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‘Take it or leave it’

Long time.  Difficult to take time out for the best things in life. Like spending time with Appu, a walk in the park, writing, listening to music, connecting with a Higher Power. It is easier to lose oneself in this mad frenzied race for name, fame, money. And we have been working nights and days. Continuously. Without a break.

A lot has happened. We have shifted office. After umpteen iterations of re-doing the same interior  work to achieve a minimum level of acceptability. It is a big and lovely office.Sometimes when I work alone in the night, I think ‘ ki hamari toh itni aukat nahin hai’. It is a dream which has come true. We have a good working space.  The team has walked out once again. Its easier to take the exit route under pressure. Its easier to walk away when there are deadlines and committments to keep. Very few men and women who are truly professionals. Who refuse to quit when the going gets tough.

My parents still think that I am sleeping around to make money. That a few men are funding me, since I am incapable of standing on my own two feet, at least in their eyes. I guess I will have to die with this dis-respect. The biggest crimes, the worst dis-respect always begins from home. The dis-respect from the world is always very small compared to the rejection from people who are supposed to care for us and do not or cannot.

Appu has decided to live on her own to get some focus on her life, away from me, away from GC. Very courageous act. Very lonely. For both of us. She needs space to grow up. But it is difficult to let go of one’s child. Difficult to accept that they need permission to live their own life according to their choices and face the consequences.

The elections, the netagiri, the speeches, the empty promises, the comparisons, the hope and the shattering of expectations again and again. It is very difficult to accept the truth. That no one can change our lives. We have to be our own messiah. Our own saviours. No one can bring about a miracle in our lives except ourselves and a Higher Power. People can support us. But no one can change our life for us. That responsibility is solely ours.

But it is easier to expect someone else to take responsibility for us. So we keep looking for a leader. For a saviour. Without becoming one ourself. This is a dream. An illusion. A mirage.

There is only one reality. Only one path. Only one choice.

To be a leader. In our own life. Because we can only choose the right leader when we become a leader ourselves.

Take it or leave it.

 

 

 

 

Any buyers?

The rapes, the drainage, the bribes, the abuse on the roads, in the families, the rot of the politicians, the glamourous malls and the shit behind them, the sale of mind body and soul.

There is truly no point in bringing more children into this country. Specially girls. They are not safe in their own families, on the roads, in their professions. Barring a few who are able to prove their mettle beyond reasonable doubt, the majority are always at risk. Any  father of a girl can have no peace of mind, ever. Izzat ke liye izzat becho. For gaining false respect in society, we have to give up on our self respect.

Aur is sab ke beech mein zinda rehna. Just to stay alive is a task. And what would success mean in a rotting society? Does it matter? When there there is so much of poverty of ‘thought’ all around, what would it mean to have a lot of money or fame or name?

Where are the young men and women of character? with a purpose? with a mission? Who can live and die for what they believe in? The youth of today change jobs for money, for glamour. Wish to make a quick buck without the hard work, change girlfriends faster than the websites they search, have no respect for education or research or seniors. How can they hold the future of this country in their hands? And what future are we offering to them anyway? A future where everything has a price? Relationships, career, sex? Everything can be bought if only you have enough money?

The lanes of the colonies we live in are jam packed with long limousines. There is no space to walk, leave alone cycle or play. And the more number of houses/cars one has, the greater the respect. Chalo bhaiya, sab cocaine bech lete hain. Let us buy houses, land, cars by hook or by crook. Ajeeb pagalpanti hai. Complete madness.

Daaru for votes, for elections is being distributed. Money, blankets, empty promises. That is all it takes to buy our vote. We are so cheap.

We are dying. All of us. And yet we wish to prove that we are a huge success. Every moment. Acting kar kar ke thak nahin gaye yaar?

We need some leaders and fast. leaders ready to die to make a change. Leaders with no political ambitions. No greed of the chair.

Everything is for sale.

Any buyers?

 

‘A letter to Mom’

The day just gone by happened to be my biological birthday. Nothing great about it. I do’nt even think that I have had a spectacular innings or have broken any world records. All I can honestly say for all these years is that ‘ we survived’. Me and Appu. Appu and me. Whichever way.

But Appu thinks otherwise and she and ‘The Team’ at the office decided to throw a surprise party for me with lunch and it was very touching and inspiring. No fakeness. Just down to earth affection and caring. No huge gifts or glamour. A huge potted plant from a nursery ( because of my love for plants) and an illuminated portrait of Krishna( as they saw the Bhagwad Geeta) on my table. Very thoughtful. The best part was that that everyone from Sunita ( who cooks food in the office)  to Sana ( who takes care of the phone and various admin issues) to Rajesh ( the guard) to the technical guys, Rajat and Soma, all came together as a team. This bonding was beautiful. And the ‘sutradhar’ of course was Appu who also choreographed the show in anonymity. Myself, who claims to know every little event that happens in the office had no clue that this get together was being organized.

Thank you guys. For the team spirit you displayed. For the bonding. For the TLC (tender loving care).

My father called. Wished me. Asked me to save some money for the rainy days. So far so good. Then the same tape. My classmates were making so much more money than me. ( So what papa? It is ok. I have my dignity, work that I like doing and Appu. We have a decent life, we are self supporting). And then some more. You should not make friends ( what you mean is ‘men-friends’, right? But where were you when I was alone, without money for any treatment even when I was sick? Did you think then that I could get used or abused by men/women alike? Aaj yaad aya aapko? Aaj aap advice de rahen hai?). It is Ok papa. You could not be there for reasons best known to you. I have stopped judging you. Please stop judging me. We did our best, you and me.

What I also remember from the day gone by is that my mother never called me. I wish I could write to her and ask: ‘ Mom, would you have loved me if I had made more money? Or if I had been more successful in the world outside? Or had more name and fame? Would you have loved me if I had been more of a traditional daughter? Would you have loved me if I had stayed in my marriage despite knowing that it had broken up long ago? I tried you know. For a long time. To make you happy. Even if I was dying inside, I wanted you to be happy. And then somewhere I gave up. Do you even know when I gave up trying?

It was that moment when I had no money, no husband, no place to hide myself or my daughter. I called you. You came with Dad. And then you said that it was all my fault that my marriage broke. My fault that everyone left. And so I had to face the consequences on my own. You drove away with Dad and I was running behind your car. Till I was tired. At that moment I knew I was alone. For better or for worse. That it was just me and God. That you were never there. And it was at that moment I accepted that I had no Mom. I loved the title of Mom. but there was no one there. never had been for a long time.

So I guess you just gave birth to me and forgot. I do not know if I need to be thankful to you for giving me birth or resentful for abandoning me.

And so , I really do not know how to be a Mom to Appu. I just keep trying to not do, what you did to me. Maybe that is not enough. I do not know.

Maybe someday I will have the courage to write that letter or ask you face to face: ‘Why the hell did you abandon me’?

Someday, I will write.

A letter to Mom.

‘In the end’

So scared.

Of what?

Of losing it all. The name, the fame, the fakeness,the cloak of respectability, ‘samajik pratishta’(social respectability).

What about sanity? Are you worried about losing your peace of mind, your sanity?

No. I mean they will come with the money, right?

What if it’s not really a package deal. What if decisions based purely on the ‘money factor’ backfire?

How will this spiritual discourse help us pay the bills? For God sake, get real. We do not wish to bag any Oscar awards here. OK, Can you hear that? We just need the bank (or is it banks) not breathing down our backs, we need the rents paid, the telephone bell ringing in the office, the salaries paid. If you have to kill, just kill man. What is all the song and drama about? Don’t you see that is does not matter why you wish to kill. It does not matter to the banks how you make the goddamn money. It does not matter to society how you bought that bloody long limousine. You are a star if you have been able to do it, by hook or by crook. And who does not wish to be a star? And what is wrong with wanting to be a star?

Apna discourse lekar kahin aur jaao bhaiyya. leave us alone. Allow us to do our job, that of making more money. Everyone wants a good package these days and we have to be able to give it to them. team kaise banegi? Never mind that most of us have our ‘fundas gol’, never mind that most of us do not have the required capabilities but ‘package’ toh chahiye na.

Fast Forward. We are trying to do something different with GIS here. We are trying to change a process. We are re-inventing the wheel. We are trying to use a technology for greater accuracy, faster results and lesser costs. And the dinosaurs of the trade are rattled with us.  And therefore we are a threat. And therefore we are un-employed with our oxygen fast running out. And maybe that is what the powerbrokers want. To kill us. Silently. No sign of our blood on their hands.

Now we understand. Why our path has been so difficult. Why it is so difficult for people to work with us. We are treading a different path. We are trying to create a new path. We are trying to prove that GIS technology does not belong to the ‘Aloo Pyaaz Ki Mandi’.

We are demonstrating that we are passionate about GIS and what it can do. That we are romantically involved with it. And that we can win the game with a new set of rules. And create history in the international world by developing new applications and not just doing the outsourced underdog’s manual work of digitization and what have you.

And that we are willing to die in the process. Just so our lives mean something.

In the end.

Just be

Chief Engineer PACT, Lucknow has sent another letter to the bank asking for money against the bank guarantee submitted by us in 2009. Pray, what were you guys doing between 2009 and now? Did you answer any of our letters? Did you communicate with us in anyway? Did we ever refuse to do any additional work or rectification even after our final submission? We completed the project at the cost of incurring huge losses and yet PACT has withheld 5% of our payment for no reason. And this after we wrote to them again and again for returning our original bank guarantee and offering to do more rectification of the work already submitted, if required. But I guess it is not about work. Somewhere in our communications their lack of work ethics has been challenged. And someone’s ego (male of course) has been bruised. And hence we need to be damaged in whichever way possible. Be it the encashing of the BG. Be it the withholding of our payment or be it refusing to provide us with a completion certificate. It is like a group of impotent men trying to rape a woman.
Maybe the funding of the world bank is over. Maybe by the end of the elections in UP, many of the key people will lose their chairs, hence this last minute drama. To take revenge before quitting. The BG submitted expired on Jan 3, 2012. And the letter was apparently dispatched on Jan 2, 2012 without any intimation or communication with us for over two years. Gross misuse of power, of authority. But what is new? It happens all the time. First the bankers were unhappy with us because we were incurring losses in the execution of the project. Now the client is damaging us by mis-using the BG submitted. And we say we live in a democratic country with equal rights and freedom. Bullshit.

We are going to protect ourselves now. We will file a legal notice to protect ourselves and our hard earned money. Even if we have no money to fight, we are getting ready to retaliate.

We need work. And we need to feel more inspired. And we need lawyers, bouncers, politicians to really get going. All the people that are currently not with us. But the big question is whether they will want to be with us. We have no name, fame, big money. Nothing to offer. To charity karne koi kyun aayega?

Holi time. gujiya, chutti, madness. celebrating festivals. our only chance to be happy. fake it to make it. something to cover the pain. the cracks in our relationships. Anything to forget reality. be it opium or drugs or festivals or religion or work or money or power. Any escape route will do.

lecture dene se to hum winner nahin ban jayenge. Keep it for next time. focus.
focus on what? just this moment, just now.

just be.



‘Nothing’

Appu has left to be with her father and grandparents on Holi. Good for her. She is mostly on her own here and being with an important part of her family will perhaps take away some loneliness. Taking decisions, taking a stand, what a toll it has taken.
Enough I guess.
No more fighting what is. what could be. God is in charge. Definitely not me. A lot of people have problems with me because I am a woman. I cannot change that. I have a lot of problems with people because they do not speak what is in their hearts. They shy away from the truth. The truth could shatter a lot of myths. So by keeping quiet we manage to get by. To survive.
I have shared the truth of my life with my batchmates of IITK, 1988 batch. I have also asked them to support us in whatever way they can. Almost all of them have responded. And some of them are planning to visit the office soon. I had thought of doing this once. A long time ago. When myself and Appu were on the roads. And when my parents refused to support me. But I did not have the guts. I wanted no one to know that I was in deep shit. So the thought came and left. I sold everything I could, except myself. I have to keep reminding myself that it is over. We are not on the roads. Not anymore. That we are safe. And taken care of.

I have been shouting and screaming a lot lately. Appu says I need a soundproof room. In the house and in the office. My mind says: what would be the cost sweetheart? The cost. There is a cost to everything. I have learnt that the hard way. There is a cost for being honest. There is cost for not pleasing people. There is cost to just living on this planet, apart from the bills of course.
I do not think we are after money or power. Its just that life becomes very easy on many fronts if there is excess money and power. It is as if with money, we can move from the Newtonian frame of reference to the Non newtonian frame of reference. Many laws,rules and regulations which are applicable in the Newtonian frame do not apply in the Non newtonian frame of reference. And then it is easier to make even more money (and mayhem). Nobody wants to know how that money has been earned (until it is too late in the day to hide a scam or the deeper politics behind it). We bow to money, to power and to a portrait of Gandhi. makes us look good you know. If we could just respect ‘time’ more than ‘money’, we would not have to deal with corruption and bribes.

We have finished the first phase of calculations for the site in Mumbai. We are also very close to testing the software module for the Santa Cruz airport. And Gagan is struggling with the kind of maps to be launched in the online shop. The basis are in place for the online shop. We just need to keep adding different and good quality maps.
We are in the process of re-structuring the team (please have one first!). I mean we are trying. More interviews (Oh God! Not again).

Dear God, please bless us.
What do you want my child, time or money?

we don’t know. What will we do with time and no money?
And what will we do with money and no time?
I mean what about a negotiation here?
A combination you know. A deal.
Wait wait God. do not just walk away like that. Let us think.
can we talk?

No, my child we cannot talk. We cannot do a deal here. You have to choose.
Keep thinking. maybe clarity will dawn when you reach Nigambodh ghat.

Nigambodh ghat?

Yes, the final destination.
When nothing else matters. The houses built, the name and the fame earned or unearned. The matches, won and lost. Nothing matters.

‘Nothing’.



A metamorphosis

Just feeling very tired. Bang in the beginnig of  new year. And irritated with anyone and everyone. Also spaced out. Appu is upset with my behaviour. So am I. Running the house. Quite a task I must say. So is running a business, small or big. To do it on a daily basis is humugus. Jaan nikal jati hai. Need some help here. O what would I give to feel feminine again!

So much of hue and cry over the outward manifestation of ‘corruption’. The ‘bribes’, ‘commissions’. ‘paybacks’ are all symptoms of a deeper malaise. The ‘corruption’ exists in our minds. Uski surgery kaise karoge? The ‘media’ selling ‘soft porn’, projecting the possession of latest gizmos as the only sign of success’ ,apart from of course a beautiful girl hanging on your shoulders. Everyone would want to look good, to look successful and what could be a quicker way to achieve that than ‘getting easy money and quickly’. Go below the surface. The disease is of ‘wanting more and more’. The root cause is not corruption. The root cause is ‘greed’, is in wanting ‘to look good’, ‘to be on the fast track for name.fame,money,power’.

The team is still here. No one has quit. Till now. Achhi baat hai. Quite an achievement in itself. Hariom has committed to reading the guidelines. So has Chandrakant, I hope. Ritesh and Chandan are busy with the online shop and the payment gateway integration. The UK company hosting our sites is shutting down. So we need to very quickly transfer the sites to another hosting company before the 9th. Another crisis situation. Jhel lo bhaiyya. ‘Crisis’ is familiar. Being in ‘crisis’ is like being in a ‘comfort zone’. And being in ‘comfort zone’ would be like being in a ‘crisis’, being ‘uncomfortable’. Ulta chakkar hai.

The rations have been bought. Appu is not well. The bills are pouring in and the clients are not responding. They are still in celebration mode and ushering in the New Year. Ho gaya bhai. The New Year has arrived and so have the bills. Let us get back to work. Cake ho gaya, daaru ho gayi, party ho gayi. Its over. I mean the party time. At least for us.

I need a break. No I think I need a smoke. No, that would only increase the expenditure and where is the turnover to support that?

Maybe I should just keep quiet, let the world go about its business, let the earth rotate and just be.

From being a monster to being a saint. Sounds good.

From a monster to a saint.

A metamorphosis.


‘To herald new beginnings’

Debt, equity,funding, venture capital,angel investor, angel. Angel, where is the angel? Dur dur tak koi angel nahin hai (Please look carefully yaar, maybe we cannot see the angel). My brain got jammed last night. Too may equations with too many variables. Multivariate analysis. Just needed  a cocoon of silence. Could not connect with Appu also.

What the hell do we really want in our lives. Money, name, fame,sex,power? lal batti ki gadi? VIP treatment? What do we want? For GC to grow, getting known publicly, have excess money? No, we wish to be self supporting. emotionally, spiritually and financially. For Appu to be happy and free. For us to be able to live with self respect. And to reach here, what a path we have to follow. And how difficult it becomes on a day to day basis. Forget the day. On a moment to moment basis.

Still struggling with the payment gateway integration for the online shop. We were planning to make the shop completely functional before the arrival of the New Year. But HP has to step in now. Cannot do anything to control the outcome/s of events in our life. Jab hoga tab hoga. Read Chapter 15 of ‘Bhagwaad Gita’. Very useful in such times. And anyway good things take time. Hariom needs to read the guidelines. So does Chandrakant. I have done some shouting and screaming in the office regarding the issue. Hopefully, it will have some effect for at a least a short while. Unless we have all become shameless. Ritesh is still here. Chandan is committed  to getting the shop moving with the constituency maps for the upcoming assembly elections. Best of luck Chandan. Keep the energy flowing.

‘Tenders’, dekh lo yaar. Take a look. At least try and bid again in one of them. Very unwanted path. Dekh lete hain. We will see. Worse come to worst. Shove come to push. We will have to do what it takes. To live.

New Year, party, celebration. All for just passing the time. True celebration would be of the spirit. In aloneness. In quietness. In peace.

Celebration of the spirit.

To herald new beginnings.


Still searching

The beginning of the week. And there is tiredness of the mind and hence the body. And there is fear. Of the future. Of the unknown. Of tommorrow. Very low faith levels. Need to have more faith. I guess need HP to step in right now and take over. The big things and the small.

Ashok has apologized and is back in the team. I truly hope this team has what it takes to win a match, a battle. Let me correct that. Not ‘a match’ but a series of ‘matches’. Not ‘a battle’ but a series of battles. Every moment, every day, every month and every year.
Had a meeting in Dwarka yesterday with Mr. Dhunta. He has written many books and is a known authority on ‘GPS’. I am hoping he can help us with some much needed ‘gyan’ on the working of the instruments at the airports. The larger part of the day was spent in travelling for the meeting and hence the rations for the office were bought by the office boys. Good for me.

There is a sense of emptiness. A void inside. And it seems nothing can fill it. name,fame,money. wine,women,wealth. The void refuses to go. And yet we keep running. towards something, away from ourselves. Running fast provides us with a false illusion of doing something worthwhile. It does not matter what we are running for. The direction in which we are runing. All that matters is the running. Bacause stopping can be much more painful. To stop would mean that we would need to do a reality check on our lat-long. To accept where we are. And then to change that. And that would take herculean effort. It may also mean losing our illusions leading to pain. And so, to avoid pain and loss, we keep running.

Appu has hurt her toe in the dance performance and we may need to a visit to the doctor. OK. What needs to be done, needs to be done. There is water in the house. And atta. The plants are ok. And the rent for this month is paid. So far so good.

Get work. Do it. Get the money. pay the bills. and then pay the taxes. And somewhere in the middle of all this, convince ourselves that we are happy. That we are doing great. Urban chaos.

Searching for a larger motive to be. Search.

Still searching.


‘The Direction’

The noise. All around. It is deafening. On the roads. In the office. In the malls. In the house. In the head. It is difficult to hear one’s own voice because it is so small, so silent. And because we are running all the time. From people. From ourselves. A mad crazy race for numbers,things,fame, name. All that is transitory and meaningless.

Its a sunday and for once I do not have to get the rations. Ajay (The HR manager) has taken the responsibility to do it. I always get the ‘atta, chawal’ from the ‘chakki’ but I managed to finsh that on friday. The major cleaning exercise of the office was finshed on saturday, our weekly cleaning day. The doormats were washed, the pantry and toilets were scrubbed and an antivirus scan was done for all the computers. So I can go for a long walk today and spend some time with the trees.

Appu was extremely unwell last evening with a splitting headache and symptoms of food poisioning but she is better today and that is a relief.
She has her dance performance scheduled in Pilani and she is very excited about it. Their practice is on in full swing and the costumes are also ready. She will leave for Pilani with her team on the 19th. I am very happy for her.

‘Work’ is still elusive. But there are talks in process and there is hope. And ‘hope’ is a good thing. It is the only ‘thing’ sometimes.
Bills, responsibilities, work, money, looking good.
I guess we are in the right direction. And maybe that is all that matters.

‘The direction’.


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