GoT – Game of Tokens : Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

People say that scaling up Mount Everest is the most demanding activity in the world, as Base Camp takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. Even I thought so until I went about trying to get my address changed in my Aadhar card. In many ways, the struggle one needs to go through in this process makes you feel Base Camp was easier.

I had moved from Mumbai to Bangalore a couple of years ago and going by the increased importance being given to Aadhar in recent times, I decided to get my address changed sooner than later. Everyone now-a-days is raising a huge cry about privacy, data security and big data these days. I feel I have no right to comment on such topics if my basic data itself is not correctly updated. This is equivalent to organizations embarking on “digital transformation” projects despite not having basic customer data of correct email addresses and phone numbers. A few stand-up comedians have also created a song about how the Government is playing “Snoop Dogg” using Aadhar. I can’t understand what problem these guys have with the Government. It is “OK” to willingly give consent to FB, Google and all the God-damn apps in the world to use your contacts, read your messages , store your photos but “not OK” to give your name, mobile number and address to the Government of India as it is “snooping on your privacy”.

Having made up my mind to get my address updated, I started scouting for the nearest Aadhar updation center. Right behind my house in Bangalore is the great Jayanagar post office. A few days ago, I had seen a banner outside the post office – “Get your address changed for Aadhar here. “It had an India Post logo. I initially wanted to get my residential address changed at a “Bangalore One” centre, which is the State Government run centre for paying off utility bills, stamp duties etc. But since the post office was a stone’s throw away, I decided to go there to save time. After standing in a queue for 20 minutes, I was greeted with a warm smile by the officer. I gave him my aadhaar card and other documents. He smiled wickedly and said “Sir. We don’t do Aadhar updation here. You need to go to the Jayanagar head post office.” I asked him – “But what about the banner outside which tells a different message?” His smile grew wider when he said “Sir, that’s a branding initiative by the central marketing team. Only head offices have this facility, but they had printed these banners for the whole of India. They wanted to exhaust their marketing budgets”. I guess all marketing departments work the same way.

Frustrated, I went to the Jayanagar head post office. It was around 12 noon. This post office had a “token” system. So, I took a token and waited for about 30 minutes. When the announcer screamed “Token No. 83, Counter no. 5.”I felt relieved. As soon as I reached counter no.5, I was greeted with another wicked smile by the babu sitting at the counter. He said “Sir, all Aadhar related requests are only handled in the last counter. You can go there.” I went to the last counter. A young man in his 20s was sitting relaxed. He was scrolling his mobile. As soon as he saw me, he started opening some files trying to act busy. When I mentioned the word “Aadhar”, he smiled wryly. He said “Sir, we accept only 10 aadhaar requests per day. The tokens for that need to be collected at sharp 9 am everyday and we do this only for an hour. Please come back tomorrow.” I wanted to have a go at him then and there for his nonchalant attitude but decided to avoid it. This guy had no work but still had the guts to say what he said. I thought I will tweet to the PMO about it but I didn’t know whether they would still reply with the same intensity post elections ( now that the results are out and the most responsive minister on Twitter Sushma ji is no longer in the cabinet) , so I decided not to. This story would be good for a blog and anyways I was running out of weekly blog topics, so I decided to move on.

I left the Jayanagar head post office and decided to go to the Bangalore One centre. There were a lot of such centers but I decided to go to the main centre in Jayanagar as I did not want another repeat of the post office fiasco. To my surprise, the centre did not have a waiting at all. I was ecstatic. I went to the first counter and gave my aadhar card. The young lady smiled at me. I smiled back. She asked me “ How may I help you?”. I replied – “Aadhar address change”. She smiled again – “Token”. I smiled back -“ Why?” She yelled at me “ Don’t you know that this centre works on weekly token system? The tokens are given at the start of the week. Please take a token for next Thursday and come back” Apparently, the bigger the centre, the longer the queue. Disappointed, I decided to try a smaller center.

I went to the JP Nagar Bangalore One Centre. It was already 4 hours since I had started but I could not get a simple address change done. I decided that having come this far and waited so long, I would get the job completed today. Even if it meant standing for a few more hours. I started daydreaming. In my dream, I was singing the Gully boy rap song “Aazadi, Aazadi” having done my address change. Before I could dream further, the security at the entrance stopped me. He directed me to a special dedicated counter for Aadhar. I saw 3 people standing there. I stood behind them. At about 1:30 pm, my chance came. As 3 people before me had completed their updation, I thought mine also would be done in a jiffy. Unfortunately, I got the same reply “ Sir, these are the morning tokens and we have fulfilled our requests for the day. It is lunch time and we dont process Aadhar requests beyond our quota. You need to come tomorrow morning”. Like many liberals, I wanted to blame Modi for everything wrong with this country until someone told me these centers were run by the State Government. I wanted to take a loudspeaker and scream “ Kumaraswamy- Yelidiyaapa.. Y This Ch*tiyaapa”

However, better sense prevailed and I came home . When I told my wife that I was “Aadhaar-ed” today by the token systems, she told me to apply online. I somehow had missed looking the online way. I scanned the Aadhaar website for list of documents and figured out that my bank passbook did not have a photo-stamp and the website mandated this. So, I went to SBI to get this done. As soon as I went to the bank, the security guard gave me a “token” and asked me to wait. Before I could scream “Oh No.. Not another token”, there was a song playing on the LCD screen which pacified me.

“Hum Honge kamyaab… Hum Honge kamyaab.. Ek Din

Mann mey hai vishwaas.. Poora Hai vishwaas..

Hum Honge kamyaab.. Ek Din”

Jai Hind

Marketing Flyers: Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

A few years ago, when I was working as an Area Sales Manager, I used to get a lot of flyers/leaflets/brochures printed. We were taught that flyers were a very effective way of reaching our target audience. In a simple colorful one pager, the USPs of a product could be communicated. More flyers = more eyeballs = more brand awareness = more brand recall = more sales. We used to have a separate marketing budget for printing flyers. We used to fight with the central marketing team to increase this budget. Those were the good old days. We wouldn’t care to bother what would happen to the flyer. Until I met my mother-in-law…

My mother-in-law is a B.Sc ( Baby Sitting Champion).  One of her key skillsets as per her Linkedin Profile is putting babies to sleep. She also mentions a few certifications in her profile – cost management by effective flyer utilization. I did not understand what this meant. One day, I decided to shadow her for a full day to probe this. As soon as she received the newspaper in the morning, she started shaking it (like a baby cough syrup) to check for flyers. Three flyers fell from the newspaper. She beamed with joy on seeing them. For a second, I thought she had cracked the final question of Kaun Banega Crorepati. I was puzzled. I looked at the three flyers.

The first was an orange colored flyer with a big photo of our corporator and her achievements in the last few years. I could recognize it was our corporator as she had just visited our house recently asking to vote for her. She comes every five years just before elections to show that she’s alive. The only reason we still end up voting for her is because at least she comes once every five years. The opposition party I guess has given up hopes from winning from our constituency and therefore they don’t bother to do this. Our flat broker proudly introduces our family to her every five years. The flyer mentioned her proud achievements over the past five years – 3 crores “sanctioned” for pure drinking water. She had the audacity to write a budget sanction as her achievement. This is equivalent to me writing “prepared a PPT to increase market share in my district” as one of my professional achievements. Or “brainstormed with my team to think of ways to improve work-life balance”. While the front page had a lot of questionable and “sanctionable” achievements, the back page had a full-length picture of the national leader screaming “Ab ki baar, nan maga Sarkar”.

The second flyer had a picture of a dog in the centre. Surrounding the dog were pictures of the party founders, their children, their grandchildren. The headline screamed “Garibi Hatao…  Since 1975”. I asked my father-in-law, who had been following our constituency politics for more than 40 years, about the dog. He told me “It has been proved that the original leader of the party is not an Indian citizen. The surname Gaadi has been the common thread of this party’s leaders since independence. Only if you have this surname, can you become this party’s leader. The country votes for this surname. This time, their dog Tommy Gaadi is contesting the elections. There is a high probability of this party coming to power as most people still have trust in the Gaadi surname. The party also is known for its consistency in campaigning. Since my childhood, Garibi hatao has been their campaign theme. I am sure your kids, when they vote, will also be seeing this theme”

Before I could react, a gust of wind blew over all of us and the third flyer fell on my lap. “Shop at PigBazaar today and get cashbacks of Rs. 5000*” These words screamed in bold. The * mark made me look at the bottom of the flyer. I had to take a magnifying glass to read the disclaimer. “The cashback for 5000 is valid for 30 days from purchase. For a cashback of 5000, you need to purchase 25000 worth material. This cashback cannot be redeemed in one go. For every purchase, a maximum of 1000 cashback only can be redeemed. Thanks for being our dummy. PigBazaar management has the final say in any legal dispute arising out of this. “

I wanted to turn over and read the back-page contents of the PigBazaar flyer but my mother-in-law interrupted me. She took all the three flyers and kept it in a cup-board. I opened the cup-board and was awestruck. There were multiple shelves full of flyers. The brands ranged from Hornimoz Pizza, Himesh Dum Biryani Centre newly opened, Crow-ma electronics and Baba Kamdev’s ayurvedic products

Before I could do any further study, my baby pooped and we all rushed to the cradle. Without battling an eye-lid, both the Nan Maga Sarkar and the Garibi Hatao flyers were used to wrap the used diapers and were promptly thrown in the dust-bin. Before I could weep at the demise of these two flyers, the Chwiggy delivery boy knocked. We had just ordered samosas online for snacks. She took the PigBazaar flyer and wrapped it to suck the excess oil. My mother-in-law explained me many other uses of the marketing flyers – base paper to cut your toe-nails, to put the wet waste in the dust bin, cut-outs for her grand-daughter’s “shop-shop” game.

Having learnt my lesson, I vowed that I will never print any more marketing flyers. I will also stop others from doing this as it’s a sheer waste. I stepped out of my house to buy milk and there was a young buy distributing flyers to everyone. It was a broadband internet company’s flyers.I didn’t want to take it but the boy insisted that I take the flyer. I asked him –“young man, why do you think flyers will work?’ He replied “Sir, flyers are a very effective way of marketing. More flyers = more eyeballs = more brand awareness = more brand recall = more sales”

I looked at my mother-in-law and handed over the flyer to her smilingly.

Jai Hind

Jargons and Farragos : Freaky Fridays – Weekly blog

Jargons are the best thing to have happened in the history of mankind. A few months ago, Mukesh Ambani was quoted by the media “Data is the new oil “. Screw you man. So what? Should I buy the oil? Or should I clean up the data? There’s enough abundance of data in this world and enough shortage of oil. Just because some random person has created a random jargon which sounds impressive and intelligent, the whole world starts using this as if it’s a slogan to liberate us from independence. A layman will have no clue of this shitty jargon. Should I apply data on my head as its a replacement for coconut oil? Or are you selling data in satchets Mukesh bhai? …

The corporate folks take jargon obsessions to an all new level. Jargons are corporate Viagra for senior leaders. The greater the dose, the greater the erection levels … of intellect. Disruption, co-creation, value creation, big picture, dirty picture… Picture hi picture. In many corporates, an individual’s fate is decided by the amount of jargons used in his /her presentation. Lets look at the below corporate case study of Ramu and Shyamu.

Ramu and Shyamu do the same work independent of each other for 20 days and now are presenting their findings to the management. Ramu starts ” Sir, I analyzed various types of data, spent a lot of time with excel sheets, applied various formulas and now I present the findings. ” Rama opens a few drab excel sheets and starts showing his findings. The management is asleep. Shyamu goes next “Sir, I have extrapolated various data cuts , correlated the statistical significance using data mining techniques , applied big data principles and have come up with some strategic insights “.That’s it. Data mining, strategy, big data. The sleepy management wakes up. Shyamu follows his “I have a dream “style introduction with his opening Powerpoint slide. Instead of the excel sheet, the first slide is an animation -filled title slide. The words “data based strategic insights” rotate from the left to the right of the screen like Shaktimaan. Shyamu has complex graphs, hyperlinks and makes an “impact” presentation ending with the punchline “Data is the new oil. Let’s rule the world with our new oil”.

Shyamu is greeted with applause all around. The HR Head calls him “an upcoming thought leader of the future ” and a “hi-pot” (not sure which one of the two was high on pot) .Ramu on the other hand is branded as an “operational resource ” lacking in strategic foresight. He is sent to IIM Meh-meh-medabad for improving his strategic skills. There, he meets the founder of “Bull-shitter.com”, home to the world’s leading management gurus. He is taught the art of bull-shitting his way up the corporate ladder. He is taught the Three Golden Laws of Corporate Bull-Shitting:

1) Always include the word “strategy “in every corporate sentence

2) If you cannot, look at the following words “innovation”, “capability”, “ disruption”, “outperformance”, “ accelerator”, “explode” ,”restage”, “impact”, “levers”, “redefine”, “hands-on” ,“360 degree”, “ elevate “. Refer the McKinley dictionary of jargons for the complete list of words

3) If you still cannot apply 1 and 2 in your day-to-day corporate life, then please visit the STA (Shashi Tharoor Academy ) to hone your skills better.

Pleased with this knowledge, Ramu heads back to the corporate world. He meets his team. Usually, he would ask his team members” Hey, what’s the update on the Madanapally distributor performance?” Instead, he shows off “ Team, what’s the progress on our Madanapally strategy of disrupting the market with our three lever approach ?” His team is confused. Ramu however doesn’t stop there. He meets his HR Business Partner. The HRBRP says “Sir, I wanted to give you an update on our recruitment status”. Ramu blasts the HR “ Dude, how dare you degrade yourself? You aren’t just doing recruitment mate. You are doing “TALENT ACQUISITION” Please never use the operational word “recruitment” again”. Ramu then meets the supply chain coordinator- “ Bro, what’s the update on our supply chain strategy of improving efficiency by using a disruptive hands-on- approach?” The supply chain coordinator, who’s just a graduate and doesn’t understand anything of this, frantically calls his boss. His boss replies “Bro, chill. The guy has just come from his strategic immersion classes. He’s talking about the “delivery time improvement project status”. Ramu next visits the IT person. Usually, he would do a status check progress on the new website UX design. Instead, he kills it “Dude, where are we with respect to “re-defining our customer experience”. The IT person becomes a fan of the way Ramu has thought of “the bigger picture”. In a year’s time, Ramu is back in the list of “hi-pots”( by this time he also develops a pot-belly).

Ramu carries on in this manner for 5 years. He gets promoted every year and, in the process, exhausts all the jargons possible. People are now bored of his jargons as they have become repetitive. Fresh ideas and fresh jargons are the need of hour. He remembers the 3rd Golden Rules of Corporate Bull-Shitting and visits the Shashi Tharoor Academy. He is taught a solitary case study of how to sex-up sentences. Mr. Tharoor himself takes this class. He quotes his own real-life case study where he wanted to tweet his reactions to a journalist’s allegations of murder against him. He says” I wanted to give it back to the journalist but I also wanted people to learn the English language through me. This was my Tweet – Exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations & outright lies being broadcast by an unprincipled showman masquerading as a journalst. When I did this, the whole of India googled the word farrago and the focus conveniently shifted to my excellence in jargons rather than my allegations. Farrago means a confused mixture. I hope you get the case study”. Ramu was spellbound.

Armed with this new weapon, he starts unleashing it at every possible opportunity. “Folks, a strategy if executed badly may turn into a farrago of errors” “ The candidate looks like a farrago of emotions to me. Rejected” “ The website design if not done well may lead to a farrago of errors” His name became Farrago Ramu. A few people committed suicide because of mental harassment. Finally, the senior management reached out to Shyamu, who now had completed a Ph.D in the Shashi Tharoor Academy. Shyamu had taken a sabbatical to do this and was now dangerously jargonized. Shyamu met Ramu. One conversation was enough for Ramu to get a heart attack and tender his resignation. The management quizzed Shyamu what were the golden words he had used. Shyamu replied. “ Sir, you need to fight fire with fire. I just quoted another Tharoor beauty which got him spell-bound.- I choose my words because they are the best ones for the idea i want to convey, not the most obscure or rodomontade ones! “ The management got up from their seats –“ We have heard of lemonade, promenade…what the hell is rodomontade?” Shyamu replied – sir “ Rodomontade means boastful or inflated talk or behavior.  This behavior won Shyamu  the “ Golden Peacock award for Bullshitting Excellence” from the corporate world. Everyone lived happily ever after.

When I narrated this story to my wife, she asked if this was a true story. I smilingly replied, “Bas kar pagli. Dimag ka farrago mat kar. I never believe in rodomontade. Now please pass on my lemonade 😊”

Jai Hind

Corporate Designations: Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

Folks, this Friday, let’s pay a tribute to some of the fancy corporate designations which exist and motivate employees to progress to the “next” level.

CEO: Chief Email Officer. Most people in the organization see this person only via e-mails. This person sends emails and expects everyone to read, remember everything mentioned but the same is not expected from him/her. S/he meets employees once in a blue-moon and people take selfies whenever this happens. Otherwise, to an ordinary employee, this person is an invisible hollow-man who f*cks people without their knowledge. Bas logon key dil mey hai…. aur subordinates key g**nd mey. S/he’s a pain in the ass for direct reports as most of their time is spent in going through his/her communications, planning travel and meetings, preparing presentations. In general, this person doesn’t have the balls to take his/her own decisions. S/he believes in two rules:

 #1 Success is due to self, Failure is due to subordinates’ failure

 #2 When in doubt, refer rule 1

CFO – Chindi Fakirchand Officer: In their previous birth, these finance folks would have been fakirs. They think a paisa spent is a paisa burnt. They only believe in signing off investment proposals which on an excel sheet gives returns greater than 18%. If life were so simple, then we wouldn’t have Microsoft excel and complex models like IRR, NPV for calculating returns. Most of these finance fakirs will have no idea of customers, sales, brands, operations but will have authority to sign-off or veto proposals in these areas. Most of these guys wanted to be in CID, but since they never made it, they will put their forensic skills to use by randomly checking travel bills, vendor bills. They think employees exist only to make a fool out of the organization. In their quest to save the little pennies, they ignore multi-crore scams.

Next comes the marketing genius – the CMO – Chief Masaledaar Officer : This person’s core job is to put mirch masala in anything given and make it sound out-of-the world. S/he believes every product, every ad created is out of the world and nothing can go wrong (until the product is launched) Like the CEO, this person takes credit for all the success of a product including the awards won. In case the product fails, s/he conveniently passes the blame on other functions like sales, production, quality etc. Mirch-masala leads to bitch-masala . S/he has all the typical qualities of a bahu in the “Saas-Bahu” series. The bitch-masala culture is ingrained into the entire marketing department. The BMs ( Brand Managers  Bhand Managers ) visit the market with the sales team in their quest to add value and only end up finding faults. “Process sucks, the sales team is not able to get things executed, initiatives are going down the drain” Obviously, in a country like India, with the kind of salaries we pay to the lowest rung, you cannot expect excellent execution. The bhand managers think they have opened the sales team’s eyes by stating the obvious. After their visit, they write a masaledaar report of how things are badly screwed up. The poor sales guy is taken to task for not able to cover up things. The marketing team lives happily ever after.

Then comes my favorite function – Sales.  The leader of this function (the CSO) is a “Continuously Stressed-out officer”. As the hierarchy in the sales function goes down, the stress levels in this function increase disproportionately ( NSM – Nationally Stressed out Manager, ZSM – Zonally Stressed Out, RSM – Regionally Stressed out and then comes the ASM – Always Stressed Out Manager  ( they think they are Area Sales Managers). They love their mobiles more than their spouses. The conference call facility has been created only to satisfy the libido of these folks. Whenever the senior most person wants to ejaculate, s/he calls for a con-call with his/her subordinates. Then like a network marketing scheme, each of the listeners adds his own frustration and ejaculates venomously with their direct reports. This chain continues till there is no body left at the bottom of the hierarchy. The folks at the bottom of the hierarchy think that the only way to get rid of this ejaculatory shit is to get promoted so that the shit falls on someone below. What they don’t realize is the shit doesn’t stop at the lowest level, it travels regionally, nationally and even globally sometimes. Chief Shit-Taking Officer in retrospect would be a better name for the leader of this function.

Generally, in life, you feel happy if you meet your targets but if you are in sales, you will feel stressed out that you have achieved it. You and your boss know that you have met your targets with great difficulty but shamelessly, you will get a target which is a minimum 20% higher than your highest ever target. No wonder this function has the highest attrition.

Last but not the least is THE ultimate corporate function – HR. The top boss of this department now-a-days is called CPO (Chief People Officer). To me, s/he’s a Chief Paper-Pushing Officer. This department reminds me of Maun-mohan singh. Without business alignment, they will do nothing on their own, not even push paper. They hate to admit that they are nothing but rubber-stamps in the hands of the business guys. Once-in-a-while, they try to call themselves HRBPs  (Business Partners), but in reality, they only increase the employee’s BP ( Blood Pressure). They are trained to say “I Hear You” These three words are the most useless words which the folks of this department use. “Sir, my appraisal was not fair” I hear you. “Ma’am, the canteen meals suck “ I hear you “ Sir, my id card has not yet been given “ I hear you “ Ma’am, my corporate credit card has not yet arrived “ I hear you. The best part is they only HEAR because they have got ears. After that nothing changes. In many organizations , the Fakirchands of finance do not allow separate admin, IT and HR so you will have employees asking all sorts of random questions to these paper pushers “Sir, my laptop is not working” “ Mam, my bathroom tap is not working . I need reimbursement” “Sir, I am not able to find a conference room “The response is the same “I Hear You”. There are a few people in HR who do not wish to be dummys. They challenge business, speak their mind, take concrete action but in most cases these folks are either transferred or asked to find greener pastures. The rest of the folks pride themselves in calling “facilitators” but they are in reality glorified post-men or “Yes Men/Women”. Anyone with or without a degree can get into this function as the only important skill required is to smile and say” I Hear You”

There are other functions worthy of a mention, but before I try to extend this blog further, my wife gives me a piece of her mind for leaving our new-born baby alone and coming to write this blog.

Guess what my simple response to her is.

……………

……………

……………

……………

“I Hear You”

Jai Hind

Indian Weddings – Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

Indian weddings can be annoying for the couples. It all starts when you ask your boss for a chutti. “15 days ki chutti chahiye”? He jumps out of his seat as if you have asked him 15 crores of his money “Maine toh 4 days hi chutti liya tha.. mere wedding key liye”. You feel like telling him “Abey tum ch*tiye ho…. saari duniya tumhari tarah nahi”

If you are a friend of the couple and you tell your boss “Sir, Udaipur jaana hai,, total 6 days ka chutti chahiye..2 days for to and fro travel, 3 days of wedding, 1 day sightseeing”. Pat comes the reply “ Wedding tumhari hai ya tumhare dost ki” Just taking a chutti without informing your boss is so much better in such cases. Once you reach Udaipur, just say “Sir Udaipur ( hometown) mey bua serious hai.5 days lagega” In this case, the boss will say “Bhai, don’t worry. I will take care of things here. If required, you extend your leave”. Context really gives meaning, especially when you need to ask wedding leave.

Some bosses in the sales function will rub mirchi in your ass a mile deep by saying “November mey chutti poochte ho sharam nahi aati. Don’t you know that Q3 contributes 35% of our full year sales?” Yeah right. Because of me not coming to office for 6 days, customers will stop buying my products “Abey Hari ney chutti liya hai yaar . Hum products nahi khareedte hain for a week. Hari chutti sey waapis aajayega toh then we will buy” Because of Hari taking time off for a wedding, company X’s sales have declined by 12%. Can you believe this? For such bosses, the g**nd mirchi continues in any season “Q1 mey sales ki fati hai.. Aur tum 2 hafte ki chutti maang rahe ho” “ Q2 is the time we kick off our revival.” Q4 toh poocho hi mat. “Q4 mey chutti maang rahe ho. Financial year end. Sharam hai?” The management comments section of the company’s balance sheet will read “Due to unfavourable macro-economic conditions which have been created because of Star sales officer on leave for 15 days, the buying behavior has softened. This coupled with rising interest rates, postponement of purchase due to uncertainty surrounding the sales officer’s marital health, has led to a sales decline of 23%”.

After you have overcome this struggle, the circus continues. At the mehndi function, you will have our Ravi Shastri- style fashionista aunties commenting “Arey bahu raani, is lal waali pyjama key saath peeli waali top zyaada achaa lagta” These folks should have been guiding Manish Malhotra or Sabyasachi on their latest collection. Some will go further and ask “Bahut sundar dress hai. Kahaan liya ? Kitney mey liya? Thoda mehanga toh nahi hai” As if tumhare jeb sey paise jaa rahe hain… Kapda liya , mehendi ho gaya, tere baap ko kuch nahi hua na…fir kyun daam poochna hai ?

The tipping point is on the D-Day. If the muhurat is 11:30 am, you will have a few people coming in at 11:25 am, give their blessings and be the first to sit for lunch. They gobble up lunch as if they have not had food in the last 30 days and leave by 1:30 pm. For them, a wedding is a T20 match. Jao, shakal dikhao, khana khao aur dafa ho jao”. They are so busy in their lives that they only spend 2 hours. Rest of their busy time is spent in reading Filmfare at home to look for news about the next film-star wedding news, putting a wedding check-in on FB, taking a few selfies outside and moving on. You will not hear from them otherwise in your day-to-day life.

The stars of the show though are the Family Planners. These elders should have become Family Planning consultants with the Government of India. “God bless the child. May you be quickly showered with a little Hari in 6 months time”. Why the obsession with a baby in this already over-populated country? These family planners think the couple is a coin-vending machine. Or a McDonald’s factory. These Family Planners suddenly are concerned about the next Generation. After 6 months, they will ask your parents “Any good news?” If they had asked me, I would have replied “Yes, the good news is RCB continues to consistently lose every game and we feel good about it. No other good news”. The other sad part is most of these Family Planners want a boy child.

Abey Chu*tiyon. Because of your mistake of prioritizing a boy, a generation of MINSEs ( Male Indian Non Software Engineers – me included) have faced a struggle in finding a girl through the arranged marriage route. Firstly, girls are few in number. In that few, a majority find their love. The balance minority has a huge supply to choose from. An average Indian male, as per my hell curve fitting, spends 3 years to find a girl via arranged marriage. Some people don’t respond to your “ Hi I am single wanting to mingle” respond on  bharat matri-money.com. Some who respond block you after a few chats. The ones who are ok till here reject you after a meeting in CCD looking at the way you are clothed and the type of job. If you are not in a job which has on-site opportunities, then you get rejected. If you don’t have an own house, you get eliminated. So, to finally get past this struggle and find a girl takes 3 years. There are the ES (Expectations Surpassed) candidates in the hell curve who punch above their weight and find a girl in 6 months. But, the Family Planners are not aware of these realities. All they care is having a good meal at the wedding, give their expert comments, hope that the couples hump each other daily (and reduce the sales of the buoying condom market) and get a junior Hari.

As I rack my head on how to conclude this blog, the bell rings. I open the door and to my pleasant surprise, it’s one of our relatives – The Family Planner. He asks me- “Hari, any good news?”

Jai Hind

Loose Motions : Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

The last week has been really hot and spicy for me. Four out of 6 days, I have had my most favorite and most recurring health phenomenon – loose motions. My doctor wife makes a technical correction – it’s not loose motions but in medical parlance, it is indigestion. Indigestion is when your poop is semi-solid/liquid but not a colorless form. Colorless poop is loose motions. Ok Maate !! So, no more use of the word “loose motions” in my life.

Loose motions has its own pros and cons. The biggest benefit is because you keep going to the loo every 15 minutes, you are suddenly showered with a lot of love and affection. People who otherwise has forgotten you ask you sympathetically “Kaisa hai beta? Hope everything is fine”. You suddenly feel cared for. Otherwise, if you are in a house with a newly born kid, the dad or the husband is reduced to a piece of rag cloth. Will be used when needed to wipe shit but otherwise will be put in its rightful place – the corner of the room.

When I didn’t have loose motions, I would go and buy butter milk in the nearby shop, but once down with loose motions, I am given home-made butter milk. What a princely feeling !! Family members gave “electral (ORS)” . I guess Microsoft word also is gripped with election fever. I typed electral here and it immediately converted it to Electoral. Microsoft bhi ban gaya chowkidar!!

I am a temporary house-husband having taken a break to be with my wife. Some of my roles and responsibilities include cleaning the house, washing the dishes, drying clothes etc. You are absolved of all these responsibilities when you have loose motions. Whattey amazing feeling I tell you.

The biggest advantage though, which I cherish every time I get loose motions, is the weight loss. My weight was 76 kgs in October and I had joined the gym to reduce my weight by a few kgs. 6 months of gym made me lose a glorious 0.7 kgs but 4 days of loose motions and I lost a miraculous 7 kgs. There’s no better mantra for weight loss than loose motions.

If you have an Indian toilet at home, then loose motions is a literal pain in the ass. That’s the biggest disadvantage. B2- 403, Shanthi Park Apartments is one of those heritage structures which has one Indian and one western toilet. God knows why this kolaveri. I am not allowed to use the western toilet temporarily as my wife feels I will dirty it and she will have to clean it daily. So, like Warner and Smith, I am banned from entering the Western loo for a year. So, without a sprinkler, I had to use the Indian toilet for 4 days. Luckily, my in-laws stay opposite so I had the luxury of using their Western loo and escape the misery.

The other disadvantage is you can’t get to go out. The only place you will be visiting devotedly is the loo. In the hot summer, being indoors is a boon but I would still prefer going outdoors instead of being hand-cuffed to the sprinkler.

The 4th day, I decided to take charge and head to the gym despite having loose motions. My wife  warned against this risk. I did the exercises for about 20 minutes and Newton’s laws of loose motions came into force. Every action has a super-fast reaction. For every 10 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of loo in slow motion. The gym instructor thought I had gone home for an emergency. When I came back after 20 minutes, he asked “Sir everything ok at home?” I smiled and said “LMAO!”. He said “ Sir, isn’t LMAO laughing my ass off ?” I said “ Naa rey baaba.. LMAO matlab Loose Motions Aareela Oh”. That was it. As soon as I said those words, people around me started becoming Gyaani Baba. I had been warned not to go to the gym during the 11 am slot as it was an “Aunties only” slot.

Aunty no. 1 came to me and said “You have done abs crunches na… Don’t do it.. It causes loose motions . Just do your stretches and go. “ Aunty no .2  added –“ Just have lime juice. Things will be ok” Aunty -3” Have coconut water. That’s best for Loose Motions “. The gym instructor pitched in “Sir, do you know –“ Chaniga pappu “ in Telugu ?”. He googled and showed me “chana dal”. “Have this and it will be sorted”. Before I could react, from the extreme right wing corner, a- la Messi style Aunty no.4 ran and said “ Yeh sab chodo. Just have methi leaves dried”

The killer blow came from Aunty no.5 “They all are confusing you. Just go and have chow-chow bath”. I was cursing myself. Neither have I seen those aunties before and I am definitely not attending the 11 am slot again. What mistake did I do? Did I ask  for their advice? Indians have an annoying habit of giving unsolicited advice. Neither do they get paid for this advice, nor do you want it. Kyun..kyun..kyun. I immediately thanked everyone for their tips ( nahi toh Aunties have big egos… kahaan kali nazar laga diya aur ek aur hafta baith gaye sprinkler key saath)? I came home and narrated this incident to my mother-in-law and wife.

My mother-in-law ( Aunty no. 6) continued “ Best is to have butter milk paa “. I wanted to tell her “ Did I ask you Mahishmati? ” But before I could react, my doctor wife saved the day. She said “ Butter milk sey bhi best is curd as butter milk is not solid and curd is solid therefore it kills the Lacticus Bassiluss and Octopus in the stomach”.I was relieved that my dad was not around else I would have got advice no. 8 “Humare zamaane mey hum neem juice piya karte they”

Basis my wife’s advice, I had curds and took Sporolac and my 4 day ordeal finally stopped. I was just relaxing on the bed hoping that I would never remember this episode. I was browsing the TV and ironically, the following song played

“Tu safar mera, hai tu hi meri manzil

Tere bina guzaara, ae dil hai mushkil

……

Mujhe aazmaati hai teri kami

Meri har kami ko hai tu laajmi

—–

Tu ne diya hai jo.. woh dard hi sahi

Utna mera nahi.. jitna hua tera…

……..

Loose hai mera, banoo mey tere kaabil

Tere bina guzaara, ae dil hai mushkil”

Jai Hind

Zuckerberg ki Aulaat : Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

Last week, my photographer friend had posted a picture of a train on Instagram and asked a question “Are train journeys passe now? What are your views?” I loved the picture, so I clicked the like button and shared my thoughts. My friend is an Instagram celebrity with more than 20k followers. Little did I realize that I had made the biggest mistake of my life by commenting. Because I liked and commented on the thread, I got a notification on my mobile every time some random person liked or commented on the photo. XYZ says “great click” ABC – “awesome click” JFK -” well done chick” SRK – “screw you witch” The list was endless. The sheer volume of her fan base meant that every picture of hers gets at least 6k likes and 1k comments. I got notified on my mobile 1347 times in the next week for a single comment. Why did I have to go through this torture?

As it is, there are a zillion notifications I get on FB. When someone posts a pic of a marriage, child birth, vacation etc I try hard to resist my temptation not to comment on the pic. In case the pic has gone viral, the same story repeats. FB is worse than Insta. Every comment by everyone is also sent as an email notification. Which means daily I get about 690 notification emails only for FB. Waah Zuckerberg waah. Hume aur koi kaam dhandha nahi hai na. First these emails, then the credit card emails, then the “Hey Hari, this is Trisha…Will you marry me” emails, then the Amazon Flipkart “Great Indian Slapping Festival emails “. It’s literally a slap on my face as the sale happens every month. What’s so great and what’s so Indian about these monthly Big Billion Days? A Billion get fooled every month. The price is marked up. We think we are getting 60% discount and buy up stuff every month. Even if you unsubscribe, these Big Billion days continue to stalk you.

The misery doesn’t end here. The God of small things, Twitter is next. I have posted my last tweet 4 years ago, when I joined Twitter “#HelloWorld”. That was enough. Every day, I get an email “Hari, we are missing you on Twitter” Same here – I miss you my love. Without you, my life is empty Twittu. Sometimes, there’s an active-passive voice innovation “Hari, you are missing us on Twitter”. I continued to ignore until one day Twitter really spiked my curiosity and sent an email “Hey Hari, here’s what people are saying about #Raga”. The first time, Raga was trolled on Twitter, it was funny. But now, even this has become irritatingly predictable as he always ends up becoming a joke. Nowadays, its “Hey Hari, you are missing #Chowkidaar, #Hawaldaar, #Wafaadar, #Arey-O-Sardar.” Why do I have to be sent emails on every hashtag? Unlike FB or Insta, where notifications are sent in the threads you have commented, Twitter is a free for all whorehouse. Irrespective of whether you have a Twitter account or not, you keep getting notifications. The challenge with all this daily spam is that the genuinely important mails get missed. Thankfully, my FB has been linked to my old yahoo account therefore all my FB activity emails go there and I don’t use that email anymore. Else, add another 250 emails per day.

I wish there was a campaign “#me-chu” in protest of all this social media spam. Everyone who has been a chu and become a victim of this should just tag #me-chu. I want to garner 1 billion online petitions and send it to Zuckerberg and Twitterberg to do something about this online harassment. Ban gaye pagle. Rula bhi diya. Abh bacha kya Ghanta!!

The harassment goes to a different level on Instagram. I keep posting inspirational quotes daily on my Insta handle. Daily a few random unknown people follow me. From about 120 followers, my fan base went to about 250 followers in about 60 days. I was happy. I started following back many of these random folks as a token of gratitude. After 30 days, I suddenly realize that my followers have gone down to 220. Then, I got to know the latest Insta-con game “First they follow you, You follow them back, Then they unfollow you, Aur Tum ban gaye chu.. “ I have sent nasty messages like “Thanks for the follow. Bigger thanks for the unfollow. Balls to you” to a few of them. I wish Insta published a notification every time somebody unfollowed us.

The last type of online harassment is the random discussions on politics and cricket controversies. Friends go to the extent of beating each other trying to take sides for Namo and Raga, Ashwin and Butler, Kejriwal and Didi-bawaal. Why get animated on social media? The best part is none of these opinions are going to make an iota of impact on the concerned individuals. People think they are change agents by doing this. Chillar hai nahi jeb mey, change agent banne chale. Bas karo yaar.

Whatsapp is the icing on the cake. Thanks to Whatsapp group birthday wishes, a birthday wish has become a formality. “Happy birthday bro raised to the power of 257. Thanks all for your bland wishes” Something personal and treasured like a Birthday, has been realized to a message. Once, my colleague in office was wished Happy Birthday by about 50 people in the office Whatsapp group. Poor guy in the afternoon sent a message in the same group “Folks it’s not my birthday. Its my 3 year work anniversary”. I thought people would be sane enough and stop wishing him. In the evening, one joker who I guess was too lazy to read the barrage of messages typed “Happy birthday mate”. Twenty jokers again followed. Hum nahi sudhrenge!!

If there’s any one on the tech or marketing side in these social media organizations, below is my humble and sincere request to them

“Aey mere Zuckerberg ki aulaat

Laga dimag technology ke saath

Irritating features sey mat badha spam

Action nahi logey to hoga social traffic jam

Feature banana koi badhi baat nahi

Users sey feedback lena toh sahi

Aur karna bandh sabki dimaag ka dahi

Sun ley mere dil ki baat

Bandh kar harassment mere saath

Aey mere Zuckerberg ki aulaat

Aey mere Zuckerberg ki aulaat”

Jai Hind