Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A hard day's work...

Yesterday was my induction day at my place of work. It's one of the most reputed companies in India which has a Global presence in 63 countries around the world. I really enjoyed everyone who came to speak to us and tell us a little bit about the company in their own words; their own experiences; and what they felt the company had to offer us. There seems to be an unlimited potential to grow, and that is what I'm most excited about. If you don't fit in somewhere, there's always another place for you to make yourself comfortable in--so you can find a niche for yourself almost anywhere in the company.

My facilitator for the day was a very boisterous and enthusiastic young lady who made us all feel right at home and was there throughout the day to make sure that all of us were comfortable with what was being presented to us. She introduced us to everyone and had a lot of things to say herself which were quite useful.

The best part was how our VP came in and spoke to us in the morning, in one of our first sessions, right after the ice-breaking round where we all had to introduce ourselves (more about that later). He seemed like a guy who you could really talk to if there was anything on your mind, and not worry about what the repercussions would be. No hangups what-so-ever. And for someone who's in his position and acts like he's just another associate was very welcoming.

The ice-breaking session lasted for about half an hour--it was the first round that we had, and the most joyous. We were supposed to use the first alphabet of our name to come up with an adjective that we thought aptly defined our personalities, attaching it to our names, and then passing it on to the next person, who would have to repeat what you'd said and then do the same for him or herself , and the procedure would continue on and on, until the last person would have to recite everyone's name with the aid of the adjectives that were supplied to him--poor bastard!

We also had some wonderful people like the lady who had won a lot of prestigious awards in the organization year upon year, coming to visit us, and telling us how it feels to be an icon of the company, where your work is not only recognized by your peers, but by the big man himself--the CEO of the company.

The most appealing part of the whole day was that most of the people who had come down to spend the day with us were full of life and vigour, and it felt good to be surrounded by them; it made me feel like I could be one of them too pretty soon, if I put in the hardwork and dedication that's expected of me. Our training is going to start from Tuesday next, until which date we're all on paid leave. I've got to go and get my Pan card paperwork started for my Income tax purposes, and apply for a credit card so that I can purchase stuff online which I'd like to be sent to the States since you need a credit card number for that. Hopefully all of this should be done with within the week and I'll be ready by Monday to start work as seriously as I can.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A fine balance

It'll be a month this coming Friday since we started talking with each other, Alhamdulillah! I've become a changed man to a certain extent because of her. Trying to pray five times a day at the mosque, reading my Quran regularly, learning about my Deen--this is something that I never imagined myself doing previously. I've also been a bit hasty with my affection--isolating it for her and not sharing it with my friends... for which I feel truly sorry. It's so easy to get wrapped up in these things and forget about the world around you, which is not something that I recommend. Your heart tells you--you know--you don't need anyone else now that you've got her, but you do. You need lots and lots of other things to keep you occupied so that you don't become obsessed with her and go mad--which is what I discovered--the hard way.

We hadn't spoken for a couple of hours one day, and I panicked... I tried contacting her incessantly and mailed her four to five emails declaring my undying love for her and how I would try and be worthy of her companionship. She was sweet about the entire thing, trying to explain to me how important it was that we take matters slowly, especially in lieu of our Islamic background. I agreed, and we both have decided to give it a couple of more years to see what happens. I'm trying to be optimistic about the whole affair, but it's not easy. I'm afraid that things might not work out, and I might lose her to someone else.

My mother already knows about the details, and this is the first girl that I've ever spoken about with her as far as marriage is concerned. (A month ago I was telling her that there was no way that I was getting married in the near future (seeing as how insecure my life was at the moment) but she's changed all that, and has made me want to succeed so that I can meet her someday soon, Inshallah!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Best Friend's Seperation

I've known Rohit since I was in ninth class, when I first landed here and attended my first day in school. For some reason, he liked me. I don't know why--I didn't like myself that much back then. But he always seemed to see something in me that I never did, and so we sort of kept in touch--him mostly. He would always call to check up on me, try and make it out to my place--even tried to help me out when I'd hit rock bottom with my depression and didn't want anything to do with anyone I'd known from my past. He was there, even though I never made it any easier for him.

Rohit's dream was to become an Army Officer--he was very into the whole An Officer and a Gentleman shebang. His other big dream was to get a girlfriend (something which united both of us inexplicably), even though, once again--I thought I had a much better shot at it than he did...

We would sometimes sit outside his house thinking of all the girls we could've married and settled down with. Sometimes he'd come over to my house and we'd go up to the terrace and look at the stars and try and justify our loneliness as an exercise in romantic aspirations--something which all true lovers have to go through. I was adamant that there was someone special waiting out there for me, but Rohit was much more realistic, and when he got his chance--he decided to take it.

The girl was introduced to him via one of his cousin sisters, they started talking, and decided they were compatible enough to get hitched. He called me up and told me about the wedding to be. I was flabbergasted--I never expected my one sole accomplice in all of the struggles I'd faced to ditch me like this, but I couldn't not be happy for him. After all--if this is what he'd wanted--I was glad that he could have it. The marriage took place in his native place of Dehradun, where incidentally the girl and her family also happened to to be from. It was a huge family affair, and both parties were satisfied with the match.

Yesterday night, after a year and a half, I got a call from Rohit... he'd called me up once or twice in-between but I was too depressed to talk to him then. I was ecstatic that he'd gotten in touch because there really is no way for me to do it since they keep moving him around from one corner of the country to another--wherever he is needed. I told him I'd been thinking a lot about him during the past few days and weeks, and was really ashamed about the way I'd behaved in the past. But Rohit being Rohit--didn't think there was anything to apologize for. And then--it came. Like a punch out of nowhere: he told me--want to hear some bad news... and it was the way he siad it that I immediately knew what the hell he was talking about. I told him--Oh no... don't tell me. And he said, "Well, it's not all bad, since I'm happy." I asked him what happened, knowing fully well the answer that was to come, but hoping against hope that it wasn't true. Rohit's wife had left him a few days ago.

We talked for about half an hour. He was calling me up from Indore where he's posted right now studying to get into the UN's Peace Keeping Forces. I asked him how it'd happened and he told me: there was trouble brewing right from the start. The problem with Rohit's wife was that even though she'd proclaimed to be a very down-to-earth person--the truth was far from it. There was the fight about not having the huge Plasma Screen TV that she wanted, which Rohit could not afford on his salary at the moment, and had asked her to put it off for a year or two. Then, there was the 400 litre refrigerator which she'd asked for because the neighbour's had just one like it, but Rohit's suggestion was that since they were only two people they really didn't need to own a fridge with that kind of capacity, especially since he could only afford a 180 litre one.

The Armed Forces don't get paid a lot. They aren't millionaires with loads of money to spend, and Rohit's wife was aware of this when she got married to him. But, according to what Rohit understood of how her mentality worked: he was under the impression that she wanted to be the centre of attention in his house. His dad's got a pretty respectable career going in a bank, which he's been working at for the past 20 years or more, then there's his brother--who's in the Navy, and is a Ship Navigator, who earns quite a nice sum himself. So, according to Rohit, what she was expecting was to be welcomed into the family by all three with the money they would obviously be lavishing on her since she was the only girl in the house, and so naturally would hold a very special place in their hearts.

Only problem is--Rohit's dad is about 5 or 6 years away from his retirement, and he's already told his sons that he doesn't want to depend on either of them for any financial assistance, so is trying to save as much as he can for himself and his wife. And Rohit's brother has his own life to think about--he's trying to save up as much as he can for his own family... but this was probably asking for too much in the eyes of Rohit's wife.

And so--it started--the torturous pricks about being married to someone who doesn't earn enough to support his wife, the constant criticism about his family (his mom especially), the rude behaviour with his folks, which he was not aware of since his mother had kept him in the dark about all of it so as not to interfere with their relationship. But, everyone has a limit, and Rohit reached that stage when she packed up her bags one day and said--no more! Rohit's mom begged her to stay, pleaded with her--got down on her knees and asked her not to bring shame to the family, but she threatened them with a false court case accusing them of dowry harassment if they didn't allow her to leave, and so Rohit, seeing no other way out--let her go.

She took everything. The clothes, the Bank Balance, the Mobile Phones (including two of his) and to add insult to injury, has been spreading all kinds of rumours about him and his family back home. Rohit--he's just glad that she's out of his life for the time being. She tried to get in touch with him recently to "patch things up" but Rohit had the sense to stay as far away from her as he could. He says he's just relieved that they didn't bring a child into this world, something that she was very keen on, but something which Rohit instinctively knew would be only adding to his miseries. He says this is the worst 15 months that he's ever had to spend in his life, but he's thankful that it's behind him now.

I asked him how much he'd spent on the wedding, and since--the total bill comes out to something like 7,00,000 Rupees, which would amount to about $ 20,000. (Shame!) But, Rohit again being Rohit--is just relieved that he doesn't have to deal with the drama anymore and he can move on with his life now. I asked him if he would ever think of getting married again--and pat came the answer "NO". I said not to give up, there are a lot of people who've been through the same thing and are still hopeful. He said that he was worried he wouldn't find anyone at his age (since most people over here get married in the age group of 21 to 24). I told him that he had no idea, and let him in on the activities that I'd been involved in for the past two weeks. There were plenty of women out there, 28 and older, who were searching for the one. But, this time--I told him that I would be there for him, and when he found someone who he thought of settling down with, I'd make sure that I'd at least take the responsibility of doing what a best friend should do, and check if he's not making the biggest mistake of his life.

We've decided to meet sometime next month, after his course work in Indore wraps up, and will hopefully get some time to talk then. Other than that--he was happy to hear about my exams and the job. I thanked him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iron Man

His name is Kondaya. He's the guy who irons my dad's shirts, and pants, and whatever else that needs to be ironed. He also irons the clothes of the entire neighbourhood. He has a small shack set up by the side of the road, where he, his wife, and another man who he's hired (I'm not sure if this person is related to him or not, since most of these small businesses are family run), work from around 9 AM to 9 PM, if not longer. The little tables on which they iron their clothes are overloaded with bundles upon bundles of laundry, freshly washed, waiting to be touched by their smouldering hot irons. (Surprisingly, the tables are quite effective in giving the pants and shirts that extra special crease. So, not only are these cheap wooden tables cost-effective, but they're also high on quality too. Much better than an ironing board if you can believe it, which you won't, until you've seen it!)

Today--as I was picking up my dad's clothes, I noticed that Kondaya's wife had a packet of milk in her hand. I had smelt the aroma of tea coming from somewhere but couldn't figure out where they'd kept their cups, so I assumed that perhaps she was going to prepare it. That's not what she was doing--or at least not yet. She was holding the cool packet of 1/2 a litre milk to her face, and trying to dampen the sweat off her neck and forehead.

In the meantime, Kondaya was in the back searching for the plastic bag in which my father's clothes were kept. As I was taking it from his hand--I realized something that I'd almost forgotten since it'd been such a long time since I'd seen him--Kondaya has Elephantiasis. His right leg is probably five to six times the size of his left, and he walks with a slight shuffle. And yet, this man has no other choice but to stand on his own two feet, even at his age (he must be in his fifties) and iron other people's clothes, day in and day out, over and over again, for the past few years that I've been seeing him at least. He also doesn't wear any slippers, if memory serves me right, at least on the leg that's afflicted by the ailment.

Friday, May 09, 2008


So it's official--I'm a weiner--this is the second time that I've over-reacted to something that someone has said to me that kind of hit close to home, even though there might not have been a cause to. I say might because at the time it seemed perfectly justifiable, sort of like one of those "in the heat of the moment" kind of deals. I feel bad to have gone overboard like that, but to have spent twenty eight years on this earth without a girlfriend, or any hope of having love isn't the easiest thing to have dealt with when there are people who've had all kinds of experiences and have no idea what I'm talking about... I bet the geekiest guy (or girl) on the forums that I visit have been asked out, or have gone out on dates, or have been kissed. (In fact--I know so!) Me? Well, what can I say: the less said the better perhaps!

But I've always buoyed myself with the thought that I'll ultimately get the chance to do all those things with the woman I'm going to fall in love with, and hopefully marry, and spend the rest of my life living with. So, it sort of wreaks havoc on your mental state when other people try and find fault with your chance of accomplishing it (however slim that may be).

I thought I'd write about something else today but this was at the top of my mind. I wanted to relay to anyone who might be listening that I'd gone for my first BA Second year paper and it wasn't too bad, I've got five more papers to go though. And then I'll have just one more year and I'll finally be a graduate; I'd dropped out after high-school--looooooong story! So, today, as I was taking the seat that was assigned to me, I looked on the desk and read the following graffiti scribbled on it: I do इश्क with तुमसे। (Translation ~ I make love with you.) The perfect way to start an exam--don't you think!?

Besides that--the cold war between my sister and mom has finally thawed--I'd mentioned to my sis that Mother's day was coming up a few days ago, and that it would be the perfect opportunity for her to make good with my mom, but at the time she just winced at the suggestion. Today, after I'd come home from prayers I saw my mom and sister chatting, casually--just like they used to. I didn't want to say anything since I didn't want to bring too much of attention to the fact that they were actually "talking" again, so I kept my mouth shut and went upstairs, glad that the whole debacle of them avoiding each other had ceased. A few minutes later, my sister joined me upstairs, closed the bedroom door behind her, opened her closet, and took out the cards that she had just bought for my mom for Mother's day: They're beautiful, and right now--she's in the kitchen baking a cake for her... it's a three-tiered Black Forest cake!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A bit of a rant

"Well, all I know is I had a good time last night. I'm gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees. I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party on New Year's, I got a date for that party."

And so concludes Paddy Chayefsky's superbly written essay about the journey of a lonely 34 year old Bachelor in his search for love. The film directed by Delbert Mann went on to win not only the Best Picture Oscar for that year, but also a Best Director award for its Director; a Best Original Screenplay Award for its writer; and a Best Actor Award for the heart-rendering performance given by Ernest Borgnine. (It was also one of the biggest hits of the year, despite it being one of the first independent movies to have come out of the Hollywood system, which was produced by that gorgeous hunk of an actor--Burt Lancaster. It also went on to win the Palme d'or at the Cannes film festival--the second film in Hollywood history to have done so.)

The reason why I'm bringing up this particular movie (other than the fact that it happens to be a beloved favourite of mine) is because of the response that I got from some of the members on Metachat and Mefi after I'd posted about my budding relationship with a truly exceptional woman who I'd met earlier. I knew it would've been hard for them to understand given the circumstances (we've only been talking for a week now, and it's been over the internet), but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt--thinking that they would share in my happiness. Or if not exactly show the same enthusiasm, maybe not be as pessimistic as some of them were. I don't know if it's just me (as a good friend of mine from the board pointed out: you happen to be the sensitive sort), or if this is truly a grudge to be held. But, none of them were kind enough to say: hey--Daanish--good going! I'm happy for you. You've finally found someone who you think is a match for you... that sounds terrific. But, and this is just an aside--you might want to be careful and take things a little slow just in case you scare her off. It happens, you know?

Why couldn't have anyone said something like that, instead of the: STOP! SLOW DOWN! SEE OTHER PEOPLE!!! God dammit--I don't want to see other people. I just want someone who shares some common ground with me (the more the better, and this particular woman happens to fit that criteria in spades) who I can build a life with. Get it??? I don't want to "date" other people--I just want someone, who has no reason to take a chance on me--to say to herself--you know--that guy isn't too bad--I think I'll give him a chance and see where it goes. And that's exactly what she did. I told her that I wasn't the type who could play games. I'm a pretty straight-forward guy and I want to write to you as much as I can. She said she liked reading my letters, and found them very touching. So, we're talking--and it feels great.

But, I'm still a little disappointed that I couldn't share this with my friends. And you know what really gets up my ass--I always feel like I try ten times harder to see things from their perspective than they try and see them from mine. I'd told them earlier about how much I was desperate for finding true love, and how much difference it would make in my life, but for some reason they chose to ignore that. I don't know why. Perhaps they have good reasons of their own, but they weren't what I was looking for at the time. Sigh. This is the second time that something like this has happened. The earlier one being the incident when I'd made a post declaring my sister's love for receiving bouquets, and had the anti-flower brigade rain down on me. Now it seems that I've riled up the anti-romance department... when will it end!?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Odds and ends...

Sorry I've been missing for the past couple of days. No, it's nothing to get worried about--I'm perfectly alright (actually, better than I've ever felt before). I can't say much now so you'll just have to trust me on that, however, I have been plagued with nightmares for the past couple of nights (which is not something that I had been facing prior to the recent turn of events). I've put that down to all the changes I'm going through right now and the pressures of having to deal with them. But it's all good, so I'm not complaining. Anyway, just wanted to give a shout-out to everyone, and let them know that I'm still here, and hopefully, pretty soon, I'll have a decent post up in order to explain what the hell's been going on with me... until then, here's another Calvin and Hobbes strip:









(via The Hindu)