Saturday, March 30, 2013

For the Man who Lost

Just like any other Saturday, I was lying on my bed with my laptop. My phone rang and it was a call from an old friend. Heard you are going to Europe? Yes, who told you? I smiled while replying Well that doesn’t matter. I was just happy when I heard this news. We spoke for some more time and then he hung-up. He congratulated me as if I have achieved something big. After his call I started thinking about series of events, which happened in last two months. One of our reputed clients came to our office and interviewed a few people for a project. If selected, we had to go to their site in Europe for one month on-boarding program followed by trips after regular intervals. I was super exited. It seemed like a life-time opportunity. After the interview, I eagerly waited for the results. They took some time and when I got the news of my selection, I was on the top of the world. I felt like a winner. But my joy was short-lived. Some things and feelings were changing dramatically. After about a week, my excitement was almost gone but the world around me was reminding every moment that I am going abroad in some time. I was just wondering that why it is a big deal. All of a sudden, I had become an important person. I realized that I have started getting more respect from people around me. It was strange and to some extent disturbing. And then, I started analyzing it. I wanted to get the reasoning behind this change in people’s behavior. I also wanted to get the answer of my own questions…why my excitement lived so short? Efforts are more important than results…..I have heard many people saying this (or similar stuff), but actually it is not true. Very few people care about the efforts. It’s just result, which makes or breaks an individual’s image in the society. And this society only greets the one who is successful. (The world society sounds funny but it is a strong world, for those who believe in it and also for those who don’t.) A small foreign trip doesn’t make me a successful person but it creates a successful event in my life. An event when I am being treated as a winner. I am sure I am…I have always been…..but then why so much recognition suddenly. I know I am un-necessary over analyzing the situation but somewhere inside me, someone, was not happy about this change. This someone is an unsuccessful part of me who tried hard to achieve things in the life but failed due to some reasons. The one, who prepared for medical entrance exams and couldn’t clear it; the one, who changed his job coz he got defeated by the system; the one, who got a bad feedback after working hard in the projects; the one, who lost an argument even though he was correct and the one, who tried to make positive changes in people and failed to do so. All these failed parts of mine were disappointed because they didn’t get the respect they deserved. Reason...they didn’t win. Unfortunately, I have always been more close to the unsuccessful part of mine. And why shouldn’t I be, they need me more. I am sitting at T3 terminal of IG International Airport. I have to go to Switzerland via Austria. And then, I will go to Germany. I am thinking…this all scenario; an onsite opportunity, first international flight, upcoming thrill of two most developed foreign lands; is it worth taking so much of mine and others attention… it worth being a blog post? I don’t think so. But why do I want to be unfair to the one who achieved something. I have written posts about the unsuccessful ones. Is the unsuccessful parts of my soul are jealous of the successful part. If yes, why do I want to take their side? Why I am not that happy about something, which is supposed to be big. If I am, why can’t I feel it to that extent. I always knew…..the mirror, in front of which I am standing, has two faces.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


We were walking towards the cyber café to check Varun’s result. I knew he had worked really hard for this entrance exam. I was hoping that he would clear it; however, I had my doubts. Varun: I don’t think I have a chance Me: And why do you think so Varun: You should have seen the crowd. They all were from premier schools and colleges. Most of them were speaking so good English that I thought of returning back from there only. Trust me; I can never speak that good English Me: You don’t have to speak that good English. You have got good communication skills; it doesn’t matter that you can’t speak fancy English. And moreover, this is not only about English. There are so many other things Varun: I know and I am not saying I am bad or something, it’s just that there are people smarter than us and they have got more chances than us for sure. We will have to accept this fact Me: And why do you think they are smarter Varun: Most of them are from tier 1 cities, and from school and colleges, we have only dreamed of. We are from a small Hindi medium UP board school. This is just our hard work, which makes us think of at least giving this exam. I really don’t see any chances. Look at Vishal, he was topper in our batch, got 80% in 12th. He got KMC. Now see, if he had been in ICSE or CBSE board, the percentage would have been over 90, he would have got much better college. Me: KMC is not a bad college either, though I know he deserves better. But my point is that he is doing well for himself and so are we, why are you losing your confidence? Varun: I just don’t feel confident. There were boys and girls talking about applying in UCLA and LSE. Can you imagine their standard? I am not saying all of them have capability to go there but at least they think about it. Now compare our thoughts with them. We never even dream about such places. We both laughed. He continued...this is among most reputed MBA entrance exam. I am just afraid of standing against the most elite class of students And then look at those girls. I mean does beauty has any limit We both laughed Me: I guess this is a better topic to talk about Varun: Well, those girls were so smart. They were speaking like they are born and brought up in the US. I overheard the conversation of many groups. Just by standing beside them, I felt that I am the most un-suitable person for this course I laughed. There was something strange about us. We were from the same background, same city, same school, and when it comes to competition with the smarter world, we had same pain points. But we were happy most of the time, even when we are bitching about opportunities, we did not get. We had reached to a cyber café and I was opening the computer. I could hear his heartbeats. I could see some big aspirations in the eyes of a small town guy. I prayed for him but I had my doubts. I too was afraid of the smarter world out there. I typed the application number in a rectangular box in the middle of internet explorer tab and clicked enter. A revolving circle was showing that information has been passed from the websites server to the user interaction portal. I remember, I just said three words…99.6 percentile, shit

Monday, October 17, 2011


A decent drinking joint on Friday evening is something which turns me on. I was with Aditya, my only friend at my new work place. In just a span of 2 months he had become a close friend of mine. Aditya was telling me about his future plans with Natasha. They had known each other for many years now and recently Natasha proposed him. Normally, girls do not take this initiative but in their case Natasha did. Though, Natasha was in a different team (in our office only) but I knew her well.
“Man, she is cute…I never thought of marrying her but it all suddenly changed after she proposed me last month. I would be spending life with my best friend. Isn’t that great!!..”
“Yeah, absolutely;” I said carelessly. I was on my fifth peg and alcohol was dominating my senses now.
“I am staying at her place today;”.. he said
“Sooo..what am I supposed to do. Gift you condoms;”.. I said and smiled.
“Fuck you man.. You are crap..” This was the obvious reply from him. Normally I do not speak such language when a friend is in serious relation but this case was different; they both knew me well and never mind my crappy jokes
I smiled again and took another sip of my drink.
“By the way; I must say, you are lucky. She is nice. I have seen very few girls with so good sense of….
“Oh my god” He whispered
“What happened” I stopped my sentence in between and asked. Before, I could say another word, I saw a female standing besides our table. They both were looking at each other’s face. I noticed that they both are so stunned that they are not able to speak. I waited for some conversation to begin but it seemed they both were hypnotized. I waited some more seconds for something to happen and nothing happened. Alcohol had made my mind bit volatile and somewhat funny. In next few seconds, I imagined a world where no one speaks. I liked this thought and was going to build a story inside my mind but a sweet voice brought me back to the real world.
“I cannot believe this. How are you Adi? I….I am soo happy to see you (her voice was literally trembling)..”
“Sher…shreya……oh my God, I am are you and what are you doing here in Delhi. Its...its been so long, where were you all these years?..”
He stood up in excitement and suddenly something happened. They both hugged each other. “Old buddies” I thought. I waited for few seconds but nothing changed. “More than buddies” My thought changed .
“This is a long hug man, seriously” My mind was being funny again. “Seems I should Join them otherwise I will start crying..this situation is so senti” I would prefer funny over senti. I was trying to make all this humorous but suddenly something else happened…the girl started crying. this is too senti…I can’t handle this; a crying girl spoiling my Friday evening. I made a stupid looking face but no one noticed.
Actually, I was just inches away from them but it seemed that I don’t exist. I felt that I have become invisible. My mind again went off the track…a world where I am not visible. “It would probably be very interesting” I had started a conversation with myself. Talking to me was my only choice; no one was noticing me there.
I came back to reality. Few minutes had passed and good thing was that she had stopped crying. She was saying something to Adi…I mean Aditya. Natasha calls him A and this girl calls him Adi. I wondered why people shorten the name of their loved ones. Is it just because of comfort or shortening the name has something to do with degree of affection? A new theory was about to come in this world.
“Length of nick name given by friend of opposite sex in inversely proportional to the love they have for the person” I declared. Of course, nobody heard or responded.
I noticed she is speaking very slowly. Something was troubling her throat.
Shreya: “I am here with my colleagues. We came to Delhi for campus hiring. I saw you and couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s been more than 4 years. You haven’t changed a bit. Still hot..”
She tried to crack a joke and smiled as well, but, suddenly 2 large tears drops rolled out of her eye. I knew now, what was troubling her throat.
She wiped her tears and then for next few seconds no one spoke. I was about to move into some other world when I heard her voice again.
“It was my fault. 2 years are not that long time but I thought we would not be able to take it forward. I was so stupid. I missed you all these years. I should have contacted you. It was not that difficult but I am paying for what I did to you and………… me
“Ohooo, so this is a matter of purana pyar” I have started being interested in their conversation. And yeah, I was still invisible to them
Aditya: “It was not all your fault, it was mutual. Even I was not sure that long distance relationship can work. I was not even sure I would come back to India. I don’t have any bad feelings for you or about our relation. The time I spent with you is the best time of my life.”
“Ohhhh man, this statement is politically incorrect. I am glad Natasha is not here.” I almost smiled at my thought
Shreya: “We had a perfect relation Adi. I loved you so much but I screwed it all.”
She again started crying.
‘why girls cry so much?’.. I asked a question and my inner self replied almost suddenly ‘No idea idea at all’.. I suddenly felt an urge to smoke.
While I was standing I saw they are holding each other’s hand. I moved towards the smoking zone.
Aditya: “Why are you blaming yourself again and again? We were not that mature probably…we never thought our relation could…(he didn’t complete his sentence, I felt good about this, don’t know why). I tried to connect with you when I came back from Australia but then Venkat told me that you got married”.
It was an interesting turn in the story. The girl is married. I wish I could stay and hear the story but my priority was clear…cigarette!!
Smoking zone was actually at the terrace of the restaurant located on fifth floor of the building. When I reached there, I felt good. It was around 11 in night and cold breeze was making the environment perfect for smoking. I looked towards sky… was clear. The restaurant was at a quite place. I could hear the faint sound of moving vehicles somewhere. I don’t know how long I stayed there..probably half an hour and then I realized that I am missing the story. I turned back to move inside.
When I reached at my table I saw Aditya sitting quite with his heads down. He was lost. I knew he wants to cry but he wouldn’t.
I sat quietly. There was some drink left in my glass. He looked towards me but I didn’t ask anything
Aditya: “We should not have come here. Everything would be screwed now..”
“Why? What happened?” I asked
Aditya: “This girl was my ex girl friend. We had an affair during graduation. We were living in together for almost a year. We were so happy with each other. But we never looked at long term relation. I don’t know why. Probably we were too young and career was our first priority (Just like cigarette was mine, few minutes back…I understood the feeling). After grads, I was moving to Australia for my MBA and then we decided that we should finish this. We thought it would be cool. We both are of same type. I went to Australia and we were in touch for almost 6 months but then we couldn’t carry it further. I remember she once called me and said that she is not able to concentrate because of me and we should end this. We stopped talking after that but I used to ask my friends about her. One day my friend told me that she is going to IIM K for her MBA and then got engaged with someone. Life moved on…”
“So why are you worried? She is married and you have a girlfriend. Past is past. Forget it and don’t keep in touch with her and Don’t tell me that Purana pyar just revived after meeting her.” I said
“Her husband died just two months after their marriage. She is living alone since then” Aditya whispered. I couldn’t speak anything
She asked me whether I am married or engaged….”
What did you say?
Aditya: “I told her that I have a girlfriend. She did not say much after that and left soon…”
Good. Let’s move now.
We were sitting in his car. He wasn’t speaking anything. Alcohol effect had suddenly vanished from my mind. I knew what he is feeling inside. We did not speak to each other after that. He dropped me at my place and was moving.
I thought something and turned towards him “Don’t get in touch with her again. Did she give you her number or something?”
No ..
“ go and sleep and forget about this evening…”
I knew he would not. I was moving towards my house. I knew he would contact her. I also knew his present is going to have clash with his past. I don’t know why but I was feeling bad for Natasha. She had nothing to do with this complication but she was going to be a part of it soon. She is sweet and she truly loves him. At least as per my recent theory of shortening the names, she loves him more than Shreya.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

...and the journey continues

I wasn’t sure that the decision of leaving for Bangalore is right or wrong. It had been 2 months I was without job in Delhi and Bhai was suggesting me to try in Bangalore. When I put my papers in EY, I was very positive about the job offers from two companies. At both the places HR people had communicated that I am through. EY experience had not been good for me and I always wanted to leave the firm. I took a bold (or may be stupid) decision and resigned from EY without getting job offers from any other firm. Things turned rough after that and both the firms did not make the final offer. In the next two months, I had understood that if 2007 was a bad year for me, 2008 is going to be worse. I was right. Apart from the job factor some more surprises were waiting for me. Some really good ones. I was almost broken down by the way things were moving and then I decided to move to Bangalore. I was sad. I never wanted to leave Delhi.

I reached Bangalore on 23rd July, 2008. I was dying to get a job. I learned that the worst part about being jobless is not that you don’t get money; rather its loneliness you get when you have nothing but time. Pizzas losses its taste and all movies become boring when you are not happy from inside. Another thing which I realized during that time is that when your own strength breaks, the only thing which can force you to move ahead is the trust and motivation of your loved ones. Bhai and Bhabhi were doing the same thing for me at that time.

Somewhere in the last week of August I received a call from a consultant regarding some job opening in Kotak Mahindra Bank. I have never been interested in Bank jobs but I decided to give the interview. When I reached at the main branch of the bank I saw a big crowd of not so professionally dressed people (mostly boys and very few girls). I was under impression that this interview is for the operation division of the bank but to my surprise it was actually for a sales job. The profile was to sell credit cards to corporate sector people. I don’t know why but I gave the interview. Most of the guys there were simple graduates. I met with the regional head of the bank in last round and after having a look at my resume he just told me one thing.
“I know that you are not going to stay.”

I thought they will not take me but I got the job offer from the bank and they were offering me Assistant Sales Manager profile with the same package on which I had left EY. Keeping in mind the fact that I was not doing job since 4 months, the offer wasn’t bad. I was in big dilemma. From consulting to sales……doesn’t sounds to be a good switch. After doing analysis of each and every factor I decided to take up the job. I wasn’t happy. I felt like a looser.
Till the time Bhai and Bhabhi reached home from office I had already convinced myself to take up the job. When I informed my decision to them, Bhai just said two lines.
“You are not born to sell Credit Cards…forget about the job and keep searching the profile you want.”
(No offense to sales people. Its just that I am not interested in sales job)

I did not join that job. I was confused between two thoughts “am I missing an opportunity OR I am refusing to compromise”. I know time will give the answer. It gave.

Next week I cleared interview in a small business research firm. This job offer was special coz it offered me the profile I wanted. I stayed there for 2.5 years. Time moved on and I regained almost all the things which I had lost. My confidence, my self respect and above all “Myself”. Pizzas had become tasty again and movies a good option to pass time. People who had been criticizing me for many of my decisions had started taking my favor. And I was there noticing that how people change with time. Both the best and the worst part about time is that its keep changing. That’s how life works. 2009 went really good and I met some very good people who helped me a lot in erasing the bad memories of 2008.

2009 and 2010 passed very quickly. I guess that’s why people say that good time flies. Good friends, parties every weekend, regular holiday trips and no worries. But there was something else which made this time wonderful…company of two most wonderful people and closest friends throughout “Bhai and Bhabhi”.
During the second half of 2010 I had almost decided to settle down in Bangalore but destiny has got the best sense of humor in the universe. There was a time when I did not want to move out of Delhi and it forced me to move to Bangalore and when I had almost decided that I will settle down in the city I got a job offer from Delhi. Surprises meets you when you least expect them.

I had put down my papers and was serving my notice period. One day, I got a call on my mobile and some lady spoke on the other side
“Am I speaking to Mr. Niteesh?”
Yes you are.

“Sir, I am calling from Kotak Mahindra bank and we are offering you a life time free titanium credit card. Would you be interested in it? I can send my executive to your office to collect the documents”
No. I am not interested.

I cut the phone. I thought something and I smiled.
The small calendar on my work station was showing 7th dec 2010. “Just 5 days left, Bangalore….so many beautiful memories….so many wonderful friends….an awesome stop in the journey of life” I though and I put the calendar and some other stuff inside my bag. These all were gifts from my close friends. After all, memories and souvenirs are the only things left after a journey ends.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Turning Point

Year 2002.
CPMT (Medical entrance examination for the medical colleges in UP) result was out. Being a stud in my school life, many hopes were attached to me. My parents knew that I will crack the nut. I did, but my rank was good enough only to get BDS (not MBBS).

More than thousand students (mostly accompanied by their parents) were collected in the huge counseling hall with hopes and dreams of becoming a doctor. Roll numbers were called and students were moving towards counseling board room. I had already filled the form and was about to take admission in a dental college. When my roll number was called, I moved towards the counseling board along with my dad. The girl (8 out of 10) just before me was talking to counselors about the availability of the seats in different colleges. She was discussing more about the same college I was planning to join. An exciting thought ran into my mind. I started imagining her sitting next to me in the classroom. I closed my eyes and I saw that professor is dictating something and all students are writing. She is sitting so close to me that as I moved my hand to start writing, my shoulders touched with hers. She turned her head and our eyes met. She smiled. I found myself smiling standing in the queue. The girl was still filling the form.
My parents always wanted me to be a doctor, though they never specified but they always meant MBBS doctor. I knew they are not happy with my decision of joining BDS. The girl had got admission in that dental college. I found my future classmate smiling. Her father too was looking happy. “Either her father is dentist or he knows that my daughter is not capable enough to get MBBS” I thought. My turn came and I started filling the form. Seats were available in the college. I saw the girl watching me writing the same college name. She smiled. I knew I am born to be a dentist.
“Are you’re sure that you are comfortable with BDS” dad asked. “Yeah” I replied
Would you like to try one more year?
“No papa. I don’t want to waste one more year” I had filled the form and my arm was moving towards the counselor to handover the form along with the bank draft of 20K to block the seat.
We always wanted you to become MBBS doctor but its fine. If you are happy we are happy.
I looked in my dad’s eye. I saw myself standing in a white apron and stethoscope around my neck. I did not look like a dentist. I was looking like a surgeon. I pulled back my hand.
I will prepare one more year. I told to my dad.
I did. Next year, I did not even get BDS. Life has decided something else

Year 2005
I was irritated. The address mentioned in my admit card of MAT (entrance exam for B grade B schools) had some problems. I wasn’t able to get the centre of my test. Gomti Nagar in Lucknow is a big residential colony which is divided in to many khands (blocks) starting with V (Vipul khand, Vineet khand, Vishal Khand etc). My center was a “St Bosco school” in Viraj khand. I had searched all the roads in Viraj khand but I did not find the school. Even the locals were not able to help me. I was on a rikshaw and after the search continued for over 30 minutes, Rikshewale bhaiya got angry. I paid him some money and started walking. I saw my watch. It was 9.55 am. Test had to start at 10.
I was helpless. I had started thinking of doing MBA just before two months and MAT was the only entrance exam (having atleast OK type college) left at that time. If I could not join any college through this test I would definitely have to sit atleast 6 months at home doing nothing.
“Excuse me; do you know where St Bosco School is?” Some female voice knocked my ears. She was 8.5-9 out of 10 girl. She was in the back seat of a car and some driver looking person was driving it.
“I would have been sitting inside the class reading instructions if I had” I replied in not so polite tone. She saw me in surprise, waited for few seconds and understanding the situation, she said, “come inside. You will take years to find the college by walk”
The girl suddenly changed the way my destiny was behaving. The next man we asked the address was probably “LORD BRAMHA” himself. He said “this school is not in Viraj khand, it’s in Virat khand. 5-6 km from here. Probably it is a type error”. He told us the way.
I looked towards the sky from the car window and said to God “man, typo error in the admit card of my entrance exam. What were you planning to do with me”?
We reached the center at 10.15 pm. When I finished the test, I realized that I did not say thanks to the girl. When we reached in the school I was in so hurry that neither did I say thanks to the girl nor I saw which classroom she went into. My eyes were looking everywhere to find the girl. “If I find her I will say thanks and I will ask her for coffee also. After all she is a nice girl and she is pretty too. A rare combination” I was talking to myself. I had reached at the main entrance of school when I saw the girl. We waved to each other and I started moving towards her. Suddenly, a Papa type person came into existence from nowhere and the girl started talking to him. I stopped……… I could not say thanks.
I got good percentile in MAT. Joined Amity. Fell in love. Got campus placement. Moved to Hyderabad. Broke up. Came to Bangalore. Started another job. Met thousands of new people and so many wonderful friends. Overall, last 5 years have been wonderful. All because of that girl who gave me lift that day. Leave coffee, I could not even ask her name.
That day when I talked to God while going towards my centre, he had given the reply of my question. I just could not hear it then.
“Dude, typo error was from your fellow humans. I sent someone to help. And coz you are close to me, that someone was a girl. An 8.5 out of 10 girl.”