Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We need some new clichés

****This post was written last week or may be few days before that.****

I do have a few things to write about today and it is not the sort of typing hogwash that is normally present on this page. Tabulating it will not be such a bad idea it seems.

a) I got a call from CNBC Awaaz in the morning that they wanted to do an interview regarding some change in placement policy of my college. The best representative that they could come up for my college was me. That says a lot about their standards. The interviewer told me that she got couple of other comments from a few other students and she got their contacts through Orkut. I thought the Big Bad Television Networks had big databases and huge sources but if their source for policy in my ex-college is me then I do not think I will ever trust the so called experts on TV anymore while making investment decisions.

b) When the interview was about to start I noticed that the girl doing the interview was wearing a really fancy watch. I always thought that people in this business did not make a lot of money. She seemed like someone who should be at the bottom of the pecking order otherwise she would not have come down to my office to do the interview. The hypocrisy of the whole thing was very evident when she asked one of the MBA-Aspirants to give his viewpoint on how an IIT-Aspirant feels thanks to the policy change.

c) I have been watching CNBC Awaaz for quite some time now. One of my friends did tell me that it aired sometime back but I missed it. I hope that they repeat this piece of crap as they do the rest.

d) I called up one of the three females I know last night only to find out that she had couple of exams today. I hope they went well. She had promised to call me once she was free. I had messaged her as well about the whole interview thing which is a big deal for someone like me. I have been waiting for quite some time now. I think I will give her a call right now. I do understand that it is 12:30 in the night but I don’t think it would be a problem. She was returning from a night show and said that she would call me once she is back in her room. Her excuse for not calling – “I have a life man.” Am I being too much of a sissy or that would have hurt anyone? Should I reduce the number of females I know by 33.33 %?

e) Female No. 2’s birthday is coming up on the 11th or 12th, I am not very sure. Orkut will help me with that also. Female No. 3, my current girlfriend, has persuaded me enough to go and buy her gift tomorrow itself and courier it so that she gets it on time. I do not think that is a good idea. I would like to get the gift a couple of days later so that the surprise factor is there. I do not remember for sure, but I think I met her through a Leo Community on Orkut. That makes it around 3 years or is it 4.

f) SHIT!!! That means that I have been dating Female no. 3 for 3 years!!! …. or is it 4?

g) I realized today that I have also developed a “Takiya-kalaam” which became evident when I was about to leave the class today, when one of the students said, “We will call it a day here”.

h) The best comment that I received about the interview was from a techie friend who called to congratulate me. I had sent him the SMS which I had sent to many others, “Watch my interview on CNBC at 2000 hrs today”. He thought that the interview had something to do with stock markets and investments. He has seen the couple of investing books lying around in my room but that just shows how much people think the experts on TV know. I made my first investment in February this year and thanks to the sub-prime jitters in the US, my mutual funds have overtaken my performance in the stock market.

i) I finally found out how HRA is taxed and plan to make a post on that in couple of days or so. The funda of Bonus Stripping is also very interesting and I have figured out how to do it. Just making a list of the pros and the cons. That should be covered in the next post.

j) And finally, a brilliant and slightly chauvinistic advertisement from WonderBra.

Chalo Then, we will call it a day here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

You're Killing Independent George

People are crazy and times are strange,

I used to care…. But things have changed.

And boy…. have they changed for the worse. At least that was my knee jerk reaction when I got to know that my parents will be moving in with me for a period of 2-3 months. This does put in my bohemian lifestyle (some people like to use other adjectives like shabby, dirty, shitty) in a jeopardy. I have moved into a new flat which is costing me double of what my old flat used to cost. I got a decent enough raise this year but all that money has been drained out thanks to this new change. The other pressure that it has put on me is having a controlled life-style of getting up and hence sleeping on time. I do not know for how long I will be able to keep up with this but it has been going fine for the past couple of days. The solution that I have worked out is that I will be spending a lot more time at my friend’s place but that is definitely not a long term solution.

The work pressure has started to reduce as I am down to 5 batches now from 7 and will be finishing two more in the next two weeks. It does mean that I will be bored a lot more in office and hence will have a little more time to blog. I think blogging lost its charm when I stopped reading blogs of other people. It was a great method to communicate and to know more people. As of know, I do not have the need to know anymore. Considering I do what I do, I get enough ego boosters in my job and I do not need to turn to the virtual world for that. However, it would be nice to meet new people but I do not think that anyone who already doesn’t know me visits this blog because of the simple reason that I have not put any effort into publicizing this one. The latest addition to the ‘perils’ of blogging has been a friend who met another female blogger and liked her instantly. What I find fishy about the whole deal is the fact that the female, from her blog and also from what my friend has told me sounds like a reasonable, normal, human being. That is a surprise considering his ex and ex’s friends use phrases like, “She is an evil WITCH”. His love life has been less romantic and more like an episode of Swabhimaan. In case you kids don’t remember Swabhimaan used to be a day time soap opera on Indian Television during the late 90s. Note from past self: Kitu Gidwaani is hot.

The quizzing season seems to be kicking again with Tata Crucible just around the corner. We have calendar years and financial years but I think Quizzing years should be defined from Tata Crucible to Tata Crucible. At least that is how I look at it. My first working day was on 3rd July 2006 and guess what I did that day. I represented my company in the Crucible. Overall this year has been more than satisfactory. I did have some beginners luck and won a few quizzes but since then it has been a real sad story. I think Crucible might just start the good run again. An interesting funda that I gathered today surfing around the net:

Q. What is a blook?

Ans. A book which is written on a blog. Either partially or completely. I know one which I followed quite sincerely, “Girl with a one track mind” ;)

For those who are even remotely considering as to what should they gift me on my birthday, here are a couple of pointers:

  1. A decent helmet with front-cover and all that jazz.
  2. An ash-tray.
  3. Any book if you are buying it from college street or any second hand market i.e. not to waste more than 100 bucks on it.
  4. If you are considering buying a proper book then please give me:
    (a) "Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham
    (b) "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits " by Phil Fisher
    (c) "Introduction to Technical Analysis" by Martin Pring.
    (d) Any book by Orhan Pamuk.

If you are planning to get me any of the above mentioned objects do call me on my birthday and tell me so that I do not buy them myself.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Gangtok Trip

Starting the blog and then abandoning it was something that many people expected from me and it would be incorrect to say that they were wrong as some of them know me even better than I do. Especially the one who persuaded me to restart. The main reason for sluggish postings is my lethargic nature and above all the inadequacy of topics to write on. I know it sounds terribly clichéd but I guess this is the resort of the creatively challenged. As some of my friends already know that I am on a long vacation, the first one of my professional life, to Gangtok and northern areas of Sikkim. For the record, the Goa Cruise trip in February was strictly official. It is another story that I made most of it.

I am often surprised when people say that they don’t like to read, they don’t listen to music or find it extremely boring to watch foreign language movies. It is something that I as an individual cannot understand or accept among civilized people. People say the same thing to me about travel. Now this is a week point. I am not particularly happy that I do not enjoy traveling. I am most comfortable in my office with an AC and a leather chair. My flat is not bad either especially after I got the big fat television. What is the point of taking grueling train rides and bumpy road trips to look at an orange colored sky through the hills, standing above the clouds and shouting loud enough to hear your echo. May be I can give it a psychiatric angle and blame it on my mother. It will not be completely wrong considering the fact that as a kid we never went on long trips. Most of the trips we had were to religious places, Vaishno Devi was a regular feature. Most religious places have one thing in common – you have to climb a helluva number of stairs which is quite tiring to say the least.

This trip has been a complete disaster. This is Day 2 and I am already bored. I have finished “The Kite Runner” and nearly one third of Shantaram (which I am reading for the second time). Shantaram is not that great second time over. The movie is something to look forward to. The book is written in such a manner that it can be made into a decent movie. Mira Nair does know how to do her job and I guess with Johnny and B in the crew, it should not be a tough one to pull this off. Most of the time on this vacation till now has been spent on traveling. We are a gang of seven and I knew only one of them before I left the busy Sealdah station. It turns out most of the others are not even worth knowing. I understand that they are nice people but there is a problem of chemistry. I know that I do not have to spend my life with them but 7 days in an alien land is no less time. It does not help that the other 6 are bongs and I do not understand what they are saying. As a matter of fact I do not even wish to understand what they are saying. I cannot imagine MBAs and software engineers not knowing who Indian Ocean is; who Joe Satriani is and to top it off, what is a blowjob. I do not know what kind of world are we living in when a comment like “The only thing better than peeing after two beers is a blowjob” invokes no response and “Saanson ki zaroorat hai jaise” is appreciated with a request to be repeated.

We plan to leave the hotel room by 5 in the morning so that we can catch the sunrise in Lepung or Lechung or wherever the hell the hills are red and it is already eleven. There is no electricity in the hotel and it is not required either as it is cold enough. I will try posting this tomorrow if I can lay my hands on the coveted data card that one of the guys is carrying. If not I will just merge the next post with this one and continue rambling.

Oh yeah… I had a great story idea on the way over. Here is the plot outline. A guy in his mid 20s goes on a trip with his friend to the hills. Contemplates about all the good things and the bad things he has done. Decides that as soon as he gets back to the city, he will call the girl and propose. He gets back to the city, calls her. The last lines of the story, had I actually got down to writing it, would have been, “All the lines to the route dialed by you are busy. Please try after some time”.

Time 0053 hrs. Monday.

I guess that it is going to be a pretty long post after all because I did not get to post the portion above it till now and I do not think that I will get that opportunity in the next couple of days. I will make a short addition to it tomorrow night or should I say tonight if my attempts on getting the coveted data card fail again today. The past couple of days went much better than before because of couple of wise decision such as staying back in the hotel and wandering Lechung or Lechen or whatever was the name of the place where we were positioned for the past couple of days. No mobile phones was something that I expected but no electricity took the “far from civilization trip” a bit too far. I was not left with many options other than to wander on my own in that god forsaken place but it was not that bad. A travel junkie would have definitely enjoyed it. A travel freak wouldn’t have. The two terms that might very well be my creation seem quite obvious to me after the so called rejuvenating tour of the north-east but I do understand that is not the case with others. Half the people I am talking to do not understand when I am sane so it would be moronic to believe that people would easily gobble up the gibberish that comes out of my demented mind when I am not comfortable. A travel junkie is someone who travels for pleasure and may be even enjoys the natural beauty around him. The kind of guys you see in Tata Safari commercials or the pseudo-intellectual authors in early 90s doordarshan serials, who used to travel to the hills to stir some thoughts. A travel freak is someone what most of us are - who try and cover as much as possible in the given time frame and are extremely happy that they traveled so far to visit a particular destination. The ones who visit the tomb at the Taj Mahal and can’t wait to go to the Red Fort because they only have one hour left in Agra before they catch a cab to Fatehpur Sikri to enjoy the grandeur of Bulund Darwaza. I also believe that most of the blog readers would have lost complete track of the post and will not be reading this line. In case you do read it and plan to comment on this verbose account, start it with the word burp.

A couple of books that are helping me through these troubled times are The Kite Runner and Shantaram. I finished The Kite Runner by Day 2 and I realized that if I have to come out of this alive then I need to do something I had never done before - rationing of the reading material which was available to me. I carefully divided the reading material available to me, which was roughly 950 pages of Shantaram into time slots and promised that I will not read more than that. It gave me a sense of accomplishment when I reached the target for the day and also gave me a sense of maturity that at least there is something that I can control in my life. My smoking and my drinking have increased many fold since I started working because of increased cash flow. My savings are not enough to meet my tax saving needs (At least they were not last year and I had to borrow from my father to hit the 80C limit). And above all, the person closest to me, who incidentally has the agenda of bruising my ego carved into her mind, does everything opposite to what I want. My company was not of much help either as couple of them were pleasantly surprised that I read for pleasure and one of them was quite vocal about it also as he failed to understand why I want to read the book if someone like Mira Nair is making a movie on it which will be a must watch in my list.

I was talking to a friend couple of weeks ago and something she said has probably reduced the pleasure of, if not ruined most books and movies for me. First of all let me tell you, anything dealing with kids, kids with specs, muslims, afghanis, Iranians, you get the picture… reminds me of her. The Kite Runner is another one in the list as it is primarily set in Kabul. She asked me, as innocently as usual, “H****, don’t you feel cheated when you realize that it is just an actor who is playing the character and it is not the character. The character does not exist. What you just saw, was fiction and you got moved to tears by something which was just a thought.” I am not very sure but I think she had just seen Rainman when she called me. I discarded her viewpoint by saying that it just meant the actor did a good job if you can’t think of him without the character. It is not cheating but a testimony to the greatness of the piece of art that you just witnessed. I do not know why but I do derive great pleasure in having a viewpoint different from hers just for the sake of being different. She is not the only one I do it with, there are others. I am sure all of them are aware of this tendency of mine. To continue with the cheating, I had not read about the author of The Kite Runner. I had not even read the synopsis of the book or what The New York Times or The Inquirer had to say about it. The book is about a kid who has a troubled childhood in Kabul, moves to the US, writes a few novels, becomes moderately rich, goes back to Kabul to seek redemption. When the book was finished, I found out that it is the first novel of a doctor in the US. And damn, I felt…. Cheated. Shantaram on the other hand is a very detailed book but does not stay clear from using cheap tricks. It is a perfect book to be made into a movie. A mini-series would have been better but a decently made movie should not be bad given the storyline and the larger-than-life flamboyant character of Shantaram. It is not as correct as claimed by the critics of the west. I have not lived in Bombay but I have been there couple of times. Some of the realistic details, which are supposedly the USP of the book, are erroneous. A little more research would have helped. You do not need to a six month course in Indian Geography to find out that Uttar Pradesh is not in North-East of India. Some people might argue that it is in the eastern side of North India but I am very sure a taxi driver born and raised in Maharashtra will not say that about UP. The author talks about breaking of a soul in prison among other things which sounds like a direct lift from Shawshank Redemption.

I always wanted to be and I still want to be an author some day. May be that day will come soon, may be after my retirement but what I realized today was that I had never even written a single quotable quote. I tried a lot to remember but could not come up with anything. The best thing that came to my mind today had something to do with depression being my favorite art form but even that is gone now.

The journey came to an end yesterday and I am pretty sure that the last couple of days were much better than the others as I did not have any time to update this entry. So, until next vacation… Rather until any significant event, this is ME signing off. Njoy.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Coffee And Cigarettes

Bean It Up is a little known coffee shop just below my office. You cannot deny the fact that it has a good name for a coffee shop. Everything else is pretty average. The Chicken Stub and Pasta Salad are the better options on the menu. But I am not going to talk about food today. What I would like to comment upon is their accounting which is pretty bad to say the least. If they keep up with the policy that I am about to discuss, they will land up in trouble.

Bean It Up offers discounts to employees of my company which is a not so modest 15 %. They also charge service tax, which they have to, thanks to the government policies. Here is the clincher; they give the discount on the taxed price and not on the original price. If you cannot comprehend what the difference is, let me clear it out for you. Let us say that the service tax is 10 % for easier calculations.

This is what they do (Case 1):

Chicken Stub + Pasta Salad = Rs. 100

Service Tax = 10 % of Rs. 100 = Rs. 10

Total Amount = Rs. 110.

Discount = 15 % of Total Amount = 15 % of 110 = 16.5 Rs.

Total Amount payable by customer = 110 – 16.5 = 93.5

Here they are getting 93.5 Rs. from the customer and they are giving 10 Rs. in taxes to the government. So they are making 83.5 Rs.

This is what they should do (Case 2):

Chicken Stub + Pasta Salad = Rs. 100

Discount = 15 % of bill = Rs. 15

Total Amount after discount = Rs. 85

Service Tax = 10 % of billable amount = 10 % of 85 = 8.5 Rs.

Total Amount payable by customer = 85 + 8.5 = 93.5

As you can see the customer has to pay the same amount so he would not mind either of the policies. But what does the government get in taxes. In case 1 it was getting 10 Rs. and now it is getting 8.5 Rs. In Case 1, the shop is making 83.5 Rs. In Case 2, the shop is making 85 Rs. If they continue with this policy they will lose 1.5 % of revenue earned which is huge to say the least. As far as the legality of case 2 is concerned, I am not exactly aware. But it does not sound illegal, even unethical to me. Ans Case 1, well…. That just sounds plain stupid.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Car Toon

This is the view of Kolkata Police about Drunken Drivers. They drive with their heads out, a bottle in their hand. Also, am I the only one to whom it looks as if the guy slipped on muddy water rather than being hit by the car. If they actually want to promote safe driving they should show a drunken driver getting crushed by a truck. I do not know how many drunken drivers would give a damn about this hoarding.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Sorority

My friends down south (my definition of South is pretty wide, anything below Bombay) often claim, “Quizzing scene in _____ (Bangy / Chennai / Pune and even Nagpur) is quite incestuous in nature” which is quite different from what I have seen in Kolkata. If it is a family at all, then it is more dysfunctional than anything that I have ever come across in reality or fiction which includes the Khuranas of Tonk as well as the Bings of New York. The undisputed Grand Dad because of whom we have a collection of species which make the Amish lifestyle look quite reasonable.

The most talked about (I am struggling for a word here. I wanted to put in ‘guy’, ‘person’, ‘human’, etc. but nothing seems to fit) living being is someone who goes to an official party, forces the caterers to start serving food so that he can eat fast and leave. This is still something which might seem understandable to a few but what if he gets food packed for his wife and kids because they could not come to the party. This living being provides mortar to the theories that nerds lack social skills because his educational qualifications are immense.

For every Gaelic Geek there exists a Jacobean Monarch. Russel Peters once said, “Indians have their own motherland, England”. I do not know about the up-tight British but I absolutely adore our Queen. I would have hung an autographed picture on my wall but it would be really hard to the few who dare to visit my dirty dungeon. I know I do not respect women as much as I should but I guess my feelings for the queen compensate the disregard I have towards the other 3 Billion. The Jacobean Monarch is at good terms with the Gaelic Geek but she is at good terms with everyone in the family. Most of the children, the uncles, the aunties live in a world where they consider themselves to be the best. Some of them even claim that in the open but none of them, even the Kalashnikov Blueblood, dare claim to be better thinkers than the Queen. The high and mighty fall and rise like tides in a see but the Queen is always there shedding light at the Silver and Bronze medals.

The Kalashnikov Blueblood is probably the only person I know who has the capability of throwing a “hawai chappal” at celebrity TV quizmaster during the event. Wait a minute… He did that. Let me rephrase. He is probably the only person I know who has the capability of calling up the Dean of a college and yell at because a quiz was cancelled. Wait a minute… He did that too. Let me try again. He is probably the only person I know who can go to a married woman, who is on the wrong side of 40s and is one of the Directors of a reputed firm, in public and tell her, “You need to get fucked properly because your eunuch of a husband can’t do that job properly.” What I fail to understand is how come someone like him hasn’t got whacked yet.

There are few others worth mentioning. Holy Smoke, considered to be the best by the majority. A opinion which I respect but do not subscribe to. The Techie Duo. The Super cop. The Sardar No More. The Doctor. The Silent Rothschild. The Jabberwocky. The Salesman who reminds me of Bill Hicks’ Revelations in which he said, “If you are in Marketing, Kill yourself.” The Young Gun, who won nearly everything this year in Junior category. The Balding British. And yours truly – The Misfit.

The good part about Kolkata quizzing is that most of them are much better quizzers than I am. The sad is that few of them are just that.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Given below is how and why I started this blog.
She: hi
She is online.
Me: hi
She: still around?
Me: haan. kya karoonga ghar jaakar
She: did u get nethg to eat
Me: tv tak to hai nahin :( haan kha liya
She: blog karo bhai
Me: give me a good reason
She: me
Me: elaborate
She: i want you to. and i will love u more if u do
Me: tum kabse jhoot bolne lag gayi
She: arrey! also, u might find some new chicks
Me: jo hai wo to sambhalti nahin. aur ka kya karoonga
She: hehe
Me: aisa karo, URL and Blog Title bata do. Blog kar loonga.
Sent at 7:29 PM on Friday
Me: kya hua ? tum seriously karne lag gayi kya
She: hehe. fone
Sent at 7:31 PM on Friday
Me: jaldi aao yaar
She: back
Me: URL Blog Title bolo. nothing fancy. no references to legends. something very ordinary
She: somethingveryordinary.blogspot.com :D
Me: too long :) i already made it the title
She: hehe
Me: check this shit out. http://ordinary.blogspot.com see the date of the last post
She: ouch
Me: the people i hang out these days.. wont even get it :(
She: same here
Me: they watch a movie like 300 and say "it looked like a long underwear ad"
She: hehe
Me: URL bolo
She: urlbolo, myshit
Me: nothingfancy.blogspot.com nahin hai. myshit is little stylish... a bit aloof... a bit like me... but i want it to be ordinary. simple
She: homely.blogspot.com..lol
Me: :P
She: usualcrap
Me: :P
She: litterletter
Me: i want a name which will sound like your blog. not usualcrap which sounds like my blog
She: litterletter:)
Me: :(
She: littersletters. i love alliteration
Me: move away from litter and letter
She: fone
Me: kab tak wait karoonga. ruko "kab tak" check karta hoon
She: :) ma pa are home. calling for dinner.
Me: ohk. Bye. Do check http://kabtak.blogspot.com
She: sorry >:D< good hai. :). see ya