Thursday, November 24, 2005

A priceless conversation I would treasure

I, Raja Baradwaj have never been a woman’s man. I have always had my share of problems with women, big huge problems. Those never qualified me a macho, a chauvinist or a womankind hater. The reality has always been that the women never or sometimes ever liked one or more qualities of me Raja B. All this said, I have always and will and would respect women, those Kamala’s, Aparna’s, July’s and Roopa’s in earth, my mother, sister, dog and wife of mine with whom I have always had a special relationship, not forgetting a recent addition an Ananya, my kid sister’s little daughter.

That was perhaps the reason why I never ever had a steady girlfriend though my school and college life, no women asked me out, only a few cranky women danced with me in parties – lots indeed parted ways more than before partying (even though I had a good few of them walking in and out of my life, my history books).

Leaving Roopa alone, custom made for me probably, and add a Sangeeta, Vanaja and a few more, they have all been good friends, very good friends they remain till day and would remain after. And not forgetting all those 35+ (aged) receptionists of all the few many organizations I have been part of till date.

Lady clients have always been not my cuppa tea. But being in client servicing I have always managed to handle them effectively or at least tried to. But I end up cribbing about them more than I would have praised any in my entire life, at least after a drink down.

And this one lady client of mine is so special. I would never ever forget this interaction of mine with her, for sure. I have only had a very few interactions with this lady.

I never wanted to make this few turn many for various reasons. The main being I didn’t like the looks of her, I wouldn’t stand. The other one being that she was a receptionist or an office assistant before getting to be a corporate monster she is today, a marketing staff in the organization.

She had no idea about what marketing was, and is still one. She doesn’t want to understand what marketing is all about. But she always wants to project herself as the most wanted person in her organization, of my clients. She is someone who strongly thinks T & B would get you reach the pinnacle of a corporate (read the T as tits and B as Butt please). And I swear she is a B, a big B (now you decipher what a B is, this word ends with an “itch”!!)

I was barely managing her till this meeting of us happened in one of the exhibitions this client of mine was participating. She was standing in the stall TALL, trying to MAN it as usual when me and my boss Bala decided to pay them a courtesy call. When my boss and me said a hai to everyone in the stall this woman was acting busy ignoring us. My boss decided to ignore her, he was a sane man. He had identified a spade a spade.

I thought why leave her, so I with all my saneness decided to walk up to her for a hello and this is what transpired that day, I repent for that, I now repent. Raja B why did you have to do that, why the fuck did you have to…

Raja B: Hai V@#$a$%, how is it going?

V@#$a$%: Hhh… Hhha… Hhaai……..

Raja B: (puzzled) !! ??

V@#$a$%: you… you are… En… Encomium right??? Raa… Raaj… Raajaa right??? You are??

Raja B: ( even more puzzled) Hai V@#$a$%

V@#$a$%: Nooo, I am very busy you know… you see… I was a little too busy to know, recognize who you are… Raja of Encomium right??

Raja B: Ya… Er… Yes V@#$a$%, thank god you recognized me, it is a pleasure (with a disappointed look on face and fuck you B!@#$ in heart)

V@#$a$%: (turns back to someone in the background) this is the main guy in Encomium you know… our agency… in Karama??

(one dead meat nod of head from the back)

V@#$a$%: @#$%%^ please take care of him okay, he is the main guy… OK??

Raja B: Ok V@#$a$% you shoud be very busy I would catch you, bye…

And that was it the great interaction was over and out.

What in earth anyone have to say post an interaction like that??

I said FUCK YOU, ironically in my minds, inside my mouth my tongue rolled. And I would do that literally some day and I mean it.

God save the corporate world and god save me.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I “Fancy” going to work…

Well, you might think who is this guy who fancies going to work. After all who fancies working? Everyone does fancy getting a pay cheque and they are concerned only about that, getting their pay cheque. Who cares about work in today’s world. But still when somebody says I Fancy going to work, why does he say that?

Fancy is the name of the transport service I take everyday from Sharjah to Media City in Dubai where I work. I have been “Fancy” ing my way to work for the past 4 months. It has been a fascinating experience taking the Fancy. I get to meet lots of characters there, I get to see the whole world under one roof or it should be over one chassis. I have been laughing at some, thinking why I wasn’t born them when I think about some and I’ve also been wanting to kick their balls. Fancy is full of fun, energy and learning. For me Fancy has been a school on wheels.

How could I forget this fat guy? He gets in at the Rolla bridge, he sits just behind me. He is off sleeping the moment our Fancy ride gets 15 minutes old. In the next 5 minutes he starts snoring. In front of the snore this gentleman generates even the pneumatic drills noise is music. It irritates all my co-passengers. One particular day it irritates this lady who was sitting besides him so much that she shouted “Excuse me”. It was definitely sweeter than the snore he generated. And that was it. The man never sleeps, and what is about sleeping? He doesn’t even looks straight at people in the bus these days. For the last few weeks he is always admiring his boots till he gets down from Fancy.

And if that was one what about this lady? The Punjabi kudi who sits in the adjacent seat invariably gets a call from her “bebe”, that is mother in Punjabi I presume. She speaks in chaste Punjabi with her “bebe” thinking the whole world around her is deaf, nobody hears nothing. Yes, she shouts. With the little Punjabi I understand I could decipher she enquires about “Lucky”, “Robin”, “Babloo” and her dog “Tiger”. It is fun hearing her or is that funny? The phone call ends when she realizes she has spent Dh. 28, an Indian equivalent of about Rs.340. She tells the tally to her “bebe” with her loud, sweet voice before she hangs up. She then starts of in a heavy Punjabi accented Hindi with her housemaid. The FAQ’s are “Why didn’t you come yesterday?”, “I am not happy with the way you wash”, “You waste too much of vegetables and spices when you cook”.

Then I have this French bearded Malayalee. This guy laughs like a horse’s neigh. The whole bus including Mr. Musthafa, the driver turn back to have a look at him to understand what he is doing and what the neigh is all about. I start praying every time I hear him laughing. I pray to god for sparing him for the day “Don’t transform him today. Not when he is in the bus my good lord”. Don’t know which racecourse he would head towards and when.

This Arabic woman comes wearing an Armani hijab, the head dress. She is as hot as red chilly, that is her temperament mind you. If any one comes her way as she gets in the bus she mutters something in Arabic. I think that is the “Bastard, son of a bitch leave way for me” equivalent. As she sits down she gives a strong stare at the man/woman who sit next to her. Next she says “EzzCzz Mye” and tries pulling the curtains of the window down. Someday she reaches the window herself and does her operations right, sometimes she fails reaching the distance. Her next action is funny. She gives a super hot stare to her unfortunate neighbour, says “Ezz Czz Mye, why don’t…” and gets into Arabic saying something. I thing she says “You stupid asshole why don’t you? Do it now… You prick”. It is very funny watching and hearing her and that too, if you don’t know Arabic it’s super funny.

Next comes this 24-carat “Mylapore Mami” (i.e.) a Brahmin looking lady from Mylapore an area in Chennai, India. I think she has just landed in the Emirates and has just landed a job too. Her father comes to get her in the bus, like a school kid. More than this woman, the father is funny. As she is getting inside the bus he shouts “Paathu, Paathu Maa” meaning “Careful, Careful my kid”. Then he starts shouting instructions to her like a football coach. “Get down at Knowledge village”, “Have you taken your bag? Is the tiffin box with you”, “Okay, I would wait for you here by 6.30p”, “Remember to call home before you leave office”. As the bus start you could hear a clicking sound emanating from her hands. She has a run counter which normally umpires use in cricket matches which she keeps clicking at regular intervals. From the frequency of the clicks, carefully reading her lips and the number of clicks she counted one day I could find she chants “Om namo narayanaya namaha” I might be wrong in my reading her lips, but she does keep chanting some mantra till at least I get down at my stop.

There is this lady who fascinates me every Thursday. She fights with her boyfriend without fail on this day. She does this effectively over her hand phone. The whole bus could hear her, if that sounds an exaggeration at least half the bus hears. She lists what she has done for the relationship till date and then goes on numbering what her boy has not done. This conversation normally lasts for about twenty minutes to half an hour and ends with a loud “I don’t buy this bull, BYE”. Then you could see her fanatically SMSing till at least for the next half hour. It is good fun watching the way her face goes as these things unfold. One could see anger, despair, disappointment and also that “fuck you” expression.

Then comes this chatter box Filipino lady with a shrill voice and a loud mouse like laugh. She always talks to her neighbour about leaving back from office in the Pive thirty bus. The Filipino’s can’t distinguish between “P” and “F” and so “Five” becomes “Pive” and “Fuck” becomes “Puck”. And hence my “Pancy”, sorry my “Fancy” ride becomes good “Pun”, sorry “Fun” too. With all my minimal voyeuristic observational power I have learnt a little about the Filipino English grammar and a few words in Tagalog the language they speak “Ghanda” means beautiful and “Maghanda” means Very beautiful.

And then how could I forget this guy who sits next to me. He is a Bangladeshi, speaks the Bangla English. He too sleeps while in transit like most of my fellow passengers. But the problem during the initial days was he needed a shoulder to do so and it was my shoulder. I was patient waking him up and telling him he is sleeping on my shoulder for about 2-3 days. Then my patience dried up. So this particular day as he started sleeping I moved a little forward exposing him to my back. As usual he doused off, leaned on my side and to his dismay my shoulder wasn’t there, I had moved. He lost his balance and his head hit the hand rest on my other side. That was a rude jolt, to add insult to his injury I also shouted “That’s why I have been saying don’t lean on my shoulders while you sleep”. I saw him in the bus for the next two days, carefully selecting some other seat. But then he, I thought was too embarrassed by that incident that he doesn’t come in my bus anymore…

And how can I forget this guy. He looks a Maharashtrian, from Bombay I presume. He has a new Nokia 9500 for the past two weeks. He makes it a point to check his ringtones everyday as he sits down in the bus. His experiments with his phone continues till he gets down. And it doesn’t stop there, as he walks down to alight from the bus he keeps staring at his phone holding it at a high esteem. I see a bull in him, inside a china shop… everyday.

There are countless number of other people, specimen who come with me to Media city in the same bus. But every one is a book, I learn a new thing at least every day I take the Fancy. It is a fascinating ride to office. And that is why I FANCY going to office, everyday.