Tag Archives: Memories

Lost

I got a chance to attend a wedding after a long time. The last wedding before this one was way back in 2000 of my cousin. So when Varun, one of my very good friends from my school days, got married. Many of our teachers who had taught us during our school days were invited.

I was present with many of my friends from school days. We were standing in a group all the schoolmates when our teachers (surprisingly even a prime minister becomes an ex prime minister, a boss becomes an ex boss, even a girlfriend or wife becomes an ex girlfriend or wife. But a teacher always remains a teacher he/she is never an ex teacher may be because you can always learn something from him/her no matter how much you grow)

They saw us came to meet us, and it felt so good. But I had my Eureka moment when our teachers were trying to recognize us. Of course they didn’t remember most of our names (it’s been 10 years since we passed out and they would have taught us like 12-15 years back). My teachers saw me and they were like “Prateek, You were the computer whiz kid”. It felt so good when people who teach 500 students in a year and they remember you after so many years associating you with something which you really cared about. It was such a pleasant surprise that all of them recognized me, not because I was a brilliant student which obviously I never was. But because I had a passion for something and everyone in school knew that. The passion was computers, programming, hardware, software, anything related to technology. I used to bunk the games periods to sit back in the computer room, I know how weird it sounds but that use to be my craze for computer if not till late then at least till class 10th when I got my own personal computer.

I look 10 years down the line I was the whiz kid on the block, a computer champ, a solid programmer.  Suddenly I work for one of the most reputed IT companies in the word; I have become an engineer & MBA by qualification and a consultant by designation. But in this whole gamut the passion for the computers stands lost and defeated. The fun of writing a code and see it almost working and then spending nights to debug to finally see it working as it should has dwindled in the glow of corporate ladder and hierarchy.

This is a very incoherent and lost post. Just trying to tell myself how life has changed and things have gone haywire in a meaningless tryst. 

Aukaat

It feels really good to be in Pune, especially when I spent two awesome years of my life here in this city. The best part of the student life is that it attaches you big time to the city. You leave a part of yours when you move out, Pune is same to me. Irrespective of 1001 complaints you will receive about it whether the traffic which never seems to be in order, or the potholes which seem to outnumber the number of roads in the city or the rains which show a deep influence from Jim Carrey’s Mast yelling all the time ‘Somebody Stop Me!!!’ or now the latest politician on the block Mr. Raj Thackrey and his lingual biases. Despite all this my love for this city is something which is constant, you can attribute it to weather, the crowd anything but for sake of my comfort I would say I have spent two best years of my life right here. A few days ago I was actually contemplating where to have dinner, was not really sure where I wanted to have my dinner and what I wanted to eat. When me & Sumeet passed what used to be our college building one and a half years ago. I saw the NCC canteen was still open and I immediately pulled over.

As I climbed down the stairs of the canteen, a feeling of Nostalgia hit me. Nothing had changed there. The seats were the same, the students were scattered and the conversations regarding tests, subjects, movies were going amidst thick layers of cigarette smoke (yes I know the sticks are banned, but you can’t stop the kids. Not in their college canteen, absolutely not. More coming on the ban in my next post) It just seemed that we have moved further away. A realization that the places don’t change we are the ones who change; I saw this was the place where I used to have my daily lunch for two years. I actually relished the canteen food after the long lectures and hardships of deadlines and assignments, today I would not think of visiting a place like this. Yes, I am quite a snob when it comes to places to eat and watching movies I do not like any place which lacks proper ambience. But the college canteen despite nowhere close to the places I prefer to eat in was something made me feel home. The surprises came in the form of people, Ganesh Anna the manager & cashier of the place, Chandu and other waiters and chefs recognizing us immediately. Coming up to us talking being concerned how we are doing. We ordered our food and as soon as we did and the waiter narrated the order to the Chef. The manager shouted back at the chef “Ache se banana, Bhai ka khana hai” (prepare the food well, it is for our brother). A feeling swept in that how respect worthy & important we were for this guy. How we sat in the place like we owned it, no formalities, nothing doing absolutely like a king. No 5 star in this world could match that, having eaten in best of the places but the kind of treatment was irreplaceable.

Now I fully understand when DJ (Amir Khan) says in Rang De Basanti “Mujhe University main hi rehna hai. University main apni ek aukaat hai. Log kehte hai DJ main badi baat hai kuch karega DJ. Universtiy ke gate ke is paar hum life ko nachate hai aur gate ke us par life humko nachati hai” (I want to remain in the university only. Inside the University I have a standing, people say DJ has something special about him, they know me who I am. They say I will achieve one day. On the insides of the gates we make the life dance on our tunes on the other side of the gate life makes us dance on her tunes).

I have had parties which have amounted more than my entire expenses at the NNC canteen for months. But still those restaurant people won’t even know what my name is. But is NCC canteen main, ithe to apni kuch aukaat hai. Log Jaante hai mainnu yahan par. (in this NCC canteen I have my own standings people know me here). NCC rocks!!!

Then & Now

A conversation with a very close friend, made me realize this. I know a lot of you would be aware of this, and a fact of the matter is even I know this but do I actually understand this. One thing which I think Indians, especially the young professionals who are getting exorbitant sounding salaries, need to learn from the America and Americans is the concept of debt in the economy. One thing which we learned from our parents was ‘Utne Paon Pasariye Jitni Chadar hoye’ (One should not spread his legs beyond the bed spread.) which actually means that one should not spend more than his available means.

However now around me, I see people with multiple credit cards total credit limits whooping in excess of there entire months or may be six months salary. To add toppings on this cake almost every second day I get calls on my phone I hear (not so sweet, decline in quality of call center talent is evident) voices who are willing to give me personal loans for foreign holidays, for buying diamond necklace for my ex-girlfriend with whom I broke up with almost a year ago and even for a third honeymoon when I am waiting for the first one to happen. With all this comes a temptation, a temptation to indulge now and pay for it later.

However the confidence of a high figure salary might just turn into over confidence with the cost of things which I enjoyed in a period of 15 years have changed.

1- I had a Samurai Video Game console which cost 3000 in 1996 now for the same I would like to have an X-Box which costs me 19000.

2- Whenever I used to eat out 10 years ago a Paneer Sabzi used to cost 30 bucks for a plate now it does 180 bucks.

3- We were proud owner of a Maruti 800 for which my dad always got laurels and was sign that he was well to do. These days I hardly see anyone flaunting something less than 1000000 in values. The zeroes can be added to the back of prices in a fashion similar to v’s in front of VIPs

4- The coffee I drank in 1999 was Nescafe and it made 100 cups for 50 bucks now my single cup in Barista costs me more than 50 bucks.

5- The usual rent for a 1100 sq ft house in 1995 used to be 1000-1200 bucks and now I am paying 15000

6- Previously a vacation used to be a train journey, sleeper class now the decision is tough do we fly Indigo or Jet.

7- I got my first computer in 1998 that was meager P1 processor based system with 32 MB RAM & 1 GB with a price tag of 55000 now I use a Centrino duo with 1 GB RAM and 60 HDD which cost rs 55000 (no wonder I love the computer and IT industry)

8- Treat used to be 27 bucks Vanilla Ice cream 1L brick now it Baskin Robbins or Gourmet Gelato with 65 buck for a single scoop (I don’t even know how many L is one scoop may be .1 )

9- Fuels used to be half of what they are right now.

10- Affairs used to be in love letters on 75 paise inland which ensured privacy. Last thing I would like to discuss is my phone bills when I had a girl friend to talk to.

So now I get more money and I spend more money so everyone makes more money. Anything to be very happy about arrgghh…. I don’t think so

Memorable Times

Some of my memorable time spent in a past few month would include these, missing my life and stepping forward to finding my identity. Hope these time come back to my life.

  • Tapping the keys of my laptop and see the collection of letters giving rise to what is my first story after almost 3 years.
  • Relearning very old lessons I had learnt the hard way “Relationships are like investment, get out of a bad one ASAP”
  • Going out on drives and trips near the places.
  • Going to one of the best places to eat, sitting on the corner seat looking down at the ground 7 floors below enjoying the view. Ordering without looking at the prices.
  • Walking back to my room in the rain sipping my cup of coffee
  • Talking to a friend to revive an old friendship which was left bruised in a war of unmatched ego.
  • Buying things for people who really matter.
  • Traveling in an early morning flight and see the rising sun beneath from the clouds.
  • Talking to close friends and accepting you were wrong.
  • Pampering myself with new condiments for my life.
  • Sleeping late on a Monday morning.

Change: The Universal Constant

When I was in third grade I guess I would have learnt this word called “change” which simply mean “to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone”. I never thought that how the word would change itself in style and meaning,

Third grade:
Change was a new 6 letter word, easy to spell. Teacher gives it in the dictation and I get an extra mark

Fifth Grade:
Time out for bicycles, Change was zooming through the city on my new bike.

Eighth Grade:
Change was the newly added F- words to my lingo and the sexy pictures on the debonair covers.

Tenth Grade:
Change was the board examination and growing awareness of my own self.

Eleventh Grade:
Change was the moustache and an option to take science as my career.

Twelfth Grade:
Change was being the senior most in the school and leaving the place where we spent 12 long years.

1st Year:
Change as being ragged and treated like shit. Change was the everyday changing crushes.

2nd year:
Change was the power to rag and Computers becoming my second life.

3rd year:
Change was being against everyone else you knew and still sticking to it. Change was my first girl friend.

4th year:
Change was getting my first job. Change was getting hooked to reading as a hobby which still exist.

MBA- I:
Change was a whole new world beyond computers and programming. Change was the power to express in this blog. Change was a powerful force. Change was what made the good company’s great.

MBA-II:
Change was traveling through flights instead of trains. Change was sitting on the window seats and see how small things become when you are 35000 feet high. Change was my first Goa Trip, change was my second job and my lost love. Change was the movies I started to love.

Workex year 1:
Change is shifting to aisle seats from window on planes. Change was the salary in my bank account. Change was the designation under my name. Change was the acknowledgement that I had so many new and old people in my life that mattered.

This has been my tryst with change so long, I don’t know if I have changed with the change or because of the change. I know one thing for sure, if there is one virtue I am ready to accept anytime and ready to for it is “Change”.

P.s. Where this is coming from, reading “Out of My Comfort Zone- Steve Waugh”, amazing lessons on how change can make you or break you. The question is Do you have the change? ;-)|

A Walk Down the Lanes of Yesterday

It has been 7 years when I last walked down that gate, and thought I would never return back. Have rushed across the familiar building a zillion but didn’t ever felt like strolling through those corridors. After seven years here I decided to go to the same building where I started my life. Almost a quarter of century and a journey where I have reached an end of being a student. I believe that I started my career from PCVN, because I really don’t remember anything much from my former school where I did my education till class III except for some people who joined with me to PCVN and one Mansi Khare (which my mom and dad will keep praising because of her good hand writing).

It was so nostalgic to walk in there, walk in those corridors, and classrooms where I have grown up got my education. The place which introduced me to computers, books and above all my friends which are still with me. I couldn’t believe when people say that I have changed a lot, my teachers could still recognize me. My class teacher from the eighth and ninth grade still remembered me and also remembered how I used to carry those diskettes with me all the time (p.s. CD ROM were not into fashion at that time and I used 3.5” floppies to carry my data). The librarian whom we used to call library ma’am was still there and told me that how she always knew that I used to bunk library classes to go and sit in computer lab. My English teacher was still as stylo and arrogant as she always used to be. Things had changed, lots of faces were new, and the ones which were not the age showed on them. Life changes a lot of things, when I walked through those corridors they were so familiar the grey stone and the red brick wall. The wall magazines of the houses placed towards the right. But none of the faces seemed familiar, I was just wondering the people who would be passing out now would have been fifth graders when I used to be in school.

It was so good when I saw genuine smiles on faces of people who had taught me when I was a kid. Such feelings and compassion hard to find in the professional world, when people celebrate your life and trivial achievement with pride not with just a passing smile. The 2 hours which I spent in the school were few of the best times of my vacation. No matter where I go and what I do I will always remember PCVN.