Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Of Newsletter & Governance

(Image Courtesy : Blog at Wordpress)
When I sit down to write, few times I have some abstract thought recollected from a local train or a auto ride or may be a second day of full moon. But rest of the times, it is just blank. The feeling of a blank mind does have two good reasons to drive me: it challenges my creative reservoir and it makes me feel like a no one. The second feeling is quite scary, more on that some other time.

I received a copy of the newsletter from a bank that my father served for 35 years. And immediately glanced (almost proof-read it) at it thanks to my joblessness these days. And I was taken aback by the sheer amount of casual attitude towards a publication that represents a public sector bank. The layout was haywire, the editing was plain absent, the photographs are photo-shopped and looking artificial. I immediately remembered the two Newsletters that my team & I edited in my last organization. We used to take 3 different perspectives on the content and used to have 2 additional layers of content ready for each section. Or for that matter the magazines during my college days, the seriousness was sky high. Because, we always felt that once it is published, it will represent us, our skills. For us, so much was at stake. But then these days, the newsletters/magazines and such publications are of least priority for any organization; as for them it is only a waste of money. So we used to position this exercise as a brand building (and sometimes revenue generating) mediums to get the necessary approvals. There is this saying that to handle jerks, you need to behave like one. And shamelessness is just one of the many attributes I learned during my Corporate journey.

When I stepped into the state where was born and (almost) raised up, the ruling government came into power for the fourth consecutive term. They have been enjoying the severe collapse of administration of Congress for decades and large-scale corruption the state has witnessed for years. In last 15 years of their ruling, lifestyles have become better than before. But not the number of Corporates has increased barring a few, industrialization has not increased as per the national average and so on. So from where the lifestyles have gone up! The last decade and a half saw the highest exodus of graduates and postgraduates leaving the state and going outside to find a job. They have been doing well which benefits their family back home. And indirectly, the state is taking the credit for the same. Otherwise sample this: the traffic rules have become so stringent that PCR vans are chasing people having a smoke in the roadside but not able to control chain-snatchers who are doing their job efficiently everyday. The new road constructions are being done under the supervision of some visionary engineers who are making some of the worst designed & planned flyovers and road expansions. Private hospitals (read large clinics) have mushroomed like anything, but the government healthcare has remained stagnant since a decade. So where is the difference! 

And I am busy having mutton roganjosh and fried prawns. People everywhere lack a basic civic sense in this country, with stains of paan in the new Mumbai Metro within days of its inauguration or helping a person who met with an accident and lying on the road crying for help. We are just too concerned with our lives and its betterment. Or in the Football World Cup. And if we feel like speaking out, we take up the Facebook, or Twitter (for additional intellects). Or listen to Arnab at 9 PM. Yes, he does compensate our craving for noise. And life goes on.

(The article was first published at Soulscribers)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Last Days at The Maximum City

3rd March, 2014
So here I start today, noting down my countdown. It was like a voyage on a spaceship. You get pretty nervous while getting aboard, then you reach a land you have never been. And when you get back, you know you may never be able to get back there ever. I plan to write more as days will progress, but I will write that one defining feeling which will always summarize my stay in this city:
When I was preparing to come to this city, I was not so happy and it became unbearable when I had to. And the first few months were so very difficult. I thought I can never survive. But little did I realize that a day will come when I will feel equally bad (or may be more than that) when I leave this city to go to my birthplace. That’s how insane & addictive this city can be.
21st March, 2014
I have not been able to write down anything since 2 weeks or so on my thoughts. But there has not been a single day without thinking about it. Each day brings in millions of thoughts scattered over the last 8 years in this city. As I am now heading towards my evening cup of coffee in the cafeteria, I am thinking how much I will miss these exciting 10-minute discussions on almost all the topics in the world.
37 days to go
It rained this evening. Nothing so special, but 45 days before the scheduled arrival, this is not any other rain. It came for something. May be someone. In my 9 years stay in this city, it never rained before or after the monsoons. Mumbai’s monsoon is quite time-bound like the city itself. But it made a special appearance this evening, it stayed for not too long, but it made its presence felt. Just like the too-true-to-believe-romantic stories that end too soon. And the smell of the wet soil during these first showers is beyond any words. I do not have much time left here, I sometimes feel like dying, at least a part of my soul will die when I leave this insane place. So, I feel all these are making a trip to meet me – these rains, my friends and some rare moments. Otherwise, why would it rain in 9 years in April? Did it come unannounced to meet me?
But I am not finding any reasons. Nostalgia is taking over. Melancholy is becoming permanent since last few weeks. But I am not finding reasons; I just want to live these days. These rains, the smell of the wet soil. Mumbai.
35 days to go
Well, I have never thought that this would become difficult. But since last night, I am just worried what shall I tell my boss as the reason for leaving! And how shall I say it. What are the right ways, what are the things that I should avoid? Is there actually a right way! I preach people during their induction and orientation program on how to be loyal to company and when is the right time to leave. But I, myself, finding it difficult to stumble upon that right time and the right way.
It is lunch time now, yet I am not sure when to tell him. He’s busy since morning. So am I. But I do not want to linger it further. And once I tell, it is not going to easy either. The one month of notice period is going to be very weird. I know it pretty well as I have dealt it with people who reported under me. It is never easy to let go of people. Your own people. But we all leave, at one point or the other. And that is the only constant.
32 Days to go
Now that my close circle in the office knows about it, the whole feeling is pretty different. Even after my repeated reminders, the topic of my departure during the coffee & lunch breaks keep coming up. The more I avoid, the more I hear about it.
21 Days to go
In last few weeks, I have started talking in reverse order. My second last haircut in Mumbai, fourth last grocery shopping at Hypercity, my 2nd last probable visit to Marine Drive & so on. This keeps me engrossed with my calculations, but makes me sad all the more. I have been going through tremendous amount of emotional turmoil in last couple of months. And my emotional state is hanging in balance.
16 days to go
Continuing my above hangover, today was the last full moon I witnessed. The sky was clear enough. The moon was in its full flow with the brightest energy. It was telling me the story of Mumbai, the energy. May be it was telling me not to get tired.
Selling belongings which you used for certain amount of time is not easy. I am doing it with few belongings these days. Each object which can not speak, must have seen & heard so many stories. I do not feel great being apart from them. But then carrying them along is not practical.
14 days to go
People staying outside this city often consider me as someone who spends his weekends with quite some noise. But barring may be 1 or 2, no one knows how I spend them. Let me pull the curtains off it. Out of my last 4 weekends before I leave Mumbai, a city known for its nightlife, I already spent 2 alone. And today, the second last Sunday here in the city, I went to a mall nearby and had lunch all by myself. Yup, just the "me" in a food court of a mall.
I got 2 bonus hours with my brother tonight. Missed that yesterday. I'm counting them.
5 days to go
A few stuff has been sent back to hometown. These shifting bases are hectic. I just do not like it. I preach how change is the only constant in life, yet I do not like my own personal life to change much. I am finicky to the extent of not moving my pillow an inch, and if I find that I know there is someone else who has used it. Yes, that’s how I am.
Thanks to the tiring days in office, travel & home, my melancholic mood is not setting in. Good for a person who likes to live in nostalgia.