Category Archives: Humor

A rose by any other name…

Lily? Jasmine?? or Frangipani???

‘Sankashti!’

I vaguely heard someone saying that. I was seated in a CST bound train, reading ‘Eat, pray, love’ and fortunately the novel had finally arrived to an interesting part. ‘Sankashti’!!… the moment I heard this, I snapped up and looked at the woman saying it, wondering whether it was ‘Sankashti’ that day. To the uninitiated, this is one of the common fasts observed amongst the Maharashtrians.  It is observed every month on the 4th day of the waning fortnight and is observed to receive the blessings of Lord Ganesha. I started observing it from class 10 – since I believed it was necessary in order to score well. I didnt study as much and scored okay in class 10, but the practice of fasting has continued.While  I’m not a devout hindu,  I have faith in Lord Ganesha.(fasting has got nothing to do with being a devout hindu, but that is a topic for another post I suppose). I have continued to fast month after month, year after year hoping that one day the Lord will pity me and grant some sense. 🙂

Well, coming back to the story, I thought that it could be Sankashti and that I might have missed to fast. Mentally, I berated myself for not only not observing the fast, but actually eating a hearty breakfast that day, which I normally end up skipping. Then I realised that if it was Sankasthi that day, everyone in my family had missed it – we all of us fast on Sankashti. That was unusal, because my mother would never miss it! So I looked at the woman once more. She was still on the phone talking to someone. I concluded that she must have spoken about some past / upcoming Sankashti. I was just about to go back to my reading when I overheard, ‘Sankashti!’ and I turned to look at her once more. She was saying ‘Sankashti, what a brat you are, always getting into mischief’… and I was floored!

SANKASHTI was the name of the child this woman was talking to!!! It’s a Sanskrit word which I worked out would be sandhi of 2 words – ‘San+Kashta’ – ‘San’->>’Sam’ meaning together (in this context – ‘WITH’) and ‘Kashta’ meaning ‘Hardships’. A fast is obviously penance  and hence the meaning ‘with hardships’. Then I began pitying the child whose name was ‘Sankashti’. Maybe she was born after several troubled hours her mother spent in the labour room etc. But still ‘Sankashti’ was such a vindictiveness on her mother’s part, if there really was such a thought process behind the name. But then I thought there wouldn’t have been. Not many people care to dwell on the fact that most of the Indian names have sanskrit origin, much less their meaning. Lately, there has been some sort of trend of naming babies with some archaic Sanskrit words from scriptures. Internationally, if they can name kids randomly (Read: Brooklyn, Apple, Ireland etc) why cant we follow the madness? Of course its everyone’s choice to name (And call) their kids whatever they want. So infact, there could be some people complimenting Sankashti’s parents on such a cool choice of name.

Personally, I tend to associate an image with every person I know, and this has sometimes posed problems for me. The image is mostly influenced by the peson’s name. An Indian name mostly has a meaning – so if it is ‘Anjali’ – it is a specific hand posture using which one normally offers a gift to the God. Contrary to the popular opinion, it’s not an offering to the God . It literally means ‘palmful’ and usually you use this gesture to offer any gift to God etc. Now though I don’t picture a palm in my mind every time I come across an ‘Anjali’, I mostly have problem processing such names. And there are many I know who seem to have such visual names. If they(my friends) read this post, all I have to say is this : FORGIVE ME! YOU WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS.

Well it’s not like I always picture the meaning first, but it stayed in the back of my mind that ‘Kinchit’ means ‘small in quantity’/’Little'(quantity) etc when I got introduced to one of my MBA classmates. I found it funny, but not many agreed, because it is apparently a common Gujarati name and my college was full of Guju bhais.  I remember one of our professors basing her whole session on some one liners like ‘Come on Kinchit, I’ll give you a clean chit if you answer this etc’… then there were numeous ‘Ketans’ (house), ‘Parthivs’ (made of mud) that I kept on running into. Then there’s fair share of abstract names too –  a ‘Vanchana’ (worry) that I know, ‘Rachana’ (Arrangement/ creation – it doesnt say good arrangement or bad). A guy’s name was ‘Apekshit’ – (expected) and his youger brother was ‘Akalpit’ (‘beyond imagination’ and sometimes can also be used as ‘Unplanned’) –  thereby making their parents’ family planning details totally public… 🙂 . One of my own nieces in the extended family is named ‘Sakshi’ (a witness)…. and the list goes on…

I believe that your name somehow becomes a part of you, your personality. So Akalpit may for all reasons grow into an unpredictable young man. But on the other hand, it wasnt Vanchana’s fault that she was given such a name. It necessarily does not mean that she has to live up to it. Fortunately, my parents did not name either myself or my brother in such a manner that our friends would have teased us. But I’d have surely felt resentful if I was called  ‘Akriti’ (diagram), Nupur (anklet – though a very pretty sounding name), Sulabha (‘easily available’), Anumati (consent), Apeksha (expectation), Pratiksha (the wait), Heena (Mehendi) etc

‘Animosity’

Not Cute?

To tell the truth – I’m not that much into animals.

Ok. That was not entirely true. I’m NOT AT ALL into animals…or birds or insects…(or reptiles or fish or amphibians and all the other categories that I can’t remember)….

Yes, I’m all for wildlife preservation and I’m totally against cruelty to the animals, but the maximum that I can contribute to this cause is by sending money to PETA, WWF etc.  Besides, apart from sporadic spraying of mosquito repellent, thrashing of a stray cockroach and setting up an occasional mousetrap, I’m ‘mostly harmless’ towards other living beings of non-human variety (not that I’m other than mostly harmless towards beings of human variety – thought it was better to clarify).

As a policy, I avoid purchasing anything made out of leather, fur etc. Additionally, being a vegetarian, how much do I have to lose in supporting campaigns against meat?? – ‘none at all’ . That’s pretty much it. Sometimes though, I find it strange that I have such an apathy towards animals, while I flaunt my love for the nature all the time. But its true. One cannot be always appreciative of ‘life, the universe and everything’. I cannot make myself love the animals. To me, animals looks great / majestic/delicate (insert whatever adjective) only from a distance – like when they are in forests / oceans / muck / tree – whatever is their natural habitat. Nevertheless, by some ‘strange coincidence’ (Yeah, I’m a fan of the Hitchhiker’s guide  in case it was not apparent) I have been thrust into the company of animal lovers and pet-keepers all the time since my childhood. Does it indicate my destiny / karma etc to take up a pet or something? Nah, I don’t think so.

Growing up, I had to cope with those periodic visits to my various aunts’ place whose houses had members of quadrupedal variety (and sometimes non-pedal variety, otherwise known as ‘Fish’). There were birds even, at some point. Not that I was particularly afraid of these animals. What I always found tedious was to pay compliments. I mean… these animals came and licked you and you were supposed to find that cute. Or they just landed on your lap and purred and then left like a huge hairball on your new clothes and you were supposed to talk about how these beings ‘exude’ love while trying not to sneeze!!! …..or when some of these beings chittered and chattered suddenly for some reason exactly when you were trying to nap, you woke up and excitedly proclaimed (instead of shouting with annoyance) that they were trying to predict some natural calamity or something!!!  There were times when you hid into a corner and ate something for the fear that it will be pounced upon and snatched away….

So far so good.. a pup wags its tail and looks with those puppy eyes, a cat purrs and all, so there’s definitely something to talk about there. Birds usually would be love-birds and would have various colours so  despite the nuisance value of each of these there would be things to talk about. But I would be stumped the moment I’d move on to the fish…(those beings which couldn’t even hear the names that my cousins had kept for them and those that made the fish-tank and the surrounding area utterly stinky). For sure, some had nice colours, but I could never go beyond  ‘ I think this fish is trying to kill this other fish’…(which was all the action that was happening in that fish-tank). I thank my stars that they never ventured to keep some pet tortoise or even lizards or something!! What would I have said then? my head hurts  from the lack of imagination!

All I noticed over all these years was the lengths that the owners were required to go, to feed, clean and train these animals and yet remain friendly with people like the next door neighbours, people within the locality, the mail-man and sundry delivery men etc. I wonder at the enthusiasm of my cousins who have survived several such pets of various variety and their generations…

Having seen much of the pet (keeping and maintaining) world I  eventually (that wasnt really a gradual process) decided to maintain minimum contact with these beings concluding that I don’t understand them. Surprisingly, most of the friends that I made in my adult life were animal lovers. So I am from time to time subject to the discussions about the antics of their pets, where I have to laugh, nod and indicate that I am listening!!

Of course it’s not exactly like I’m totally away from animals… they have made a place for themselves in my life in their own way…

…like those pigeons that are currently in their nth generations on the loft above my house and occasionally set up a makeshift nursing home in my window-grill, enter the house just to perch on a fan-blade and then fly helter and skelter within house when chased, instead of returning the way they came ( through the wide window in the room!!).. I was once told by my brother that pigeons are actually related to dodo birds – which I have come to believe

…that stray bitch which has made the passage on the first floor of my building as her permanent home and is always positioned outside this out-of-town neighbor’s door. Doesnt wag tail or anything when I pass by, but lets me (and other residents) pass by quietly and barks at any newcomer. 🙂

…or the Myna (a.k.a. Salunki in Marathi) which has set up its neat nest outside of the bathroom window and sometimes acts as vocal accompaniment to any random bathroom singer from our house 🙂

….or a hitherto unidentified bird of spring that has been amusing itself by repeatedly pecking on the wind-shield of this car which we can always see through our drawing-room window,every morning around 8.30 – 9.00!! – cannot understand. Why? why only at specific time? Why only that car when there are numerous others parked next to it?  Is it trying to break in? long way to go pal… or maybe its trying to check itself in glass-made mirror or it sees itself in this mirror and thinks there is another of its kind…or its eating some insects stuck there …where exactly? on the glass?? maybe there are invisible bacteria like insects there..

….A crow that regularly visits us every 10 – 15 days. Whenever this happens, my mother mentions the death anniversary (what is it called in English though? we call it Punyatithi in Marathi/Hindi) of some close relative which is coincidentally approaching etc and believes that the ‘Kauva’ wants to remind us of it – and then offers some food and water.

I think I already have my hands full with these pseudo pets. So if someone wants to question my animal-love or lack thereof, I can definitely point out these pseudo-pets and claim that there’s no ‘animosity’ between the animals and myself. 🙂

Random things that puzzle me (currently)

  1. Soft toys on peoples’ desk at work – W-H-Y !!!Cannot imagine what makes people do this! Why are tiny teddys and heart shapes hung like festoons on whiteboards / stationed on the desk at some strategic point which an approaching colleague will not miss. These soft things are of various varieties – mugs (yes, there ARE some mugs made out of synthetic furs), spiders and bugs, tiny dolls etc. Not to typecast, especially since I am a girl myself, but fortunately, I havent seen these things on a male colleague’s desk yet. Why women must be fascinated with a soft toy spider I cannot understand. They cannot stand a real spider for sure. Though the whole concept of soft toy at work is difficult to digest! it is O-F-F-I-C-E for God’s sake, not a kindergarten. What can people mean by keeping soft toy on desk? That you’re like a child who needs to be excused for all the laxity in your work? that if someone shouts at you for not meeting a deadline, you need that teddy to hold and cry?? For that matter many people leave tinsel things on their desk for decoration. What is it? is it to bring glamour and joy where there is none? or to convince oneself that even work can be all bright and shining? Sure, I have a laughing buddha on my desk as well. A colleague gifted it to me on her last working day…for good luck. If she had gifted a soft toy instead, I’d have passed it on to my nephews and nieces instead…
  2. Pink cars – What might seem as paradox, I have always seen these cars driven by men. WHY do people buy PINK cars?After all, I’m a girl. How can I not like pink? But on a car?? that’s too much! Its a shock to my senses to watch a fuchsia/ purple/bubblegum pink car pass by. Seriously?? I know, its a car. It can be of any colour that the owner wants. So I’m shutting up. But pink cars should be banned!! period!
  3. People who play songs on their mobile phones at public places – (Loudly, NOT USING EARPHONES) WHAT are these people thinking? that they know what we would like to hear?? either that, or perhaps they imagine themselves alone! Either ways you suffer. On a day when you’re happy (that day is usually Friday – Fri evening to be precise), you’ll ignore and occasionally even enjoy that song…but on a day when you’re tired after work and want to just sit and stare into nothingness in a train compartment, woman next to you loudly plays – ‘Volume kam kar Pappa Jag Jayega’  – a paradox. You want to slap such people!!!
  4. People who buy identical set of clothes/accessories for their twins – I wonder especially because I feel that parents would want to be able to tell one kid from the other. Wherever I go however, I notice that they always dress their kids identically – though colour combinations may occasionally vary. I don’t have a twin, but if I had and my parents had done such a thing to us, I dont think I’d have been able to forgive  them…all childhood memories – pics would have this other similar looking person with similar dress / hairdo  / toys and steal my thunder. Arent I supposed to be exclusive? I’m sure, the kids do feel this…

Of the Charlies and the chocolate factories…

This weird piece of email conversation happened between my ex-colleague and I at one of my earlier workplaces. I retained this email because it was funny…or I think too highly of my own sense of humor… I do remember that the said colleague was not exactly amused! 😀

————————

From: Moi

To: Colleague

Date: Lets ignore this

Subject: An analogy – please consider this seriously

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Characters

Charlie – All the ‘blue eyed boys’ – who are on Willy Wonka’s favorite list and stand chance to inherit the factory if they behave (namely, follow Willy’s wishes) throughout the journey (namely – Jan to December)

Willy Wonka – (or WILLY WONKAs in our case) – WE KNOW WHO

Chocolate Factory – This is the place where all riches lie but no one is allowed to touch/enjoy (except for the blue eyed boys who suck it up to Willy and eventually get to GET THERE)

I’m sure you’ve made the connection by now…and realised that in the chocolate factory of your professional life, you are none of these characters…(or maybe you are, in which case you are reading this email disdainfully)

AND you’re not one of those bad kids who got thrown out of factory for misbehaving either… that means, you can belong to only one category: ..(drum roll please….)

The OOMPA LUMPAs….. those who toil 24X7 to make factory a better place for Willy Wonka and his blue eyed boy…

Those who wear same facial expressions and lead life like it was daily movement of bowels…(erm forgive me)

But those who dont really get to enjoy chocolates that they mix and probably wont be able to digest the euphoria and happiness of being at the top at any point (having never experienced it before)….



So admit it, YOU (&I  as well) are OOMPA LUMPAs!!

———————————————————-


———————————————————-

From: Colleague

To: Moi

Subject: Re: An analogy….please consider this seriously

 I don’t agree that we are the Oompa Lumpas!

In the first place, I don’t agree that *this place* is Charlie’s chocolate factory. The CC factory is a cool, awesome, fantasmagorical place where products which bring happiness to people are born. It represents Charlie’s wishes to have a life independent of his father’s wishes. It represents childhood fantasies!

In the chocolate factory, there is no place for obnoxious and greedy people. And the blue-eyed boy is a level headed sweet boy whom life has not been kind to thus far (unless you are happy with poor parents! just joking haha!)

I believe this place is the anti-chocolate factory and I hope there exists a place where there is a place for people like us, you know the real blue eyed people and not people who just throw their weight around!!!!

—————————-

From: Moi

To: Colleague

Subject: Erm…okay, but….

 Yeah, well, the chocolate factory thing is exaggerated…Finance may not be a wonderland that the chocolate factory was…but it COULD be a lucrative land nevertheless. Question is ….for whom? For those who are GOOD HONEST Charlies? no, not them of course…

And blue eyed boys are not THE blue eyed charlie from the factory…

But still, I feel, we are at some level like the Oompa Lumpas, who do not get to enjoy the fruits of their labour…Maybe, the Oompa Lumpas in the story do not desire it…unlike us… which is more tragic.

—————-

From: Colleague

To: Moi

Subject: Re:Erm…okay, but….

The Oompa Lumpas were happy in their jobs. Don’t overlook that.

I think a closer analogy would be the ant hierarchy…we’re the worker ants, the slaves…We don’t even have fancy Oompa Lumpa designations…..

——-

Yeah….so what reminds me suddenly of this stupid dialogue…? Well, its THAT time of the year!! THAT which decides whether you;ve been promoted to charlie from oompa lumpa status!!

————————————————-

 

 

This weird piece of email conversation happened between my ex-colleague and I at one of my earlier workplaces. I retained this email because it was funny…or I think too highly of my own sense of humor… I do remember that the said colleague was not exactly amused! 😀

————————

From: Moi

To: Colleague

Date: Lets ignore this

Subject: An analogy – please consider this seriously

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Characters

Charlie – All the ‘blue eyed boys’ – who are on Willy Wonka’s favorite list and stand chance to inherit the factory if they behave (namely, follow Willy’s wishes) throughout the journey (namely – Jan to December)

Willy Wonka – (or WILLY WONKAs in our case) – WE KNOW WHO

Chocolate Factory – This is the place where all riches lie but no one is allowed to touch/enjoy (except for the blue eyed boys who suck it up to Willy and eventually get to GET THERE)

I’m sure you’ve made the connection by now…and realised that in the chocolate factory of your professional life, you are none of these characters…(or maybe you are, in which case you are reading this email disdainfully)

AND you’re not one of those bad kids who got thrown out of factory for misbehaving either… that means, you can belong to only one category: ..(drum roll please….)

The OOMPA LUMPAs….. those who toil 24X7 to make factory a better place for Willy Wonka and his blue eyed boy…

Those who wear same facial expressions and lead life like it was daily movement of bowels…(erm forgive me)

But those who dont really get to enjoy chocolates that they mix and probably wont be able to digest the euphoria and happiness of being at the top at any point (having never experienced it before)….

This Farewell Email is a Real One!

Real or not… still it was too much fun reading this forward!

Of Course I DO NOT subscribe to this way of burning one’s bridges. I say, if you cant be friendly, be polite, succinct. Write to only THOSE who you want to be in touch with… thats how I’d do it!!

Jay Rodriguez/JPMCHASE
06/22/2007 01:16 PM
Subject Farewell

Dear Co-Workers and Managers,

As many of you probably know, today is my last day. But before I leave, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what a great and distinct pleasure it has been to type “Today is my last day.”

For nearly as long as I’ve worked here, I’ve hoped that I might one day leave this company. And now that this dream has become a reality, please know that I could not have reached this goal without your unending lack of support. Words cannot express my gratitude for the words of gratitude you did not express.

I would especially like to thank all of my managers both past and present but with the exception of the wonderful Saroj Hariprashad: in an age where miscommunication is all too common, you consistently impressed and inspired me with the sheer magnitude of your misinformation, ignorance and intolerance for true talent. It takes a strong man to admit his mistake – it takes a stronger man to attribute his mistake to me.

Over the past seven years, you have taught me more than I could ever ask for and, in most cases, ever did ask for. I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely interchangeable supervisors on a wide variety of seemingly identical projects – an invaluable lesson in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium.

Your demands were high and your patience short, but I take great solace knowing that my work was, as stated on my annual review, “meets expectation.” That is the type of praise that sends a man home happy after a 10 hour day, smiling his way through half a bottle of meets expectation scotch with a meets expectation cigar. Thanks Trish!

And to most of my peers: even though we barely acknowledged each other within these office walls, I hope that in the future, should we pass on the street, you will regard me the same way as I regard you: sans eye contact.

But to those few souls with whom I’ve actually interacted, here are my personalized notes of farewell:

To Philip Cress, I will not miss hearing you cry over absolutely nothing while laying blame on me and my coworkers. Your racial comments about Joe Cobbinah were truly offensive and I hope that one day you might gain the strength to apologize to him.

To Brenda Ashby whom is long gone, I hope you find a manager that treats you as poorly as you have treated us. I worked harder for you then any manager in my career and I regret every ounce of it. Watching you take credit for my work was truly demoralizing.

To Sylvia Keenan, you should learn how to keep your mouth shut sweet heart. Bad mouthing the innocent is a negative thing, especially when your talking about someone who knows your disgusting secrets. ; )

To Bob Malvin (Mr. Cronyism Jr), well, I wish you had more of a back bone. You threw me to the wolves with that witch Brenda and I learned all too much from it. I still can’t believe that after following your instructions, I ended up getting written up, wow. Thanks for the experience buddy, lesson learned.

Don Merritt (Mr. Cronyism Sr), I’m happy that you were let go in the same manner that you have handed down to my dedicated coworkers. Hearing you on the phone last year brag about how great bonuses were going to be for you fellas in upper management because all of the lay offs made me nearly vomit. I never expected to see management benefit financially from the suffering of scores of people but then again, with this company’s rooted history in the slave trade it only makes sense.

To all of the executives of this company, Jamie Dimon and such. Despite working through countless managers that practiced unethical behavior, racism, sexism, jealousy and cronyism, I have benefited tremendously by working here and I truly thank you for that. There was once a time where hard work was rewarded and acknowledged, it’s a pity that all of our positive output now falls on deaf ears and passes blind eyes. My advice for you is to place yourself closer to the pulse of this company and enjoy the effort and dedication of us “faceless little people” more. There are many great people that are being over worked and mistreated but yet are still loyal not to those who abuse them but to the greater mission of providing excellent customer support. Find them and embrace them as they will help battle the cancerous plague that is ravishing the moral of this company.

So, in parting, if I could pass on any word of advice to the lower salary recipient (”because it’s good for the company”) in India or Tampa who will soon be filling my position, it would be to cherish this experience because a job opportunity like this comes along only once in a lifetime.

Meaning: if I had to work here again in this lifetime, I would sooner kill myself.

To those who I have held a great relationship with, I will miss being your co-worker and will cherish our history together. Please don’t bother responding as at this very moment I am most likely in my car doing 85 with the windows down listening to Biggie.

One!