Sunday, June 29, 2008

The "Invisible" Slap

Bheema(Vishal Vyas) had his own style of dealing with girls. He really seemed desperate to forward his resume to all the School of Management students who came under the “Girls” category. He would make his sales pitch in full earnest to all these potential recruiters irrespective of the fact whether the Girls Inc. had a vacancy or not. For him “Top of the mind recall” was a term which he took to heart and tried his best to use marketing strategies for the same. He had a clearly defined segment which he would target with all his strategies. Girls-Age 20+ was Bheema’s Target Group, probably because that’s the youngest you could find in a post graduation course.

Bheema was a mechanical engineer. Being a mechanical engineer had given him intellectual satisfaction but had robbed him of the divine presence of girls for 4 precious years. All those years had been dedicated to the Boyle’s and Machines of the world leaving Bheema with no time to run after girls. I have always seen Mechies show that streak of desperation in all interactions with the fairer sex. They are not to be blamed. When you have spent 4 years in isolation and are suddenly put in a place where you see a lot of pretty faces, you are bound to show “the” signs. Signs of excitement and amazement.

Bheema probably had seen potential competitors early. He had spent too many years in solitude to let go another 2 years which promised a lot. Mithun(Sid) had faced his heat the first day itself. Mithun was accused by Bheema of spending too much time with Shruti, whom he claimed was his friend. I had gone to their room to resolve the issue. But from what I heard that day convinced me that it did not necessarily mean that only mechies resort to desperate measures for impressing a girl. All males do. And Mithun had just been caught in the act.

I had confronted Bheema in his room, “Stop being so childish yaar!! What the hell….you pursuing a bloody post graduation course and still are acting so immature. This is heights yaar. Your accusation is baseless. Cut the crap and patch up!”.

Bheema reverted, “Listen Balu, I know this girl from Pagalguy for the last 1 month. She has become a very very good friend of mine. And this pervert Mithun is trying to get too close to her for my comfort!”

I was shocked, “How on earth can you call Mithun a pervert after knowing him for only 24 hours yaar? And what crap…very very good friend in 1 month!! Till date has anyone from male category made it into that elite category in 1 month flat?”

Bheema was quick with his explanation, “No yaar. She is really a good friend. And you wont say like this once you listen to what desperate measures this good for nothing Mithun is taking.”

And then Bheema narrated me the incident which should be a case in study for all those who try to be heroes before girls.

Bheema had been searching for Shruti in the lunch break, only to find her engrossed in a conversation with Mithun at the dhaba. Bheema, sensing competition and out of sheer curiosity, quickly headed to the dhaba and joined them. Mithun however was not deterred by Bheema’s presence. He continued with his conversation. “You an engineer, right Shruti? Which branch and which college?” Shruti had got a little conscious in Bheema’s presence. Still she carried on, “IGIT…Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology…from Delhi itself…it’s at Kashmere Gate yaar. I have done my B.E. in computers”

Mithun saw this as an opportunity. He replied back in a casual tone, “Ohhhhh…You from IGIT?? Don’t tell me yaar…Wow!! My brother is doing it from the same college. 1st year…computers!! Good college I tell you. He was hell bent on coming to Delhi and doing it from this very college. And we traditionally have done our studies from good institutes only. Its become a family tradition of sorts yaar. And my brother has added one new rising college to that illustrious list. I will come along with you when you plan to go to IGIT. You can give some valuable tips to my brother yaar. ” Shruti threw a shocked look at Mithun. She then smiled a little and said the line which would have been the equivalent of a thousand slaps on Mithun’s face, “IGIT is an all girls college. No wonder your brother was hell bent on joining it. And how on earth did your family manage the change of gender on the medical certificate yaar. Pretty influential family I must say…I am impressed.”

Bheema was looking at me after narrating this incident, waiting for my comments. I burst out laughing. I kept laughing the whole night!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Turning Infertile...the MBA way!!

If I were to describe Ruchika in a word, it would be “Brains”. There have been moments where me and TJ have discussed at length of her gifted brain. The “SRCC” commerce tag was enough to stamp her academic superiority over us who had to shy away when someone enquired about our college of graduation. I don’t know how and why Ruchika agreed to be a part of our project group. Everyone wanted to rope her in the first term. There are some subjects where you have the freedom of choosing your own project group. The professors become god in the remaining few by making groups which they think would instill team dynamics in you. It seemed fun when they did it in the first term because you perceive everyone who has managed to get in brings to the table certain unique qualities. But once you start knowing the people in your section, these announcements on the notice board is the second most awaited thing in every term apart from the grades! Because it tells you who are the free riders who would be loaded on to your back and it would be your duty to take them to safety.

Ruchika becoming a part of our group had more to do with me and TJ than plain luck. That would be shared later. She was a huge value addition to my group, which consisted of Nano and Moti as well. Of course she bought us more backup in terms of assignments and projects should Moti & Nano flounder. But apart from that, she was in your face and focused. She would not hide her displeasure and spit venom at us if she found anything wrong. She made sure we all worked. The dream that I had seen with TJ of washing our hands of work once she becomes a part of our group had never materialized. We were made to work as hard. Her never say die attitude and strong will power rubbed off on us. It won’t be completely wrong to say that I was a little scared of Ruchika. She had a voice which had the decibel levels required to shatter the eardrums. I have seriously prayed a few times for her future offspring’s. They would have a tough time getting scolded a record number of times in a day.

Ruchika being among the toppers of the class was directly proportional to our grades improving substantially. This was because our assignments were distant cousins of her top grade assignments. We kept it at cousins because any attempt at being a sibling to her assignments would mean that the School of Management doctors called “professors” would operate on us and ensure that we never would be capable of becoming proud fathers of assignments ever again. I had been dressing up Ruchika’s children all this while by drastically changing their appearance. Even Kamal Hassan would have been proud of my camouflages. He might have done a record 10 different appearances in his latest movie, but I had lost count of how many times I had dressed up Ruchika’s assignments and come out with my “unique” version. Technically I could call myself father of the same because they carried some of my qualities. It would be unfair to accuse me of copying stuff because I was just following nature’s rule. I have always believed that assignments are like children. Two parties need to be involved to bring a new life into this world. Same was with assignments. In my case the child looked more like the mother but there would be some unmistakable traits of me which made my child completely different from its twin. Hence I used the term “distant cousin”. I had been religiously following the natural way and conceiving assignments at an unnatural rate until that fateful day. The day I went against nature.

Strategic management was one of the most dreaded subjects in the 4th trimester. It had more to do with the professor teaching the course. She was a strict disciplinarian and very hard taskmaster. Dr. Suparna Barjatya was a visiting faculty to the School of Management. She had taken a liking for the School of Management and would come back year after year. The seniors had warned us of the amount of hard work we would be required to put in to scrap through her course with a decent grade. True to her sketch made by seniors she bombarded us with assignments from the first day itself. We were required to put in a lot of hours preparing for her 1 contact hour. Not a single lecture went without assignments. All were graded. I had been following the natural way all this while. Till that day when I made an attempt at infidelity!

TJ was excited that day. “Balu bhai……see this…passes to the Management Institute annual fest……2 passes…you and me….and all the MI babes to look at!! Dress up for the party man! My friend Mali there has assured me he will introduce us to all girls from his batch. Stop lazing around you duffer. Get up!!” I was scowling in pain because TJ had kicked me hard. TJ was already rummaging through his wardrobe for his best combination. I looked at him in amazement. “You crackpot!! How can you even think of attending the bash. We have Suppu’s assignment on strategy to submit tomorrow. I have been getting messages that it is a tough one. People have been breaking their head over it yaar. You really think we should go?” TJ’s look was enough to convince me. I got dressed in a jiffy. Once at the Management Institute, I forgot all about the assignment. The girls were really pretty. There is something about parties. Girls look all the more enchanting. Being from the School of Management helped us get a head start. I did notice that TJ was with a new girl every time I glanced towards his side. He was hell bent on getting the maximum mileage out of this opportunity. We danced till the wee hours and had loads of fun. It was around 4 am when the music finally stopped and the students of MI started heading towards their hostels. We also got back to our hostel in half an hour.

I was feeling very tired after all the dance steps I had displayed to impress the girls. I collapsed into my bed. It was then that the realization dawned and I sat up with a start. Suppu’s assignment was hanging like a sword on my head. No wonder I had seen a lot of lights still on at the hostel. “This case should really be tough for them to be breaking their heads for so long.” I said to myself. TJ had started snoring. There was a lot of alcohol in his system to get him back to senses. I was about to pull him out of his slumber when I noticed the timetable kept on his desk. I was in a state of shock when the truth came crashing down on me. TJ had not opted for this course. It was not among the electives chosen by him. How could this vital piece of information slip from my mind? He obviously had refrained from enlightening me on this earlier because I would have refused him point blank then. I glanced at my watch. It was already 5 am. The class was scheduled at 9 am. The fatigue made it even worse. I tried reading the case but I was no Einstein to come up with an instant 2 minute noodle when other nerds had been cooking up a royal feast. The case was really tough. I could not make a head and tail out of it at the first glance. I opened my mailbox to find Ruchika’s assignment in it. This had become a sort of ritual. She would send me hers after completion which I would then read and mould it into my version. This case was so tough that even a completed assignment seemed Greek to me! I had suddenly turned infertile. I desperately wanted my child to take shape but the organ responsible for it wouldn’t budge. (P.S. Brain is the organ I am referring to here) I then did the most obvious thing to me…. “Cloning”. It was from the aftermath of the incident that I joined the group of scientists who oppose cloning citing it to be unnatural. I made a few cosmetic changes here and there to Ruchika’s assignment. I could not get the feeling of being a father how hard I tried with this child. It was simply a carbon copy of Ruchika’s assignment. My system did not have the strength to work on it again. I hoped that I would not be caught and went to sleep.

A week later the grades were put up. Ruchika had breezed past me in the corridor. Had I noticed a tear in her eyes? I rushed towards the notice board and my eyes stopped at roll no. 42. I had a big zero in front of my name. I had expected it. Somehow, I did not feel bad. There were quite a few who shared the honours with me. Luckily I did not have a “Meet” tag attached to my name. A “Meet” tag to your name was symbolic of the fact that Suppu had caught you cheating from a friend’s assignment and you had to fix an appointment with Suppu to give her an explanation. Surprisingly, Suppu spared the author of the original assignment and they would get away with only a zero to their name. I had got the punishment for what I deserved. “Oh Ruchika! What a friend she is…poor soul was crying for me. I will do well in the rest of the assignments and the final term paper to negate the effect of this zero. I will do well for your precious tears Ruchika.” I was halfway when a thought struck me. I walked towards the notice board again in a state of trance. My fingers were trembling when I moved all the way down to roll no. 38. My eyes popped out in horror.
Roll no. 38: Ruchika Agarwal (0/10) [Meet]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The "VIRGIN" fall......

He barged into our hostel room. I continued looking into my notes. Paying attention to Jogi would mean that I would be drained of the little bit confidence that was left in me. It had become more of an unspoken rule within our group. Shut down your hearing aids once Jogi starts with his arbit. I generally don’t virtually boycott someone to this extent, but with Jogi you simply cant help it. This guy can’t stop raving about his abilities. He is simply in awe about his being “Jogi”! God…..i don’t know if they still make items like him, but if they do….then I can very well relate to the misery of all whom this storm consumes in its wake.

I had only heard about him in my first week at the School of Management. But I had to witness it to believe the phenomenon called “Jogi”. He had topped the “Fainku list” in the very first week of his arrival and according to the forecasting models this guy would be tough to beat in the coming two years. Such were the quality of his stories that you would want to kill yourself. Kill yourself for being a good for nothing mortal before this god’s own incarnation. I had my first brush with the “Great Jogi” when he was holding his “Bike Gyaan” session. The words of Jogi still ring in my ears. I had tried to propogate the social message, “Hearing Jogi is injurious to your logical senses”, for the whole of next month with great success. Jogi in his casual style had remarked how well he rode his Pulsar back home. Vineet had happened to mention how his cousin had slipped while attempting acrobatics while riding the bike and Jogi had taken off from there. “You should take extra care man!! You should only attempt such stuff when you have perfected the fine art of biking. And perfection comes with practice. You will be shocked to hear this, but it is true. I have never had a fall in life. Even when I had just started walking, I was the only child in the neighbourhood who was free of bruises that came with falls. Such was my command over walking and running is what my mother claims. My dad had insisted on me riding the bicycle for the first time with the stoppers on, but would I relent? I took to my cycle and later on to my bike as fish to water. Even to this date, kids of Jhangotia Nagar Housing Colony are in awe of me yaar. Why wouldn’t they be? Where else could they see such great stunts getting performed for free? Ohhhhhh…that reminds of the great stunt I performed last time around. There is a steep slope in our society, friends! I raced up in full speed and jumped off the bike letting the bike go. The bike reached the top, swirled and returned in the while I was descending. I think you will appreciate the calculation I had made which enabled me to be air borne all the while this happened. Also note the skill with which I let the bike go which was coming back to me as if in a trance. In the next second, I was atop it. I had performed this stunt just like that, but was shocked to see the people who had accidentally seen me doing the stuff applauding. It spread like wildfire yaar. As if I was not famous!! This made my getting out of my home for the next few months an impossible task. I would be hounded wherever I went. I can very well imagine the plight of celebrities yaar….your fans murder you with love and adulation!! I so wanted to have my first fall that day…..but alas, it was not to be. Nothing can beat perfection yaar. Sometimes I feel so out of place coz of this yaar…I am soooo perfect man….i donno how!! But I am……hey enough of me, Tell me something about yourself Balu?” I was gaping at him with my mouth wide open. I bet a lot of mosquitoes would have made my mouth their abode that day. I excused myself and left the room. I was in no mental state to tell anything about myself. “Shit man, he is such a big Fainku.”, I thought. “This shithole can go on and on blabbering about him man….God, please save my ass whenever I have to cross swords with this demi-God. Give this mortal strength.”, I was laughing in my room. What was he, Rajnikanth’s reincarnation to real life?? God makes some samples!! A week later Vineet’s message flashed on my cell. I did not know whether to laugh or frown on reading the message. It read like this, “Jogi Bhogi sat on a bike…….Jogi Bhogi whom we don’t like….Jogi Bhogi racing to the cinema hall…..Jogi Bhogi had a great FALL….P.S.: Nothing serious…just a few “Virgin” bruises…cheers!!”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Damn Courtesy!!!

“Courtesy”…..the word that was drilled into me from the day I started understanding human behavior. “Courtesy”…a lifetime of carrots that were promised to me if I could ingrain its real essence deep within. “Courtesy”….a seed that was sown in me by my parents which I had to water regularly and transform it into a flowering plant. According to them, these flowers would be plucked up by people you would interact with in your lifetime and leave behind an everlasting impression. The fertilizers which were added to assist this seed in sprouting were the never ending training sessions at home. “Beta…give love and respect to all…specially your elders”, my parents used to say. I was asked to greet all elders by touching their feet. So whenever someone came home…I just rushed to their feet…till…one day I touched the feet of a plumber who was home to fix the pump…leaving him and my parents shocked! Then, ‘elders’ became more precisely defined as relatives, family friends and teachers. ‘Respect your teachers’ was something that we heard everyday in the school assembly too. I watered the plant religiously and came across as a courteous guy. School, college and now MBA….I made my mark as the most chivalrous and courteous guy of the batch. Mom Dad were right after all…!! The blooming flowers were creating that strong impression everywhere. But somehow, using this ‘courtesy’ to achieve ‘courtship’ was something which always eluded me! “You cant kill all birds with one stone right”, TJ said. He added, “You need not loose heart Balu. You need to keep on trying different techniques. You never know which one would click bro. Luck also has a huge role to play yaar! Who knew that bugger Champu(Adi) would get a yes from that Garg gal!! And you know what that Garg gal claims gave her in?? The fact that Champu had been courteous enough to drop her to station at the dead of the night!! He was plain lucky that he decided to stay back in hostel that Sunday night! The day when we were busy noticing Bipasha’s assets in that good for nothing movie we had gone for……Bipasha was anyday out of equation, those 3 hours of absence meant that another one of the rare “single” category we have here in the School of Management was taken!! I always believed I had a chance with her yaar…..Shit man!! That damn movie…Anyways, leave it. Happy for Champu….Or am I?? I donno…but then the point we were discussing was that though “Courtesy” is important, to replace the last 3 words with “ing” takes a dash of lady luck as well brother. Understood??” I nodded. How could I ever disagree with the great TJ’s thoughts!! Everytime he spoke, he seemed logical to me. The case methodology of explaining things to me that TJ adopted to had me hooked from the first day I met him. But neither TJ nor his lessons had prepared me for that day when not only did my courtesy backfire….it left me precariously placed as far as my stay in the School of Management was concerned!!

I have this very bad habit of walking the tightrope every time!! I think almost all who share similar behavioral and personality traits as mine have this strength (it is in no way a weakness because it shows how good you are at meticulously planning each detail). In School of management we had to maintain a decent academic record to stay in the institute. 2 F’s or 4 D’s would guarantee a return ticket for one to your hometown. You could miss up to 5 classes out of the 20 sessions for each credit course in every trimester. My kinds are the first to notice the opportunity in this and end up consuming these 5 holidays even before the course starts gathering considerable pace. Same was the case with me. But I had decided to mess up with the wrong subject and the wrong teacher. QT was in itself a monster. Not to speak of the professor who taught us. I had never known of any woman teacher who had taught me till date to be such a strict disciplinarian. Dr. Maria Joseph was a hard taskmaster. “You all will not be allowed to enter the class once I m inside”, she had declared in the very first lecture itself. And she…well…suffering from the ‘punctuality syndrome’ was never late! Such was her command over statistics that it left us with a feeling time and again that we were biological wastes on this planet! I had already sacrificed 4 out of the first 9 classes to my habit of adhering to the IST(Indian Students Time) i.e. Lecture time + ‘x’ mins (a measurement of how late you were)….’x’ being a variable depending on the Prof. It still left me with 1 day which I would save for the last class. MBA does not give you the luxuries to miss classes at your will if you don’t have nerves of steel. There are surprise quizzes which are designed to stump you. I had done my research well. I got to know from the senior batch that the major “Surprise” quiz would be held in the 10th session immediately after she covers the Decision tree topic. Today was the 10th session. I had prepared all the relevant topics which the seniors had told me to. QT was the first class scheduled for the day at 9 am. I had slept at 5 after completing some assignments and then revising the topics which were in the “Could Come” list in the surprise quiz which could come up tomorrow. I had set the alarm for 8….but the soothing alarm was of little help in waking up this giant from the deep slumber! I woke up at 8:30….saw TJ still snoring away to glory. I got up and kicked TJ. This moron never ever used his alarm clock. Such was his trust on me that he was sure that I would get up in time to wake him up as well. He got up with a start. We brushed, combed our hairs after wetting them and rushed to the classroom. TJ ran faster and managed to get into class before me. I was also there…well almost…the Prof. and I entered the corridor at the same time…step by step…we moved towards the class together…it was at the very last step, when I was again reminded of my parents advice on good manners, and with all grace & chivalry, I opened the door for her and let her in…I lifted my feet to enter…and what happened next was something that erased all my lessons on the ‘C’ word forever!
She entered the class, turned back to me and shouted, “You are LATE again!! Get Out!!”
She held the “Surprise Quiz” that day which had a 20% weightage. Courtesy raped me that day!!

(This incident was shared by Priyanka over the mail. So clear was her description of the event and the commentries that it hardly took an effort from my side to add in some stuff and mould it into my writing style. Hats off Priyanka!!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cubicle Dweller turns one today!

From lazing around the campus lawns choosing which lectures to attend to being in time for meetings and presentations…..From sporting “I-care-a-damn” attitude to learning corporate etiquettes….From being an irresponsible brat to being a responsible manager…. From being used to grab whatever met the eye in the canteen to learning the fine art of dining…. From asking friends for credit to being chased by banks for platinum credit cards…From playing GOD in campus to living the life of a mortal…. From being a lost carefree student to being an ideating cubicle dweller….Life has changed! I am more mature, more focused, more responsible now. The company treats me like a king and seems the best I could have got into. The creative juices flowing within my company is very conducive for my growth. Working hard and seeing my efforts getting translated into profits for the company gives me a high. I like this race towards the top for that glittering badge of “Success” but I loved the race towards the canteen to snatch the samosa which Pappu had just bought!!!

Life is all about a never quenching thirst. A toddler visualizes himself walking like his parents only to realize that it hurts when you fall. You visualize the day when you would be spending from the money you earn and not ask dad for it only to realize later the responsibility part that comes with the package. You visualize the day when you would be swiping your card after a grand treat to your friends only to realize later the distances that have crept because of the work schedules. You have money…bundles of it stacked away in the bank…..but none to spend it at! The touch therapy you were so used to from friends to erase the greatest of tensions have been replaced by the solace of their voices which seem as of a stranger coming from miles away. You have snacks in the canteen here inviting you to have a grab at them but no time to feel their taste. Life has become fast paced. You suddenly have the two criminals “responsibilities” and “duties” roaming free after they have obediently served their sentence to more than 20 years of rigorous imprisonment under section “Education”. This imprisonment varies from person to person on their ambitions and fate. Mine have just got free. Today they just celebrated their 1 year of freedom. The “Cubicle Dweller” just turned one!

(Thanx for the encouragement you all have provided by posting comments as soon as my posts go up and egging me to write everyday!!! This blog has taken up the lil free time i used to have post work which i used to spend before the idiot box....i have been getting anecodotes from readers where they tell me about something similar which happened with them/which they witnessed in college! That gave me an idea to let the world know of them from the eye's of Balu. So, if you feel like sharing any such incident, feel free to mail me the same and i will go ahead and weave a story around it where Balu will be the central character. The name of the contributor will also be highlighted. The usual goof-up's that are in pipeline would follow. Do mail me ur experience at .... Cheers and Keep Reading!!!)