Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Investment Banker!!!

There are two common features among most B schools – First being, for all those 10 students who feature in various newspapers because of number of 0s in their salaries (after a non-zero integer, obviously) there would be 250 or so who lag behind by at least a 0 in their salary figure. Most of the aspirants join B schools thinking they would fight their way out to the first category only to find themselves in the second even before the first trimester is complete. Second common feature is – they all share a common dream, to become an investment banker (Ibanker in more socially vocal terminology). Some have it deep down their heart which never comes out of their mouth, for some it comes out of their mouth so often that they themselves find it difficult to convince their heart for the existence of this dream. Most lay in the midway. Anyways, here is the daily routine of once an aspiring Ibanker (Enjoying the two B*****, Bachelorhood and Bombay what I mean rather than anything else) who has, after couple of years of job hopping and a “bubbly” economic boom, become one. Just that the bubble is bursting now.

6:00 AM – Alarm rings. I have to go to the Gym where I paid monthly fee of INR 15,000/- last month but that was the only time I went there. I need to get up, put on Nike shoes which I bought for INR 5,000/- for going to Gym. Thanks God for credit cards. Hmmm…let me sleep for 5 more minutes. May be I should put the alarm off.

8:00 AM – Damn, its 8. I slept for 2 hours more. Anyways, Wednesday is no good for starting a new thing. I will start going to Gym from this Monday. Promise. Shit!!! I had a client call at 10 today.

8:02 AM - Lights a cigarette, goes to toilet seeking success and comes out thinking – Damn, I have to quit smoking - last one for the day. Lights one more, washes face, bathes with deodorant and rushes to Boriwali station.

8:31 AM – Hmm…. There is 8:33 slow local at platform number 4. May be I can get a seat in second class. But what shady crowd is there? 8:52 local will be coming at platform number 1. Slow local will get me to churchgate at 9:45. I can be there at 9:42 if I take the fast local which will save 3 minutes. I can still reach office in time. 8:52 local comes at 9:05 and is already running at 500% capacity as a train before it was cancelled.

9:38 AM – His 2 cubic meter body is stuffed in a space of 1.36 cubic meters. Cell phone buzzes. It’s an SMS. Damn, who is this? May be its Sanyukta who I met on fropper last week. I had sent some shitty emotional message as someone told me that his girlfriend loved that message. May be it’s her. Let me check. He tries to reach his pocket to get his cell phone. A 45 year old uncle starts shouting at him for disturbing the mechanical equilibrium in the compartment. He shouts back. Slowly everyone starts shouting till Dadar comes, 50 odd get down and 60 odd get in. In the process of getting down and getting in, the compartment’s capacity utilization falls down to 145% from 545% for 2 seconds. Somehow manages to take out his cell phone in those 2 seconds and checks. Its and ICICI reminder to pay off his credit card dues of INR 50,000 today else interest will be levied. Shit!!! Salary is 14 days away. Never mind, I took 2000 Kishan Lal Pansari Das(KLPD) Software Ltd's stocks after it fell by 13% from its 52 week low. Tip was that Sensex would be good today and KLPD will jump hitting the upper circuit of 10% after lunch. I will sell off 300 just before it hits the circuit and pay my bill.

10:12 AM: Enters the office. Great that boss has not come too. Let me log into Gtalk. I will put the status message as busy. I am an IBanker. I have to be busy or look so. Let me check the Sensex at Moneycontrol. Wow, its up by 246 points. KLPD has fallen down further by 5%. Wow, I can buy some more and decrease my average cost. I will convert ICICI dues to EMI. But what about the money to buy more KLPD stocks? I don’t have any. Let me call up my friend.

10:16 AM: Pings a friend who is a Software Architect (SA).

IBanker: Hey, how you doing?

SA: I am fine, just little tied up.

Ibanker: Can I have five minutes?

SA: Yeah, sure.

Lures him into the talks and takes INR 15,000 from him. Wow, I am damn good at cracking deals.

10:35 AM: A friend pings him. Ibanker sends an SMS reply saying he is busy. Then he calls his friend up. Yaar, I am little tied up. Tell me fast if there is anything urgent. They make it real fast and gossip lasts just 54 minutes.

11:40 AM: Goes out to smoke.

12:20 PM: Comes back to office.

12:30 PM: A friend calls up for lunch. He is working with some IT company.

IBanker: No Yaar, I don’t have anytime to even pee.

Friend: So Busy, that why you guys get such fat salaries. I wish I could become an IBanker.

IBanker: Yeah but personal life gets spoiled. I have to get up at 6:00 AM to come to office and I am happy if I can leave by 10:00 PM.

Friend: So, how much bonus you got this time? I know market is bad but I am sure your bonus wouldn’t have been less than 100%? I feel so jealous of you guys.

IBanker: Common, these are tiny things in life. What is important is mental peace. Slowdown has eroded his bonus completely this year. He is happy that he has not being fired till now.

They go for lunch, and he goes to pee as soon as bill comes. Friend pays.

2:30 PM: He is back in office.

2:35 PM: Goes out to smoke.

2:40 PM: Goes to DesiPundit to check out some blogs. Shit, they have put 5 more blogs since last night. Why do they link so many useless blogs? All of them are so crappy. Reads them all and comments on 4 of them.

3:45 PM: Goes back to those blogs he commented to check if there is any response to any of his comments. There are none.

4:00 PM: Goes out to smoke. Walks to CCD with few colleagues and discusses the possible impact of Abhinav Bindra’s gold on Indian economy and how it is going to help Obama win which would solve crisis in Georgia and bring down the crude oil prices to USD 100 per barrel. There is an argument about the final price and it longevity. 120 it is, the bill at CCD. Oil prices discussion was halted midway as there was some news of a cyclone approaching US on NDTV. Let’s rush back to office and discuss it with Oil sector team – he suggests.

5:30 PM: Damn!!! I cannot pass anymore time in office. I can catch the evening show of Dark Knight in PVR if I start now. Calls up yours truly who works for a rating agency.

IBanker: When are you leaving?

Me: Around 6:30.

IBanker: Lets leave now. I am taking a company cab.

Me: No. I am updating my blog.

IBanker: You can hardly write your name in English. Why the hell you blog? Come let’s leave.

Me: (Fuming, I hate my blogging skills being ridiculed) Great job you have - Ibanking, salary which is double of mine and leave at 5:30.

IBanker: It’s the first time ever I am leaving at 5:30. He told me the same story last Monday. And the salary you are talking about, company sucks the blood out of my body for the money it pays.

Me: But it does pay you well unlike me who gets paid in peanuts. Hey, how much bonus did you get this time?

He hangs up the phone, takes the company cab. Watches the movie and comes back home.

10:30 PM: Log into Orkut, Gtalk, Y!,Facebook, Linkedin. MSN and AOL too.

12:30 AM: Wow, downloading Jenna Jameson’s 38 MB clip is complete. Nadia Nyce is still 45% left – will be done by tomorrow.

1:00 AM: Sleeps.

This was a typical Wednesday. To find out how a typical Thursday is, read this post again - for rest of the days also but for the weekends.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Golden Eye!!!

Finally, Abhinav Bindra won us the first individual Gold Medal. He was all over the media so much so that most of us did not feel the pain of loosing the India-SL series. Bindra deserves all the accolades showered on him. And only he (his family, coaches included) deserves it. Not the Kalmadis, not the Gills, not the Singhs, Not the Sinhas and not Indian Olympic Association for sure who sends trucks of sumo fighters look alike officials to the tour and was sending mother of a tennis star as a coach but disallowed much needed coach to a boxer who obviously, doesn’t have a sellable face even if he wins. Sponsors don’t care. IOC has always been famous for its “carefree” affinity attitude.

Taking no credits away from Abhinav Bindra, but when his achievement is compared to 1983 WC win or T20 win and new channels doing a comparative analysis of series defeat in SL with his feat in form of “Hero & Zero”, I seriously doubt if his face will be visible at all after a couple of months once Olympics are over. Cricket, with Champions Trophy and IPL round two expected soon, will soon take precedence and Bindra’s name will appear in the news reels only when we will need some heroic face to lift ourselves from the sorrow of defeat in the game or show how we give undue respect to the game, whenever Team India loses. For most of us, the difference between cricket and other games will always be the difference between a Kingfisher Airlines’ airhostess and an Air India airhostess.

Bindra’s medal is truly a result of an individual brilliance not because it’s not a team game but its one man toiling hard to make his dream come true in a game which hardly few can dream to participate – not many of us can afford the guns used, forget taking rifle shooting as a career option. It’s not the result of a well devised system to produce talent. India has been lucky enough to have the individual of his caliber and personal support system. In addition, it is not a spectator’s game. Hence, we will always need luck to have individuals with amazing determination, grit talent, affluent and supporting background to be lucky again. Although we have had some good names in shooting in recent past.

Now once we have opened our account, I would sincerely pray for our participants to win some medals or at least make good name in areas like Badminton, Boxing, Archery and Tennis. I am not sure if we have any more chances in any other games this time. And once we achieve something, I hope media really creates all the hypes and hooplas around the players and it continues long enough to generate some fan following which must eat up from cricket’s pie. Our players deserve great amount of respect even if they lose. After all, only one wins gold while thousands aspire. But if we do not care about those thousands, we may not get that “one” which has been the case till now.

While I am sure we would be seeing the stories like these in next few days

Kya saina bharat ke sapno ko poora karegi?

Kya bharat ko doosra padak milega?

Kya saina swarna jeet kar jawan dilon ki dhadhkan banegi?

Kya saina ki chidiya (shuttle cock) bharat ko fir se sone ki chidiya(gold medal) bana payegi? (IndiaTV)

OR

Bharat Mata ki Pukaar Saina se

Saina meri pyari Saina, Taras Gaye mere Naina,

Bindra ke baad, Tu Swarna Padak de mujhe Pehna (Aaj Tak)

And if, God forbid, she crashes out in quarter finals– the same head lines would read like

Saina ke tote ude!!!

OR

Korean/Chinese/To hell with Chidya chug gayi Saina ke khet!!!

OR

if Akil Kumar loses out in boxing –

Akil ko Mukka, Bharat ko Dhakka!!! (Could be any one)

I hope we still support these players who - in spite of playing sports which are followed by a miniscule proportion in the country, survive on almost a non existent system, derive motivation from the stories full of how Indian athletes have taken part in international events without the equipments as basic as shoes (Remember Bahadur Prasad), know that even a success guarantees stardom of just few weeks because a cricketer’s bedroom antics would be followed more keenly than their performance in commonwealth games next time – are fighting hard, they deserve our support. I hope there are no traditional – once in four years – post Olympics scrutiny, blame game, career murdering of players this time. Because we know we are not good enough, just do not want to accept it.

Other games badly need publicity, heroes, sponsors and better management if we want to do well. They can. They surely can. After all, lot of our national cricketers in 60s-70s used to sleep in second class hotels during international matches as BCCI could either pay them for their food or shelter. Better management, better timing TV penetration in Indian bedrooms coinciding with some big wins and a bit of luck has made BCCI the richest cricket board and we not only know where our cricket stars sleep during tours or otherwise these days, in most cases we also know who they sleep with.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Life!!!

Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out of it alive – said Elbert Hubbard and how rightly so. I am not sure about you but taking a few things in life too seriously may make others life miserable.

Like some jobless soul in 17th century saw an apple falling somewhere and claimed to derive several theories which much must have given pains to you in school-college days. If an apple fell down, it fell down. What is the need to make so much fuss about it? One thing I have never understood about Isaac Newton. Considering he was a human, nature must have called him thousands of times in his life. The output must have fallen down, always. He never thought about gravity and all that shit when he was shitting considering it’s a proven fact that toilets are the labs where most innovative of ideas are generated. Then why not in a toilet but under a tree he got this terrible idea. Or may be he was shitting under the tree when apple fell down.

Like some terrible kid saw water boiling in a kettle. He devised steam engine; everyone came to know that one can have a vehicle running faster than bullock carts, several refinements were made to his invention and Ratan Tata launched Tata Nano. This caused oil crisis and world has gone into deep recession. I wish that kid had put his face inside the kettle to see if boiling water is cold inside the kettle or if it’s the steam trying to put away the top or it’s a genie inside it. That’s why parents should be encouraging their kids to spend more time in playground or bedrooms than in kitchen. Had his parents done so, world would not have had this terrible crisis.

Some idiots took all those crappy financial models too seriously and invented even more crappy ones. They derived a methodology of multiplying their money which they had lent to someone and called it structuring loans. It was a story of - I have a plate which can accommodate lot of shit, you give me some money and take it home to collect the shit. Shit is valuable because its queen’s shit. Strangely people successfully kept selling it. Even more strangely, people kept buying it also. When queen turned out to be constipated, they called it sub prime crisis. Not tell me something, some NINJA (no income, no job) buys a beautiful mansion in NY on home loan, buys beauties from Vegas on personal loan, and buys rest of the luxuries on his credit cards. When its time to pay back he simply puts his hands up, his pants are already down. US government pays him some wages, fed feeds him with USD 600 to get out of trouble. He, in order to intelligently invest money, asks Dr. Mark Faber who responds.

The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate. If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China. If we spend it on gasoline it goes to the Arabs. If we buy a computer it will go to India. If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car it will go to Germany. If we purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy. The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in US. I’ve been doing my part.

Fun continues for him. Who pays - it’s me whose annual bonus gets halved in the name of global recession. Only if those investment bankers were a little less serious about magical wealth creation, I could have expected some serious monetary returns next year. I am sure all of them were constipated as if they were not, toilet ideas never let you or anyone else down.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Love, is in the air!!!

Waiting at the airport mostly becomes a terribly painful affair especially if you are travelling alone. You either look for an enjoyable company with whom you can converse to pass your time, a readable piece of text or try to sleep as much as possible. Luckily, I was travelling with a colleague from Vizag to Mumbai. Both of us were bored of meetings held during last two days, discussing Galle test and politics. Suddenly we spotted a young girl with an army man, not to mention young. With their body language, they looked like meeting for the first time. As soon as we heard the guy asking the girl for her cell number, it was sure that the meeting was first. After all if you know a good looking girl, you would either have to be married or gay in case you do not have her phone number. Like ladies in the house, we started gossiping about the “could be couple” and different possibilities like how they would have met, if they are chat friend and this is/was a blind date, if this is a pre-matrimonial process etc.

4 hours and 2000 kilometres later, they were getting down from the flight with hand in hand. Not to mention their censored show in the flight which must have given pains to lot of necks and backs. This is new age romance. If, with so called economic development in the country, the middle class/upper middle class is moving at a fast pace thanks to “once a low cost” airlines, so is his love.

Going down the memory lane, my first realization of existence of the term romanticism was in early 90s. If I remember correctly, the song “Apni bhi chhahat ka ikrar karti, kaash koi ladki mujhe pyar karti” from the movie “Hum hain raahi pyar ke” was one of my favourites. When I went to a cassette shop with my father to get it recorded (to save cost you could get recorded your favourite songs in a single cassette as no apniisp.com or coolgoose.com those days), he gave me a glaring look. Perhaps it was the first time he must have realized that his little son has grown up somewhere and hit that age – 16. I liked the song because it carried a wish - a wish to be the heartthrob of someone, a wish to be a hero like Aamir Khan in the song who roamed around the trees, looked larger than life even at less than 5 and a half foot height and looked to be bestowed with all the happiness in life. 13 years later, the wish did get fulfilled. Just that it was through marriage, the Aamir Khan gets kicked everyday in Mumbai Locals, misses’ heartbeats if he doesn’t see his salary getting credited on 1st of every month and goes into depression once he sees the amount that is credited. Anyways, that is another story.

Love affairs used to be slow-paced, clandestine and mostly once in a life time sagas those days. You identify you crush, take 3 months to find out her name, arrange some accidental meetings if you are lucky and gritty. By that time 6 months were over. By the time you get her land line number (as cell phones were still almost a decade away from common man’s reach) and start talking, your birthday cake was richer by at least one candle. Once phone-chat started, it was a party time for PCOs as phone-romancing from home was extremely dangerous – you either got caught red handed or when the phone bill came. Both of you would have casted your vote a few times (especially in UP where government changed every 6 months) times before going for first date, in case it happened. Holding hand wouldn’t happen before another Olympic and by the time you are due for your first kiss, the marriage was fixed. Either you got married to each other or she got married to some other guy. Next few months would go in erasing the memories after which you too get married – tired and hurt by the solo affair you ever had. In case you got married to each other, please leave a comment on this post before you again start regretting the successful end of your affair – marriage.

This was the story of fewest of few lucky guys who were really hated by me when the affair was on full song and loved by me when they broke up – sadism has always been my favourite word. There was another class of Romeos – they fought for gold. If they came to know that you eve-teased their crush, they broke your hands. If they came come to know you talked to their crush, they broke your hands. If they come to know that you even stared at their crush, they broke your hands. They spared your hands in if they came to know that you followed their crush, legs were broken in such cases. It often led to the genesis of many a gangs and gang wars. They were bold love-warriors as there was nothing clandestine about their love life. Everyone knew about it but the girl who they fancied. I have seen so many scenes in my school where a girl would pass through completely unknown to the fact that how much few doctors and policemen would be thankful to her – a gang war always ends either in a hospital or a police station.

Things started changing. I remember the Mahesh Bhatt’s so called society changing TV serial “Swabhiman”. This was during the days when cable TV was yet to make deep inroads in Indian bedrooms. People could not relate to it much but yet watched it because there was very little source of entertainment thanks to dependence on DD which was nothing but a dictator bearing the torch of boredom. This, probably, was the first TV serial which was about super high class life style and was targeted towards the middle class. The serial, however, tried to convey a message of sleeping around and justified it.

Bollywood, after ages of vulgarity and mindlessness in its movies, started producing family movies in “Hum Aapke Kaun Hain” and sweet love stories like DDLJ. The trend continued but ways to display romance on screen were changing and so were the norms. SRK was always snatching/ encouraging snatching someone else’s girl friend/wife/fiancée and it was not some psychological disorder like in “Darr” but pure charisma and style. So were others, well sometimes. Like Madhvan in “Rahna hai tere dil mein”. Message was clear; you may not always work on a green field project for your business. Make a unit look sick, acquire it and start doing, well business I mean.

Then came Murder and Jism, two thriller love stories. Intelligent publicity and sizzling promos made it a hit although there was not much wrong with the movies. Sex was the central theme. Once again, Mahesh Bhatt was the man. In his own words

I must plead guilty for bringing in what I call soft porn into the mainstream of Indian cinema. 'Jism' was undoubtedly a quality film because for the 1st time on the Indian screen you saw the Indian heroine unapologetically say that she uses her body to get what she wants.

If Jism was about a female using her sexuality to get things done, Murder was all about extra marital affair.

Several other movies were made on the same themes although not all of them clicked. But pre marital sex/ adultery as a topic was being not only accepted by the audience but also enjoyed. Few decades back, Silsila was a flop with the similar theme, pre marital sex/extra marital affair although that was a much better movie. Arth was also only critically acclaimed. If Shakti Samant had to picture a song to justify premarital sex for his movie, which brings a twist in the story, such scenarios were no longer required now. “Main kisi ko muh dikhane layak nahi rahi” (I am not worthy of showing my face to anyone) or “Nahi, yeh paap hai” (No, this is wrong) or “Humse bhool ho gayi” (We made a mistake) and such dialogues were history by far. “Neel n Nikky” was another trendsetter defying all such compulsory-after-bed-scene dialogues.

Not only celebrities of Bollywood were contributing, unknown names were also working day and night to change the face of the society. Remember DPS dhamaka? Two school kids led the way by showing the youth of the country that not only such once-a-nefarious-acts could be enjoyed in adolescent age but it also has a commercial side. Soon after the DPS dhamaka, there was a boom in home made MMS market. I remember getting a plethora of new MMS everyday. A shrewd businessman sees an opportunity when others cannot – a famous portal was launched which is the biggest library of such home made (L)Ijjat Papads of old days.

People no longer believed in just being in the audience, they wanted the centre stage. New community sites were launched everyday which were perfect date-searching engines. These were more reliable than the old warhorse yahoo/msn messenger because there, more often then not, if you think you have cracked a date, it would be some sadist sole like me on the other side. If one community site became full of fraud profiles, people shifted to the other one. Some relied on matrimonial sites. And realizing this, some matrimonial sites launched dating sites – pay, be a member and get a date. Things were easier and faster there as both the parties could trust each other of their gender, knew dating is the sole motto else you wouldn’t be there and were honest about the real motive. Love was becoming fast and faster was the making of it. Even the mentality was changing and I saw a live proof today.

Just that with such stupendous social change, especially in the cities I have seen, it makes me feel older than I am as if there is a huge generation gape between me and someone who hasn’t seen Sachin Tendulkar making his debut in test cricket. I come from a generation where before I could realize that I need a female in my life, I was of marriageable age. These days, before people realize their age, they have had a partner.