Friday, November 26, 2010

Scandals galore.....

This has been a thrilling couple of months. It's like an early Christmas for the CBI. Seriously if it was a private organisation, I'd be tempted to say it was appraisal time! 4 scams in 2 months! And if the squawk box is to be believed, there are a few more to come. We're literally seeing that whole 'opening a can of worms' scenario playing out. Arrests have been made, leads are being followed and summons being sent left right and centre - with more to come. Unfortunately nothing ever concludes. In the last couple of months we've had the CWG scam, the 2G scam, the MFI scam, the Nira Radia tapes and now the Bribery and Corruption scam. Today the environment ministry jumped on the media bandwagon and have issued show cause notices to 3 listed corporates who summarily tanked! Whole different can of worms there....Now the cases go to court and we wait a couple of decades before the courts decided to
a) let the accused off on bail 
b) fine them a fraction of what they took 
c) throw out the case on a technicality
d) adjourn it further
Pretty standard stuff. Of course no one's really going to bother covering it after a while because something newer and shinier will be there to distract the fourth estate and its avid viewers. Maybe Pamela Anderson will come back to the Big Boss never know.... Other than a passing mention on the 2G scandal, there's been a deafening silence on the MFI mess, the Nira Radia tapes and the CWG scam.

Funnily enough, in the larger scheme of things, the bribery scandal isn't as damaging as the 2G or CWG scams, and certainly no where near as shocking as the Nira Radia tapes. Everyone knows a little something-something flows back. Elemental physics when dealing with liquidity in the real world. What really cracks me up though are the amounts mentioned. Quite frankly they aren't even enough to buy a house in Mumbai! I mean seriously! Roti, kapda and makaan.... well food inflation, September, October and November rains coupled with a severe lack of storage facilities is going to make the roti (and rice) rather pricey, zooming cotton prices and a lively cotton futures market is going to make the kapda expensive and makaan....? Heck don't even get me started on that. Frankly the amounts mentioned might just help them out with the down payment. I'm not condoning it, I'm just saying that the practice of 'chai paani' has been around a lot longer than the bull market. As long as prices keep rising and pensions remain uncertain, people will do their level best to make as much money as they possibly can. Its a self preservation thing. Once you're out of a position of power the law of the jungle takes over. Best plan for that bleak timewhile you still can. We've all seen hockey and athletic stars end up in menial jobs struggling to make their next meal. India is not kind to the weak, the sick or the old. If you're not healthy and rich, you're probably better off dead.

And how could I forget my namesake in North Korea who's happily lobbing everything but the kitchen sink at the South Koreans. They in turn aren't entirely sure what to do about it. Its recession time after all, one must be practical. So you saw the immediate retaliation followed by a flurry of meetings and press conferences. With practically every potential ally struggling to pay their country's debts, they're looking quite lonely out there. Although an all out war is a worry, lets be practical about this. Who's got the cash to afford a war with a megalomaniac dictator? Not such a bright idea now, is it? One needs allies, and right now the allies are rather concerned about whether or not to pull out the old begging bowl. So now Korea has a choice. Does it give in to its baser self and return the favor with interest or does it do the 'right' thing and call for a mediator, go crying to various international agencies blah, blah, blah. Kinda hard to fight fair when your opponent has no such qualms. Oh the price of conformity.....

Good times ahead. Quite the reverse of the calm consolidation that prevailed during my last post. Such fun not knowing what the heck's gonna hit tomorrow. Adios....

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Empty Stomach Theory

Today was such an awesome day... absolutely nothing interesting happened. Yesterday was somewhat similar, so was the day before that and the ones before that. We have been wallowing in peace and serenity, calm consolidating markets, low leverage and very little to seriously trouble us. Granted there are all sorts of terrifying things looming somewhere around the horizon, but we're Genext! We live for today...who cares about something as murky as European debt? It's Europe! It doens't affect India! We have a consumption story!!! Yeah right! Sound familiar? Sub-Prime wasn't an Indian problem either....
Anyhow, it got me thinking about life in general and I realised, looking back, the best examples of art, science, music etc etc were all borne out of economic despair... Recessions forced people to think and innovate and people responded by coming out with some pretty snazzy stuff! Innovate or starve. Apparently depression, panic and an empty stomach is a killer combination for a successful product... provided of course you manage to take care of that whole 'appreciated in this lifetime' bit... what's the point of living in poverty and being a posthumous multimillionaire...Life may be a gift from God but I'd like to enjoy my gains (ill gotten or otherwise) while I can thank you very much! Once I pop off, they ain't coming with me.
Now push that thought a little further. Let's look at the concept of Heaven and Hell. According to all we hear, at least the Catholic/Christian versions, Heaven is a place of peace and goodwill with angels playing their heavenly music and the Lord watching beningly over us. Hell on the other hand is hot and has the whole 'burn for all eternity' thing, fire and brimstone, purgatory, eternal torment of the soul... blah blah blah.
Now taking the 'Empty Stomach Theory' and stretching it to Heaven and Hell, I think Hell might just be a tad more interesting. Consider for a moment. Heaven is full of rewards for years of agony and struggle. But what do you do once you're there? Play the harp? Spend your days sipping milk and honey? I doubt anyone will be allowed free speech, hobbies or competitions in Heaven. Just see how much conflict they cause here on Earth! So you basically do nothing to mar/wrinkle/disturb the Heavenly atmosphere. That would be bad for business. I'm guessing religious types and gospel singers go straight there.
Now Hell on the other hand would have all the crazies from Earth. From my point of view, along with the murderers and other assorted bad types, you would also find the blasphemous comedians, rock stars, artists that scandalised the establishment, other religions that God didn't approve of... in short a large number of people. All of them in eternal suffering and torment.... According to the Empty Stomach Theory, this is the ideal recepie for creativity of no mean order! I mean financial products extrodinare, music like you've never heard, art like you've never seen, plays like you've never imagines... creativity unleashed. Sounds like an interesting place doesn't it?
Don't know about you but it definitely makes me rethink a few ''absolutes''... primarily that there might just have been a few translation errors in the early Christian versions... the errors seem to have continued through all subsequent upgrades. Chances are Heaven and God aren't as boring as the holier than thou types have painted it. I mean how often have you come across situations where the peons are way more stuck up than the CEO himself? Chances are we're spending all our time toeing the line of the minions when the big cahoona is actually quite chilled out. Hah! Funny thought! Imagine if Heaven is just one big beach party and all those puritians end up there find out they spent their entire lives condemning what was actually God's work! And if Heaven is one big party then what is Hell? Exam season! Ugh! The word still gives me the jitters. Even worse, an exam of a subject that you didn't study for and you woke up and ended up in the exam hall in your underwear! Every student's worst nightmare! Though in all honesty I have studied for the wrong exam on occasion.
So in conclusion. The Empty Stomach Theory makes life interesting. When faced with an empty bowl, think out of the bowl. If that doesn't work, turn it over and come up with a drum solo. And existing theory vis a vis entry requirements for Heaven and Hell has some holes. Just like the whole "The Earth is Flat" theory was disproves, so too will this. So live free and die in peace!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When time is NOT of the essence.....

We went to God's own country for the long weekend, it being the monsoons, there was a considerable amount of precipitation of varying intensities. There is something very relaxing about Kerala. That is until you're starving and the waiters in the restaurant couldn't be bothered about serving you. You could argue that it's all about savoring the moment and so on and so forth.... But when one is hungry, one needs something other than paper thin papads drenched in oil and pink water. Yes, I kid you not! For some thoroughly unfathomable reason the water served is pink! What is with that? It doesn't taste funny but ... It's PINK!!! Somehow I don't really see hefty mundu clad, heavily mustaschio'd mallus waggling their beefy fingers at each other and drinking pink water! Well enough of that! Moral of that story.... Make sure the head waiter can see you at all times.... That or always carry your own banana leaf when hungry in Kerala... Apparently that's the green signal for the rest of the minions to start serving you.
So then we proceeded to the Taj Garden Retreat in Kumarakom. Nice place, really great staff, as usual the women have these freakeshly perfectly draped cotton saris.... I just can't get how they do it! I'd need a couple of hours and at least four saris before I could manage anything remotely close to what she achieved.
Now when in Kumarakom, do not expect high excitement and extreme sports.... You want high adventure go stand up in a paddle boat and tip the whole thing over....for extreme sports, do the same thing in a motor boat. Guaranteed adrenaline rush. Beyond that, it's the very antithesis of Mumbai and the stock market. Slow ponderous house boats, two hour long meals, gardens and waterfalls with convenient benches so can just sit around doing absolutely nothing, brilliantly colored sunsets (no sunrises though). If anyone tries to convince you to go bird watching, I recommend laughing loudly and sarcastically in said person's face. Frankly, we saw more birds, both exotic and regular in the hotel gardens than in the 'sanctuary'. In fact whatever birds we did see in said 'sanctuary' were on trees that were in the hotel garden! If however you enjoy 6 kilometer trecks at freakish hours of the morning, then by all means go. It's a nice trek and no leeches because the place has both fresh and salt water at different times in the year.... There are monkeys though.
Vembanand is their big lake, second largest in the country after Chilika in Orissa. Lots of water plants floating around, with birds hitching rides on some of the larger clumps. Needless to say that speed ain't of the least essence. Very calming and needless to say the commerce of the area pretty much relies on that water body. I worry about the impact of all those houseboats, cruises and motorboats on the lake. The discarded water and cola bottles, junk food packets and the occasional wine bottle are noticible. But all in all, it is calming. The iffy cell phone signal also helps... A lot! I wouldn't recommend taking the 'lake cruise'. It's a half hour thing with the boat going 15 minutes in one direction and then turning back. Waste of time in my opinion although when we went on it the weather wasn't the calmest and there was this one idiot zipping around the back armed with his camera. Everytime he zipped to one side, the boat listed with him. If that wasn't enough, he then decided to lean over one side...of a moving boat! In the middle of the second largest lake in the country. We didn't tip over, but had one of the crew not yanked him back, I would have happily helped him over the side. I shudder to think of the strains he'll be introducing into the human gene pool..... yikes!
Today we checked out of the hotel and into a house boat. Word of advice, when shifting from a nice comfy hotel to a houseboat, whack the toiletries. Houseboat operators don't particularly care about the bathrooms and their accessories. I guess you can't really blame them. Having a working bathroom itself should be considered a luxury... At least you don't have to aim over the side! We got ourselves booked on the Gold River Houseboat. Nice clean place, very nice crew, a horn that sounds like it was stolen off a Tata Ace, three neat bedrooms with attached bathrooms and the coziest little seating space upfront that I have ever seen..... Heaven!
Today's a nice calm day, so I am hopeful that I won't be getting seasick on this trip. The roads, by the way, are awful!
By the by, if you do decide to go for the whole houseboat experience, make sure you pay special attention to the reversing technique being used by your boatman! There's a reason why the sides of most houseboat roofs are a touch raggedy....
My goals for the weekend were to manage to enjoy a proper Kerala coconut and malai. While the hotels will give you the coconut water they studiously avoid all mention of the malai.... I want it... and i never get it. Problem is that I get car sick so stopping on the way and downing one is out of the question. My hubby may love me but I think puking all over him will push the bounds of the whole 'in sickness and in health' concept. If ur not sure of the risks don't make the attempt. Anyhoo, we got the coconuts, and attached malai... woohoo...the food that the crew cooked for us on the boat was yum! The stomach upset that followed wasn't so awesome but still... totally worth it.
As a nice relaxing break, no work, no stress.... Kumarakom totally fits the bill!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Age of Kalyug

The other day the Supreme Court ruled that narco, polygraph or brain mapping tests cannot be conducted on anyone without their consent. Lawyers and activists are overjoyed about this…. I don’t see the victims mentioned anywhere. In fact in one article a Lawyer was quoted saying that Narco tests are ‘simply unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has upheld the law.’ It seems that Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal described the forcible administration of these tests as an "unwarranted intrusion of the personal liberty" of a person accused of an offence. So what does that make murder, rape and assault? But we are civilized and therefore must protect the evil and allow the law of the jungle to decide the fate of the weak and the non media savvy.

It’s almost as if breaking the law is what is required for the system to take care of you. Think about it for a minute. You murder/rape/rob somebody and get caught by the cops. Now, please note, the rest of this hypothesis is based on the assumption that you or your act is high profile enough to generate sufficient media coverage, thereby drawing activists by the dozen. Petty crime will just get you slapped around. Activists aren’t attracted to events that won’t get them air time…. It just isn’t sexy enough… what in the world would they tell their Page 3 friends about? It’s such a waste of time if all your effort isn’t actively followed by thousands if not millions of people. So now assuming sufficient media coverage is available, the cops having caught you, are now under the media microscope and cannot so much as fart without some activist or the other screaming bloody murder – or in this case police brutality through excessive flatulence. So thanks to the many varied rulings of various courts that protect the accused, you are safe, well fed, mildly uncomfortable because of the ‘awful’ conditions in the jail (which is well maintained and regularly cleaned – quite an upgrade from the slums and abject poverty that most Indians live in) and as your court case will go on for years if not decades, you can maintain status quo ad infinitum. Of course there is the inconvenience of that sojourn being mentioned on your record and possibly affecting your employability, but then again the system being what it is, it probably won’t be too difficult to circumvent that as well. So now you’re in a nice settled routine and its time for the courts to give their verdict. If it goes against you, you appeal. Voila! Another decade spent in ashram like conditions. The law is absolute, while justice is relative…

If however you’ve been acquitted, well then, you’re in a bit of a quandary. If you want to stay you could just go right out and murder/rape/rob some other random character and go right back into the slammer for another decade…. Or… you could write a book about how you were wrongly incarcerated and had to suffer the ignominy of being in Jail! Missing out on the important things that signify freedom… like worrying about losing your job, struggling to keep said job, paying off a home loan, being able to afford a home, worrying about your next pay check or bonus, worrying about someone younger and better taking over your job…. Yeah…. Best seller material… stuff that the Page 3 types just lap up by the gallon. Nothing sells like misery. Even if it’s the story of a blood thirsty killer. In today’s convoluted system, its better to be unscrupulous and evil than it is to be god fearing and law abiding. Heck instead of spending thousands on a trip to the Himalayas, just bump off some well known bloke and you’re set for the next 30 years at least! The monk who sold his Ferrari, my foot! Your job, money, house and car are not going to go with you when you die, so why not embrace the ascetic life now itself?

Will reason ever prevail with the powers that be? Will the hand of God come down from the heavens and right all wrongs? Somehow I think not. Best thing to do, if you don’t plan on being a mass murderer, is to avoid being the victim. No one likes the weak, and no one protects the weak and there certainly aren’t too many activists fighting for the weak. Don’t believe me? Just go to the Vidharbha region in Maharashtra and hunt around for an activist. 200,000 farmers have taken their own lives since 1997. They were not murderers, rapists or robbers. They just couldn’t earn enough to pay off their debts. Guess no one told them that jail was probably far more comfortable than running a farm in rural Maharashtra.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A new look at evolution...

I know there's this huge debate on the whole concept of evolution.... one faction convinced that we evolved from the apes, the others convinced that God created us to round off the Garden of Eden. I have a different view.... I think we were created by the bacteria as a food source. Think about it for a moment, however much we may brainwash ourselves into thinking we're at the top of the food chain, its the bacteria (and viruses) that have the last laugh. HIV or AIDS, the cold, influenza, pneumonia, TB and a whole plethora of other things that at a touch will bring us to a messly and untimely end. Here's what I think - and since I'm writing this, I'm allowed a little artistic license. After the last ice-age, the council of bacteria met and the heads of the various strains decided that enough was enough. They couldn't just stand by and watch their kind starve to death because of bad weather. No, something must be done. They needed a food source. A sustainable one, preferably something that was smooth on the palate. So they had scouts looking around. They found that animals  tasted far better than plants. Fish were a little iffy. After looking around a bit they came up on the apes, and found that they matched all criteria. they reproduced, were very low maintainence and were easily manipulated. Most importantly, they had barely any immunity. Wonderful! Manna from unicellular heaven! Said one to the other "You thinking what I'm thinking?" "Sure am!" said the other. And the Human race was chosen as the primary food source for the council and their bretheren.
Now the council discussed way's and means. "Well for starters, we need to make them totally self sufficient. They need to be able to maintain themselves and reporduce." "it woudl be nice if we could get them to bump off each other occasionally, they putrefy really well.... such a special bouquet!" "What if they could bump off entire hoardes of their own" "Oooohh good idea! A banquet!" "Ah well, feed the masses if you will, I still prefer mine ala carte."
After much discussion it was decided that the human race - aka primary food source - would have the following characteristics.
1) They would be able to feed themselves
2) They would be able to reproduce, in plenty.
3) They would constantly kill each other
4) They would adapt to varying environments so that everyone could be fed. From Ice to volvanic lava, from the desert to the equator. The primary food source would inhabit every environment there was. Thus bacteria could live wherever they wanted and never worry about not being able to catch a quick snack.
The list went on. Finally operation food source was put into operation and was a resounding success. Unfortunately like every successful product, the food source became commoditised and let to a situation of surplus. And to make things worse, the humans were destroying everything around them and killing off the bacteria. This was unacceptable, who'd ever heard of an experiment turning on its creator.... its just rude! This could not be allowed...Antibiotics, Vitamin C, Penicillin.... they had to go. So the grand council of the bacteria met once again and decided they needed to do something about it. A plan was decided upon.
They decided to send in their best and attack a chosen few. These would ensure pruning of the herd. Wars, weapons, pollution etc.... simple measures that made sure the population was back under control.... but done in such a way that the humans blamed each other and not their creators.... So the humans turned against each other and the Bacteria and Viruses had a blast...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Battling My Everest!

Listening to loud rock while walking/jogging can cause you to get a little carried away, in my case, totally carried away. Bear in mind that I haven’t done any sort of heavy exercising for more than a decade, barring the occasional appearance at a gym (which quite frankly is nothing compared to hockey or karate work outs). So yesterday, (last night to be precise) I decided it was about time I got some strenuous activity going on in my life. Sitting at my desk for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and lazing the weekends away is doing terrible things to what was once, according to popular opinion, a rather svelte figure. While the overpriced building complex that I live in hasn’t yet put up the promised gymnasium, it does have a garden with a jogging track. I decided I would use that. After all I have done my fair share of running (in school) and my fair share of work outs (also in school).

So as soon as I got home I changed into sweats and sneakers, got my music out and introduced myself to said jogging track. Barring a bunch of rambunctious 5 year olds doing their thing in the play area there was no one there. I walked one round and then came Nickleback… needless to say I got carried away and broke into a run. 2 rounds of that and I swear I though I was going to die! My lungs couldn’t stretch far enough, breathing was suddenly a Herculean task and everything helping me stay upright was a-quiver… not a happy situation… I’m ashamed to say it but I felt old! When the heck did that happen? When did it get so difficult to run a couple of rounds? I walked out the quivers for about 6 or 7 rounds (with a couple of forced stops when I fell over a toddler’s stupid tricycle – why the heck can’t they take the damn things with them I will never know) and then decided to try running again, deluding myself that now since I was all warmed up I would be able to do it. HAH! So much for that…. I didn’t even survive one round before my lungs gave out and my heart started doing high jumps. My school sports days were suddenly a very, very long time ago….

Today although I am determined to attack that jogging track again, it’s a case of my spirit is willing but my body creaks in despair. If you really want to feel your age, do something stupid like that. A colleague and I were discussing starting a work out routine after work. We decided we’d go for a run on Oval maidan and get back to the office. At that time I quipped that if he collapsed (he’s a goodish bit older than I am) I wouldn’t be able to carry him back, to which he replied “You’ll just have to roll me into a taxi”. Ooooohhhh how that’s come back to bite me in the butt…

Well wish me luck… that jogging track is my Everest. I plan another attempt today. This time I think I will walk first and run later. And I’m gonna be toning down the rock… hopefully my husband will be able to scrape me off the track if I collapse – rolling down the steps will leave a mark I think. Must check for wheel chair ramp!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

International Politics in the 22nd century

Impressions are so important in International politics… Russia is the Bear, India is the Elephant and America the Bald Eagle…. Everyone selects their representative fauna for strength, power, agility etc… no one seems to go for endurance or just plain old survival. If that was the case the cockroach ought to be representing some country…. After all, they’ve been around almost 300 million years and are the ones most likely to survive a nuclear holocaust, not so the elephant, bear or eagle. All those will curl up and start to putrefy just like the dinosaurs.
In fact, given the current ‘Global Crisis’ and economic whachumaycallit I have a few suggestions regarding animal characteristics that countries could use.
  • Agility – Earthworm – chop of its head and it can still crawl up your pants.
  • Adaptability and speed – Mosquito – centuries of innovation and invention and we still can’t get rid of the damn thing.
  • Survival – Fly – need I say more? They can eat anything and thrive in the worst of conditions. Given the food price inflation that we’re struggling under, I think this one is worth considering.
  • High elevation adaptability – Mountain Goat - they are perfectly happy prancing around 15,000 feet high and don’t feel in the least bit ill.
  • Survival in extreme cold – Polar bears or Emperor Penguin– Just in case the next ice age is right around the corner… you’d best be prepared
  • Desert Survival – Camel – hey, fresh water is running out… fast… the camel might just teach us a few useful lessons. These guys can go a whole week without drinking water… don’t even want to think about the bad breath!
  • Survival – Rat – not quite like the cockroach but definitely as difficult to get rid off…. These guys are immune to practically anything and breed like… well like rats! Devastate the population and its back to normal in a couple of months.
  • Survival in any conditions – the Giant Tube worm - They can survive thousands of feet below water, in toxic waste, in freezing water and even in boiling water. Given the global warming and changing climate conditions…. This is useful stuff.
  • Radiation survival – Water Bear – these microscopic guys can survive 1000 times more radiation than any other animals including humans. They can survive temperatures as low as -272°C and as high as 151°C. They can survive over decade without water. They can even survive in vacuum of space for as long as 10 days. (I’d like to meet the scientists who were sooo vela in life that they actually conducted these tests to come up with this data.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So NOT going down without a fight!

I got a bunch of comments saying that the crap we go through is part and parcel of life in the financial services space.... my question is "Why?" Why in God's name is a rotten time in the office considered the norm and a happy work environment something to be envied. Think about it for a moment. We spend at least 10 hours or more of our work day at work or travelling to work. Add in another 6 to 8 hours for sleep and your left with a bare 6 hours to yourself.....
At this rate, when I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I'm going to be stuck looking at a bunch of stock prices if not reliving crappy deals and cranky bosses or worse - clients! I want to see something interesting when my life flashes before my eyes.... my time here ought to have some meaning.... I'm not talking about the 'Monk who sold his Ferrrari' type of interesting, I'm not even being philosophical here. I just want something entertaining to watch in those final minutes. Lets face a few facts here:
1.Life is temporary. Death is absolute. You can choose to call it a journey or a gift or whatever the heck you want to call it, but the fact remains that one fine day we all turn to compost.
2. Although life expectancy is increasing, I'm not seeing that many happy and healthy 80-year olds. Alzheimers, diabetes, cholostrol and a host of other diseases are all waiting in the wings ready to swoop in and make life post 40 perfectly rotten. So you live till 80, but you're miserable post 40, your medical bills are astronomical, you spend a goodish bit of your life bouncing from one type of treatment to another, all of this while you are no longer at your peak earning capacity. Bankruptcy is not something I want to deal with when I'm 80.
3. The current social system that we have created ensures that all through childhood we're spending most of our time studying stuff that we basically never use is later life. We slog for all we're worth to get into the best colleges, then slog to get to the top there beasue that will help us get into the best B-Schools, then we slog it out there too so that we get the requisite grades to get the best jobs, and then we start working and continue slogging there as well. Only to discover that all the hard work we put in getting there matters naught because some new qualification has become fashionable and simply must be done else you risk making yourself unemployable. (by the way, none of this is apparently enough to prevent the spectacular corporate blow ups that keep occuring every few months.)

So lets look at an average lifespan:
0 - 1 - arguably the best year of ones life. Eat, poop, sleep and an occasional gaagaagoogoo and a giggle is all that's expected. Unless you get those hyper parents who expect to life vicariously through their childrens lives and try to get their kids to start talking before they can even walk. Frankly, this is as good as it gets.
1-3 - this is a transition time preparing you for the big bad world involving potty training, learning to talk and walk and - depending on the fanatisism of the respective parents -  other assorted skills.
3-15 - school! evil, underpaid, demotivated, uninspired teachers (I however was rather fortunate to get some really creative teachers whose edicts have remained with me till this day.), bullies, shallow 'friends', dating trouble, curfews, parental issues (heck those were nasty!) and all the other related trials and tribulations of growing up. You're never old enough to be allowed to make your own decisions but you are old enough to be held responsible for a plethora of things (whether or not they are your fault, I might add!) Not that there aren't a whole bunch of good times as well. Some of my fondest memories are from my school days.
15 - 21 - College. Getting in and staying in. Finally getting out from under your parent's thumb's and being able to try out whatever the heck you want to (as long as your grades don't suffer), money is always short but you come up with novel ways of countering that technicality. Fortunately all of us were in the same boat in that aspect. then comes the decision of what to do with your life.... study some more or start working.
21 - 23 - at this stage you are either a lowly intern getting stomped on by all and sundry or you've gotten into a post graduate programme and are dazedly wondering what hit you. Well that too like all else passes.
24 - 30 - you work like a dog to get ahead in the 'business'. you get stressed, cynical, possibly married with a couple of kids (occasionally pressured into it by parents who have their own opinion of what you need which is often diametrically opposite your own opinion), antacids become a part of your staple diet as does carpel tunnel syndrome, excess fat (often known as 'prosperity') and a host of other 'lifestyle' diseases. You have money but are too tired and stressed to enjoy it. Your cell phone and blackberry tend to become extensions of your arms and waking up in the middle of the night in a blind panic for some reason or the other becomes normal.

Carry on like this and post 40 your life is effectively over. Every company wants younger and more aggressive employees, in the mean time you've screwed up your body (which unlike milk teeth, does not get replaced) so now you are more and more dependent on a host of doctors (who by the way tend to treat each new patient as a cross between a new opportunity for exotic medical research and an ATM.)
So, instead of letting this crap get to us, why don't we (pre-40 year olds) sit up and do something about this. Its our lives after all. I mean, I've heard a story about a dealer developing chest pains while executing a deal and his desk head refused point blank to let him leave and go to a hospital until the deal was done! Frankly looking at most of the bosses around, I'm inclined to believe that story.
My point here is - why should I allow this to be done to me, why should any of us lie back and take it? Don't know about you but I plan to start making a difference. If someone's trying to pass off their work or frustrations on me, I'm just going to give it right back to them. To hell with the politics. Its my life and my flash back that needs to be filled in. I also plan to do something interesting every weekend at least. I also think I ought to make time for some sort of violent sport. I feel that would be extremely satisfying. I see myself taking up boxing....or maybe drumming. Hitting things is fun. Well that's my plan.... granted its a work in progress but at least my flash back is going to be entertaining. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Moments of madness.....

Today was wierd. It started off brilliantly and ended little short of a disaster. On the way back while feeling particularly ineffectual and useless not to mention like a total failure, I had this moment of blinding clarity. An epifany even! As a broker one cannot live life in terms of years, months or even days. Nay, if one wishes to retain any modicum of sanity over the longer term one must live by the minute. We brokers epitomise the whole 'Living in the moment' concept. Think about it for a moment. Take today for instance. I was up at 7am, groggy as hell, eyes pink and gritty - a miserable bunch of minutes. Then we got into the car and drove to the station - very little traffic and good music. I caught a not particularly crowded train and got a place to sit by Dadar station - a good bunch of minutes. At Churchgate the first cab I caught agreed to take me to my office - one really good and freakishly rare minute. We had a normal start to the day, then one of my clients gave us a huge deal (brilliant moment) I got a couple of meetings fixed up for the coming days and all was well with the world. All in all a few rather good hours with some minutes of pure joy sprinkled in between. In the evening we all had a good chat, things started winding down - noting fabulous but nothing miserable either. Then towards the end just before quitting time, one meeting got cancelled, three more rejected, a client came back with really negative feedback and to top it all off I was informed that our competition managed to arrange a dinner meeting with a HUGE client that I had unsuccessfully been trying to crack for months. Trust me that was one of the most rotten hour's of my young life. I seriously considered chucking it all up and taking up teaching in Kindergarten! I was that miserable... Still am actually. Although there is a logical part of me that's saying, "Come on, stop beating yourself up, your day was good, its just the fag end that was bad." there still is a part of me that's saying "You've failed! He did it, you can't."
Now, all of the good stuff that happened throughout the day has been overshadowed by a handful of incidents that through sheer bad luck didn't get dispursed over a healthy period but hit all at once. Therefore I say, live in the moment! Frankly I should have taken the time out to enjoy the first part of the day to the fullest, perhaps then I wouldn't be feeling so rotten now.
To think that I actually wanted a high flying job in finance... what the heck was I thinking? Obvioulsy I too have some seriously delusional moments.... From now on I plan to enjoy the moments as they happen....Perhaps I shall retire early and write a book.
P.S. as I write this, I'm smacking my chops over the absolutely fabulous dinner my long suffering hubby put together for me... enjoying the minute to the fullest!!!! If he chose to throw his lot in with a neurotic, over stressed ,workaholic of a woman... well who am I to complain?