Friday, June 29, 2007

Just something.

I have to start out by saying that this is about my longing (of course, who else would I write about!). But even as I start out I am having trouble deciding which longing to talk about. All I do know is there is something I want to say.

Guess I’ve made up my mind.

Here is something I have been wanting for the past 5 years. I can’t remember anything else in my so many years of existence that I have wanted for this long or this much. Since I got into engineering my only thought has been to get out and do an MBA. That’s what I saw my future in. My daydreams almost always consisted of me in business suits in a company like Google or P&G, as a graduate from an IIM or a Columbia/Chicago. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why, but I had absolutely no thought of a what-if-it-doesn’t-happen scenario. Funny thing is I am quasi confident about myself, which means that I am confident of my capabilities but not always the same of my ability to get what I want. But this was the one thing that I was absolutely, more than a 100%, certain of. That was my future and there were no two ways about it.

But of late I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I will get there with time to spare, or for that matter, even in the nick of time. I have begun to feel that I have perhaps missed the ticket and that this, today, is my future. And that, my dear person-with-patience-to-be-with-me-thus-far, is the stuff nightmares are made of. Being another ant in the flat world, running around with the same load as the others, all part of an assembly line, the end of which none has seen. I have scorned and laughed at all my fellow ants, and promised myself at every appraisal that it would be my last one in the company… only to be reneging that in the next appraisal cycle. And as you already guessed (or know), we are in the midst of an appraisal cycle right now. It looks as though I will definitely have a couple of more such cycles to go through before I swim ashore and out of the system.

I kind of get the feeling that I am stuck in a Hotel California situation.

I was reading ISB blogs today, discovered a few more contacts studying there. And I was thinking to myself, they’re there, one step closer, while here I am, still aspiring.

Whatever I imagined my first job to be, it certainly wasn’t this. It didn’t consist of waiting till Friday every week and waiting till month end, so that I could count down another month. Another month to what? I don’t know. Normally, payday lifts my spirits a wee bit. Today was payday and I am more depressed than ever. Even a visit to the icici bank website did nothing to ease the blues and neither did the fact that today is my favorite day of the week.

In other news, another Friday came and went and so did some more friends from the company. They bought their freedom, lucky buggers. As the week ended, so did the month, and now I am on the 20th month. 4 more to go.

I dream of the day when I will be sending out one of those goodbye mails. Meanwhile I’ll just practice my typing skills and hope they come in use when I decide to begin my book – whenever that will be, if at all! And perfect the shortcuts for the smileys on MS Office Communicator.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

All for a Pod!!!

Brilliant weather here. I am, as expected, pooped up in an airconditioned building, with a false ceiling, fluorescent lights and the constant tik-tik of a thousand finger tips playing a tattoo on their DELLs for company!
Here's what I am doing, all for an iPod! Wasting precious cash to send 10 sms'es to some arbit number that promises to reward me with an iPod if I get 10 questions correct, on the occasion of World Music Day. Sigh!!
They'd better give me that pod...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tragedy at CCD

When I was a trainee at Mysore, I had various ways of rewarding myself if I did well on the test for the week. More of an incentive than a reward, really. And sometimes if I did really badly, then I would reward myself again, this time more to cheer myself up!
My favourite reward was a slice of the deliciously sinful Chocolate Fantasy pastry from one of the Cafe Coffee Day outlets on campus. If you have no idea what that is, then I suggest you get your ass to the nearest CCD, as we fondly called it there, and sample it for yourself. Words simply cannot do it any justice. I tried googling for a picture, but I couldn't find one that quite conveyed what I wanted it to.
Since I got back from training I haven't had a chance to visit any of the CCDs here and much less the chance to sample a Choc Fantasy. So yesterday when I had to meet Adi, I decided CCD had to be the place. We settled down and since we share a lot in common, including our love for that little piece of heaven, we ordered a Choc Fantasy apiece - no discussion was needed on that one!
I was one spoonful into mine, when plop! went the whole thing on the floor! While I was busy chatting, I'd tilted the plate and all of that, minus one spoon that was in my mouth, fell - I wish I could say crashing down and make it sound all dramatic, but none of that happened - it just slipped gracefully down my trousers* and onto the floor. All this while Adi and I watched with a look of utter horror. This was sacrilege in some form for sure! Why this is especially tragic is because just as we feasted our eyes on the plate when the cakes arrived, I had remarked that I was supposed to be on a diet! Imagine Dobby (from the HP series), banging his head on the wall, trying to punish himself - that was me yesterday.
Oh well, that's forty bucks I'll never see again, and a diet I will be more careful to follow from now on!

* Update: The stain of chocolate on my trousers refuses to wash off, despite all that diligent scrubbing and although daag might be achhe , this one is anything but nice!
As though I need more painful reminders...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Some good customer service

Last week, I was reading this article on the Freakonomics blog site about good customer service and how it can make your day and how it can be really really rare. ( Read that piece here)
My dad and I were discussing how that was sorely missing in the Indian service industry scene and we even brainstormed on a business plan involving that.
Well, something just happened yesterday that reaffirmed our faith in the service industry of this country. On our morning jaunt on the Besant Nagar beach yesterday, we had the engineers from Hyundai doing a free service camp for all Hyundai cars in the parking lot. Not only did they voluntarily give our Santro a check up, they also cleaned the windshield, mirrors, foot mats and tyres. Icing on the cake was when they got a guy from Amaron batteries to give our car battery a once-over! As though all of that was not enough, they kept bottles of mineral water for the walkers/joggers at the beach. As we drove off they pressed into Dad's hands a neatly wrapped gift package. (We opened it on the way home, it was a cute desk clock)
Needless to say, we were talking about it all day. No prizes for guessing that it really made our Sunday.
When the sister and I took a walk upto the organic veggies van, we saw that the Hyundai guys had also found themselves a spot on the otherwise pretty full parking lot. They had new variants for the Getz and Verna on display there.
Yesterday, Hyundai managed to make a lot of customers lifetime customers.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Outsourcing and some other stuff

It’s time for some more (negative) publicity for outsourcing. American elections are coming up and so these issues are in the line of fire once again (there were there last just about 5 years ago, when our dear hero was voted for second term). Along with that another side kick of an issue has earned its share of rumbling. This is the issue of the H1B visa. This of course has caused a bit of a furor among the IT junta. Having my name in the lottery caused me also to be copied on all the mails that were doing the rounds at work, about the latest on the visa issue.
So what was all the noise about anyways? Well some members of the American senate decided that granting as many H1Bs as they do is proving detrimental to the employment figures of the local population in their country. They have this concept of Phantom GDP that explains why they were hailing outsourcing as the next big things all these years but suddenly have the numbers that prove that, well, it's not all they imagined! The long and short of it is that they opine that when we go ‘ onsite’, as it is called in IT parlance, we rob an American local of his job. Of course, they forget to mention here that the amount it would cost our dear client companies to pay an American to do the job is more than it would cost them to have two Indian IT yuppies there to do the same job and then some more! So anyways they decided that they would have some kind of lottery system to decide who among the thousands who apply for visas will be the exalted beings that will get to grace their shores. It doesn’t make sense to me at all so I’m not going to say too much about it here. All I know is that they don’t understand that H1B or not, getting us to do the work is a win-win for both parties and a win-lose for the aforementioned exalted parties. Win- lose you wonder? Well, you win because you get to go. You lose because once you’re there, you lose all your sleep and peace of mind. People say that the lose part makes up for the number of zeros that add to your bank balance. I don’t know about that though and I don’t think it is food for thought.
We will come back to outsourcing for now. I read somewhere that there are organizations in the US – where else! - that are willing to outsource journalism! Simply put it means that you can, sitting here in India, cover an even that is going on in some part of the US! Sounds improbable? You’ll be surprised! Pasadena Now, a local news website has hired reporters from India to cover Council meetings sitting in the comfort of well, their country! According to a printed interview of the guy who owns this website, this move has been done in keeping with budget issues. You can read more about this here. Apparently, this is passé stuff because the Wall Street Journal regularly gets Reuters reports for its editions that are written in India’s silicon valley, Bangalore. Needless to say, the American media has been to quick to lap this up and the ensuing buzz that this news has created.
Where there is controversy of this sort there are also some funny takes! You will recall that I recently pointed you to a really classy article on Joshua Bell’s impromptu undercover concert in Washington DC subway station. The author of that brilliant piece has written another classy and really hilarious piece on his take on the outsourcing of journalism. You can read that and have yourself a good laugh right here. This isn’t long and is a must for those who are familiar with the politics of Tamil Nadu - the rest of you can read it too so long as you know the name of our Chief Minister.

So what’s the bottom line here? Nothing much really. They made a lot of noise about something. They managed to create some noise here. They got their way for this year. What’s left to be seen is if they’ll get their votes. I suppose that could be the stuff of another post. Meanwhile, we’ll just remain mute spectators to all the job-hopping that is going to be seen here among those who have got their visa applications rejected. And of course we will be mute and enthusiastic spectators to more Indian journalists getting their names in the black and whites of American news business.
Are we in for some entertainment or what!


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