Nick Second Life

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

Posts Tagged ‘Nick’

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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Neha – The Messenger of God

Posted by Subhendu on November 23, 2009

Weekend! Sun had nearly traveled halfway on his daily route when Nick welcomed the morning, a little dizzy, a little sleepy.

Yesterday had been a leisure day. I had ended the day with loads of Pani Poori, a large Mysore Masala Dosa and few idlis. I never bothered to cook on a weekend, and yesterday had eaten my heart out on South Indian dishes. Today seemed somewhat different. I was not hungry. I just was a bit dizzy, thats all. I assured myself this is routine and my body just wanted to idle out a little more on the bed. I could see the sunlight beams coming in through the skylight on the wall forming beautiful patterns on the pink wall of the room. Amazing.. I thought. Mind is supporting the body too. I pushed both of them aside. Woke up.

Boy! I was indeed filling dizzy. I just could feel my head reeling. Strange chemistry between mind and body, I thought. Focussed on the ground below and started walking. Thud. I could not believe myself that I actually stepped down from the bed and fell down like a stack of cards blown by the wind. No control. I felt a weird feeling in my stomach. It might be the junk food of last night and some bowel problems, I assured myself. Not a surprising thing for people of my profession where you spend nearly 90% of your work time sitting down – the era of pot bellies and cholesterol. Even after the routine days work, I could sense that my stomach pain is actually growing intense with every passing moment. I ignored it saying its psychological to be thinking too much of the junk food of last night.

At 1 PM, I was lying on the ground, writhing in pain, cuddled up with my knees near my face, hands covering my stomach and I could barely see. I was crying aloud in pain. My headache had reached its peak and I felt my skull would tear apart and explode. My stomach felt as if there is some poisonous snake inside, biting me every second and I felt that I was seeing my last day. I could just not bear. This is Mumbai. I stayed alone in an apartment and there was no one nearby. I tried standing up again to go to the door to get help, not sure if someone would actually help me and if they did, how. As I stood holding the wall, I felt that my legs dont have the force, my hands are slipping from the wall and I just could not stand up. I gave up the idea. I did not move, could not move and wished something to happen before I was dead.

My cellphone rang..

The other side of the phone was a person who understood. God sent, I thought. I crawled to the phone, picked it up and cried aloud. He asked me to just open the door and I dont know if I did or I did not. I just could not remember more. I thought I am dreaming, or was it a nightmare. Things flashed in front of me. No idea what visuals they were but it was something, it was not just dark. I could not even feel the pain anymore but somehow could not open my eyes. I just felt that I can not move a limb. It was such a terrifying feeling, knowing that your eyes are closed and still you can see. Knowing that your limbs are frozen, still you can actually stand up with ease.

Suddenly, I saw people. They were dragging me. I recognised a few of them. One was Saloni, another was her mother, Neha. I saw a friend of mine too, dont remember her name. They were terrified. There were others who were taking off my clothes and covering me with a white bedsheet. Gosh! Am I dead? I just could not open my eyes. I was tired. I wanted to sleep and then I lost it. I could not see anymore.

After decades of sleep as I felt, I woke up with a jolt. It was all white around me. White walls, white screens, white backgrounds, white beds and the same white bedsheet. Then I saw colors too. I saw Saloni, dressed in her usual weekend denim, with a surprised yet sullen face. I saw Neha and others and they all appeared relaxed. It did not take me long to understand that I am back into life, back into action. I was alive again, or was I not dead at all. Did I just faint? Whatever be it. Cholesterol is a bad thing and still worse is High Blood Pressure. When you have High Cholesterol and Blood pressure of 170 and you still eat junk food, it is worst.

As I was carried home to my apartment, I was so much thankful to Neha that she pitched in at the right time to save me this time. I never asked her how she opened the door, I never asked her if it was she who called. I never asked her how she came in to my rescue. For her, I was never dead. For me, I was in the Second Life.

Nick Second Life.

I did not have the strength to actually get up and scratch off one more day in the Mumbai chapter of my life. I counted myself – 18 more days to go.


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Rains are mischievous

Posted by Subhendu on November 19, 2009

It was a rainy day and it was pouring as hell. I had seen 6 summers by then and loved the smell of the first rain drops on the soil. The aroma of rain drops on the parched land intoxicated me. I inhaled a deep breath wishing to breathe in all the scent in one go. I just loved the scent. It was all over, near the window pane, near the open door and everywhere.

The door is open. This is all I wished. I was so short that I could not reach the door latch. It was plain luck that I could now do what I wanted to. And all I wanted was to dance in the rain, get wet, dirty and keep on dancing in the mud. And I did.  I did not notice the bullock cart which came trotting from behind. When I saw it, since I was not mischievous, no idea struck me. So, I just climbed on to the bullock cart silently by a rope hanging at the back. The driver obviously did not notice, unluckily! The cart kept on trotting and I was enjoying the rain and the free ride. Boy, did I know the concept of free and paid that time!

When I suddenly could not recognize the streets anymore, I could not see any way how to go back home. God told me to cry. I obliged. The cart wallah had the shock of his life seeing me hanging to the rope at the tail of the cart. He asked me a lot of things which I never answered, I was good at doing one thing then, crying and I did not want to get diverted. That guy had some tough time it seems, he returned in the rain and kept asking the shopkeepers on the way if they recognize me. LOL, no one knew. So he kept returning back on the way he had went. When he reached near my place, I suddenly stopped crying and jumped out of the cart. Landed at home safely. I could hear the guy shouting at my back, but then I was good at doing one thing at one time. I was running inside and I did not want to get diverted.

Its 10 AM already and the rain just does not subside. Strangely, I don’t love rains anymore. I love the scent of the rain nevertheless. Somethings just don’t change. I checked the rice grains on the window pane, still there. May be the birds had their stomachs full or I had been overgenerous yesterday. I looked down from my 11th floor. Dots of blue, yellow, green each accompanied by a black dot started from somewhere in the ground floor of my apartment and ended at the school bus on the road. After the bus moved, the black dots returned to the base of my apartment. Children look really beautiful when dressed in these colorful raincoats. More beautiful than the rain. Mothers, as always, are a caring lot. Even if the black umbrellas would be swaying in the windy rain, still they would stay with their child till it climbs up the bus and waves its hand from the window.

The rains continued till afternoon. All day I was thinking about the countdown to my new life which is 20 more days to go. Saloni came in from school when I was just closing the lift door in the ground floor. She was a mirror image of mine. Dirty as mud personified, wet as rain, barely able to carry her overloaded bag on one shoulder, she was enjoying her ice-cream! She is 12. I was better. Much better than her. I never ate ice-cream in rains. On the way up, she just blabbered, kept on with it and licked her ice-cream in between. Her mother, my neighbor, saw her state when the lift opened up on the 11th floor. She opened her mouth and Saloni hid behind me, tight-lipped. Amazing chemistry! But one thing I admired, Salonis calculation – she was done with the ice-cream when the lift opened.

Tomorrow is weekend.

As the evening entered through the window in form of darkness, I striked off one day more in the calendar. 19 More days to go for the Bhubaneswar Pani Poori.

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Parents are Jewels

Posted by Subhendu on November 18, 2009

When you let go of something, it actually affects the adrenalin in your body. Think of the situation when you would have let gone of something because you tried and failed, be it the software error you could not fix, be it the relationship problem you could not solve. It is actually a dangerous feeling, you are letting go something which refuses to be in your control. But I look at it from a different perspective – When you are letting go, you are actually opening doors to the fighter within you. Get him to action. Wake him up. That is where the adrenalin gushes in and you feel you are charged up. Ignited, to take upon the next obstacle, the next hurdle which faces you.

I woke up around 9 30. Ideally this is the time I am in office checking voicemails and mails. But today, I was relaxed.

My drawing room had a big glass sliding door window. Outside, just below the AC, a cute pigeon family had decided to extend their family size and spread their legacy. I never wanted to threaten their growth. I had let the eggs hatch and at times, I put some Indian rice grains near the window pane so that the parent birds could feed on without having to go away for a long time leaving the eggs in the nest. They had an amazing chemistry. The mother bird would sit on the eggs and the father bird would watch her. He was never tired, and the She bird never moved. She just blinked her eyes.. She might have meant that she understood him. The feelings moved me always.

As I stood with a cup of coffee near the window looking at the nest, I remembered the day one of these birds actually had entered into my room when they were kids. It was wounded by the ruthless ceiling fan in my room and when I could do nothing. I just made it drink some water and then had placed it outside the window.  Today was a different day, as i looked, I saw things differently. I could see how parents care for the child, even before the child is born. They sacrifice for the child even when the child is not aware. And then I thought about my father. I lost my father recently. Thinking of all this moistened my eyes. There are somethings which are not in your control and you should just let go.

In office, it was a routine day. But people interacting with me had mixed reactions. Some knew about my resignation and some did not. The ones which did, they were inquiring about my new company, role and my compensation structure. The emails in my outlook spoke a different story. The same emails were now being marked to someone else, the work was getting done as usual.. without me. You actually get converted voluntarily into a NPPM – Non Performing Project Manager. It is a strange feeling, when on one hand you want to get released early so you want there is no dependency on you, while on the other hand, you feel insignificant, as an unwanted weed in the organisation. Look at the power of one email.

On my way back from office, my Pulsar wanted to stop at the Nukkad. I did not disallow. Pani Poori is one of my hot favorites. When I am at the stand holding the plate. And the Pani Poori wallah stuffs the spicy potato mash into the crispy fried cups, dips it in spicy and sour tamarind water and puts it in my plate, I can hardly resist the temptation to gulp it down my throat. I just love it and whenever I am stressed, I tend to be a honest disciple of the Pani Poori wallah, ramping up his business. 20 INR and I am done.

Once I parked my bike, took the lift to the Second Floor of Ambika Apartments and opened my apartment door, I wished the days to fly faster. How I wished to flee from the place. How i wished to pray Kotler soon.

I silently walked to the window. Opened the window, switched on the window light and saw the mother bird and the father bird. They still were there. I did nothing. Put in some rice grains on the floor of the window pane and closed the door. I miss my father a lot.

28 more days to go.

Mumbai.. Cheers to Life! Cheers to Parents!

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The first day of Resignation

Posted by Subhendu on November 17, 2009

It was not meant to be easy.

A job is like a relation. You walk in because you need it, then you leave it when you feel you have better relations at stake. It is not a very great feeling and at heart you feel you could just continue. But there is a well known saying which someone used to say – If you are drinking water from a glass cup and it breaks, there is no use mending the cup. You better throw it away and use a new glass or you get hurt more with time.

I reached office. People around me greeted as usual. I opened my laptop, checked voicemails on my phone. As i screened the emails, i was looking at the PST where I had set rules in Outlook. The folder had 1 unread message and was highlighted in Bold Black. I waited, breathed a deep breath and then clicked open that email.

Nick, we will need to discuss.

I could hear my heartbeat thumping hard. It was the same person who had hired me 7 months back in the midst of recession into a Program Manager role. That time, if he would have asked me to be a developer, i might not have thought again before accepting. But now, things were different. Markets were improving. Atleast it seemed more so, because of the numerous emails I was getting from I went into a state of nostalgia.

I passed out of my B-School in Singapore in the midst of world greatest economic recession. Leave aside campus placements at sky rocketing salaries, even plain vanilla jobs were out of question. I had applied to over 200 consultants in India, UAE and Singapore. Not a buzz. Emails just were sent out from my mailbox and they never returned. When some of them finally did, they would all speak the same tone – Dear Nick, after careful consideration of your profile, we feel that we would not be able to provide you a job which would be in line with your expectations and our needs. We regret to state that we wont be able to provide employment to you right now. However, feel free to browse the site for future openings. Apply, apply, No reply was the message. It was not that jobs had dried up. It was just that the salaries had dried up. And I was not very keen in joining a job at a 50% pay cut to last years salary.

I was in a Navy Blue suit at the company office waiting for an interview with the Chief Technical Officer of the company. The suit had a story as well. It would have wished that I wear it everytime i appeared for an interview but then it had seen only guest lectures and no placements. Hard Luck.

My interview had been great and I was offered to join from the next Monday.

Strange coincidence, today is a Monday. And I have resigned.

After lunch at cafetaria, I saw the email with a calendar invite for my exit interview. How was I to enter into that room? I was feeling guilty as well as I saw it as lack of any other option. I wanted to leave this place. And there was no way I could have left the place without leaving the company. So I entered the room.

There was a cold greeting smile on the lips of my manager, the CTO of the company. What happened after was a nightmare. It seemed like a dream when it started with discussions on what I have done in the company and how the transition would happen and then it shifted gradually to why I wanted to leave. My manager was not at fault. I too was not. Some one else was at fault. But who? Right now, inside the room it was me and my manager and both were trying to find out what went wrong in just 7 months of joining. Somehow the duel ended. I walked out of the room, not satisfied, not happy but not guilty anymore. I heard a lot of things which I wish I never would have heard. But again, to err is human.

The day had already been eventful so I did not ask for more. I packed up for the day.

It was not even twilight when I rode my Pulsar 150 DTSI back home. The speedometer would have read 85 but who cares. I was speeding as if I wanted to escape. I was speeding as if I had to reach destination soon. When i opened up my apartment door, I was wishing it all as a dream and tried to wake up. But it was a reality. I had resigned and was going to be released in 29 more days.

Bigg Boss Season 3 came to rescue in the lone apartment. I looked at the ceiling. The fan kept on dissecting my vision. I grew tired and wanted to sleep. I could not..

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Marketing is my cup of coffee.

Posted by Subhendu on November 15, 2009

It did not take me long to realize that Marketing is fun and it is great responsibility as well. I had just recovered from the most tumultous phase of my life.

Boss, Can you give me one packet Gold Flake King Size Milds? I was at a local shop asking for some Nicotine to burn. As i lighted the long and sleek cigarette, I was looking at how the smoke just went up and above. It felt just like yesterday, I had survived 3 major crises, bruised but with a hope that I will move on and prove it to all those who left me. I wanted to relegate back into oblivion where no one would be able to trace me, no one would be able to laugh at me. I feared rejection, I feared people talking behind my back, I feared people overall.

Then as always, when I am most hit, there is a voice within me which speaks up. I have always relied on the voice whenever I am all messed up. And it is inevitably there. And the same voice this time told me to just take up the opportunity ahead. I still thought twice, thrice and many more times, everytime expecting that the inner voice would change its statement. Poor me.

I had nothing else to cling on to. People I loved the most had left me. And I was alone. The only other thing which I loved was my conscience which actually had helped me many times in the past. So, I finally yielded.

It was 7 PM in the evening in Mumbai when i decided that I would resign from the current company I am in. It was a big decision for me and actually a leap of great magnitude when I was feeling thrown away. But then there was no point in continuing anymore. I had lost it all. The depressing feelings overpowered me again. Fighting it diligently, I made myself understand that the lowest point in my life is over. I would have to live for those who love me more than I loved the people who left me.

I resigned.

The next opportunity was waiting at my doors. I opened my arms. Breathed and enjoyed the air.

The air was full of freedom. I was joining as the Marketing Manager in a MNC. If Marketing was about ABC, I just had read ABC, but never took pains to understand or break a twig on it. But then opportunities come with challenges. All along, I had taken up challenges. Sometimes I had failed, but mostly I had been successful. So odds were in favor. I was joining the new company in 30 days from today.

When I closed my eyes to sleep, I felt my eyes moisten.

Dozed off thinking that from tomorrow, I have to start the notice period!

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