Thursday, February 22, 2007

The I.T. Jungle

It is a jungle out there....The office campus I mean.
The next time yer making yer way thru' the vines and thick growth keep your eyes and ears open as you are most likely to run into a few species that unfortunately show no signs of becoming endangered for years to come.

1.The 'phone stuck to ear' species:these people are gonna have kids with phones implanted in their ears.You'll find them talkin on the mobile phone all the time and I mean ALL the time...They'll move like a drunken tortoise and drive you up the wall no end. There oughta be a law against talkin on the phone while walkin just like they did for driving

2.The 'giggly schoolgirls' species:You'll find a bunch of these irritating girls who havent quite grown up yet.Remember yer schooldays when those gang of gals in the corridor gossiped and giggled away to infuriate all passers-by?...well they've been beamed up here to torment you again.Worst part is they're gonna be huntin in packs, side by side, and theres no way thru the wall they form.You havta patiently bide yer time till they pass or you can muster up an 'excuse me' which they wont hear anyway.Or in extreme cases you can walk thru the wall yelling some obscure war cry and they are bound to scatter in fright.(I did that once and it worked like magic !!!)

3.The 'of no fixed address' species:these are the nomads who dont quite know where they are headed.go left and they'll go left ,go right and they'll go right.try lookin for a rearview mirror..ya just might find one.Or perhaps these sadists have eyes at the back of their head....they're bound to bump against you as you walk
past...some of them will probably offer a small apology whilst still lost in schizophrenic thought.Others will frown as if you've interrupted something of grave importance.

4.The 'mid-wicket conference' species:common not just to cricket but to office campuses too.This bunch of people who have nuthin to do but idle chatter and gossip, gather in hordes and block the way,never mind that they're holdin up traffic.They oughta be issued parkin tickets.

5.The 'world is my playground' species:These are the folks that still enjoy their game of running and catching without any sense of regard for passers-by....believe me its true....22-plus aged guys and gals playing catch...whoa!! guess they musta had a pretty sad and disciplined childhood and were never allowed to play.whats next??hopscotch??!jeez...

6.The 'melvin udall' species:(those with OCD):lemme confess I belong to this group.They avoid cracks in the floor,walk around circles,steer clear from any closed drainage slabs or anything that opens up to a hole in the ground and have other quirky practices and rituals.Well being part of this group I cant really say anythin bad ....we cant help it :) !

7.The 'lost in love' species:Well I dont think I havta elaborate on these.They easily form the slowest of the lot.The guy's afraid to quicken the pace and the gal's always got to keep him in control.She's testing him all the time, and one step out of time and the guys done for...I pity the poor bloke.

I guess there are a few more species but the above mentioned are the commonly found ones,and I'm afraid most of us fall into one of the above categories :(

Veil of Fortune

The phone rings: It’s the guy from Mahindra Travels who held a lucky draw a coupla weeks back in a department store to help promote some of their tour packages.
"Gadzooks!!I've won something" methinks...then the bubble bursts and the guy points out that I haven’t filled in what brand of car I own.
I say "I don’t own a car" and he doesn’t buy that….I think of telling him that "I travel by chopper to avoid traffic"...perhaps he goofed and the draw was supposed to be only for car owners....bah!!who cares?...
But then he assures me that the draw is yet to happen so I do have a chance after all...right??

Naah....I've never had luck with any of those ‘lucky’ draws....
Which led me to reminisce about all my past trysts with ‘luck’..
Throughout the 90's,in school, we had an annual gala-event called fun fest….and there would be lucky draws. I’d always wind up with some crummy ball pen that was almost always a cheap clone of a Reynolds, and the stubborn bugger always refused to write…..

Sometimes I’d win a crummy soapbox...the color was usually neon-green/pink….I wonder what the manufacturers were thinking when they chose those colors.

With time I stopped bothering with the draw and would instead try my luck at some of the contests to win the prizes on offer.
There’d be the dartboards:and more often than not the teacher that I hated the most in school at that point of time would be in charge of the stall and to be honest there were many a time when I was tempted to innocently direct the dart at her and make it look like an ‘accident’!!! but I always chickened out……

Then there was ’throw the ball thru the oscillating tyre':The PT master famous for his barbs would be in charge of that stall and would hurl abuses at those who missed, by calling us a bunch of sissies who cant aim to save our life…and with the gals standing beside it was always a matter of pride to make that darned tennis ball pass thru the tyre…the vile tyre would always dodge my throw….it wasn’t long before I re-tyred from that game…..

'Knock the cans over' was one more mystery that I never solved….It was easy logic at first sight:knock the bottom cans,and with the base gone the whole thing would topple….but I always underestimated that can at the far left or far right that would always stand firm despite the chaos around it.To this day when I finish a can of coke I make sure I mutilate it to the maximum before dumping it in the trash.Revenge,you see.

'Throw the ring over a prize' was another trap that I walked into time after time and as luck would have it the only things my ring chose to fall over were pens(yeah them reynolds clones again) or soapboxes..
Once I decided to try my luck outside as I accompanied my cousin for her school’s annual event. But my luck didn’t change and all I managed to win was a small, cylindrical plastic food container in the lucky dip.
College thankfully had no such silly pursuits so I was spared the ignominy of undergoing more encores.
All those games now seem so silly.I call them silly coz I am still to win at any of those, and it hurts :(

Talking about luck,I have another jinx-that’s with audience prizes at quizzes...there's always a few audience prizes when the quiz master decides to throw some questions to the audience.Recently I had been to the odyssey quiz and there was this question about the evolution of a music form which was a combo of blues,gospel and other
afro-inspired musical styles.The answer was R&B which I told my teammates and I was smugly thinking "this ones mine", but one of my teammates was quick to grab the attention of the QM and ended up winning a nice hat and a gift voucher. Grrr....
It reminded me of similar events that happened a long time back, in school...I guess it musta been the
3rd or 4th standard....there was this Maggi school quiz and me and my pal were part of the audience....
The quesion->"who once won an oscar and 7 special ,small-sized oscars ,and for which movie"....well you would think it was easy but we were just kids then and this was a question that none of the participants knew the answer to.Nor did any of the members of the audience as no hands went up.But I KNEW.....
hell, it was Walt Disney and the movie was of-course "snow white and the 7 dwarfs"...
I made the mistake of telling the answer to my friend who was sitting alongside me and I was generally feeling glad that I was the only one in that lot who knew the answer, but before I could act my friend stands up, grabs the QM's attention and wins the prize…well,
it was just a pack of a new flavor of Maggi noodles...might seem small but still a prize was a prize and I loved Maggi.
Remember that ad with the perfect family-all color coordinated in yellow,the mum brings the bowl of piping hot noodles and the kids armed with fork start to dig in….and it would end with a shot of the bowl with the inviting peas and carrots swimming joyously in the sea of noodles.My mum hated that and to this day insists it is fake as she’s never been able to recreate what they show onscreen.

Anyway,my friend delighted as he was to have won the prize(and fooling the other kids into thinking he was a trivia lord….what a poser,I never forgave him for that)……was oh-so sympathetic and he said "dont worry pal;its your prize;I'll give it to you when the day comes to a close"...but he never did and all we heard next day was how he went home proudly to his mom with the prize in hand and how he had Maggi noodles for dinner.
I guess they were all dressed in yellow too. Then he remembered that I was the one who should have eaten noodles last night and he muttered a sheepish apology.
Never mind pal,I didn’t have any yellow clothes.Never had.Never will…

Well these things happen in a cycle and sure enough the same thing happened again a few years later.
This time everything was the same except the question "which indian won an oscar for lifetime achievement"...
Again my big mouth blurted out the answer-"Satyajit Ray" to my pal, who once again did an encore from years ago and again claimed the prize that I should have won. (I didn’t remember what the prize was but I don’t think it was Maggi noodles. I guess Top Ramen was the noodle brand on top then and Maggi kinda got relegated into 2nd best for a while,so they stopped sponsoring the quiz.)

It would be years before I would even watch a Satyajit Ray movie-I managed to catch 2 movies of the Apu trilogy recently and I couldn’t help but think back to when I missed out on that prize.

There’s been a recent addition to these luck based draws-you know, some stores offer a scratch-card on purchase of items worth over a certain amount and they all shout "assured gifts for all"…
yeah we’re all a bunch of suckers and the last time I got suckered was during Diwali last year….me and my dad had just about finished purchasing what we came for and found out we were short by 200 bucks to qualify for the draw.
Despite my insistence not to fall for it, dad purchased one more item to make us eligible for the draw and so there I was scratching on the coupon with a coin. And what does it reveal?? "HAPPY DIWALI!!! Better luck next time".
The kid standing next to me couldn’t help sniggering. I waited for him to scratch his so that I could get back at him but the lucky bugger won a 500 buck voucher…talk about insult to injury…
I walked away shaking my head….vowing never to scratch anything ever again, unless it itches.
And I’m sure my streak at not getting lucky will continue in the years to come….if I get suckered into trying my luck again. I’m seriously thinking of going back to my school which still has the annual fun fest.
The thirst for Redemption hasn’t yet subsided.
But I guess with time I’ve learnt why they call Luck a lady…..it’s because she’s fickle ;)