Saturday, April 24, 2010

On the Walk to Brigade Road

Old adages are repeated more often when you visit places or address situations that deliver its worth meaning. I sense this is why the adage 'Old Is Gold' is prominently true when you visit the shops and restaurants of Brigade road in Bangalore. At the outset,let me confide: my intentions were not to write some nice words for Brigade road, but accidentally I found myself in no other choice but to use it.

Today was a day for couple of my bachelor friends, and it made more special for us because of many of our girlfriends were away or let us just say out of station. The plan was to hitchhike, play lots of games, eat at our fav den and maybe just maybe a bit of old flirting game. I was a little tired after been standing in the queue for getting the refunds for the IPL Semis, which never took place in Bangalore.

The gang had already joined in Nava Arya, a Maharastian Restro, which is located at the dead end of Brigade road. The gang had already started feasting themselves, and I did not waste much time in ordering my favorite Chole Bature and Masala Chai. Trust me readers, a chole bature worth of Rs. 30 from this place would take you to seven heavens of taste. The bature is very smooth and devoid of oil and choles absolutely yummy. As we ate, I mentioned this to my friend how this same item cost Rs.50 in the Embassy Golf Links, Bangalore.

After this, we hit upon Bowling Zone, an exclusive Bowling zone unit in Vasanth Nagar. We did some shopping in the old pashmia shops in Brigade road. The shop owners had been prominence from the last century and a visit to these shops makes you realise the reasons. Courteous, knowledgeable and helpful-the shopkeepers make you realise why shopping in India is such an interesting phenomenon. 

First, there will be the customary smile, the interest of exhibiting their products, then the routine apology of inability to show the best products, and finally a no-no to money. It looked as if the entire cycle of marketing is followed here. And, one more thing, the shopkeepers definitely know the purchasing powers of the customers.

Everywhere we went we saw banners related to IPL merchandise and products. While Empire Restaurant of Church Street invited you try their chicken biriyani and try your luck. How? by a mere purchase of biriyani and if your luck favors it you get a chance to meet player of Royal Challengers Bangalore. And, if that was not enough Nyx offers go to a length more by offering 50% discount on
alcoholic drinks during the IPL matches timings.

A visit to the Deccan Herald office in MG Road, and you can still get a chance to see a library inviting readers to browse and read. History cames alive as I scrolled through the newspaper pages of post-independence era.

Back to the present and my eyes could not stop the glimpse of a box, outside the library but right at the center of the reception bay. It read "Drop your visiting card to win an IPL Tickets." Ironically, a few days back a bomb was found in The MG Road area, which made the organisers shift their venues.

It was a day spent in the company of friends in an alley where I spent a lot of college days. But, maybe the tall buildings constructed these days decementing an India Coffee Day and metro work has taken the charm of my old Bangalore. But, the zing is and Brigade Road still beats as I could find the age old Kohinoor restaurant beating with crowds. Guess, the only thing constant is change, but you cannot change good habits for they make wonderful memories.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whose Line is it Anyway

I have a wide friend circle, boys and girls included, and most of them are working in call center organisations. I meet them quite regularly and have long hours of conversations. It was this Sunday when all of us had assembled to Raj' place. Raj stays at a posh residential colony of Indiranagar, Bangalore.

Infact, he owns the place for along time after his elder brother left for States. His house is right next to Indian ace Cricketer Rahul Dravid, which meant that we got a glimpse of the cricketer once or twice. Dravid is a nice human being with no attitude.

After our lunch got over couple of our friends started talking about the week that went by. One after one each spoke and it was the turn of Jitin now. Jitin, a Malaylee born and bred in Abu Dubai had been working @24 hours for a long time now. He also had a French girlfriend, which made couple of us took more notice to him than others. It also made couple of us jealous but then we dare not say that in front of our girlfriends.

Raj was a senior tech support in XYZ process, and it meant he used to do long hours of sales calls for business purpose. In short, he was the late CK Prahlad, a management guru in his own right. But, this job also had its own stress and pitfalls of it. He had to make this deal. I was sitting with him at the moment and quickly notice the name that he was going to call up. It was Mr.Hickley.

"Mr. Hickley, we have studied your organization and we believe there is a good fit in terms of our capabilities and your needs. Our services cover the range of activities from back office management to payroll."

There was an interrupt from the other side as the voice on the other side of Hickley meant to say something. But, Raj kept on speaking. "Mr.Hickley, we will get all the background work done here in India while you sleep blissfully and it would cost much lesser than what you pay  for your services in USA. What do you think about this idea?"

There was a minute paused and then Mr.Hickley spoke, "Son, I do not whom you wanted to speak to, but I am Lieutenant Hickley and am going for a war in a month or so. I do not think you would like to offer your services to me in a war.".

Raj was speechless for a moment; the phone fell down from his hand and he looked like a ghost. Till this day we could not stop but pulled Raj' legs for the mistaken identity.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Onsite Opportunities!

If there is a logic to justify Akram' obsession for overseas opportunities, you may pronounced it as an entry to the solutions department of Rubik' cube. Yes, it is next to impossible and Akram was short of intelligence, which Aamir Khan' of 3 Idiots fame to successfully solved it.

But, in my distant memory, as much it serves me, he was this large hearted character straight from engineering college to the massive giant of IT company "come on! I am ready for all of you!" "Get me all the java tava, webspheres and circles and I am game."

This kind of passion from engineering grads most of the time, do not go missing. Easily noticed by the project managers, their passion are used and energized in every 365 days. Soon enough, Akram realized it was just work and more work. The performance appraisals never displayed any sort of appreciation, and all he got was a pat on the back and continue learning.

It was his first year in the organisation,and he was expecting something pretty nice on his birthday. Instead he received a fatty bill of Rupees 1500 for the pizzas. All along he thought that things would turn up for better sure. While paying the bill Akram politely directed a remark to his project manager that he expected him to remember this pizzaa treat during Akram' appraisal.

Recession struck and the first thing that every IT company decided to follow the other was reducing the work force or a zero hike. Unfortunately, for Akram he was put in a project that demanded him to work late hours. It got worse as he had a manager who was known to take all the credit.

Senior colleagues of other projects told him to push his manager for onsite assignments. The H-1 B Visa application and subsequent the stamping made him a clear candidate for the upcoming project.

Akram knew that there were lot of contenders, but he decided to have a talk with his manager. It was quite cloudy that evening; the sun had decided to make a quick exist and allow the rain Gods to have a peek-boo.

Akram knocked at the manager' cabin only to receive a morose and dry smile. The manager clearly demonstrated that he meant business and any sort of non-chat working hours was not acceptable, atleast to him. "What is it Akram? no work, huh". Akram stammered a little bit, but quickly replied that he had done with the work for the day and wanted a quick chat.

The manager clearly was not interested to have a chat, but asked, "what is it then?" "I have got my H-1 B visa and wanted you to know that I am interested in travelled", Akram applied. "Oh is that so? so where do you want to travel? The Pyramids, I say. What do you think this company is, a Tourism Agency." The manager did not stop here and continued giving gyaan to Akram.

Akram was speechless and to an extent motionless. He did not expect this kind of response. He came out and went to his work station and sat on his chair. A ten minutes paused followed. But, deep down in his heart he realised one big thing- you do not need to have sex every time. Your company f**** you regularly.