincing” skill…”I have been instrumental in achieving targets, Employee Grievenaces Handled… I completed my Six Sigma Poject and the project report will be ready by end of month”…I went back to those days of Life ...when life depended on the Bell Curves of my company  … I smiled and added the papers to the pile ,  775 grams added !

After around 3 hours of retrospection, I got knees sore, I collected all the papers and put them in a bag , opened the door and left it outside the entrance for it to be cleared next day morning.  As I sat back and had tea – a thought crossed my mind . I grew up always wanting to be academically brilliant, I achieved a 9.46 CGPA at MBA, I cracked campus interviews and my bosses always liked my work.  I was the person who saw Madhur Bhandarkars movie “Corporate” and fell in love with the plush glass cabins n top floors of high rise offices in Mumbai. My aspiration managed to kept me on the first two slots of a Bell Curve wherever I worked. I wondered how and why did I give all that up ….. and I started observing every passing thought …. Over the next few days …I started writing down …

The next morning was my flight to Bangalore for business.  As I stood in my torn jeans and osho chappals for check in – Two very “corporate” grey haired gentlemen stood next to me…reading the “Economic Times”. Stern look on face with golden rimmed spectacles, black blazers and white shirt covering the expanding belly . They discussed the Economic Policies of Arvind Kejriwal and with 291 MBA jargons concluded that Kejriwal does not have economic sense.  Then they started talking about their company (I am refraining from quoting names here). I was getting entertained now…I think they were HODs of a revenue centre in their organization. The talk started with Bottom Lines, Utilization, Core Competencies, SLAs and  Sustainable Revenue Growth through Strategy Implementation (PHEW!).  The winter morning made things even more entertaining …. The flight got delayed by 3 hours …Now these two men started frowning. The depth in the stressed out  lines of their forehead deepened.  They argued with the ground staff about their “Annual Review Meet” and started throwing their weight around . They used 4 complex words , said how they HAVE TO BE ON TIME but lastly sat down like all others drinking coffee on the benches before Departure Gate no 3 A. They spoke for next 3 hours about bottom lines of the company , where they were employed …they spoke about “business” and the strategies.  I smiled, took my small white towel , removed my spectacles  covered my face , smiled  and dozed off . I understood 34 percent of my decision…I never wanted a life – where I knew all the Complicated Jargons from SLA to Maslows Theories  but all this was for someone else’s organization. Never wanted a life where someone else decides where and when I have to reach .  I love Botton Lines, and I love Revenues too – and all I know is it just requires one simple word – GUTS to do it for myself. This word for me replaces all other jargons.

It was a few days later , where I got the opportunity to be with myself and  enjoy a good quite lunch at the “Café Bean Garu, Powai”.  It was a lovely afternoon and became special with A steaming bowl of sambhar and steamed rice. As I sat on the wooden chair and table , three suited ladies came next to me and sat . I assumed this would be their lunch break.  They sat and started taking about the famous “bell curve”. I guess the appraisals were just around the corner. I assumed they are all from my ex fraternity of “HR” J. The discussed the Band As…The Band Bs…the disagreements and the dissatisfied ,Band Ds and Es…They cribbed about how many stories they have to make and somehow convince the Band D that he is a loser …lol..and the next year he can be Band A…From Band to Band…The “Band” was lyrical and I went back to my old days…I took up a tissue paper and calculated…

10 hours everyday *5 days a week*50 weeks minimum a year*40 years of corporate life = 1 LAKH Hours !!!! One Lakh Hours of perception management , of diplomacy, of gossiping, of justifications, of wanting promotions, of waiting for appraisals. I smiled …finished my sambhar and paid the bill. As I walked backhome…I realized the rest  47 percent of my decision.

I was still 19 percent away from reaching a conclusion. I realized I never had issues with anything as such as I performed everywhere and enjoyed the corporate life too. Infact when everyone used to crib on a canteen table …I only used to smile because I knew what I was building in the background. I never even related to the bitching about the bosses ….in fact I feel I have always been blessed with the best friends, best collegues, best teachers , best bosses and super bosses in life and I love them all whether they understood or did not understand my decisions, whether there are hush hush talks in those high rise cabins about me or not. But I understood to live differently I need to travel an unknown territory. And I am happy to have had made my choices.

The past one year has been a life changer…Not only Life has changed – the way I Live has changed. From a time bound schedule to enjoying the 11 am nap. From coming home at 10 pm to dancing in middle of a highway with buddies at 2 am (the pic is about that From managing perceptions to laughing about perceptions being made. From bell curves to a life of abundance. From complicated presentations to speaking my heart out. From a world of judging everyone to a world of understanding judgments. From a world of being “mature” to letting my hair down and being a kid again. From a world of fear to a world of confrontations. From 10 hours of Strategic Meetings on Monday to 15 mins of sensible introspection. From a world of doubting everyone to a world of love.

For the 19 percent of my decision ….I looked back at my cupboard …It looked cleaner, lighter, brighter and happier. I smiled and understood.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life is A MOVIE !

I have almost lost touch with penning my thoughts down. Today I do it again.

I really don’t know how I should write what I want to write about. The last one year has been the most crucial year of life and it has changed my life and my perceptions about many things almost 360 degrees.
As I retrospect and look at the last one year – Well it was not only about the journey from Mumbai local train to a BMW 5 series. It was not only about the journey from an employee to an entrepreneur. It was not only about a journey from a Savings account to a Current one. It was about the change of my perspective towards life, myself and people. 

I was born in a typical middle class family with a mindset reeking of fear, inhibitions, hypocrisy, complacence, doubts about everything and everyone, and a mindset which always says “Its too good to be True”. I had almost started believing that Life is NOT a movie ! I used to think the perfect life is only found for 3 hours in cinema halls which a girl like me should enjoy over a caramel pop corn and once the movie is done , should quietly return back to the what majority of the world defines as “normal”.

Now before u start hating me (and well u can ) let me clarify – I am still amongst the very middle of a middle class and I love it….but today I don’t carry that mindset which limits my vision….or atleast I am trying not to.  Over the last one year I realized all the aspects which for 27 years of my life were limiting me and making me an “audience to a movie” rather than “making my life a spectacular movie”….and Yes This Movie has started J ! Below are some of the most important things which I shed in the past year and I hope and pray I never fall prey to any of them ever again:

Intelligence – This is my favorite! I always used to think – being able to do “Six Sigma” Project was like so kickass J! Being a 9.46 CGPA in MBA was like wow ! Planning, “Analyzing” Brainstorming to save organizations cost was like MAN I HAVE arrived in life!!!….until one day the reality hit my grey cells –If I was so Intelligent – why was I looking for someone else to put a price tag on my forehead and decide my future! I used to think being Philosophical was like so cool …and discussing complicated topics would make me look so good amongst people like me. I realized over a period of time that we only like that philosophy which is convenient to us ..example – “Money is not everything”…but then on Monday morning let’s get into a crowded train , fight rains … stand almost on edge of the local and reach a place which well- “pays us money” … and then in evening again say “kya karna  hai itne paise ka” …Dude the Monk who sold his Ferrari , at least bought it in the first place! I today believe Philosophies are about experience, not convenience.

One quality which today I think I hate is this Illusion of Intelligence. I have come to terms with the fact that I am STUPID …and well it took me guts to accept it. The day acceptance of my stupidity came in …life changed. The mind opened to new ideas and I felt like a child again. I wish and pray to God to never give me my intelligence back …bcos everything beautiful in life is stupid- the first crush, the love letters, the adrenaline rush to achieve the impossible, the smile of a child and well life itself …Life always boasts about its power …and then a thing as stupid as a death comes and puts every logic to end! Stupidity is effortless, stupidity is beautiful.

Fear and Inhibitions- This is a BIGGIE! Many men think they have this …but ----Guts is not about taking a broom and moving a lizard off the kitchen wall! It’s about believing in something which cannot be seen and working towards it to make it a reality.  I realized I was always taught to be afraid and to doubt anything unknown and this created a lot of inhibitions in mind. Small things like “Room is dark, so don’t go there” …it slowly started making me a person who would rather not take up something for the fear of failure. I realized that somewhere the EGO to fail was so high that I always was looking at safer options where my “intelligence” would say I will succeed and hence keep me in a boring comfort zone. As my intelligence started depleting, the Ego went away. Without ego…there’s no fear of the world which will always pass judgments…and I realized a fact – anyways the world is too busy watching movies of others lives and eating caramel popcorn .  The fear and inhibition has today evaporated along with my intelligence and it’s a lovely place to be in.

Hypocrisy and Judgments – Ahem Ahem! I always used to say “I don’t want it” because somewhere I knew “I cant get it”. The reason for “I cant get it” was simple “I cant move my @** to get it” ! The last one year I started thinking “Why Not”! Quite a paradigm shift for me. From a complete lazy hypocrite to a rather hardworking animal is what it takes to take the bull by the horn and make all the difference. I feel that the entire complicated wiring of my brain is now dismantled and I am left with like two simple wires – one which reads “I want it” and second “So Get it “ ! I was almost a PHD in Judging others and others success …I realized that Success is something which doesn’t require judgments...just action. It takes no effort to be a hypocrite, it takes some effort to judge …and it takes a LOT of effort to have walk past these two evils of the society and establish Success for oneself.

The last one year was difficult.... to break away from all the above…a big task. But as I look back …today it feels much lighter, much sorted out. Why am I writing all this – To Inspire ?? NAAH ! I believe No one in this world can get inspired by someone else. I am just writing because I am having a stupidity attack and I wanted to express the journey of the last one year … For me making my life a movie is exciting and It feels great to get back to blogging. Please ignore all the things and get back to caramel popcorn!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

To Desire Is To Exist !

This weekend was different – A city which never sleeps was tucked away in complete silence. As  Arnab Goswami goes on with his marathon coverage of the demise of Mr. Bal Thackeray , the TV screen looks as if someone has poked a huge beehive,  as millions of people take to the streets to bid The Man a final goodbye.

Since I had lot of time today , I happened to speak with a old intelligent friend of mine, one of those few people I like to debate with – and somehow we got drifted into a mini debate about  “Materialism versus Spiritualism” .  In his attempt to score a run, he made a statement (good one) ...Which got me thinking --- “Every man of desire is silenced by the truth of death.”

After the call, a thought crossed my mind – Is death the end of desires, or end of desires – a death. 

There was a period in my life , where I had chosen the easiest way of living – The Mode of denial . From Art of Living , to giving up colors as preached by Brahmakumaris.  On comparatively lesser extremist days , I was also amongst those who would  commonly misuse and abuse the word – materialistic .  I did it because, it was the easiest excuse to quickly suppress any inherent need of achievement. Denial of need is denial of effort, and hence it’s one of the most popular concepts.  However as I stepped out of that world, I have started to believe firmly – To desire is To Exist. 

We all are pretty much a product of desire. To start with, we were born because of someone’s desires.  As a child we desire love , as a student we desire marks, as an employee we desire salary hikes, as a businessman we desire profits, as a politician we desire power,  as a parent we desire a “desirable” child, as a old man we desire respect . Even saints desire "moksha"....

The simplest meaning of materialism is attachment. Whether it is to money, life , urge for affirmations and admirations, performance appraisals, power,  cars, promotions,  business profits, it still is under the umbrella of “being material”. Now most people have issues not with being materialistic, but accepting that they are one.  The reason is, we are somehow conditioned to believe – it’s not the right thing to do. The ones who condition us are also the ones who lived in complacency, fear and denials. 

I asked myself a simple question - aren’t all religions of the world and spiritual schools propagated to fulfill their desire of acceptance in the world? Aren’t rallies of Kejriwal and Anna Hazare a product of their “desire” to do good for the nation? Aren’t Dalai Lama’s efforts for preserving human rights in Tibet, a desire to protect his people? Don’t we all argue to satisfy our desire to win an argument? Infact as I am writing this blog, I have an inherent desire to put my thoughts across.

Desires need not be destroyed, denied or suppressed. It only needs to be purified, accepted and be channelized for someone’s good.  We all are men and women of desires and it’s perfectly all right to be so. I believe – Spirituality and Materialism is not mutually exclusive. In fact the fundamental of being spiritual is to be in “a state of awareness” and Acceptance is the first step towards awareness.

If there is a divide, it’s only of one type – The ones who can accept and ones who can escape. I am proud  of my desires and for me its acceptance is existence.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Two Halves


The cricketing season madness has overtaken this part of the globe. I am not a sports enthusiast, but if you are in India – unless you are dumb, deaf and blind – all three at the same time -you would know that a cricket match is on.

The  other day, I stopped  over for a quick bite at a Bandra café  and by the time I had finished eating 57% of my Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese, a group of well dressed men  arrived and grabbed the table next to me . Until then, I wasn’t aware I was sitting on one of the most strategically well placed tables and the second half of the “match” was just about to start. In a moment, men of all castes, creeds, language, color, sizes appeared from nowhere. The bodies pressing against each other, mouths open, pupils dilated and beads of sweat rolling down from behind their ear pinna speeding south towards their Louis Philippe collars.

During the next 43% of my meal, I heard – “Kya yaar, itna simple tha”…."Yaar kya catch choda”….”Yeh sab fixed hai...aaj dekh India haarega”…”Kya C*****pa  hai yaar”. On my BBM  and Facebook, many status messages read the similar expert opinions.
I looked at the LED Screen and looked back at the crowd on the other side and a thought crossed my mind …

We live in a world clearly divided into two halves. One half is where there are people with lots of opinions , men and women who specialize in commentary and shout and dance like monkeys  – their enthusiasm is very high , may be they are much more well read and experienced too-  but they exploit their potential only to an extent of  giving free advice on afternoons like these.

The other half is those few  who choose to take a step ahead and leave this crowd behind . Those who choose to be deaf to the world and practiced on the field on many scorching afternoons while the “experts” contributed to their belly fat sitting on a couch eating potato chips . 

On a lighter note I thought we do need people on both sides – employers and employees, thinkers and doers, people who spend lives questioning and people who spend lives finding answers, cowards and warriors, the people who play and those who clap at the end. 

I don’t know what exactly I discovered that afternoon, but one thing just got clearer – One can either spend life building opinions or building success.

As I finished the spaghetti and paid the bill, I already knew which side I want to be in …

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Not a Post !

Today, I was just going through the little pieces of work in my blog. I began to think why I have not been able to write much off late.

A little bit of introspection helped. I realized that whenever I created a thought to write- the end user (reader)  was always in my mind. The reader in this case- was a reflection of who I was as a person- a fabric of pessimism, complacency, and an ardent fan of the depth of sorrow! 

A quick calculation showed me more than 95% of my posts belonged to this category. I belonged there few months back - from coffee table conversations to chit chat in local trains- it was always about “a crib “. And trust me – this SELLS. No wonder people liked my work …its easier for them to associate with.

Off late, life is changing …changing for good! A journey has started from a cynic to a believer.  From a person who constantly had reasons to whine to a person with reasons to smile ! The probability equations of life are slowly changing. I am choosing to choose my sunshine.From now on , I may not give you a good read- my market segment is changing !

This certainly is not my blog post today, but a conversation with myself about those things in life which I once thought were “so-not-me”. I still can’t put few thoughts here – because the thoughts I carry today will sound like gyaan …you are better off with self-help books in that case. My USP is gone , and I am glad about it . I declare to choose my new  fabrics now J

This is a mere change of reflection when I looked into my blog today - which I want to capture forever … in my blogosphere as  my bookmark! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Neither pain, nor a need to heal

Neither Life, nor a zeal to live

Neither love, nor a need to feel

Neither dead, nor afraid to decay

Neither truth, nor a reason to prove

Neither greed, nor an urge to dream

Neither smiles, nor a tear to drop

Neither silence, nor a word to seek

Neither past, nor a present to believe

Neither shadows, nor a memory to leave

Heartless, a heart without a beat…

this is u and this is me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy, My Foot?

This place is buzzing. I wonder how so many of these women could give up on the most precious thing in this world- D Sunday morning sleep….

I am at a plush unisex salon. It’s that part of Mumbai where every inch of real estate matters. I observe the details of its utilitarian interior designs. Each corner being given its due importance, vertical placements, foldable equipments, smart merchandizing- Loreal and Wella screaming that they are the biggest in the market from smallest of the surfaces!

I am waiting for someone… anyone to get free. To give you a background- today, I am the snapdeal girl (the type of clientele who has already paid up and got a big discount anyways. So every staff’s eyeball says I had to wait!). I don’t mind , as if I had a choice:P.

I look around.

The staff roaster reads all “Present”- no SL/CL. Some Renita came in late though! :) They are all dressed in smart black trousers and shirts, with a Red Apron, well equipped and ready with their gear: scissors- small and big, combs- thin and thick, gels and serums. Their hair spiked , highlighted with audacious colors. Some have their eyebrows pierced and some their tongues .

I shift my focus to the clientele. Three chairs in a row, three women belonging to a different age box , staring at the spotless mirror ahead. It looks like a confused contrast of colors spilled over a canvas….

Her small feet move freely in air on the red leather chair. She is wearing a bright yellow polka dotted frock. Light green, blue veins show up from below the thin tender skin of her wrists… must be in her pre teens. She gives perfect instructions about the nail art she wanted post pedicure- the length of the nails, the colour of petals, the pseudo wet look . She was pepped up, excited may be about the latest crush at school . I wondered , how ignorant we were back then- for us it was an achievement if only we could apply our mom’s lipstick stored high up ,in inaccessible drawer .

The next chair was occupied by a regular client. Probably rich, definitely hefty, she wore expensive stones in almost all visible parts of her body. Looked as if she had the entire day and enough credit limit on her cc to help the salon achieve its weekly revenue target. She started with a pedicure. I could also see the most experienced guy was servicing her, he knows - I am assuming better than her husband what she liked, which nerves to press , the pascals of pressure to apply, the texture of scrub that suited her. There was no hurry to reach anywhere, no excitement to please anyone but herself. She stared in the void…The life in her eyes, was lost somewhere between the mascara and the kaajal. There was a dullness- abundance of money and age had brought with it…someday I will be there- with wrinkles and that day may be I will have the time and money to buy expensive antiwrinkle technology .

The third one was the corporate chick, may be in early thirties. The one who is always in a hurry, the type A personality. The one who destroys 22 loooong days of their life slogging- so that she can buy self assurances of pampered feet on 4 short weekends..compressing her life and building mirages that when she earns enough, one day she will quit. She was too pre occupied to enjoy the pedicure her money bought for her.

Three women three pedicures. For a moment the salon looked like a factory- where machines were being serviced. Some machines brand new…some worn out. This parlor , every office, each home- a circle of perpetual production and consumption, the same machines sometimes producing, sometimes consuming and in the end …all that we are left with is a pair of happy feet...Oh , there's someone calling me for my pedicure... let me also get happy , my foot!