Tag: scared

Just open your eyes

The admin takes up 80% of the time. Arranging for water, electricity and gas. The basic utilities. In the office and the house. Only 20% of the time is left to do the actual work. Talk about growth. When the basics are not in place, how can any development happen?There is no water supply in the office. So the private tankers have to be called.  Ditto for the house. So much for the developing country. So much for the hype and hoopla raised by the political parties just before the elections.

The rejection from one’s own family is hard to digest. I guess that is the curse I have to live with all my life. That has been the greatest challenge, the most debilitating handicap. To top it,  Appu and myself have also been fighting. I do not know the reasons. We are just not ok with each other. So it is very tough to focus on work at the moment. Have not been reading. have not been learning anything new. The entire energy is channelized into somehow running the office and the house and complete the bare minimum activities to keep the show running. Need God to step in here. Loads of unmanageability.

Everyone is running after money and sex. But we do not talk about it openly in our country. Why can’t we accept that we want the money. Huge amounts of it. We talk about the crimes we can see. But we do not talk about the unseen emotional crimes committed in silence in millions of families in the name of love and respect. A betrayal most heinous. Every time a child is abandoned or abused, every time an infant girl is killed or molested, every time a child is humiliated, every time there is violence in any home, a crime is committed. Hence the rapes, the scams are just the tip of the iceberg. The larger picture is below the surface. Education happens in the families, not in the schools. When will we understand that? When will the mothers stop treating their sons like demi-Gods with freedom and license to rape? Every rape, every scam is a wake up call for us. But we are so used to living in a dream world and so scared of the pain of facing the reality that we refuse to wake up. The deep rooted problems will not go away just because some of us make a lot of hue and cry and create noisy drama.

Dekh lo yaar. Open your eyes. For once see what is real and what is not. It might be painful but at least the wound will be opened for healing and the pain just might go away. Like this it will keep festering for generations and we will be building a society where money, might and sex will rule.

Just open your eyes.

‘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.

‘Keval Prashn’

Hooliganism. Goonism. An effort by incompetent people to prove their worth. To fight unlawfully for what is not theirs lawfully. And to descend into the bottomless pit of violence, abduction and abuse at the slightest hint of being exposed,at the mere thought of their unworthiness, emptiness and fakeness being known. This is the so called educated lot we are talking about. The uneducated wield their ignorance and poverty as a weapon to get what they want, when they want it.

Kya desh hai hamara? We cannot respect work. We can respect caste, poverty, worthlessness. But we cannot expect or respect excellence in ourselves or others. We believe in labor act, in donations, in subsidy, in reservations. But we cannot inspire people to become worthy enough to stand on their own two feet. To earn what they deserve and not demand for what has not been earned. Poverty cannot, should not be treated as a halo of divine light. And neither is it a curse. Its ok to be poor. we should support people in changing that state but not by making concessions or giving them what is not due. But by making them worthy to be able to earn. To be able to value self-respect. Tall order for our country. The politicians are but a reflection of our masses.

Needless to say it was a bad day at the office yesterday. Threats, abuses, a grand show of impotence by incompetent guards, terminated employees who could not sustain two days of working in our office and the office peon who got so scared that he just locked the office and ran away. These are the men of our country. These are the men who can produce kids but cannot stand up and fight for what is right. They can marry, have sex, flirt but do not have the backbone to stand up and protect themselves and others. Izzat jaye to jaye, jaan to bacha lo. Needless to say that I had to rush to the office, re-open it, file police complaints and go through the same drill. Time and again.

It is tiring to deal with spineless people. Incompetent people. Scared people.

And what would ‘success’  in such an ‘impotent’ society mean?

Questions. Only questions.

‘Keval Prashn’

‘The last call’

My father visited us last evening. Me and Appu were happy to see him. It had been a long time. Just that he mentioned that my brothers’ turnover had crossed 8 crores and that my sister was receiving rent from her two houses apart from a very good salary from the government job that she holds. All in all, meaning that compared to them we were like BPL, below poverty line. Theek hai. Its OK. We are alive. We have survived. Should be enough for us.

Later in the night he shared how he was afraid to visit us. Afraid that we might reject him. It is sad. A father scared of visiting his daughter. What is there to say? I did not know I was so scary. Maybe I have grown some horns or a few thorns here and there.

I do not know how long is the walk,
I do not know whether there is any miracle waiting for us at the end,
Or if the end just lies in Nigambodh Ghat,
I do not know whether we are in the right direction,
or whether there is such a thing as right or wrong, light and darkness, truth and lies.

We walk because that is all we can do,
We show up for life every day, every moment because the rest is not in our ambit,
We do the best we can each day,
knowing that our absence will not cause any major upheaval in the universe,
That we are only a very miniscule part of the larger whole,
And hoping that we can contribute in some small way,
to create meaning for at least one life.

Before the final departure.

‘The last call’.

To get anchored

I am shouting and screaming. That means I am scared. Ok. Breathe. Its OK. Everything is alright. Everything is as it should be. The universe is taking care of everything and everyone. I am not responsible for the rotation of the earth. For the running of everyone’s life. And me and my daughter are also in safe hands. Don’t be scared. don’t be scared. Don’t be scared. We are safe. We are being taken care of. There is no need to shout. To try and control people or events. Be an observer. Just observe. Just watch.
Appu has left for Pune for a dance performance in a cultural fest with her group members. She was not too keen to go. I think she always worries that I will be left alone, not realizing that both of us are alone anyway. Both of us are living an ‘alone’ life in our own way. I am hoping that the performance goes well and that she has a good time. All the best Bebu.

Ashok is still upset with the arrogant behaviour of Hariom and Chandrakant. Kya kar sakte hain? I mean how can we change people’s attitude. I wish there was some way of judging and measuring the attitude of a person which is definitely not visible in any CV. And is certainly more important than any technical skill for creating success.
powerlessness. Surrender. Hands up. I can do nothing. HP, please take over.

Is my game up? Ho gaya bas? all that jazz about doing big things, about creating that one moment in life? What happened boss? Abhi phat rahi hai? Jaan nikal rahi hai?The reality is too hard to jump on? Sorry guys, my brain is just not centered at the moment. I just cannot look good or sound good at all.

Amma (our long time maid) is back with her nuisance and her controlling habits. Again an area to let go of. At least the lunch is assured. So there is an emotional and financial payoff. jhel lo.The weekend is here again. the weekly cleaning, repair,maintenance, rations. The good (??) times are here again. Smile. Atta, dal, chawal,bills. Smile again (I mean what else can we do!). And to top it my mobile has stopped working (Oh no!). dhandha kaise chalega? Hang in there buddy. You are so important. The clients will wait till your mobile gets repaired or you get a new one (you must be joking, right?)

I think I should stop writing. I am not making any sense (As if I make sense all the other days!). Its one of those days again. Bhenja is not in place. Need to get centered, anchored.

To get anchored.

And so I wonder

Sometimes I wonder,
what is more important,
to be happy or to be rich,
to be able to cook a good meal or to have a good looking balance sheet,
or maybe both,
to look good or to feel good,
to be real or to fake it to make it,
to be quiet or hide behind the noise,
Sometimes I wonder,
what it would be like to experience honest, clean, transparent relationships with no agendas, no manipulations,
what it would be like to share knowledge and wealth regardless of the geographical and individual boundaries,
Sometimes I wonder,
how a woman would feel if she were not objectified as a sex object in a mans’ world,
would her brain work better, would she become more beautiful, more confident, more feminine, more natural, less scared
Sometimes I wonder,
because I have a daughter just like many of us,
and I am not sure what kind of world I have brought her in,
I am not even sure if I did the right thing,
I do not know how to protect her and let her grow at the same time,
Sometimes I wonder,
if education could provide her that protection? or property, or martial arts or a marriage?
I do not know,
I only know what I have been through and I would not wish my enemies to experience that,
And so I wonder,
And truly what else can I do,

And so I wonder.

Pack up time

Appu did all the cleaning work last night. She cleaned the kitchen, made tea for me and served dinner for herself. She also created the flash file needed to upload the photographs of the team on the interface of prithvipraroop. And she forced me to watch a movie on TV (something that I have not done in a long time). Thank you Bebu. I was dead tired after getting the weekly rations for the office and getting the car repaired (yet again!).
We tried catching a play in the evening but we are mostly able to reach when the audience is giving a huge applause to the actors on stage. I mean we just barely catch the flavour.

Appu has her exams this week. And I have one everyday. To keep the phone lines ringing, to keep the roof over our heads, to keep the office space functioning and to see if have moved even one mm everyday in terms of work.

Chandan is not scared anymore of the online shop. He is getting there. It always is like this. Somethings look complicated for a long time and then one day, suddenly it all makes sense. The lesson is brought home. The trick is to not quit when the learning seems complicated. Chandrakant is getting more comfortable with the aviation projects. And Ashok is trying to work with open source GIS for a web based model.

Where are we? Have we taken the right path? Is there anything else we could have done? Any better path or turn that we missed. Questions with no clear answers. We just did our best, whatever that means. And anyway there is no pass or fail in the exam of life. We just either live or die. That is the only test. And in the end we have to die. So we all take turns at being winners and losers. Its just a cycle. Like any other cycle in the universe. What the hell am I saying? IDK. I don’t know. That is supposed to be a ‘cool’ answer. I don’t know.

Appu would love to attend the huge family functions that she sees her friends attend. But where is the family to be able to attend a family function? Maybe just the two of us is family. A little different. But nevertheless a family. What the hell is a ‘family’ anyway? Need to look up its meaning from the dictionary. Is it really such a powerful term or just a hyped up word for ‘other benefits’ just like a hyped up turnover.

Maybe by now, I should have done something more, achieved more, looked more you know ‘ being there’. But this is where I am. And it is still bloody hard to be here.

I guess the day is over and it is pack up time. we do not have one in the office so it is confusing.

Pack up time.

‘Peedha mein anand’

And our case rests.
Chandan is not scared of the additional responsibilities. Lack of fear is a good starting point. Chandrakant is also holding on. And Ashok is trying to connect the dots. Trying to create some covalent bonding in the team. Churning. And more churning. And yet more churning. At the end of it we will be like 99.99% pure distilled precipitates. Till then.
I was on a cheque signing spree in the office yesterday. Of course with no money in the bank. As yet. I mean it will come. Hopefully. Anyway, everything is about speculation. Everything, every event, every action is about ‘possibilities’. Even ‘life’ itself is about speculation. The odds of being alive against the odds of dying any moment. That is what we play with every second.
‘Religion’ is for people who do not wish to go to hell. And ‘spirituality’ is for people who have been to hell and back. I think similarly ‘GC’ is for people who have seen the ‘downside’ of ‘meaningless work’, ‘ lack of freedom’ and the ‘shit’ of a mundane routine with no challenges and no ‘vision’. It is not an experience which everyone can enjoy or appreciate.

I really love the following lines from the poem ‘Madhushala’ of ‘Harivansh Rai Bachhan’.

‘Madiralay jaane ko ghar se chalta hai peenewala,
Kis path se jaoon, asmanjas mein hai woh bhola bhala,
Alag alag path batlaate sab, par mein ye batlata hoon,
Raah pakad tu ek musafir, pa jayeega madhushala,

And last but not the least:

‘peedha mein anand jise ho, aye meri madhushala’.

‘Peeda mein anand jise ho’.

A single breath

The ‘men’ are managing the office. That is what we had planned a long time ago. That the ‘men’ should be in the front. That I (i.e a woman) should be at the backend. That is how the world prefers it. We have a senior accountant who is mature and very down to earth. We also have a junior accountant to support him. Amazing. A couple of days ago we had no accountant at all. I guess we are extremists. All or nothing. We also have an experienced HR/Admin manager. And the senior accountant and HR manager are being able to work in alignment which is awesome. It means the company is in safe hands, there are fewer phone calls for me and a little less stress. Hopefully, this weekend will be better than the last one where I reached my breaking point.

The bankers are ‘pleased’ with our performance ( as long as their instalments are paid !). It is time to renew our working capital limits and for once they have a positive attitude. We had forgotten to give our newsletter to them and so in his next meeting, Anand (the senior accountant) promptly presented a copy to all the senior officers in the bank and it appears that they are ‘mildly’ impressed. At least the newsletter has served some purpose. So it is that we have submitted the required documents to the bank and this time round we are not scared. We are sure that the bank will do its best to support us in our growth (kaunsi growth bhai? of course financial. They have nothing to do with our emotional or spiritual growth!)

Dimpi has done some amazing things with the online shop. Without any formal training, she has been able to make changes in the X-cart, the software behind the online shop and in the home page of our official website. We have formally launched the height map for Mumbai, PHBAAS and needed the heading along with the write-up on our home page and she has been able to upload it alongwith the editing in the graph. well done Dimpi. We presented her with a certificate for the best ‘project team lead’ yesterday.

Yesterday was friday ( a day when a chosen team member does the cooking for the evening) and Kamakhya cooked a special Assamese dish with steamed rice. It was very delicious and a welcome change from our daily routine of dal,chawal,sabzi. Good work Kamakhya. Of course, now Ajay (The HR manager) has introduced a ‘pizza lunch’ which means that every thursday afternoon, pizzas are ordered for lunch. It is Ajay’s turn next friday and he has said that he would require to take some cooking classes from his wife for doing it. He also mentioned that traditionally in his family, the ‘men’ never entered the ‘kitchen’ which was essentially a womans’ domain but that he was breaking this tradition and had no issues in helping his wife. That is extra brownie points for you Ajay. That indicates a lot of open mindedness, tolerance and compassion.

Still waiting for a breakthrough in projects. A new airport is coming up in Navi Mumbai so PHBAAS will need some additional work. Another proposed radar in Mumbai. Will the radars ever leave us in peace?
We are planning to prepare some special maps for the online shop depicting constituency boundaries for the elections for the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Narendra Rana has been asked to take U turn and leave the creation of the traditional maps for a later stage. Since we have already advertised for the position of a GIS executive to assist in the online shop, he will have the required additional support.

Most of the bills for this month have been paid. Thank God. Of course there is the next month but that is tommorrow. For today, we are safe. We are not being thrown out of the office or the house and that is good. Very good.

Today is all that matters. This moment.
This breath which differentiates the living from the dead.

A single breath.

Back to the basics

Today is just one of those days. A day of ‘grief’.  For all that did not work out. For all that was lost. From all that I had to walk away from.  There is a sense of ‘tiredness’ from facing the consequences of ‘taking a stand’ all the time.  Its like winning and losing. Its as if we have won and lost at the same time. What has been lost to win has been huge. In the process of surviving, we have died. There is this huge need to cry, that is if tears come.

This is also perhaps a day of ‘amends’. For my freind and batchmate ‘Mamta Anand’ who was killed by a man who claimed to love her. She had come to do M.Tech and I was in the final year of my B.tech.  We became friends and she shared with me that she needed to move away from her boyfriend as he was very controlling and abusive.  Once after spending a weekend with him, she came back early morning, scared to death. She shared that he had pointed a revolver to her head and threatened that if she did not obey him and stay with him, he would kill her. I took it very lightly. I believed that ‘love’ meant not hurting the one you loved. I was wrong. Then and many times again.He did kill her. By offering  ‘laddus’ laced with arsenic on the occasion of ‘diwali’. The irony was that he had taken permission from his parents to meet her. He was the son of a sitting MP with a lot of political clout. Mamta’s father believed in ‘Gandhivaad’ and ‘non-violence’. He asked Mamta to be gentle with him even if she wanted to leave him and to give him time to get over her. That was a the biggest mistake he made. He apologized to his daughter but only after her death. And I could not even do that as I was part of the IIT system and the entire affair was hushed up. It would have been blasphemous to tarnish the name of IIT Kanpur, the most hallowed institution in the country. I was not allowed to meet her parents, attend her funeral or give testimony in court. And in all probability, her killer is now married and well settled.

I am sorry Mamta. I was myself too scared and without support at that point to take on the system. It is a flimsy excuse. But I hope to get another chance to be able to finish the unfinished task. And this time round I will not dither to take a stand.

Sandeep has nearly finished the survey and should be back soon. We have been able to pay the salaries on time this month. This is huge for us. A great milestone. The office space is decent. For once there is no immediate crisis on the horizon except in the house. Amma has become too arrogant to live with and I have to allow her to leave. The water purifier has conked off, a glass shelf in the refrigerator is broken and the gas as ususal is over. I am sure there is another endless list of pending jobs. Deep breath.

I will do just what I can today.

Back to the basics. And doing the next right thing.


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