Nick Second Life

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

Posts Tagged ‘Subhendu’

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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Pulsar – Definitely Male looks out for Single Female!

Posted by Subhendu on August 4, 2010

Nick just loved the feeling.

As the flight descended at BPInternational Airport, Nick could not hide his excitement. Finally he was back in his home soil. Felt divine. Like someone was charging him up with a thousand volts yet there was no pain, only quanta of energy.

As I scurried down the alley, searching for known faces, I saw my family.. God! It was such a great feeling. I had waited for this day to come out of that depression and finally I am back into my strength domains. It was a sweet reunion and the Santro Xing swiftly moved past the Airport road into Forest park, Bapuji Nagar, Master canteen, Ram Mandir, Rupali and then the college… RD.

RD, this place had been a sight for sore eyes.

Well, this time there was a twist. RD is a college for people in their late teens and I am almost tipping thirty! I was looking at girls half my age and did not take me long to understand that this is no longer an option. I had become too old for all this. Suddenly the pang of distress overpowered me. Does this mean I have to go back to Oriyamatrimony? Well, if that is what it is supposed to be.

There were quite a lot of things which I wanted to do when I reached home. New Cellphone sim card, Copying all contacts and sending them a New business card, Visiting all friends who stayed here, watching a movie in the local Maharaja movie hall (Still remember when I got my fist bleeding trying to break the glass at the counter during the movie hall inauguration!) but most importantly the Gupchup attracted me. To do all this, I had to get my Pulsar from the Cargo.

Oh! the lovely feeling of the pulsar on home roads is just magical! Did all that I wanted to do the first day is and finally landed up at the Gupchup wala. The sight of the Gupchup wala and his blue wood and glass box made my mouth water. The Khatta paani which is tangy and spicy as well made my salivary glands go mad. Atleast 12 people surrounded each Gupchup wala.  Each of them had a peepal leaf folded in a manner to hold the Gupchup (Paanipoori) and the spicy water.  The Gupchup wala started. Searched for a round full crispy Gupchup and cracked it open. Stuffed in the AlooDum and dipped it into the tangy spicy water and then pulled it out quick and served the first girl standing near. And he completed all this so fast that in a minute, he was serving all 12 people twice. I was looking at his setup and relished the sight for a long time. And when my turn came.. when the gupchup melted in my mouth, the feeling was just divine..

I was slowly getting energized. Bhubaneswar was sinking into me.

Had a lovely day today and look forward to my new role in Office starting tomorrow.

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The e-arranged marriage fever!

Posted by Subhendu on December 22, 2009

In India, 10 years back parents would have actually shunned the concept of love marriages in India and considered it taboo. If one love letter got caught, or if someone in the locality saw the girl on a bike with a boy, it meant serious things for both the boy and the girl. Girl might be forced to leave college, boy might be threatened. But this force to restrain added in the challenge to some sweet couple in India. Now, it just seems like world got flatter faster. Parents are happy, more happy are the girls parents when they realize that their daughter is in love. Because in this highly networked world, where concepts of nuclear family, freedom, personal spaces have come into existence in India makes arranged marriage sustainability increasingly challenging. An increasing trend which somehow exposes marriages to more divorces in the educated and liberated India (Debatable?). So, if your girl comes home one day, keeps her bag on the table and tells you – Dad! I want you to meet someone special. And I want to marry him. You are no longer worried. You are just like – Phew! Atleast my daughter will feel happy and safe for her life.

But you know what. Where there is a challenge, there is fun. And arranged marriages are somehow back in action. I had so far ignored this and was searching for soulmates in Yahoo chats, Rediffbols and the like.  All I got were bots sending me invites to view them. If I started viewing them, my vaio would see all the infections as well. So I had resisted but now I had a perfect match platform – Genuine human beings, females in particular, single and asking prospective searchers to mingle! Nice. Suits the needs of both parties. As I hit the search button on the Bharat Matrimony website, I was already feeling the adrenalin in my body pump up! 975 profiles. Amazing.

23, Software Engineer, Fair, Slim, Convent Educated, 4 Lakhs per annum. Arunita. Photographs? I clicked on all the links which said photographs. But all it opened up was a pop up – Do you want to request Arunita to upload her photograph. I declined. There are 974 more anyway. Who cares to request.

Changed my search criteria. This time I selected the small box which said – Show results for profiles with Photograph displayed. 647. Smaller. Yet Better. Atleast I get to see who I am going to marry.

24, Software Engineer (presently in Onsite, UK), Fair, Down to earth, Believes in simple living high thinking. 27, MBA, Non-working (Blessed by recession, I thought). Moved on. 26, Athletic, PG in Sociology, Lecturer. Cool Types. Hot types wear jeans in matrimony sites. Cool types actually wear salwars in these sites and wear anything and everything outside the matrimony sites. I don’t say this. Parents say this. They are the first and major target market for sites like these. 24, B.A, Not working. 23, Engineer, Non-IT.. I just kept browsing and occasionally maximizing the thumbnail photos. I stopped at many. There is a concept of Send Interest! And I made good use of that in the free profile I created. I uploaded some of my US snaps. Those would cut the competition of the available grooms I thought. Somehow the photos you take in the US are the ones you look best in. So had uploaded my best snaps. Every interest I sent, I thought to myself, if she responds, I would be the happiest man on earth. Like this was the only step before marriage. There are tons of steps ahead, I realized much later. Welcome to the world of e-arranged marriages.

The amazing number of searches, types of searches mesmerized me. There is a facial search which you can use to search for the girl who looks like Aishwarya or Katrina. Engrossed, I was fast learning the website as well as browsing fast. Thanks to the Reliance Netconnect which matched to the speed at which I was browsing.

When I stopped, it was already 32 interests sent. 271 profiles browsed. Then I tagged on the search to continue next day. Way past midnight already. When I went to sleep, I was excited. 2 Things – One, I did not feel alone in the apartment today. Two, I would not feel alone in the apartment tomorrow. Because someone would respond with an interest tomorrow. If not, then I would start browsing from profile number 272! Once this website is over, will hop to Jeevansathi. Then Shaadi. Then SimplyMarry. The list is never ending. Then I can always come back to Bharat matrimony to check the new profiles.

Amazing. Nick thought looking at the fan in the ceiling. He was suddenly no more lonely.

He did not need any beer. Not that anything was there in the kitchen. 6 more days to go and the last week in office. Time for farewell parties and movers and packers.

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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 Monster.com. 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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