Late night session

Its 15 mins to 2. And nothing good happens after 2 am. Thats the punch line of one of the episodes of HIMYM which I happened to watch in time pass days. I m quite sleepy but not getting any sleep. :-/ Sitting on a floor cushion in my drawing room with fan on in the month of January! So one thing is certain – I can’t stand cold now. In fact everyday I remind myself how lucky I am not to be in Delhi. Where it is painful to get up in the morning, to drag yourself to bath, when moving from one room to another is like a punishment. Don’t understand how can the countries in the most un-suitable weather to live in are also the richest and most powerful. For first half of the last century it was Russia (God forbid if I ever have to visit it) and now it is the USA (little better off – but still so chilly!). Anyways, I know I like hot and humid places much better.

Since, I am not getting any ideas to write, let me think of any thoughts/ideas I had other than routine things in past so many days –

1. How advertisements reflect the changes in the society-

a. Jewelry ads – No more a woman in traditional saree is shown flaunting her husband’s riches by carrying heavy gold necklaces. With most of the independent working money with spare earnings are going for cheap yet very-much-in-style silver and gems, old coins, fake metal jewelry – the traditional jewelry is re-crafted to cater to this market. Now, the jewelry is not passed from father to bride as a token of love, it is presented by partners in the form of platinum bands to each other. The lady who wears designer gold/diamond jewelry is projected to be smart, independent and confident woman! Interesting I must say. In next 10 years, we shall have ads where man and woman say their vows in their own words in their wedding ceremony while exchanging jewelry gifts. That would be a new trend settler. Waiting ….

b. Insurance/Savings ads – bachhe ko jo banna hai woh khud hi decide karega. Of course Mr Aamir Khan has a big role in selling this idea. Being in this area professionally too, I m quite thankful to him. Of course, I was quite disappointed with 3-idiots. Nonetheless, the idea of independence is growing quite steadily in every sphere! Cheers to that! We seem to be accepting market economy philosophically as well. Its high time we do that.

c. Hearing it in the child’s voice – Gone are the days when kids were supposed to be innocence. Gone are the days when their innocence had to be protected by adult decision-making processes. Now an 8 yr old decides to book a Volkswagen for his 18th birthday. A child is giving 5 steps instructions on how to use a washing machine. A skeptic grandmom also enjoys Maggi – pazzta! Chinese cuisine has been replaced by Italian as the world orders pizza when hungry.

d. Of course, there are other aspects as well. Even though master card can buy you everything but happiness, there is tata-sky and other such cable TV services which will bring happiness right into your drawing room! Children will study only when their favorite cartoon show is recorded on TV. An orphaned child will feel at home in her new adopted family only if there is Dish TV at home! Do people actually fall for such things? I do hope not.

I guess I have forgotten other thoughts as of now. So would end this one here. Hope to catch some sleep soon!

Happy Republic Day!

E for Entrepreneur

The yo-thing for the youth of twenty-first century. Everybody wants to manage his own enterprise n work for himself. Working for someone else, under a boss is now being considered as an inferior-low-grade thing to do. Hence, those who are able to take the big risks in life and break out of the working for a fortune-500 co. dream and start from the scratch to build something of his own is considered to be a hero of 2000s. No wonder Guru was a big hit among budding entrepreneurs. What I personally find funny about this image-building process is how it overlooks one basic small detail:

Entrepreneursism is a basic instinct of human beings.

For instance, the other day my mom was complaining about a common household problem, which she has been facing ever since I can remember. It is a simple(?) problem of attrition – of maid servants. Being a rather big family (in comparison to other nuclear families) a lot depends on the maid who comes to do all the cleaning, dusting, and other chores, without whom the whole machinery falls apart unless an advance notice of absence has been given. What has been happening from so many years is that, when a new maid comes, she is trained for about a month, after which little supervision or instructions are required. This new maid could be a lazy person (usually a localite) – who requires more time and effort to be trained from the trainers end, or a hard-working migrant – who usually doesn’t know the local language! Either way, the first month of training is usually tough for everyone. Once done with it, life runs more or less smoothly… for sometime. And then, attrition begins. The new maid who is also working at other places (hence has other contacts), who is now more efficient and once-in-a-while helps at other chores like chopping vegs (hence has a wide resume), wants to move up in life. It comes very naturally to her that she should now look for jobs like cooking or nursing a baby or become a full time servant at one place with entire charge of the household. And so she leaves the place where she was trained for the first time! Only my mom is left to find a new one, and start the entire cycle again.

After hearing my mom complain, I couldn’t help wondering, why people are so afraid of taking risks, or why working for one’s own company is such a bigadeal! Most of the world runs on the model of individual small business venture. Yet we first need IIT-IIMs degrees (minimum requirements) to even start a simple business model.

A happy ending

When you are in that phase of life when you have everything – gaadi, bangla, naukri, paisa, (aur maa bhi), when you have no responsibilities towards anyone else except yourself, when the mantra of people with you is to eat, live and be happy, then there should be no reason to face troubles in sleeping unless ofcourse you are in love(!) which would explain kyon aajkal neend kam khwab jyada hein..!! But drifting to dreamland is always quite a tricky activity. Take the case of my 3 yrs old nephew for instance, after an exhausting day of playing, running, and more playing, when he’s totally tired and drenched out of energy he still wants a story before he sleeps off!

Most adults have a similar need to shun off the normal world they are awake in, in order to enter the dreamland. All have their own way of solving the problem. Some read a novel, some watch TV, some talk with friends and loved ones, some listen to romantic/sad music, some stare at the stars and moon above before finally closing their eyes and drifting away into sweet slumber. Sometimes none of this works. Or atleast fails to give you the satisfaction you wanted. Why else would there be so many songs on sleepless nights? And this especially happens, when you are at that stage in life when you have good friends, close friends, best friends, and yet something’s amiss. When due to the lack of real responsibility towards anyone, you miss that someone who you can take care of, and in turn be taken care of. This is the time when the happy ending in a story smears its magic on you.

Rapunzel is rescued from the witch to live happily every after with her prince, Sleeping Beauty is kissed awaken from her dead sleep and the entire castle dances in merriment, Cinderella is fred from her miseries – again in the arms of her prince… By default, every fairy tale ends with a boy meeting girl. With their falling in love, and then living happily every after. I guess Walt Disney never considered break ups, broken hearts or thought these issues to be unsuitable for children. Even though all children see their parents fights, agruments, a fairy tale is kept simple, sweet and unreal. It is this simplicity and illusion which charms us all, big and small.

How good it would be if life worked like a fairy tale! A guy and a girl, meeting, falling in love, living together and this going in recurssion for every generation. Never would there be one sided love, or love triangle, never would there be heartbreaks, accusations, blames, misunderstandings.. or sleepless nights! Yea, it would be the end of the world. Without love serenades, without karan johar flicks, without dard ki daastaan… and ofcourse, without the need to imagine. The price to pay for perfection would be many times greater than the price we pay for imperfection!

Chill Maadi!! Bangaluruu ishtyle..

Given any Saturday, Sunday, national holiday or state holiday (Karnataka bandh) enter any eating joint in Bangalore in between 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm, all your questions on life and its purpose will be answered. As my big bro used to put it when I was a kiddo – insaan khane ke liye jeeta hai! Never really understood that phrase till a few years back, when I joined the crowd myself.On a non-working day, after spending the entire day in front of TV, exhausting new DVD collection in the market, cleaning the house and finishing the usual household chores, the crowd gets ready to spend a glamourous evening out. This crowd exists in many sub-classes. And bangalore has enough resturants to cater them all. Bangalore has highest number of CCDs, there is one at every corner. There are plenty of fast food joints and food courts where people swarm in from the time the early morning movie show ends till the late night show starts. Plenty place for families.

Then there are pubs which open late morning/early afternoon. “Bangalore has highest number of pubs in India. Bangalore has the highest number of breweries in the world.” The youth flock the major fashion streets which are lined with these pubs and resturants. So that the youth don’t have to go home at all. Which makes sense! After being away from home >12-13 hrs on weekdays, how is one expected to pass time at home on weekends?! And in the evening, those few unfortunate ones, who couldn’t manage a movie ticket due to the weekend crowd, despertaely want their share of fun, and so the entire rich and cultured bangalore is out to satisfy its hunger.

And what happens when the demand exceeds the supply? Well, there are only two outcomes. Either Inflation. OR Loot-maar! As a result, there are superior eating places which serve Mediterranean cuisines and Italian specilities and Continental delicacies. Where a pasta dish costs 350 bucks. Where waiter would be wearing full length apron, looking so clean that if you are me i.e. un-bathed on weekend, you would feel dirty in front of him! Where there would be soft music in the background, people talking in polished accented lingo, laughing softly-beautifully. Feeling grand and happy. What is left apart from major food chains – dominoes, pizza huts, mcdees, yo-china are the local south Indian self-service counters, Calcutta famous chat wala, where there would be lot of chatter and clatter. People here face a clash major of expectations and statisfaction. Everybody wants service like the superior eating joints, but end up only cursing the t-shirt n jeans clad waiter or counter boy, end up bitching about the crowd in bangalore which extends to the bitching about the traffic in the city.

And so the weekend evenings go like this. With not much satisfaction, but an outing with friends and family without which a holiday won’t be a holiday at all. Who would want to cook and sweat on a Saturday evening? If you stay at home, with you visiting friends place or guests at your place, it would be too much of a trouble, you would have to discuss lives, jobs, politics, government, cricket, the top ten IT companies, …. which is again so monotonous and boring. You won’t get a chance to wear the latest fashion and show the designer skirt you bought last weekend. You won’t get a chance to see what’s new going on in the Malls and in the Cultural Hub this week. You won’t need to make the weekly trip to beauty parlours and skin care centres. You wouldn’t want to earn more to make it to the superior eating joints!
So chill maadi.. the bangalore style. And keep humming…
“Beautiful faces, loud empty places

look at the way that we live

Wasting our time on cheap talk and wine

left us so little to give.

That same ol’ crowd was like a cold dark cloud

that we could never rise above.”

– Eagles, The Best of My Love

Social Networking: Orkut Rules!

The clock strucks 7 on the wall above the white board, the sun sets somewhere far beyond the wall, and the computer screens display the orkut windows. This was the usual scene in a marketing start-up where I spent one month in summers last year, it is still the same scene in the office where I pass time in these summers. Enter a hostel-computer-center, you witness the same scene. What’s so grand about orkut that every netoholic (internet alcoholic) is addicted to it? What is the Role of Orkutting in the lives of orkut users.

A big one I should say. As it turns out Orkut is like a huge chat room. It is easy to find many new virtual profiles, real pics, and shreds of conversation. It is the best place, as I am told, to meet new people (?), to strike a conversation and later to move on to better chat applets like ymnsger or gtalk. So Orkut really helps in broadening one’s social network. PR as they call it. Others find it useful in staying connected with collegemates… well, I am myself not very sure what “staying connected” means here.. But the implications are that you get to exchange “scraps” or one-liners, saying/asking how one is doing in general, and we all know, everybody says i’m fine.

So, do you stay on orkut just to tell people about rockin’ life? Na re! Orkut has helped many of my friends to get through their last year in college. The big public chat room where people can gossip, share jokes, pull legs, discuss plans, exchange phone no.s and other vital info, indulge in harmless flirting is not a small arena for timepass. It has started a new mantra: Browse karte karte hue bore, karna hai kuch kaam, shuru karo orkutting lekar google ka naam! Here guys meet new females, females meet new females (to compare themselves with, to pass judgements, and also aajkal achche ladke hein hi kahan jo dikhenge!) and oldies don’t exist.

But, facts apart, what makes me wonder is howcome people find it satisfying at all? I deleted my profile almost an year back. That might have been a calculated move and not just a random deletion of an inactive account. Though I wasn’t very active when I was a member, I always wanted to be. And I was caught up in the similar rush of checking up other people’s profiles and scrapbooks. Ofcourse, I was fortunate enough to get into blogging mode and give up often frustrating activity of orkutting, but not everyone likes to read. But the fact remains, orkut gets you hooked. Why?

Doesn’t one often wonder how the world ran before the mobile revolution took over? How people maintained relations when they left country and went to live far away from home? How much life has been changed with all the innovations in communications in the past few years? I can never answer whether all this has been for good, or worse. For that one has to go into philosophy of good/bad and I have no intentions of doing that. Instead I happily wonder how life would have been without orkut?  

Without orkut, i.e w/o google, and if I am allowed to imagine, w/o windows, and then w/o computer (ouch! am I hurting many hearts here?), there is a possibility that instead of typing “how you doing” on comp screen, we would have heard more of “how you doing” in hostel quads, campus roads, acad canteens, community centres… just a possibility. Perhaps, it would have been easier to say “hello” to a stranger face to face, as there wouldn’t have been an escape route through http://… Perhaps people would have found more meaningful things to write in e-mails/letters. How many of the new generation can write letters anymore? But then, why the hell is it important to write letters anyway? Who cares as long as one is able to statisfy oneself – whether it maybe orkut or ryze or emails or letters? Yes, perhaps it is the difference in temperaments.

On a more personal note, I wonder why my temperament is so different? Why would I rather make friends around me with whom I can walk around, watch sun-set together, share a bhelpuri plate, discuss heatedly/absentmindedly/wonderingly about anything and everything, enjoy the quietness too? Why is it so difficult to find friends? I wonder how my parents who were always in transit managed to make such great friends in their neighbours that after all these years they are still in contact? Has my generation lost that friendly gene? I guess not. I hope not.