Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vocational Vacation

     I had not intended to pen another post till the dawn of the new year. But unforeseen circumstances and lack of work instigated it. Let me start off by explaining the circumstances. Over the past few weeks, Shopper Stop had been a regular adda for our shopping. We didn't notice much when the salesman handed over a flyer and a "lucky draw" coupon. A couple of days later, Sneha received a call.
     It was basically a verification call regarding her identity. Our coupon was about to be processed, and they wanted to ensure that it was an original person (like the verification code we need to enter in most sites, internet is so smart, no???). They informed us that the draw would take place on the following day and if we won, they would promptly inform us. My luck had always been on the downside with such events but my lady's luck seemed to be on the better side. We "promptly" received a call the next day regarding our gifts worth "30,000 INR."
     Only married couples were eligible for the prizes.  We would have to attend a presentation before collecting the prizes. I half-expected a money chain on the cards. But it wasn't that bad. They kept asking us if we were married, or engaged (ironically, Sneha's sindhoor almost covered her forehead). We were offered water and seated on a table.
     The "so-called" presentation ceremony was quite hilarious. We had a bunch of sales executives coming over, one after the other, and asking whether it was our first time. There were other couples seated in nearby tables. Our guide aka executive spoke at the rate of knots. Probably he was given a time limit to finish his sermon. I was on my way back after a gruelling day at work and could do without the slapstick humour from his end. He wasted about 10 sheets of paper in drawing, re-drawing & explaining the same four points. Kiran (I asked his name 4 times to get on his nerves) kept reminding us that at the end of the presentation, we would be given 3 assured gifts along with an option to be a part of their community. We would also have to make a decision with regards to enrolling ourselves in their vacation plan. As he put it across, a Yes or No from our end would suffice.
      Before that we would need to undergo a survey. The session began.
Question: Haven't you heard of us, Country Club Vacations?
Me: Nope. Never. Can't even remember. Maybe, .... nah, that was Mahindra Holidays.
Q: Oh, so you have heard of Mahindra Holidays, but not us. Not on tv also?
Me: Nope. Neither in the newspaper.
Q: How come Sir? (WTF look from my end) And you, Madam?
Sneha: I think I've seen it somewhere. Can't remember though.
Q: Fine. We will tell you about it. Do you like Holidays?
Me: Nah. Just got married. No leaves. My manager says forgot holidays for the next 6 months.
Q: What kind of vacations do u like?
Me: How is a vacation different from a holiday? (Kiran grimaces, ignores my question and looks towards Sneha)
Sneha: Do you provide holidays in Seychelles?
K: Where exactly is that? (all three of us look at each other for a second, blank expression)
Q: What is the preferred duration for a holiday?
Me: 3-4 days.
K: (quite happy that he's scored) Sir, we provide 2 weeks every year. Isn't that great?
Me: Nah. Too Long. Won't get leaves.
K: (Ignores) What kind of accommodation do u like when you go on vacation? We provide....
Me: (Interrupting, with a smile on my face) it would depend on the location.
K: 3-star, 4-star... you would like that no, Madam? (faces Sneha)
Sneha: Like Sajeesh said, it would depend on the location.
K: Ok. Ok. Which is your favourite location for a Holiday?
Me: The Grand Canyon.
K: Oh, that is abroad no? (apart from the 'no', the other thing that was consistent throughout was the "any doubt?", like every freaking 90 seconds)
K: And you madam?
Sneha: Seyc...
K: Oh, yes! don't you like Thailand?
Chorus: Nope, we just returned from our honeymoon there.
K: Oh, so you just got married. Congratulations. When did you get married? Lot of expense no for the marriage. How much expense?
Me: (I almost said, do u provide reimbursements for that as well?) Quite a lot of money.
K: Last question. (We peered at the sheet in front of him). No, No. It's a general doubt. Sir, when you travel abroad and reached Thailand, the time was different, no?
Me: Yes..
K: So how did it feel?
Me: Thailand is just 2.5 hours ahead of us. So not much of a difference.
K: But how did it feel? (My face read WTF, so he asked Sneha the same thing)
Sneha: I'm sorry. First time abroad. I didn't notice the difference.
K: I always wanted to ask this question. A lot of customers asked me this question, and I didn't know the answer.
K: Sir, any doubts?
Me: (I wanted to strangle him with my bare hands) What all does your holiday include?
K: One minute. Let me call my manager (Glances over our heads, points at us and says - Call him).
     The most irritating factor during the whole scenario was the executive's manager. He would come around, shake hands and explain the whole thing over. After 10 minutes, he comes back, the executive bends (with a humble expression on his face, quite constipated!) as much as his back allows him, and the cycle repeats. Their vacation plan is absolutely great, it seemingly covers vacations for you, your kids and grand-kids. You need to pay a lump sum in the beginning. That's it. Period. And a few maintenance charges every time you visit the place. And the tax in India. And the tax abroad. I didn't hear the rest of it. My brain switched off.
     Finally, they reveal the lifetime plan of country club vacations. And I said no. For a moment, he appeared as if he didn't hear me. Repeated the question again. I still said No.
K: But why sir?
Me: No money. Just got married.
K: That is ok. We will give you time to pay.
Me: Fine, I'll come back after 6 months.
K: No, No. We need your decision today.
Me: Great, No.

     It went on for 5 more minutes. Finally, he couldn't take it any longer. He called his buddy over and informed him that we weren't interested. He reminded us though that we had lost a chance of a lifetime. We didn't wait much longer, picked up the complimentary gift (half-a-dozen bowls) and ran as fast as our legs could carry us.
      I received a call yesterday. "Sir, did you drop any forms at Shoppers Stop or any other mall? Are you married?"

P.S: I wasn't sure whether to post this or not. Too sweet to spit out yet too bitter to swallow.
P.P.S: Hopefully the image on the top should get more viewers to read the blog. If that doesn't happen, I'll bring in Sunny Leone. Big Boss Time.

This post is an entry to the Indi-blogger & KFC "Sets you on Fire" contest. No Chickens were fried during the making of this blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


     Run! The world's coming to an end. But, hold on a sec! Where would I go?

"Maine suna hai ke marne ke pehle saari zindagi ka flashback aankhon ke saamne aata hain," - Musafir (Hindi Movie)

Jan 2011: Remember the time Stone Cold used to walk in. All that glass shattering. Something similar happened when Chottu made his entrance in shtyle. He wasn't expected till March, so a New Year gift for my brother and sil.
Chottu knows best!

Feb 2011: I was home for Para (an annual ritual at the temple) after missing out for 4 years. Surprisingly, it was the first time that the 4 of us (mom, dad, bro & me) were part of it.
The Invitation

March 2011: My new bike, Apache RTR 160 on the same day that India beat Pakistan. Double Dhamaka! (For the highlighted word -No, not Dhaka - Dhamaka!)
Red Riding Hood
 April 2011: In the midst of summer, I played Cupid. Or rather, my cupid-ity promoted this event. Not to forget, the one trip to quench our thirst - Destination Pondi.
A for Apple, B for Beer
May 2011: A change of jobs. My stars re-aligned themselves to restructure my future. The following illustration implies everything about my job, at least most of it.
Super Zoozoo

June 2011: As the spirits soar high, the wings spread out - my ligament tears. I can't walk, and need to hop, skip and limp my way through the pain. When people wish "break a leg", it's meant literally.
Tore a ligament
July 2011: Ringed. I meant, Engaged by exchanging rings. Yay! Engaged for life.

August 2011: A wonderful trip to Rappa (www.therappa.co.in) with good old friends.

September 2011: Zoozoo Times. Quite a highlight, i'd say!

October 2011: Yipee! It's my birthday. Shucks, I turned 27. And I thought it was 22 last year. :( Someone had to remind me that age is only a number, and the credit goes to James Hetfield. I realised, "Nothing Else Matters."
November 2011: The biggest event of the year. The biggest event of my life. I got hitched a.k.a married. Marriage, Reception & Honeymoon covered the whole month, in fact covered the leaves for the last quarter as well. And it dawned on me, as the celebrations increase, the wallet gets deflated.

December 2011: My pretty wifey celebrated her birthday, infact we celebrated it in style. A midnight surprise party, a treasure hunt for the gift and finally a candle-lit dinner. :) The first of many to come.

     Let me credit Facebook for its timeline before they get the lawyers out to sue me. Filing a patent seems the trend-setter this year, apart from candle-light marches. As another year ends, (quite a remarkable one - India winning the WC and me getting married are the highlights) the my expectations and resolutions for the next year settles in. Damn the Maya calendar, the world has handled itself for the last 5000 years and it quite capable of another 5000. I'm in no mood to die at least for the next 80 years. Have a safe & prosperous New Year.

P.S: Don't drink and drive.

P.P.S: Don't let that stop you from drinking.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Life

"I don't take things for granted, because everything feels more fragile. It's made me wonder about mortality and how long you've got somebody in the world. I'm more fearful than I used to be." ~ Robin Gibb

     Over decades and centuries mankind has progressed, socially and culturally. And now, we question God's prowess through our actions, empowering ourselves in decisions pertaining to life and death. I've not turned over a new leaf by re-organizing my faith or delivering sermons. It's just that the past few days have left me disturbed and distraught.
      For over a month, my access to the newspaper and news channels were limited. Initially, it left a vacuum from my daily activities, but I was at peace with myself. Since the time the services have resumed, I've made it a practice to read the news as soon as I'm up everyday. And everyday, I read about my fellow beings taking their own lives. Is the human life following suit with the Indian Rupee?
     I've not been a farmer in rural India, indebted to wolfish money-lenders. I wouldn't understand the pain and grief that runs through their veins or the moment of madness that results in handing over the dues to their family. But by ending their lives, do they render a favour or complicate things further? In the pursuit of achieving greater heights in their next birth (in India, everything is associated with previous or next birth), don't they cause sacrilege for their current one?
      Quite recently, even the previous illustration seems old-fashioned. The current trend is to commit suicide with the pretext of having lived a content and meaningful life. In short, to avoid further hassles in life, choose the path of cowardice. A couple, educated couple end their lives in Goa. Adding a note, "We have lived a very eventful and happy life together. We've travelled the world, lived in different countries, made more money than we ever thought possible, and enjoyed spending as much of it as we could on things that brought us joy and satisfaction. We believe in the philosophy that our life belongs to us and only us, and we have the right to choose to die as much as we have the right to live."And it makes the news in style. Someone writes about a resemblance to Darwin's theory of evolution.  For their parents who are alive, it's a blemish that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. We fight against feticide, to grow up a generation that doesn't respect the value imbibed in their lives.
      Before I end this post, I wanted to introspect. About a sexagenarian unable to find a kidney donor. About the millions who fight every second, minute and day of their lives in order to live the next one. Wouldn't suicide be the easiest option for all of them? Are we setting the right example for our future generations? Perhaps, they might not even look up to us as the ideal role models.

"If all human lives depended upon their usefulness - as might be judged by certain standards - there would be a sudden and terrific mortality in the world."

P.S: I intended to add about a 12-year old who set herself alight for an argument with her mom.

P.P.S: A reminder that Corruption is not our biggest worry - about a 15 year girl who was impregnated by her classmate.