Confessions of a random stranger

Unpublished stories are the most original and honest ones


Friday Failures

Last night when I went out, I did not have quantity time, as I started pretty late, but spent quality time with interesting folks. Consequently, I slept at reasonable hour of 1:30 hoping I will get up on time this morning to attend my GA work. Day started with crap.

Alarm I had set was for pm and not am. For a 9AM meeting with GA supervisor, I got up at 8:45. First thing I did, shot an email to supervisor that I will be in by 9:30. With tooth brush in mouth, I frantically shoved things in microwave. Gathered stuff in my swimming bag hoping that after day ends with Finance lecture, I would conclude the day with nice swim. With water still dripping out my hair after super-fast shower, I gathered suits to drop at drycleaner’s for Monday morning interview.

The guy at Dry Cleaner’s told me that he won’t be able to deliver before Monday evening as they did not work on weekends. (I think I should show him my EMA assignments – 4 pages, single spaced, 2 points will be deducted per day WEEKENDS INCLUDED ) He told this with frozen face (that I felt like punching at that moment) – no words of apology. Of course, it wasn’t his fault so why should he be sorry for. But I was already in a mess, running late for meeting, and then I heard No’s, so little sensitiveness was expected here. There was nothing he could do now, except that I told him to just iron if not dry-clean and he charged me the same amount.

After I finish my GA work, only reason for me to hang around was that finance lecture on effect of European crisis on US markets. I marked this in calendar to educate myself better, but it turned out to be so intense that I struggled to keep myself awake even for 5 minutes. I ran away from there during Q n A to hit swimming pool.
While the pretty undergrads at sports center scanned my card, I asked them if the pool was open. Hearing yes, I moved to locker room. I didn’t know what was wrong today, all lockers were full and only today I had humongous belongings and struggled to find THREE lockers to fit the shit in. Getting down to just undergarments, starting from layers of clothes on this cold day was quite an effort. As I immersed myself now in pool to let my miseries of the day drown in chlorine water and had barely swum 7 feet when I heard, “Excuse me sir”. A woman told me that pool was not open for common students for another hour. Really? You telling me now after I am wet in damn chlorine from head to toe?

That was all swimming – 30 seconds in pool. Took the pain to put the layers on again and boarded the bus to come home finally. On the door I see the notice that the two bags I had lost in transit from New Delhi to Bloomington have been found and delivered to society office. Earlier in the day, my close buddy had asked for the presents I was supposed to bring for him and I was excited to open the bags and get him his present. So I run to society office – very excited – to see the bags. Society office was closed – “Woodbridge office is closed today for special staff training”. Bite me.

Oh it did not end here. I thought it was that’s why I hit the button PUBLISH POST. Later in the night I was very alone, my room mate also had gone to New York. So I decided to go out by myself. After taking shower and dressing up, when I stepped out of apartment, I slipped and fell on my butt. My first reaction was to look around. There were people standing and I was on the slippery ground flat. No one bothered to say or do anything. I was shocked. I pulled my self up went back to apartment, turned of the lights and called it a day.
I wish I were a dog

How can dating translate into love?

Love at first sight? Second sight? Third sight? How these loves happen is beyond me. You have hardly known that person, and you say that you have fell in love with that person?

Similarly, the whole concept of dating culminating into love is something very incomprehensible to me. When you date someone, from the beginning, you have a fixed agenda of sex or date or finding a girl friend or boyfriend in the other person. There is no room for friendship.

Now let’s consider friendship. Imagine a relationship that starts as friendship. You meet this person because you happen to be in same place at same time. No body planned this first meeting. No one set you up with this person. Neither of you two fixed this first meeting. You become friends because circumstance forced you to be together for a common project or team work because you worked in same team at work or because you study in same class at school. Since you two tend to spend lot of time together, you get to know each other very well. You become familiar with every small thing of that person. After this close friendship, what else is left? LOVE? This love happens very unconsciously. You don’t even realize when this one happens. You begin to feel this when she is out of your life for some time. Because you had become addicted to her company and her presence in your life.

Now where in dating or love at different sights you would find this form of love? The love evolved from close friendship is rather purer – it does not even involve looks – good or bad. Who makes friends because of looks? In the dates on the other hand, you tend to pick up only a hot date. You also try to dress real nice and take shower and comb your hair at least that day.

Can business school make you less romantic?

All kinds of people would ask you why you came to business school? First, admission officers. When you make it to school, your classmates. Few months later, your career coaches. At a later time, your recruiters. And of course all through your journey, your friends and acquaintances. I too have been asked the same question. And I dislike monotony. I find it tiring to say the same story. There have been times when I would say, “Every one else has been going to b-school, I just wanted to know what the fuss was about?”. That’s an influence of over dose of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Phoebe once kissed Rachel to know what the fuss was about!

Of the many reasons, I had a strong and genuine one too, to come to school. In the films and popular culture, I had seen business folks are more capitalist, less emotional, not very romantic, more problem solving. Didn’t that businessman called Ambani marry his wife for securing capital to expand and establish his business? Didn’t many rulers marry the princess of other kingdoms to expand their empire? A wall street invest banker busting his ass for 11 hours a day – where will he find time to write poetry or think about his love? I wanted to be a business czar. Running an empire. Like God Father’s Michael Corleone. I really expected my heart to turn into stone by studying finance and private equity. So that 10 years later, when I am blowing a cigar and enjoying my scotch in Calvisius Caviar Lounge in Four Seasons, some hot woman would come , sit next to me, run her deep-red-nail-painted finger down my face and say, “You can’t be so cold, you must have a lot hidden in you”. That could have been perfect way to fast forward 10 years without any emotional baggage or romantic hassles in between.

Damn! That did not happen. Why do I just nod along with a class mate when he talks of sales he increased in his job at Toyota Motors before coming to business school, but my eyes brighten up and moist up out of excitement when he narrates me the time during his high school when he killed a summer in Panama or when he made money while polishing boots and landscaping gardens of neighbors? Why I imagine my classmate attending his hens in a pristine farm instead of understanding the strategy he employs in his poultry business? While attending accounting class, I still marvel at the terrific sense of humor of the professor instead of focusing on accounting ratios. Listening to Turkish professor in Finance class, I am teleported to Istanbul and I lose myself in imagining her journey from Istanbul to New York and in filming that professor in my version of Serendipity, instead of estimating the NPV of money I could make after business school, if only I had kept my senses inside the class. Why would I think of Miranda Priestly in marketing class instead of estimating net market share? So what if professor reminds me of her. Many people in the world have similarities. But so what? Why I have to extend those thoughts?

Why did have to fall in inaccessible love…… Again? Why is it so hard to fall in love with money and career and power? Or with objects like Chair or truck, that you can go ahead and buy and keep with you, till you fall out of love. Why am I writing this instead of making CAR statements and getting my suit ready for blowing away the mind of first recruiter tomorrow? Instead of using my once-upon-a-time genius brain to make it big in this land of opportunity called USA, am I turning into Nikolai Gogol, who could not be understood by anyone, and least of all – by himself? Why am I writing like Sarah Jessica Parker, with answer-less questions?

I saw this country, its people, its culture only in cinema. And in books. Now I see those characters live – all around me. Imagine someone who watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S all his life, is suddenly air-dropped in the Central Perk amidst Joe and Monica and others . Why would he not be overwhelmed! But I did not see this ever coming.. I was on my way to become Godfather, while deciding to attend business school.

I should have rather joined defense forces instead of business school to cure the broken heart and wandering mind!

Temporary liberation through unplugging

This winter break was rather a very short one. Probably little over two weeks. But like my buddy’s time at home on thanksgiving, my time was non-stop. I was always onto something – meet family X, call person Y and catch up with friend Z, purchase B, get done the task C. If not anything, spend time on Facebook and emails and watching movies. Not that I disliked any of these (well … some of them), I wouldn’t have done these in that case. But I never got time to think. I never got time to spend with myself. Even though I love being with people I love and I keep on saying that I am not a big fan of my own company, but now I realize how much I can be happy and creative and productive, when I am left alone! Alone also means no internet either – just me and my solitude.

What do I do when I need that time and space to think? Head to mountains! I didn’t have the luxury of time to go to Himalayas. Plus that would have taken long travel time and my own company would have haunted me then. I decided to visit my uncle ji in Dehradun – not Himalayas , but their foot hills! 12 hours of comfortable to-and-fro train journey and 4 hours of company of a wonderful friend Fakru and my uncle ji.

Considering the non-stop days of break so far, I felt liberated in this journey. In fact I am in the process of liberation right now, as I write this aboard Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi. 5 months of stay in US has given me some identity crisis which I had felt strongly many times in last two weeks in Delhi. Listening to Swades song and jogging, I would hardly feel that dramatic overwhelming sensation. I never was anyway big fan of Indian cities.

Now, sitting by the huge window of train, sipping the lovely scenery outside, I am feeling connected back to my interpretation of India. Passengers of non-Shatabdi train moving parallel to us, marveling at me and my train. I used to be them few years back. The multi-lingual boards of stations reading Deoband in Urdu, English and Hindi. The bundled up people on unsheltered platform.. slowly waking up to the morning after their last night’s slumber under cold winter sky. The raw unaltered natural beauty of Indian greens. I am writing, scripting, directing and producing my own film. And watching it too. And all this Just in Time! I can chose not to write whatever is not adding to the aesthetics of this lovely journey. I am changing the script the way I want. Soundtrack is of my choice. Well I am only listening to Discovery of India for last 2 hours. Through this song, a woman called India, is waking up from sleep and giving out a call to return to Country. And the film non-cyclical. Every scene , every station , every crop field is new. I am sipping the fog covered forests and rivers and fields. Actually, that crazy song peelun peelun, might actually fit more here. I am enjoying every sip of this experience. I noticed that I was smiling all this while. Non-stop!

Fog is not ready to disappear. No matter how much I get away from Delhi, fog is walking with me. Like I did not see sunrise when I was going to Chicago from Delhi for the first time. Every time I opened the window, I would see darkness flying with me.

There were some new and interesting things inside the train too! Train is much more spacious and cleaner. There were sliding doors. There was toilet paper in restroom! When I took my seat, I was thirsty. I wish I could ring a bell like in flight and request for water. What’s the harm in having an airhostess or air-host in a train! There were transparent overhead cabins for placing luggage. You can always look up and reassure yourself that your bag is there. I didn’t use that though , because I needed to dig my bag often and didn’t want bug my co-passenger. But this looked fancy, probably planes may also consider having them. I never saw waiter in train asking for tip. Tip in Shatabdi—holy shit! It’s like a moving restaurant!!! Am I friggin travelin in Palace on Wheels!! And I actually ended up tossin a 10! Well I was pleased with his service too. Plus I wanted to know what it would feel like if I do that in a train!

Now folks inside train. I was intrigued by my ability to establish an unspoken and unexpressed relationship with co-passengers. I just met them.. well not even met them, hardly spoke a word with them, except when I needed to get out and pee and I would request co-passenger in hardly audible words, but mostly through gestures to move and let me out. In spite of this absence of any dialogue or sharing of anything, I felt my decisions and actions and thoughts were influenced by them – when I would make choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian food, when I would make choice of newspaper and when I am writing all this. Not that influence was very heavy and factor in them before making any choice or doing some action, but they do enter in my head, albeit briefly. I try to assess their background, occupation. Which I don’t want to. But probably one does tend to think. Even when one sees a leaf or an apple. At the same time, there is lot of indifference too. I can write my journal entries without feeling conscious or concerns about privacy intrusion. And would otherwise keep my personal diaries deeply and strictly guarded.

And did I mention the computerized-digital-waitlist-reservation-display on the platform?