The Exhaustion! Oh, The Exhaustion!

I hit the ‘Send’ button on an email I was waiting to send for two days now. I checked the clock and it said 2:34 am.

It’s been a good week-and-a-half since I’ve slept normal hours and with so much happening in my life, I was too pooped last night to think anymore. I stripped off my shirt and hit the sack, and fell asleep like a sinking stone. Meetings, calls, meetings and more calls have kept me busy for ever it seems and I woke up this morning to the pleasant thought of having no meetings lined up. I woke up at 9.30, a rare luxury these days, and knew that today was the day I get my act together and start blogging properly.

I turn on the TV, watch The Prestige for a while and open up my laptop to start writing this post. Ah, it feels so nice to have a lean day in the middle of the week.

PS: What’s crazier – eating 8 puris from a roadside guy or drinking 2 litres of Pepsi straight from the bottle with a pack of cigarettes?

Image Courtesy: Purdue.edu

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A Very Little Italian In Me

Venue: Little Italy, Bangalore

Time: 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm

Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Occasion: Colleague’s last day at work

Menu: Unpronounceable watery soup with bits of mushroom floating around, unpronounceable pasta thingy, unpronounceable watery mashed potatoes, unpronounceable Italian version of cheese pakodas, Long Island Iced Tea

Post Lunch: I burped pasta breath and felt somewhat woozy the whole day. My eating habits are primitive and my taste in food is instinctive – I eat anything edible and all that jazz about table manners and primness are concepts that I don’t comprehend.

The Little Italian In Me is called Nikko and he says, “Mangio, dunque sono!

The PR Lingo! :)

Being a public relations man has exposed me to a lot of interesting words and phrases, things that I’d never heard before, and things that caused me considerable distress (being a language purist) when I first heard them. Some of these are:

1. “Sit on this” – This is used while referring to an issue that has to be discussed or a crisis that has to be handled or a presentation that has to be finished or a document that has to be written and just about anything that has to be done. “Don’t worry, I’ll sit on this and finish it!”sounds more like a chicken-murderer plotting his move rather than a serious professional, but I’ll have to adapt! ๐Ÿ˜€

2. “Revert back” – A grammatically incorrect connotation of the more popular “Reply back,” this phrase generally refers to the process of replying to emails, text messages and phone calls that have to be returned. When I first heard the sentence, “Nikhil, the client has sent us a time for the meeting. Please revert back to him,” I had a sly smile all day long! ๐Ÿ˜€

3. “Collateral” – Completely and absurdly contrary to all the accepted definitions of the word, “Collateral” in PR lingo refers to any and all documents that the PR firm gives to its clients, including the clients’ profile and companies’ background. This is quite a strange term to use, because every time I hear, “Nikhil, have you seen the collateral?” my mind thinks of the movie! ๐Ÿ˜€

4. “Dip Stick” – Ahem! :mrgreen:
All perversions aside, the phrase “Dip Stick” refers to a survey conducted among journalists, to gauge their understanding of current affairs (Yeah, right!). This happens whenever a brand new company is formed and we call up journalists and ask them, “There’s this new company called so-and-so. Have you heard of it?” More often than not, the journalists hang up the phone! ๐Ÿ˜€

5. “Boiler Plate” – I first heard this phrase a few days back, when someone asked me, “Nikhil, where’s the boiler plate on this press release??” I looked back blankly and said, “Uh, what the fuck are you talking about?” Apparently, this refers to a brief note about the client to be included on all press releases! Weird, indeed! Something of a pot-boiler to spice up a bland release? ๐Ÿ˜€

So, there it is. There’re a few other weird instances where the English language has been massacred, but I think I’ve sinned enough for one day! ๐Ÿ˜€

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

Vodafone Woes!

When Graham Bell called out to his manservant over the first telephone ever built, he didn’t realize that one day, the world of telephony would reach today’s heights. We have phones that flip open and fit snugly in the palm of our hands, and without any wires attached, we can call someone on the other side of the world with the touch of a button. He’d be proud of himself, I’m sure. But if he had any inkling that there’d be something called “Vodafone” in India in the year 2008, he’d never have called his manservant and he would have promptly destroyed his invention and told his sponsors to leave him alone! ๐Ÿ˜€

Ok, so why do I hate Vodafone so much? Well, it all started when I returned to India from New York in April this year, and realized that I didn’t have a cell phone connection that worked here. So, I stole borrowed my mom’s BSNL sim card and started using it. Pretty soon I came to know that the BSNL connection was little more than a piece of plastic with some metal pasted on it with QuickFix, and that it rarely worked! No STD calls were possible and every time someone called me, I’d begin the conversation with, “The line may get disconnected any second…” ๐Ÿ˜€

I guess that’s why BSNL is allegedly an acronym for “Bhai Saab, Nahi Lagega!” ๐Ÿ˜€ (Sir, it won’t work!)

So anyway, I switched to a Vodafone connection, against all advice to go for Airtel (I was a Hutch user a long time ago, before I went to NY, so I thought I’d be loyal) and signed up for a corporate connection exactly 10 days ago. The plan looked good and it gave me all that I was looking for in a connection – STD, ISD, text, local calls, everything. And it was quite economical too! So, I took the plunge and switched to Vodafone. ๐Ÿ˜€

Three days later, my woes began.

I got a message when I was in Chennai for the weekend that I had used up 80% of my credit limit and that I had to make a payment of 600-odd bucks immediately. I ignored the message, because it was ridiculous. A day later, my outgoing calls and messages were barred! I called up the customer care and made the girl on the other end cry because of the kind of language I used, and through her tears, she told me that I had actually used up so much for international calling and national roaming charges. I realized that Chennai was in another state altogether and that national roaming would be activated. Sheepishly, I apologized and hung up.

I paid the required amount after two days (it was tough surviving for 2 days without making a call from my phone, but I managed) and got my lines cleared up. Three hours after I had paid, the outgoing lines were barred again! ๐Ÿ˜€

This time the customer care executive who answered my call was a guy and while I was wondering what happened to that other girl (she had kind of a sweet voice) he apologized for the inconvenience and said that he’d clear up the lines immediately. Apparently the payment I’d made wasn’t “reflected” on their servers.

I have had it with these weird things in life! These Vodafone people came to my office to verify my office address and then did the same at my home address! I mean, for fuck’s sake, I’d given them my office ID and my address proof when I took the connection! Bah! Morons! ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions of how to make a Vodafone guy’s life miserable, please let me know! ๐Ÿ˜€

Image Courtesy: Me!

Drenched!

I love getting drenched in rain, when I’m on the terrace with minimal clothing and loads of time. But not while driving. This week has been terrible so far, and I’ve been getting drenched almost every single day either while coming to work in the morning or going home late at night.

The worst part of getting drenched while driving is those irritating little pockets of water that accumulate in my underwear, making me squirm. I think I’ve told this before, though I’m not sure. A genetic disability has forced me to wear glasses and a lack of common sense has forced me to use a helmet whose loose visor is completely scratched. When its raining, I can’t keep the visor up because it keeps slipping shut, and if I keep it shut, I can’t see anything in front of me, and if it’s open even for a few seconds, my glasses get drenched and fog up and I can’t see anything in front of me! ๐Ÿ˜€

I sometimes resort to a few stone-age tactics like a piece of rubberband holding the visor up or a piece of paper to keep it in place, half-open, but all these tactics fail miserably when it rains. Once the rubberband snapped and flew off into the crowd and I didn’t dare look back when someone screamed in pain and anger. ๐Ÿ˜€

Today, my run of misfortunes took a completely new turn, and I am sure I could hear God clutching his belly and laughing hard at me. I had to go to the ATM to draw some money at around 11 in the morning, and it had just stopped raining. It had been a pretty heavy downpour and as soon as it stopped and the sun peeped out, I took out my bike and rode down the road to the ATM. It’s a three-minute drive from my office to the ATM, and I reached there, stood in line behind a woman carrying a wailing baby and in front of a belching, obese guy. When it was my turn to use the machine, I thanked God for small favors and completed my transaction.

As I came out and started the bike, the sky immediately became overcast and as soon as I had moved three feet, the skies opened up and the rain came down in all its fury, drenching me completely. I drove as fast as I could and reached the office three minutes later, dripping wet and as soon as I parked my bike, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

I look up at the sky at times like these and ask God, “Why me?” ๐Ÿ˜€

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

Beers, Laughs and Wordpress Themes!

Thursday night was a blur – it was May 1st, Labor Day, and I was working hard in office till almost 8 pm. If that wasn’t ironic enough, then try this: I had to attend a press conference the next day and I was supposed to go in complete formal wear and be on my best behavior – so, I got drunk that night, celebrating Labor Day and went to the press conference in an unpressed shirt and carrying a mega-hangover! I know a lot of people will read this and judge me and call me an irresponsible jerk who doesn’t deserve to be employed, but in my defense, I didn’t plan on getting drunk and I don’t have formal wear! I wonder if this argument will hold up in court or if I’ll be thrown in a mental asylum to be evaluated. Hmm… ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, that night, I met Rags and Panday – two of my closest friends – and we went to this place called Tavern. The place was quite empty when we reached at 8.30 pm and by the time we ordered the second pitcher of cold draught, the place was overflowing and the music drowned our voices. We laughed and laughed and remembered all the strange things that have happened to each one of us, and wished time could stand still…

By the end of the night, this is how we looked:

Rags looked quite sane because all she drank was two mugs, constantly being paranoid about her health cehck-up as part of the Australian Visa thingy! And Panday is a regular fish-tank when it comes to booze, and we both gulped down most of it. I felt so buzzed that I decided to change my wordpress theme!!!

Ok, here’s where logic is thrown out of the window. I was high on alcohol and in that dazed state of mind, I realized that my wordpress theme looked gay-ish. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’d better change it!! So, here’s the effect! A new theme that’s here to stay, hopefully as long as my old, faithful Light did.

Akhil and Chucks, if you both are reading this, then we missed you both big time!

Cheers!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Desperate and Penniless!

I’m a week and a half into my Bangalore phase of my life and I’m stuck in a quandary which, at first glance, may seem pitiable, but on the second, hilarious.

I have three credit cards and four debit cards in my wallet and not a penny, dime, nickel or rupee in cash. I was banking on swiping these precious plastic cards to get my way around the city, at least until I get my first paycheck. The first thing I did when I came to Bangalore was go to a nice, expensive restaurant for lunch with my parents and my younger brother and order everything on the menu, including the kitchen sink. (Well, almost!)

When the obsequious maรฎtre d’ arrived with the check, I grandly whipped out my wallet and selected my Capital One card and gave it to him. Eyes sparkling and mouth watering at the thought of a fat tip, the man went to do the needful. He returned a few minutes later, and I could see the hatred in his eyes clearly.

“This card doesn’t work in India,” he said, handing me the card back, and added, “sir” with venom.

I gulped. I took out my whole arsenal of plastic cards and gave it to him. “Use whichever works,” I said.

Unfortunately, none did. And fortunately, Dad had his wallet on him. He ended up paying close to five thousand rupees and tipped the obnoxious maรฎtre d’ a paltry ten bucks. He literally kicked all of us out. As a final revenge, he made us wait for close to fifteen minutes in the sultry afternoon heat before the valet brought our car to us. I wished I could disappear.

Since then, I’ve been absolutely penniless and desperate for any sort of financial help. And by financial help, I mean the occasional ten-twenty bucks for coffee, smokes and fuel. Dad still pays for the fuel, but grudgingly. I can almost hear him laughing inside – US-returned, my ass!

Come Monday, I start working for this pretty cool PR firm called Hanmer and Partners. I can’t wait to start, only to get my restlessness out of my nerves and more importantly, to get my hands on a card that actually works in India!! I’ve met most of my old friends already, caught up on old times and when its time to pay the check, I always fall back on this line: “Hey, its your treat this time! I paid last time!” ๐Ÿ˜€

Most of my friends are good-hearted people and they recognize a plea for help instantly and pay for me. Not for long, I keep telling myself….

Not for long. ๐Ÿ˜€