Friday, February 19, 2010

Random-ness workspace this month!

Just finished reading “Khushwant Singh selects Best Indian Short Stories—Vol II”

The book made for utterly delightful reading! Although I had read most of these stories somewhere or the other, this compilation really is a collector’s delight. All these stories have appeared in the Illustrated Weekly of India—at one time considered as the publication that was the end all and be all of any writer worth his words.

A special mention to the following stories—they have a timeless essence and are hard to forget.

Khushwant Singh’s “The Agnostic” and “The Bottom-Pincher”
Mohan Rakesh’s “An Unprofitable Sin”
R K Laxman’s “ An Accident” and “The Gold Frame”
P L Deshpande’s “Namu, the Dhobi”

I strongly recommend this book for short-story buffs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

All's well that ends well?

Ever had one of those days when nothing goes right? Everything quickly reduces to helplessness and then finally despondency? I had one of those days today. Not a single thing was on track, not a single person good enough to work with. The boss was incorrigible and the work was wretched.

Personally I believe any place that does not have meetings and micro-schedules must be heaven. Being idiotically naive and annoyingly optimistic means I strive at things earnestly and whole-heartedly. It also means that unless it is a dangled under my nose, I don’t get signs.

The greatest problems are not due to the work itself, they crop up due to the relationships you develop with the people you work with. Someone once told me that your colleagues can never really be your friends—they are all striving for just the same things that you are! Once an agenda, albeit even a hidden one, comes up means friendship cannot blossom. I think somewhere this logic holds true. Isn’t this sad? You spend more time with these colleagues than you do with say, your family or friends—shouldn’t you be able to depend and trust them effortlessly?

I find that I have managed to make some meaningful friends who were my colleagues from my last company. Guys I can depend on without thinking about it. It feels great. But I couldn’t think of them as “pals” when I worked with them! Strange but true!

I digress. Sorry.

Coming back to today, feeling low and rather angry, I messaged a few of my friends about what I should do to up the mood. Some of the absolutely ludicrous answers make me immensely grateful I have goofy friends. One guy gave me REIKI gyaan, whilst another one told me to get drunk. One told me ditch it all and take a vacation in Delhi (psst…the book fair is on!) and the other one prodded me to listen to loud Bollywood music. One even told me it was time to find a husband! It all made me smile. Suddenly it put things in perspective! Sometimes when you work you don’t realize why you do it. Your entire life is NOT work. Problems you face at your work place should never be credited for more than what they are. A lot of your life must be lived outside of what you do. It defines who you are and what person you become. Every now and then, I strongly believe you should do things that bring your acuity in place—like making sure you make time for these very crazy buddies. They keep you grounded.

Another incident stands out. Most of you already know how all my life’s wisdom come from Bangalore autowaalas….here is another one. While travelling back home in the evening today, my auto suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere. The driver then turns around and tells me that a wire is cut and he can’t go any further. I had few options. Walking home would easily take me an hour—an hour being a conservative estimate. Getting any mode of public transport at that hour , at that place was near impossible. Muttering, almost thinking this is like the icing on the cake today, I was ready to get off. The driver then stopped me. Told me to wait while he tried to get me another auto that would take me home. He went on to apologize about the failure and even told me how this is the worst area one could have a breakdown in!

After about 20 minutes of trying to get the attention of every auto that passed by, this man came up to me and said that I should keep the faith. If it meant he had to do a quick and rather clumsy job of fixing the cut wire he would do it, but he would get me home! It’s a promise!

I stood there on that busy road, while the traffic zoomed past us and thought—if this man can do something like this, be so interested in doing his job so well and so till the end, I have little to crib about. He could very well have let me off and left me to my own devices—it was almost what 99 out of a 100 would do!

I stood there in awe, thinking—wow! So much pride, so much honesty and the smile never leaves his face! Every day he possibly faces the worst things and severe pompous attitudes. What makes him so happy? What makes him want to do this and do it the best he can?

The answer I think lies in two things.

One is the honesty about doing something. If your heart and head is in the job / relationship / thing, you will go to any level to stick by. You will strive at it / for it like no tomorrow. You won’t even realize how much of an effort you are putting in. Be true to yourself about this in all things.

Two is the fun. If your job or relationship with someone is not fun anymore and you have exhausted all possible ways to mend it, have the courage to let go of it honourably. Things can only improve from there.

I did get home in an auto that this driver found me. The bad mood was gone; a smile was found where none existed.

All truly is well if it ends well.