Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A decade of slogging.

After university I goofed around for an year just basically waiting for results and spending dads money – I thought I’ll do that till I get fed up. I never did have an issue with spending dad’s dough forever, but dad did! Our yahoo group mail was fully active with all my college mates posting their achievements in the past one year – some got promoted, some got overseas postings and some were doing their masters in India and abroad… updates kept coming it. All I had time for in between spending dad’s money and planning holidays was to send congrats to each one of them. I looked at my “sent mails” and it was only “good for you mate” “way to go dude” , “oh wow how are the blondes in the United States?”..hmm.. And so after my numerous failed attempts at finding a job or even getting a decent interview, mostly due my slackness and my overly impressive grades (highly sarcastic there) from university, I asked dad to sponsor my Masters or find me a job. Thanks to my utterly dismal performance in BTech he wasn’t sure of me pursing an academic career. Oh well can’t blame him for that. I still am surprised about how I scraped through college.

So after a month or so Dad finally got me a job or I thought it was a job. I go in happily for the interview and all goes well as he asks me some basic Mathematics and Physics and some Mechanical stuff. And the supervisor told me that I can join from the next day. WOW ! Score one out of one ! Nice ! but hey - what about the pay package ? Should I be negotiating that ? Hmm. Well I thought dad must have sorted it all out and decided on a hefty sum worthy of my skills. Super Dad!

On the first day the manager says – okay let me show you your work place. I am all set in a fancy tie and a shirt and new trousers – all new and branded of course! He takes me to the back of the yard and shows me a huge bench cum table (full of junk and broken stuff) at the very corner which didn’t have an inch of space on it and with at least a few centimeters of dust all over. Not been touched for a year at least. He goes – clean it up and its yours. You will find overalls and gloves and cleaning equipment in the cupboard there – give me a shout if you need anything. Ta. “er..Me ? Clean ?” “there must be some mistake here” “ what happened to the janitor?” these were my thoughts but then I thought it would be best to keep quiet for now and work at least till the first pay check :-P

For the first whole month I was pretty much cleaning the shop and tools and cars, greasing the forklifts and cranes, helping the secretary with photocopies and basically anything that didn’t require me to use my brains I was made to do. Phew that was a tough one month. But at the end of the month the table was spick and span, all tools were serviced, showed up on time each day, worked a weekend when I had to and everyone there liked me because they all had a slave :-P..  Come pay time – I was told that since I was a temp they can’t pay me in cash as it’s against company policies. I was shattered :( instead they gave me a battered old HP printer with no print cartridges because they were upgrading all their printers. So I go home carrying this printer – and mum and dad were all thrilled at the fact that I earned this printer – and told me that this is probably the heaviest pay check me or anyone else for that matter must have brought home ( literally). I smile and then borrow some money from dad to treat some of my friends :) and that night it was my turn to log on to yahoo groups and make a posting with the good news. I was getting there…

Two months down the lane I was made permanent at the yard for my enthusiasm and expert cleaning skills more than anything else. But that was a start to a career that took me places, brought me stuff and allowed me to do things that I enjoyed doing without having to say – “hey dad I am outta money again”.

Come end of this month – it would be ten years since I put on that pair of blue overalls, armed with a mop and mask and went about cleaning up the yard.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh Scheisser!

KG had asked her blogger mates to pick the 10th picture from their first photo album post it along with the story that the picture unfolds. So here is mine from the Album - Austria2005.

The picture was taken right outside a bar on top of Kitzb├╝hel ski slopes in Austria – was a bit drunk when I took this picture. And this goes down as one of the most embarrassing moments of my life to date and believe me I do have some moments that would make some even jump in a well .. oh well I’ll leave those for some other time.

Me and my mates were all ready to hit the slopes after the ski lift took us to the top of the mountains. It was a pretty exciting ride up to the peak called the Kitzbuhler Horn which is around 2000 m high and view there was fantastic with snow covered peaks rising above the clouds. And to be able to snowboard down the slopes we had to have a bit of alcohol in us to give us that extra guts to go off the beaten tracks and go off piste. So we decided to have a few pints before we started off downhill. Drink and be merry!

Flashback: Two days ago when we were in Munich we had a massive drinking session which mostly consisted of Kaiser beer which is like the Kingfisher of India. But unfortunately we all had to make frequent dump trips because the beer didn’t go down too well on any of us. We were literally waiting for the other person to get out of the loo for our turn. So they ended up renaming the Kaiser beer to Scheisser beer. Scheisser is German for shit – which I didn’t know (at least till two days later).

Okay so here I am all set to take the orders because it was my turn to buy the rounds – everyone was going “ I’ll have a Scheisser”, “me too”, “yea I’ll have the same” .. . So I fight my way to the bar counter between the Germans who by the way have an average height of 6 ft 5 inches. and after a while of waiting I could see the bar tender and I yell out “ three scheisser beers please” .. the bar tender looks at me with a confused look and nods his head in a confused manner. So I yell out again thinking that he might not have heard me properly “ three schiesser beers please” on top of my voice. I started to attract stares from people around me and the bar tender didn’t say much but stared straight into my eyes and I knew something was wrong. So I turn around to where my mates were seated and I find E lying on the bench and laughing away to glory holding his stomach. J too was laughing seated on the floor trying to say something but he couldn’t finish off anything he starts because he would start laughing again.. finally after J managed to control his laughter, he jumped up and told the waiter that I meant Kaiser beer. I was this little 5 ft 8 in guy looking up at all those Germans and Austrians with a totally embarrassed face.. damn I won’t ever forget that moment. We explained the situation to the bar tender and he started laughing too.. *sigh*

Years later whenever we get around for a beer which is not very often as we are all busy with each other lives we still remind ourselves of that day and have an extra pint in memory of the Scheisser beer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

delhi 6

I thoroughly enjoyed Delhi and can’t wait to go back. Wide roads, friendly people and great food. Even the Hindi there sounded much smoother than the Hindi I am used to hearing here in the Gulf which is more like the tapori Hindi. I was even brave enough to converse in Hindi with a few clients and they didn’t quite make out that I am a southie from my accent :) But I still have a lot of work as far as my accent is concerned. The reason I shy away from speaking in Hindi is because I hear Keralites here speak Hindi with a ridiculous accent and I hate to sound like that..

I visited Chandini Chowk, Qutub Minar, Jama Masjid, Raj Ghat and the ISKON temple at Greater Kailas. What I enjoyed the most was the Akhsardham temple which I visited with my mother – it is a fairly new temple and well maintained. They have done it up really well. The security checks there is a bit overwhelming but I guess it is needed there. Cant post any pictures of that place because cameras were not allowed inside. There is a religious show that starts every three hours and I have been told that it is not to be missed but I couldn’t make it due to time constraints.

Also took a day trip to Agra and passed by Fatehpur Sikri which was totally amazing. To be honest I really liked my walk around the corridors of Fatehpur Sikri more than the visit to the Taj Mahal. The Taj was nice but it didn’t make me go WOW like I did when I went inside Fatehpur Sikri.

Just being in Delhi constantly reminds you of India’s history and the freedom struggle and the heritage of India. None of the other Indian cities I have visited had that effect on me. Anyway I am back in Dubai and is telling everyone here how awesome Delhi is and that it’s the best city in India etc etc.. So one of my friends asks me if I am ready to go and live there. And I go “NO” – without even thinking twice. I do not want to part with the comfy life I have here and go live in Delhi although there are loads of things I miss about India but it still won’t take me back – at least not now.

So my friend said “Desh mein hum videsh dhoondthey hain aur videsh mein hum desh dhoondthey hain” – how true !

The man we owe it all to.

The ISKON temple at night - reminds me of the casino Excalibur in Las Vegas.

Courtyard in Fatehpur Sikri.

The magnificent Taj.

A stroll down the corrirors of history.

Jai Hind (mallu eshtyle).