Friday, July 11, 2008

Aap karte kya hain?

Life was much simpler in earlier times when there were some limited professions to choose from. Or at least people near me were familiar with limited few which were perhaps most popular and common. Earlier when the family sat together and we were asked what we wanted to grow up as, answers were very simple. Bhaiya was always ready to settle for an Army life, and I too was quite keen on a career in air force. My daadi (grand mother) used to put words in my mouth with her suggestions which were
- a Probationary Officer in a reliable bank like the State Bank of India
- a news reader
- an IPS officer. She never though said you should become an IPS officer some day, she always said you should become Kiran Bedi some day.
And today, when I have landed in the Software Engineering discipline, my folks know I am doing something related to computers, but they have no idea what it is like. My parents asked me the other day - if someone asks me what you do, what should I tell them! I said just tell them I am a software engineer.
The next question was – and what is your designation? I am a Project Lead.
Next – what does this mean? I did not know what to tell them completely knowing my parents are away from technology. I tried explaining the best I could, but the looks on their faces convinced me it didn’t help!
My eldest Jijaji once picked me up from a gathering and asked me to follow him to his computer. I was sure he was facing a problem with some application and he needed a hand there. When I went there to find the problem, he pointed me to his system and told me the speaker was working till evening, and suddenly it stopped working. I checked for some lose connections but everything was fine, but next moment I understood he was looking for some concrete answer, like this particular driver is not working or something like that. And when I told him I didn’t quite understand he gave a look which kind of meant – I don’t think you are doing too well at your job!
My grandmother who has given up in her endeavors to understand the nature of my job now has just one question on the profession front – paisa badhaya unho ne ya nahi?
So now that I too have understood there is no use explaining what is the nature of my work, I tell them I am a glorified factory worker putting blocks together, and helping others too put their blocks together in order to some day erect a big beautiful building that would delight its owners someday.
I truly believe this is exactly what I do!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


There was a chill in the air. Had it rained outside? He peeped out of the window and saw a pool of water, reflecting the yellow glow of the street light, still being shelled by tiny drops of rain. He looked at his watch. It said 21:44. Tired of browsing the channels he settled for NDTV. It was rerunning the same news he saw an hour back already. Anyway, there was nothing else to do so he didn’t take any action on the TV. He looked at his phone for traces of some message or phone call that he missed! There was none! Everyday after coming back from office, he got to hear himself only after going there again the next morning.
He remembered the crowd that he was walking with at the beginning of his journey, and the ‘gangs’ he too was part of. He also remembers the gangs thinning down when some friends opting for better opportunities, better career, moved away. But this day there is no one. All the gangs seemed to have disappeared. The ads on the TV were getting too loud, he switched the TV off. And the room was enveloped into complete silence. After a while this silence also gets unnerving and after days together of following exactly the same routine minus the rain, he was still not used to it.
He looked back at his life and started remembering all his friends. And then amidst all these good memories, there was a disturbing commonality. He remembered all his friends, one after the other, and the last few times they met, or spoke over the phone. He realized this clashed with the period when he was neck deep into work and hence could not talk to them at length, could not join them for lunches, and dinners, and coffees, and movies. He remembers telling most of them he will call them sometime, but that never happened. He remember some of his friends still calling numerous times when he was ‘busy’, and it sounded like disturbance. Though he never shot back at them! And as he remembered this he also remembered that if you answer the phone with a smile, it travels across. Does the annoyance also travel across? He felt uncomfortable.
And then he finally realized that the damage was done! May be this was what God had planned for him. So may be this was not entirely his fault, may be God wanted it to be this way! Well being alone also had its share of advantages. He started counting the advantages.
1. You can read all the books in the world without being disturbed.
2. You can go to all the pubs and enjoy from the corner, looking at people and sipping your drink. (But would this sound better if he had some company too in there?)
3. ..errrr..!
He could not count further. He felt he needed to cheer up and so he started humming a song that he thought summed his condition so well – ‘Akele hain, toh kya gham hai, chaahein to hamare bas mein kya nahi... bas ik zara saath ho.. (ouch!)’
He started feeling stuffy inside the room. He stepped out. It was still raining. He decided to take a stroll in the rain. He was away for 20 minutes and when he was completely soaked, he came back. He thought he felt refreshed and good too, finally! He sat in the verandah outside, wanting to see the rain some more. Wanting to see the rain some more at close to 12 at night? What was there to see? What could be seen? He got immersed into thoughts again. The next time when he looked at his watch he realized it was quarter past one. There was no one to tell him he needed to get out of his wet clothes. He lazily got up, feeling a small cramp building up his legs, and got inside. He found himself still humming a song. But this time it was ‘..tanhayee tanhayee meelon tak phaili hui tanhayee..