Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Me

Since roshan (aka The Doc) had tagged me in the "seven interesting things about me" department, i am left with no option but to say the least worst things about me cause believe me, my life's no moral science book mates ;)... so here they are without further ado:

i scratch your back, you DON'T scratch mine: I do walk around with this "i am better than thou attitude". So, while i shower my friends with generous dosages of help, i refuse to take help from them. I guess it must be some crazy habit i picked up many years back when memory was vague and foggy. I simply can't explain it. An extension of this strange behavior was when i came down to bangalore in search of a job, my friends suggested faking the resume and taking references, to which i staunchly refused (Ironically, my first I.T. job happened when i caved into the reference pressure. It was either that or going back to live with my parents. Brrrr! ;)

dust particles enter my eyes when i see mushy, makes-you-cry movies:
Okay! i admit it's quite embarrassing when i have this urgent need to cry a river when i am watching film scenes involving loss of a loved one or the poignant separation of lovers blah blah blah. I mean, i even cried while watching the animated movie shrek which means i am beyond redemption. When one of my work colleagues came to know of it, she told me that men should never cry. I retorted with "i bet you make the exception for Shah Rukh Khan" and i added "you double standard !@#$%^" not quite aloud.

my smile:
during my early twenties, i realized that i had the God-given gift of stopping people in their tracks like forest deers caught in high beam head lights when i smiled at them. I kind of learned of this by accident when i showed my dimples to a girl in the office and she mouthed the words "nice smile". And i was like, whoa! when i tried the same in the mirror :)

i eat implies i read:
talk about multi-tasking. This habit's one i definitely don't regret having around since i can get twice the amount of work done if i read something while i am eating. And somehow the food tastes better when i read fantasy like Lord of the Rings or the Wheel of Time series. But my parents insist that its dis-respect to the food when i do this. Hah! i say and i get back to burying my nose in said book and my mouth into breakfast/lunch/dinner.

a gallon of tea, please:
my grandma (mom's mom) used to replenish my beer-mug-sized-tea-cup all the time when i used to stay with her. And that's how i got addicted to the thing. And when i ordered my first Rs. 2 half-tea from the authentic tea-shop over here in bangalore, i squinted at the tiny cup (and the even lesser amount of tea) and asked myself: "thats it?"

people open up to me easily:
i had heard this urban legend that said that if you had a disability, you will be gifted with some other talent which would more than make up for your deficiency. And since i have the advantage of not taking my ears for granted (courtesy of moderate hearing loss which i am diagnosed with), it came as a very big surprise to me when people started to talk to me about things which they don't usually talk about. After they are done, they usually add the comment "I don't know why i told you this" to which i nod and say, "Its a gift". Must be that i concentrate on the person when they start to speak since i am not so fortunate in the hearing department and this signals to the person that he/she has a captivate audience in this person. I also tend to nod my head like a wise old sage when i agree and/or understand what they had said. Frankly, i don't give a damn about this scientific explanation and just like to think that Listening is my Talent :).

the ABCD aka arab born confused desi:
well, i was born outside india for starters (U.A.E. to be vaguely specific and sharjah to be kinda accurate). While i was young, and since both my parents were taking on the big bad world through their careers, i used to be baby-sitted by a goan family where they fed me english as a first language. My parents half-jokingly tell us that they had to learn english because they couldn't understand what their own children were talking about ;). And when i used to go to kerala for the holidays, i used to feel a little odd among my cousins. Defensive action was in order and whenever someone made fun of my accent, i would give them them the same stare of disgust i'd give to someone who said a racist joke and they would sputter into embarrassing mumbles. If someone asked me whether i knew malayalam, i would say that i did know enough to marry a mallu babe ;). Later, i took it in my stride after i had learned to accept myself for who i was (and i was not THAT bad considering my above average intelligence and obvious charm :P).

And since i have to pay this tag forward, the ;) unlucky losers are: reji, reni, hemlyn, pravin, kalpana, georgi, and arnab

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Journey So Far

i looked back on what was
And i realized that
now was not the end,
but just another would-be past

26 years... thats a lot of seconds in there. But then i dont feel comfortable thinking in seconds. They always seem to have the knack of slipping through my fingers when i am doing something... or maybe i am old enough to put on the "time flies fast" mindset. Well, as long as i dont spout those "in my days" lines, i think i'll do just fine.

So, what's the story so far, you ask? Time for a timely flashback:

Just Another "Boy Who Lived"
The tale starts with a kid born in sharjah and named Rejoy. There's a lot of stories revolving round the name given to me. The most official one, according to Dad is that, when i, his first born child, came into this world, i gave him joy again. After this sound explanation was given to me, i used to always wonder what was Dad's first occasion of happiness before i had happened. It was not until several years later that i realized that that must have happened exactly 9 months before i flew out the womb. You do the math :).

The Wonder Years
Most of my time in this category was devoted to what stories i could make up so that i could act them out with my toys. Major sources of inspiration were cartoons for the action elements and hindi movies for ideas on romance (i shudder even thinking of the latter. Remember, we are talking of times when mithun chakraborty was cavorting round trees).
And then , there were my sisters. Yeah, we used to fight a lot just like very many siblings. Rejy and me used to find some insane pleasure in scaring the shit out of Reni which would lead the youngest to screaming "MUMMY!!!" for divine intervention.
Other than that, I used to be a hungry little kid (I still am, but now there's that thing called self-control fortified with "what will girls think of me if i am nothing but a fat ass" syndrome). I use to eat and eat cause there was nothing else to do. And Mom used to enjoy keeping me satisfied. Add this to the fact that Reni was not a big fan of eating and i used to "help" her in eating her meals and you had a Big Boy in the making. Dad later told me that he and his family had suffered financially during his teenage years (when his father had passed away), and during those times, they would rarely get to eat. He had vowed then that it wouldn't happen to his own family.

School Ties
And thats how i transformed into hulk, without the super-dooper strenght and even cooler leaping-capacity, by the time i hit high school. Strangely, this never effected my social standing in school. I mean, my classmates and teachers loved me cause i was too nice and always right. My grades were never as high as in during those days. I even topped the charts... er 10th grade in my school. Life was good except for the -11 powered pair of glasses i had to lug around.
Around this time, i was also diagnosed with partial hearing loss (which would later turn out to be a recurring theme in my mind and the source of all my frustration to lead a normal life... the day i made my peace with this issue was when someone commented "the one thing I noticed about rejoy is that he gives you his undivided attention when you are speaking to him"... ha! finally! i totally kicked my ear's ass :P)

Rebel Without a Cause
And along came college, and... the typical rebellion phase. I labelled myself the black sheep of the family and started practicing debates with Dad and Mom, questioning their way of doing things and more importantly, their way of making me do things. When i got my driver's license, i used to literally drive my dad to desperation as i sped along the roads in sharjah on our mitsubishi pajero.
Studying suddenely became less important. I used to read up everything else except books on computer engineering on which i was doing my degree.
Luckily, my teenage angst never went so far as to making me pick-up smoking, boozing or drugs.
My friend Thomas made this ride a little easier. Thanx dude!
side note: at around this time, the lasik center in coimbatore did their bit in making my life easier by blasting laser into my eyes and giving me my eyes back. Thanks to dad for sponsoring this major life turning event. i remember the moment when dad saw me for the first time without glasses after this and told me that i looked like hritik now ;)... it was august the 15th that day and certain independence from the damned spectacles that have been weighing me down for almost a decade.

The Other Silicon Valley
After 23 years of sharjah, i got tired of the place and thought that a change of scenery would do me good. And there was the chance to enjoy the much dreamed about concept called independence. So, i came down to Bangalore looking for work. After a short stint at a call center, i moved into the software industry. Its been more than 3 years and i am still here trying to make the most of it.

The Moral of the Story
If i have to be honest with myself, i have a long way to go yet. There is this matter of career still having to lift off. But boy have i learned a LOT about life by just throwing myself out there. I learned about friendship: Denny, Naveen, Sampath, Sanal, Prakyath, Ajai, were few of the many chaps who made the process easier. Thanks fellas. Learned about falling in love, and getting up quickly after it :). Learned about money and expenses: theory's not enough for this one guys. Learned about patience: you need to go through the furnace to get even a drop's worth of tolerance but its worth it in the end. Learned about family: distance doesn't matter as long as you keep in touch. Learned about happiness: how its really a choice, even if a very hard one in the face of circumstances trying their best to make you frown. And that just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. And the moral of the story is: a very happy birthday to me (you deserve it, old guy :).

PS: seems like the number of messages in my orkut scrapbook peaked today (and a molehill of the same in facebook when compared with orkut's mountain). Thanks for the wishes guys. But then again, i can see the dangers of having lots of friends since i had to reply to each of them. ouch :)