Nick Second Life

The Story of an MBA grad in Recession times.. as told by Nick!

Posts Tagged ‘Nick Second Life’

MiL – Who cares about Lunch Anymore

Posted by Subhendu on September 15, 2011

When Nick turned back and paced his way into his cabin, he brushed past the thoughts which were in his mind.

Normally when it nears lunch time, a Group chat window in Skype blinks red for him and his three best pals – Tom, Dick and Harry ping him saying its time! Introductions again? Sure. Tom is hefty, rides a Merc and is brimming with ideas all the time. Few of his ideas are so funny that you literally roll on the floor laughing. He is the only married guy in the group and he keeps giving Gyaan about bliss of married life. Result? Of course – Others keep bashing his statements! Dick has nothing to do with his name.  He is lean, 6 feet 2.  Creative Designer. His name should actually be Kid instead of DiK. Simple yet firm. Harry normally stays aloof – Sings bollywood songs when he is on mute in conference calls. No, never has there been any situation where mute went off. No one never told him that stop shouting Harry. Please dont assume things. Nothing such ever happened. And last one is me – Nick. I am what I am. Possessive about everything around me. Voracious eater. Believing more in gobbling rather than eating blissfully.

Near about the same time as everyday the Skype window went red. “Lunch?”… “Yes”… “yes”… and they were waiting for me. I was somehow not hungry. I was just looking at the chatbox aimlessly. “Nick?”. With a reflex action – I typed “Yes”.

MayfairThe restaurant was far away. Atleast 5 miles from the office, yet Nick and his friends drove there, everyday. They stopped at all traffic signals as usual. Occasionally Tom swore if someone suddenly came in front of his car. At times, they even were caught by traffic police but that is a completely different story. Today, however, was totally different.

“Where are you” – Harry blurted looking at me.

I woke up from the state of trance. “I am here only, why?” I blushed. I very well knew that i was still with the voice which called me up couple of minutes ago! But there was something in the voice which just stuck to me. It was as if I could hear the voice resonating in my ears even now. I was just listening to the same voice over and over. It just made me feel different.

“You are blushing like a teenager who just got proposed!!” Tom looked back from the steering wheel.

“No!! I am not. Comm’on you guys!” I defended.

I could hear their murmurs. And the hum of the car engine. And i could also hear the sound of the wind swishing past the glass windows of the car. As if each zephyr of air just came in close with a fresh scent of love. I could even smell the freshness of jasmine. Jasmine?!!

Finally everything stopped. We arrived at the restaurant. It looked all different to me. It just looked way too bright. I brushed past the thought. Wishful thinking or daydreaming! When orders were being given I said Ditto and thats it. Food was on the table.

The appetite was gone. I was just staring at the food. My fingers were numb yet fiddling with the fork. I wanted to appear as natural as possible. I was excited but i did not want to reveal. May be I am actually day dreaming or imagining too much. I did not want to appear stupid with a phone call.  Gobbled up whatever was there on the plate.

It was already 2 15 PM.  Back to work!


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7 Days – Madly in Love

Posted by Subhendu on September 7, 2011

Does matter if he added more inches to his waist. Does not matter if he lost more strands of hair than he added. But time flees by.

Nick is almost old. No..Just Older.

DAY – Zero

The last visit to the IGPark in Bhubaneswar made Nick realise he cant do this stuff anymore. Running around trees, Talking to each other for hours is just not possible anymore. Humidity worries overpowered the power of love. Still over the last 1 week, 7 days to be precise, what happened left Nick wondering. Wondering about how much Baccha still his Dil was!

It seemed like yesterday when the mobile stirred on “Silent Mode” when Nick was just about to go for lunch. Hurriedly, Nick rushed out of his cabin into the alley where he planned to take the call. He could hear his cabin door slam behind him, he could hear people murmur, he could even feel he would slip while rushing.

“Is it Nick?”

Day Zero - Nick Second LifeThere was a female voice on the other end. Tried to recognize hard before saying yes. Is it that Customer Service Agent Moitree from the Same Old Kolkata Matrimony office again? No it was not her. Is it that Client Relationship office of the Ford Showroom? No. Did not sound like her. She has a very false sweet accent. This voice was clear, curious yet vague as if the voice was trying to confirm while being assured that it would not be me.

“Yes”. I answered before I could think more. “Who is this?” I questioned back. I was cursing myself why did i reveal myself so soon when i did not even know who the other person was.

“Is this Nick of Nick Second Life?” The voice did not pause. This time her voice had tons of impatience as she blurted these words. She could not control her excitement. She was innocently restless. She just wanted to make sure that it is me.

“Yes! It is Nick of Nick Second Life” This time my answer was firm. My pupils had grown bigger and i was feeling very happy and contended from within. Not because someone is asking for me out of the blue but because readers of Nick Second Life actually believe in me. That I exist. In reality. I had hid my own excitement while speaking the line… “But who is this?, Do I know you?” I regained control.

“Sorry, You dont know me. I read your blog and I also saw you on one of the matrimony sites…. ”

I could not even hear further. I was getting more and more anxious. Hurriedly, I walked out of the alley so that i could smile on the phone while talking yet not being conscious of being watched. This seemed like the Matrimony bucks talking. I had paid the silly matrimony sites a huge amount now and in no way they helped me. This for the first time was looking like a Shaadi dot com commercial where couples meet online and match is done.

“Sorry – I could not hear”. I gave a lame excuse asking for her to repeat the sentence.

The excitement in her tone had not died down yet. She was breathing fast and as if she just wanted to say out everything in one breath. She started – “I am Kusum. You dont know me and I also dont know you!” She gasped for breath. And then she started giggling and then finally laughing. She continued, “I saw you on the matrimony website and i followed you to your blog and am a fan of your blog. But I have not called you for matrimony – I just wanted to let you know that you write very well and you should continue writing. I dont have anything else to say – i was not sure if I would actually speak to you so I have not thought what to tell you and I will call you tomorrow morning!”

“Hello!!” I was surprised at the one gasp sentence and the abrupt end.

“Is it not okay if I call you tomorrow morning?” She thought may be she asked too much and this time it was a confirmation which she sought. That much only would relieve her.

“Yes, But why would you call … ”

She cut me through. ” Thank you Thank you!!, I will call you in the morning tomorrow.!” And then there was the stupid Airtel Beep tone which is always very frustrating. I looked at the screen – 3 minutes 54 seconds. I was wondering if this is the solution to all my problems. There had been days when i looked at the sky and wondered if when would all my problems end. There were only echoes. No answer.

May be this had the answer within. May be this was the final conclusive thing which was going to happen. May be I am hallucinating. Thoughts started overpowering me. That is when i decided..  Hataao Yaar.. Lunch pe concentrate Karte hain!

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Bhubaneswar – Home Sweet Home

Posted by Subhendu on March 29, 2010

It felt so good searching.. Before Nick even realised, he had browsed over 800 profiles, spent over 200 hours.. It is like more than 15 minutes per profile. Looking at each profile for over 15 minutes! I was so much mesmerised with the black hair, tanned hair, silky hair, round eyes, squinted eyes, brown eyes, sharp nose, round nose, parrot noses and the list is endless.

49 profiles Interest sent. 32 Accepted. 12 Not viewed yet. 5 Rejected. Thought about who the heck the 5 people were who declined me! Days flew.

10 days gone. Last day in Mumbai. Movers and Packers guys packing up everything at home. Last beer bottle Nick left for the maid’s husband.

Air Deccan Flight to Home

Air Deccan Flight to Home

It was not nostalgic. But I was leaving Mumbai for a different reason. The same reason why I left FINO. But then I was happy too. I was going to the place where I belong to. As I boarded the flight to Bhubaneswar, I was feeling a sense of leaving something behind. A feeling of something, someone who I am leaving behind. There was none. But there was just a feeling, a warm but hazy aroma of the memory. I just wiped it off.

The flight was delayed. And it always is when you purchase tickets dirt cheap. I had bought the ticket a month back. No wonder I was the cheapest ticket served on the airplane. I always felt an acute pain in my eyes whenever there was slightest air turbulence and whenever the plane was on a descent spiral. This I had developed after my MBA, thanks to the thousands of problematic stuff which took away my peace of mind.  But then today, i was determined to not let the pain take me over.

I had prepared for this since the last 3 days. Otrivin – I used as Nasal decongestant. Hot coffee I had just minutes before I boarded the flight. i had two full packs of chewing gum handy, had a candy in my mouth and kept on praying. 2 hours 4 minutes. I landed.

Not  a sign of pain. I sang happily. I had overcome the fear. I was feeling like I had left all my worries back in Mumbai. No more worries. I am back in my own place. I have a job which I like. I have a place where I see my family everyday after work. And more over, I eat Paani Poori of Cuttack or Gupchup as we call it. It was just amazing.

As I dragged my strolley bags in the alley, I was looking at anxious faces outside the airport gate and all the raised waving hands.. I spotted my family!! I was so happy that I landed in Bhubaneswar!! Returning back, I was not feeling the heat at all. I was just looking at the trees, the roads and the street lights.. Everything appeared changed. Just as it always does when you come home after a long time. I was just silent. I just kept on gazing.

Then I crossed RDWC . Rama Devi Women’s college. My childhood romeo sprang to life.

I was fully convinced that Now I am going to get married! Forget Oriyamatrimony’s 800 oriya profiles. Here is one state where I can get thousands of prospective brides. New era had already begun since the Air Deccan flight landed in Biju pattnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar.

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Nick Falls in Love

Posted by Subhendu on December 19, 2009

Little did Nick know when he woke up that the day is going to be so wonderful as it unfolds.

Tussle of the Business Models

Tussle of the Business Models

Lazily, I woke up. Dragged myself to the door to pick the newspaper from the balcony. Indian Express. The aroma of the newspaper, fresh newsprint, is intoxicating. I am one of those who loved new books in childhood because they smelled great. Old habits die hard. I inhaled a deep fresh breath. As I turned from the first page to the third, there was a colorful advertisement pamphlet inside the paper. I started reading.

It read – ” Express your love to your loved ones with Archies collection “.  Just the logo of Archies Gallery on some new retail outlet in Navi Mumbai made me go thinking.  I had seen the Archies and Hallmark ways of life sometime in my childhood.

School days. Tiffin boxes neatly packed by mom, black shoes polished by dad. The amazing bicycle with a straight handle. Riding the bicycle with both hands in the air just near the place where the girls got down from the school bus. The classrooms where boys sat in 3 rows and girls sat in one row near the windows. And then someone very special. Everyone would have some or the other memories. For me it is a little more vivid. Just because for me there were a lot of those girls in my classroom and in junior classes in school who were special. I still stocked all those images, cards, letters and teddies! So I remembered the so called girl friends in school who brought their lunch boxes for me, their madness in gifting me teddy bears. And just the fact that I had multiple people who I felt are my girlfriends <I bet, they would never have thought me as their boyfriend!>, I could know this is infatuation. Because, like Alok, a very good friend of mine,  always said “When everything comes in your way you’re in the wrong lane“. So somehow since then I had never looked back but then I had not thrown away those Archies cards either.

I had grown. I had grown out of this Archies and Hallmark way of life. I had grown older. 28. But I always missed the girl who wore 2 pony tails, sang loudly in the lunch break and wore a pink hairband. She was Minal. Minal was very talkative and she never stopped blabbering.  Her voice was so sweet and cute but the class monitor always had her name up on the blackboard. I loved it anyway. I mean I loved the lunch which her mother prepared for both of us.  I loved it when she gifted me anything and I just gave her small cadbury’s! She waited for me in lunch break to eat together, after I finish playing. When she sang Antakshari in the class, she looked at me. It was a great feeling when sometimes I would turn my head in the class when teacher was teaching to look at her and find her looking at me. Then she would smile and I would smile too.  But then that does not mean we love each other right. For my curious readers , No, I never proposed. And She never did too. We just were good friends. Dont wink at me now.

In my journey from 16 years of age to 28, there had been things which I saw and which made me what I am today. I was alone in my apartment and my apartment had a great view outside from the 20th floor. But I cooked for myself, bai did the dishes, dhobi pressed my clothes, I drove myself, I partied with friends, went to malls with friends, went to movies with friends and did all that a bachelor should or could do. But somehow I felt lone. And I was looking at Bharat Matrimony advertisement on the 7th page in the Express, since long, sub-consciously.  The message was too tempting – ” Join Bharat Matrimony now to meet your perfect partner”.  I was amazed by the correlation between the two business models. MBA teaches you all this – to split apart sentences and think why the heck the guy who wrote this line actually wrote it. It actually does not need an MBA to understand that the target market of Bharat Matrimony and similar sites are for those who actually are not convinced by Archies way of life. (I would not dare to say which one is the best. That is irrelevant anyway.  It is like telling which is best – Air or water).

I logged in.

Amazing Site. As anyone of you would have done, I did the same. Started searching! Quest to find a partner. There are 975 profiles of brides in my own caste, speaking my mother tounge! Amazing! I am going to have a wonderful day and equally hectic, I told myself as I clicked on the Signup button. I did not care to strike off another day to say 7 more days left to leave Mumbai. I just wanted to make my loneliness of the apartment vanish. And I just felt, this is another beginning. Am I falling in Love with multiple search results? I just cant. I am no longer infatuated. I started browsing the profiles… I was searching for Minal..

It is the start to a new journey. Nick told himself.

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The Defense Canteen Beer

Posted by Subhendu on December 7, 2009

Recession did a lot of things. Mostly bad.

Few good things did happen too. Organisations consolidated. Real estate prices fell, relief to people like me who had missed out on the bull run. Not that I can afford buying it now. Its just a feel good factor. While some people grew efficient, by sitting on benches and adding certifications to their CVs, others grew clever.

It was a Wednesday. I grew restless looking at the newspaper. The Times ascent pages were filled up with junk job postings and & jobs have like dried up. Somehow I was lucky to have found someone who offered me a second job so I could resign from the current one. But Notice periods still did not cease to exist. And I had to get ready for office.  As I entered the dining room, i froze!

I stayed alone in the apartment. I lock my doors securely everynight. There is no way in which someone can actually enter into my room. And now, in the middle of the room, he was standing alone. His head was covered with a steel helmet which glazed in the sunshine. His face was pale or rather he was perspiring. Beads of sweat adorned his forehead but he never made any attempt to wipe them off. He looked tired but his well built, well carved body suggested that he must have been through the toughest phases of his life. He was wrapped in a thin golden scarf which glittered too. I watched him closely. He stood with eyes closed.  He was not breathing! Was he dead? Did he freeze near my window? Why was he alone? Questions like this kept coming into my mind. I was not shocked anymore seeing him in my room, I just stood, thoughtless.

Then I remembered Maddy. Madhubhusan Mohanty.

Maddy was my classmate in my engineering days. Loved to keep a moustache and it made him feel proud. After engineering when 70% of our batch actually went ‘softies‘, he went the ‘hardies‘ way. Obviously there are differences when you actually fight for the country in armed forces and you actually work in a software company for foreigners. But nothing bad in any of it. Both are trying to revive the economy of India and safeguarding it. Maddy was posted in Shimla point and as a Serviceman, he enjoyed lots of privileges. He showered some of them on me too when last week we had shopped for one crate of beer. Mumbai had a bandh declared on the day when both of us drove the Pulsar to nearly 20000 meters into the defense canteen. Inside the canteen was a different story.

Mostly ex-servicemen, their wives, kids with trolley bags were picking up grocery. Felt really good that Government actually has this facility for people serving the forces. They spent their entire lives on government salaries, without corruption and it is actually their right to get things where they dont have to pay taxes. But I also loved Maddy’s generosity. Allowing me to get a bottle of KingFisher Strong for 50 cents  against a market price of $ 2.0.


Defense Canteen Beer

Now, I remembered. The lone bottle of beer which stood on my dining table in the centre, shining in the sunlight was actually the only bottle left. All its other relatives had dried up, and lay dead on the floor. Beer does a lot of wonderful things. It brings back a touch of nostalgia, a lot of memories. It helps people remind how kind other people are, how generous they are. How armed forces guard our motherland and how recession makes people clever!

With all the things said, I was wondering whether I should go back to bed with ‘The Last Samurai‘ or buckle up for office. While I stretched myself near the window, I looked down to look at the pigeons, threw some more rice grains for their day. These are the species which are free.

“I too am, I have resigned”, I said to myself and killed the last man standing. Nick was not going to office today. 14 days to go! No beer left!

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The Fish Wali Case

Posted by Subhendu on December 1, 2009

Tuesday. Mumbai.

It was a busy street. But still people stopped and poured over the area. There was a pungent smell in the area but I did not pay attention to my olfactory cells. I pushed my way in. She lay motionless, but I could sense her soft breathing. It was as if she was trying to breathe in the last of her breaths. It was as if the world was going to end for her. Her body had lost its shine. She lay wounded, on the stone. I looked around, curious faces but none paid attention. This was perhaps routine. I had been to this place for the first time. I looked at her eyes – crystal clear, glass like. I spread my hand forward to touch her, to feel if she is still warm.

Kya dekh rahe ho.. Mari nahin hai. Abhi Taazi hai! A shrill feminine voice echoed.

Go Buy Fish!

I changed my focus. The FishWali (fisherwoman) was barely 27. Of Course Maharashtrian. The street lamp about 30 meters high was showering all its light on her. She was glowing in the light. Hair neatly combed, colorful bangles on both her hands, she was wearing a crumpled cotton sari till her knees and was ready to see my lips move. She was full of anticipation like a robot. Ready for the next instruction. To cut the fish into pieces and wrap them up in the black polythene. I turned to her left. There lay a kid, barely a year old, naked, covered up in dirty yet thick but torn clothes, crying intermittently. She looked at her child, caressed her a bit, then picked up the stick to shoo the cats/dogs near her business capital. I normally don’t eat fish. I love prawns but had convinced myself long back that prawns are not fish. The Fishwali was not selling prawns so I had no reason to be at this place but somehow I was meant to be here today.

As I stood looking at the mother and son, I could feel the same love and affection. The one which makes the father and mother pigeon birds on my window pane sit hours together on their eggs.

I had been to a hospital where someone in my near family was admitted. While I was attending him, I turned to look at the side bed where a middle aged man, barely in his 50s was attending to his wife. Curious, I asked him about what happened and why they are here. The man said – She is my wife. Our only daughter had both her kidneys infected so had them removed. Now my wife is donating one of her kidneys to her. That is the reason we are here. I was speechless, moved. Never ever had I thought that someone could donate something from their body for someone else. But this is what is love, this is what is affection. Parents can actually do all measures to see their children happy. I could see the same love and affection in the Fishwalis eyes.

She was getting impatient. All this while, she was blabbering something. I could see her lips move but my inner voices were so loud that I could not hear her at all. Then she said, Aap ko lena ho to lijiye, warna jagah khaali kijiye! I could hear that somehow.

I asked her to pack 500 grams. As I uttered these words, I could see the smile twitch on her lips. She was excited, and picked up a large Rohu and sliced it clean. When I walked back holding the wet polythene after counting the smelly currency notes from her, I could notice that she was smiling of satisfaction. I felt contended too. Chemistry! The child also stopped crying.

Back in the 11th floor of my apartment, while I was wondering what to do with the Fish, since neither I knew how to cook, nor I loved fish, I struck off another day in the calendar. Threw the fish in the trash.

15 More days to go!

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One Night in Suryansh Apartments

Posted by Subhendu on November 27, 2009

I had already struck off the day in the calendar. It was 16 more days to go.

Every passing day at Mumbai office, I felt more and more helpless. The fear of going into a path not trodden, a road not taken was making me all the more nervous. Whenever I looked back, I remembered Robert Frost who always inspired readers to come out of their comfort zones and tread unknown waters. I was going to do just that.

It was 10:30. I was not hungry, I was not gloomy. But I was missing something. Someone. The feeling was such that I did not want to think any longer. I wanted to have an excuse though I did not need one. I wanted to get some beer. Options were many. And company was plenty. Time was abundant. Phone bills were paid by the company.

In about an hour, Rugan, Ronjon and Santhanagopalan joined me. The Kingfisher Strong bottles in my refrigerator were greeted by chill dudes Fosters, Budweiser and Carlsberg. And they all had a common pal – Gold Flake Kings. The best place to enjoy a drink is under open sky. The open roof of Suryansh Apartments on the 20th floor.

Rugan was my classmate during MBA. Always ready for 3 things – beer, bike, and bakar. Rugan had looks which any girl would fall for. He was a hunk. 6 ft 2, Muscular build. At times people in disco parties mistake him for the bouncer. Ronjon was a Bong, my co-worker, married, father of 2 kids, in his late thirties. With a amazing beer belly which looked like 2 stuffed pillows under his XXXL shirt. His Hero-Honda Splendor had been with him since he married his wife 7 years ago. Santhanagopalan was a regular software engineer. Amazing with his code, boasting about his zero defect percentages, he wore stylish specs, expensive watches but never cared about his hair. He drove a Santro. They had one common thread – they wanted to quit their current companies. So I gelled with them. I had met them all in a cafeteria in the software park where my company had an office. So our paths crossed. Monday evening was not a great time to party but Vodafone had actually helped in convincing them.

The roof was bare. Seemed like Mumbai was celebrating festival of lights. You could almost see entire Mumbai from this location. Blinking lights, Steady lights, constantly moving lights on the road. We stopped drinking when the lights on the horizon seemed to fade and when Santy, as Santhanagopalan was fondly called, started his narration of how his project manager tortured him on weekends by calling him to office to debug code. Fosters and Kingfisher became just brand names on the empty bottles but were hollow. When Rugan started blowing whistles with the empty bottles, I asked Ron to carry the other two into my apartment. I wanted to enjoy the night.

It was 3 AM in the morning. I lay flat on the mat. 20th floor did not take me closer to the sky. The stars still seemed far away. They were talking to each other. Then they looked at me. They knew that I could hear and they started whispering. They were talking about me. I tried to listen. Keenly. They were actually giggling, laughing at me. They were laughing at my lack of control on situations, at my frailty as a human who lost so much in a matter of months and still was trying to cope up. And then I talked to them. I told them who I was. I told them, I am the same guy who was run over by a bus on the National Highway and who managed to stand up and fight. I had fought and I was not afraid to stand up. My father helped me. Now I am fighting against his loss. I am fighting against so many things at a time that at times I feel my head will burst. But then I have to. We just cant give up. We are humans after all.

You know what, there are people who study stars. And they say, Stars speak the truth. Stars can reveal everything about someone who is born. Depending on what star was at what place and talking what to the other about the person, fate of that person is decided. You feel so helpless when you know you did everything right and still things go wrong. But I learnt the lesson, things happen for good. And you know why you cant change it? Because that is past. Those damn stars were actually at a place talking .. sometime when you were being born and there is no way you could change their positions in the past. I just wanted to ask the stars – why is all this happening with me. They kept answering me. I just could not hear. May be because of the distance. May be I was sleepy. May be it is not the time yet.

Time! 8 AM. I could not bear the sunlight anymore. Have to get up and get ready for office.

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