Living 'Rented' Lives

For the uninitiated.. i have been living in Noida, a upcoming suburb just outside New Delhi ( i don't know why they call it upcoming... there is hardly any empty strech of land left in Noida now ..) for the last two years in a rented appartment with my couple of friends who all happen to be in IT.. on one sunny summer day our meaningful ( ..or is it meaningless.. ) lives came in for a rude shock was a typical sunday and i was pondering on virtues of bathing or not ( what else can be expected from software-wallas ;-) ).. when the phone rang.. a new number showed on the phone's display.. it was from the appartment's owner ( how come she manages to phone me everytime with a new number.. thats a mystery in itself.. ) and you know what.. i was expecting the call.. there had been rumours doing the rounds that all the bachelors in our housing-society will have to vacate their appartments within a month or two.. but i was not expecting this early.. after all we were kind'of ideal tenants ( tenants who always paid on time.. ) she told that she was serving us a months notice to vacate the flat. the immediate provocation being an unfortunate incident in which a call-center executive in our building jumped from his floor in the state of intoxication (some say he was killed.. and there is a girl angle also... ) after this alleged suicide which was widely covered in media ( ..these news channels-wallas highlight the trivialiest of issues that emanates out of Noida as all channels are based here.. you know convenience-journalism.. ) the society board members (.. retired and have nothing good to do.. other than fretting about where this young generation is going ..) decided to remove all the single-unfortunate-souls from the society (Boy, this is frivolous.. how can they do this.. i thought of filing a PIL, but then the workload on our courts came to my mind ;-) ) ..this bunch of society-oldies had been contemplating this for long and this suicide came as a flash in a pan for them... there had been incidents involving call-center employees in our housing-society but nothing as serious to warrant this... everywhere you have young people engaged in alcohol abuse, live-in relationships, verbal and physical abuse... but you don't shoot the messenger... i find no logic in the society-wallas decision and i guess there is no apparent logic just fool-hardy approach (..what if tommorow a married man jumps to his death.. ) ..if you have complaints against a set of people , why view all the with that same blighted approach.. who will tell them that IT is different from BPO.. on the hindsight.. i believe the BPO people are themselves to blame for their notorious reputation, but thats a seperate issue...

After three weeks plus..of inactivity.. sitting on the notice.. a sense of urgency finally overtook me.. only six days and still no house.. where will i keep my stuff .. my beloved and antique desktop or my better-half (My T.V.) i personally can live out of office..but i hope things would not get that bad.. besides i can pitch in with any of my office friends.. but thats the last option.. (Boy, i hate living in these rented flats.. i really do.. but i don't have a choice..) this realty boom has driven prices to levels where supposedly 'well-off people' (i consider myself among them...) have no hope left of owning a flat ..leave alone a house with a swimming pool.. i picked up the classified and phoned all the nearby property dealers.. err.. real-estate consultants i mean (.. property dealers sounds so down-market as if selling fish on street.. one agent told me.. wow !!) property dealers i guess is the biggest tribe in india these days.. i have heard that besides tax-free, the margins are also good .. i caught hold of a broker err.. real-estate consultants ..typical middle-man like always on phone.. with sunglasses and an attendant.. i told him my requirements and my budget and then this phone did all the talking.. dialing up one numbers after another.. in majority of cases nobody is willing to rent out to single-souls (.. i couldn't figure out why.. a new discrimination is being practised.. ) and never say you belong to BPO or anything thats remotely associated with call-center when looking out for a house ( ..typical witch-hunting i believe !) it has been two days of house-finding and yet to find a decent one.. the rents are exorbitant besides you have to take other considerations also.. powerback-up ( its uttar pradesh after all..) ..RO-water supply (the yamuna water tasts horrible..) security.. close to office/markets.. lot of factors to consider.. four days to go !! and all this pain due to one unfortunate soul who jumped to his death...!!

~A Change Is Gonna Come~

Dazed and Confused

"One who is unable to adjust to one's environment or circumstances or is considered to be disturbingly different from others." is how defines the term 'misfit'. Looks like we all belong to a league of 'misfits'.. a homogeneous set of people who are at odds with the impulses of our times.. are we becoming 'misfits','zombies' and 'monocultures' all at the same time... as for 'misfit'.. i don't think that i need to adjust to environment ( ...and what if the environment is at fault) or i am radically different from a typical youth out there on street.. yet i am different.. different from the normal face in this increasingly faceless crowd.. a 'misfit' yet not a 'MISFIT'.. i think we are a generation of lost souls that may believe that Pepsi is better than Coke or Levi is better than Lee or whatever.. is assertive and appears confident and earns well.. and yet when it comes to decisions that really matter we are found wanting.. A imperfect generation living in imperfect times... I am not sure why i am writing this but over the course of last week there has been three incidents that have again brought the confused nature of our lives...

Exhibit 1: After not so subtle signs that i am unhappy with the state of affairs at my workplace.. my manager called me up... sat down with pen and paper to make a list as to what can be done to improve employee satisfaction ( Boy, again a list .. these lists are deceptive .. they make things look easy when they are not...) he also said that marriage to Aishwary Rai was not on offer ( Wow !!, i love this company.. even Aishwary Rai is negotiable ) how do we go about improving motivation at workplace .. i guess i don't know.. and i don't care anymore.. do i want more money? different work/project? onsite? and i am still clueless.. no damn answers... not sure of what i need or where my priorities lies.. *sigh*.. i guess the problem is choice..

Exhibit 2: Somebody in my extended family had a heart-break (.. i guess it was more than a heart-break, it was a case of broken marriage and broken promises ) ...The tragedy of the situation is nobody is willing to relent.. living on bloated egos and dried-up minds.. it seems everything these days have become so cosmetic.. disposable if you can say that.. decisions that really matter are made on impulses instead of rational thought and decisions that you may regret later.. but you know what.. even if the 'seemingly superficial' wounds heal .. the pain will be felt long time after.. why do we go about making wrong choices.. even when the margin of error in these not-so-normal-times is so small.. *sigh*.. A 'right here.. right now' solution for a 'right here.. right now' problem in the times of 'Make-Believe' will lead you NOWHERE...

Exhibit 3: me on a typical day .. in a typical goverment office for a typical goverment work... and yet the when you came out of the office.. the feeling was not that typical.. i felt being let down by myself.. i had to bribe an official to had some work done.. this was not the first time i had done this... yet the scale and canvas was much bigger this time.. and i don't feel anything great about it.. all my life i held such strong view on corruption.. and yet... i guess i also now belong to the 'sab chalta hai' brigade... *sigh*

~Jimi Hendrix in "All Along The Watchtower"~
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.

On The Road Again

continuing from my last post where we were leaving for the two-day mountain camp in Chail (near Shimla ..) on our motorcycles..
Wow.. this is the first expression I could mumble when we got the black beast from the Royal Enfield Club.. A ThunderBird.. 350 cc of raw power that you are riding on... standing on a side-stand it entices you to be rode upon.. waiting for its true power to be unleashed.. Wow !! we packed some bare essentials as we didn't wanted to burden ourself with the stuff.. and whats the use living in a forest camp if you took all that you require here.. on Good Friday day we were scheduled to start sharp at 5 in morning ... we slept little as we needed to start early to escape the Delhi scorching summer sun.. it was a struggle waking up so early.. so starting at 5 was always going to be difficult (I guess we have an excuse.. its near impossible reaching workplace at 10 on normal workdays ...what more can be expected on a biking tour..) but we somehow managed to start 6:30 albeit late.. but now way off the mark.. we were 15 motorcycles from Noida n 10 bikes from Gurgoan that will join us someplace on GT Road... 15 bikes of all makes and color ... mostly Enfield .. Enticers.. Pulsars.. and Good Old Yamaha350.. after a brief photo-opps (how can you forget this !! ) we hit the road with out petrol tanks full and spirits full (of both kinds ;-) who can miss the booze ) ..driving through the delhi roads on a holiday was easy !.. you escape the steady stream of school and office traffic.. we drove steadily , not fast, not slow ..we drove in a group with Enfields n Yamaha 350 leading the group ... it looked like a pack of wolves out for a kill... screeching at the countless redlights .. demanding attention from curious onlookers.. we were joined by the other 10 bikes on GT road.. and the pack became more bigger and more loud .. occupying the whole road.. kids waving at us.. young people looked at us amused.. and oldies asking if we were in for a cause or where we were going upto.. we were here just for the pleasure of motorcycle riding and thats it.. we had been riding for 2 hours and guess what.. *shit* happens.. one of our bikes gets broken down.. punctured.. hopefully we had the Enfield support motorcycle that was acting as sweeper.. collecting the bikers that were left behind from the pack... we continued riding hoping that the entire pack regroups at Muthal..where we will be having breakfast.. and then the unthinkable happened... our bike gets punctured just before the Muthal dhaba.. a knife like tool had puctured through the tube (it looked more like a murder weapon then a punture weapon..) alas.. but thankully the weather was not that bad and the enfield support guys were quick enough to fix the bike.. we went straight into the dhaba.. the dhaba was doing a roaring buisness... at 9 in morning was full of people and lovely ladies (..the kind of which you dont see in your posh offices..) i pondered as to why IT is so stingy of beautiful girls.. ( i am striking these lines becuase girls in my project team are objecting to these lines :)) ) but that is another issue.. we treated ourselves with paranthas and dahi.. when your more occupied (or interested !!) in other thoughts you forget about the other things that cross your mind.. now the office and work pressures looked trivial .. the parantha that didn't tasted good hardly bothered you.. the sun didn't matter.. all that mattered was the road ahead.. the smell of burnt perol.. after the light breakfast (i don't think it was light .. took us an hour to finish it) we started again .. hoping against hope that no bike breaks down (..applying the sunscreen was essential now.. as the sun was already out..) we covered our faces leaving only the eyes to the vagaries of weather.. the whole GT road was filled with dust ..partly due to it was wheat harvesting season.. all along the highway you could see big threshing machines belching out what remains now of the wheat crop.. we all drove in a group.. maintaing a comfortable speed so that nobody gets left behind... as we were losing time due to these unforseen breakages .. we decided that we would next stop directly at Zirakpur to give ourself and our bikes some rest and briefly stopping at Karnal just in case... we quickened our speeds as we were driving on a six-lane highway ... it appeared that the whole of delhi is leaving for the hills .. the whole road was clogged with cars and cabs full of people and luggage driving towards chandigarh.. maybe its the heat.. may be extended weekend .. may be the traffic is like this only everday ..i don't know and i don't want to know... the strech upto Karnal was covered in quick time wih no broken bikes :-) they say that delhi's road are unforgiving .. i toally agree ..we saw two broken bikes in the little of delhi we covered.. after quencing our dry throats with any fluid we could find ..we hit the dirtroad again for a dust roadside town Zirakpur... this strech was also covered without any hassles to the Man or the Machine.. we all decided to forgo lunch to cover the time lost... instead gorging on whatever snacks these roadside shops kept.. all our bellies were filled with a mixture of coke-water-chips-buiscuits but who cares... somebody in the pack cautioned that this is the last place where we could find alcohol at MRP .. after this stop alcohol would be difficult to find or expensive in case you were able to find it.. everybody stocked the maximum liquor that thy could fit in there bags.. not waiting to take chances in case the next two days they couldn't find any liquor shops.. we left Zirakpur at 3 in noon and at a distance could see the hills .. slowly approachng us.. the hills looked barren, brownish,devoid of trees.. very unlike hills (un-hill if there is such a term ) slowly the smaller hills gave way to the bigger hills and then we were driving on the hills ...we were in Kalka ..and all we could see around is winding roads ..hills and more hills ..occasional bikers riding their enfields downhill ..and the hapless delhi crowd rushing towards the hills .. we bank on turns ..swinging from one side to another.. wondering how these roads were built.. on how people live here not bothering about the world outside (we can not think beyond the occasional mail or ringtone that we have become so used to.. they say technology is the great leveller,but here its the great divide ..and you know what the hill-folk are not complaining.. but why is it that 'Big City People' always complain ...) we crossed the Toy-Train tracks ..God they are so small .. looked like an amplified train that we used to play with our in our childhood days ..we were now entering Solan..and the first thought that crossed my mind was can such a lage swathe of humanity live in those mountains.. houses or hotels that could rival the appartments of Delhi suburbs ...private villas that could easily shame some of the poshiest Delhi addresses... I wonder how do people here manage to earn so well despite non-descript farming or industry.. we crossed Solan without stopping ..but yes we managed to disturb the hustle-bustle of the solan marketplace.. thats the thing about Enfield.. the looks..the sounds.. even the driver attracts attention.. you can't stop the heads turning if there are bunch of Enfields roaring .. we saw Solan Brewery in the distance (i thought about bulk purchasing alcohol here ... but that was a thought only...i didn't give it a try ) after Solan the road gets more winding and narrower in places ..the sun has hidden behind the mountains.. it will start to becoming darker shortly... it was decided that everybody meets at Kandaghat as this was the last major town before our camp at Chail.. also chances of getting lost in the mountains were real now.. we were the first to arrive in Kandaghat.. a board at city-center proudly displays the population of town is 2097 people.. God.. only 2097 souls.. i think there are more people in my office then there are people living in this whole town.. and the town looked okay,no very small yet 2000 is miniscule .. maybe the census people have got it all wrong but let it be .. we waited for the others to arrive .. roaming in the small market.. I could see more DTH dishes then i saw in whole of Noida.. i guess the cable-wallas are not present here.. the telephone and electricity is here though...we could smoke billowing out from some houses.. maybe the dinner is being prepared... and i am felling hungry.. boy i remembered we skipped the lunch... we again hepled ourselves with chips and coke.. the shopkeeper asked how long we have been travelling.. somebody told us there had been blasts in delhi...God the city never leaves you behind.. slowly all the bikes arrived ..we accounted for all the bikes.. filled out petrol tanks as there was no petrol pump up-till shimla ..all you could get on-route was petrol that was being sold in black .. there is a diversion at kandaghat where one road leads to Chail and other to Shimla ..and we had to take the road less travelled.. everybody checked there lights as it was getting dark.. our headlight was flickering so we get it fixed from the support guys and leave for Chail.. the road is very narrow.. full of potholes and coal-tar patches applied over those holes but still the road is in a state of mess.. its dark and i am feeling a little cold out here.. but i have no solution for it.. all i packed was T-Shirts and more T-Shirt.. the road was empty and the hills were desolate here... occasionally you could spot some lights.. maybe houses..or trucks or other biker's headlight .. we moved on.. all we could see was a narrow patch of road illuminated by the headlight.. we crossed Sadhupul bridge and a river( stream is more appropriate.. ) was meandering below us.. we moved alongside this river for some more untill we could see more lights ..we had reached Chail city.. we were told that mountain camp is another 5km uphill.. and i was blaming myself for not bringing some additional clothing.. the only hope i had was the alcohol that we were carrying but that was possibe only when we reach the camp... the road was little better now..but the cold was nagging me.. those last 5 km took us 10 minutes ..and we were relieved at last we have reached it.. the camp instructor( maybe manager) was there to collect us all.. we waited for all the bikes to arrive ..had a quick roll-call to see everybody is accounted for.. a photo-opps ( God where are they going to store so many stills.. )and then we gave ourselves n the beast we had been riding upon some much-needed rest.. its 9 PM now and we are in camp now and i am streching my limbs aaahhhh..... now streaching your legs seems like paradise ...blissful ;-))

adventures of the camp in the next post .. keep waiting !!!
I usually end my post with a lyrics so here i go again ....

~Bob Seger in Turn The Page~
Here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Ah here I go, playing star again.There I go, there I go.

Run Back To The Hills

The charm of the old hills calls us back ...glad to be back on the road again...those country roads... long and winding roads.. will be leaving on our bikes for the hills tommorrow ..this time Chail..Shimla.. thankfully the Gods are favouring us... the weather has just turned good... but who cares ..

people usually ask whats the purpose of doing it on a motorcycle... my opinion is usually pert... not everything can or should be done for a purpose.. its fun riding in the countryside and thats it.. we go steadily ,not fast, not slow... the objective is not on reaching somewhere but enjoying the ride to nowhere.. we stop.. think about the sights and sounds, on the mood of the weather ... on the machine and the countryside you're in... wondering how old the hills are ... thinking about things at great leisure and length without being hurried .... without feeling you're losing time... we have been used to living these 'Big City Lives' and the result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness , a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone...

~Zen And The Art Of MotorCycle Maintenance~
" Vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness. "

Boom , Gloom and Doom

There are things 'Known' and things 'Unknown' and there are some 'Known Unknown' ... and Indian asset market can easily be compartmentalized in the last category ...the asset market had entered into an 'terra incognita' ages back and yet the forward march continues ...levels after levels fall like ninepins ...every buisness news channel worth its salt cried wolf from every roof-top that they could muster ...and still no stopping this relentless money-machine ...are our markets in the state of 'irrational exuberance' to quote Fed's Alan Greenspan prophesy in those heady days of tech. boom a keen market watcher and 'self-declared' analyst ..i just agree to disagree with the general mood of the markets... no doubt that large foreign money is pouring into Indian securities and debt ..indian comanies are going for cap-ex after nearly ten years of excess capacity ..exports and local consumption is growing.. and growing fast... housing demand is red-hot, new sunrise areas are fueling growth and job creation ( Retail,IT and IT-enabled.. )
but somewhere in this exuberance the fundamentals have been sacrificed.. overlooked .. the markets looks overheated,trades at P/E's (post-2007 earnings) way beyond the many country averages and we are seeing lot of speculative action these days ...and yet we are cheap (how ...i don't know ...) the reform program in in tatters.. privatisation is a strict 'no-go lane' ..fiscal situation is anything but rosy...and you just need one terrible monsoon and we again sink back to abyss ..normally the best of the times are there to make the toughest of decisions .. but the greatest the goverment could muster was airport privatisation ... there are no quick fixes .. no magical wand ... the choices of today will decide the growth of tommorrow... there has to be postive reforms to sustain and further this growth instead of relying on foreign funds to do the trick.. we also need some semblance of sanity in these markets or many people will lose their shirt this time round ...and don't you ever believe on FII's ... for they have a very long rope ...

The view expressed are mine and mine alone .. my company or blogspot have no linkages with my opinion ... and its doesn't matter anyway ..the retail people had already sold-out at levels that were half of what the market is ruling today ...typical spectators know !!!

Children Of Lesser Gods

As if the politics was not sickening enough.. the government (...whose government is it anyway ...) shot itself in the foot passed a notification to introduce 27% reservation for OBCs in 20 central universities, IITs and IIMs ...that makes it 50% reserved... full fifty percent half of prized seats will be filled not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of other considerations...where does this leave us.. the 'unfortunates' ..the 'Children Of Lesser Gods'..if the anomaly lies somewhere else (....lack of proper education in these backward classes ) why apply the solution some place other (...reservations) ..the government of the day ...and why only current government ..every government we have seen in distant memory has been making decisions based on considerations that were anything but people-centric... vote being the sole driving factor and self-fulfillment being the only prerogative... as i have said it before 'a piecemeal-by-piecemeal approach always gives a piecemeal solution'.. The solution lies not in caste or religion based quotas but by making sure every student irrespective of his caste or religious affiliations gets the best of education possible and a quota for people who are economically deprived ..Nobody ..Nobody ..wants to re-live the ghosts of those tumultuous 'mandal' days...those bright young lives lost in the senseless 'mandal' fire we need another 'Rajeev Goswami' to make the deaf hear ...hope we have some sane people sitting in Supreme Court ..or God save 'India Rising'..

~V for Vendetta~

Confessions of a Lazy Mind

Some more musing about myself . a set of one liner questions to get more insight into myself .. boy .... am i beoming a narcist ? ....but thats a seperate issue .. and thanks to Vivek for the inspiration for this

Q. What am I currently listening ?
AC/DC - Big Balls

Q. What am I currently reading ?
Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

Q. What is my short-term goal ?
To complete this post ..

Q. What is my long-term goal ?
To learn guitar ..

Q. Which camp I belong to , Dravid-camp or Ganguly-camp ?
Does that matter anyway ..?

Q. Anything I wish to see in my life-time ?

Q. Ultimate Fantasy ..of anykind ?
Travel on the footsteps of Marco Polo but this time on SUV ...

Q. Any Band I wish to see reunited ?
Pink Floyd ..

Q. Dream Date ...again definitely female ?
Charlize Theron ...ever been her fan since Devil's Advocate

Q. Favorite Holiday Destination ?
Sea Of Tranquility, Moon

Q. What I wish to be born in my next life ?
I guess .. a rock-star

Q. How do I Look ?
Not my age ..

Q. What is my Favourite movie ?
Definately ...Forrest Gump.

Q. Favourite Channel on T.V. ?
History Channel

Q. Do I have any gay friends ?

Q. What is better..marooned on island or abandoned on an oasis in desert ?
Oasis in Desert ..atleast there is fresh water ..

Q. Do I believe in collective good/social justice ?

Q. Any role-models ?
No.... none

Q. Do I have a GirlFriend ?
No ...Never ...

Q. Does the above question bother you ?
If yes don't worry me sleepless nights as well..i am 26

Q. Do I always say No ?
No ..

Q. What is my Favourite color ?

Q. What am I wearing today ?
Black T-shirt and Black Jeans ..

Q. Am I willing to improve myself ?
No ..Take me as I am ..

Q. Do I belive in God ?
No ..

Q. Have I ever done drugs ?
No ...

Q. Again , Do I always say No ?
No ..but i can't help ..

Q. What is the biggest luxury I had ..till date ?
Campus placement ..

Q. Does it look like that I have no work in office today ?
If you think yes ..its true...

Q. Do I believe in Global Warming ?
Again ..yes

Q. Do I drink alcohol ?
No...socially ...hmmmm..occasionally ....yeah...regularly .. bas..bas ..

Q. Do I belive in "love-at-first-sight" ?
I don't know ..

Q. What is difficult to find these days ..comfort or peace-of-mind?
hmmmmm.....I guess Osama Bin Laden ..

Q. Do I believe the in 'India Rising' ?
Yes can see it all in TV ...i guess

Q. Has 'Democracy failed India' or 'India failed Democracy' ?
How about putting it as ..have 'politicians failed India' ..and answer is Yes..

Q. Do I see myself as an activist ?
A lazy activist...but surely not communist ...

Q. Anything I love about the soaps on Indian TV ?
Yes .. the ladies are lovely ..flawless

Q. Anything I wish to see being widely used ...?
Renewable Energy ..and condoms as well..

Q. My opinion on corruption ?
Does my opinion change anything ?

As i have already said before ...analysis and therapy is highly welcome ..