Dumb and Dumber !

I was a dumb kid. Correction – I am STILL a dumb.. Err.. Kid !!Image

I was always intrigued with life. Well, the feeling would go through states of bafflement, bewilderment and in some days, utter confusion! My brain seemed to continuously process information and look to find answers. This nearly-total lack of a mental filter can cause increased stress. Things find their way to my brain, things that don’t belong there, just as things don’t belong in my lungs, like dust.  Being inquisitive, I would ask lot of questions.. And would often be tagged as being dumb..

“Why do you ask so many dumb questions?” – my friends would say

“Stop it Ari.. Sometimes, you ask really dumb questions.. GO NOW!” – my teachers would say.

Every time I asked a question, my self belief took a beating. During those turbulent days, my pillar of strength was my mother. She always supported me. She said everyone goes through this PTT syndrome (no it’s not Push-To-Talk, it is Pre-Teen Trouble). As you grow older, you gain more KNOWLEDGE, and you will find the answers yourself.

I imagined that in the distant future, the fog around my brain would dissipate, the smoke would clear, and I will be able to begin the satisfying task of gathering pieces of understanding and storing them in my mind.  I was convinced that just like every item in the food store came with an expiry date, my dumb-ness also will have an expiry date? The day will arrive when I will finally have the power of “insight”, the gift of “knowledge”.

I patiently waited for the moment to come…Through my teens, my twenties, thirties..

I am still waiting.

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MD 17 : Awesome Anushka!

“Arindam – what are you waiting here for” – Anushka asked.

I used to be a shy,introverted, ever-confused person in my childhood. As a child, I would struggle to speak with people, make any conversations, shy away from visiting father’s friends. I spent my early years in a small town called Sindri (now part of Jharkhand, India). Like any other small town, everyone was conservative – very conservative. While families did interact with each other, kids like us would be kept on a tight leash – no roaming around after school, no eating from the roadside kirana shop – and yes – absolutely no girlfriends!

Life changed when my father moved to Delhi, the capital of India in the early 90s. As shy introverted thirteen year old from Sindri who landed up in a metropolis – Delhi,  everyone in school- seemed far… far better than me. They spoke fluent English, cracked witty remarks, thought like I could never do – and responded to the teacher’s questions with élan.

The toughest subject for me was Hindi (The Indian national language). I spoke Bengali (another Indian language), and I had Bengali as my language subject in Sindri, where I lived earlier. Hindi was a very tough subject for me. The learned “pundits” from yester-years had spoken (or written – I am not sure) few words of immense wisdom – usually not more than 2-4 sentences. Our Hindi teacher, a very learned man himself, would spend almost two hours explaining the tatparya (or meaning) of Surdas / KabirDas ke dohe (the sentences of wisdom by the learned pundits). We would have frequent tests asking us to do Vakhya (or explaination) of these “Words of wisdom”. The key to passing the exams would be to ensure that you took notes in class, and were able to articulate them well in the exams.

Around September, we had to make an urgent visit to my hometown since my grand dad got ill. When I came back, I had to somehow get the Hindi notes from my friends. Strangely, in those days in Delhi – some of the better note takers – who invariably got better marks – suffered from the “Negative competition” syndrome. They thought that if they shared their notes with someone – that fellow may read and get better grades – which was completely unacceptable to my esteemed colleagues.

The only person who could help – in my mind – was Anushka(name changed)….

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Timed Out!

“When will you pay the bills? Last weekend you said you will do later. One week is gone and you did nothing” – wifey said to the tired, seemingly overworked yours truly.

It has been a hectic week. I have always received feedback to improve my time management. But, how do you manage time? In fact, time always seems to have the upper hand – chasing / hunting me downIt seems to always keep running at a frantic pace, and I am somehow never able to cope up with it. I have tried planning my day many times, using the Outlook calendar to block my time to get the million (or so it seems) action items completed. But somehow, all my plans are put off by some event nor the other that happens during the day. In the office – I am usually frantically running around trying to accomplish the tasks for the day! My drive back home is almost always interrupted by a realization of task(s) I may have missed – “Oh shit! I forgot to send the update to Mr XXX”. I usually enter home after a hard day’s work, open up the laptop immediately to try and complete the things that I remembered during my drive back home.

If only time would stand still, for sometime and allow me to work at my own pace…

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MD 15 : The Doc Interrogation!

“Good morning, how are you feeling” – the doc said, smiling.

 Usually, I am in my worst mood when visiting docs. I absolutely HATE visiting them. Ever since I smashed my head when I was six years old (well, now you know why all the insanity comes from), and the doctors operated on me – I have developed a sort of phobia to visit them. Couple of months back, I was having this seemingly regular pain in my leg & joints – and after consistent pestering from wifey – I decided to pay a visit to the dreaded doc!

We had visited this doc several times in the past usually for my back pain. My visits to him would usually test his patience of tolerating my silly answers. He was a nice guy, never complaining – always asking questions with a smile on his face. His only problem – his questions were too many, at least that what it seemed to me! It was as though I have to go through this strict interrogation process – and I hated it!

It was Saturday afternoon. I prepared myself to be interrogated…. probed… examined…

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Confessions of a novice blogger

This is my 25th post.

When I started writing this blog on Sep 23rd, it was more like an experiment – wifey’s idea actually – and it seemed like a hobby I could pursue once in a while outside of my usual work schedule. I didn’t really think I could write anything more than 5-10 posts. Then, my first post seemed to be liked by few people – “Here To GO” – and then, I got hooked. I really wanted to write – share my thoughts with the blogosphere. I looked around at other people’s blog – and there were many accomplished writers. They seemed to have immense natural ability – writing on varied subjects – able to make the reader read intently – even long for their next post! (When will Charles write his next post? He is brilliant!! What about Priya – her posts are so thought provoking?)

Within the first few posts, I realized that this had become more than a just a hobby – every post was similar to getting your own book published – the anxiety, the excitement, the nail biting eagerness – the eagerness of wanting people to visit your blog, to see that first comment, someone “Liking” your post! So, here’s to all the eager over-eager writers/bloggers who continue to hope.. And write… that someday, yes someday….

So, here we go folks – The confessions of a novice blogger…

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MD 14 : Ready, Get Set, Go… Oh No!

I was going to send the first email to the customer.

I was 22- young, vibrant & excited (too excited or rather excitable as per my module lead) and had joined a reputed IT services company. Email communications with the customer was usually handled by the manager or the module lead. We were “raw” – and must learn corporate etiquettes before we could interact effectively with customer – we were told.

I have a strange habit of questioning status quo – so I questioned why the privilege to interact with the customers be restricted to only a few! The mails from the module lead to the technical person at the client side used to be simple technical questions – and in my simple mind, I found no reason why I could not write those emails. It was just simple English, after all.

 So, one day, I decided to discuss it with my module lead, Raj. I told him that I would like to write the next query that we send for our module to the technical lead at the customer side.

The technical lead’s name was Sulu Taylor. Well, her actual name was Sulochana Patel, and she had married a corporate hunk from the US and settled there. Over the years, her Indian name – Sulochana, had been Anglicized to Sulu. She was a tough customer, expecting the best of quality, immaculate communication and the best in class service at ALL times.

That day, I drafted the email….

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700+ and counting…

“700+ and counting :-)” – read a Facebook update from a friend – He had gone past 700 friends in Facebook.

“ABC XXXXX 1500+” – read the name of a profile in LinkedIn –  The 1500+ added recently to signify the number of connections he has.

Well… let’s face it – social networking has become ubiquitous. Facebook is the favorite “hangout” for many – be it in schools, colleges or after-work hours.  Not having a Facebook ID can be considered anything from being “uncool” to “Living in the Stone Age”. Most, if not all of us, feel happy to see the number of friends or connections on social networking sites increase – so much so, that some of my friends see it as a sense of competition (I must have more friends than X or Y)

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